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1 December 2004 The Mottled-face Tamarin, Saguinus inustus, in the Amanã Sustainable Development Reserve, Amazonas, Brazil
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The mottled-face tamarin, Saguinus inustus (Schwarz, 1951), has never been studied in the wild, and its distribution, ecology and behavior are virtually unknown. It occurs in southeastern Colombia, between the Ríos Caquetá, Yarí, and Guayabero/Guaviare, and extends into adjacent territory in Brazil between the Rios Japurá and Negro (Hernández-Camacho and Cooper, 1976; Hershkovitz, 1977; Hernández-Camacho and Defler, 1991; Defler, 2004). How far its range extends east between the Rios Japurá and Negro is not known. A. B. Rylands (unpubl., reported in Barnett et al., 2002) observed a group on the north bank of the Lago Amanã, north of the mouth of the Rio Japurá in 1980. Surveys by Rylands (1992) and Neri and Borges (1998) resulted in inconclusive reports of the species along the lower Rio Jaú and the Rio Uniní respectively, both in the Jaú National Park (Barnett et al., 2002). Iwanaga (2004) was the first to confirm its presence in the park, on the upper Rio Jaú in the west at the site called Monteiro (02°36′22″S, 63°21′27″W). Iwanaga (2004) also noted that they were reported to be common by local people on the upper Rio Uniní. Here we record the presence of S. inustus in the Amanã Sustainable Development Reserve in the southwestern part of the Rios Negro and Japurá interfluvial region.

The Amanã Sustainable Development Reserve (SDR) of 2,350,000 ha is part of one of the largest blocks of continuous protected forests in the world, linking the Mamirauá SDR of 1,124,000 ha to its southwest and the Jaú National Park of 2,378,410 ha to the east, in the north-central part of the state of Amazonas (Fig. 1). The vegetation there is predominantly tall terra firma forest interspersed with flooded forests (várzea and igapó) and some small areas of white sand forest or campinarana (Ayres et al., 1997).

Figure 1.

The Amanã State Sustainable Development Reserve in the state of Amazonas (AM), central Amazon.


In June of 2001, we were participating in the first expedition of a faunal survey in the vicinity of the head of the Lago Amanã, near the village of Comunidade Boa Esperança (CBE) in the municipality of Maraã (02°28′12″S, 64°44′27″W) (Figure 1). There we found a dead adult male mottled-face tamarin, S. inustus, killed by local people from the Comunidade (Fig. 2). It was wild (not a pet), one of a group occupying secondary forest scrub behind the village. The skin is preserved in the reference collection of the Instituto de Desenvolvimento Sustentável Mamirauá (IDSM), Tefé. The skin of its face was almost completely unpigmented and the hair melanic, as described by Hershkovitz (1977) features considered typical for this species (Fig. 3). The fur of the rest of the body was entirely black, with the exception of the mantle, which was dark brown. It weighed approximately 500 g and had a total length (head to tail tip) of 700 mm.

Figure 2.

Adult male of Saguinus inustus killed by local inhabitants of the Amanã State Sustainable Development Reserve, Amazonas.


Figure 3.

The mottled face of Saguinus inustus.


During our surveys, we saw groups of S. inustus foraging in secondary (around abandoned cultivated plots) and primary forest in the vicinity of the CBE, and also in the terra firma forests by the Juá Grande Igarapé (creek) (L. Souza, pers. obs.). Mottled-face tamarins are not hunted due to their small size, but they are occasionally captured by the local people to be raised as pets (Fig. 4). Other primates known in this area and recorded during the survey were the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus), capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella and Cebus albifrons), the collared titi (Callicebus torquatus), the red howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus) and the blackheaded uakari (Cacajao melanocephalus). The Amanã SDR is within the geographic range of the noisy night monkey, Aotus vociferans, as indicated by Hershkovitz (1983), but none were seen by our survey team. Three other primates that may occur in the area but have not been recorded there to date are members of the genera Pithecia, Ateles and Lagothrix.

Figure 4.

A juvenile pet S. inustus.


This note records the presence of groups of S. inustus in the Amanã Sustainable Development Reserve on the lower Rio Japurá, more than 300 km west of the locality recorded by Iwanaga (2004) in the Jaú National Park. Additional field surveys are needed to determine the northern limits of its range in Brazil and the more exact delimitation of its range further east towards the lower Rio Negro.


It was the late José Márcio Ayres who made this study of the fauna and flora of the Amanã State Sustainable Development Reserve possible. We also thank the inhabitants of the Comunidade Boa Esperança, who provided information regarding this species and others in the reserve, and the Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development (IDSM-OS/MCT) for financial and logistical support of the field expeditions, and especially to Josivaldo F. Modesto, coordinator of operations of IDSM.


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[1] Luciane L. de Souza, Postgraduate Program in Zoology, Universidade Federal do Pará/Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Caixa Postal 399, Belém 66040-170, Pará, Brazil, e-mail: <>

[2] Helder L. de Queiroz, Diretor Científico, Instituto de Desenvolvimento Sustentável Mamirauá, Avenida Brasil 195, Juruá, Caixa Postal 38, Tefé 69470-000, Amazonas, Brazil, e-mail: <>

[3] José Márcio Ayres,erstwhile researcher at the Museu Paraense Emiílio Goeldi, Belém, founder of the Instituto de Desenvolvimento Sustentável Mamirauá, Tefé (deceased March, 2003).

Luciane L. de Souza, Helder L. Queiroz, and José Márcio Ayres "The Mottled-face Tamarin, Saguinus inustus, in the Amanã Sustainable Development Reserve, Amazonas, Brazil," Neotropical Primates 12(3), (1 December 2004).
Published: 1 December 2004

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