Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Observations: Little is known about the longevity of these animals. It has been reported that they live up to 30 years (Lindenfors 2002), which is possible but unconfirmed. One 14.5 year old specimen was still alive in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Behavior

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Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Bladh, A. 2003. "Brachyteles arachnoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Brachyteles_arachnoides.html
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Conservation Status

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Muriqui populations are estimated to have been in the hundreds of thousands prior to the European colonization of South America. Populations of these primates are thought to have been spread throughout the continent. Today, there are fewer than 500 individuals known to persist in the scattered fragmented forests of coastal Brazil. The species is listed on the IUCN Red List of threatened species and has been considered critically endangered since the year 2000. CITES lists these animals as Appendix I, the most endangered status they have. Muriquis are also listed as endanged by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Efforts are being made to study this species in the attempt to develop a management plan. Without a management plan, extinction is imminent.

(Strier, 1992; Massicot, 2001)

US Federal List: endangered

CITES: appendix i

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: endangered

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Benefits

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Muriquis are not abundant enough to have negative economic impacts, though they are primates and are succeptable to many of the same diseases humans are. Being an endangered species in a degraded situation, disease is more likely to spread.

(Strier, 1992)

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Benefits

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Since the early 1990’s, muriquis have been targeted by eco-tourists. The popularity of South America's largest primate, particularly on the Fazenda Montes Claros Plantation, has been increasing throughout the years. Tourists bring in dollars for both the local people and the government.

This species has also been hunted by indigenous people. Its meat is considered a delicacy.

(Strier, 1992)

Positive Impacts: food ; ecotourism

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Associations

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Muriquis serve an important ecosystem role in dispersing seeds throughout the forest. One study showed that seeds collected from muriqui feces and then planted almost always germinated. In some cases, the seeds germinated faster than those that never passed through a muriqui digestive system.

B. arachnoides may also have some impact on predator populations, but because of its own low population size, it is unlikely that any predators rely very heavily on this species as a food source.

(Strier, 1992)

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds

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Bladh, A. 2003. "Brachyteles arachnoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Brachyteles_arachnoides.html
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Trophic Strategy

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Muriquis eat mostly fruit, leaves, flowers, and a few species of seeds. Fruit seems to be the choicest item in their diet. Due to their large size and the large number of individuals in their social groups, they can easily locate a fruit source and chase off other monkeys that are already exploiting it. Once they find a good foraging area, muriquis will often camp out, waiting for days eating leaves until the fruit is ripened.

Foods eaten include: ripened fruit, leaves, flowers, seeds of Sapucainha, seeds of Amexia-bicha, seeds of Inga, seeds of Bicuiba and seeds of Jatoba.

(Strier, 1992)

Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; flowers

Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore , Frugivore )

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Distribution

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Woolly spider monkeys, or muriquis, are found scattered throughout the southeast of Brazil, ranging from Bahia in the north to Sao Palo in the south. They make their home in the lonely remnants of their coastal Atlantic forest habitat. (Massicot, 2001; Strier, 1992; Moynihan, 1976)

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

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Habitat

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The preferred habitat of Brachyteles arachnoides is the mature evergreen and deciduous lowlands of the costal Atlantic forests in Brazil. B. arachnoides is arboreal and spends most of its time in the canopy. However, muriquis are quite resilient despite their endangered status. Troops will utilized both primary and secondary growth in pristine as well as disturbed areas. Although they are highly arboreal, they will cross open ground when there are gaps within the canopy. (Strier, 1992; Massicot, 2001)

Habitat Regions: tropical

Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest

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Bladh, A. 2003. "Brachyteles arachnoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Brachyteles_arachnoides.html
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Life Expectancy

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The average life expectancy of this species is unknown.

(Strier, 1992; Moynihan,1976)

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Bladh, A. 2003. "Brachyteles arachnoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Brachyteles_arachnoides.html
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Morphology

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The muriqui is the largest South American primate, with males weighing about 15 kg, and females about 12 kg. The head and body length has been reported as 780 mm, and the tail is about the same length. When they are seen hanging by their arms, they measure about 1.5 meters tall.

