Primate of the Week: Stump-tailed Macaque

Macaca arctoides



  • Suborder: Haplorrhini
  • Infraorder: Simiiformes
  • Superfamily: Cercopithecoidea
  • Family: Cercopithecidae
  • Subfamily: Cercopithecinae


Stump-tailed macaques have short tails measuring .12 to 2.7 inches (Fa, 1989). Stump-tailed macaques have pink or red faces, and long shaggy brown fur (Fa, 1989; Rowe, 1996; Groves, 2001). Stump-tailed macaques infants are born white and their fur darkens with age (Fa, 1989; Rowe, 1996; Groves, 2001). They are sexually dimorphic. Males weight approximately 21.8 to 22.5 pounds while females weight approximately 16.5 to 20.1 pounds (Fa, 1989).


Stump-tailed macaques are found within subtropics and tropical broadleaf evergreen forests (Fa, 1989). They are frugivores and omnivores. They also eat seeds, flowers, leaves, roots, freshwater crabs, frogs, birds, bird eggs and insects (Fooden 1990; Rowe, 1996; Srivastave, 1999).


Stump-tailed macaques live in multi male/female groups composed of five to sixty individuals (Fooden 1990; Rowe, 1996; Srivastave, 1999). Females are philopatric and remain in their natal groups while males immigrate to a new group upon reaching sexual maturity (Fooden, 1990). The female’s philopatry results in matrilineal hierarchies. These hierarchies are enforced by aggression through contact aggression ie slapping and non-contact aggression ie threatening display (Butovskaya, 1993). Adult males have a strict hierarchy, however unlike other macaques species they are quicker to reconcile through ritualized reconciliation. The subordinate male will present its rump to the dominant male. Following this the dominant male may embrace the subordinate while the subordinate lip smacks and teeth chatters to show they are submissively. The subordinate will then over hi hand and the dominant male will mock bite the hand, thus the hierarchy is reinforced and the “bond” is restored (de Waal, 1993; Srivastave, 1999).


Males are generally responsible for guarding the troop and the males outrank the females (Fooden et al., 1985).


Stump-tailed macaques females reach sexual maturity round 4 years of age, females however don’t star producing offspring until 4.5 to 5 years of age (Fooden, 1990; Brereton, 1994). They generally reproduce in October and November (Fooden 1990). Males reach sexual maturity around four years of age but do not reach their adult size until 6 years of age. The highest ranking male generally monopolizes the females and the highest ranking females tends to mate more then lower ranking females (Brereton, 1994). Gestation is 177 days and females generally give birth every two years in the wild (Fooden, 1990)



Brereton AR. 1992. Alternative reproductive tactics in stumptail macaques (Macaca arctoides). Folia Primatol 59(4): 208-12.

Brereton AR. 1994. Copulatory behavior in a free-ranging population of stumptail macaques (Macaca arctoides) in Mexico. Primates 35(2): 113-22.

Butovskaya M. 1993. Kinship and different dominance styles in groups of three species of the genus Macaca (M. arctoides, M. mulatta, M. fascicularis). Folia Primatol 60(4): 210-24.

de Waal FBM. 1993. Reconciliation among primates: a review of empirical evidence and unresolved issues. In: Mason WA, Mendoza SP, editors. Primate social conflict. Albany (NY): State Univ New York Pr. p 111-44.

Fa JE. 1989. The genus Macaca: a review of taxonomy and evolution. Mammal Rev 19(2): 45-81.

Fooden J. 1990. The bear macaque, Macaca arctoides: a systematic review. J Hum Evol 19(6/7): 607-86.

Fooden J, Guoqiang Q, Zongren W, Yingxiang. 1985. The stumptail macaques of China. Am J Primatol 8(1): 11-30.

Groves C. 2001. Primate taxonomy. Washington DC: Smithsonian Inst Pr. 350 p.

Rowe N. 1996. The pictorial guide to the living primates. East Hampton (NY): Pogonias Pr. 263 p.

Srivastava A. 1999. Primates of northeast India. Bikaner (India): Megadiversity Pr. 208 p.

Srivastava A, Mohnot SM. 2001. Distribution, conservation status and priorities for primates in northeast India. In: Gupta AK, editor. Vol 1(1), Non-human primates of India, ENVIS bulletin: wildlife & protected areas. Dehradun (India): Wildl Inst India. p 102-8.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s