Toque macaque

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Toque macaque[1]
Macaca sinica - 01.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Cercopithecidae
Genus: Macaca
Species: M. sinica
Binomial name
Macaca sinica
(Linnaeus, 1771)
Toque Macaque area.png
Toque macaque range

The toque macaque (Macaca sinica) is a reddish-brown-coloured Old World monkey endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is locally known as the rilewa or rilawa (Sinhala රිළවා), (hence "rillow" in the Oxford English Dictionary). It is named for the toque-shaped whorl of hair on its head, rather like the bonnet of the related bonnet macaque.

It lives in troops, sometimes numbering up to 20, and has developed into three subspecies. This is a medium-sized monkey, although it is the smallest living species of macaque. It has a head and body length of 35–62 cm (14–24 in), a tail length of 40–60 cm (16–24 in). Males, at a weight of 4.1 to 8.4 kg (9.0 to 18.5 lb), can occasionally attain much larger sizes than females, at a weight of 2.3 to 4.5 kg (5.1 to 9.9 lb).[3][4][5]

Troops of the toque macaque are a common sight in the Cultural Triangle, where many ancient temples are situated, hence earning them the nickname "temple monkey".

Toque macaques live only in Sri Lanka. They look very different depending on their habitat. Toque macaques prefer natural forest land ranging from sea-level up to 6,000 feet. Those living in cold climates have thick, dark brown fur and short limbs and tails, while those living in the lowland rainforest have reddish or golden colored coats and long umbrella-like bonnets. The dry zone race has light coats, long limbs and short bonnets or toque hair.

Toque macaques are omnivores and like to eat fruit, seeds, nuts, mushrooms, tubers, invertebrates and occasionally animals, including reptiles and birds. All are expert raiders of crops where humans encroach on their habitat.

Wild cats (leopards and fishing cats) and python snakes are the main predators of this species. The toque macaque is endangered; their rainforest home is being cut down for logging and for farming.

The three recognized subspecies of toque macaques are:

  • Dryzone toque macaque, M. s. sinica
  • Wetzone toque macaque, M. s. aurifrons
  • Highland toque macaque, M. s. opisthomelas
Macaca sinica aurifrons

M. s. sinica is more reddish brown than other two subspecies. The wet zone M. s. aurifrons has a browner hue dorsally back yellow.


  1. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 164. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. 
  2. ^ Dittus, W., Watson, A. & Molur, S. (2008). Macaca sinica. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Novak, R. M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. 6th edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. ISBN 0-8018-5789-9

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