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Black-and-white Tassel-ear Marmoset (Callithrix humeralifer)

The black-and-white tassel-ear marmoset has nails on the digits which are more claw-like. This species also has nonopposable thumbs.

This species is found in the country of Brazil.

The black-and-white tassel-ear marmoset consumes a variety of items including: insects, fruits, gums, small vertebrates, flowers, and leaf buds. This species is primarily frugivorous though and has a large home range compared to other marmosets (Rylands and de Faria, 1993).

The black-and-white tassel-ear marmoset moves quadrupedally through the forest and is capable of short leaps (Fleagle, 1988)>

The core of a group is the breeding pair with sexually immature subadults and the offspring of the breeding pair. It has been shown that females of this species do mate with more than one female, suggesting a more polyandrous mating system (Rylands, 1982, 1986; Dixson, 1993). The males assist in the caring of the young.


The black-and-white tassel-ear marmosets have genital scent glands used in scent-marking and to add pigmentation to hair and skin.
suprapubic marking: this is when an individual presses the suprapubic pad against a substrate and deposits secretions by pulling itself along or by pushing itself with its feet (Epple et al., 1993). This behavior pattern is frequent in the black-and-white tassel-ear marmoset and can occur more frequently by an individual where the home ranges of two groups overlap, thus suggesting a use for demarcation of territory (Rylands, 1990).

tail coiling: this is where an individual urinates on its tail in a form of self-marking (Epple et al., 1993). This behavior was reported for wild black-and-white tassel-ear marmosets (Rylands, 1990).

lip-smacking: this is when a black-and-white tassel-ear marmoset opens and closes its mouth rapidly. This serves to communicate an invitation to copulation as well as communicating aggression. Sometimes occurs with rhythmic tongue protrusion.

rhythmic tongue protrusion: this display occurs with lip-smacking and is used to communicate an invitation to copulation as well as aggression.

eye-brow raise: this display is used when a black-and-white tassel-ear marmoset is threatened.


This species gives birth to twin offspring.

Burton, Frances. 1995. The Multimedia Guide to the Non-human Primates. Prentice-Hall Canada Inc.

Dixson, A.F. 1993. Callitrichid Mating Systems: Laboratory and Field Approaches to Studies of Monogamy and Polyandry. In Marmosets and Tamarins: Systematics, Behaviour, and Ecology. ed. Anthony B. Rylands, Oxford University Press.

Epple, G., Belcher, A.M., Kuderling, I., Zeller, U., Scolnick, L., Greenfield, K.L., Smith III, A.B. 1993. Making Sense Out of Scents: Species Differences in Scent Glands, Scent-marking Behaviour, and Scent-mark Composition in the Callitrichdae. in Marmosets and Tamarins: Systematics, Behaviour, and Ecology. ed. Anthony B. Rylands, Oxford University Press.

Fleagle, John G. 1988. Primate Adaptation and Evolution. Academic Press.

Rylands, A.B. 1982. The Behaviour and Ecology of Three Species of Marmosets and Tamarins (Callitrichidae, Primates) in Brazil. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge, Cambridge.

Rylands, A.B. 1986. Infant-carrying in a Wild Marmoset Group, Callithrix humeralifer: Evidence for a Polyandrous Mating System. In A Primatologia no Brasil-2 (ed. M.T. de Mello), pp.131-44. Sociedade Brasileira de Primatologia, Brasilia.

Rylands, A.B. 1990. Scent Marking Behaviour of Wild Marmosets, Callithrix humeralifer (Callitrichidae, Primates). In Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 5. (ed. D.W. Macdonald, D. Muller-Schwarze, and S.E. Natynczuk), pp. 415-29. Oxford University Press.

Rylands, Anthony B. and de Faria, Doris S. 1993. Habitats, Feeding Ecology, and Home Range Size in the genus Callithrix. in Marmosets and Tamarins: Systematics, Behaviour, and Ecology. ed. Anthony B. Rylands. Oxford University Press.

Last Updated: October 6, 2003.
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