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Last updated date: 23rd May 2024
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Macaque Meaning

What is a macaque? Macaques are Old World monkeys, with an expansive geographical distribution of all non-human primates, across Asia, North Africa and South Europe. There are 22 macaque monkey species; the two often used in research and experiment is the:

  1. Cynomolgus Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)

  2. Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta)

Understanding the life history, ecology and behaviour of macaque species are crucial for rendering the best possible care in captivity and for obtaining the best quality science from these animals.

Acquaintance and Appreciation of life-history variables of a macaque (such as ecological niche, social management, reproduction & developmental stages) and natural behavioural repository can help to improve, for example, housing and enrichment layout & designing, ease of organizing of social groups, and the competency to train individuals for voluntary cooperation with scientific procedures, all of which will be advantageous to animal welfare.

Macaques that can exhibit a huge array of species-, age- and sex-specific behaviours are more prone to be able to manage the challenges propounded by husbandry and scientific protocols.

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Quick Facts of Macaque Monkey



Latin name

Macaca sylvanus







Conservation status


Macaque Characteristics

  • Barbary macaque monkeys are Europe’s only species of primate.

  • They survive in huge flocks and there is generally a matriarch, or dominant female, that supervises the whole group.

  • Where there’s a captain there’s also a second and third in line and within the bounds of a macaque troop, it’s no contrary as there’s a certain hierarchy or ranking system.

  • One thing you’ll observe about macaques is that they don’t appear to have a tail. They basically have what’s known as a ‘vestigial’ tail. This implies that over time the macaque has advanced and the tail has all but vanished as it’s no longer needed.

  • It’s not atypical to spot macaques grooming each other. The objective they do this is to decrease their stress levels and also to buttress the bonds within the group. Plus, it helps keep their fur bug free!

  • If you see macaques ‘jabber’ their teeth together, and then don’t get anxious, it’s not a sign of hostility. Of course, it’s a total opposite; it’s actually them being affectionate towards one another and ‘smiling.’

  • It is not just the female monkey (mum) who looks after the babies. Macaques basically practice something referred to as ‘alloparenting’. This is where other macaque monkeys help look after the baby even if they’re not directly linked with them.

  • Macaque monkeys mainly eat plants and all sorts of insects.

  • Macaques have a life span of roughly 20 years.

  • Predators of macaque mainly include dogs, eagles, and leopards.

Fun Facts About The Barbary Macaque

  • There are roughly 250 individuals surviving on the Rock of Gibraltar.

  • They can live in troops in a lot of 100.

  • Their name implies the Barbary Coast of North-West Africa.

  • They are very hardy –preferring both dry, cold weather and the hot.

  • They have huge cheek pouches that can carry as much food as their stomachs.

Macaque Monkey Description

Besides humans (genus Homo), the macaques are the most extensive primate genus, varying from Japan to the Indian subcontinent, and in the context of the barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus), to North Africa and Southern Europe. Twenty-three macaque species are presently recognized, all of which are Asian other than the Barbary Macaque; including some of the monkeys noted to non-zoologists, like the rhesus macaque (M. mulatta), and the Barbary macaque, a dominion of which resides on the Rock of Gibraltar in Southern Europe. Macaques are solid primates whose arms and legs are approximately the same in length. The fur of these animals is essentially differing shades of black or brown and their muzzles orbit around in profile with nostrils on the upper surface. The tail differs among each species that can be long, moderate, short or completely absent. Although some species of macaque lack tails, their common names refer to them as apes. These are true monkeys, with no intense link to the true apes than any other Old World monkeys. Rather, this appears from an earlier definition of 'ape' that included primates usually.

Macaque Size and Strength

In some species, skin folds connect the second through fifth toes, nearly reaching the first metatarsal joint. The macaque monkey size varies based on sex and species. Males from all species can vary from 16 to 28 inches in head and body length. The weight measures from 8-40 lb. Female macaques can vary from a weight of 5-36 lb. These primates reside in troops which differ in size, where males dominate, but the rank order of dominance keeps frequently shifting. Female ranking lasts longer and is based upon their genealogical position. Macaques are able to swim and spend the majority of their time on the ground, in addition to some time in trees. They have huge pouches in their cheeks where they carry along extra food. They are regarded as extremely intelligent and are commonly utilized in the medical field for experimentation. Adults also are notorious who are inclined to be bad-tempered.

Macaque Monkey Habitat

The Habitat of Macaque is Vast in a Way as below:-

  • Habitat of the species ranges from lowland rainforests to shrubland, mangroves and coastal forests.

  • Second greatest distribution of any non-human primate.

  • Chiefly arboreal in forest environments, but also spends time on the ground.

  • Can be highly terrestrial in interrupted regions where the canopy cover is low.

  • Prefers riverine forests; also interrupted forests and forest peripheries

  • Inhabitant to Bangladesh, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Malaysia, Southeast Asia, the Philippines and the Nicobar Islands.

