Macaca fuscata fuscata
Macaca fuscata yakui
Japanese macaque range
Japanese macaque (/məˈkɑːk/; Macaca fuscata), also known as
the snow monkey, is a terrestrial
Old World monkey
Old World monkey species that is
native to Japan. They get their name "snow monkey" because they live
in areas where snow covers the ground for months each year – no
other nonhuman primate is more northern-living, nor lives in a colder
climate. Individuals have brown-grey fur, red faces, and short
tails. Two subspecies are known.
In Japan, the species is known as Nihonzaru (Nihon 日本 "Japan" +
saru 猿 "monkey") to distinguish it from other primates, but the
Japanese macaque is very familiar in Japan, so when Japanese people
simply say saru, they usually have in mind the Japanese macaque.
1 Physical characteristics
2.1 Group structure
2.2 Mating and parenting
2.4 Intelligence and culture
4 Distribution and habitat
5 Relationship with humans
5.1 Cultural depictions
7 Further reading
8 External links
Skull of a Japanese macaque
Japanese macaque is sexually dimorphic. Males weigh on average
11.3 kg (25 lb), while females average 8.4 kg
(19 lb). Macaques from colder areas tend to weigh more than
ones from warmer areas. Male average height is 570.1 mm
(22.44 in) and female average height is 522.8 mm
(20.58 in). Their brain size is about 95 g (3.4 oz).
Japanese macaques have short stumps for tails that average
92.51 mm (3.642 in) in males and 79.08 mm
(3.113 in) in females. The macaque has a pinkish face and
posterior. The rest of its body is covered in brown or greyish
hair. The coat of the macaque is well-adapted to the cold and its
thickness increases as temperatures decrease. The macaque can cope
with temperatures as low as -20 °C (-4 °F).
Macaques mostly move on all fours. They are semiterrestrial, with
females spending more time in the trees and males spending more time
on the ground. Macaques are known to leap. They are also great
swimmers and have been reported to swim over half a kilometer. The
longevity for the macaque averages 6.3 years (at least for
females). However, they have been known to live much longer; males
have lived up to 28 years and females up to 32 years.
Japanese macaques grooming
Japanese macaques live in matrilineal societies, and females stay
in their natal groups for life, while males move out before they are
Macaque groups tend to contain a number of adults
of both sexes. In addition, a
Japanese macaque troop contains several
matrilines. These matrilines may exist in a dominance hierarchy with
all members of a specific group ranking over members of a
lower-ranking group. Temporary all-male groups also exist,
composed of those that have recently left their natal groups and are
about to transfer to another group. However, many males spend ample
time away from any group and may leave and join several groups.
Japanese macaques at Jigokudani hotspring in Nagano have become
notable for their winter visits to the spa.
Males within a group have a dominance hierarchy, with one male having
alpha status. The dominance status of male macaques usually changes
when a former alpha male leaves or dies. Other ways in which
status changes is when an alpha male loses his rank or when a troop
splits, leaving a new alpha position open. The longer a male is in
a troop, the higher his status is likely to be. Females also exist
in a stable dominance hierarchy, and a female's rank depends on her
mother. Younger females tend to rank higher than their older
siblings. Higher-ranking matrilines have greater social
cohesion. Strong relationships with dominant females can allow
dominant males to retain their rank when they otherwise would not.
Females maintain both social relationships and hygiene through
grooming. Grooming occurs regardless of climate or season. Females
which are matrilineally related groom each other more often than
unrelated individuals. Females will also groom unrelated females
to maintain group cohesion and social relationships between different
kinships in a troop. Nevertheless, a female will only groom a
limited number of other females, even if the group expands.
Females will also groom males, usually for hygienic purposes, but it
can serve to attract dominant males to the group. Mothers pass
their grooming techniques to their offspring most probably through
social rather than genetic means.
