The macaque, a monkey very present in Asia


Originally fromAfrica, the macaque colonized the Asian continent where it has adapted to almost all habitats. From the mountain to the city, the animal has the division the largest of all primates in the world, except homo sapiens.

The macaque, a catarhine monkey

Macaques (Macaca) form a genus of primates of the Cercopithecidae family. They are monkeys catarhines (from the Greek “cata”: down and “rhinos”: nose). This suborder name is attributed to the primates of Africa and Asia having in common nostrils close together, 32 teeth and a non-prehensile tail. There are 19 species of macaques in the world including the macaque Japanese who, as the name suggests, lives in the land of the rising sun. This one is the most northern of all monkeys and resists extreme cold thanks to its thick fur and robust constitution.

Cheekbones to store food

The coat of macaques displays all the nuances of brown, ranging from beige to black. Some species are distinguished by a pink or even red face. Primates have cheekbones, two pockets that open in the mouth and in which they can store food to savor it later. More massive than females, males have large canines that they do not use to eat but to show their dominance. It is indeed towards individuals with the longest canines that the females turn during the breeding season.

The macaque: arboreal and terrestrial

Two horny parts on the rump form calluses glutes allowing primates to sit for long hours to rest or sleep in trees. Certain species mainly arboreal can be recognized by their long tail which acts as a pendulum when they pass from branch to branch. These species are lighter than the others (from 5 to 9 kg for males). All display feet and hands withfingernails facilitating locomotion sometimes arboreal sometimes earthly. Macaques living mainly on the ground have a short tail and a heavier body (between 10 and 18 kg).

The macaque: from Africa to Asia

Native to Africa, the Catarhine monkeys have dispersed over much of the continent and the islands of theAsia South and Southeast: from Afghanistan to Japan, via the China, Taiwan to Indonesia. Today, of the 19 species spread across the globe, only the Barbary macaque (nest egg) still lives on the African continent (Algeria, Morocco) and the European continent (Gibraltar). By colonizing a wide variety of natural environments, the macaque has the most vast of all primates except man.

The macaque adapts to all habitats

The ability toadaptation macaque allows it to live in all kinds of habitats: plains or mountains up to 4000 m altitude, humid or temperate tropical forests, open woods, mangroves, swamps or semi-desert regions, grasslands and beaches. Two different species can evolve in same backgrounds, such as the pig-tailed macaque and the crab-eating macaque which both inhabit the islands of Indonesia. The primate can live in cities like New Delhi in India or in Singapore.

Plants and insects for the macaque

Groups of macaques live on a territory of a few square kilometers where they spend several hours helping each other to find food: fruits, grass, roots, bark, seeds, buds, leaves, flowers, mushrooms but also insects constitute the main part of their diet. After feeding during the day, macaques sleep at night in trees where they feel more healthy. security in the heights.

The macaque, a rather conciliatory monkey

The macaque is a social ape and gregarious which evolves in a group of ten individuals mixing members of each sex. Only females always remain in the same clan. Community life is tinged with both cooperation and competition. Very regular, the grooming Mutual aims on the one hand to eliminate parasites and on the other hand to maintain relations social. When a conflict arises, monkeys cry a lot but generally avoid biting each other. A submission or a sign ofappeasement usually punctuates a quarrel with a final point. A hug or delousing can also crown reconciliation.

The macaque’s highly developed maternal instinct

In several species of macaques, the rump of the female swells around the perineal area when ready for breeding. At the end of a gestation almost six months old, only one baby is born at a time (every year or every two years) that his mother nurses during the first months of his life. This takes him everywhere, making him share all his activities by keeping him constantly tight against her. If the mother allows it, other females can wear it. The young remains in the maternal bosom for a long time and will not be completely weaned until the age of two.

The macaque: adolescent to four years

Young people grow up slowly and are teenagers around four years old. Females reach the sexual maturity between four and six years old on average but will not have a fully adult body until around seven years old while males have to wait eight or nine years. By this age, they will have already severed family ties and left their original group, thus avoiding consanguinity. To escape the dangers, young males traveling alone form small groups of singles who roam together. Then the hour will strike for the male to integrate a group and to anchor itself there definitively.

The macaque, threatened all over the world

The leopard and the python represent the main predators natural macaque. The primate is also threatened by human activities: destruction of its habitat (deforestation), hunt for their flesh or their fur, capture for medical research or to become a pet. Everywhere, its populations have experienced a sharp decline since the second half of the XXe century. The lifespan of the macaque is 20 to 25 years in the wild and 30 years in captivity.