Common Marmoset Fact File


The common marmoset is also known as the white-eared marmoset due to the tufts of white fur on either side of their face. The rest of their body is covered with mottled brown, grey and yellow markings. There is a small white stripe between the eyes. On the face they are hairless.

They are small animals which have a long tail at the end of their body. This features light and dark bands. It may measure between 29.5 and 35 cm (11.6-13.8in) long.

Their eyes are brown with a black pupil.

On each of their fingers they have a claw-like nail known as the tegulae. Only the big toe has a flat nail known as an ungulae.

These small monkeys have a total body length of between 14 and 19cm (5.5-7.5in) long with a weight of between 300 and 500g (10.6-17.6oz). Males are slightly larger than females on average.


Common marmosets are omnivores. A major part of their diet is gum which they extract from trees by using their incisor to create a hole in a tree trunk from which the gum flows. They may make their own hole or take advantage of those made by other animals.

They will also feed on fruits, flowers, nectar and small animal prey including insects, spiders, small lizards and frogs. Bird eggs may also be consumed.

Common marmoset

Scientific Name

Neophoca cinerea

Conservation Status



300-500g (10.6-17.6oz)


14-19cm (5.5-7.5in)


Wild 10 years

Captive 16 years




The common marmoset is native to an area of Brazil.

They have also been introduced to other areas of Brazil. These introduced populations may outcompete other species of marmoset which are native to these areas.


They are naturally found in a range of forest areas.

Where humans have inhabited their former range some have been adaptable and now live in gardens or parks.

Common marmoset

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To attract the attention of the male, females will flick their tongue.

After a 148 day gestation period the female will give birth, most often to twins. On rare occasions triplets and quadruplets may be produced. They may produce two sets of twins each year.

The entire family of marmosets will work together to raise the infants. The father often carries the infants and all other members of the group pitch in with raising the young.

Weaning takes place at three months old. At this point they can eat solid food but cannot yet make their own holes to extract gum.

Males reach sexual maturity at one year old while females reach this at two years old. When they reach adulthood males leave the group to form their own family with an unrelated female. Females often remain in the group that they were born in.


Common marmosets live in a group of between eight and ten members. This is headed by a single male and female who are the only members of the group which will breed.

These animals are active by day.

The common marmoset is arboreal and spends most of its life in the trees.

They have a variety of bird like vocalizations which are used to communicate.

Common marmoset

Predators and Threats

Natural predators of the common marmoset include otters, cats, snakes and birds of prey.

Humans affect their population through habitat destruction and collection for the pet trade. Despite these they still have a large population and are not considered threatened.

Their population has been expanded through introduction to non-native areas of their range.

Common marmosets are commonly used in medical research.

Quick facts

The name marmoset comes from a French word for dwarf.

Other names for the common marmoset are white-eared marmoset and cotton eared marmoset.

The Callithrix portion of their scientific name means ‘beautiful hair.’

Photo Gallery

Common marmoset
Common marmoset

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Photo Credits

Under License.


World Land Trust. 2020. Common Marmoset Facts, Pictures, Behaviour, Habitat And Conservation. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 15 November 2020].

National Zoo & Aquarium. 2020. Common Marmoset | National Zoo & Aquarium. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 15 November 2020].

Bezerra, B., Bicca-Marques, J., Miranda, J., Mittermeier, R.A., Oliveira, L., Pereira, D., Ruiz-Miranda, C., Valença Montenegro, M., da Cruz, M. & do Valle, R.R. 2018. Callithrix jacchus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T41518A17936001. Downloaded on 15 November 2020.

Altina Wildlife Park. 2020. Common Marmoset - Altina Wildlife Park. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 15 November 2020].

Downey, K., 2020. Common Marmoset. [online] New England Primate Conservancy. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 November 2020]. 2020. Common Marmoset Facts And Information | Seaworld Parks & Entertainment. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 15 November 2020].

Cover, S. 2000. "Callithrix jacchus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 15, 2020 at 2020. Toronto Zoo | Animals. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 15 November 2020].

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