Atelidae is one of the five families
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

  of New World monkey
New World monkey
New World monkeys are the five families of primates that are found in Central and South America: Callitrichidae, Cebidae, Aotidae, Pitheciidae, and Atelidae. The five families are ranked together as the Platyrrhini parvorder and the Ceboidea superfamily, which are essentially synonymous since...

s now recognised. It was formerly included in the family Cebidae
The Cebidae is one of the five families of New World monkeys now recognised. It includes the capuchin monkeys and squirrel monkeys. These species are found throughout tropical and subtropical South and Central America.-Characteristics:...

. Atelids are generally larger monkeys; the family includes the howler
Howler monkey
Howler monkeys are among the largest of the New World monkeys. Fifteen species are currently recognised. Previously classified in the family Cebidae, they are now placed in the family Atelidae. These monkeys are native to South and Central American forests...

, spider
Spider monkey
Spider monkeys of the genus Ateles are New World monkeys in the subfamily Atelinae, family Atelidae. Like other atelines, they are found in tropical forests of Central and South America, from southern Mexico to Brazil...

, woolly
Woolly monkey
The woolly monkeys are the genus Lagothrix of New World monkeys, usually placed in the family Atelidae.There are four species of woolly monkey. All originate from the rainforests of South America...

 and woolly spider monkeys
The muriquis, also known as woolly spider monkeys, are the monkeys of the genus Brachyteles. They are closely related to both the spider monkeys and the woolly monkeys. There are two species, the southern and northern muriqui...

 (the latter being the largest of the New World monkeys). They are found throughout the forested regions of Central
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

 and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

, from Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 to northern Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...



Atelid monkey
A monkey is a primate, either an Old World monkey or a New World monkey. There are about 260 known living species of monkey. Many are arboreal, although there are species that live primarily on the ground, such as baboons. Monkeys are generally considered to be intelligent. Unlike apes, monkeys...

s are small to moderate in size, ranging from 34 to 72 cm in head-body length, with the howler monkeys being the largest, and the spider monkeys the smallest, members of the group. They have long prehensile tail
Prehensile tail
A prehensile tail is the tail of an animal that has adapted to be able to grasp and/or hold objects. Fully prehensile tails can be used to hold and manipulate objects, and in particular to aid arboreal creatures in finding and eating food in the trees...

s with a sensitive, almost hairless tactile pad
Tactile pad
A tactile pad is an area of skin that is particularly sensitive to pressure, temperature, or pain. Tactile pads are characterized by high concentrations of free nerve endings. In primates, the last phalanges in the fingers and toes have tactile pads, allowing very accurate manipulation of objects....

 on the underside of the distal part. The tail is frequently used as 'fifth limb' while moving through the trees where they make their homes. They also have nail
Nail (anatomy)
A nail is a horn-like envelope covering the dorsal aspect of the terminal phalanges of fingers and toes in humans, most non-human primates, and a few other mammals. Nails are similar to claws, which are found on numerous other animals....

s on their fingers and toes, enabling them to climb. Most species have predominantly dark brown, grey, or black fur, often with paler markings.

These are arboreal and diurnal animals, with most species restricted to dense rain forest, although some howler monkey species are found in drier forests, or wooded savannah. They mainly eat fruit and leaves, although the smaller species, in particular, may also eat some small insects. They have the dental formula
Dentition pertains to the development of teeth and their arrangement in the mouth. In particular, the characteristic arrangement, kind, and number of teeth in a given species at a given age...


Females give birth to a single infant (or, rarely, twins) after a gestation
Gestation is the carrying of an embryo or fetus inside a female viviparous animal. Mammals during pregnancy can have one or more gestations at the same time ....

 period of 180 to 225 days. In most species, individuals give birth every one to three years, and there is little, if any, seasonal peak in the number of births.

Atelid monkeys are typically polygamous, and live in social groups with anything up to twenty five adults, depending on species. Where groups are relatively small, as is common amongst the howler monkeys, a single male monopolises a 'harem' of females, but larger groups will contain several males, with a clear hierarchy of dominance.


There are currently 29 recognized species of atelid monkey, grouped into five genera
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

, and two subfamilies.

  • Subfamily Alouattinae
    • Genus Alouatta, howler monkeys
      • Alouatta palliata group
        • Coiba Island Howler
          Coiba Island Howler
          The Coiba Island howler is a species of howler monkey, a type of New World monkey, endemic to Panama. Although the Coiba Island howler is generally recognized as a separate species, mitochondrial DNA testing is inconclusive as to whether it is actually a subspecies of the mantled howler...

