Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 33
  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: May 2010

4 - Diets of wild spider monkeys

    • By Anthony Di Fiore, Center for the Study of Human Origins, Department of Anthropology, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA, Andres Link, Center for the Study of Human Origins, Department of Anthropology, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA, J. Lawrence Dew, Department of Biological Sciences, 2000 Lakeshore Drive, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70148, USA
  • Edited by Christina J. Campbell, California State University, Northridge
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511721915.004
  • pp 81-137

Summary

Introduction

The first comprehensive field study of wild spider monkeys was undertaken in Panama in the early 1930s by C. R. Carpenter. In discussing the diet of Ateles geoffroyi, Carpenter (1935) wrote, “Red spider monkeys have been classed correctly as frugivorous. It is estimated that about 90 percent of their food consists of fruit or nuts” (p. 174). Since that time, field studies of wild Ateles have consistently confirmed Carpenter's early assessment of the highly frugivorous diet of spider monkeys, to the point where they are now treated as a classic example of a frugivorous primate and are often considered to be “ripe fruit specialists” (Cant, 1977; Klein and Klein, 1977; van Roosmalen, 1985; van Roosmalen and Klein, 1988; Cant, 1990; Dew, 2005; Wallace, 2005; Di Fiore and Campbell, 2007). In this chapter, we first review what is known of the diet of wild Ateles, paying particular attention to data from long-term ecological studies. In doing so, we address the physiological and morphological adaptations for frugivory that spider monkeys have evolved, as well as the connections among diet, food resource distribution and foraging behavior that are relevant to understanding the characteristic “fission–fusion” social organization of Ateles.

From there, we move on to discussing the interesting variation seen in the diets of spider monkeys across tropical forest sites, and we address in more detail the diets of two populations of white-bellied spider monkeys (Ateles belzebuth belzebuth) which we and our colleagues and collaborators have studied over multiple years in Colombia and Ecuador.

