Ateles marginatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Atelidae

Scientific Name: Ateles marginatus
Species Authority: (É. Geoffroy, 1809)
Common Name(s):
English White-cheeked Spider Monkey, White-whiskered Spider Monkey
Spanish Macaco Aranha
Ateles belzebuth ssp. marginatus (É. Geoffroy, 1809)
Taxonomic Notes: The taxonomy of the spider monkeys is based on Kellogg and Goldman (1944) and Hill (1962). The forms hybridus, chamek and marginatus are listed as distinct species and A. fusciceps robustus Allen, 1914 is considered a junior synonym of A. f. rufiventris Sclater, 1871 following Heltne and Kunkel (1975) (see Rylands et al. 2000).

Froehlich et al. (1991), and Medeiros (1994; Medeiros et al. 1997) argued that A. paniscus is a distinct form with no subspecies. De Boer and Bruijn (1990) indicated that chamek should be considered a full species, and likewise Sampaio et al. (1993) argued that the forms paniscus and chamek should be considered distinct species on the basis of the genetic distance between them. Ateles chamek was found to be closer to belzebuth than to paniscus (see also Nieves et al. 2005).

M.G.M. van Roosmalen reported (5 August 2003) an undescribed species of spider monkey within the supposed range of A. marginatus. It "occurs in the most south-eastern limit of the genus' distribution and inhabits the dry savanna forests and cerradão of northern Mato Grosso. Its western limit is the Rio Teles Pires and eastern limit is the Rio Culuene, a headwater tributary of the Rio Xingú. Its distribution is disjunct with that of Ateles marginatus along the lower and middle Rio Xingú, Pará, west as far as the Rio Tapajós and east as far as the left bank of the lower Rio Tocantins." It differs from A. marginatus by "the dark chestnut brown black fur, the pink instead of pitch-black muzzle and circumocular rings, and larger white whiskers and triangular blaze." According to van Roosmalen, it can be seen along the headwater effluents of the Rio Xingú, such as the Rios Culuene, Curisevo, Batoví, Ronuro, and Von den Steinen.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2cd+3cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Mittermeier, R.A., Boubli, J.-P. & Di Fiore, A.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
Listed as Endangered as there is reason to believe the species has declined by at least 50% over the past 45 years (three generations) due primarily to hunting and habitat loss. Over the coming 45 years, this decline is likely to reach similar proportions due to expanding soy bean agriculture.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Ateles marginatus is endemic to the Brazilian Amazon, occurring between the Rio Tapajós (right bank) and its tributary, the Rio Teles Pires (right bank) and the Rio Xingu (left bank), south of the Rio Amazonas (Kellogg and Goldman 1944; Ravetta 2005). This is the least known of the Amazonian spider monkeys.
Countries occurrence:
Brazil (Mato Grosso, Pará)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are no published population densities available.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Occurs in primary lowland rain forest.

Spider monkeys travel and forage in the upper levels of the forest. They spend much time in the canopy and also use the middle and lower strata but are rarely seen in the understorey. In accordance with their use of the highest levels of the forest, they are highly suspensory. When travelling they spend more time hanging from branches, moving by brachiation and arm swinging, and climbing than they do walking or running on all fours. They are highly frugivorous and feed largely on the mature, soft parts of a very wide variety of fruits, which comprise 83% of their diet and are found mainly in the emergent trees and upper part of the forest canopy (Van Roosmalen and Klein 1988). They also eat young leaves and flowers (both especially at times of fruit shortage during the beginning of the dry season), and besides such as young seeds, floral buds, pseudobulbs, aerial roots, bark, decaying wood, and honey, and very occasionally small insects such as termites and caterpillars. They play a significant role as seed dispersers. Van Roosmalen (1985; Van Roosmalen and Klein 1988) found that A. paniscus was dispersing the seeds of at least 138 species (93.5% of all fruits species used) through their ingestion and subsequent defecation (endozoochory). A further 10 species were being dispersed by the monkeys carrying them off some distance from the tree before dropping them (exozoochory). In only 23 species were the seeds being ruined or eaten (seed predation).

Spider monkeys live in groups of up to 20-30 individuals (for review see Van Roosmalen and Klein 1988). However, they are very rarely all seen together, and nearly always to be found travelling, feeding and resting small in groups of varying size and composition (most usually 2-4), the only persistent association being that of a mother and her offspring (McFarland Symington 1990). Group members will also travel on their own. Each female in the group has a “core area” of the group’s home range which she uses most. Ateles are rarely seen in association with other primates and mostly they are occasional and ephemeral, resulting from the simultaneous occupation of fruiting trees.

Spider monkeys apparently reach sexual maturity at 4-5 years of age (Klein 1971; Eisenberg 1973, 1976). They give birth to single offspring after a long gestation period of 226-232 days, with a minimum theoretical interbirth interval in captivity of 17.5 months, but in the wild probably as long as 28-30 months (Eisenberg 1973, 1976). Late maturation and long inter-birth intervals make it difficult for them to recover from hunting and other threats.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Although it occurs south as far as the north of the state of Mato Grosso, its range is relatively small, cut by major highways such as the Transamazon and the Cuiabá-Santarém, and in many parts subject to active and widespread deforestation (especially in the south), and, as in all spider monkeys, A. marginatus is particularly susceptible to hunting. Accelerated expansion of the agricultural frontier in northern Mato Grosso, with the ongoing establishment of enormous areas of soy bean plantations accompanying the paving of the Cuiabá-Santarém highway are additional and major threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in a number of national forests in Brazil, including Tapajós National Forest (545,000 ha), Xingu National Forest (252,790 ha), Alatmira National Forest (689,012 ha), Itaituba I National Forest (220,034 ha), and Itaituba II National Forest (440,500 ha). More strictly protected areas are needed for the conservation of this species.