          , Alouatta coibensis
        • Mantled Howler
          Mantled Howler
          The mantled howler , or golden-mantled howling monkey, is a species of howler monkey, a type of New World monkey, from Central and South America. It is one of the monkey species most often seen and heard in the wild in Central America...

          , Alouatta palliata
        • Guatemalan Black Howler
          Guatemalan Black Howler
          The Guatemalan black howler, or Yucatan black howler, is a species of howler monkey, a type of New World monkey, from Central America. It is found in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico, in and near the Yucatan Peninsula. It lives in evergreen, semi-deciduous and lowland rain forests...

          , Alouatta pigra
      • Alouatta seniculus group
        • Ursine Howler
          Ursine Howler
          The Ursine howler is a species of howler monkey native to Venezuela, and possibly Colombia. It is sometimes considered a subspecies of the Venezuelan red howler and classified as Alouatta seniculus arctoidea....

          , Alouatta arctoidea
        • Red-handed Howler
          Red-handed Howler
          The red-handed howler is a vulnerable species of howler monkey, a type of New World monkey. It is endemic to Brazil, where found in the south-eastern Amazon and disjunctly in Atlantic Forest between Rio Grande do Norte and Sergipe....

          , Alouatta belzebul
        • Spix's Red-handed Howler
          Spix's Red-handed Howler
          Spix's red-handed howler is a vulnerable species of howler monkey native to the south-eastern Amazon in Brazil. Major threats include deforestation and hunting...

          , Alouatta discolor
        • Brown Howler
          Brown Howler
          The Brown howler , also known as Brown howling monkey, is a species of howler monkey, a type of New World monkey, that lives in forests in south-eastern Brazil and far north-eastern Argentina . It lives in groups of 2 to 11 individuals...

          , Alouatta guariba
        • Juruá Red Howler
          Juruá Red Howler
          The Juruá red howler is a species of howler monkey, native to Peru, Brazil and possibly Colombia....

          , Alouatta juara
        • Guyanan Red Howler
          Guyanan Red Howler
          The Guyanan red howler is a species of howler monkey, a type of New World monkey, native to Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad, French Guiana and Brazil....

          , Alouatta macconnelli
        • Amazon Black Howler
          Amazon Black Howler
          The Amazon black howler is a species of howler monkey, a type of New World monkey, endemic to the south-central Amazon in Brazil. Until 2001, most authorities included it as a subspecies of the red-handed howler, though its distinction had already been pointed out much earlier...

          , Alouatta nigerrima
        • Purus Red Howler
          Purus Red Howler
          The Purus red howler is a species of howler monkey native to Brazil and Peru....

          , Alouatta puruensis
        • Bolivian Red Howler
          Bolivian Red Howler
          The Bolivian red howler is a species of howler monkey, a type of New World monkey, endemic to Bolivia.-External links:* *...

          , Alouatta sara
        • Venezuelan Red Howler
          Venezuelan Red Howler
          The Venezuelan red howler is a South American species of howler monkey, a type of New World monkey. It is found in the western Amazon Basin in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil...

          , Alouatta seniculus
        • Maranhão Red-handed Howler
          Maranhão Red-handed Howler
          The Maranhão red-handed howler is an endangered species of howler monkey that is endemic to forests in the northeast Brazilian states of Ceará, Maranhão and Piauí. It was previously thought to be a subspecies of the Red-handed Howler, but unlike that species the Maranhão Red-handed Howler is...

          , Alouatta ululata
      • Alouatta caraya group
        • Black Howler
          Black Howler
          The Black howler is a species of howler monkey, a large New World monkey, from northeast Argentina, east Bolivia, east and south Brazil and Paraguay. Together with the brown howler, it is the southernmost member of the Alouatta genus. Only the adult male is black; adult females and juveniles of...

          , Alouatta caraya
  • Subfamily Atelinae
    Atelinae is a subfamily of New World monkeys in the family Atelidae, and includes the various spider and woolly monkeys. The primary distinguishing feature of the atelines is their long prehensile tail which can support their entire body weight....

    • Genus Ateles, spider monkeys
      • Red-faced Spider Monkey
        Red-faced Spider Monkey
        The red-faced spider monkey, Guiana spider monkey, or red-faced black spider monkey, Ateles paniscus, is a species of spider monkey found in the rain forests in northern South America....

