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Overview: Geoffroy's Tamarin (Saguinus geoffroyi)

Updated: Oct 9, 2021

Geoffroy's Tamarin, is the smallest primate found in Panama, with a weight of a little more than a half kilogram and a body length averaging around 24 cm.  Can be found from Central Panama extending into Colombia. The exact western limit is not clearly defined. These primates live in noisy social groups. The average group size is 5-7 individuals (range 3-9). Generally, only one female per group breeds. The fact that there is usually only one reproductive female per group and that one male tends to most frequently carry the offspring suggests that the tamarin may have a monogamous breeding structure. Home ranges vary from 9.4 hectares to greater than to 32 hectares, depending evidently on seasonal resource distribution and abundance.

Geoffroy's tamarin lives in various types of habitats, including moist seasonal dry forest, secondary forests and scrub. In Panama, it prefers secondary forests with moderate humidity.  The  tamarins' preference for secondary growth has led to speculation that they have lived in a close association with human agricultural activities for centuries. They eat fruits and others plants parts, exudates (gums, saps, latex) and animal prey (including frogs, snails, lizards, spiders and insects). Insects and fruits account for the majority of its diet, but exudates are also important. But since its teeth are not adapted for gouging trees to get to the sap, it can only eat exudates when they are easily available. This species has a relatively restricted range in a region that has undergone extensive deforestation over the last 50 years. However, it remains relatively common within this range, and is able to persist in slightly modified habitats. Nonetheless, there may be localized declines taking place due to ongoing habitat loss.  References: Dawson, G. A. (1976). Behavioral ecology of the Panamanian tamarin, Saguinus oedipus (Callitrichidae, Primates). Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. Dawson, G. A. (1979). The use of time and space by the Panamanian tamarin, Saguinus oedipus. Folia Primatologica, 31, 253-284. Garber, P. A. (1984). Proposed nutritional importance of plant exudates in the diet of the Panamanian tamarin, Saguinus oedipus geoffroyi. International Journal of Primatology, 5, 1-15. Marsh, L.K., Cuarón, A.D. & de Grammont, P.C. 2008. Saguinus geoffroyi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T41522A10488675. Downloaded on 23 July 2018. Moynihan, M. (1970).  Some behavior patterns of Platyrrhine monkeys. II.  Saguinus geoffroyiand some other tamarins. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 28, 1-60. Skinner, C. (1985).  A field study of Geoffroy's tamarin (Saguinus geoffrroyi) in Panama. American Journal of Primatology, 9, 15-25. 

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