Mating and parenting
A male and female macaque form a pair bond and mate, feed, rest, and
travel together, and this typically lasts 16 days on average during
the mating season. Females enter into consortships with an average
of four males a season. Higher-ranking males have longer
consortships than their subordinates. In addition, higher-ranking
males try to disrupt consortships of lower-ranking males. Females
attempt to mate with males of any rank. However, dominant males mate
more as they are more successful in mate guarding. The female
decides whether mating takes place. In addition, dominance does not
mean a male will successfully mate with a female. Males may also
temporarily join another troop during the mating season and mate with
the females. Females also engage in same-sex mounting. Such
behavior is likely because of hormones and females are mounted more
often by other females than males. It has been proposed that
female Japanese macaques for unknown reasons are generally bisexual,
rather than preferentially homo- or heterosexual.
During the mating season, the face and genitalia of males redden and
the tail stands erect. In addition, females' faces and anogenital
regions turn scarlet. Macaques copulate both on the ground and in
the trees, and roughly one in three copulations leads to
ejaculation. Macaques signal when they are ready to mate by
looking backward over a shoulder, staying still, or walking backwards
towards their potential partner. A female emits a
"smooth-late-high coo", or "squawk", "squeak", or produce an atonal
"cackle" during copulation. Males have no copulatory vocalizations.
Mother macaque with infant
A macaque mother moves to the periphery of her troop to give birth in
a secluded spot, unless the group is moving, when the female must
stay with it. Macaques usually give birth on the ground.
Infants are born with dark-brown hair. They consume their first
solid food at five to six weeks old, and can forage independently from
their mothers by seven weeks. A mother carries her infant on her
belly for its first four weeks. After this time, the mother carries
her infant on her back, as well. Infants continue to be carried past a
year. A mother and her infant tend to avoid other troop members,
and the mother may socialize again very slowly. However,
alloparenting has been observed, usually by females which have not had
infants of their own. Male care of infants occurs in some groups,
but not in others; usually, older males protect, groom, and carry an
infant as a female would.
Infants have fully developed their locomotive abilities within three
to four months. When an infant is seven months old, its mother
discourages suckling; full weaning happens by its 18th month. In some
populations, male infants tend to play in larger groups more often
than females. However, female infants have more social interaction
than their male counterparts. Males prefer to associate with other
males around the same age, when they are two years old. Female
infants will associate with individuals of all ages and sexes.
During feeding or moving, Japanese macaques often emit "coos". These
most likely serve to keep the troop together and strengthen social
relations between females. Macaques usually respond to coos with
coos of their own. Coos are also uttered before grooming along
with "girney" calls. Variants of the "girney" call are made in
different contexts. This call also serves as appeasement between
individuals in aggressive encounters. Macaques have alarm calls
for alerting to danger, and other calls to signal estrus that sound
similar to danger alerts. Threat calls are heard during aggressive
encounters and are often uttered by supporters of those involved in
antagonistic interactions. The individual being supported support the
caller in the future.
Intelligence and culture
Macaques at a hot spring
Japanese macaque is a very intelligent species. Researchers
studying this species at
Koshima Island in
Japan left sweet potatoes
out on the beach for them to eat, then witnessed one female, named Imo
(Japanese for yam or potato), washing the food off with river water
rather than brushing it off as the others were doing, and later even
dipping her clean food into salty sea water. After a
while, others started to copy her behavior. This trait was then passed
on from generation to generation, until eventually all except the
oldest members of the troop were washing their food and even seasoning
it in the sea. She was similarly the first observed balling up
wheat with air pockets, throwing it into the water, and waiting for it
to float back up before picking it up and eating it free from
soil. An altered misaccount of this incident is the basis for
the "hundredth monkey" effect.
The macaque has other unusual behaviours, including bathing together
in hot springs and rolling snowballs for fun. Also, in recent
Japanese macaque has been found to develop different
accents, like humans. Macaques in areas separated by only a few
hundred miles can have very different pitches in their calls, their
form of communication. The
Japanese macaque has been involved in many
studies concerning neuroscience and also is used in drug
Japanese macaque is diurnal. In colder areas, from autumn to early
winter, macaques feed in between different activities. In the winter,
macaques have two to four feeding bouts each day with fewer daily
activities. In the spring and summer, they have two or three bouts of
feeding daily. In warmer areas such as Yakushima, daily activities
are more varied. The typical day for a macaque is 20.9% inactive,
22.8% traveling, 23.5% feeding, 27.9% social grooming, 1.2%
self-grooming, and 3.7% other activities. Macaques usually sleep
in trees, but also sleep on the ground, as well as on or near rocks
and fallen trees. During the winter, macaques huddle together for
warmth in sleeping grounds. Macaques at
Jigokudani Monkey Park
Jigokudani Monkey Park are
notable for visiting the hot springs in the winter to warm up.
