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Emperor Tamarin

Updated on March 16, 2011

The monkey in this photo is known as Emperor Tamarin (Saguinus imperator ). This strange name took its name from the German emperor Wilhem, due to their "resemblance". This monkey is can be found in the southwest Amazon Basin, east Peru, north Bolivia and the west Brazilian states of Acre and Amazonas


There are two Emperor Tamarin subspecies:

  • The first one is the Saguinus imperator imperator (Black-chinned Emperor Tamarin )
  • The second one is the Saguinus imperator subgrisescens (Bearded Emperor Tamarin )


These monkeys have an average life span between 17 and 20 years of age. Their fur is mainly grey colored and has yellowish speckles on the chest. They have orange tails orange tail and black-colored hands and feet. Their most distinctive characteristic is the long and white mustache.Saguinus imperator can have a body length that varies from 9 to 10 inches (25 to 27 cm ). Their long tails have a maximum length of 13 in (36 cm). They are really light weighted , with a weight of only 300 to 400 g. Their small size and stature enables them to reach branches and twigs that other larger animals can't. Their small bodies also allows them to be fast and swift leapers, a critical factor for both catching food and also avoiding predators.


Saguinus imperator are animals that walk on all four legs. They prefer to spend most of their day in the trees. They probably do this in order to avoid contact with other predators. Emperor Tamarins aren't solitary animals, on the contrary they create groups commonly consisting of 3 to 8 animals. It should be noted that these groups in contrast to groups formed by other mammals are usually lead by the oldest female and not the strongest or oldest male!


Emperor Tamarins consume plant matter, tree sap, nectar, fruits, and sometimes also feed on fungi, spiders, insects, small vertebrates( for instance: lizards and frogs). They have also been seen feeding on eggs that they had taken from bird nests. The insects consumed include:

  • beetles
  • locusts
  • butterfiles
  • ants

Conservation Status

For the moment Emperor Tamarin is listed as "Least Concern" by the IUCN.

Check the video below, It features Emperor Tamarins from the London Zoo.

Interesting Links

Did you enjoy reading about Emperor Tamarin? Then you will surely enjoy the following hubs:

Strange Animals List: Hub containing some of the world's most strange and weird animals
The Giant Isopod: Another hub made by me for my favorite strange animal, the Giant Isopod
Tongue Eating Louse: Probably the most strange parasite ever. You shouldn't miss it !

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