- Suborder: Haplorrhini
- Infraorder: Simiiformes
- Superfamily: Cercopithecoidea
- Family: Cercopithecidae
- Subfamily: Cercopithecinae
Rhesus macaques are old world monkeys. They have reddish pink faces with brown to auburn fur. Their rumps are reddish pink and they have medium length tails. Males and females are sexual dimorphic. Males on average weigh 17 pounds (7.7 kg) while females on average weight 11.8 pounds (5.8 kg) (Seth et al. 2001).
They most often move quadrupedal but depending on their environment they are in they will tend to be more arboreal or more terrestrial (Seth et al. 2001). Rhesus macaques are located in large geographic area. They can be found in both tropical and temperate areas hat include semidesert, dry deciduous, mixed deciduous and bamboo and temperate forests (Southwick et al., 1996).
Rhesus macaques are also highly adapted to living humans. Their diet includes human sources that are either given directly or from agriculture via raiding crops (Richard et al., 1989; Southwick and Siddiqi, 1994; Goldstein and Richard, 1989). Rhesus macaques are omnivores and feed on plants and Invertebraes (Goldstein and Richard, 1989).
Rhesus macaques live in large multi male and multi female. They live in groups of 10 to 80 individuals. Groups tend to reach hundred in mountainous areas and areas with human agriculture (Lindburg, 1971; Qu et al., 1993; Southwick et al., 1996). Females are philopatric and remain in their natal groups. Males will disperse the breeding season prior to puberty and will transfer groups throughout their lives. Females will form stable dominance hierarchies belonging to their matrilineal kinship (Melnick et al., 1984). Like baboons, rank is passed to female offspring. Each female will be a rank above her older sister (Seth, 2000).
Females reach puberty at approximately three year of age while males are sexual mature at four years of age (Rawlin and Kessler, 1986b). Estrus lasts eight to twelve days (Fooden, 2000). Although males reach sexual maturity at four years of age most do not reproduce until eight years of age (Bercovitch et al., 2003). The majority of mating occurs in October through December this allows births to occur during the highest food abundance or during the end of the rainy season (Lindburg, 1971; Qu et al., 1993). Females will mate with multiple males but will form consorts with several males (Lindburg, 1971; Fooden, 2000). Gestation lasts 164 days (Fooden, 2000).
The mother is the major parental caregiver but infants are usually closely handled by close female relative and protected by males (Lindburg, 1971).
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Rawlins RG, Kessler MJ, editors. 1986a. The history of the Cayo Santiago colony. In: The Cayo Santiago macaques: history, behavior, and biology. Albany (NY): State Univ New York Pr. p 13-45.
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Southwick CH, Zhang Y, Hiang H, Liu Z, Qu W. 1996. Population ecology of rhesus macaques in tropical and temperate habitats in China . In: Fa JE, Lindburg DG, editors. Evolution and ecology of macaque societies. Cambridge ( UK ): Cambridge Univ Pr. p 95-105.