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The marmoset has proven themselves the best (amongst primates) at adapting to human change. Their "Least Concern" conservation status is thanks in part to this adaptability.

Description: Marmosets are small, long-tailed monkeys which live in the treetops/canopy of North-east Brazil. Their coats are marbled brown and white, dense and silky. Their scientific name Callithrix is derived from the Ancient Greek meaning ‘beautiful fur’. They have claws rather than fingernails which allows them to scamper up tree trunks and branches with speed and ease.

Diet: Marmosets are omnivorous and eat insects, frogs, lizards, spiders, leaves, flowers and fruit. Their favourite food is carb-dense, mineral-rich tree sap/gum. They use their sharp, short, lower canines to punch holes in tree bark which continuously bleed sap. They maintain these ‘sap taps’ in a primitive kind of harvesting.

In the wild: They live in small groups of 3-15 with a breeding female, unrelated male, offspring and (sometimes) extended family members. Older siblings assist with young by feeding, carrying and educating. The presence of an actively breeding pair suppresses sexual development of the offspring until they leave the group. Fathers are exceptional amongst primates, actively helping to birth their young, biting through the umbilical cord and ensuring the young attach to the mothers.

Did you Know?

Most marmosets have two sets of DNA inside them – theirs and their twin’s. In utero, their embryonic sacs may fuse allowing their sibling’s blood to be exchanged, effectively making them chimeras.

Primate Trail
Other Name/s
White-tufted-ear Marmoset
Scientific Name
Callithrix jacchus
Conservation Status
Least Concern
Body Length
15-25cm (plus a further 25-40cm tail)
144 days (5 months)
Number of Young
Twins (single births are as rare as triplets)
North-east Brazil
Thorn scrub forest and (humid) Atlantic forest
South America
extraMile by Integranet