Geoffroy's Tamarin - Small Colorful New World Monkey
Geoffroy's tamarin can be found in southeastern Panama, northern Colombia and possibly Costa Rica. It is a small monkey that lives in “secondary” forests with shrubs and tall grasses. It measures up to about 10 inches (25 cm) and may weigh up to 18 ounces (500 grams). This makes it about the smallest monkey in the Central American part of its range while there are still smaller ones in some Colombian forests. Sometimes it may be spotted in forest areas that have burnt down or have formally been cleared or utilized by people. Unlike some monkeys, you might see a tamarin on the ground if it really needs to get somewhere that doesn't have a tree connection. It has fur that ranges from brown to black with a white stripe/mohawk on its head and white on the undersides. The neck and tail are a dark reddish brown. Once thought to be a subspecies of the cotton-top tamarin (which looks similar but with a larger white crest of fur), it is now considered a separate species.
This tamarin species lives in groups of up to 20 individuals. Each female in a group may mate with two or more males. The males participate in the child rearing, for example by carrying the young newborns, even though they can't be sure if they are the parents. The group uses scent to mark its territorial boundaries. Although females might be seen as the dominant players in the group, it is the males that are more aggressive and defend the territory. Being little monkeys, they generally avoid other species of monkeys inhabiting the same area. Also to be avoided are any birds of prey that may be able to grab a little tamarin monkey going about its business on a tree branch. They communicate with each other using a variety of chirps and trills as well as physical gestures. Their diet consists of insects, fruits, lizards, flowers, tree sap and nectar. They live up to 13 years of age.
Who is this Geoffroy the tamarin is named after? Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire was a French scientist that studied animal life and worked on the theory of evolution. He traveled to South America and has four animals named after him. Besides the tamarin, there is a spider monkey, a cat and a bat named Geoffroy; not a bad legacy for a scientist.