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Golden-headed lion tamarin

Scientific Name: Leontopithecus chrysomelas

Golden-headed lion tamarins are small New World monkeys, a term describing monkeys from South and Central America. Their fur is mainly black with golden limbs and tail. Their name comes from the thick, golden mane surrounding their faces.

Golden-headed lion tamarins live in groups of three to four individuals high up in the canopy. The group is normally made up of a single breeding male, a female and their offspring but larger groups have been seen. These tamarins use their golden mane to deter predators by fluffing it up to appear larger and performing a tongue flicking action.

A dominant female and male will breed in the group usually having twins each time. All members of the group help raise the infants by carrying them around between feeds and offering bits of food to the mother and infants.

Golden-headed lion tamarins mainly eat fruit, insects flowers and nectar. They are also opportunistic feeders taking small vertebrates such as lizards, frogs and tree sap if they can find it.

The major threat facing golden-headed lion tamarins is habitat loss. Currently just 2-5% of their original habitat remains. Habitat is cleared for farming, logging and human settlement with areas in southern Brazil now amongst the most densely human populated areas in the whole country.

Key Facts:

  • Conservation Status: Endangered
  • Distribution: Bolivia, Brazil, Peru
  • Habitat: Lowland Rainforest, Tropical Forest
  • Diet: Animals, Flowers, Fruit, Insects
  • Height: 20 – 35cm
  • Weight: 500 – 700g
  • Gestation: 130 days
  • No. of young: 2
  • Life Span: 20 years


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