Silvery marmoset

Common Name: Silvery marmoset

Scientific Name: Mico argentatus

 Within Life Among the Trees behind Marwell Hall and mixed with white-faced saki monkeys and golden-headed lion tamarins.

Silvery marmosets spend most of their time in the middle and lower forest canopy, where there is dense foliage for them to forage and take cover in.

These marmosets are territorial, and although their territories may overlap a little with other family groups, they will defend the areas of their territory which contain the best and most reliable food resources against other groups.

Marmosets are able to leap from tree trunk to tree trunk, gripping onto the tree bark with their claw-like nails.

Fast Facts

  • Status

    Least Concern

  • Size

    Head-body: 20-22 cm; tail: 26-33 cm

  • Weight

    Males: 349 g; females: 406 g

  • Gestation

    130-150 days

  • Young


  • Life span

    Up to 16 years

In the wild

Silvery marmosets eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, flowers, nectar and plant exudates (gums, saps and latex), as well as small animal prey such as frogs, snails, lizards, spiders and insects.

These primates are found in the north-east of Brazil in fairly flat, lowland forest. They live in habitats with dense vegetation, such as forests of secondary growth (which have been logged or managed) and the edges of forests.

Silvery marmosets live in family groups of between four and eleven individuals, which tend to be comprised of one adult female, one or more adult males and young of various ages. Usually only one female in each family group will breed, and she will generally give birth to twins twice a year.  The young are weaned at three months of age.  Other group members help with raising the young, for example by carrying them and providing them with food.  The helpers may benefit from this arrangement because they get the chance to practise parenting skills, they may improve their chances of being able to breed themselves, and males may be able to get more access to the breeding female.

Due to their small size and the fact that they are active during the day, marmosets are targets for a wide range of predators. Potential predators include snakes, cats, buzzards, falcons, hawks and eagles. Marmosets attempt to stay safe by staying in the cover of thick vegetation and working as a group to stay alert to threats.  If danger is spotted they give alarm calls, and the whole group will quickly move into cover and freeze. They also choose sleeping sites where they can hide out of view, for example in tree holes or thick foliage. When they move to and from their sleeping site they move very quietly and carefully so they don’t attract the attention of predators.

Silvery marmosets are found across a fairly wide range, and they are an adaptable species able to survive in disturbed forest and forest fragments. This has meant that they are categorised as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List despite the habitat loss occurring in their range.  These marmosets are found in two national forests and are listed on Appendix II of CITES, which means that the trade of this species or any of its parts is restricted.

Meet Marwell's Silvery marmoset

Meet Marwell's Silvery marmoset

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