Common Marmoset

(Callithrix jacchus)




Facts about this animal

The common marmoset is the best known and most frequently kept callithrichid species. It reaches a head-body length of 19-25 cm, the tail measures 27-35 cm, the find foot 52-68 mm. Females have a body weight of 260-350 g, males up to 450 g.


The common marmoset is characteriseed by long white or greyish ear tufts The crown is blackish with a white blaze on the forehead. The body is mottled grey-brown, the posterior part of the back finely banded with grey or orange and black. The tail is ringed.


Common marmosets have well developed epidermal scent glands and scent-marking behaviours, suggesting that chemical communication is of great importance in the complex social structures of this species. They live in extended family groups of 3 to 13 animals with well defined territories of two to five hectares. The family groups are probably structured around one breeding pair which share the caring of the young with sibling juveniles and related adults. After a pregnancy period of 141-145 days, 1-4, usually twins, are born. The neonates weigh 25-35 g. The young are weaned at 40-120 days when they weigh 60-150 g. The young become sexually mature at 18-24 months. Lengevity is 8-12 years in human care.


Marmosets eat a varied diet which includes fruit, insects, lizards, eggs, small birds and the gum or exudate of trees. The exudate provides a high energy food source in seasons when fruit is unavailable.

Did you know?
That the United Kingdom is the largest exporter of common marmosets? From 1975 to 2006 the UK reported the export of 8103 live common marmosets representing 43% of the world trade. As a general rule, these animals were ex situ bred and often intended for biomedical research. International trade for zoos is rather insignificant, but zoos occasionally have to care for illegally traded marmosets confiscated by national CITES Authorities.


Suborder SIMIAE
Name (Scientific) Callithrix jacchus
Name (English) Common Marmoset
Name (French) Ouistiti commun ou Ouistiti à toupet blanc
Name (German) Weissbüscheläffchen
Name (Spanish) Tití Común
Local names Brazil: Sagui-comum, Sagui-do-nordeste, Sauim
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Claire Watson



Range Brazil
Habitat A variety of tropical, mostly dry forest types including Atlantic coastal forest, dry, seasonal, semideciduous inland forests, riverine forests in dry thorn scrub habitat or caatinga, and the savanna forest or cerrado in central Brazil.
Wild population Unknown, but stable (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 614 reported to ISIS (2006)

In the Zoo

Common Marmoset


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 31 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Claire Watson

Why do zoos keep this animal

The common marmoset is not threatened in the wild, and therefore primarily kept for educational purposes as a typical marmoset and a suitable species for familiarizing the public with Brazilian forest fauna, in particular if kept in mixed exhibits.


Common marmosets may also be kept in "walk-thru" exhibits allowing for close encounters between the animals and people. The public should, however, not be allowed to feed the monkeys.


It is not unusual that zoos agree to host common marmosets for animal welfare reasons as these animals are often confiscated by customs, conservation or veterinary authorities.