Spi­der Mon­key is a crit­i­cally- en­dan­gered species

The Borneo Post - Good English - - Short Story Section -

Mon­keys live in trop­i­cal cli­mates, specif­i­cally the ever­green forests of Cen­tral and South Amer­ica. They can also be found as far north as Mex­ico.

Spi­der Mon­keys are ar­bo­real (in­hab­its in trees). Thriv­ing in the up­per canopy, spi­der mon­keys hunt with ease and with­out the com­pe­ti­tion of other pri­mates. Also, it should be noted that they some­times in­habit semi de­cid­u­ous and man­grove forests.

Spi­der Mon­keys have a dis­tinc­tive fea­ture from other mon­keys, glossy hair that cov­ers their en­tire body ex­cept for the face. Their long lanky arms and pre­hen­sile (grip­ping) tails al­low them to move among the trees with ease. They do not have thumbs how­ever they can still grip pow­er­fully to tree branches with­out any lim­i­ta­tions. An­other par­tic­u­lar fea­ture of the spi­der mon­keys is the patch of skin that they have at the end of their tails. This patch works very sim­i­lar to a fin­ger, it helps to in­crease their grip­ping abil­ity.

Spi­der mon­keys are om­niv­o­rous more specif­i­cally they are cat­e­gorised as frui­giv­o­rous be­cause of their fruit and seed based diet. They also tend to feed on young leaves, flow­ers, aerial roots, oc­ca­sion­ally bark and wood, honey, in­sects/in­sect lar­vae, and bird eggs. Spi­der mon­keys eat while hang­ing, climb­ing or mov­ing. Rarely they feed on in­sect parts, as well as some an­i­mal prey.

Kept in cap­tiv­ity in a zoo, they are fed var­i­ous fruits, seeds, leaves and flow­ers.

Spi­der Mon­keys are so­cial crea­tures liv­ing in medium size groups. In­di­vid­ual spi­der mon­keys dwell by them­selves, but in close prox­im­ity to their medium sized group. How­ever, there is a close as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween the mother and the off­spring.

This re­la­tion­ship evolved as a re­sponse to their feed­ing pat­terns. Liv­ing in large groups is not favoured in Spi­der Mon­keys since the ma­jor com­po­nent of their diet, seeds, has vari­able abun­dance de­pend­ing mainly on the sea­son. When seeds are abun­dant, Spi­der Mon­keys will live in large groups be­cause food sources are not scarce.

In the large scheme of things, fe­males have a more lead­ing role than the males do. They are of­ten the ones to lead the group on for­ag­ing routes. In ad­di­tion, the fe­males are bet­ter at find­ing more var­ied food routes than the males, which en­able them to in­crease the va­ri­ety of their diet.

Spi­der mon­keys are di­ur­nal, and there­fore are awake dur­ing the day and asleep at night. They sleep high in trees, gen­er­ally above the canopy in or­der to avoid preda­tors. This pro­vides them the ad­van­tage of scar­ing preda­tors away (with ‘barks’) or re­treat into sub-groups and run rather than fight­ing them back. More­over, ag­gres­sion is rare, although it is im­por­tant to note that adult males are still ranked.

Due to the lack of a com­pletely de­vel­oped thumb, their groom­ing pat­tern is dif­fer­ent from that of other mon­keys and it only hap­pens be­tween mothers and their off­spring.

Males sex­u­ally ma­ture at the age of five, while fe­males are ma­ture at four years old. Ges­ta­tion lasts for 226 to 232 days and one baby is born at a time with births oc­cur­ring in two-to-four-year in­ter­vals.

Ac­cord­ing to the IUCN, the spi­der mon­key was pre­vi­ously as­sessed as en­dan­gered, but has now been re­assessed as a ‘crit­i­cally en­dan­gered’ species. They are rapidly los­ing their habi­tat to farm­ing. They de­pend on large ar­eas of tall forests to sur­vive.

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