The Pied tamarin is white on its shoulders and front, with a striking dark brown back, hind part and upper tail. The fur lightens to a rust color on the lower belly, inner thighs and underside of the tail. The bald head has black skin and the large ears add to the distinguished appearance of this species.
Of the many kinds of small South American monkeys known as tamarins, most exhibit highly contrasting colors. This species is no exception. Most of its fur is dark, but its feet are bright orange. Another common name is Golden-handed tamarin, reflecting its scientific name, which commemorates King Midas and his mythical golden touch. This monkey is abundant in its Northeastern South American Range.
Of the two subspecies of Emperor tamarins, this one, with a dark tail and no beard, is the less common in captivity. It is found in a small area of Brazil and Peru. Like other tamarins, the male takes care of the twins (the most common sort of birth), giving them to the female only to nurse. They usually stay with their family group (led by a dominant female) for around two years.