This adaptation to their strictly arboreal lifestyle serves as a fifth hand. Unlike many monkeys, they do not use their arms for balance when walking, instead relying on their tails. The hands are long, narrow and hook-like, and have reduced or non-existent thumbs. Heads are small with hairless faces. The nostrils are very far apart, which is a distinguishing feature of spider monkeys. They have been seen in the wild jumping from tree to tree.
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Glossary Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends.
Synapomorphy of the Bilateria. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a now extinct synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds. Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons or periodic condition changes. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
References Bourne, , Geoffrey H. Primate Odyssey. New York: G. Flannery, S. Fleagle, J. Primate Adaptations and Evolution.
San Diego: Academic Press. Hershkovitz, P. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Kinzey, W. Warren G. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. MacDonald, D. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. London: Andromeda Oxford Limited. Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia, Napier, J. The Natural History of the Primates.
Preston-Mafhan, R. Primates of the World. New York: Facts on File, Inc.. Primate Gallery, Rowe, N. The Pictorial Guide to Living Primates. New York: Pogonias Press. Sleeper, B. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
Black-headed spider monkey
Ateles fusciceps Gray, 1866