Macaque juvenile yawning
Japanese macaque is omnivorous and eats a variety of foods. Over
213 species of plants are included on the macaque's diet. It also
eats insects, bark, and soil. On
Yakushima Island, fruit, mature
leaves, and fallen seeds are primarily eaten. The macaque also
eats fungi, ferns, invertebrates, and other parts of plants. In
addition, on Yakushima, their diets vary seasonally with fruits being
eaten in the summer and herbs being eaten in the winter. Further
north, macaques mostly eat foods such as fruit and nuts to store fat
for the winter, when food is scarce. On the northern island of
Kinkazan, macaques mostly eat fallen seeds, herbs, young leaves, and
fruits. When preferred food items are not available, macaques dig
up underground plant parts (roots or rhizomes) or eat soil and
Distribution and habitat
Japanese macaque is the northernmost-living nonhuman primate. It
is found on three of the four main Japanese islands: Honshu, Shikoku,
and Kyushu. The northernmost populations live on the Shimokita
Peninsula, the northernmost point of Honshu. Several of Japan’s
smaller islands are also inhabited by macaques. The southernmost
population living on
Yakushima Island is a subspecies of the mainland
macaques. A study in 1989 estimated the total population of wild
Japanese macaques to be 114,431 monkeys.
Japanese macaque lives in a variety of habitats. It inhabits
subtropical forests in the southern part of its range and subarctic
forests in mountainous areas in the northern part of its range. It can
be found in both warm and cool forests, such as the deciduous forests
of central and northern
Japan and the broadleaf evergreen forests in
the southwest of the islands. Warm temperate evergreen and
broadleaf forests and the cool temperate deciduous broadleaf forests
are the most important habitats for macaques.
In 1972, a troop of about 150 Japanese macaques was relocated from
Kyoto to a primate observatory in southwest Texas, United States. The
observatory is an enclosed ranch-style environment and the macaques
have been allowed to roam with minimal human interference. At first,
many perished in the unfamiliar habitat, which consists of arid
brushland. The macaques eventually adapted to the environment, learned
to avoid predators (such as eagles, coyotes, and rattlesnakes), and
learned to forage for mesquite beans, cactus fruits, and other foods.
The macaques flourished, and by 1995, the troop consisted of 500 to
600 individuals. In 1996, hunters maimed or killed four escaped
macaques; as a result, legal restrictions were publicly clarified and
funds were raised to establish a new 186-acre (75 ha) sanctuary
near Dilley, Texas.
Relationship with humans
Macaques at Iwatayama Monkey Park
Traditional manmade threats to macaques have been slash-and-burn
agriculture, use of forest woods for construction and fuel, and
hunting. These threats have declined due to social and economic
Japan since World War II, but other threats have
emerged. The replacement of natural forest with lumber plantations is
the most serious threat. As human prosperity has grown, macaques
have lost their fear of humans and have increased their presence in
both rural and urban areas, with one macaque recorded living in
central Tokyo for several months.
Main article: Monkeys in Japanese culture
"Monkeys in a plum tree", Mori Sosen, 1808.
Japanese macaque (snow monkey) has featured prominently in the
religion, folklore, and art of Japan, as well as in proverbs and
idiomatic expressions in the Japanese language. In
mythical beasts known as raijū sometimes appeared as monkeys and kept
Raijin, the god of lightning, company. The "three wise monkeys", which
warn people to "see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil", are
carved in relief over the door of the famous
Tōshō-gū shrine in
Japanese macaque is a feature of several fairy tales, such
as the tale of
Momotaro and the fable about The Crab and the
Monkey. As the monkey is part of the Chinese zodiac, which has
been used for centuries in Japan, the creature was sometimes portrayed
in paintings of the
Edo Period as a tangible metaphor for a particular
year. The 19th-century artist and samurai
Watanabe Kazan created a
painting of a macaque. During the Edo Period, numerous clasps for
kimono or tobacco pouches (collectively called netsuke) were carved in
the shape of macaques.
