The red-handed tamarin lives in northern Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana, and Surinam.
Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )
The head and body measure from 20.5 to 28 cm, the tail from 31.5 to 44 cm. There is no obvious sexual dimorphism. The face is black with long hairs. It does not have the whitish fur around the mouth that is characteristic of other tamarins in the long-tusked tamarin group. The body is also black, except for the hands and feet, which are orange-red or yellow. There are claws on all digits except for the big toe, which has the flattened nail characteristic of primates. Also, the thumb lacks a saddle joint and is not opposable. There are specialized scent glands in the midchest and around the genitalia, the secretions of which are used to mark territory and convey information about identity, status, and sexual receptivity of individuals.
Range mass: 400 to 550 g.
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, saps, latex) and animal prey (including frogs, snails, lizards, spiders and insects). Marmosets have morphological and behavioural adaptations for gouging trees trunks, branches and vines of certain species to stimulate the flow of gum, which they eat, and in some species form a notable component of the diet. The dentition of the tamarins (Saguinus and Leontopithecus) does not provide for gouging and they eat gums only when readily available.
Tamarins live in extended family groups of between four and 15 individuals, but usually 2-8. Thorington Jr. (1968) observed eight groups in Amap that ranged in size from 2-6. Kessler (1995, 1998) observed 13 groups ranging in size from 3-7, mean 4.2 1.5.
Tamarins are monomorphic - exhibiting only minor differences in body and canine size.
Adult male weight 515 g (Fleagle and Miittermeier 1980; Smith and Jungers 1997)
Adult female weight 575 g (Fleagle and Miittermeier 1980; Smith and Jungers 1997)
Mean adult weight 590 70.7 g (n=23) (Pack et al. 1999).
Adults H&B 23.0 cm, TL 35.0 cm (Hershkovitz 1977).
The red-footed tamarins live in trees with small crowns (less than 15 m in diameter).
Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest
Like most tamarins, the red-footed tamarin eats mainly insects, ripe fruit, and plant exudates such as sap, gum, and resin. It also includes nectar, tender vegetation, spiders, small vertebrates, and birds' eggs in its diet. Prey is killed with a bite to the head.
Animal Foods: eggs; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods
Plant Foods: leaves; fruit; nectar; sap or other plant fluids
Primary Diet: omnivore
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Status: captivity: 21 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
The young are cared for by all adult members of a group, with males and other females assisting at birth and caring for the young when they are not being suckled. There is usually only one breeding female and two or more breeding males in a group. The suppression of reproductive activity in non-dominant females is a result of inhibitory behavior of the dominant female combined with loss of ovulatory capacity in the subordinate female.
Mating System: polyandrous ; cooperative breeder
Adult tamarins reach sexual maturity at age 16-20 months. One, usually two, or rarely three young are born after a gestation lasting 140-145 days. The young weigh about 45 grams at birth. Weaning occurs at age 2-3 months. Red-footed tamarins live to the age of 10 or more years.
Range number of offspring: 1 to 3.
Range gestation period: 140 to 145 days.
Range weaning age: 2 to 3 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 16 to 20 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 16 to 20 months.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous
Average birth mass: 40 g.
Average number of offspring: 2.
The young are cared for by all adult members of a group, with males and other females assisting at birth and caring for the young when they are not being suckled. Females nurse their young for two to three months.
Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Male, Female)
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Saguinus midas
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2003Least Concern (LC)
- 1996Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
The destruction of tropical rainforest threatens the habitat of the red-footed tamarin, ultimately threatening the livelihood of the species.
CITES: appendix ii
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
Recorded population densities include:
Raleighvallen-Voltzberg: Suriname 23.5 individuals/km or 4 groups/km (Mittermeier 1977)
Four localities in Guyana: 2.3-13.9 individuals/km or 0.4-2.7 groups/km (Muckenhirn et al. 1976)
Porto Platon, Amap: 16.4-33.5 individuals/km (Thorington Jr. 1968)
Fragmentos Florestais, north of Manaus: 3.9 individuals/km or 0.6 groups/km (Rylands and Keuroghlian 1988)
Nouragues Natural Reserve: 22.9 individuals/km or 5.4 groups/km (Kessler 1998)
Cabo Orange National Park (619,000 ha) AP
Monte Roraima National Park (116,000 ha) RR
Mountains of Tumucumaque National Park (3,882,376 ha)
Rio Trombetas Biological Reserve (385,000 ha) PA (probable)
Lago Piratuba Biological Reserve (357,000 ha) AP
Uatum Biological Reserve (560,000 ha) AM
Anavilhanas Ecological Station (350,012 ha) AM
Marac Ecological Station (101,312 ha) RR (possible)
Niqui Ecological Station (286,600 ha) RR (possible)
Jar Ecological Station (227,116 ha) PA
Fragmentos Florestais - Amazonia Area of Relevant Ecological Interest (ARIE) (3,288 ha)
Central Suriname Nature Reserve (1,600,000 ha) (Mittermeier and Van Roosmalen 1982; Norconk et al. 1996)
Brownsberg Nature Park (8,400 ha) (Mittermeier and Van Roosmalen 1982; Norconk et al. 2003)
Sipaliwini Savanna Nature Reserve (100 000 ha) (Mittermeier and Van Roosmalen 1982)
Herten rits Nature Reserve (100 ha)
Brinckheuvel Nature Reserve (6,000 ha) (unconfirmed: Mittermeier and Van Roosmalen 1982)
Coppename Mouth Nature Reserve (10,000 ha) (unconfirmed: Mittermeier and Van Roosmalen 1982)
Wia-Wia Nature Reserve (36,000 ha)
Galibi Nature Reserve (4,000 ha)
Kaieteur National Park (11,655 ha)
Wai Wai Community-owned Conservation Area (600,000 ha)
Conservation International Conservation Concession (20,000 ha)
Nouragues Research Station (Kessler 1995; Yioulatos 1995)
It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.
The red-handed tamarin (Saguinus midas), also known as the golden-handed tamarin or Midas tamarin, is a New World monkey named for the contrasting reddish-orange hair on its feet and hands. It is native to wooded areas north of the Amazon River in Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname, and possibly Venezuela. A population of tamarins south of the Amazon River that lack the contrasting feet and hands was previously believed to be a sub-population of red-handed tamarins but is now treated as a separate species, the black tamarin.
The red-handed tamarin's body measures 20.5–28 centimetres (8.1–11.0 in); including the tail it measures 31–44 centimetres (12–17 in). It weighs 400–550 grams (0.88–1.21 lb). Its life expectancy is approximately 10 years in the wild and 16 years in captivity.
It lives in cooperative groups of 4 to 15 members with little competition within group even between breeding males. Only one female in the group will breed during breeding season with the other females suppressing the instinct. The gestation period is 140–170 days and mothers typically give birth to two offspring. Young tamarins are cared for primarily by the father and turned over to the mother only to nurse, however the entire group helps with the care of the young. Defense is a priority in a group, and when one tamarin is threatened the others will rush to its defense. The red-handed tamarin is territorial and can be aggressive, with sharp canines and claws instead of fingernails on all fingers and all but the large toe.
The red-handed tamarin is an exceptional climber and spends most of its time among the vines and branches of the trees. It is quick and agile and is a superb jumper known to jump distances of over 60 feet (18 m) from a tree to the ground with no sign of injury. Its diet consists of fruit, flowers, insects, frogs, spiders, lizards, and nectar. Its natural predators include small cats, birds of prey, and snakes.
Populations of red-handed tamarins appear to be expanding into the historical range of the pied tamarin, with the red-handed tamarin gradually displacing the pied tamarin through interspecific competition.
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