13 Amazing Small Monkey Species (Facts, Photos And More)

Small monkey species

Just like other animals, there are several small monkey species that come in varying sizes and shapes. In this article we will explore these monkeys.

But, first things first;

The world`s smallest monkey is the Pygmy marmoset weighing just about 3 to 4 ounces and about 4 to 6 inches long! Its tail which is about 9 inches, is longer than its body and comes in handy for balance.

And yes you are right, the pygmy monkey is not the only small cute monkey, others include: Tarsiers, Roosmalen’s Dwarf Marmoset, Silvery Marmoset, Squirrel Monkey, Night monkeys and many more that we will cover in this article.

Here we go!

13 Small Monkey Species

These are the top 13 small monkey species we have in the world today;

1. Pygmy marmoset

Pygmy marmoset, small monkey species
  • Weight: 3 to 5 ounces (85 to 140 g)
  • Body Length: 4.6 to 6.2 inches (12 to 16 cm)
  • Tail length: 6.8 to 9 inches (17 to 23 cm)

The world`s smallest monkey is the Pygmy marmoset weighing just about 3 to 5 ounces and 4.6 to 6.2 inches tall! Its tail which is about 9 inches is longer than its body and comes in handy for balance as the monkey moves among trees.

This species has an average lifespan of 12 years. Its appearance consists of a brownish, grey, and black back and head, yellow-orange underparts, and a tail with black stripes.

Due to its habit of scaling up trees, the pygmy marmoset has developed a variety of adaptations including claw nails to hold onto branches, and specialized incisors to feed on gum and sap.

2. Tarsiers

Tarsier on a tree bark
  • Weight: 2.8 to 5.6 ounces (80 to 160 g)
  • Body Length: 3 to 5 inches
  • Tail length: 7 to 9 inches
  • Eyeball: 0.63 inches

Tarsiers are small in size with large eyes which can grow to be as big as their brains

They are native to the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, tarsiers belong to a class known as haplorrhine primates.

Their habitats are found in forested areas which have woody vines which support tarsiers as they climb trees.

On average, tarsiers live for 2 to 8 years and 8 to 12 years in captivity. Their hind legs are adapted to be twice as long as their body length aiding in vertical clinging and leaping.

Tarsiers are nocturnal animals with a primarily carnivorous diet consisting of arthropods such as snakes, bats, and lizards.

3. Roosmalen’s Dwarf Marmoset

  • Weight: 5.5 to 6.5 ounces (150 to 185 g)
  • Body Length: 15 to 15.5 inches (38 to 39 cm)
  • Tail length: 8.5 to 9.5 inches (22 to 24 cm)

Native to the Amazon rainforest, the Roosmalen`s Dwarf Marmoset is a new world monkey species.  

This monkey is also known as known as the black-crowned dwarf marmoset. Its appearance consists of olive-brown upperparts, pale yellow underparts, a pale pink face, and a black crown.

Due to its diet which mainly consists of sap, it has developed claw-like nails to adapt to its diet.

4. Silvery Marmoset

Silvery Marmoset
  • Weight: 11 to 14 ounces (300 to 400 g)
  • Body Length: 7.1 to 11 inches (18 to 28 cm)

The Silvery Marmoset is endemic to the Eastern Amazon rainforest in Brazil. The Silvery Marmoset is known for its whitish, silvery grey appearance with flesh-colored ears and a dark tail.

On average, this species has a lifespan of about 16 years.

Silvery Marmosets are diurnal and arboreal largely being rain forest and plantation inhabitants. Although their diet mostly consists of tree saps, they also feed on bird eggs, insects and fruits.

5. Common Marmoset

  • Weight:  14 ounces (400 g)
  • Body Length: 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm)
  • Tail length: 10 to 16 inches (25 to 40 cm)

Native to Brazil, the common marmoset is a New World monkey with an average lifespan of 12 years.

The common marmoset is multicolored spotting brown and grey with white ear tufts and a banded tail.

Their diet consists mostly of plant exudates such as gum, sap, and resin as well as insects. Due to its diet, the common marmoset has developed claw-like nails, incisor shape, and gut specialization to better accommodate its diet.

6. Cotton-top Tamarin

cotton-top tamarin
  • Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Body Length: 8.2 to 10.2 inches
  • Tail length: 13 to 16 inches

Native to Colombia, the Cotton-Top Tamarin is one of the smaller monkey species.

Male and female species are sexually dimorphic meaning they are of similar size and weight.

Cotton-top tamarin lives for an average of 13 years in the wild and 24 years in captivity. Their appearance consists of white hairs from the forehead to over its shoulder with a black face, brown back, and whitish underside.

Its main habitat is tropical forests mostly feeding on insects and plant exudates (nectar and sap).

Due to its small size, its diet needs to be high quality and high energy. The cotton-top tamarin will usually communicate through bird-like whistles, staccato calls, and soft chirping sounds. Scientists have discovered that these sounds are very sophisticated to the point of translating to grammar.

