Callimico goeldiiGoeldi's marmoset(Also: Goeldi's monkey)

Geographic Range

Goeldi's marmosets (Callimico goeldii) are restricted in geographic range to areas in Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Brazil, with the densest populations in eastern Peru. Their range extends as far north as southern Columbia, close to its border with Peru and Ecuador. However, Goeldi's marmosets have not been observed in Ecuador. Their range continues as far south as the border of Bolivia and Peru. In northeastern parts of Brazil, their range ends at the Amazon River, while the westernmost portion of their range ends at the foothills of the Andes in Peru. (Cornejo, 2014; Nowak, 1999; Watsa, et al., 2012)


Goeldi's marmosets prefer understory habitats in the Amazon rainforest. They spend a majority of their time in vegetation around 5 m above the ground. They travel via vertical clinging and leaping, moving an average of 2 m per leap. Because their main mode of locomotion requires dense vegetation, Goeldi's marmosets prefer understories with an abundance of saplings and vertical tree trunks.

Goeldi's marmosets have been reported living in three major habitat types; undisturbed rainforest understories, bamboo forests, and secondary growth forests. Goeldi's marmosets occasionally make trips to the ground and up into the canopy to forage for food. They live in the secondary growth forests that have thick understory growth, but can also be found in large bamboo thickets with less dense undergrowth.

The habitats in which Goeldi's marmosets live range in elevation from 144 to 300 m above sea level. (Cornejo, 2014; Garber and Leigh, 2001; Porter, 2006; Porter and Garber, 2010; Watsa, et al., 2012)

  • Range elevation
    144 to 300 m
    472.44 to 984.25 ft

Physical Description

Goeldi's marmosets are small primates with thick, short, and smooth fur along their bodies and fluffier fur around their necks and tails. Fur coloration is typically black, but ranges from silver to dark brown. These color variations are usually limited to the fur on their tails and the dorsal fur on their necks. Goeldi's marmosets have smooth fur along their bodies, with an average hair length of 2 cm. However, they lack hair on their faces, hands, and feet. In these areas, their black skin is visible.

Goeldi's marmosets have small claws. For adults, the combined length of their heads and bodies ranges from 210 to 230 mm, while the length of their tails ranges from 255 to 324 mm. Adults typically weigh between 393 to 860 g, though males weigh more than females on average. Wild specimens usually weigh less than their captive counterparts. No data on juvenile Goeldi's marmosets have been published.

The dental formula of Goeldi's marmosets is 2:1:3:3/2:1:3:3. (Cornejo, 2014; Garber and Porter, 2009; Nowak, 1999)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • male larger
  • Range mass
    393 to 860 g
    13.85 to 30.31 oz


Studies on Goeldi's marmosets have reported different mating systems. The most common mating system observed in the wild and in captivity is monogamy. However, polygyny has also been documented in captive and wild populations. In the case of polygyny, where one male mates with multiple females, the females often become aggressive towards each other, fighting for social dominance.

Males are typically the instigators of mating events, making vocalizations and facial expressions to attract females. Both males and females select mates within their troop, and do not leave their territories to find mates. Both parents exhibit parental care of their offspring. (Cornejo, 2014; Garber and Leigh, 2001; Watsa, et al., 2012)

Whereas many new world primate species give birth to twins, Goeldi's marmosets typically only give birth to one infant at a time. However, Goeldi's marmosets breed biannually, meaning they can still potentially produce two offspring per year. The gestation period is around 155 days and birth weights for infants ranges from 30 to 60 g. Females give birth to their first offspring in the wet season, from September to late November. The second birth occurs later in the year, though specific dates have not been reported. The second birth occurs after the first infant has reached sexual maturity. By giving birth to a single offspring rather than twins, parents can invest more energy into the single offspring and the time to reach sexual maturity is shorter compared to other new world primates.

Goeldi's marmosets use communal or cooperative care with their troop when raising the young. This reduces the cost of raising offspring for individual mothers, and females can return to reproductive activity faster because they can invest less time in each infant. In the wild, cooperative care starts 10 to 15 days after birth. In captivity, cooperative care does not begin until around 27 days after young are born. Cooperative care includes communal feeding and transportation of infants. After around 7 weeks juveniles can move independently, but they are not fully independent until around 12 weeks of age.

