Common Marmoset

(Callithrix jacchus)

The Common marmosets are unique primates with a rather unusual appearance and a number of special adaptations. The New World monkeys exhibit a gray overall coloration. Their gray considerably long tails are covered with white and gray stripes. As they age, the animals grow white colored tufts that begin from both sides of their face. The claw-like nails on their feet make these primates excellent clingers and leapers.

The Common marmosets are found in Brazil; more precisely, from the northeastern coast westwards to the Rio Grande as well as in the southern parts of the country. These primates live in a wide variety of forests, including undisturbed primary forests, riverine forests, scrubland, regenerating young forests as well as orchards and gardens.

These primates are highly territorial animals, marking their home ranges by rubbing scent, found in their scrotal glands, onto tree branches. They lead diurnal lifestyle, being active during the daytime hours. These animals use tree holes and cavities as shelters and rely on excellent eyesight, hearing and smell to perceive their environment. They have a rather diverse communication system. Emotions are displayed through movements of the eyelids and ears as well as hairy adornments of the head. As it comes to vocalizations, these primates are known to use “gee-gee-gee” noises and different high-pitched chirps, resembling these emitted by birds. They accompany these calls with various facial expressions. Additionally, they produce a short “uistiti-uistiti” sound, which serves as mating call.

The Common marmosets are predominantly herbivores. The diet of these primates is mainly composed of tree sap, supplemented with various insects, spiders, fruit, flowers and nectar. On occasion, the Common marmosets are also known to consume frogs, small lizards as well as eggs and chicks of some birds.

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