Saguinus geoffroyiGeoffroy's tamarin

Geographic Range

The range inhabited by Saguinus geoffroyi extends from southeastern Costa Rica to extreme northwestern Colombia (Nowak, 1999). Saguinus geoffroyi is the only callithricid whose range extends from South America as far north as Costa Rica (Grzimek, 1990).


Saguinus geoffroyi lives in an area of shrubbery, grasses and secondary growth. This species often lives in disturbed forests and has been historically associated with slash and burn agriculture. S. geoffroyi inhabits areas with highly dense foilage and avoids open forest, sparsely-forested openings and areas of grass. Saguinus geoffroyi has been found to sleep in trees that are densely foliated or covered with vines. It has not been observed that they make nests, but it appears that they sleep in cavities in trees as do many other callitrichids (,,,

Physical Description

Saguinus geoffroyi is the smallest monkey in Panama. The average body length is only 20-29 cm and the tail ranges from 31-42 cm. Saguinus geoffroyi has brown and black fur covering its body with an almost bare black rump. It also has a triangular section of white fur on its head. The neckis mahogany red as well as the tail, except for a black tip (,, Grzimek, 1990).

  • Range mass
    350 to 450 g
    12.33 to 15.86 oz
  • Average basal metabolic rate
    1.305 W


Saguinus geoffroyi has a polyandrous mating system, that is, many males mate with only one female.

The mating season occurs during January and February, and the births take place from March through June, with the majority occurring from late April to early June. The gestation period usually lasts from 140 to 145 days. Females can have between one and two young at once, and the young usually weigh about 40 grams at birth. One breeding female usually bears twins. The nursing period usually lasts about two to three months and sexual maturity is achieved at about 24 months. The life span of Saguinus geoffroyi is about 13 years (Grzimek, 1990,,,,

  • Breeding season
    The mating season occurs during January and February
  • Range number of offspring
    1 to 2
  • Average number of offspring
  • Range gestation period
    140 to 145 days
  • Range weaning age
    2 to 3 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    24 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female
    548 days
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    24 months

Females nurse their offspring for 2 to 3 months. Males help care for and carry the young. Carrying the young for the first six to eight weeks of life is very important.

  • Parental Investment
  • pre-fertilization
    • provisioning
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • male
      • female


  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    16.8 years


Saguinus geoffroyi is diurnal and is usually found in groups of 2-19 individuals. They are a territorial species that has been found to visit the border of their range and mark the trees early in the morning each day . Males usually visit the border most often. Sex roles are very different when it comes to territorial disputes. Males usually act aggressively with other groups whereas females usually just scent mark. S. geoffroyi makes a variety of birdlike calls that serve as alarms for others in the group when danger from raptors or ground dangers, such as snakes or coatimundis, arise . Saguinus geoffroyi will also mob a predator (Grzimek, 1990,,,

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

The diet of Saguinus geoffroyi primarily consists of insects and fruits. They also feed on small lizards, flowers and nectar found in secondary growth. Between 30 and 50% of their diet in one study was made up of insects, with cicadas and grasshoppers appearing to be their most favored food. The main source of food for most of the year, however, is fruit. Most foraging takes place in the middle and lower canopy levels of the forest. Small fruits are most commonly consumed. When fruit becomes scarce during the dry months of the year, S. geoffroyi resorts to eating nectar and other secondary resources. Because both insects and fruits are scarce during the dry seasons, Saguinus geoffroyi shows a decrease in body weight due to loss of fat reserves at this time (,,

  • Animal Foods
  • reptiles
  • insects
  • Plant Foods
  • fruit
  • nectar
  • flowers

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Saguinus geoffroyi consumes insects which could help in controlling pests for humans.

Conservation Status

Saguinus geoffroyi will thrive is given suitable habitat. Decreased secondary growth has been related to a decrease in S. geoffroyi populations. With public education and protection in created refuges, the species may once again be able to prosper ( http://www.fsu/~cppanama/ipsp/soceco.htm).


Dayna Frey (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



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

World Map

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.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

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

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.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


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).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

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


an animal that mainly eats all kinds of things, including plants and animals


Referring to a mating system in which a female mates with several males during one breeding season (compare polygynous).


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.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


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


defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement


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


"Geoffroy's Tamarin (Saguinus geoffroyi)" (On-line). Accessed December 9, 1999 at

"Primate data" (On-line). Accessed December 9, 1999 at

"The Primates" (On-line). Accessed December 13, 1999 at

Broekema, Iria, November 1999. "Rufous-naped tamarin (Saguinus geoffroyi)" (On-line). Accessed December 13, 1999 at

Grzimek, B. 1990. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, volume II. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, sixth edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Rasmussen, D.R., Ph.D, 1999. "Social Ecology of Panmanian tamarins" (On-line). Accessed December 9, 1999 at