Saguinus mystax 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Callitrichidae

Scientific Name: Saguinus mystax (Spix, 1823)
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Moustached Tamarin, Black-chested Mustached Tamarin, Spix's Moustached Tamarin
Spanish Cervecero, Pichico barba blanca
Taxonomic Notes: Taxonomy according to Hershkovitz (1977), but Groves (2001, 2005) found that, while S. m. mystax and S. m. pluto are very similar to each other, the form pileatus is quite distinct, and he listed it as a separate species, S. pileatus. The problem with this is geographic. The three forms have a continuous distribution but pileatus completely separates the geographic ranges of mystax and pluto (see Rylands et al., 1993).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Rylands, A.B. & Mittermeier, R.A.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A., Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority) & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Least Concern as the species is widespread, common, and there are no major threats believed to be resulting in a significant decline in the overall population.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:There are three recognized subspecies:

Saguinus mystax mystax
Spix’s Moustached Tamarin occurs in Peru, south of the Río Amazonas, west to the Ríos Ucayali and Tapiche, south to the junction of the Ríos Urubamba and Ucayali (Hershkovitz 1977; Soini and Soini 1990). Soini and Soini (1990) reported that its Peruvian distribution is more restricted than was indicated by Hershkovitz (1977), occurring only as far west as the east banks of the middle and lower Río Tapiche and lower Río Ucayali. Further south, it extends west again as far as the Río Ucayali, crossing the Río Tapiche at about 6º 40'S. This is based on a specimen from Cerro Azul, Contamana, collected by R. W. Hendee in 1927. Pekka Soini never recorded a moustached tamarin in the basins of the Ríos Pacaya and Samiria despite many years of research there (since 1979), and a specimen from the mouth of the Samiria west of the Río Ucayali (locality 96, Hershkovitz 1977, p.684) collected by H. Bluntschli in 1927 is as such enigmatic. According to Hershkovitz (1979) and the distribution map provided by Aquino and Encarnación (1994), the southernmost limit in Peru is marked by the Ríos Urubamba and Inuya. This is based on the southernmost specimen known for this subspecies from Lagarto on the right bank of the Río Ucayali (Hershkovitz 1977, locality 110, 10º41'S, 73º48'W), collected by the Olalla Brothers in 1928. S. imperator subgrisescens replaces S. m. mystax south of the Ríos Urubamba and Inuya (Hershkovitz 1979). In their text (as opposed to their distribution map), Aquino and Encarnación (1994) give the Río Sheshea, an eastern tributary of the Río Ucayali to the north of the Río Urubamba, as the southern limit, although there is no evidence given for this.

In Brazil, S. m. mystax occurs south of the Rio Solimões, and is largely restricted to the west of the Rio Juruá (Hershkovitz 1977). However, Peres (1990, 1991) recorded S. m. mystax from Jaraqui on the right (east) bank of the lower Rio Juruá. Likewise, Johns (1985, 1986) found that S. m. mystax the Moustached Tamarin occurring on the west bank of the Rio Tefé (east of the lower Río Juruá), with S. m. pileatus replacing it on the east bank. Above the headwaters of the Rio Tefé, the Moustached Tamarin occurring on the right (east) bank of the Rio Juruá is S. m. pileatus, this based on a specimen collected by E. Garbe in 1902, at approximately 7ºS (Hershkovitz 1977).

Saguinus mystax pileatus
According to Hershkovitz (1977), S. m. pileatus occurs south of the Rio Solimões, west of the Rio Purus, south at least as far as the Rio Pauiní or Rio Mamoria. Although Hershkovitz (1977) indicated that it occurs west to the lower Rio Juruá, Johns (1985, 1986) found that the Rio Tefé, its type locality, was its western limit. Judging from a specimen from ‘Juruá (Rio), Amazonas’ (locality 174b, Hershkovitz 1977, p.684), S. m. pileatus extends west to the Rio Juruá above the headwaters of the Rio Tefé. Despite Hershkovitz’s (1977) conviction that S. m. pileatus occurs east as far the Rio Purus on its lower reaches (that is east of the Rio Coarí), we argue that the limited evidence for the distributions of these tamarins suggests that it only reaches the Rio Purus above the Rio Tapauá, with S. m. pluto occurring from the Rio Tapauá, along the left bank of the Rio Purus downriver, and as far west as the Rio Coarí (see the description of the geographic range of S. m. pluto). S. m. pileatus is sympatric with S. fuscicollis avilapiresi throughout its known range.