Spoken references to macaques abound in the history of Japan. Before
his rise to power, the famed samurai
Toyotomi Hideyoshi was compared
to a monkey in appearance and nicknamed Kozaru ("Little Monkey") by
his lord and master, Oda Nobunaga.[not in citation given] This was
a humorous jibe at first, but was later used pejoratively by
Hideyoshi's rivals. In modern Japanese culture, because monkeys are
considered to indulge their libido openly and frequently (much the
same way as rabbits are thought to in some Western cultures), a man
who is preoccupied with sex might be compared to or metaphorically
referred to as a monkey, as might a romantically involved couple who
are exceptionally amorous.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Macaca fuscata.
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Mona monkey (C. mona)
Campbell's mona monkey
Campbell's mona monkey (C. campbelli)
Lowe's mona monkey
Lowe's mona monkey (C. lowei)
Crested mona monkey
Crested mona monkey (C. pogonias)
Wolf's mona monkey
Wolf's mona monkey (C. wolfi)
Dent's mona monkey
Dent's mona monkey (C. denti)
Lesser spot-nosed monkey
Lesser spot-nosed monkey (C. petaurista)
White-throated guenon (C. erythrogaster)
Sclater's guenon (C. sclateri)
Red-eared guenon (C. erythrotis)
Moustached guenon (C. cephus)
Red-tailed monkey (C. ascanius)
L'Hoest's monkey (C. lhoesti)
Preuss's monkey (C. preussi)
Sun-tailed monkey (C. solatus)
Hamlyn's monkey (C. hamlyni)
De Brazza's monkey
De Brazza's monkey (C. neglectus)
Lesula (C. lomamiensis)
Barbary macaque (M. sylvanus)
Lion-tailed macaque (M. silenus)
Southern pig-tailed macaque
Southern pig-tailed macaque (M. nemestrina)
Northern pig-tailed macaque
Northern pig-tailed macaque (M. leonina)
Pagai Island macaque
Pagai Island macaque (M. pagensis)
Siberut macaque (M. siberu)
Moor macaque (M. maura)
Booted macaque (M. ochreata)
Tonkean macaque (M. tonkeana)
Heck's macaque (M. hecki)
Gorontalo macaque (M. nigrescens)
Celebes crested macaque
Celebes crested macaque (M. nigra)
Crab-eating macaque (M. fascicularis)
Stump-tailed macaque (M. arctoides)
Rhesus macaque (M. mulatta)
Formosan rock macaque
Formosan rock macaque (M. cyclopis)
Japanese macaque (M. fuscata)
Toque macaque (M. sinica)
Bonnet macaque (M. radiata)
Assam macaque (M. assamensis)
Tibetan macaque (M. thibetana)
Arunachal macaque (M. munzala)
White-cheeked macaque (M. leucogenys)
Grey-cheeked mangabey (L. albigena)
Black crested mangabey
Black crested mangabey (L. aterrimus)
Opdenbosch's mangabey (L. opdenboschi)
Uganda mangabey (L. ugandae)
Johnston's mangabey (L. johnstoni)
Osman Hill's mangabey
Osman Hill's mangabey (L. osmani)
Kipunji (R. kipunji)
Olive baboon (P. anubis)
Yellow baboon (P. cynocephalus)
Hamadryas baboon (P. hamadryas)
Guinea baboon (P. papio)
Chacma baboon (P. ursinus)
Gelada (T. gelada)
Sooty mangabey (C. atys)
Collared mangabey (C. torquatus)
Agile mangabey (C. agilis)
Golden-bellied mangabey (C. chrysogaster)
Tana River mangabey
Tana River mangabey (C. galeritus)
Sanje mangabey (C. sanjei)
Mandrill (M. sphinx)
Drill (M. leucophaeus)