Muriquis have very long prehensile tails, which aid them in their arboreal existence. Because of the swinging nature of their movements, their thumbs have become reduced in size and are considered vestigial. Both sexes have prominent pot bellies. The coat is grayish-golden except for the face, which looks as if its been covered with soot, and the area surrounding the genitals, which tends to be much redder in color than the rest of the body. The genitals in this species are fairly conspicuous. The male has a large os penis, and the female clitoris is very long and tipped with reddish hair.

(Napier and Napier, 1985; Strier, 1992; Massicot, 2001; Monihan, 1976)

Average mass: 12-15 kg.

Average length: 780 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: male larger

Average mass: 11170 g.

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Bladh, A. 2003. "Brachyteles arachnoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Brachyteles_arachnoides.html
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Associations

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The major predation threat to muriquis is from indigenous humans. These monkeys have been hunted for food because their meat is considered a delicacy in the areas where they are found. Although some troops of muriqui may be an important food source for large predators such as jaguars, ocelots, and harpy eagles, there are not many confirmed cases of this type of predation. One troop that was observed for a decade lost only five members in that time, and only two of those five disappeared mysteriously.

(Strier, 1992)

Known Predators:

  • humans (Homo sapiens)
  • jaguars (Panthera onca)
  • Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis)
  • harpy eagles (Harpia harpyja)
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Bladh, A. 2003. "Brachyteles arachnoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Brachyteles_arachnoides.html
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Reproduction

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There does not appear to be much competition between males for mating oportunities. Often, males will wait in line for their chance to mate with a receptive female. Both males and females have multiple mating partners. Females are able to exert more choice in mates than in many primate species, because of the minimal sexual dimorphism in this species. Females also exert some mate choice when they decide what group of males to join when they disperse from their natal group at adolescence.

(Strier, 1992; Massicot, 2001)

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

The age of sexual maturity has been recorded as approximately 11 years for a female and 5.5 years for a male. Their courtship is extremely passive. There is very little agression between males, and they seem extremely tolerant of each other. The males sometimes wait in line for their opportunity to mate with a receptive female.

When it comes to choosing a mate, females are very much in charge, which is unusual for primates. Since both sexes are approximately the same size, the males cannot bully the females into giving in. After mating, gestation lasts 7-8.5 months, when the female gives birth to a single young in the dry season (May though September). A baby muriqui is born 7-8 ½ months after it is conceived.

(Strier, 1992; Massicot, 2001)

Breeding season: Most births occur during the dry season, from May to September.

Average number of offspring: 1.

Range gestation period: 7 to 8.5 months.

Range weaning age: 18 to 30 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 6 to 11 years.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 6 to 11 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous

Average number of offspring: 1.

Parental care is prinicpally the business of females. Young are quite helpless when born, although able to cling to their mother's fur. For the first few weeks of life, the infant clings to its mother's side, under her arm and near the nipple. By 6 months of age, the baby rides "jockey style" on its mother's back as she goes off to forage. After 6 months, an infant muriqui will begin to assert some independence, exploring the surrounding world but never leaving its Mom’s side by more than a few feet.

After the toddler has reached a year, it will wander off for longer periods and interact with other toddlers. At times its mother will leave it while she goes to forage. The mother will call her baby back when she is done. By this time the toddler is starting to eat some on its own. This idyllic existence between mother and baby ends abruptly when weaning occurs and the mother chases off her child. Weaning time varies, from 18 to 30 months of age, averaging 24 months. Often weaning involves pecking and nipping by the mother, with loud cries from the confused baby, who may go on screaming for 15 minutes or more. The baby will often find comfort with other confused weanlings who are going through a similar experience.

In adolescence (4-6 years) the youngsters will start to move their own separate ways. The young males will attempt to make stronger bonds with the other males in the group and the young females will begin to distance themselves as they prepare to leave and join another troop.

The male role in parental care in this species has not been reported.

