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Spider Monkeys

General Characteristics, The Appearance Of The Four Species, Social Behavior, Diet, In Captivity

Spider monkeys are slender, medium-sized monkeys with long limbs and very long tails. They live in trees, rarely coming down to the jungle floor. They are very adept at moving around in trees with the help of their prehensile tails; "prehensile" is a term that means their tails are well adapted for holding on to objects. These monkeys inhabit a territory ranging from southern Mexico to northern Argentina.

These New World monkeys are classified in the family known as Cebidae monkeys or "typical South American monkey." Within the Cebidae family, there are five subfamilies, consisting of 10 genera and 34 species. Spider monkeys are in the subfamily called Atelinae and the genus Ateles, meaning "imperfect" because these monkeys have very small or absent thumbs. There are four species of spider monkeys: 1. Central American spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi); 2. Brown-headed spider monkey (Ateles fusciceps); 3. Long-haired spider monkey (Ateles belzebuth); 4. Black spider monkey (Ateles paniscus), sometimes called the Black-handed spider monkey.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Spectroscopy to Stoma (pl. stomata)