MorphologyRead full entry
Mustached tamarins, being callitrichines, have distinguishing features that set them apart from other New World monkeys. These include their diminutive body size and the presence of claw-like nails on all digits except the hallux. Mustached tamarins have also lost both their upper and lower 3rd molars and the hypocones on their upper molars. The dental formula is 18.104.22.168 / 22.214.171.124. Tamarins have spatulate incisors that are shorter than their canines, unlike marmosets which have incisors and canines of more similar size. The labial and lingual sides of their incisors are also thickened with enamel. Mustached tamarins have jet black pelage on their body and tail and a characteristic white stripe on their upper lip, which gives the appearance of a "white mustache." Mustached tamarins do not have prehensile tails.
Mustached tamarins do not exhibit sexual dimorphism and there are only minor differences in body and canine size between males and females. On average, adult male mustached tamarins weigh 491 ± 23.0 g and measure 61.2 ± 31.2 cm (n=95), whereas adult females weigh 511.0 ± 49.0 g and measure 62.0 ± 29.0 cm (n=80).
According to Cesar and Bicca-Marques (1999), feeding behaviors are correlated with the relative size and shape of hands in callitrichines. Mixed-species groups of tamarins are observed to form only between species that have different foraging behavior, which reduces direct competition. Consequently, due to the specialization conferred by hand morphology, species with dissimilar hand shapes are usually found in association with each other in such mixed-species groups. This is the case in the mixed-species groups of mustached tamarins and saddle-back tamarins. Saguinus mystax captures exposed insects on branches and thus has evolved relatively wide and short hands, as opposed to saddle-back tamarins, which have made use of longer and more slender appendages to manipulate openings in tree trunks and other substrates to search for insect prey.
Range mass: 462 to 560 g.
Average mass: 501 g.
Range length: 30 to 92.4 cm.
Average length: 61.6 cm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike