Erakina

Pygmy Marmosets: The Smallest Monkey In The World

Published Date : December 4, 2021

WHO ARE PYGMY MARMOSET?

Pygmy marmosets are also known as miniature monkeys and are mainly found in tropical rainforests of South America. These adorable creatures are the tiniest monkeys in the world. Their scientific name is Cebuella pygmaea. They are the Cebuella genus which is a small genus of New world monkeys and belong to the Callitrichidae family. They measure about 4 – 6 inches long (14 – 15 cm) and weigh about 4 ounces. Their size is quite similar with squirrels as they are also 15 – 20 cm. Because of their smaller appearance and the way they walk they are compared to the squirrels. The lifespan of these monkeys are 12 years

The marmosets have two subspecies s and eastern marmosets. These three pygmy marmosets have fur that differs a little bit in color. The marmosets live in different areas of South America and Central America. 

 

CLASSIFICATION 

  • KINGDOM : ANIMALIA
  • PHYLUM : CHORDATA
  • CLASS : MAMALIA 
  • ORDER : PRIMATES
  • FAMILY : CALLITRICHIDAE 
  • GENUS : CEBUELLA 
  • SCIENTIFIC NAME : CEBUELLA PYGMAEA

HABITAT 

Pygmy marmosets are mainly found in the Amazon region of Brazil, Columbia,  Peru, Ecuador, and Northern Bolivia. They make their home on forest trees or bamboo thickets near the river and floodplains. These animals live in a tropical climate that is humid and rainy. They prefer living in dense rainforest forests where trees grow close together which allow them to easily jump to the branches of different trees and  it would also help them to hide from their predators. The marmosets remain in a territory or less than an acre of forest.

THEIR APPEARANCE 

The pygmy marmoset
They are so small that they can fit in the human ‘s palm

 

The Pygmy marmosets have a coat of orangish brown fur with black and brown fur. In some parts the fur has a green tint. They have highly variable underbelly which can range from orange, white or tawny.It is said that, as the pygmy marmosets are the smallest monkey they could fit in the palm of your hand. They are about 5 – 6 inches long and weigh about 107 – 141 g. The female marmosets are slightly larger than male marmosets. The fingernails of these monkeys are used as claws that can grasp the bark of a tree as it climbs. While climbing, the marmosets look similar to squirrels. Pygmy marmoset have an incredibly

 long tail which is even larger than their own body. The length of their tail is about 6.8 – 9 inches. Their tail is used to balance while climbing the trees and features rings of black and tawny.

THEIR DIET

Pygmy marmoset on the branch
Pygmy marmoset likes to tree sap

 

The Pygmy marmosets are omnivorous animals.  The majority of their diet consists of tree sap which their specially adapted incisors allow them to get out of trees by gouging a hole in the bark of a  tree. Other than tree sap they also eat fruits, berries, buds, flowers and nectar. They also eat insects which they hunt when they are attracted towards the sap and sometimes eat small reptiles. 

 

HABITS

The Pygmy marmosets are arboreal and diurnal animals. They are usually active during cooler and late afternoons. They are highly social primates and prefer the company of 2 – 15 marmosets. These are normally family troops consisting of breeding pairs and their young ones. Pygmy marmosets are very territorial primates, scent marking the home range of the community to defend it against outsiders. These animals communicate through vocalizations. There are certain calls to display danger or encourage mating. The duration of the call depends on the distance between the individuals. 

MATING SYSTEM 

These primates mainly exhibit an arranged mating system, where individuals of both the genders have only one mate. The dominant male usually restricts access of other males to the breeding females of its group.

Breeding season happens throughout the year. While looking for the mate, a male will mark the area with his scent and follow one female around the territory. One make and one female in a troop breed and the rest of the members of the group help to take care of the young ones. The male and female stay together for their lifetime. The gestation period of a pygmy marmoset is about 20 weeks.

A newborn pygmy marmoset weighs 4 ounces. During the first few weeks the baby pygmy marmoset rides on the back of its father. It’s the father who is the main caretaker. When it’s the time to eat the father takes the babies to their mother so that she can nurse them.

AMAZING FACTS ABOUT PYGMY MARMOSET 

Pygmy marmoset on the branch
The term marmoset is derived from the French word marmouset meaning ‘dwarf ‘

 

  • The word marmoset is derived from the French word marmouset which means ‘ shrimp’ or ‘dwarf’.
  • Common marmosets can give birth to non- identical twins which is an unusual trait for primates.
  • Marmosets are often used to research human aging and disease because their bodies are very close to those of humans.
  • Marmosets are sometimes kept as pets,but they are very difficult to care for. For instance they require a very specific diet and access to UV lights to stay healthy. 

COMING TO THE END…

Pygmy marmosets are the smallest monkeys in the world who are mainly found in the Amazon rainforests of South America. They are about 5 – 6 inches long and weigh around 4 ounces. They are so small that they can fit in your palm. While other primates display flat nails which are known as ungulae, these animals possess claw – shaped nails known as tegulae.

Marmosets have so many predators because they are so small. Since they stay high up the tree, they are vulnerable to hawks, snakes, ocelots, eagles. The official conservation of the pygmy marmosets are threatened.  The actual population is unclear because of their size as they are to hide in inaccessible areas. There are laws against buying and selling wild animals as pets. This includes the pygmy marmoset. Enforcement of these laws can contribute to keeping pygmy marmoset safe in their habitat. 

 

AAYUSHI DHASMANA 

Content Writer (Erakina By RTMN)

NOVEMBER 22, 2021

 

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