Cotton Top Tamarin
Where do they live?
- Cotton top tamarins are New World monkeys that are only found in one place of the world--the tropical rainforests of northwest Colombia, South America.
What do they look like?
What Does It Mean?
The genders of individuals of the species can be determined by differences in appearance between males and females.
What do they eat?
- Cotton top tamarins primarily eat fruit when it is in season. When there is less fruit to forage, they eat insects, leaves, or tree gum, and they have been known to eat bird eggs or other smaller vertebrates.
What is their social life like?
Mothers usually give birth to twins, which is very unusual for primates.
Cotton top tamarins use a wide variety of vocalizations to communicate. These vocalizations can be used to talk to others in their group,or to warn other tamarin groups where they are, and to scare off predators.
Conservation status and Threats:
- Cotton top tamarins are one of the most endangered primates in the world. They are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Cotton top tamarins are the most endangered primates in South America.
- The greatest threat to their survival is deforestation. Development of roads, buildings, and agriculture are impacting the Colombian rainforest ecosystem and destroying tamarin home ranges.
- In addition, cotton top tamarins are hunted, captured, and sold in the illegal pet trade. There are a number of efforts to end this practice and keep cotton top tamarins in the wild.
- Adding to the threats, some local communities may not be aware that cotton top tamarins are critically endangered. Conservation efforts are underway to educate the local communities on the problems that these monkeys are facing.
Video courtesy of ARKive.org
Written by Heidi Giancola, February 2016