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The pygmy marmoset is smallest monkey but not the smallest primate. It is a genus of New World monkey endemic to rainforests of the western Amazon Basin in South America. A gum-feeding specialist, or a gumnivore, the pygmy marmoset is threatened by habitat loss and pet trade.
See the fact file below for more information on the pygmy marmoset or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Pygmy Marmoset worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EVOLUTION AND TAXONOMY
- There are two extant species of the pygmy marmoset: (1) Cebuella pygmaea, or the Western pygmy marmoset; and the (2) Cebuella niveiventris, or the Eastern pygmy marmoset.
- There are some morphological distinctions between the two species, but they may only show visible difference in color, as they are separated by geographical barriers, such as large rivers in Central and South America.
- When it comes to body mass, the pygmy marmoset’s evolution strayed from that of typical primates, having a high rate of body mass reduction, which includes large decreases in prenatal and post-natal growth rates.
- The pygmy marmoset is among the world’s smallest primates, being the world’s smallest true monkey. Its head to body length ranges from 117 to 152 mm (4.6 to 6.0 in) and its tail can be 172 to 152 mm (6.8 to 9.0 in).
- It weighs over 100 grams, and females are relatively heavier than males.
- The pygmy marmoset is covered with brownish-gold, grey, and black fur on its back and head, while yellow, orange, and tawny fur can be seen on its underparts. Its tail has black circles, and its face has white patches on its cheeks and a white vertical line that separates its eyes.
- Known to be arboreal, the pygmy marmoset has the ability to turn its head 180 degrees. It also has pointed, claw-like nails that aid the marmoset in climbing and clinging to branches and trees.
- Its teeth are suitable for feeding on gum, with specially designed incisors that are used to create holes on trees and prompt sap flow.
- The cecum, or the pouch within the peritoneum that is considered to be the starting point of the large intestine, is larger than usual to allow for a greater time for the gum to break down in the stomach.
- It walks on all four limbs and can jump up to 5 m (16 ft) between branches.
- The pygmy marmoset inhabits the western Amazon Basin in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Its western species can be found in the state of Amazonas, Brazil, eastern Peru, southern Colombia, and north-eastern Ecuador. The Eastern pygmy marmoset, on the other hand, also lives in the Amazonas, but it thrives in the forests of Brazil, eastern Peru, and northern Bolivia.
- The distribution of the two pygmy marmoset species is sometimes restricted by rivers. It usually resides in the understory of the mature evergreen forests and sometimes near rivers.
- Their population density is associated with the adequacy of food trees. It can be spotted between ground level and about 20 m (66 ft) high in the trees, but it typically does not reach the top of the canopy.
- It also feeds on nectar and fruit.
- The pygmy marmoset specifically feeds on tree gum, where it gouges a hole in tree barks and vines using its specialized dentition to stimulate the gum. When the sap starts emerging from the hole, the pygmy marmoset licks it up with its tongue. It also waits for insects, especially butterflies, which are lured to the sap holes.
- It also has well-adapted insect-like claws, called tegulae, to perform a high degree of claw-clinging actions. This behavior is generally seen when pygmy marmosets are eating and foraging.
- A pygmy marmoset group, consisting of two to nine individuals, has one or two adult males and females, including one breeding female and her young.
- Interbirth interval varies from 149 to 746 days.
- Young pygmy marmosets stay in the group for about two years.
- They produce special sounds to communicate and alert each other in times of danger. The trill sound is used during feeding, foraging, and when wandering around. The J-call is a succession of fast notes repeated by the caller and is only applied when at medium distances apart. The long call, however, is used when the group is scattered over greater distances.
- It changes and modifies the nature of its calls when its social habitat is changed.
- Babbling, or vocalizing, by the baby marmoset plays a significant role in its development and relationship with its family members.
- Siblings also take care of each other. Baby marmosets need the most attention, so having more family members joining in the care lessens the risk for a pygmy marmoset and also teaches parenting skills to juveniles at a young age. These caregivers are also responsible for feeding and finding food for the babies, as well as assisting the father in watching for possible threats and danger.
- Pygmy marmosets are non-seasonal breeders and usually produce twins once or twice a year.
- Pygmy marmosets face a number of threats, such as habitat loss and pet trade.
- Their interaction with humans is correlated with many behavioral changes, such as social play and vocalization, both of which are significant to communication.
- Due to its minute size and slightly submissive temperament, captured pygmy marmosets are sometimes sold in exotic pet trades.
Pygmy Marmoset Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the pygmy marmoset across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Pygmy Marmoset worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the pygmy marmoset which is smallest monkey but not the smallest primate. It is a genus of New World monkey endemic to rainforests of the western Amazon Basin in South America. A gum-feeding specialist, or a gumnivore, the pygmy marmoset is threatened by habitat loss and pet trade.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Pygmy Marmoset Facts
- Mini Monkeys
- Test Yourself
- Marmoset Wiki
- Growing Up Tiny
- Tiny Monkey Species
- Fast Facts
- Me and My Cousin
- Other Small Animals
- As Pets
- Ode to Marmosets
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