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Title: Marmoset  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Elizabeth Gould (psychologist), Bronx Zoo, Animal testing on non-human primates, Primate, Cage (enclosure)
Collection: Callitrichidae
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Common marmoset
(Callithrix jacchus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Callitrichidae

The marmosets are 22 New World monkey species of the genera Callithrix, Cebuella, Callibella, and Mico. All four genera are part of the biological family Callitrichidae. The term marmoset is also used in reference to the Goeldi's marmoset, Callimico goeldii, which is closely related.

Most marmosets are about 20 centimetres (8 in) long. Relative to other monkeys, they show some apparently primitive features: they have claws rather than nails, and tactile hairs on their wrists. They lack wisdom teeth, and their brain layout seems to be relatively primitive. Their body temperature is unusually variable, changing by up to 4 °C (7 °F) in a day.[3] Marmosets are native to South America and have been found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru.[4] They have also been spotted in Central America and Mexico.[5] They are also raised in captivity as pets.

According to recent research, marmosets exhibit germline chimerism, which is not known to occur in nature in any primates other than callitrichids.[6] Ninety-five percent of marmoset fraternal twins trade blood through chorionic fusions, making them hematopoietic chimeras.[7][8]


  • Species list 1
  • Behavior 2
  • Human cultural references 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Species list


Marmosets are highly active, living in the upper canopy of forest trees, and feeding on insects, fruit and leaves. They have long lower incisors, which allow them to chew holes in tree trunks and branches to harvest the gum inside; some species are specialised feeders on gum.

Marmosets live in family groups of three to 15, consisting of one to two breeding females, an unrelated male, their offspring and occasionally extended family members and unrelated individuals. Their mating systems are highly variable and can include monogamy, polygyny, and polyandry. In most species, fraternal twins are usually born, but triplets are not unknown. Like other callitrichines, marmosets are characterized by a high degree of cooperative care of the young and some food sharing and tolerated theft. Adult males, females other than the mother, and older offspring, participate in carrying infants. Most groups scent mark and defend the edges of their ranges, but it is unclear if they are truly territorial, as group home ranges greatly overlap.

The favorite food of marmosets is carbohydrate-rich tree sap, which they reach by gnawing holes in trunks. Their territories are centered on the trees that they regularly exploit in this way. The smaller marmosets venture into the very top of forest canopies to hunt insects that are abundant there.[5]

Human cultural references

Callithrix comes from Ancient Greek and means "beautiful fur". Marmoset, from the French marmouset, is of uncertain etymology.

The monkey is mentioned in Shakespeare's Tempest, when Caliban says he will instruct his new master Stephano "how to snare the nimble marmoset" (for eating), on the no-man island where the play takes place (Act 2, Scene 2).

The American leftist poet Genevieve Taggard compared a human's back and forth pacing to a Marmoset in her poem "Interior".[9]

Sax Rohmer's fictional Dr. Fu Manchu has a pet marmoset, often perched on his shoulder.

On November 2, 1979, Joan Embery from the San Diego Zoo brought a marmoset to The Tonight Show. In one of the most memorable moments in Tonight Show history, the marmoset climbed atop Johnny Carson's head, and urinated on it.[10]


  1. ^  
  2. ^ Rylands AB and Mittermeier RA (2009). "The Diversity of the New World Primates (Platyrrhini)". In Garber PA, Estrada A, Bicca-Marques JC, Heymann EW, Strier KB. South American Primates: Comparative Perspectives in the Study of Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation. Springer. pp. 23–54.  
  3. ^ Stafford, S.G. (1999). "Thermoregulatory and Endocrine Adaptations of Small Body Size in Primates". Kent State University Dissertation, QP 135.S73, 1999.
  4. ^ Primate Info Net, Callithrix Factsheet, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ Ross, C.N., French, J.A., and Ortí, G. (2007). )"Callithrix kuhlii"Germ-line chimerism and paternal care in marmosets (. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104 (15): 6278–82.  
  7. ^ Masahito Tachibana, Michelle Sparman and  
  8. ^ Gengozian, N.; Batson, JS; Eide, P. (1964). "Hematologic and Cytogenetic Evidence for Hematopoietic Chimerism in the Marmoset, Tamarinus Nigricollis". Cytogenetics 10: 384–393. 
  9. ^ Genevieve Taggard, "Interior," published in Proletarian Literature in the United States, International Publishers, 1935.
  10. ^

External links

  • FactsheetsCallithrixPrimate Info Net
  • Common Marmoset Care
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