Golden-rumped lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysopygus) at one time inhabited the vast tropical forest in the Central and Western portions of the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Now L. chrysopygus is limited to only two areas. One is the 375 square kilometer Morro do Diabo State Forest Reserve in southwesten Sao Paulo. The other is the Caiteus Reserve, a 23 square kilometer reserve in central Sao Paulo. (Beacham 1998)
Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )
L. chrysopygus is covered almost completely in silky, dense black hair. The only place this differs is in the hind quarters. The thighs, buttocks, and base of the tail are colored a reddish-brown. This is what gives the animal its common name, golden-rumped lion tamarin. The face of L. chrysopygus is not haired, as well as the hands and feet, these are colored dark gray to black. The hind limbs are generally longer than the forelimbs and the tail is not prehensile. All digits have a pointed sickle shaped nail, which is used for gripping trees, except the big toe which has a flat nail. The dental formula is as follows, 2/2 incisors, 1/1 canines, 3/3 premolars, 2/2 molars. Body length in L. chrysopygus is between 20 cm and 33.5 cm, tail length is usually 31.5 to 40 cm, and mass ranges from 300 to 700 g. (Beacham 1998; Nowak 1999; Wolters 1990)
Range mass: 300 to 700 g.
Average mass: 572.5 g.
Range length: 20 to 33.5 cm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Habitat and Ecology
Marmosets and tamarins are distinguished from the other monkeys of the New World by their small size, modified claws rather than nails on all digits except the big toe, the presence of two as opposed to three molar teeth in either side of each jaw, and by the occurrence of twin births. They eat fruits, flowers, nectar, plant exudates (gums) and animal prey (including frogs, snails, lizards, spiders and insects (see Rylands 1993; Kierulff et al. 2002a).
Coimbra-Filho (1970a,b, 1976a; Coimbra-Filho and Mittermeier 1977) studied their bevaviour in the wild, and Rylands (1993) and Kierulff et al. (2002a) provide a comprehensive review of the ecology, diet and behaviour of the lion tamarins. They differ from other callithrichids in having long fingers and hands, which allow them to forage for prey efficiently in nooks and crannies and in epiphytic tank bromeliads. Lion tamarins live in extended family groups of usually 4 to 8 individuals. For L. chyrsopygus, Carvalho and Carvalho (1989) obtained a mean group size of 3.6 (range 2-7, n=9) in the Morro do Diabo State Park. Generally, only one female per group breeds during a particular breeding season. They breed once a year. The groups defend home ranges of 40 to more than 100 ha (the size depending on availability and distribution of foods and second-growth patches). In the Morro do Diabo State Park, they have been found to have ranges exceeding 100 ha (113-199 ha: Valladares-Padua 1993; Valladares-Padua and Cullen Jr. 1994). Passos (1997) recorded a home range for his study group in the Ceatetus State Ecological Station of 277 ha.
French et al. (2002) review the reproductive biology of lion tamarins, Baker et al. (2002) review their mating system and group dynamics (focussing particularly on L. rosalia) and Tardif et al. (2002) aspects of infant care and development.
Adult male 575 g (n=4) (Rosenberger and Coimbra-Filho 1984).
Leontopithecus chrysopygus lives primarily in semideciduous forest of Sao Paulo. But it has also been know to occupy swamp forest and macega, a forest made up of mainly small bush-like trees. In these forests, L. chrysopygus lives approximately 3 to 12 meters above the ground, rarely going to the forest floor, giving it the classification of arboreal.
Range elevation: 0 to 700 m.
Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest
- Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals Of The World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Flannery, S. 2000. "Golden-rumped Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysopygus)" (On-line). Accessed November 14, 2001 at http://www.primate.wisc.edu/pin/factsheets/leontopithecus_chrysopygus.html.
- Massicot, P. 2001. "Animal Info - Golden-rumped Lion Tamarin" (On-line). Accessed November 14, 2001 at http://www.animalinfo.org/species/primate/leonchrp.htm.
Animal Foods: birds; reptiles; eggs; insects
Plant Foods: fruit
Primary Diet: omnivore
Golden-rumped lion tamarins may be important as seed dispersers in the ecosystems in which they live.
The main predators of golden-rumped lion tamarins are small cats, birds of prey, and snakes. They avoid predation by being part of a social organization, so that more individuals are alert to potential dangers and will give warning signals to other members of their troupe. (Wolters 1990)
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Known prey organisms
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Life History and Behavior
Leontopithecus chrysopygus in the wild will live for approximately ten years. In captivity the longest lived golden-rumped lion tamarin lived for 28 years. (Nowak 1999)
Status: wild: 10 years.
Status: captivity: 28 (high) years.
Status: captivity: 17.9 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Most cases have found L. chrysopygus to be monogamous when mating but there has been some polyandy observed in certain populations. In populations where there is more than one adult male per social group the female may mate with several males to confuse the males as to paternity of her young. This causes males to provide assistance in the care of offspring that may be their own.