Surveys are currently ongoing throughout the range of the species (Ravetta 2005; A. L. Ravetta pers. comm.).

It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.8. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Swamp
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.1. Shifting agriculture
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.3. Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.1. Roads & railroads
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Boer, L. E. M. de and Bruijn, M, de. 1990. Chromosomal distinction between the red-faced and black-faced black spider monkeys (Ateles paniscus paniscus and A. p. chamek). Zoo Biology 9: 307–316.

Defler, T. R. 2004. Primates of Colombia. Conservation International, Washington, DC, Usa.

Eisenberg, J. F. 1973. Reproduction in two species of spider monkeys, Ateles fusciceps and Ateles geoffroyi. Journal of Mammalogy 54: 955-957.

Eisenberg, J. F. 1976. Communication mechanisms and social integration in the black spider monkey (Ateles fusciceps robustus), and related species. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 213: 1-108.

Froehlich, J. W., Supriatana, J. and Froehlich, P. H. 1991. Morphometric analyses of Ateles: systematic and biogeographic implications. American Journal of Primatology 25: 1–22.

Heltne, P. G. and Kunkel, L. M. 1975. Taxonomic notes on the pelage of Ateles paniscus paniscus, A. p. chamek (sensu Kellogg and Goldman, 1944) and A. fusciceps rufiventris (= A. f. robustus, Kellogg and Goldman, 1944). Journal of Medical Primatology 4: 83–102.

Hernández-Camacho, J. and Defler, T. R. 1989. Algunos aspectos de la conservación de primates no-humanos en Colombia. In: C. J. Saavedra, R. A. Mittermeier and I. B. Santos (eds), La Primatología en Latinoamerica, pp. 67-100. WWF-U.S., Washington, DC, USA.

Hill, W. C. O. 1962. Primates Comparative Anatomy and Taxonomy V. Cebidae Part B. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Kellogg, R. and Goldman, E. A. 1944. Review of the spider monkeys. Proceedings of the United States Natural Museum 96: 1–45.

Klein, L. L. 1971. Observations on copulation and seasonal reproduction of two species of spider monkeys, Ateles belzebuth and A. geoffroyi. Folia Primatologica 15: 233-248.

McFarland Symington, M. 1990. Fission-fusion social organization in Ateles and Pan. International Journal of Primatology 11(1): 47-61.

Medeiros, M. A. A. 1994. Citogenética, Evolução Cromossômica, Radiação e Especiação dos Macacos-Aranha (Ateles, Primates). Master’s Thesis, Universidade Federal do Pará, Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi.

Medeiros, M. A. A., Barros, R. M. S., Pieczarka, J. C., Nagamachi, C. Y., Ponsa, M., Garcia, M., Garcia, F. and Egozcue, J. 1997. Radiation and speciation of spider monkeys, genus Ateles, from the cytogenetic viewpoint. American Journal of Primatology 42: 167–178.

Nieves, M., Ascunce, M. S., Rahn, M. I. and Mudry, M. D. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships among some Ateles species: The use of chromosome and molecular markers. Primates 46: 155–164.

Ravetta, A. L. 2005. Geographic distribution, ecology and conservation of Ateles marginatus: An endagered primate endemic to the Brazilian Amazon. Conservation International, Washington, DC, USA.

Rylands, A.B., Schneider, H., Langguth, A., Mittermeier, R.A., Groves, C.P. and Rodríguez-Luna, E. 2000. An assessment of the diversity of New World primates. Neotropical Primates 8(2): 61-93.

Sampaio, M. I. C., Schneider, M. P. C. and Schneider, H. 1993. Contribution of genetic distances studies to the taxonomy of Ateles, particularly Ateles paniscus paniscus and Ateles paniscus chamek. International Journal of Primatology 14(6): 895–903.

Van Roosmalen, M. G. M. 1985. Habitat preferences, diet, feeding strategy and social organization of the black spider monkey (Ateles paniscus paniscus Linnaeus 1758) in Surinam. Acta Amazonica 15(3-4): 1–238.

Van Roosmalen, M. G. M. 2003. New species from Amazonia. Available at:

Van Roosmalen, M. G. M. and Klein, L. L. 1988. The spider monkeys, genus Ateles. In: R. A. Mittermeier, A. B. Rylands, A. F. Coimbra-Filho and G. A. B. da Fonseca (eds), The Ecology and Behavior of Neotropical Primates, Vol. 2, pp. 455–537. World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC, USA.

Citation: Mittermeier, R.A., Boubli, J.-P. & Di Fiore, A. 2008. Ateles marginatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T2282A9390334. . Downloaded on 18 January 2017.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided