Colombian Spider Monkey

The Colombian Spider Monkey, is a subspecies of the Black-headed Spider Monkey, a type of New World monkey, found in Colombia and Panama. Some authorities, such as Froelich (1991), Collins and Dubach (2001) and Nieves (2005), do not recognize the Black-headed Spider Monkey as a distinct species and so treat the Colombian Spider Monkey as a subspecies of Geoffroy's Spider Monkey.

The Colombian Spider Monkey lives in dry forests, humid forests and cloud forests, and can live up to 2,000 to 2,500 metres (6,600 to 8,200 ft) above sea level. It is entirely black with some white on its chin while the Brown-headed Spider Monkey (A. f. fusciceps) has a black or brown body and a brown head.

The spider monkey has a black body and long limbs with thumb-less hands. It has a prehensile and extremely flexible tail, which acts as an extra limb. The tail has a hairless patch on the tip that is used for grip. This hairless patch is unique in its markings, just like the human fingerprint. Colombian spider monkeys can weigh up to 9.1 kg (20 pounds). Fruit makes up 80% of the spider monkey's diet, which also includes leaves, nuts, seeds, bark, insects, and flowers. This monkey lives approximately 24 years.

Spider monkeys are found in social groups of up to 30 individuals; however, they are usually broken up into smaller foraging groups of 3-4 individuals. They move and climb through the forest by hand over hand (brachiation) motion.

Spider monkeys fill an important ecological role in South America. These primates often feed on an assortment of fruits and as they travel throughout their environment. As they go, they disperse undigested seeds in their manure within 2-3 hours. The seeds soon sprout to replenish the vegetation that sustains South America's rich rainforests.



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