A comparative analysis of the gastrointestinal tracts of wild caught marmosets, Callithrix emiliae, and tamarins, Saguinus fuscicollis weddelli, was undertaken in order to evaluate the degree of specialisation for digestion of plant exudates. Compared to S.f. weddelli, C. emiliae exhibits a reduced small intestine and a relatively large, compartmentalised caecum in which gum is probably fermented. The apparent specialisation of the digestive tract in C. emiliae correlates with that of its dentition, which is adapted for gouging the bark of gum-producing plants. A similar degree of specialisation of the caecum is predicted for other marmosets (Callithrix spp. and Cebuella pygmaea). © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.