Most troops of Goeldi's marmosets have one dominant breeding female that gives birth. If subordinate females have offspring, the dominant female typically kills the infants. Females reach sexual maturity after 1 year, on average. Males reach sexual maturity at 15 to 16 months. (Cornejo, 2014; Porter and Garber, 2010; Porter, et al., 2009; Watsa, et al., 2012)

  • Breeding interval
  • Breeding season
    September to November for first annual birth; second annual birth is not reported
  • Range number of offspring
    1 to 2
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average gestation period
    155 days
  • Average gestation period
    153 days
  • Average weaning age
    12 weeks
  • Average time to independence
    12 weeks
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    12 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female
    365 days
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    15 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    Sex: male
    395 days

Both parents care for their offspring until they reach independence, though females typically care more for infants than males. After 10 to 15 days, other members of the group also start to care for the infant. Care-giving includes transportation to food sources, provision of shelter, and protection from predators. While infants are carried by adults, they also learn what to eat, how to move, and the social structure of the group. Cooperative care helps reduce stress on both the father and mother. At around 7 weeks old, juveniles can move independently and transition into becoming a group member. Juveniles are weaned and fully independent after 12 weeks, on average. (Cornejo, 2014; Nowak, 1999; Watsa, et al., 2012)

  • Parental Investment
  • male parental care
  • female parental care
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • male
    • protecting
      • male
      • female
  • pre-independence
    • provisioning
      • male
      • female
    • protecting
      • male
      • female


Lifespans of Goeldi's marmosets have only been recorded in captivity. The average captive lifespan is 7 years. The oldest recorded captive individual was 22.2 years old. (Weigl, 2005)


Goeldi's marmosets are social animals that live in small groups of around 10 members. Within each group there is a social hierarchy that involves an alpha male and female. Social status is determined by physical dominance over other members of the group. Goeldi's marmosets are social animals that communicate with each other frequently throughout the day. They have also been reported to travel and forage with moustached tamarins (Saguinus mystax), white-lipped tamarins (Saguinus labiatus), emperor tamarins (Saguinus imperator), and saddleback tamarins (Saguinus fuscicollis), although combined group sizes have not been reported.

Due to their small group sizes and large geographic range, groups of Goeldi's marmosets rarely come into contact with each other in the wild. If groups do come into contact, they typically confront each other with vocal calls and chasing behaviors. Goeldi's marmosets use vocal calls to express their behavior and attitude throughout the day.

The strong social bond between individual Goeldi's marmosets can be seen due to the fact that they almost always stay within 10 to 20 m of each other. (Cornejo, 2014; Forsythe and Ford, 2011; Garber and Porter, 2009; Hanson, et al., 2006; Nowak, 1999; Watsa, et al., 2012)

Home Range

Goeldi's marmosets can cover a home range of 1.14 km² in a single day. Although groups rarely come into contact, they do defend territories using vocalizations. Exact territory sizes have not been reported. (Cornejo, 2014; Weigl, 2005)

Communication and Perception

Goeldi's marmosets have two primary methods of communication: vocal and non-vocal. They use various calls that can be distinguished by sound and length. Calls range from small chirps to long, loud shrills that can be heard over several hundred meters. Goeldi's marmosets use vocalizations to alert their group to primates, food sources, and intruding primates.

Goeldi's marmosets also communicate non-vocally using facial expressions, yawning, social grooming, tail-waving, urine-marking, and scratching. Adults will also fight each other, but this usually occurs just between members of the same sex. Males rarely fight with females and vice versa.

Because Goeldi's marmosets communicate primarily with vocalizations and body language, they rely heavily on acoustic and visual stimuli. This also helps them detect food and predators in their environment. Goeldi's marmosets also perceive their environment using chemical and tactile stimuli. (Cornejo, 2014; Garber and Leigh, 2001; Watsa, et al., 2012)

Food Habits

The diet of Goeldi's marmosets changes throughout the year, since food availability changes based on the wet and a dry seasons. During the wet season, over half of their diet consists of fruits and insects. They typically eat insects found on branches or under leaf litter on the forest floor. Goeldi's marmosets also climb into the canopy to forage for fruits. During the dry season, fungi comprise 48 to 63% of their diet. The two main fungus genera that Goeldi’s marmosets consume are jelly fungi (Auricularia) and bamboo fungi (Ascopolyporous). Goeldi's marmosets are the only known primate species where fungi make up the majority of their diet at some point in the year. Goeldi's marmosets also occasionally feed on small vertebrates, such as lizards and frogs. Goeldi's marmosets also consume exudates, or sap-like substances, which ooze from under the bark of trees. Goeldi's marmosets are known to gouge trees to get at exudates, but this is a less ideal component of their diet compared to insects, fruits, fungi, and small vertebrates. (Cornejo, 2014; Nowak, 1999; Porter, et al., 2009)

