Emperor Tamarin (Saguinus imperator)
The Emperor Tamarin makes its home in the lush, richly biodiverse Amazon Rainforest south of the equator. Its range extends from the eastern Amazon Basin of Peru along the Rio Acre to the most western state of Acre in Brazil and to the far northeast corner of Bolivia.
Emperor Tamarins are most widely known for their elegant, white moustaches. Their thick, brindled fur can vary from greyish-yellow to silvery-grey with a reddish-gold tail and a silvery brown crown. Often, they have a white tuft of fur along their underside. Their feet, hands and face are black. The diminutive Emperor Tamarin is about the same size as an eastern grey squirrel, weighing in at less than 450 g at maturity and grows to about 25 cm but has a remarkable tail that is longer than their body at 40 cm.
- The Emperor Tamarin is named after the German Emperor Wilhelm II, who also sported a large white moustache.
- Emperor Tamarins’ vision is uniquely adapted for success. All males and nearly all females see the world in two colours, helping them to detect predators—even those in camouflage—including raptors, snakes and even humans. Some females view the world in three colours, helping them to more easily detect the ripest fruits.
- Diet: An Emperor Tamarin eats a variety of plant-based foods, small insects and invertebrates. But their preferred foods—flowers, nectar, fruits and gums—can be found in the mid-to-high canopy.
- Group Structure: Emperor Tamarins live in small extended families of between 4 and 15 individuals. Together, they establish nesting sites and sleep in small groups. Oftentimes, their groups intermix with other species of Tamarin.
- Reproduction: Only one female reproduces at a time. The females usually mate with more than one male. However, Tamarins can also pair with a single partner for many years. Typically, births occur between September and March.
- Gestation period: 140-145 days, or just over four and a half months, females give birth to one or two young (or, rarely, three). Adult males assist with the birth, taking the newborn immediately and washing it.
- Lifespan: Emperor Tamarins live for 10 to 20 years
- Threats: Deforestation & the illegal pet trade.