Lion tamarin

The four species of lion tamarins make up the genus Leontopithecus. They are small New World monkeys named for the mane surrounding their face, similar to the mane of a lion.

Lion tamarins[1][2]
Golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Family: Callitrichidae
Genus: Leontopithecus
Lesson, 1840
Type species
Leontopithecus makikina
Lesson, 1840
= Simia rosalia Linnaeus, 1766

Leontopithecus rosalia
Leontopithecus chrysomelas
Leontopithecus chrysopygus
Leontopithecus caissara

  • Leontideus Cabrera, 1956
  • Leontocebus Elliot, 1913


Living in the eastern rainforests of Brazil, like all other callitrichids they are arboreal. Lion tamarins weigh up to 900 grams (32 oz) and are about 30 cm (12 in) long, with tails about 45 cm (18 in) long. They jump through trees using their fingers to hold on to branches; they use their claws to dig under the bark to search for insects to eat. They also eat some snakes, small lizards, and small fruits. All are endangered or critically endangered, in part because their habitat has been severely disrupted by development.

Lion tamarins tend to live in family groups, with both parents sharing different tasks of rearing the yearly twins born to them. The mother nurses her young every two to three hours, and the father carries the babies on his back.

Diurnal tree-dwellers, they sleep in tree cavities at night. They also seek shelter during the hottest part of the day.

Species list

The different species of lion tamarins are easily discernible from each other, based upon the coloration of their fur:[1]

ImageScientific nameCommon NameDistributionDescription
Leontopithecus rosaliaGolden lion tamarinsoutheastern Brazilgolden fur all over, mane sometimes darkening or black
Leontopithecus chrysomelasGolden-headed lion tamarinBahia, Brazilblack fur with golden face, arms, and tail
Leontopithecus chrysopygusBlack lion tamarin or golden-rumped lion tamarinSão Paulo, Brazilblack fur with a dark gold rump
Leontopithecus caissaraSuperagui lion tamarin or black-faced lion tamarinsoutheastern Brazilgolden fur with black face, arms, and tails

See also


  1. Groves, C.P. (2005). Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 133. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. Rylands AB & Mittermeier RA (2009). "The Diversity of the New World Primates (Platyrrhini)". In Garber PA, Estrada A, Bicca-Marques JC, Heymann EW & Strier KB (eds.). South American Primates: Comparative Perspectives in the Study of Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation. Springer. pp. 23–54. ISBN 978-0-387-78704-6.
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