Golden-rumped Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysopygus)

The golden-rumped lion tamarin has nonopposable thumbs and the nails are claw-like except for the first digit on each toe. This species has long digits used in the forging small insects and vertebrates (Garber, 1992). This species has golden coloration on the fur of the rump and the tail base , with the rest of the body being black in color (Kinzey, 1997). The mean adult body mass was found to be 572.5 grams (Carvalho and Carvalho, 1989).

The golden-rumped lion tamarin is found in the country of Brazil, and lives in the inland portion of the Atlantic forest (Rylands, 1993). This species is found in three different types of forests: tall semideciduous forest, swamp forest, and macega, which is a kind of forest characterized by having low, bushy trees of up to 5 meters (Carvalho et al., 1989).
Golden-rumped Lion Tamarin

The golden-rumped lion tamarin is frugivorous, feeding on soft, sweet fruits, but will also eat flowers, nectar, insects, and small invertebrates (Kleiman et al., 1988). This species is arboreal and diurnal. This species sleeps in tree holes during the night, and the dependence on tree holes might be an ecological constraint for the golden-rumped lion tamarin (Rylands, 1993). The mean group size for this species is about 3.6 individuals (Carvalho and Carvalho, 1989). The groups of the golden-rumped lion tamarins usually contain 2-3 adults (Carvalho and Carvalho, 1989).

Golden-rumped Lion Tamarin LOCOMOTION:
The golden-rumped lion tamarin moves quadrupedally through the main canopy of the forest (Fleagle, 1988). When climbing down tree trunks, the golden-rumped lion tamarin will either be in head down or tail down posture (Kleiman et al., 1988).

Food sharing is more important in this genera than other callitrichids, and is important in maintaining the social structure (Brown and Mack, 1978). Primarily the golden lion tamarin has a monogamous mating system, but polygyny and polyandry has also been seen in the wild (Rylands, 1993). Polgyny may occur in populations where there is overcrowding and a low chance of dispersal (Dietz and Baker, 1991). Polyandry may come about when there are more than one adult male in a group and a need to defend the reproductive female, or the female may want to increase the number of male helpers by confusing paternity (Rylands, 1989).

long call: The function of this call of the golden-rumped lion tamarin is to maintain pair bonds and to signify a group's presence in their territory (Kinzey, 1997).

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).

piloerection: This is where the hair of the golden-rumped lion tamarin stands on end and functions as an aggressive signal (Kinzey, 1997).


The golden-rumped lion tamarin most often gives birth to twins, with triplets and quadruplets having been reported (Kinzey, 1997).

Brown, K. and Mack, D.S. 1978. Food Sharing Among Captive Leontopithecus rosalia. Folia Primatologica. Vol.29, 268-290.

Carvalho, C.T. de and Carvalho, C.F. de. 1989 A organizacao social dos sauis-pretos, (Leontopithecus chrysopygus Mikan), na reserva em Teodoro Sampaio, Sao Paulo (Primates, Callitrichidae). Revta. Bras. Zool., Vol.6, 707-717.

Carvalho, C.T. de, Albernaz, A.L.K.M., and Lucca, C.A.T. de. 1989. Aspectos da Bionomia do Mico-leao Preto (Leontopithecus chrysopygus Mikan), (Mammalia, Callitrichidae). Rev. Inst. Flor., Sao Paulo, Vol.1, 67-83.

Dietz, J.M. and Baker, A.J. 1991. O Modelo Limiar de Poliginia e Sucesso Reprodutivo em Leontopithecus rosalia (Primates: Callitrichidae). Pare presented at the XVIII Congresso Brasileiro de Zoologia, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, 26 February to 1st March 1991.

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, J.G. 1998. Primate Adaptation and Evolution. Academic Press.

Garber, P.A. 1992. Vertical Clinging, Small Body Size, and the Evolution of Feeding Adaptations in the Callitrichinae. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Vol.88, 469-482.

Kinzey, W.G. 1997. Leontopithecus. in New World Primates: Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. ed. Warren G. Kinzey, Aldine de Gruyter, New York.

Kleiman, D.G., Hoage, R.J., and Green, K.M. 1988. The Lion Tamarins, Genus Leontopithecus. in R.A. Mittermeier, A.B. Rylands, A.F. Coimbra-Filho, and G.A.B. da Fonseca (eds), Ecology and Behavior of Neotropical Primates, Vol. 2. Washington DC: World Wildlife Fund.

Rylands, A.B. 1989. Evolucao do Sistema de Acasalamento em Callitrichidae. In Etologia de Animais e de Homens. ed C. Ades. Pp. 87-108. Edicon, University of Sao Paulo Press, Sao Paulo.

Rylands, A.B. 1993. The Ecology of the Lion Tamarins, Leontopithecus: Some Intrageneric Differences and Comparisons with Other Callitrichids. in Marmosets and Tamarins: Systematics, Behaviour, and Ecology. ed. Anthony B. Rylands, Oxford University Press.
Golden-rumped Lion Tamarin

Golden-rumped Lion Tamarin

Golden-rumped Lion Tamarin

Last Updated: May 19, 2007.
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