Animal Info - Golden-rumped Lion Tamarin

(Other Names: Black Lion Tamarin, Mico Le„o Preto, Sagui, Sauim Preto)

Leontopithecus chrysopygus (L. rosalia c., Leontideus c.)

Status: Critically Endangered


Contents

1. Profile (Picture)
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, Taxonomy, Population Estimates, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Size and Weight, Habitat, Age to Maturity, Gestation Period, Birth Season, Birth Rate, Diet, Behavior, Social Organization, Density and Range, Minimum Viable Population)
5. References


Profile

Pictures: Golden-rumped Lion Tamarin #1 (10 Kb JPEG) (The Last Noah's Ark); Golden-rumped Lion Tamarin #2 (7 Kb JPEG) (Kids Ecology Corps

Lion tamarins have a mane derived from long hairs on the top of the head, cheeks and throat. The head and body length of the golden-rumped lion tamarin averages about 30 cm (12" ), and it weighs approximately 0.6 kg (1.3 lb).  It is mostly black with varying amounts of reddish-golden coloration on the rump, thighs and at the base of its tail. 

The golden-rumped lion tamarin occurs in primary lowland tropical forests up to 700 m (2300') in elevation, including semi-deciduous inland forests, humid coastal plain forests and littoral vegetation types. It prefers dense areas of vegetation, especially where bromeliads occur. Fruit, insects, nectar, and exudates comprise its diet. The golden-rumped lion tamarin is diurnal and predominantly arboreal. It spends most of its time in the middle levels of the forest at 7 - 15 m (23 - 50') above the ground, although it comes to the ground to forage for prey in leaf litter. Groups of golden-rumped lion tamarins include 2 - 11 members (average: 3.6 members). Groups have home ranges of 66 - 200 hectares (165 - 500 acres).

The golden-rumped lion tamarin once occupied a large forested area in the interior of the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, between the Rio Paranapanema and the Rio Tiete. Much of its habitat had been cleared by the early 1900's, and it was not seen between 1905 and 1970. In 1970 a small population was discovered in the Morro do Diabo State Park in southwest Sao Paulo. By 2003 a total of 11 highly fragmented populations were known, with the large majority in the Morro do Diabo State Park. 

More than 90% of the original Atlantic coastal forest, which contains the golden-rumped lion tamarin's habitat, has been lost or fragmented to obtain lumber and charcoal and to clear out areas for plantations, cattle pasture, and industry. Fire and hunting also are threats.  Even in reserves where the golden-rumped lion tamarin occurs, there are problems with squatters degrading and cutting down the few habitat patches that remain, and the fragmentation of its habitat is extreme. 


Tidbits

*** The golden-rumped lion tamarin is one of the world's rarest mammals.

*** The Jesuit Antonio Pigafetta, who documented Magellan's voyage around the world, referred to lion tamarins as "beautiful, simian-like cats similar to small lions." (Macdonald 2001)

*** Conservation of the golden-rumped lion tamarin may depend on providing for the exchange of individual tamarins between the widely scattered populations to promote genetic diversity. This would require convincing landowners to allow forested corridors to grow between the populations or translocating the animals as part of a management plan.

*** As part of an environmental education, landowners have agreed to preserve 5000 hectares (12,500 acres) of privately owned forest habitat of golden-rumped lion tamarins.


Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

Countries Where the Golden-rumped Lion Tamarin Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in Brazil (IUCN 2004).

Taxonomy:

In the past, the golden-rumped lion tamarin and the golden-headed lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysopygus) were both considered subspecies of the golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia). 

Population Estimates:

[Note: Figures given are for wild populations only.]

History of Distribution:

The golden-rumped lion tamarin has only been known from the interior of the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, between the Rio Paranapanema and the Rio Tiete, where it once occupied a large forested area. Much of its habitat had been cleared by the early 1900's and it was not seen between 1905 and 1970. In 1970 a small population was discovered in the Morro do Diabo State Park in southwest Sao Paulo. As of 1981 it was only known from the Morro do Diabo State Park and a second remnant population near Galia, Sao Paulo. By 2003 a total of 11 highly fragmented populations were known, with the large majority in the Morro do Diabo State Park (IUCN 2004, Medici et al. 2003).

