Saguinus leucopus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Saguinus leucopus
Species Authority: (Günther, 1877)
Common Name/s:
English Silvery-brown Tamarin, White-footed Tamarin, Silvery-brown Bare-face Tamarin
French Tamarin À Pieds Blancs
Spanish Tamarín De Manos Blancas, Tití Gris
Taxonomic Notes: Taxonomy follows Hershkovitz (1977). See also Groves (2001, 2005). Defler (2004) pointed out that two subspecies may exist as mentioned by Hernández-Camacho and Cooper (1976). Two specimens collected around Mariquita at the southern extreme of their range differ in the tone of their pelage.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor/s: Morales-Jiménez, A.L., Link, A. & Stevenson, P.
Reviewer/s: Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
This species is listed as Endangered due to a serious reduction in population (>50%) over the past 3 generations (18 years) due primarily to ongoing threats including deforestation and live capture for the pet trade. The species does not occur in any official protected areas.
2003 Vulnerable (IUCN 2003)
2003 Vulnerable
2000 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Endangered (IUCN 1990)
1988 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
1982 Vulnerable (Thornback and Jenkins 1982)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Saguinus leucopus occurs in northern Colombia, between the Ríos Magdalena and Cauca from their confluence in the Department of Bolivar (including the Isla de Mompos and the region south-east to the Department between the Ríos Cauca and Magdalena) south into the Department of Antiquoia along the west of Río Cauca basin as far west as the region of Caceres, Valdivia, the Río Nechi valley, and Porce. It probably extends southward along the tropical forested slopes of the Central Cordillera, west of the Río Magdalena, south into western Caldas and northern Tolima (at least as far south as the vicinity of Mariquita, ranging up to 1,500 m (Hernández-Camacho and Cooper 1976; Hershkovitz 1977; Hernández-Camacho and Defler 1989; Defler 2004). Hernandez-Camacho and Defler (1989) indicated the possibility that the range of S. leucopus extends further south-west along the east bank of the Río Cauca in Antiquoia, and further south into the gallery forests of the llanos and the forested foothills of the eastern slopes of the Central Cordillera in the Department of Tolima (see also Cuervo et al. 1986; Cuartas-Calle 2001; Cuervo et al. 2001).
Colombia (Colombia (mainland))
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Calle (1992) recorded very high densities of S. leucopus in a small forest on the Río Miel, Antioquia: 82 individiduals/km², the result of forest destruction and displaced groups fro elsewhere (Defler 2004). Bernstein et al. (1976) reported 1-4 individuals/km² in a forest patch in northern Bolívar.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Tropical dry forest, tropical humid forest, and very humid premontane forest (Defler 2004). Present in both primary and secondary forests, in gallery forest, and in some urban areas (Poveda et al. 2001; Poveda and Sanchez-Palomino 2004).

Marmosets and tamarins are distinguished from the other monkeys of the New World by their small size, modified claws rather than nails on all digits except the big toe, the presence of two as opposed to three molar teeth in either side of each jaw, and by the occurrence of twin births. They eat fruits, flowers, nectar, plant exudates (gums, saps, latex) and animal prey (including frogs, snails, lizards, spiders and insects). Marmosets have morphological and behavioural adaptations for gouging trees trunks, branches and vines of certain species to stimulate the flow of gum, which they eat, and in some species form a notable component of the diet. The dentitions of the tamarins (Saguinus and Leontopithecus) do not provide for gouging, and they eat gums only when readily available.

Tamarins live in extended family groups of between four and 15 individuals, but usually 2-8. Defler (2004) recorded group sizes from 3-9 (average 4.6, n=42), while Poveda (2000) recorded groups of 2-12 individuals (average group size 6.6, n=7). A home range of 17.7 ha was recorded by Poveda (2000) near Mariquita (six months of observations).

Infants reported in May-June and October-November by Vargas and Solano (1994; Vargas and Solano 1996a,b).

Tamarins are monomorphic - exhibiting only minor differences in body and canine size.
Adult weight male 494 g (n=2) (Hernández-Camacho and Defler 1985)
Adult weight female 490 g (n=2) (Hernández-Camacho and Defler 1985)
Adults H&B 23.0-25.0 cm, TL 38.0 cm (Defler 2004).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species occurs in an area of intensive colonization and forest loss. Cuartas-Calle (2001) concluded that the future of this species is worrying, with the forest in its range being degraded and fragmented at an accelerating rate. Natural habitats are being affected by logging, the expansion of agriculture and cattle ranching, mining, and the construction of roads and a dam in the Río Miel (Calle 1992; Defler 2004). They have been recorded sold as pets in the markets of Medellín and Bogotá (Defler 2004).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Listed on CITES Appendix 1. Also on the US Endangered Species List.

Saguinus leucopus occurs in one regional reserve (Cañon del Rio Alicante), which is poorly protected, and being exploited for people that live in the area (Morales-Jiménez 2006). It also occurs in the proposed park of the Sierra San Lucas. A campaign is underway for the creation of a protected area for the species, which will also benefit the Variegated Spider Monkey, Ateles hybridus, in the north-east of the department of Antioquia, Colombia, 07°01'N and 74°05'W, 100?200 m above the sea level, on the left margin of the Río Magdalena (Morales-Jiménez 2007b; Morales-Jiménez and Rivadeneira 2006).

A regional captive breeding programme supported by the European Callitrichid TAG (18 zoos) was begun in 2006 (Morales-Jiménez 2006, 2007a; Morales-Jiménez and Ruivo 2006). In Colombia, the species is maintained in at least seven zoos, but all of them have problems with reproduction and survival.

An action plan has been drawn up which includes the continuation and organization of ex situ breeding, and research on husbandry, nutrition, and management in captivity, environmental education and education programmes for zoos, and in situ field research, including population surveys and studies of habitat use (Morales-Jiménez 2007c).
Citation: Morales-Jiménez, A.L., Link, A. & Stevenson, P. 2008. Saguinus leucopus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 17 April 2014.
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