Saturday, July 24, 2010

Moustached Tamarin

I try and write about so many random animals that when I realize I've neglected a specific type (like spiders and sharks in the past) I feel I need to rectify the situation immediately! I've never written about a primate! They are the creatures most genetically similar to ourselves and yet in three months I have not once mentioned them. For shame! So today we're going to talk about the Moustached Tamarin, a tiny member of the Primate order that I think looks pretty darn terrific.

Image from BlueAnimalBio
The Mustached Tamarin, or Saguinus mystax, is a small little guy. Their body length (tail not included) is between 25 and 35 cm, with a non-prehensile tail adding on an additional 30-40cm. They are identified by their entirely black body... save for a white mustache that gives them their name. (Though the Emperor Tamarin, a fellow genus member, has an even more spectacular 'stache.)

Mustached Tamarins are omnivores, and feed off of fruits, insects, and other small animals. They are found in the tropical rainforests of Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru. Mustached Tamarins are diurnal, arboreal primates, and they live in small communities of unrelated males and females. From a reproductive standpoint, most societies are polyandrous, meaning one females has multiple male mates. Monogamy and polygyny (one male with multiple females) is also sometimes seen. Female Tamarins often give birth to large twins that may weight 25% of the mother's overall weight. The entire group works together to raise all of the infants.

There are three subspecies of Mustached Tamarin, and all are relatively abundant within their native areas.  Thankfully their are no real threats to their current population, and thus they are listed by the IUCN as being of Least Concern.

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