Saguinus mystax pluto
The distribution of S. m. pluto is rather problematic. Hershkovitz (1968, 1977) argued that it occurs south of the Rio Solimões, between the Rios Purus and Madeira, south to at least 7° or 8° latitude, but the southern limits are not known. The distribution as described by Hershkovitz is based on three localities: 1) The type locality, Lago Ayapuá is on the left (west) bank of the Rio Purus, but Hershkovitz (1977) argued that it must have come from the right bank. 2) Lago do Mapixí, a lake on the right bank of the Rio Purus. Although Hershkovitz states that specimens from Lago do Mapixí are labelled ‘eastern of Rio Purus’ (1977, p.700), this is contradicted in Hershkovitz’s gazeteer (p.933, locality 185, Lago do Mapixí), which states under S. m. pluto ‘C. Lako, June 1931 (left bank of Purus)’. A specimen of S. labiatus, of the same collector with the same date and locality, is ascribed to the right bank of the Purus. (3) Jaburú, on the left bank of the Rio Purus (locality 186, p.933). As in the Ayapuá locality, Hershkovitz (1977) insists that the specimens were in fact taken from the right bank of the Rio Purus and even places the locality on the right bank in the distribution map for S. mystax (p.684, 1977). The problem with accepting that S. m. pluto is known only from the left bank of the Rio Purus is that it would have to be sympatric with S. m. pileatus. Ávila-Pires (1974) placed S. m. pluto to the west of the Rio Purus, and regarded it as a different species for this reason. However, the only specimen of S. m. pileatus recorded for the Rio Purus is São Luis da Mamoria, Rio Purus (locality 188,p.933, Hershkovitz 1977), which is far to the south, near the Rio Pauiní. Although different species, it would be very difficult to accept that S. mystax is sympatric with S. labiatus, because, along with S. imperator, they are evidently ecologically very similar. We suggest that S. m. pluto is in fact restricted to the left bank of the Rio Purus, but is not sympatric with S. m. pileatus, and probably extends east as far as the Rio Coarí and south only to the rio Tapauá. The Mamoria locality for S. m. pileatus is downstream of the mouth of the Rio Pauini and upstream of the mouth of the Rio Tapauá. The Lago do Ipixuna, another locality (183, p.933, Hershkovitz 1977) for S. m. pileatus, is west of the Rio Coarí. There is no evidence of S. m. pileatus occurring east of the Rio Coarí, nor north of the Rio Tapauá.

Izawa and Bejarano (1981) reported two isolated populations of S. mystax from the south of the Rio Acre, north of the Río Tahuamanú, in Bolivia: one between Cobija and Buenos Aires, right bank of the Rio Acre, and another from 10 km north-east of Porvenir, 11°12'S, on the Brazil/Bolivia frontier beyond the headwaters of the Rio Abunã. Izawa and Bejarano (1981) presumed them to be S. m. pluto because Hershkovitz (1977) extended its range south as far as the Abunã headwaters. According to Izawa and Bejarano (1981), these two populations of S. mystax are sympatric with S. labiatus, but do not form mixed species groups as they do independently with S. fuscicollis. There is no ready explanation for these Bolivian populations, more than 3 degrees to the south of the southernmost locality for S. m. pileatus. We consider that they are unlikely to be S. m. pluto, but may be S. m. pileatus (if they cross the upper Rio Purus) or, more likely, a different undescribed subspecies. Izawa and Bejarano (1981) also report a population of S. imperator within the distribution of S. labiatus, along with a new form of S. labiatus (undescribed). It would appear that the distributions of these species are mixed, forming fine-grained mosaics, in the southernmost parts of their ranges, traversing headwaters in a region lacking large rivers as barriers. S. mystax distributions are evidently more complex than portrayed by Hershkovitz (1977) and require further study. Buchanan-Smith et al. (2000) found no evidence for the occurrence of Saguinus mystax in northern Bolivia.
Countries occurrence:
Brazil (Acre, Amazonas); Peru
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:S. mystax mystax
Moya et al. (1990) estimated a density of 43.2 individuals/km² or 9.5 groups/km² in the basin of the Río Tarapa, Peru. Peres (1997) estimated densities at eight sites: 1) Sobral 87.8 individuals/km²; 2) Condor 54.5 individuals/km²; 3) Barro Vermelho 29.8 individuals/km²; 4) Fortuna 34.7 individuals/km²; 5) Igarape Jaraqui 49.2 individuals/km²; 6) Vira Volta 55.4 individuals/km²; 7) Vai Quem Quer 34.4 individuals/km²; 8) Riozinho 36.4 individuals/km².

