A special place among primates is occupied by a group of small monkeys - lion marmosets. Their hair sparkles as if they were dusted with gold dust. Unfortunately, this species of monkey is on one of the leading places in the list of endangered animal species.
Description of the Lion Marmoset
Lion marmosets (Latin: Leontopithecus) are the largest representatives of monkeys belonging to the family of marmosets. They are distributed exclusively in southeastern Brazil.
Lion marmosets have a rounded head with a short, flat and hairless face, small eyes and large ears that adorn the tufts of hair. These primates have 32 to 36 teeth, the fangs are quite large and thick, the upper ones have a trihedral shape and a groove extending from the outside and from the inside. The slender body of a lion's marmoset reaches a length of 20 to 34 cm. The average weight of these monkeys is 500-600 grams.
The limbs are short, the front ones are very tenacious and have already turned into real legs, while the hind legs are no different from other monkeys. Unlike other primates, the fingers of lion's marmosets, like all members of the family, do not have flat nails, but claws. The exception is only the thumbs of the hind limbs - on them are large nails, tiled. This structure of the limbs allows them to quickly and confidently move through the trees.
It is interesting! The length of the fluffy tail is approximately 30-40 cm.
Their wool is characterized by density and softness, and its color, depending on the type of marmoset, can be golden or black, sometimes it has streaks. There are no differences in the appearance of females and males. A distinctive feature of these primates is long hair that frames the head and resembles a lion's mane.
Character and lifestyle
Lion marmosets live in some territories with an area of about 40-70 hectares and protect their possessions from other animals with the help of aggressive facial expressions and loud screams. They live in small families consisting of 3-7 individuals, where females and males have their own dominance system. A family may consist of several adult heterosexual individuals or a family group with growing offspring. Animals talk among themselves screaming and do not let each other out of sight.
Important! Within families, social behavior is developed, expressed in the mutual care of the hair and the distribution of food.
Marmosets spend most of their lives in trees, preferring overgrown plants of climbing plants. Unlike other monkeys, they do not sit on their hind legs, but immediately on all 4 limbs or even lie on their stomach, with their fluffy tail hanging down. Also, they were never seen moving on two legs - during walking they step on all the feet of the hind legs and on the forelegs. Lion marmosets are good at jumping.
These monkeys lead an active lifestyle during the day, at night they find shelter in dense thickets or hollows of trees, where they curl up into common balls. Being in captivity, marmosets often hide in boxes that they are provided with for sleeping not only at night, but also during the day. In the morning, they leave their shelters and go in search of food. Marmosets are very funny and curious monkeys with a quick-tempered and crafty disposition.
In captivity, they are shy, distrustful, irritable, their mood is inconsistent - satisfaction from what is happening can dramatically turn into discontent, forcing the monkeys to bite their teeth in fear or grind their teeth from anger. In the natural habitat between themselves, these primates live together, they do not have the egoism inherent in other monkeys.
Important! Lion marmosets are able to recognize objects depicted in the drawings: for example, they are afraid of the image of a cat, and they try to catch painted beetles or grasshoppers.
How many marmosets live
Healthy lion marmosets live 10-14 years, a record life expectancy of 18.5 years - that’s how many years a pet of one of the zoos lived.
Types of Lion Marmosets
In total, 4 species stand out. Bringing lion marmosets to the offspring, can regardless of the season:
- Golden lion tamarin, or rosary, or golden marmoset (lat. Leontopithecus rosalia) - has a silky coat, the color of which varies from light orange to rich red-orange, and a fiery copper lion's mane;
- Golden-headed Lion Marmoset (lat. Leontopithecus chrysomelas) - is distinguished by black hair and a golden mane, there are also golden marks on the front legs and tail;
- Black Lion Marmoset (lat. Leontopithecus chrysopygus) - this type of lion's marmosets is almost completely black, with the exception of the buttocks of a reddish-brown color;
- Black-faced Lion Marmoset (lat. Leontopithecus caissara) - characterized by a yellow body and black paws, tail and mane.
They live only in the south-east of Brazil, the area of distribution of these monkeys covers São Paulo, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and the north of Parana. They live in the Brazilian Atlantic forest, mainly on the coastal plains.
Lion Marmoset Diet
Lion marmosets are omnivores that consume insects, snails, spiders, small vertebrates, bird eggs, but more than 80% of their main food is still made up of fruits, tar, and nectar.
Breeding and offspring
Despite the fact that several adult same-sex individuals can live within the same group, only one pair is allowed to breed.
After 17-18 weeks of pregnancy, the female gives birth to calves, most often they are twins, which, as a rule, is not typical for other primates. Newborn lion marmosets are an exact copy of adults, the difference is manifested only in the absence of mane and short hair.
The whole group of monkeys, including young individuals, takes part in the upbringing of the offspring, but the father takes the most care. Most of the time it is the male that carries the offspring, passing the cubs to the female for only about 15 minutes every 2-3 hours for feeding, and this lasts up to 7 weeks. When the cubs are 4 weeks old, they begin to try solid food, while continuing to eat mother’s milk. When the cubs reach the age of three months, the parents excommunicate them from themselves.
Important! Lion marmosets can breed throughout the year.
At about 1.5-2 years old, the lion's marmosets reach puberty, but due to social relations within the family, the first reproduction occurs somewhat later.
The natural enemies of lion marmosets are falconlike, snakes and wild cats such as leopards or cheetahs. the most dangerous are the birds of prey. If monkeys can escape from climbing cats, being quick and dexterous, and also choosing safe places for an overnight stay, then running away from eagles and falcons will not save, and many marmosets become their prey.
However, natural enemies are not so terrible for lion marmosets - the destruction of their habitat causes the main harm to animals. So, after deforestation in Selva, only a small part of the forest remained untouched. In addition, poachers hunt the lion's marmosets, who illegally catch them and sell them on the black market, because these little monkeys are very popular as pets.
Population and species status
The greatest danger is threatened by the black-faced lion marmoset - no more than 400 individuals of this species remain in nature. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assigned it a status of critical danger.
Important! All 4 species of lion marmosets are threatened with extinction and are listed in the Red Book.
The World Wildlife Fund has established a special lion marmoset breeding center near Rio de Janeiro.