Facts about the animal kingdom

Types of Spider Monkeys

Nick A. Romero
By Nick A. Romero, Biologist and environmental educator. May 31, 2022
Types of Spider Monkeys

Primates are a group of animals with a special relationship to human beings. This is due to our evolutionary closeness thanks to a common ancestor. However, the diversity of simians (higher primates which contains all apes and monkeys) is very wide. They have many features and behaviors which are distinguishable, but all have a relatively complex social structure. Although not human, there are certain parallels between humans and monkeys in terms of these structures.

In this AnimalWised article, we want to show you these similarities and differences with this guide to the different types of spider monkeys. We provide information on their physical and behavioral characteristics, show the differences between each spider monkey species and provide photos so you can see what they look like.

You may also be interested in: Types of Monkeys in the World
  1. Types of spider monkey
  2. Spider monkey characteristics
  3. Where does the spider monkey live?
  4. What does the spider monkey eat?

Types of spider monkey

There are seven extant species of spider monkeys. All are grouped together in the genus Ateles. Below we provide the common names, as well as their binomial nomenclature:

  • Geoffroy's spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi)
  • White-fronted spider monkey (Ateles belzebuth)
  • Red-faced spider monkey (Ateles paniscus)
  • Brown spider monkey (Ateles hybridus)
  • White-cheeked spider monkey (Ateles marginatus)
  • Black-headed spider monkey (Ateles fusciceps)
  • Peruvian spider monkey (Ateles chamek)

If you want to learn more about different monkey species, take a look at our article on the different types of monkeys in the world.

Types of Spider Monkeys - Types of spider monkey
Types of Spider Monkeys -

Spider monkey characteristics

Now we know the names of the different spider monkey species, we can look at their individual characteristics.

Geoffroy's Spider Monkey

This type of spider monkey measures between 30 to 65 cm (12-25.5"), with an additional tail length of between 60 and 85 cm (25.5-33"). The limbs are longer than many other spider monkeys. Their snout large, but their head is relatively small. They have brown or reddish fur, their face is lighter, especially around the mouth and eyes. The lower areas of the body also usually have lighter tones.

White-fronted spider monkey

They are characterized extremities longer than the rest of their body. They have a prehensile tail that measures between 60 to almost 90 cm (25.5-35"). They weigh between 6 to 9 kg (13-20 lb), with males being generally larger than females. The former measure between 42 to 59 cm (16.5-23") and the latter from 34 to 59 cm (13-19.5"). They have a characteristic triangle of blond hair on their head with similar fue on their front.

Red-faced spider monkey

Males are only slightly larger than females, with only about 0.5 cm (0.2") difference between the sexes, without considering the tail. The average weight of the males is a little more than 9 kg (20 lb) and that of the females about 8.4 kg (18.5 lb). Their fur is long and very dark black, with the exception of the face.

Brown spider monkey

The forelimbs are longer than the hindlimbs, the tail is long (c.75 cm or 30") and is also prehensile. They weigh an average of between 8 to 9 kg (17.5-20 lb) and measure 45 to 50 cm (17.5-19.5"), with males being slightly larger and heavier than females. They also have a white triangular patch on the forehead. They upper body can be light or dark brown while the lower parts and extremities are are lighter.

White-cheeked spider monkey

Males weigh on average about 6.2 kg (13.5 lb) while females 5.8 kg (13 lb). In relation to their length, the former measure from 50 to 71 cm (20-28") and the tail is between 75 to 90 cm (29.5-34.5"). The latter measure from 35 to 58 cm (14-23"), while the tail from 62 to 77 cm (24.5-30"). The entire body is black in coloration, with white triangular patches on the forehead, snout and cheeks.

Black-headed spider monkey

The limbs, like other types of spider monkey, are also long, but are characterized by being narrower. The tail is which is longer than the body and measures between 70 to 85 cm (27.5-33.5") in length, but the body averages only 40 to 55 cm (16-21.5"). The average weight of this type of spider monkey is 9 kg (20 lb), there is no distinction between males and females in this regard. The coat is long and dark on top, but generally lighter on the bottom. The eyes and mouth are surrounded by pale coloration.

Peruvian spider monkey

This spider monkey is completely black and, due to the lack of fur around the eyes, mouth and nose , it is the only other coloration that can be seen on the animal's body. It has a weight range between 7 and 9 kg (15.5-20 lb) and measures about 70 cm (27.5").

Types of Spider Monkeys - Spider monkey characteristics

Where does the spider monkey live?

Spider monkeys are primates that are distributed exclusively in the Americas. Here we provide the habitat distribution of each different type of spider monkey:

Geoffroy's Spider Monkey

Geoffroy's spider monkey lives in the following countries:

  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama

White-fronted spider monkey

This type of spider monkey we can find in:

  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
  • Venezuela

Red-faced spider monkey

The red-faced spider monkey can be found in the following countries:

  • Brazil
  • Guiana
  • French Guiana
  • Surinam

Brown spider monkey

The brown spider monkey's distribution is based solely on Colombia and Venezuela.

White-cheeked spider monkey

The white-cheeked spider monkey is the only type of spider monkey that is only exclusively in Brazil.

Black-headed spider monkey

The black-headed spider monkey is distributed in:

  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Panama

Peruvian spider monkey

Finally, the Peruvian black spider monkey can be seen in countries such as:

  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Peru

Take a look a the types of monkeys on another continent with our guide to the monkeys of India.

What does the spider monkey eat?

The spider monkey is a mainly herbivorous animal, generally feeding on ripe fruits. To a lesser extent, they also include in their diet flowers and leaves from plants present in their habitat. They do not have a specialized diet. Rather, they will feed on what is available in their habitat, something which can vary throughout the year.

Some types of spider monkey may eventually switch to an omnivorous diet as they include insects and arachnids. In this way, particular foods spider monkeys eat include:

  • Fruit
  • Flowers
  • Leaves
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Plant fluids
  • Bark
  • Roots
  • Tubers
  • Mushrooms
  • Insects
  • Spiders
  • Eggs

Spider monkeys also ingest seeds, making them a very important for their ecosystems. This is because intact seeds are excreted with feces and deposit for growth of a new plant in a new area. This process is known as diplochory. This goes to show how important spider monkeys are in their given ecosystems. Unfortunately, every type of spider monkey is at risk. Learn more with our article on whether spider monkeys are endangered.

If you want to read similar articles to Types of Spider Monkeys, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

  • STIs. (2022). Ateles . Available at: https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=572812#null
  • IUCN. (2022). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: https://www.iucnredlist.org
  • Myers, P., R. Espinosa, CS Parr, T. Jones, GS Hammond, and TA Dewey. (2022). The Animal Diversity Web. Available at: https://animaldiversity.org/search/?q=ateles&feature=INFORMATION
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Types of Spider Monkeys