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Olfactory sensitivity of spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) for structurally related pyrazines

A spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi)


Olfaction is traditionally thought to be of minor behavioural relevance in primates. Recent studies, however, suggest that primates have a well developed sense of smell. Among other things, it may play an important role in food selection.


  • Determine detection thresholds for food-associated odourants in spider monkeys
  • Assess the impact of molecular structure on olfactory sensitivity


Detection thresholds were determined in four female spider monkeys for six structurally related pyrazines. The equipment used was a food-rewarded two-choice conditioning paradigm.

The equipment used in the study


  • All animals were highly sensitive to the substances tested
  • More complex molecular structure generally resulted in lower threshold values


  • Spider monkeys have a well developed sense of smell and are sensitive to odourants associated with food
  • Olfactory sensitivity is affected by molecular structure

Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/25/08