Mating System: monogamous ; polyandrous
Golden-rumped lion tamarins give birth most frequently to twins, though triplets and quadruplets have been reported. In other species of lion tamarin, gestation lasts from 125 to 132 days. Lion tamarins give birth during the rainy season, usually from September through March.
Breeding season: Breeding occurs from September through March, the wet season..
Range number of offspring: 1 to 4.
Average number of offspring: 2.
Range gestation period: 125 to 132 days.
Range weaning age: 2 to 3 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 16 to 24 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 16 to 24 months.
Both male and female golden-rumped lion tamarins aid in the rearing of offspring. The young are born well-furred and with their eyes open, but are entirely dependent on adults for their care. For the first 2 to 3 weeks newborns stay primarily with the mother. After three weeks the father will carry the young for much of the day, bringing them to their mother every 2 to 3 hours for feeding. The offspring are weaned after 2 to 3 months but usually don't leave the family group until they reach sexual maturity, at 16 to 24 months. (Nowak 1999)
Parental Investment: precocial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Male, Female); post-independence association with parents; extended period of juvenile learning
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2003Critically Endangered(IUCN 2003)
- 2000Critically Endangered
- 1996Critically Endangered
- 1994Endangered(Groombridge 1994)
- 1990Endangered(IUCN 1990)
- 1988Endangered(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
- 1986Endangered(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
- 1982Endangered(Thornback and Jenkins 1982)
L. chrysopygus is listed as one of the world's rarest mammals. It is estimated that only about 700 are still living in both the wild and captivity. (Massicot 2001)
US Federal List: threatened
CITES: appendix i
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: endangered
The species is recorded from Morro do Diabo State Park (34,441 ha, of which 23,800 ha is forest), and Caetetus State Ecological Station (2,178 ha). A new (federal) Ecological Station of 5,500 ha was decreed in July 2002 – Mico-Leão-Preto Ecological Station in São Paulo. It covers three forest fragments containing Black Lion Tamarins.
The isolation and small size of the existing populations is being addressed through metapopulation management, which includes the captive population founded on individuals taken from the Morro do Diabo State Park, in the 1970s and later, in 1983-1985 as part of the rescue operation in the inundation area of the Rosana hydroelectric dam (Rylands et al. 2002a). Current efforts are focussing on the genetic health of these populations (translocation, managed dispersal and re-introduction) (Valladares-Padua et al. 2000; Valladares-Padua, Ballou et al. 2002), environmental education (Pádua and Valladares-Padua 1997; Pádua et al. 2002), the preservation of remaining forest fragments, with and without lion tamarins, and the creation of corridors to link forest patches to establish larger areas of continuous forest (Pádua and Valladares-Padua 1997; Cullen Jr. et al. 2001; Valladares-Padua et al. 2000; Valladares-Padua, Ballou et al. 2002; Valladares-Padua, Padua et al. 2002).
There is a well-managed captive breeding programme, although it has not been as successful as those for Leontopithecus rosalia and L. chrysomelas, probably because of a very reduced founder stock (Ballou et al. 2002). However, it is growing and, despite having few founders, is now also contributing significantly to the metapopulation management programme currently udnerway by Valladares-Padua and his team (Valladares-Padua and Ballou 1996; Valladares-Padua and Martins 1996; Valladares-Padua 1997; Valladares-Padua et al. 2000; Medici 2001; Valladares-Padua, Ballou et al. 2002). The first translocation of a wild L. chrysopygus group was carried out in 1995, and the first experimental re-introduction, was carried out in July 1999 by combining an adult male born in the Jersey Zoo, UK, with two wild females (Valladares-Padua et al. 2000).
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
There are no negative effects of lion tamarins on humans.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
L. chrysopygus is periodically captured and sold in Brazil as pets, though this has a negative impact on this imperiled species. The charismatic quality of lion tamarins makes them excellent candidates for ecotourism activities. (Beacham 1998)
Positive Impacts: pet trade ; ecotourism
Black lion tamarin
The black lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysopygus), also known as the golden-rumped lion tamarin, is a lion tamarin endemic to the Brazilian state of São Paulo, almost exclusively at the Morro do Diabo State Park. Its limited geographical range makes black lion tamarins rarest of the New World monkeys, with little known about it. It was thought to be extinct for 65 years until its rediscovery in 1970.
The black lion tamarin is also the most endangered from its genus, with the total number of individuals estimated to be around 1000. Some experts believe this to be an overestimate, as recent studies have shown that the average area inhabited by the black lion tamarin is closer to 106 hectares (260 acres) than the previously estimated 66 hectares (160 acres). They are usually found in groups of 4 to 9, living in the secondary and primary forests along the circumference of its home range.
On average, the black lion tamarin weighs 590–640 grams (21–23 oz).
The diet of the black lion tamarin is seasonal and varies with the habitats it moves through. When the tamarin is in the dryland forest, it usually eats a variety of fruits, whereas in a swampy environment it predominantly feeds on the gum of various trees. In addition to seasonal variation, the black lion tamarin exhibits daily and monthly cycles of food preferences.
