Black lion tamarin (BLT) monkeys (Leontopithecus chrysopygus) have suffered a severe reduction in their natural range and are consequently critically endangered. Because allozyme data showed very low levels of variation, it was not clear if these monkeys had much genetic diversity. We designed microsatellite primers for BLTs, and from them we identified nine polymorphic loci, seven of which were tested on golden lion tamarins (GLTs) (Leontopithecus rosalia). All of the seven polymorphic loci and two other monomorphic BLT loci were polymorphic in GLTs. The microsatellite markers identified here are directly applicable to ongoing lion tamarin population and conservation genetics studies.