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Common marmoset ("Callithrix jacchus") at Tibau do Sul, Rio Grande do Norte
Common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) at Tibau do Sul, Rio Grande do Norte
Scientific classificationEdit this classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Parvorder: Platyrrhini
Family: Callitrichidae
Groups included
Cladistically included but traditionally excluded taxa

The marmosets (/ˈmɑːrməˌzɛts, -ˌsɛts/),[3][4] also known as zaris or sagoin, 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 Goeldi's marmoset, Callimico goeldii, which is closely related.

Most marmosets are about 20 cm (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.[5] Marmosets are native to South America and have been found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Peru.[6] They have also been occasionally spotted in Central America and southern Mexico.[7] They are sometimes kept as pets, though they have specific dietary and habitat needs that require consideration.[8]

According to recent research, marmosets exhibit germline chimerism, which is not known to occur in nature in any primates other than callitrichids.[9] 95% of marmoset fraternal twins trade blood through chorionic fusions, making them hematopoietic chimeras.[10][11]


Callithrix comes from Ancient Greek and means "beautiful fur".

Species list[edit]


Marmosets are highly active, living in the upper canopy of forest trees, and feeding on insects, fruit, leaves, tack, sap, and gum. 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.[citation needed]

Marmosets live in family groups of three to 15, consisting of one or 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. Father marmosets are an exceptionally attentive example of fathers within the animal kingdom, going as far as assisting their mates in giving birth, cleaning up afterbirth, and even biting the umbilical cords attaching their newborn offspring to their mothers. Most groups scent mark and defend the edges of their ranges, but if they are truly territorial is unclear, 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.[7]


  1. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 129–133. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Garber, Paul A.; Estrada, Alejandro; Bicca-Marques, Júlio César; Heymann, Eckhard W.; Strier, Karen B., eds. (2008). "The Diversity of the New World Primates (Platyrrhini): An Annotated Taxonomy". South American Primates: Comparative Perspectives in the Study of Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation: Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects. Springer. pp. 23–54. ISBN 978-0-387-78704-6.
  3. ^ "marmoset". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
  4. ^ "marmoset". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 2021-09-28.
  5. ^ Stafford, S.G. (1999). "Thermoregulatory and Endocrine Adaptations of Small Body Size in Primates". Kent State University Dissertation, QP 135.S73, 1999.
  6. ^ Primate Info Net, Callithrix Factsheet, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
  7. ^ a b "The Primates: New World Monkeys". Archived from the original on 2005-12-11. Retrieved 2005-12-06.
  8. ^ March 2017, Alina Bradford 29 (29 March 2017). "Facts About Marmosets". Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  9. ^ Ross, C.N.; French, J.A.; Ortí, G. (2007). "Germ-line chimerism and paternal care in marmosets (Callithrix kuhlii)". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 104 (15): 6278–82. Bibcode:2007PNAS..104.6278R. doi:10.1073/pnas.0607426104. PMC 1851065. PMID 17389380.
  10. ^ Tachibana, Masahito; Sparman, Michelle; Mitalipov, Shoukhrat (January 2012). "Generation of Chimeric Rhesus Monkeys". Cell. 148 (1–2): 285–95. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2011.12.007. PMC 3264685. PMID 22225614.
  11. ^ Gengozian, N.; Batson, JS; Eide, P. (1964). "Hematologic and Cytogenetic Evidence for Hematopoietic Chimerism in the Marmoset, Tamarinus Nigricollis". Cytogenetics. 10 (6): 384–393. doi:10.1159/000129828. PMID 14267132.

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