The Golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) is a small, endangered primate, endemic to the Atlantic coast of Brazil. It is a member of the family Callitrichidae. In spite of its name, this monkey isn't related to lions. Instead, this species is so called due to exhibiting a magnificent ring of hair that shines in the sun, resembling an elegant lion mane. Otherwise called 'Golden marmoset', this New World monkey is one of the 4 species of lion tamarin and one of the world's rarest animals. The Golden lion tamarins have been an important part of local legends and fables.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
An omnivore is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and animal matter. Obtaining energy and nutrients from plant and ani...
Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some anima...
Precocial species are those in which the young are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching. Precocial species are normall...
Scansorial animals are those that are adapted to or specialized for climbing. Many animals climb not only in tress but also in other habitats, such...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Browsing is a type of herbivory in which an herbivore (or, more narrowly defined, a folivore) feeds on leaves, soft shoots, or fruits of high-growi...
Monogamy is a form of relationship in which both the male and the female has only one partner. This pair may cohabitate in an area or territory for...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The Golden lion tamarin has a bright reddish orange pelage and extra long hairs around the face and ears which give it a distinctive mane. Its face is dark and hairless. The bright orange fur of this species does not contain carotenoids, which commonly produce bright orange colors in nature. The golden lion tamarin is the largest of the callitrichines. There is almost no size difference between males and females. As with all callitrichines, the Golden lion tamarin has claw-like nails, instead of the flat nails found in other monkeys and apes, although callitrichines do have a flat nail on the big toe. Tegulae enable tamarins to cling to the sides of tree trunks. It may also move quadrupedally along the small branches, whether through walking, running, leaping or bounding. This gives it a locomotion more similar to squirrels than primates.
Golden lion tamarins are endemic to south-eastern Brazil. The current range of this species is limited to 3 small areas of this region: Poço das Antas Biological Reserve, Fazenda União Biological Reserve as well as private land through the Reintroduction Program. Within this territory, Golden lion tamarins live in coastal lowland forests and can also be found in hilltop forests and swamp forests.
Golden lion tamarins form small family units of 2-8 individuals, which can be either nuclear or extended families, typically consisting of a breeding pair with their young of one or two litters as well as other related animals. Group members are highly territorial, defending the home range of the community against outsiders by scent markings and specialized calls. Aggression is displayed by staring, an open mouth, or an arched back. Golden lion tamarins spend more time grooming than any other primate in the world. Grooming is mainly performed by adult individuals, typically males, grooming females. Golden lion tamarins are very social, friendly, and playful animals. They can often be observed huddling and playing together. Wrestling and chasing are among other important activities. These primates are diurnal, sleeping from dusk until sunrise and occasionally taking naps during the midday.
These animals are considered omnivores, maintaining insectivorous and frugivorous diets. This means that they consume food of both plant and animal origin, from spiders, snails, small lizards, eggs, and small birds to various fruits and vegetables.
Golden lion tamarins have a monogamous mating system with a single breeding pair in each group. They have two breeding seasons per year, occurring between September and March. The gestation period lasts for 130-135 days, yielding two infants, which are born with their complete fur and open eyes. During the first few weeks of their lives, the babies are constantly clung to their mother. At 5 weeks old, they start moving independently and exploring their surroundings. The infants are generally cared for by their father, although all members of the group participate in rearing the young. The nursing period lasts for about 90 days. Males become reproductively mature at around 2 years of age, whereas females are ready to mate when they are 1.5 years old.
These animals were formerly threatened by the loss and fragmentation of their forest habitat. Individuals were captured for trade or as pets. Currently, the biggest concern to the overall population of the Golden lion tamarins is their highly limited and heavily fragmented natural range, compounded by the small overall population, which doesn't allow successful breeding. From time to time, these animals still appear in local markets, although this small-scale pet trade is no longer a serious threat.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Golden lion tamarin is 1,400 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List, and its numbers today are decreasing.
The Golden lion tamarin has a mutualistic interaction with 96 species of plants found in the Atlantic Forest. This interaction is based on seed dispersal and food sources for the tamarins. The tamarins show repeat visits to those plants with abundant resources. They tend to move around their territories, and therefore, seeds are dispersed to areas far from the parent shadow, which is ideal for germination. Their seed distribution is important to forest regeneration, genetic variability, and survival of endangered plant species.