        , Ateles paniscus
      • White-fronted Spider Monkey
        White-fronted Spider Monkey
        The white-fronted spider monkey , also known as the long-haired or white-bellied spider monkey, is an endangered species of spider monkey, a type of New World monkey. It is found in the north-western Amazon in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and Brazil, ranging as far south as the lower Ucayali...

        , Ateles belzebuth
      • Peruvian Spider Monkey
        Peruvian Spider Monkey
        The Peruvian spider monkey is a species of spider monkey that lives not only in Peru, but also in Brazil and Bolivia. At two feet long, they are relatively large among species of monkey, and their strong, prehensile tails can be up to three feet long. Unlike many species of monkey, they have...

        , Ateles chamek
      • Brown Spider Monkey
        Brown Spider Monkey
        The brown spider monkey or variegated spider monkey is a critically endangered species of spider monkey, a type of New World monkey, from northern Colombia and north-western Venezuela. Its taxonomic history has been confusing, and in the past it has been treated as a subspecies of either the...

        , Ateles hybridus
      • White-cheeked Spider Monkey
        White-cheeked Spider Monkey
        The white-cheeked spider monkey, Ateles marginatus, is a species of spider monkey, a type of New World monkey, endemic to Brazil.There are many different varieties of spider monkeys that make their home in the upper levels of the rain forest...

        , Ateles marginatus
      • Black-headed Spider Monkey
        Black-headed Spider Monkey
        The Black-headed spider monkey, Ateles fusciceps, is a species of spider monkey, a type of New World monkey, from Central and South America. It is found in Colombia, Nicaragua and Panama. Although primatologists such as Colin Groves follow Kellogg and Goldman in treating A...

        , Ateles fusciceps
      • Geoffroy's Spider Monkey
        Geoffroy's Spider Monkey
        Geoffroy's spider monkey, Ateles geoffroyi, also known as black-handed spider monkey, is a species of spider monkey, a type of New World monkey, from Central America, parts of Mexico and possibly a small portion of Colombia. There are at least five subspecies. Some primatologists classify the...

        , Ateles geoffroyi
    • Genus Brachyteles, muriquis (woolly spider monkeys)
      • Southern Muriqui
        Southern Muriqui
        The southern muriqui, Brachyteles arachnoides, is a muriqui species endemic to Brazil. It is found in the Brazilian states of Paraná, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais. This New World monkey is known locally as mono carvoeiro, which translates to charcoal monkey.Muriquis...

        , Brachyteles arachnoides
      • Northern Muriqui
        Northern Muriqui
        The northern muriqui is an endangered muriqui species endemic to Brazil. It is unusual among primates in that shows egaliterian social relationship. It is found in the Atlantic Forest region of the Brazilian states of Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais and Bahia. Muriquis are the...

        , Brachyteles hypoxanthus
    • Genus Lagothrix, woolly monkeys
      • Brown Woolly Monkey
        Brown Woolly Monkey
        The brown woolly monkey or common woolly monkey or Humboldt's Woolly Monkey is a woolly monkey from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. It lives in groups of 2 to 70 individuals, usually splitting the group into smaller subgroups while in activity.Many published sources give the systematic name as L...

        , Lagothrix lagotricha
      • Gray Woolly Monkey
        Gray Woolly Monkey
        The gray woolly monkey, Lagothrix cana, is a woolly monkey species from South America. It is found in Bolivia, Brazil and Peru....

        , Lagothrix cana
      • Colombian Woolly Monkey
        Colombian Woolly Monkey
        The Colombian woolly monkey, Lagothrix lugens, is a critically endangered species of woolly monkey from Colombia and possibly also Venezuela.-References:...

        , Lagothrix lugens
      • Silvery Woolly Monkey
        Silvery Woolly Monkey
        The silvery woolly monkey , also known as Poeppig's woolly monkey, is a woolly monkey species from South America. Named after the German zoologist Eduard Friedrich Poeppig, it is found in Brazil, Ecuador and Peru....

        , Lagothrix poeppigii
    • Genus Oreonax
      • Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey
        Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey
        The yellow-tailed woolly monkey is a New World monkey endemic to Peru. It is a rare primate species found only in the Peruvian Andes, in the departments of Amazonas and San Martin as well as bordering areas of La Libertad, Huanuco and Loreto...

        , Oreonax flavicauda

External links

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