Pygmy Marmoset Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Pygmy Marmoset

Scientific Name:

Cebuella pygmaea

Wild Status:

Least Concern




Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia


River-edge forests and evergreen

Life Span:

12 years


Head to body 4 to 6 inches, and weighs 3.5 ounces

Cool Facts:

  • The Pygmy Marmoset is the world's smallest monkey.
  • They can rotate their heads 180 degrees.
  • The tail is longer than it's body.
  • They always give birth to twins.
  • They can leap 15 feet into the air.
  • They travel in groups of up to 9 monkeys and this is called a troop.
  • The parents stay together for life and never leave each others sides unless they absolutely have to.
  • Their main predators are pit vipers, ocelots, margay, oncilla and jaguarundi.


The Pygmy marmoset can be found in the Amazon Basin of South America and Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador. They are found in the evergreens river-edge forests and rainforests. They are gummivores, which means their diet consists primarily of the gums and saps of tress and bugs for protein. They live in groups of 2 to 9 which is called a troop. In the troop there is a dominant male, a breeding female, and up to 4 litters of offspring. They are able to communicate with each other using vocal, chemical, and visual signals. If threatened, the males can also do a visual display to show dominance. When the female is ready to mate, chemical secretions on the glands on her chest and genital area signal the male that she is ready. Every birth will produce twins and can happen twice a year. The troop helps with caring for the babies. The young will stay with their troop for about 2 consecutive birth cycles.  Baby marmosets babble and communicate with their parents.  Male marmosets are responsible for carrying the babies on their backs. Pygmy Marmoset's are the world's tiniest monkeys. The females are slightly larger. They can turn their heads 180 degrees and have claw like nails which enable them to cling to trees. Their teeth have adapted so that they can eat sap, and they have a larger cecum which helps with the breakdown in their stomach of the sap because it takes longer to digest. They also like to eat butterflies, nectar and fruit.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Primates Family: Callitrichidae Genus: Cebuella Species: Cebuella pygmaea

Conservation & Helping:

Pygmy Marmosets are listed as least concern but are threatened by habitat loss and the illegal pet trade. It is illegal to import or export these monkeys in South America.

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