The alpha female in a tamarin group exudes chemicals that stop any other female from breeding.
Description: Cotton-top Tamarins have a distinctive white mane which tapers to a ‘mohawk’ above their head. They have white underbellies and a dark brown back and tail.
Diet: They are omnivores and eat insects, fruit, spiders, sap, blossom, leaves, nectar, birds’ eggs, lizards and small tree frogs.
In the wild: Among tamarins, it is the female who chooses her mate. Cotton-top Tamarins form groups of 3–9 with a dominant pair and their offspring.
Cotton-top Tamarins are hunted by small native cats, birds of prey and large snakes.
Threats: Tamarins are at most risk from the loss of their natural rainforest habitat in South America. Threats to this species include logging for the timber industry, land clearing for agriculture and the illegal pet trade.
Did you know?
Cotton-top Tamarins are among the rarest primates in the world with an estimated 6,000 individuals left in the wild.