  • Introduced to Hong Kong, Mauritius, Angaur Island and western New Guinea.

Barbary Macaque Origination

Originally found in Tunisia and Morocco, the macaque is well-recognized as the face of tourism on the Rock of Gibraltar.

Conservation Status of Macaque Monkey

Macaques have off-late been re-categorized from vulnerable to endangered status since approximately 300 a year are being taken from the wild to be sold as pets. Moreover, the natural habitat of the macaque monkey is under threat from logging and peasants see them as a pest and try to get rid of them.

The macaques you spot at Folly Farm were once part of the unethical pet trade and we’re pleased we can play a little part in the conservation of these charming primates. On top of this, the Barbary Macaque Awareness and Conservation (BMAC) worked in Morocco for several years.

Genus: Macaca – The Lion-Tailed Macaque

The Lion-tailed Macaque (scientific name - Macaca silenus) is an Old World monkey that resides only in the Western Ghats of South India. The Lion-tailed Macaque skin is dark-brown or black and its most exceptional feature is the silver-white mane which adjoins the head from the cheeks down to its chin that provides this monkey with its German name of Beard Ape.

Indian Macaque Monkey Size

The Lion-tailed Macaque Monkeys have a hairless face and is black in colour. The Lion-tailed Macaque has a length of head-to-tail of 45 to 60 centimetres. They weigh roughly 3 to 10 kilograms and are one of the smaller macaques. Their tail is medium length and measures about 25 centimetres and consists of a black tuft at the end, similar to a lion’s tail.

The Lion-tailed Macaque are a non-nocturnal (active during the day) rainforest dweller. They are excellent climbers and spend the majority of their life in the trees. On the contrary to other macaques, it avoids humans. In troop behaviour, it is much like other macaques as it lives in hierarchical groups of generally 10 to 20 individuals, which has some males and many females. It is a territorial animal, safeguarding its region first with loud cries towards the invading troops.

The Lion-tailed Macaque chiefly eats fruits, but it also eats leaves, grass, buds, insects and small vertebrates.

Macaque Reproduction

Female gestation is roughly about 6 months. The young are nursed by females for one year. Sexual maturity gets to 6 years for males, 4 years for females. The lifespan of Lion-tailed Macaques in the wild is roughly 20 years, while in imprisonment it is up to 30 years.

The Lion-tailed Macaque ranks among the rarest and most endangered primates. As per the approximations of the IUCN, only roughly 2,500 of these monkeys live disintegrated over several areas in southwest India. The demolition of their habitat and actually that they avoid human proximity, has resulted in the drastic decline of their population. Many zoos participate in breeding programs that enable the survival of this species.

FAQs on Macaque

Q1. What Is an Indian Monkey?

Answer: The Indian monkey is a Quadrupedal that uses its four limbs to move about. The species embraces a multi male-female group having a social group consisting of multiple adult males and multiple adult females. The Altricial (infants of monkey) who are yet to fully develop, are nursed by their parents. They are most commonly found in a biogeographic area having substantial levels of biodiversity which is under threat from humans. Indian monkey is also a Diurnal (active during daylight hours) species. It is the creature from the animal kingdom that also often feeds on plants.

Q2. What Is the Relationship of Macaques With Humans?

Answer: Several species of macaque are widely used in animal testing, especially in the neuroscience of visual viewpoint and the visual system. Roughly (73–100%) pet and captive rhesus macaques are transmitters of the herpes B virus. This virus is though not harmful to macaques, but infections of humans, while scarce, are likely fatal, a risk that makes macaques’ inappropriate as pets.

Urban performing macaques also bear simian foamy virus, implying that they could take part in the species-to-species jump of the same retroviruses to humans. In Vietnam, the macaque is consumed by some people as bushmeat. In 2021, Thai authorities captured a car that carried 88 macaques; professedly the animals were on their way to a neighbouring country to be consumed as food.

Q3.  Explain the Behavior and Lifestyle of Macaque?

Answer: Arunachal macaques are quadrupedal and non-nocturnal. While earthbound during the day, feeding on the ground, they are still at home in trees, favouring to nest about 50 feet above the ground at night. Most of an Indian monkey’s day is spent eating or foraging: in summer this accounts for 29–51% of daily activity, and in the winter this number can increase up to 66%. Arunachal macaques travel long distances in search of food during the summer. The macaques like to survive on larger amounts of lower-grade food, which they don’t need to travel far to reach, in winter. This enables them to preserve energy. 

Q4. How Do Macaques Communicate?

Answer: Usually, macaques communicate vocally, visually, and palpably. There are though no recorded instances of vocal communication in Indian Arunachal macaques, although it almost definitely takes place. Visual communication seen in Arunachal macaques includes branch shaking, body posture, and facial expressions. These activities generally communicate dominance or compliance. Palpable communication is chiefly expressed in the form of grooming, a social bonding activity.