- Wild: 10 to 15 years
- Captivity: Up to early 20s
- Length: Head and body 8 to 11 inches, tail is 12 to 17 inches (20 to 38 inches total)
- Weight: 14 to 15 ounces in the wild, 20 to 25 ounces in captivity
- Costa Rica, Panama, and northwestern Colombia
- Currently only found in Colombia
- Tropical rain-forests
- Wild: Insects, fruits, plant saps and gums, nectar, spiders, and small vertebrates.
- Zoo: Zupreem Marmoset diet (a canned food for zoos), skinned fruit, vegetables, yogurt, crickets and waxworms.
- Females usually give birth to two babies between January and June.
- The average birth weight of infants in captivity is between 1.4 to 1.76 ounces.
- Born with their eyes open, they are covered in fur and have a short mane.
- The father and older siblings assist with the birth and also carry the babies, delivering them to the mother at feeding times.
- There is a dominant mated pair in family groups, and only that pair will breed.
- The dominant female will urine wash branches and surrounding materials with pheromones that will inhibit cycling in other females, so only she will birth young.
- Claws help the tamarins grip branches, since their fingers are small and non-opposable.
- Their long limbs and tail help make them excellent jumpers.
- Females have highly developed scent glands.
- Their tails help with balance, but are not prehensile
- Tamarins usually live in small territorial groups of 3 to 9, and defend their chosen area.
- The group consists usually of a mated pair and their young offspring.
- Cotton-tops are active from dawn until dusk (diurnal) usually grooming, sunbathing, or stretching out on a perch, with rest at midday.
- They have a highly developed vocal repertoire with at least 38 distinct vocalizations.
- They make a variety of noises including whistles, screeches, squeaks, and warbles.
- They have specific vocals for alarm, food, levels of aggression, and submission.
- Some of their calls are too high-pitched for even humans to hear.
- IUCN: Critically Endangered
- CITES: Appendix I
- Native people used to kill the Cotton-top tamarin for its tender flesh.
- During the late 1960s and early 1970s, between 20,000 and 40,000 cotton-top tamarins were imported into the U.S. for biomedical research.
- Tamarins are found to develop colonic adenocarcinoma (colon cancer) and were used for in-depth studies of colon cancer.
- The species is now listed as critically endangered and exportation has been banned.
- CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
- IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org
- Burnie, David and Don E. Wilson. Smithsonian Institution. Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. New York, New York. DK Publishing, Inc. 2001.
- "Cotton-headed Tamarin (Saguinous oedipus)". ARKive. 2011. 28 December 2012. www.arkive.org/cotton-headed-tamarin/saguinus-oedipus/