Macaca fuscata fuscata
Macaca fuscata yakui
Japanese macaque range
The JAPANESE MACAQUE (/məˈkɑːk/ ; Macaca fuscata), also known as
the SNOW MONKEY, is a terrestrial
Old World monkey
Old World monkey species that is
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 Behavior
* 2.1 Group structure
* 2.2 Mating and parenting
* 2.3 Communication
* 2.4 Intelligence and culture
* 3 Ecology
* 3.1 Diet
* 4 Distribution and habitat
* 5 Relationship with humans
* 5.1 Cultural depictions
* 6 References
* 7 Further reading
* 8 External links
Skull of a
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 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. Play media Jigokudani
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
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.
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
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
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 testing.
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 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
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 fish.
DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT
Japanese macaque is the northernmost-living nonhuman primate. It
is found on three of the four main Japanese islands:
Honshu , Shikoku
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. The total population of Japanese macaques has been
estimated 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 , USA. 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
RELATIONSHIP WITH HUMANS
Macaques being fed
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
Monkeys in Japanese culture Painting by Watanabe
Kazan , 19th century
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
Nikkō . The
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 . 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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