The geographic range of the Leontopithecus caissara is limited to about 17,300 hectares in southeastern Brazil (Massicot, 2001). It was first discovered in 1990 and was thought to exist only on the small island of Superagui in the state of Parana. It has since been observed on the mainland in the adjacent state of Sao Paulo (Kleiman and Mallison, 1998).
L. caissara occupies deciduous rainforests (Flannery, 2001).
All four species of lion tamarins, including L. caissara, are also known as "Kings of the Jungle." Their tiny wrinkled faces are surrounded by tufts of hair that resemble a lion's mane. The mane, arms, and tail of L. caissara, are black, whereas the rest of the body has a golden color to it. Tamarins in general are monkeys the size of large squirrels (Newsweek, 1990). The average body mass is about 600 g, and the average length is about 30.5 cm (without the tail). The tail can be up to 43.2 cm long (Massicot, 2001). These tamarins have non-opposable thumbs, long digits for getting at insects and fruit, and claw-like nails for digging up insects under the bark of trees (Flannery, 2001).
These animals mate monogamously. Male and female maintain a territory, on which they tollerate their non-breeding offspring.
Black-faced lion tamarins are fairly social mammals living in groups ranging from 2 to 11 members (Massicot, 2001). They are mostly monogamous and both the male and female care for the young. They mate once a year and give birth usually to two offspring at a time, although triplets and quadruplets have been seen in the wild. Young are born fully furred with their eyes open (Nowak, 1999). The older twins from the previous year tend to remain and help raise the new young (Harper). The father carries the infants around while the mother nurses them every 2-3 hours. The birth peak is from September to March (Flannery, 2001). Weaning usually occurs by 12 weeks of age in captivity . Females reach sexually maturity around 18 months of age, whereas males mature sexually around 24 months (Nowak, 1999).
As in all mammals, the mother nurses the young. The father is attentive in tamarins, however, and begins carrying the young part of the time within a few weeks of birth. By three weeks, the father has charge of the young almost all the time, except when they are nursing. Young from a previous litter may also help to carry the infants (Nowak, 1999).
Lifespan in this species has not been reported, but in another member of the same genus, L. rosalia, one individual lived in captivity for over 28 years (Nowak, 1999).
Black-faced lion tamarins are diurnal and they seek shelter at night in tree cavities or holes. They are sensitive to direct sunlight and therefore spend the hottest parts of the day sheltered by the dense vegetation of the rainforest (The Wild Ones Animal Index, 2000).
Black-faced lion tamarins are primarily frugivorous, feeding on fruit, flowers, gum and nectar. However, they also eat insects, which they find under the bark of trees, as well as small lizards and snakes (Massicot, 2001).
Black-faced lion tamarins vary their sleeping spots to avoid predation (Harper). Some predators that have been reported include black-hawk eagles, jaguar, jaguraundi, ocelot, ornate hawk-eagles, and tayra.
Because it eats fruit, this species helps to disperse seeds. It also likely has some effect on populations of insects, snakes, and small lizards because of its predatory behavior on these animals. Because L. caissara is also a prey item, fluctuations in the population of these primates probably has some effect on its predators.
Impact of this species on humans is very limited, due to the small size of the population. However, as with all endangered primates, there is likely some ecotourism generated from these animals.
No negative impact has been indicated in the literature.
Black-faced lion tamarins are among of the world's rarest mammals and the species listed as critically endangered by the IUCN (Massicot, 2001). The estimated wild population of this animal is less than 300 individuals (Harper). There are several groups working to protect the tamarins and their habitat. Such groups include Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas, whose goal is to collect information regarding the natural history of this animal, along with basic habitat and behavioral data. This information is then used to educate the public, especially those living in or near the habitat of the tamarin (Prado). The group "Wildinvest," is working to help fund conservation projects for endangered or threatened animals such as black-faced lion tamarins. This group is supporting the black-faced lion tamarin conservation project, which is working to protect and restore the habitat, educate the public of the importance of conservation, as well as employing many other conservation management strategies (Massicot, 2001).
Pam Martin (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Chris Yahnke (editor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
union of egg and spermatozoan
an animal that mainly eats fruit
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
fertilization takes place within the female's body
animals that live only on an island or set of islands.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
Having one mate at a time.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
uses touch to communicate
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
The term is used in the 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals to refer collectively to species categorized as Endangered (E), Vulnerable (V), Rare (R), Indeterminate (I), or Insufficiently Known (K) and in the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals to refer collectively to species categorized as Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN), or Vulnerable (VU).
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
1990. Man's Newest Furry Cousin. Newsweek, 116(1): 58.
1991. Stunning New Primate Found in Brazil. National Geographic, 180(4): 152.
Flannery, S. 2001. "Black-faced Lion Tamarin (*Leontopithecus caissara*)" (On-line). Accessed November 17, 2001 at http://members.tripod.com/uakari/leontopithecus_caissara.html.
Harper, M. Date Unknown. "Wild Invest - Direct Investment in Endangered Species" (On-line). Accessed November 28, 2001 at http://www.wildinvest.com/tamarin.html.
Kleiman, , Mallinson. 1998. Recovery and Management Committees for Lion Tamarins. Conservation Biology, 12(1): 27-38.
Massicot, P. 2001. "Animal Info- Information on Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Animals" (On-line). Accessed November 17, 2001 at http://www.animalinfo.org/species/primate/leoncais.htm#profile.
Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Prado, F. Date Unknown. "The Conservation of the Black-faced Lion Tamarin" (On-line). Accessed November 18, 2001 at http://www.ipe.org.br/INGLES/mlcp.htm.
The Wild Ones. Org, 2000. "The Wild Ones Animal Index" (On-line). Accessed November 24, 2001 at http://www.thewildones.org/Animals/bflt.html.