There are two subspecies of Emperor tamarin found in the south west Amazon Basin. The bearded emperor tamarin inhabits the rainforests throughout Brazil and Peru, and the black-chinned emperor tamarin that actually has no beard and is distributed throughout the rainforests of Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia.
The Emperor tamarin is grey in colour, with black hands and feet and a brown tail. The distinctive and extremely impressive bearded of the Emperor tamarin monkey is white in colour.
The Emperor tamarin is a diurnal primate which means that the Emperor tamarin is most active during the day and rests in the safety of the tree tops during the night. Emperor tamarins are very sociable animals and inhabit their territory with their rest of the Emperor tamarin troop which generally have between 2 and 8 members. Emperor tamarin troops are led by the eldest female and have predominantly male members.
The Emperor tamarin is an omnivorous animal meaning that the Emperor tamarin hunts both plants and other animals in order to survive. Fruits, insects and green plants make up the majority of the Emperor tamarin's diet along with small rodents and reptiles, eggs and tree sap.
Due to the relatively small size of the Emperor tamarin, it has a number of predators within it's natural environment. Wild cats, dogs, snakes and birds of prey are primary predators of the Emperor tamarin, along with humans who are destroying their natural habitat.
The Emperor tamarin usually breeds between the months of April and July, when the female Emperor tamarin will give birth to twins (or a single infant) after a four to five month gestation period. The male Emperor tamarins carry and groom infants more than the females do, but females clean the infant more than the males do. Older siblings are also known to contribute to infant care, although infants prefer to be carried by their parents than by their siblings. Infant Emperor tamarins become mobile at 2 to 5 weeks, and begin eating solid food at 4 to 7 weeks. They are independent at 10 to 18 weeks and are fully weaned at 15 to 25 weeks. Sexual maturity is attained at about 2 years of age.
Today, although not considered to be a species that is in imminent danger from extinction, the Emperor tamarin population numbers are rapidly declining due to deforestation causing habitat loss in their natural environment.