Atelines live on the American continent from southern Mexico through central Brazil and Bolivia. Diurnal and arboreal, they move speedily and acrobaticly through the trees using their prehensile tail. Atelines, along with their cousins the howler monkeys, are the largest of the New World monkeys. They live in groups, show amicable intergroup relations, and can coalesce into large aggregations for extended periods of time.
Atelines are frugivore-folivores, their diet consisting primarily of fruits, seeds and leaves, with Ateles being the most frugivorous, fruits comprising over 80% of their diet. Those species relying most heavily on patchily distributed fruit trees have the largest ranges. These animals are characterized by a slow reproduction rate: females only bear young once every two to four years. Many species are hunted for their meat, and the destruction of their habitat likewise endangers them; the spider monkey already stands at the edge of extermination.
^ abcdefRobinson, John G., & Janson, Charles H. (1987), "Capuchins, Squirrel Monkeys and Atelines: Socioecological Convergence with Old World Primates", in Smuts, B.B., Cheney, D.L., Seyfarth, R.M., Wrangham, R.W., Struhsaker, T.T. (eds), Primate Societies, Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, pp. 69–82., ISBN0-226-76715-9
^Rosenberger, Alfred L. (1987), "Evolution of New World Monkeys", in Steve Jones; Martin, Robert D; Pilbeam, David R. (eds), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 209–216, ISBN0-521-46786-1