Tamarin monkeys: Agile tree creatures

The partly endangered tamarins come from the family Callitrichidae. The primates are mostly spread across the Amazon region in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. You can learn more about them in our blog.


The tamarins (Saguinus) forms a type within the family of Callitrichidae. These comparatively small primates have their range in Southern America, especially in the Amazon region of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. They inhabit tropical rainforests and open forest areas. The diurnal omnivores move around jumping and climbing in the treetops, through their long claws they are optimally adapted to this way of life.

Tamarins usually live in groups of two to eight animals. Their reproduction is characterized by a so-called Polyandrie: a dominant female mates itself with several males, before it gives birth to fraternal twins usually after a 150-day gestation period. The ovulation of the remaining females is suppressed, so that only the dominant female reproduces. The upbringing of the young ones then takes place in the group. Mother and offspring only come together when lactating, all other tasks are taken over by the other group members.


The individual tamarin species differ obviously from each other in their appearance. The golden-mantled tamarin native to Peru, for example, stands out due to its striking bright orange-yellow fur; the emperor tamarin, also found in Peru, does not attract attention with its fur, but has a striking white-grey moustache. It owes its name the German Emperor Wilhelm II since there is a certain resemblance to his moustache.

Like most primate species in South America, the population situation of tamarins is rather critical. Due to habitat loss, many species are either threatened with extinction or at least severely endangered.

Animal welfare in South America: As part of the Natucate internships and primatology field course in Peru, it is possible to work with tamarin monkeys and get to know them better through intense research activities.


Thomas Geissmann: Vergleichende Primatologie. Springer-Verlag, Berlin and others 2003

Our blog