Radiation and speciation of spider monkeys, genus Ateles, from the cytogenetic viewpoint

M. A. Medeiros, R. M.S. Barros, J. C. Pieczarka, C. Y. Nagamachi, M. Ponsa, M. Garcia, F. Garcia, J. Egozcue

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    The chromosomes of 22 animals of four subspecies of the genus Ateles (A. paniscus paniscus, A. p. chamek, A. belzebuth hybridus, and A. b. marginatus) were compared using G/C banding and NOR (nucleolar organizer region) staining methods. The cytogenetic data of Ateles in the literature were also used to clarify the phylogenetic relationships of the species and subspecies and to infer the routes of radiation and speciation of these taxa. Chromosomes 6 and 7 that showed more informative geographic variation and the apomorphic form 4/12, exclusively in A. p. paniscus, are the keys for understanding the evolution, radiation, and specification of the Ateles taxa. The ancestral populations of the genus originated in the southwestern Amazon Basin (the occurrence area of A. paniscus chamek) and spread in the Amazon Basin and westward, crossing the Andes and colonizing Central America and northwesternmost regions of South America. The evolutionary history of the northern South American taxa is interpreted using the model of biogeographical evolution postulated by Haffer [Science 185:131-137, 1969]. Ateles paniscus paniscus is the genetically most differentiated form and probably derives from A. belzebuth hybridus. Based on the karyotype differences, the populations of Ateles can be divided into four different groups. These findings indicate the necessity of a more coherent taxanomic arrangement for the taxa of Ateles.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)167-178
    JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 1997


    • Ateles
    • Cebidae
    • Cytogeneties
    • Primates
    • Spider monkeys


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