Geoffroy's Tamarin

Geoffroy's Tamarin, also known as the Panamanian, Red-crested or Rufous-naped Tamarin, is a black and white tamarin with a reddish nape. It is found in Panama and Colombia. Some authors have treated it as a subspecies of the Cottontop Tamarin (Saguinus oedipus) but the most recent research suggests that the two groups differ sufficiently to be considered separate species.


In common with other callitrichides (tamarins and marmosets), Geoffroy's Tamarin is a small monkey, and the smallest Central American monkey. It has a length of between 225 and 240 millimetres (8.9 and 9.4 in), excluding the tail. The tail length is between 314 and 386 millimetres (12.4 and 15.2 in). Males have an average weight of 486 grams (17.1 oz), and females are slightly larger on average, with an average weight of 507 grams (17.9 oz). The fur on its back is variegated black and yellow, with pale legs, feet and chest. Its face is nearly bare, but the head has reddish fur with a triangle-shaped patch in the front of the head. The tail is chestnut-red and has a black tip.


Geoffroy's Tamarin lives in various types of forest, including primary and secondary forest, and dry and moist tropical forest. It occurs in central and eastern Panama, with the range extending slightly west of the Panama Canal zone. It is less common on the Atlantic coast of Panama than the Pacific coast, and is only abundant on the Atlantic coast in areas near the Canal zone that have been modified by man. In Colombia, it occurs on the Pacific coast west of the Andes, south to the Rio San Juan. The eastern boundary of its range in Colombia was once thought to be the Rio Alrato, but has in recent years been reported further east, including the National Natural Park of Las Orquideas. Older sources sometimes report the species occurring in southern Costa Rica, but these reports are now generally believed to be erroneous

In Panama, it can be encountered by hikers in Metropolitan Park, an urban park within Panama City.


Like all callitrichides, it is diurnal and arboreal. Unlike some other New World monkeys, it does come down to the ground occasionally. Group size is generally between three and nine monkeys, with three to five being most common. Groups show some degree of territorial defense. Population densities on Barro Colorado Island in Panama can range between 3.6 and 5.7 monkeys per square kilometer, but in other areas the population density can be as much as 20 to 30 monkeys per square kilometer. On average, Geoffroy's Tamarin ranges 2061 meters per day. Home range size varies between 9.4 hectares and 32 hectares.


Geoffroy's Tamarin has a varied diet that includes fruits, insects, exudates (gums and saps), and green plant parts. The diet varies seasonally. A study by Paul Garber estimated that the diet was made up of 40% insects, 38% fruit, 14% exudates (almost entirely from Anacardium excelsum cashew trees), and 8% other items. Another study, on Barro Colorado Island, showed 60% fruit, 30% insects and 10% green plant parts, including large amounts of Elephant Ear Tree (Enterolobium cyclocarpum) sap. Another study showed a diet about equally split between insects (mostly grasshoppers) and fruit. Unlike marmosets, tamarins do not have dentition adapted for gouging trees, so Geoffroy's Tamarin eats sap only when readily available. In one study, Geoffroy's Tamarin drank water from the corollas of Ochroma limonesis flowers. However, it is believed to also drink from tree holes, similar to other tamarin species.


Geoffroy's Tamarin can give birth throughout the year, but the birthing peak is from April to June. A single infant or twins can be born, although it is not uncommon for one of the twins to perish within the first few months. The gestation period is believed to be about 145 days, similar to the Cottontop Tamarin. The interbirth period ranges between 154 and 540 days, with an average of 311 days. The longer interbirth periods occur after twins. Infants weigh between 40 and 50 grams (1.4 and 1.8 oz) and are born fully furred. The infant's fur is colored differently than the parents'; the infant has black fur on the body and tail, with a beige blaze and white face.

As with other callitrichides, polyandrous and polygynous mating occurs, and males contribute heavily to parental care. Males carry and groom infants more than females do, but females clean the infant more than males do. Older siblings may also contribute to infant care, although infants prefer to be carried by their parents than their siblings. Infants become mobile at 2 to 5 weeks, and begin eating solid food at 4 to 7 weeks. They are independent at 10 to 18 weeks and are fully weaned at 15 to 25 weeks. Sexual maturity is attained at about 2 years, and it can live for up to 13 years.


A number of different vocalizations have been recorded for Geoffroy's Tamarin, including whistles, twitters, trills, loud or soft sharp notes, sneezes and long rasps.


Geoffroy's Tamarin is classified as "Least Concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. However, in some localities the population may be declining due to habitat loss. It is also sometimes hunted and captured for the pet trade in Panama.


Like the other tamarins and marmosets, Geoffroy's Tamarin is a New World monkey classified within the family Callitrichidae. It was previously included in the family Cebidae, which also includes capuchin monkeys and squirrel monkeys. It is a member the genus Saguinus, the genus containing most tamarins. There are no recognized subspecies.



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