The black spider monkey has a prehensile tail which it uses for grasping when feeding and when moving through the forest. Male long-haired spider monkeys lack a baculum, which is unusual for most primates (Dixson, 1987). This is a sexually monomorphic species. The black spider monkey has long and slender limbs especially the forelimbs which are used in suspensory locomotion (Fleagle, 1988). The average body mass for males is about 10 kilograms and for females it is between 6-8 kilograms. This species lacks a pollex (a thumb).
This species is found in more wet than dry forests and is also found in evergreen tropical rainforests (Hershkovitz, 1977). This species prefers to live in the upper levels of the canopy (Fleagle, 1988). The black spider monkey is found in various countries in South America.
The black spider monkey is a frugivorous species, which tends to favor ripe fruits. This species does also eat leaves. This species forages in subgroups of 1-6 individuals, and these groups are of the following types: solitary, all male, all female (with or without infants), and mixed-sex (Kinzey, 1997). Dominant females of the group determine the foraging behavior of the group (van Roosmalen, 1987). The average group size for this species is about 18 individuals.
The black spider monkey moves through the forest both in a quadrupedal and suspensory fashion (Fleagle, 1988). This species can also walk bipedal along tree branches and have been known to leap between trees and branches (Fleagle, 1988).
The black spider monkey has a multimale-multifemale social system (Kinzey, 1997). The males are philopatric and the females disperse for this species (Kinzey, 1997). Males are more likely to mob potential predators than females, and they do this in a cooperative fashion (Symington, 1987a).
long call: This call is only emitted by males and may be heard up to 500 meters (Symington, 1987b). This call is used to communicate spacing between subgroups, isolation from a subgroup, it is also used as an alarm call (van Roosmalen, 1985). This call also functions to bring members from ones subgroup to a feeding site (Chapman and Lefebvre, 1990).
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