The black spider monkey also known as the Guiana or red-faced spider monkey is found in eastern South America in areas north of the Amazon River. They are one of seven species of spider monkeys found in Latin America and one of the largest primate species in South America.
Black spider monkeys have long, glossy black hair covering their entire bodies except for their faces. Their long hair immediately distinguishes them from other species of spider monkeys, but there are other defining characteristics (Newland 1994). Adults have red or pink-skinned faces which are bare except for a very few short white hairs on their muzzles (Konstant et al. 1985; Groves 2001). Infants do not have pinkish faces like adults but rather dark skin on their faces which lightens as they age (Rowe 1996). Spider monkeys are among the largest of the New World monkeys and are long-limbed and somewhat gangly in their appearance especially in contrast to their characteristic pot bellies; the spidery appearance of their long arms, legs, and tails is indicated by the common name (Groves 1989; Sussman 2000).
Black spider monkeys are found in moist tropical evergreen forests and prefer undisturbed primary rainforests (Kinzey 1997). Throughout their range, black spider monkeys are found in high densities in high rainforest- areas which are not affected by seasonal flooding of rivers- and in high mountain savanna forest, as well as occasionally in swamp or marsh forests along creeks, and occasionally in high mountain savanna forest (van Roosmalen & Klein 1988; Kinzey & Norconk 1990; Trolle 2003). These high mountain savanna forests are found on the interior of Surinam and are present because of large, granite rock formations which limit the growth of emergent rainforest trees but which allow for smaller, savanna-like species to grow (Mittermeier & van Roosmalen 1981).