Navigation Menu+

Geoffroy Week: Geoffroy’s Marmoset (Callithrix geoffroyi)

Posted on Jul 23, 2013 by in Primates, Theme Weeks | 6 comments

Callithrix geoffroyi

Number 0427

I’m unhappy with this marmoset drawing. The eyes are too far apart. But I had already spent a very long time working on a composition that showed the beautiful feathery tortoiseshell fur on the marmoset’s back, and it just didn’t work, and I had to finally just draw something, no matter how unsatisfactory, so here. (I blame the Lefty Frizzell I was listening to. It went a little better when I switched to Emmylou Harris. Except her album has a song about Lefty Frizzell, which probably explains why I still didn’t get into the groove. Lefty Frizzell isn’t good mammaling music, it turns out.)

This is the latest mammal for us to meet in Geoffroy week, which features mammals named after Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, a French naturalist who lived in the 18th and 19th centuries. This marmoset was named by Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt, a fancy Prussian naturalist. Humboldt Bay, on the northern California coast, is named for the baron, and Humboldt County is named for the bay. There is also a Humboldt current in the Pacific off of South America, and it’s also named after Alexander von Humboldt.

Geoffroy’s marmoset, which is also known as the white-faced, white-fronted, or tufted-ear marmoset, lives in Brazil and is pretty abundant. It’s a gummivore, which is a type of exudativore! I talked about exudativores when I drew a different (painfully similar in composition) marmoset; they’re creatures that eat tree saps, resins, and gums. Gummivores, as you can perhaps guess, eat the gums specifically.

Callithrix, this marmoset’s genus name, means beautiful hair, and the logic behind that is clear.


  1. I’m sorry you’re not happy with the drawing, Jennifer. The eyes are gorgeous and definitely convey the intensity of the original! I think it’s a marvelous marmoset.

    • Thank you very much, Ted. I just don’t think I did it justice.

  2. Ted is right–the eyes are gorgeous. I like this drawing.

    • Well, thank you very much. I don’t mind the eyes themselves, but I think they’re too far apart. Or maybe that’s not even what’s bothering me. I’m looking at my sketch for the drawing, and I like it—it’s just the finished thing I don’t like. But I’m glad you don’t agree.

  3. Marmosets are very small, right? I didn’t know there was any such thing as a gummivore!

    • I didn’t know either, Jeane. Yes, they’re about a foot long and weigh about half a pound, these marmosets.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.