Common Marmoset

Common Marmoset

The Common Marmoset (Callithrix Jacchus) is a New World Monkey in the Callitrichidae family of monkeys and is native to the northeastern coast of Brazil. Through migration and release, their population has expanded to encompass most of Brazil. Male Common Marmosets and female Common Marmosets are of similar size with males being only slightly larger.


Common marmosets inhabit a variety of forest types including the extreme northern Atlantic coastal forest as well as dry, seasonal, semi-deciduous inland forests. Riverine forests in dry thorn scrub habitat or the Cerrado forest in central Brazil are among their preferences.


The Common Marmoset’s claw-like nails, incisor shaped teeth, and specialized digetion reflect their unique diet which is primarily made of plant exudates and insects. Common marmosets feed on gum, sap, latex, and resin that they extract from trees.

Fun Common Marmoset Facts

  1. Marmosets live in mixed sex groups of up to 13 individuals. Only the head male and female will produce offspring. The mechanism that supposedly suppresses reproduction in lower-ranking females is still being studied.
  2. “Marmoset” is derived from the French “marmouset” which means, loosely, shrimp or dwarf. An apt name, considering they are the smallest of the true monkeys (the lightest of the true monkeys is the pygmy marmoset).
  3. These monkeys use their specialized claws to establish a firm grip on tree trunks and gnaw little holes in the bark with their lower incisors and canines. This causes the tree to produce more sap, which is used to seal injuries to the bark. This tree sap is a valuable source of carbohydrates and minerals.
  4. The differences between monkeys and apes are easy to see once you know what to look for. Apes do not have a tail and are generally larger than most other primates. They have a more upright body posture as well. Apes rely more on vision than on smell and have a short broad nose rather than a snout, as Old World monkeys do.
  5. Old World monkeys are generally from Africa and Asia while New World monkeys are from the Americas. In Old World monkeys, the nostrils face downward and are narrow. New World monkeys have round nostrils facing to the side. Old World primates are usually larger than New World’s. Many of the Old World monkeys are partly terrestrial.
  6. Common marmoset is considered the best species able to adapt to human changes in their environment.
  7. The species was first introduced by humans in southeastern Brazil where it has propagated so successfully it is regularly observed in the marginal park districts of Rio de Janeiro.