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Emperor Tamarin

Saguinus imperator

Emperortamarin Gallery



About the Emperor Tamarin


Geographic Range:


Class: Mammalia  
Order: Primate 
Family: Callitrichidae
Genus: Saguinus  
Species: imperator 

The emperor tamarin is most easily distinguished by its long mustache. It gathers in family groups (called troops) of two to 10 members. It communicates with chirps, whistles, facial expressions and tongue flicking, all of which help keep the troop together or alert it to danger. These tiny primates are able to hide easily due to their size.

Emperor Tamarin Facts

Emperor tamarins have gray fur speckled with yellow on their back and rust color fur on their underside. They have a silvery colored crown on their heads and a reddish tail. They can be distinguished easily by their long mustache, which helps distinguish troop members. Like most other tamarins, these primates have claws on all but their great toe, which has a nail instead. These claws help tamarins cling to branches.

Length: 8-11 inches, 13-16-inch tail
Weight: 1.5 pounds
Tamarins are able to hide easily due to their small size.

Emperor tamarins are omnivorous, feeding on fruits, insects and nectar. 

After breeding, females undergo a gestation period of five months, then give birth to one or two offspring at a time. Male members of the troop will carry infants, returning them to the mother for feeding every few hours. Infants ride on their parents for six to eight weeks and are then weaned. This family involvement helps increase the infant's survival rate, and teaches other troop members how to raise offspring. The young reach sexual maturity at 16-20 months of age.

These tree dwellers are diurnal (active during the day), gathering in family groups of two to 10 members. In addition to resting (often in tree cavities) and grooming, these primates spend their day traveling to find food and defending their territory. They communicate through chirps and whistles, facial expressions and tongue flicking. Tongue flicking is observed in both aggressive and mating situations. Communications serve to keep the troop together in times of danger.

Median Life Expectancy:
Unknown in the wild

Amazonian tropical forest in southeast Peru, northwest Bolivia and northwest Brazil. 

Role in their Habitat:
Tamarins serve an important role in their ecosystem by dispersing seeds and nuts throughout their territory.