What Is the Niche of the Spider Monkey?
The spider monkey's ecological niche is that it is a large-bodied frugivore, meaning it primarily eats fruit. Spider monkeys' habitats are tropical climates, especially those found in Central and South America. They live in evergreen forests.
Spider monkeys find their food in treetops. Besides eating fruit, they also eat nuts, leaves, bird eggs and spiders. The have also been known to eat flowers, aerial roots, honey, bark, wood and insect larvae. They eat while hanging, climbing or otherwise moving.
Spider monkeys range over large areas to find sufficient food to feed themselves. They participate in a fission-fusion social system, according to the University of Wisconsin's Primate Info Net. This means they have a large community of individuals that associate with each other. However, this larger group separates into smaller sub-groups.
These sub-groups are temporary and led by dominant females. They travel, forage and sleep in these differing sub-groups. The groups can even change frequently throughout the day, though they are always within the range of the large social group.
Sometimes the sub-groups form around a dominant male, a female and her offspring. Spider monkeys typically only give birth to single babies. The main group and sub-groups are thought to be a reaction to seasonal scarcity of food.
When two different troops of spider monkeys come within range of each other, the males react with aggressive posturing. They bark and call to warn the other troop away. However, troops of spider monkeys generally respect each other's boundaries.