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A member of Fundación Raíz Ecuador – Caemba discovered the world’s smallest primate

Stella de la Torre, founding member of Fundación Raíz Ecuador – Caemba, led a study confirming the existence of a new species of pygmy marmoset in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where it was previously believed that only one species existed.

According to El Universo, the study has been conducted since 2015 by Stella De la Torre, professor and researcher at the College of Biological and Environmental Sciences (COCIBA) of USFQ, in collaboration with primatologists from Northern Illinois University and University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in the United States, and from the Institute of Amazonian Research in Peru.

According to the researchers, the analyzed information allowed them to determine the existence of two species of marmosets in Ecuador. The Napo River separates these two species in Ecuador. In the northern Amazon, the species Cebuella pygmaea is located, while in the south inhabits the Cebuella niveiventris.

Photos: Pablo Yépez, Executive Director of Fundación Raíz Ecuador

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Fundación Raíz Ecuador congratulates Stella de la Torre for her important work contributing to science, biology, and above all, biodiversity conservation, in an area where Raíz works in favor of indigenous peoples, mainly Siekopai and Kichwa.

We are proud of her work, as it reaffirms the importance of scientific research and environmental conservation to preserve species like these. Deforestation, illegal hunting, and epidemics affect the sustainability of the habitats where these primates live, primarily gallery forests, riverbanks, and lagoons in the Amazon.

Species Characteristics

Pygmy marmosets are considered the smallest primates in the world. In adults, the length of the head and body together barely reaches 12 to 16 centimeters, and their weight ranges from 100 to 140 grams. They live in family groups composed of an adult male and female and their offspring of various ages.

The 2011 edition of the Red Book of Mammals of Ecuador determined that pygmy marmosets were listed as vulnerable species and, therefore, protected by the State. Their hunting, capture, and trafficking are punishable by imprisonment from one to three years.

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement

Fundación Raíz is dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), working with indigenous, Afro-Ecuadorian, Montubio, and Mestizo groups across Ecuador.

Our projects support various communities: Sionas, Siekopai, Kofan, Chachi, Kechwa, Waorani and Shuar, covering six linguistic families.

Our CAEMBA housing initiative focuses on the Afro-Ecuadorian and Montubio populations in Esmeraldas, addressing challenges of poverty and high crime rates. We commit to equitable treatment, opportunities for all, and the elimination of barriers to participation.

By valuing every voice and fostering community resilience, we aim to create a more inclusive, equitable society.

Our leadership is committed to DEI principles, ensuring our efforts reflect the diversity of the communities we serve and contribute to sustainable development and social justice.


Fundación Raíz está dedicada a la diversidad, equidad e inclusión (DEI), trabajando con grupos indígenas, afroecuatorianos, montubios y mestizos en todo Ecuador.

Nuestros proyectos apoyan a varias comunidades, Sionas, Siekopai, Kofan, Chachi, Kechwa, Waorani y Shuar, cubriendo seis familias lingüísticas. Nuestra iniciativa de vivienda CAEMBA se centra en las poblaciones afroecuatorianas y montubias en Esmeraldas, abordando desafíos de pobreza y altas tasas de criminalidad.

Nos comprometemos a un trato equitativo, oportunidades para todos y la eliminación de barreras para la participación. Valorando cada voz y fomentando la resiliencia comunitaria, aspiramos a crear una sociedad más inclusiva y equitativa.

Nuestro liderazgo está comprometido con los principios de DEI, asegurando que nuestros esfuerzos reflejen la diversidad de las comunidades que servimos y contribuyan al desarrollo sostenible y la justicia social.