SOCIAL LIFE GREGARIOUS
This species receives its name from the fantastic hair crest that carries on from the top of the head, all the way to the back of the neck. The chest and belly are white too; the rest of the body is brown and black. Tamarins have modified claws rather than nails, which besides providing a good grip, is a morphological adaptation for gouging trees trunks, branches and vines of certain species to stimulate the flow of gum, that they eat. They also feed on fruits, flowers, nectar, plant exudates (gums, saps, latex) and animal prey (including frogs, snails, lizards, spiders and insects).
The cotton-top tamarin is one of South America’s most endangered primates, with an estimated population reduction of 80% over 18 years. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, 20.000 to 30.000 individuals were exported to the United States for biomedical research. The unregulated exploitation of the species for the pet trade and a continuation of accelerated habitat loss threaten the survival of the species. The absence of large trees, essential for sustaining cotton-top tamarins, will significantly decrease the amount of suitable habitat available to this species.
RSE’s group of cotton-top tamarins came from a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in Germany: www.wildtierstation.de.