Independent of the environment it occupies, a tamarin spends long periods each day searching for different types of insects and spiders to feed on. On average, 80% of its time foraging is spent searching for insects, such as by foraging the forest floor. The tamarin's foraging locations are very intentional: it spends extended periods of time looking under dry palm leaves, in loose bark, and in tree cavities, with hands that have specialized fingers for prying. The tamarin also positions itself in trees and scans for insects from above, usually four meters above the forest floor.
The black lion tamarin eats the gum and fruit of trees, climbing up to ten meters to reach them and as these are easily found, the tamarin spends 12.8% of its day obtaining them, rather than the 41.2% of the day spent foraging for insects in the high trees.
Black lion tamarins mate and have offspring during the spring, summer, and fall months (August to March in Brazil). Females usually have one litter per year, though 20% females produce two litters per year. The mean litter size is two infants.
Most infants deaths occur within the first two weeks of birth, with newborns of first-time mothers having the lowest survival rates. The number of tamarins that survive to adulthood in the wild is 10% higher than those in captivity.
During the first few months after birth, the infant is unable to obtain food on its own. For this reason, the infant rides on the parent's back and receives food from the parents. It drinks milk in the 4 to 5 weeks after birth; after that, the parents and other group-members share food with the infant. Sharing involves both offers from the parents and begging by the infant. Usually, until the age of approximately 15 weeks, the infant will receive the majority of its food (especially insects) from others. The number of offers from group-members peaks at week 7; after week 15, sharing slowly declines, stopping by week 26.
Within Leontopithecus, the black lion tamarin is the largest in size and has the lowest-pitched calls, using longer notes than other species. The black lion tamarin use calls to defend territory, maintain cohesion within the group, attract a mate, and contact individuals who might be lost. Most calls can be recorded in the morning, and can be attributed to the reunion of mated pairs. These mated pairs are coupled-up throughout the mating season.[clarification needed]
The classification of the black lion tamarin was debated, as one group of taxonomists classified the lion tamarins by their geography, while other taxonomists placed them all into one species and then divided them into subspecies. More recently, taxonomists have agreed to base classification predominantly on their geography, though sometimes characteristics such as long calls are used to classify different species, similar to the use of bird songs in taxonomy. For differentiating within Leontopithecus, the black lion tamarin is categorized as starting its call at the lowest note and going through the greatest range of pitch.
Status and threats
The black lion tamarin is the most endangered species within Leontopithecus, and the IUCN has recorded their population to be declining. The main threat against it is the destruction of its habitat through deforestation, though it is also threatened by being hunted in unprotected forests, such as the Fazenda Rio Claro and the Fazenda Tucano (which have roughly 3.66 and 1.0 individuals per square kilometer respectively).
There have been several attempts to bring black lion tamarins into captivity and to salvage what little habitat they have left within the Morro do Diabo State Park, as well as to increase breeding rates. Their population decline in the wild, however, could cause the black lion tamarins to become entirely endemic to the Morro do Diabo.
- Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 133. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4.
- Rylands, A.B.; Mittermeier, R.A. (2009). "The Diversity of the New World Primates (Platyrrhini)". In Garber, P.A.; Estrada, A.; Bicca-Marques, J.C.; Heymann, E.W.; Strier, K.B. South American Primates: Comparative Perspectives in the Study of Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation. Springer. pp. 23–54. ISBN 978-0-387-78704-6.
- Kierulff, M. C. M., Rylands, A. B., Mendes, S. L. & de Oliveira, M. M. (2008). Leontopithecus chrysopygus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
- Snowdon, Charles T.; Hodun, Alexandra; Rosenberger, Alfred L.; Coimbra-Filho, Adelmar F. (1 January 1986). "Long-call structure and its relation to taxonomy in lion tamarins". American Journal of Primatology 11 (3): 253–261. doi:10.1002/ajp.1350110307.
- Albernaz, Ana L. K. M. (1 January 1997). "Home Range Size and Habitat Use in the Black Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysopygus)". International Journal of Primatology 18 (6): 877–887. doi:10.1023/A:1026387912013.
- "Black lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysophygus)". ARKive. Environmental Agency – Abu Dhabi.
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- French, Jeffrey A.; Pissinatti, Alcides; Coimbra-Filho, Adelmar F. (1 January 1996). "Reproduction in captive lion tamarins (Leontopithecus): Seasonality, infant survival, and sex ratios". American Journal of Primatology 39 (1): 17–33. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1098-2345(1996)39:1<17::AID-AJP2>3.0.CO;2-V.
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- Cullen, L.; Bodmer, C.; Valladares-Padua (4 April 2001). "Ecological consequences of hunting in Atlantic forest patches, Sao Paulo, Brazil". Oryx 35 (2): 137–144. doi:10.1046/j.1365-3008.2001.00163.x.