(Strier, 1992; Massicot, 2001)

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Female); post-independence association with parents; extended period of juvenile learning

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Biology

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Muriquis are arboreal and active during the day (7). They live in multimale-multifemale groups that may number between 5 and 25 individuals (5). Groups are not territorial; there is little aggression between members and related males often cooperate with each other (5). There is no evidence of social grooming between group members but embracing is thought to help maintain bonds (5). Females tend to give birth to a single offspring in the dry season that runs between May and September (7). Males remain with their natal group but once they have reached adolescence at 5 – 7 years old, female offspring will disperse to join other groups (7). Young leaves and fruits constitute a large component of the muriqui diet; individuals often feed by hanging from the branches of a tree with their prehensile tail (5). Fruits and seeds are also eaten during the more abundant rainy season (7).
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Conservation

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The muriqui has been a flagship species for the conservation of Brazil's fragile Atlantic Forest Region (8). Conservation efforts are still imperative and “Programme Muriqui” will continue to undertake research on populations within the Serra dos Organos National Park; the possibility of reintroductions is being investigated and an ongoing education programme has been established (9).
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Description

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The muriqui, or woolly spider monkey, is the largest New World primate, and in the late 1980s was recognised as two distinct species: the southern (Brachyteles arachnoides) and northern muriqui (B. hypoxanthus) respectively (4). One of the differences between these species is the presence of a small thumb in the northern variety (2), which is lacking in the southern species. Muriquis have long limbs and a long prehensile tail, allowing them to be particularly agile amongst the trees (5). The thick coat is greyish-brown in colour; males may have a more yellow tinge (6) and they have particularly large testicles, which may be related to sperm competition (5).
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Habitat

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Inhabit primary and secondary Atlantic coastal forest that comprises Brazil's Atlantic Forest Region (4), and found at altitudes from sea level to 1,000 metres (6).
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Range

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Found in south-eastern Brazil, in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo (2).
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Status

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Classified as Endangered (EN C2a(i)) on the IUCN Red List 2003 (1), and listed on Appendix I of CITES (3).
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Threats

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The muriqui was once widespread in the Atlantic Forest Region, but today the southern species is thought to number just under 1,000 individuals (4). This region of Brazil has been devastated by habitat destruction as it is the most populated and industrious region of the country (4). Vast tracts of forest have been lost. In addition, these large primates were an important food source for people in the region and have been widely hunted (4).
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Southern muriqui

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The southern muriqui (Brachyteles arachnoides) is a muriqui (woolly spider monkey) 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".[3][4]

Muriquis are the largest New World monkeys and largest non-human native primates in the Americas. Male muriquis have a head-body length of 55–78 cm (21.5–30.5 in), with a tail of 74–80 cm (29–31.5 in) and a body weight of 9.6–15 kg (21–33 lb). Females have a head-body length of 46–63 cm (18–25 in), a tail length of 65–74 cm (25.5–29 in) and a body weight of 8–11 kg (18–24 lb).[5][6] The tails are fully prehensile.

The southern muriqui, B. arachnoides, has a solid black face, distinguishing it from the northern species, B. hypoxanthus, which has a black face mottled with pink.[7]

Southern muriqui are frugivores, which means that fruit is the preferred food type. They have been claimed to possess the most diverse fruit diet in the Atlantic, and also consume leaves and flowers.[8]

This species is considered endangered because of habitat destruction, hunting pressures, and historic population declines. Only two captive populations of the southern muriqui exist. They are housed at the zoos of Curitiba and Sorocaba. The latter is located 80 km from the only long-term investigation of the southern muriqui in continuous forest, the Carlos Botelho State Park. The wild population was estimated at 1,300 in 2005.[9]

Like chimpanzees, male southern muriquis are philopatric, while females immigrate to spread genetic diversity and avoid incestuous breeding with their relatives. They preferentially eat fruit, flowers, and buds and rely on tree bark and leaves as fallback food.