References
Ahumada, J. A. (1989). Behavior and social structure of free ranging spider monkeys (Ateles belzebuth) in La Macarena. Field Studies of New World Monkeys, La Macarena, Colombia, 2, 7–31.
Campbell, C. J. (2000). The reproductive biology of black-handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi): integrating behavior and endocrinology. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Berkeley.
Campbell, C. J., Aureli, F., Chapman, C. A.et al. (2005). Terrestrial behavior of Ateles spp. Int. J. Primatol., 26, 1039–1051.
Cant, J. G. H. (1977). Ecology, locomotion, and social organization of spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi). Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Davis.
Cant, J. G. H. (1990). Feeding ecology of spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) at Tikal, Guatemala. Hum. Evol., 5, 269–281.
Cant, J. G. H., Youlatos, D. and Rose, M. D. (2003). Suspensory locomotion of Lagothrix lagothricha and Ateles belzebuth in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador. J. Hum. Evol., 44, 685–699.
Carpenter, C. R. (1935). Behavior of red spider monkeys in Panama. J. Mammal., 16, 171–180.
Castellanos, H. G. (1995). Feeding behavior of Ateles belzebuth E. Geoffroy 1806 (Cebidae: Atelinae) in Tawadu Forest Southern Venezuela. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Exeter, UK.
Castellanos, H. G. (1997). Ecología del comportamiento alimentario del marimona (Ateles belzebuth belzebuth Geoffroy, 1806) en el Río Tawadu, Reserva Forestal “El Caura”. Scientia Guiainæ, 7, 309–341.
Castellanos, H. G. and Chanin, P. (1996). Seasonal differences in food choice and patch preference of long-haired spider monkeys (Ateles belzebuth). In Adaptive Radiations of Neotropical Primates, ed. Norconk, M. A., Rosenberger, A. L. and Garber, P. A., New York: Plenum Press, pp. 451–466.
Chapman, C. (1987). Flexibility in diets of three species of Costa Rican primates. Folia Primatol., 49, 90–105.
Chapman, C. A. (1989). Primate seed dispersal: the fate of dispersed seeds. Biotropica, 21, 148–154.
Chapman, C. A. (1990). Association patterns of spider monkeys: the influence of ecology and sex on social organization. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 26, 409–414.
Chapman, C. A. and Chapman, L. J. (1991). The foraging itinerary of spider monkeys: when to eat leaves?Folia Primatol., 56, 162–166.
Chapman, C. A., Wrangham, R. W. and Chapman, L. J. (1995). Ecological constraints on group size: an analysis of spider monkey and chimpanzee subgroups. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 36, 59–70.
Defler, T. R. (1996). Aspects of the ranging pattern in a group of wild woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagothricha). Am. J. Primatol., 38, 289–302.
Dew, J. L. (2001). Synecology and seed dispersal in woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha peoppigii) and spider monkeys (Ateles belzebuth belzebuth) in Parque Nacional Yasuní, Ecuador. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Davis.
Dew, J. L. (2005). Foraging, food choice, and food processing by sympatric ripe-fruit specialists: Lagothrix lagotricha poeppigii and Ateles belzebuth belzebuth. Int. J. Primatol., 26, 1107–1135.
Dew, J. L. and Wright, P. (1998). Frugivory and seed dispersal by four species of primates in Madagascar's eastern rain forest. Biotropica, 425–437.
Di Fiore, A. (1997). Ecology and behavior of lowland woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha poeppigii, Atelinae) in Eastern Ecuador. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Davis.
Fiore, Di A. (2003). Ranging behavior and foraging ecology of lowland woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha poeppigii) in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador. Am. J. Primatol., 59, 47–66.
Fiore, Di A. (2004). Diet and feeding ecology of woolly monkeys in a western Amazonian rainforest. Int. J. Primatol., 24, 767–801.
Di Fiore, A. and Campbell, C. J. (2007). The atelines: variation in ecology, behavior, and social organization. In Primates in Perspective, ed. Campbell, C. J., Fuentes, A., MacKinnon, K. C., Panger, M. and Beader, S. K., New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 155–185.
Erikson, G. E. (1963). Brachiation in New World monkeys and in anthropoid apes. Symp. Zool. Soc. Lond., 10, 135–164.
Hill, W. C. O. (1962). Primates: Comparative Taxonomy and Anatomy. Vol. V: Cebidae B.Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Publications.
Iwanaga, S. and Ferrari, S. F. (2001). Party size and diet of syntopic atelids (Ateles chamek and Lagothrix cana) in southwestern Brazilian Amazonia. Folia Primatol., 72, 217–227.
Izawa, K. (1993). Soil-eating by Alouatta and Ateles. Int. J. Primatol., 14, 229–242.
Klein, L. L. (1972). The ecology and social behavior of the spider monkey, Ateles belzebuth. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Berkeley.
Klein, L. L. and Klein, D. J. (1977). Feeding behavior of the Colombian spider monkey, Ateles belzebuth. In Primate Ecology: Studies of Feeding and Ranging Behaviour in Lemurs, Monkeys, and Apes, ed. Clutton-Brock, T. H., London: Academic Press, pp. 153–181.
Krishnamani, R. and Mahaney, W. C. (2000). Geophagy among primates: adaptive significance and ecological consequences. Anim. Behav., 59, 899–915.
Lambert, J. E. (1998). Primate digestion: interactions among anatomy, physiology and feeding ecology. Evol. Anthropol., 7, 8–20.
Link, A. (2003). Insect-eating by spider monkeys. Neotrop. Primates, 11, 104–107.
Link, A. and Luna, A. G. (2004). The importance of Oenocarpus bataua (Arecaceae) in the diet of spider monkeys at Tinigua National Park, Colombia. Folia Primatol., 75(S1), 391.
Link, A., Fiore, Di A. and Spehar, S. N. (2006). Predation risk affects subgroup size in spider monkeys (Ateles belzebuth) at Yasuní National Park, Ecuador. Folia Primatol., 77, 318.
Link, A. and Fiore, Di A. (2006). Seed dispersal by spider monkeys and its importance in the maintenance of neotropical rain-forest diversity. J. Trop. Ecol., 22, 335–346.
