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Temporal range: Middle Miocene to present
Ateles-fusciceps 54724770b.jpg
Black-headed spider monkey (Ateles fusciceps)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Family: Atelidae
Subfamily: Atelinae
Gray, 1825


The Atelinae are a subfamily of New World monkeys in the family Atelidae, and includes the various spider and woolly monkeys.[2] The primary distinguishing feature of the atelines is their long prehensile tails, which can support their entire body weight.

Atelines live on the American continent from southern Mexico through central Brazil and Bolivia. Diurnal and arboreal, they move speedily and acrobatically through the trees using their tails. Atelines, along with the related howler monkeys, are the largest of the New World monkeys. They live in groups, show amicable intergroup relations, and can coalesce into large aggregations for extended periods of time.[2]

Atelines are frugivore-folivores, their diet consisting primarily of fruits, seeds and leaves,[2][3] with Ateles being the most frugivorous, fruits comprising over 80% of their diet.[2] Those species relying most heavily on patchily distributed fruit trees have the largest ranges.[2] These animals are characterized by a slow reproduction rate: females only bear young once every two to four years. Many species are hunted for their meat, and the destruction of their habitat likewise endangers them;[2] the spider monkey already stands at the edge of extermination.


Extant taxa[edit]

Prehistoric taxa[edit]


  1. ^ Groves, C.P. (2005). Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 150–152. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Robinson, John G.; Janson, Charles H. (1987), "Capuchins, Squirrel Monkeys and Atelines: Socioecological Convergence with Old World Primates", in Smuts, B.B.; Cheney, D.L.; Seyfarth, R.M.; Wrangham, R.W.; Struhsaker, T.T., Primate Societies, Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, pp. 69–82., ISBN 0-226-76715-9 
  3. ^ Rosenberger, Alfred L. (1987), "Evolution of New World Monkeys", in Steve Jones; Martin, Robert D; Pilbeam, David R., The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 209–216, ISBN 0-521-46786-1