  • Animal Foods
  • amphibians
  • reptiles
  • insects
  • Plant Foods
  • fruit
  • sap or other plant fluids
  • Other Foods
  • fungus


Goeldi's marmosets have few known predators. They live in groups of around 20 individuals that work together to warn each other of predators. Goeldi's marmosets have a wide range of vocal calls that give details on how large the predation threat is to other members. Known predators of Goeldi's marmosets include coatis (Nasua nasua), pumas (Puma concolor), bush hogs (Speothos vanaticus), and tayras (Eira barbara). Other predators include birds of prey, although avian predators pose a smaller risk because Goeldi's marmosets spend most of their time in the forest understory, where leaves and branches in the midstory and canopy protect them from aerial attacks. (Cornejo, 2014; Hanson, et al., 2006; Jurke and Pryce, 1994; Nowak, 1999; Watsa, et al., 2012)

Ecosystem Roles

Goeldi's marmosets consume insects and may play a role in controlling the populations of insect species in their diets. They also eat fruits from native plants, and play a role in seed dispersal for the plant species in their diets.

Goeldi's marmosets are known hosts of parasites such as nematodes in the genus Gongylonema and bacteria in the genus Pasteurella. (Schradin and Azenberger, 2001)

Commensal/Parasitic Species
  • Nematodes (Gongylonema)
  • Bacteria (Pasteurella)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Goeldi's marmosets have no known positive impacts on human economics. (Forsythe and Ford, 2011; Nowak, 1999)

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Goeldi's marmosets have no known negative impacts on human economics.

Conservation Status

Goeldi's marmosets are listed as "vulnerable" on the IUCN Red list, with wild populations listed as decreasing in several areas. They are affected by habitat loss due to human development, with bamboo forests and rainforests throughout their geographic range being cut down and converted to farmland. However, their low population density and wide distribution make tracking populations difficult. More research on Goeldi's marmosets is required to determine how land development will impact their conservation status. Goeldi's marmosets are also listed under Appendix I in CITES, which means they cannot be exported or imported without a permit from the Management Authority of the State or other governing body. (Cornejo, 2014; Porter, et al., 2007)


Devin Maffei (author), Radford University, Karen Powers (editor), Radford University, April Tingle (editor), Radford University, Emily Clark (editor), Radford University, Cari Mcgregor (editor), Radford University, Jacob Vaught (editor), Radford University, Galen Burrell (editor), Special Projects.



living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map


uses sound to communicate


Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

cooperative breeder

helpers provide assistance in raising young that are not their own

  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
dominance hierarchies

ranking system or pecking order among members of a long-term social group, where dominance status affects access to resources or mates


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

female parental care

parental care is carried out by females


an animal that mainly eats fruit


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).

male parental care

parental care is carried out by males


Having one mate at a time.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


an animal that mainly eats fungus

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


having more than one female as a mate at one time


rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.


specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.

scent marks

communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


remains in the same area


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


associates with others of its species; forms social groups.


uses touch to communicate


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


uses sight to communicate


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.


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Garber, P., L. Porter. 2009. Trunk-to-trunk leaping in wild Callimico goeldii in northern Bolivia. Neotropical Primates, 20/2: 9-14.

Hanson, A., M. Hall, L. Porter, B. Lintzenich. 2006. Composition and nutritional characteristics of fungi consumed by Callimico goeldii in Pando, Bolivia. International Journal of Primatology, 27/IV: 324-345.

Hofmann, M., C. Schradin, T. Geissmann. 2007. Radiographic evaluation of neonatal skeletal development in Callimico goeldii reveals closer similarity to Callithrix jacchus than to Saguinus oedipu. American Journal of Primatology, 69/VI: 420-433.

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Jurkea, M., C. Prycea, M. Döbelib. 1995. An investigation into sexual motivation and behavior in female Goeldi's monkey (Callimico goeldii): Effect of ovarian state, mate familiarity and mate choice. Hormones and Behavior, 29: 531-553.

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore and London: John Hopkins University Press.

Nuss, K., M. Warneke. 2010. Life span, reproductive output, and reproductive opportunity in captive Goeldi's monkeys (Callimico goeldii). Zoo Biology, 29/VI: 1-15.

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Porter, L., P. Garber. 2010. Mycophagy and its influence on habitat use and ranging patterns in Callimico goeldii. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 142/VI: 468–475.

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Ross, A., L. Porter, M. Power, V. Sodaro. 2010. Maternal care and infant development in Callimico goeldii and Callithrix jacchus. Primates, 51/V: 315-325.

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