, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 108–116

High population density of black-handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) in Costa Rican lowland wet forest

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10329-006-0025-y

Cite this article as:
Weghorst, J.A. Primates (2007) 48: 108. doi:10.1007/s10329-006-0025-y


The main objective of this study was to estimate the population density and demographic structure of spider monkeys living in wet forest in the vicinity of Sirena Biological Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica. Results of a 14-month line-transect survey showed that spider monkeys of Sirena have one of the highest population densities ever recorded for this genus. Density estimates varied, however, depending on the method chosen to estimate transect width. Data from behavioral monitoring were available to compare density estimates derived from the survey, providing a check of the survey’s accuracy. A combination of factors has most probably contributed to the high density of Ateles, including habitat protection within a national park and high diversity of trees of the fig family, Moraceae. Although natural densities of spider monkeys at Sirena are substantially higher than those recorded at most other sites and in previous studies at this site, mean subgroup size and age ratios were similar to those determined in previous studies. Sex ratios were similar to those of other sites with high productivity. Although high densities of preferred fruit trees in the wet, productive forests of Sirena may support a dense population of spider monkeys, other demographic traits recorded at Sirena fall well within the range of values recorded elsewhere for the species.


AtelesNeotropical primatesLine-transect surveyCorcovado National ParkSirena Biological Station

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research CenterThe University of KansasLawrenceUSA