7. Talapoin

Talapoin, a small monkey species
  • Weight: 46 ounces (male) and 28 ounces  (female)
  • Body Length: 12 to 18 inches (32 to 45 cm) 

The talapoin monkey is the smallest species of the Old World Monkeys. [2]

It is native to the Central Africa region and has its lifespan averages about 28 years in captivity. Talapoin monkeys will usually spot green fur with a whitish underside, typically 12 to 18 inches long and an approximate weight of 46 and 28 ounces for males and females respectively.

Omnivorous by nature, their diet will typically consist of fruits, shellfish, small vertebrates, seeds, aquatic plants, and insects.

Their habitat in turn mirrors this preference as they are mostly found in rainforests or mangrove forests that are near water. Talapoins have adapted to swimming and looking for food in water bodies.

8. Squirrel Monkey

squirrel monkey

Native to Central and South America, the squirrel monkey weighs approximately 26 to 39 inches and 18 to 26 inches for males and females respectively. The monkey will typically be 9 to 13 inches long with a tail (14 to 17 inches) longer than its body.

Its lifespan is approximately 25 years.

Squirrel monkeys have a yellow-orange back with black shoulders. Just like other New World monkeys, squirrel monkeys are diurnal and arboreal preferring rain forest ad mangrove forest environments.

These monkeys have an omnivorous diet primarily feeding on insects and fruits.

Squirrel monkeys only sweat on the palms of their hands and the soles of feet and have developed adaptations to regulate heat including seeking out shaded areas and changing postures to emit heat from their body.

9. Dusky Titi

Native to Brazil, the Dusky Titi are also known as red-bellied titi. It has an average length of 13.1 inches for males, 13.0 inches for females, and an approximate weight of (1.87–2.65 lbs) for males and (1.54–2.25 lbs) for females.

Dusky titis are known to live for more than 25 years in the wild.

They have long soft fur with a reddish underbelly and is commonly spotted with a hunched-over posture. Like other New World Monkeys, the dusky titi is diurnal having an active period during the daytime and remaining inactive at night.

The dusky titi has an omnivorous diet feeding on fruits, insects, spiders, and bird`s eggs. The dusky titi will utilize a variety of facial expressions and postures as visual signs such as swaying its body and lowering its head to indicate disturbance.

10. Night Monkey

Night monkey, Owl monkeys or douroucoulis, small monkey species

Comprising of about 11 different species, the night monkey is endemic to Panama and South America primarily in tropical and rain forests. Information from studies carried out reveals that their weight is sexually dysmorphic, with the only difference being across different species.

Night monkeys are known to live 16 to 20 years in the wild and 25 years in captivity. For instance, the Azara night monkey weighs heaviest with approximately 44 ounces while the Brumback night monkey weighs the lightest with at most 30 ounces.

Being nocturnal animals, night monkeys have large brown eyes to assist their vision.

The night monkey cannot see color, which is assumed to be linked to their nocturnal habits. They primarily have a frugivorous diet, feeding directly on fruits except for a few species who feed on insects.

11. Golden Lion Tamarins

Golden Lion Tamarin

The golden lion tamarin is a new world monkey native to the coastal forests of Brazil. As the name suggests, this species spots a bright red and orange appearance with long hairs around the face and ears.

These tamarins can live for 8 years in the wild and more than 20 years in captivity. It will normally have an approximate body length of 10.3 inches and a weight of around 21 ounces. Their diet is omnivorous feeding on fruits, bird eggs, insects, and flowers.

The golden lion tamarin has developed adaptations including its elongated fingers that can seek out prey from crevices and other hiding places.

12.  Graells’s Tamarin

Graells's Tamarins, Saguinus nigricollis graellsi

Native to Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, Graell`s tamarin is a subspecies of the black mantled tamarin. This subspecies differs from the black mantled tamarin due to its olive-brown appearance. [3]

The Graells’s Tamarin has a body length of 7.8 to 12 inches long and weighs about7.9 and 32 ounces. 

A List of Small Monkey Species

Monkey SpeciesWeightBody Length
Pygmy marmoset  3 to 5 ounces4.6 to 6.2 inches
Tarsiers  2.8 to 5.6 ounces3 to 5 inches
Roosmalen’s Dwarf Marmoset  5.5 to 6.5 ounces15 to 15.5 inches
Silvery Marmoset  11 to 14 ounces7.1 to 11 inches
Common Marmoset  14 ounces6 to 10 inches
Cotton-top Tamarin  15.2 ounces8.2 to 10.2 inches
Talapoin  46 ounces (male)12 to 18 inches
Squirrel Monkey  26 to 39 inches (male)9 to 13 inches
Dusky Titi  1.87 to 2.65 lbs (male)  13 to 13.1 inches
Night Monkey  30 to 44 ounces6.7 to 9.4 inches
Golden Lion Tamarins  21 ounces10.3 inches
Graells’s Tamarin  7.9 and 32 ounces  7.8 to 12 inches

Small Monkey Species Chart

Small Monkey Species Chart


Recent Posts