The tamarins are squirrel-sized New World monkeys from the family Callitrichidae in the genus Saguinus. They are closely related to thelion tamarins in the genus Leontopithecus.
Tamarins range from southern Central America through central South America, where they are found in northwestern Colombia, theAmazon Basin, and the Guianas.
Different tamarin species vary considerably in appearance, ranging from nearly all black through mixtures of black, brown and white.Mustache-like facial hairs are typical for many species. Their body size ranges from 13 to 30 cm (plus a 25 to 44 cm long tail) and theyweigh from 220 to 900 grams. Tamarins differ from marmosets primarily in having lower canine teeth that are clearly longer than theincisors. In captivity, tamarins can live for up to 18 years.
Tamarins are inhabitants of tropical rainforests and open forest areas. They are diurnal and arboreal, and run and jump quickly through the trees. Tamarins live together in groups of up to 40 members consisting of one or more families. More frequently, though, groups are composed of just three to nine members.
Tamarins are omnivores, eating fruits and other plant parts as well as spiders, insects, small vertebrates and bird eggs.
Gestation is typically 140 days, and births are normally twins. The adult males, subadults, and juveniles in the group assist with caring for the young, bringing them to their mother to nurse. After approximately one month the young begin to eat solid food, although they aren't fully weaned for another two to three months. They reach full maturity in their second year. Tamarins are almost exclusively polyandrous.