Link, A. and Stevenson, P. R. (2004). Fruit dispersal syndromes in animal disseminated plants at Tinigua National Park, Colombia. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural, 77, 319–334.
Machado, G. and Pizo, M. A. (2000). The use of fruits by the neotropical harvestman Neosadocus variabilis (Opiliones, Laniatores, Gonyleptidae). J. Arachnol., 28, 357–360.
Milton, K. (1981). Food choice and digestive strategies of two sympatric primate species. Am. Nat., 117, 496–505.
Milton, K. (1984). The role of food-processing factors in primate food choice. In Adaptations for Foraging in Non-Human Primates, ed. Rodman, P. S. and Cant, J. G. H., New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 249–274.
Nunes, A. (1995). Foraging and ranging patterns of white-bellied spider monkeys. Folia Primatol., 65, 85–99.
Nunes, A. (1998). Diet and feeding ecology of Ateles belzebuth belzebuth at Maracá Ecological Station, Roraima, Brazil. Folia Primatol., 69, 61–76.
Pacheco, L. F. and Simonetti, J. A. (2000). Genetic structure of a mimosoid tree deprived of its seed disperser, the spider monkey. Conserv. Biol., 14, 1766–1775.
Peres, C. A. (1989). Costs and benefits of territory defense in wild golden lion tamarins, Leontopithecus rosalia. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 25, 227–233.
Rivera, Pozo W. E. (2004). Agrupación y dieta de Ateles belzebuth belzebuth en el Parque Nacional Yasuní, Ecuador. Anuar Investigación Científica, 2, 77–102.
Ramos-Fernández, G. and Ayala-Orozco, B. (2003). Population size and habitat use of spider monkeys at Punta Laguna, Mexico. In Primates in Fragments: Ecology and Conservation, ed. Marsh, L. K., New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, pp. 191–209.
Riba-Hernández, P., Stoner, K. E. and Lucas, P. W. (2003). The sugar composition of fruits in the diet of spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) in tropical humid forest in Costa Rica. J. Trop. Ecol., 19, 709–716.
Russo, S. E. (2003). Linking spatial patterns of seed dispersal and plant recruitment in a neotropical tree, Virola calophylla (Myristicaceae). Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Russo, S. E. and Augspurger, C. K. (2004). Aggregated seed dispersal by spider monkeys limits recruitment to clumped patterns in Virola calophylla. Ecol. Lett., 7, 1058–1067.
Russo, S. E., Campbell, C. J., Dew, J. L., Stevenson, P. R. and Suarez, S. A. (2005). A multi-forest comparison of dietary preferences and seed dispersal by Ateles spp. Int. J. Primatol., 26, 1017–1037.
Shimooka, Y. (2003). Seasonal variation in association patterns of wild spider monkeys (Ateles belzebuth belzebuth) at La Macarena, Colombia. Primates, 44, 83–90.
Shimooka, Y. (2005). Sexual differences in ranging of Ateles belzebuth belzebuth at La Macarena, Colombia. Int. J. Primatol., 26, 385–406.
Simmen, B. and Sabatier, D. (1996). Diets of some French Guianan primates: food composition and food choices. Int. J. Primatol., 17, 661–693.
Stevenson, P. R. (2002). Frugivory and seed dispersal by woolly monkeys at Tinigua National Park, Colombia. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, State University of New York, Stony Brook.
Stevenson, P. R., Castellanos, M. C., Pizarro, J. C. and Garavito, M. (2002). Effects of seed dispersal by three ateline monkey species on seed germination at Tinigua National Park, Colombia. Int. J. Primatol., 23, 1187–1204.
Stevenson, P. R., Link, A. and Ramírez, B. H. (2005). Frugivory and seed fate in Bursera inversa (Burseraceae) at Tinigua Park, Colombia: implications for primate conservation. Biotropica, 37, 431–438.
Stevenson, P. R., Quiñones, M. J. and Ahumada, J. A. (2000). Influence of fruit availability on ecological overlap among four neotropical primates at Tinigua National Park, Colombia. Biotropica, 32, 533–544.
Suarez, S. A. (2003). Spatio-temporal foraging skills of white-bellied spider monkeys (Ateles belzebuth belzebuth) in the Yasuní National Park, Ecuador. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, State University of New York, Stony Brook.
Suarez, S. A. (2006). Diet and travel costs for spider monkeys in a nonseasonal, hyperdiverse environment. Int. J. Primatol., 27, 411–436.
Symington, M. M. (1987). Ecological and social correlates of party size in the black spider monkey, Ateles paniscus chamek. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ.
Symington, M. M. (1988a). Demography, ranging patterns, and activity budgets of black spider monkeys (Ateles paniscus chamek) in the Manu National Park, Peru. Am. J. Primatol., 15, 45–67.
Symington, M. M. (1988b). Food competition and foraging party size in the black spider monkey (Ateles paniscus chamek). Behaviour, 105, 117–132.
Symington, M. M. (1990). Fission-fusion social organization in Ateles and Pan. Int. J. Primatol., 11, 47–61.
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, 1–238.
van Roosmalen, M. G. M. and Klein, L. L. (1988). The spider monkeys, genus Ateles. In Ecology and Behavior of Neotropical Primates, ed. Mittermeier, R. A., Rylands, A. B., Coimbra-Filho, A. F. and Fonseca, G. A. B. da, Washington, DC: World Wildlife Fund, pp. 455–537.
Wallace, R. B. (2005). Seasonal variations in diet and foraging behavior of Ateles chamek in a southern Amazonian tropical forest. Int. J. Primatol., 26, 1053–1075.
White, F. (1986). Census and preliminary observations on the ecology of the black-faced black spider monkey (Ateles paniscus chamek) in Manu National Park, Peru. Am. J. Primatol., 11, 125–132.
Wrangham, R. W. (1980). An ecological model of female-bonded primate groups. Behaviour, 75, 262–300.
Wrangham, R. W. (1987). Evolution of social structure. In Primate Societies, ed. Smuts, B. B., Cheney, D. L., Seyfarth, R. M., Wrangham, R. W. and Struhsaker, T. T., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 282–296.
Zhang, S.-Y. and Wang, L.-X. (1995). Consumption and seed dispersal of Ziziphus cinnamomum (Rhamnaceae) by two sympatric primates (Cebus apella and Ateles paniscus) in French Guiana. Biotropica, 27, 397–401.