Distribution Map #1 (7 Kb GIF)
Distribution Map #2 (275 Kb JPEG) (Inst. CiÍn. Biol.)

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

More than 90% of the original Atlantic coastal forest, which contains the golden-rumped lion tamarin's habitat, has been lost or fragmented to obtain lumber and charcoal and to clear out areas for plantations, cattle pasture, and industry. Fire and hunting also are threats.  Even in reserves where the golden-rumped lion tamarin occurs, there are problems with squatters degrading and cutting down the few habitat patches that remain, and the fragmentation of its habitat is extreme. (Rylands et al. 1996/7, Macdonald 2001).


Data on Biology and Ecology

Size and Weight:

The head and body length of the golden-rumped lion tamarin is 26 - 33 cm (10 - 13"). The tail is even longer. It weighs 0.54 - 0.69 kg (1.2 - 1.5 lb). (Rowe 1996)  Males are larger than females (Emmons & Feer 1997).

Habitat:

Although lion tamarins exploit forest in early stages of succession, they depend on tall, mature forest for their sleeping holes, which are dug out by woodpeckers, and for sufficient animal prey foraging sites, especially bromeliad epiphytes and leaf litter piles in vines and palm-tree crowns. (Macdonald 2001)

The golden-rumped lion tamarin occurs in primary lowland tropical forests up to 700 m (2300') elevation, including semi-deciduous inland forests, humid coastal plain forests and littoral vegetation types (Emmons & Feer 1997). It prefers dense areas of vegetation, especially where bromeliads are found. (IBAMA 2004).

The golden-rumped lion tamarin is one of the species that live in both the Atlantic Forest Biodiversity Hotspot (Cons. Intl.) and the Brazilian Atlantic Forests Global 200 Ecoregion. (Olson & Dinerstein 1998, Olson & Dinerstein 1999)

Age to Maturity:

At least 24 months.

Gestation Period:

125 - 132 days. (Data mostly from populations of the related golden lion tamarin, Leontopithecus rosalia.)

Birth Season:

September - March. (Data mostly from populations of the related golden lion tamarin, Leontopithecus rosalia.)

Birth Rate:

Up to 2 offspring/female/year. Preliminary data on two years of observations on 4 groups showed:

  • 25% produced 0 young/year
  • 25% produced 1 young/year
  • 50% produced 2 young/year

(Seal et al. 1990)

Diet:

The golden-rumped lion tamarin eats fruit, insects, nectar, and exudates (it licks gums from palm tree trunks).  (Rowe 1996, Emmons & Feer 1997).

Behavior:

The golden-rumped lion tamarin is diurnal and predominantly arboreal. It spends most of its time in dense areas of vegetation in the middle levels of the forest, 7 - 15 m (23 - 50') above the ground, although it comes to the ground to forage for prey in the leaf litter and to catch insects. Its specialized hands have long fingers for probing crevices in tree bark to find insects. At night the whole group sleeps together in a tree hole.    (Rowe 1996, Emmons & Feer 1997, IBAMA 2004)

Social Organization:

Groups of golden-rumped lion tamarins comprise 2 - 11 members (average: 3.6 members), including 2 - 3 adults (Rowe 1996, Emmons & Feer 1997).

Density and Range:

Group home range: 66 - 200 hectares (165 - 500 acres) (Rowe 1996).

Minimum Viable Population:

Minimum viable population density: 2.2 individuals/sq km (5.7 individuals/sq mi) (Silva & Downing 1994).


References

Arkive, Ballou & van Roode 2002, Burton & Pearson 1987, Cons. Intl., Curry-Lindahl 1972, Emmons & Feer 1997, IBAMA 2004, Inst. CiÍn. Biol., IUCN 1968, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Kids Ecology Corps, Kleiman 1981, Kleiman & Mallinson 1998, The Last Noah's Ark, Macdonald 1984, Macdonald 2001, Mamede-Costa & Gobbi 1998, Medici et al. 2003, Natl. Zoo - Cons. Sci., Nowak & Paradiso 1983, Olson & Dinerstein 1998, Olson & Dinerstein 1999, Perry 1971, Rowe 1996, Rylands et al. 1996/7, Seal et al. 1990, Silva & Downing 1994, Stolzenburg 1993


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Last modified: September 10, 2006;

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