Silvery Marmoset

Silvery Marmoset

Black-tailed marmoset

Mico argentatus
Population size
Life Span
16 yrs
300-400 g
18-28 cm

The Silvery marmoset is an easily recognizable primate with pointed jaws. This animal also exhibit unusually short, sharp canines, as an adaptation to its feeding behavior. The Silvery Marmoset has a very dark tail, due to which the animal is otherwise known as the 'Black-tailed monkey'. It's a Callitrichidae species, belonging to the group of New World monkeys. This primate is endemic to rainforests of eastern Amazon basin (Brazil). Although quite small, these animals are very intelligent creatures. Their toes, except for halluces, are equipped with claws, due to which these primates are distinguished from other New World monkeys, which commonly have nails on all of their toes.


The natural range of this species stretches southwards and eastwards of the eastern Amazon basin (Brazil). Silvery marmosets are rainforest creatures, commonly found in tree hollows and among dense vegetation. These animals are known to sleep in vine tangles.

Silvery Marmoset habitat map



Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Silvery marmosets are social primates, forming groups of about 4 - 11 individuals. Each group consists of an adult pair and their young. They are tree-dwelling animals, spending their time in tree hollows. Silvery marmosets lead diurnal lifestyle, being active by day and sleeping by night. Group members are almost constantly together. They display highly territorial behavior towards outsiders, driving them off from the home range of the community. If the intruder doesn't leave, they will move rapidly in trees until it gets away. Individuals of both genders use scent marking as a territorial display and a form of communication. They also socialize through various vocalizations, typically used when playing, excited and threatened. These animals spend a lot of their active time playing and social grooming, which are the two key activities, enhancing interpersonal relationships between group members. Grooming allows them to maintain their coats clean as well as greatly contributes to infant development.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

These primates are gumivorous animals, which means that they primarily consume sap and gum of trees. Silvery marmosets may also use leaves, fruits and insects.

Mating Habits

Year-round in captivity, in the wild most births occur in November-March
140-145 days
1-3 infants
6 months

Silvery marmosets exhibit a monogamous mating system with a single dominant, breeding pair per group. However, some populations practice polyandry, which means that each females mates with multiple males. Group members usually display communal care, helping the pair to rear their offspring, carrying and protecting the newborn babies. Females in the wild typically yield offspring in November-March in the wild, while captive individuals may produce young throughout the year. Gestation period lasts for 140 - 145 days, producing 1 - 3 young with an average of 2. Complete weaning occurs at 6 months old and maturity is reached by 1 - 2 years of age.


Population threats

These animals currently suffer from loss of their natural habitat. For example, population along the Transamazon and Santarém-Cuiabá highways as well as south of the lower Rio Amazonas is facing terrible habitat loss as a result of logging, agro-industry, cattle-ranching and road development. Additionally, in some parts of their range, Silvery marmosets are captured and kept as a pet species.

Population number

According to IUCN, the Silvery marmoset is widespread throughout its range and adaptable but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC), but its numbers are decreasing.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • When feeling danger, this animal will typically lower its eyebrows and smack its lips while quickly flicking with its tongue.
  • Silvery marmoset is a small primate, classified in the group of 'bare-eared' marmosets.
  • As soon as an infant is born, all group members (and primarily, the father) participate in rearing the baby.
  • These animals have special scent gland, used in scent marking, which is intended to define territorial boundaries of the community and ward off intruders.
  • The ears of Silvery marmosets exhibit flesh color, due to which these animals are nicknamed ‘bare ear marmosets’.
  • Some individuals of this species spend their whole lives in trees. Not once would they descend to the ground, except for extreme circumstances.
  • Along with tamarins, marmoset monkeys exhibit unique features, distinguishing them from all other New World monkeys. Thus, these animals are very small primates. Then, all of their fingers and toes (except for halluces) are equipped with claws instead of nails.


1. Silvery Marmoset Wikipedia article -
2. Silvery Marmoset on The IUCN Red List site -

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