Males within a community are tolerant of each other and intergroup aggression is rare.[10] Although this species is nicknamed the "hippie monkey", due to their relaxed intergroup relationships, their attitude towards outsider males is far from harmonious, as group of males was observed killing a male from outside their group(a trait shared with chimpanzees), though it is not known if this degree of aggression is natural or induced due to a lack of recourses. It is also unclear if northern muriquis also exhibit this degree of aggression.[11]

References

  1. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). "Order Primates". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Talebi, M.; Melo, F.; Rylands, A.B.; Ferraz, D. da S.; Ingberman, B.; Mittermeier, R.A.; Martins, M.; Jerusalinsky, L. (2019). "Brachyteles arachnoides". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019: e.T2993A17927228. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  3. ^ APA – Serra do Mar Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine. ambiente.sp.gov.br
  4. ^ Parque Estadual da Ilha do Cardoso: modelo de Gestão Ambiental Archived 2011-01-07 at the Wayback Machine. ambiente.sp.gov.br
  5. ^ Southern muriqui videos, photos and facts – Brachyteles arachnoides Archived 2009-12-24 at the Wayback Machine. ARKive (2006-02-13). Retrieved on 2012-06-11.
  6. ^ southern muriqui (primate) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Britannica.com. Retrieved on 2012-06-11.
  7. ^ Chaves, Paulo B.; Magnus, Tielli; Jerusalinsky, Leandro; Talebi, Maurício; Strier, Karen B.; Breves, Paula; Tabacow, Fernanda; Teixeira, Rodrigo H. F.; Moreira, Leandro; Hack, Robson O. E.; Milagres, Adriana; Pissinatti, Alcides; Melo, Fabiano R.; Pessutti, Cecília; Mendes, Sérgio L.; Margarido, Tereza C.; Fagundes, Valéria; Di Fiore, Anthony; Bonatto, Sandro L. (December 2019). "Phylogeographic evidence for two species of muriqui (genus Brachyteles )". American Journal of Primatology. 81 (12): e23066. doi:10.1002/ajp.23066. PMID 31736121. S2CID 182008678.
  8. ^ Jordano, P. (2017). Atlantic frugivory: A plant-frugivore interaction data set for the Atlantic Forest. Ecology, 98(6), 1729–1729. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.1818/suppinfo
  9. ^ Melo, F. R. & Dias, L. G. (2005). "Muriqui populations reported in the literature over the last 40 years". Neotropical Primates. 13: 19–24.
  10. ^ Farrows. "Southern Woolly Spider Monkey (Muriqui): Species in World Land Trust reserves". World Land Trust. Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  11. ^ Mccleod, Mairi. "'Hippy' monkey is a killer when starved of sex". New Scientist. Retrieved 2020-12-07.

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Southern muriqui: Brief Summary

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The southern muriqui (Brachyteles arachnoides) is a muriqui (woolly spider monkey) 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 are the largest New World monkeys and largest non-human native primates in the Americas. Male muriquis have a head-body length of 55–78 cm (21.5–30.5 in), with a tail of 74–80 cm (29–31.5 in) and a body weight of 9.6–15 kg (21–33 lb). Females have a head-body length of 46–63 cm (18–25 in), a tail length of 65–74 cm (25.5–29 in) and a body weight of 8–11 kg (18–24 lb). The tails are fully prehensile.

The southern muriqui, B. arachnoides, has a solid black face, distinguishing it from the northern species, B. hypoxanthus, which has a black face mottled with pink.

Southern muriqui are frugivores, which means that fruit is the preferred food type. They have been claimed to possess the most diverse fruit diet in the Atlantic, and also consume leaves and flowers.

This species is considered endangered because of habitat destruction, hunting pressures, and historic population declines. Only two captive populations of the southern muriqui exist. They are housed at the zoos of Curitiba and Sorocaba. The latter is located 80 km from the only long-term investigation of the southern muriqui in continuous forest, the Carlos Botelho State Park. The wild population was estimated at 1,300 in 2005.

Like chimpanzees, male southern muriquis are philopatric, while females immigrate to spread genetic diversity and avoid incestuous breeding with their relatives. They preferentially eat fruit, flowers, and buds and rely on tree bark and leaves as fallback food.

Males within a community are tolerant of each other and intergroup aggression is rare. Although this species is nicknamed the "hippie monkey", due to their relaxed intergroup relationships, their attitude towards outsider males is far from harmonious, as group of males was observed killing a male from outside their group(a trait shared with chimpanzees), though it is not known if this degree of aggression is natural or induced due to a lack of recourses. It is also unclear if northern muriquis also exhibit this degree of aggression.

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