S. mystax pileatus
Peres (1997) estimated densities at a site called Altamira at 71.5 individuals/km².
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Moustached Tamarin occurs in Amazonian lowland, seasonally flooded forest, remnant forests or fringe patches and secondary forest (Snowdon and Soini 1988).

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). Garber (1988a,b, 1993a,b) and Peres (1991, 1993c) have carried out a study of the diet and feeding behaviour of Saguinus mystax. 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 dentition of the tamarins (Saguinus and Leontopithecus) does 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. Moya et al. (1990) recorded an average group size of 4.63 ±2.07 individuals (range 2-10) for S. mystax mystax in the Río Yarapa basin, Peru. Garber (1984; Moya et al. 1980) recorded a mean group size of 5.2 individuals for 18 groups (range 3-8) on Padre Isla, Peru. Ten years later this had increased to an average of 7 individuals per group in 13 groups (range 4-11) (Garber et al. 1993). The home range of a mixed-species group of S. mystax and S. fuscicollis studied by Garber (1988c) was 40 ha, overlappiing with seven other groups. Generally, only one female per group breeds during a particular breeding season.

Moustached Tamarins travel and spend much of their time in the middle and upper layers of the forest above 10 m above the ground (Snowdon and Soini 1988). They tend to form mixed-species groups with the smaller, sympatric Saddleback Tamarins Saguinus fuscicollis (see Yoneda 1981, 1984a,b; Buchanan-Smith 1990, 1991b, 1999; Peres 1991; 1992a,b, 1993c; Hardie 1998; Heymann and Buchanan-Smith 2000).

Tamarins are monomorphic - exhibiting only minor differences in body and canine size.
Saguinus mystax mystax
Adult male 564.5 g ±48.0 g (range 502.6-681.0 g, n=16) (Garber and Teaford 1986)
Adult male 491.0 ±23.0 g (n= 95) (Moya et al. 1990)
Adult female 511.0 ±49.0 g (n=80) (Moya et al. 1990)

Adult female length. Total 62.0 ±29.0 cm (n=80) (Moya et al. 1990)
Adult male length. Total 61.2 ±31.2 cm (n=95) (Moya et al. 1990).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are currently no major threats to the species. Saguinus mystax mystax is considered to be common in Peru by Soini et al. (1989), tolerating mild habitat disturbance and even in some areas subsistence hunting (Soini and Soini 1990). The same is undoubtedly true for the Brazilian populations. Johns (1985, 1986) found it to be the most abundant of the primates at his study site on the west margin of the Rio Tefé, and likewise it was found to be common in three sites surveyed by Peres (1990).

Nothing is known of the conservation status of Saguinus mystax pileatus and Saguinus mystax pluto, but there is no reason to believe either form is currently threatened.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Present in the following protected areas:

Saguinus mystax mystax

Serra do Divisor National Park (605,000 ha)
Jutaí-Solimões Ecological Reserve (284,285 ha)

Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve

Saguinus mystax pileatus

Abufarí Biological Reserve (288,000 ha)

Saguinus mystax pluto

State Environment Protection Area of Ayapuá (610,000 ha)?
Abufarí Biological Reserve (288,000 ha)

This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES.

Citation: Rylands, A.B. & Mittermeier, R.A. 2008. Saguinus mystax. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T41526A10490287. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
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