Stump-tailed macaque

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Stump-tailed macaque
Stump tailed Macaque P1130751 24.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Family: Cercopithecidae
Genus: Macaca
M. arctoides[1]
Binomial name
Macaca arctoides[1]
(I. Geoffroy, 1831)
Stump-tailed Macaque area.png
Stump-tailed macaque range
(blue – native, red – introduced, orange – possibly extinct)
  • Macaca brunneus (Anderson, 1871)
  • Macaca harmandi (Trouessart, 1897)
  • Macaca melanotus (Ogilby, 1839)
  • Macaca melli (Matschie, 1912)
  • Macaca rufescens (Anderson, 1872)
  • Macaca speciosus (Murie, 1875)
  • Macaca ursinus (Gervais, 1854)

The stump-tailed macaque (Macaca arctoides), also called the bear macaque, is a species of macaque native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. In India, it occurs south of the Brahmaputra River, in the northeastern part of the country.[3] Its range in India extends from Assam and Meghalaya to eastern Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.[4]

It is primarily frugivorous, but eats many types of vegetation, such as seeds, leaves and roots, but also hunts freshwater crabs, frogs, bird eggs and insects.[5]


The stump-tailed macaque has long, thick, dark brown fur covering its body, but its face and its short tail, which measures between 32 and 69 mm (1.3 and 2.7 in), are hairless.[5] Infants are born white and darken as they mature.[5] As they age, their bright pink or red faces darken to brown or nearly black and lose most of their hair.[5] Males are larger than females, measuring 51.7–65 cm (20.4–25.6 in) long and weighing 9.7–10.2 kg (21–22 lb), while females measure 48.5–58.5 cm (19.1–23.0 in) and weigh 7.5–9.1 kg (17–20 lb).[5] Males' canine teeth, which are important for establishing dominance within social groups, are more elongated than those of the females.[5] Like all macaques, this species has cheek pouches to store food for short periods of time.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This Old World monkey travels quadrupedally, usually on the ground, as it is not very agile in trees.[5] It is generally found in evergreen tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, at different elevations depending on the amount of rainfall in the area.[5] It depends on rainforests for food and shelter, and is not found in dry forests except where it ranges in the Himalayan region of India, only spending time in secondary forests if it is bordering old-growth forest tropical forests.[5] With its thick fur, the stump-tailed macaque can live in cold climates at elevations up to 4,000 m (13,000 ft).[6] It is distributed from northeastern India and southern China into the northwest tip of West Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula.[1][5] It is also found in Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.[2][5] It is possibly extinct in Bangladesh.[2] No global population estimate is available. In Cambodia, a declining population of 230 is reported from Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary.[7][8]

A study population was introduced to Tanaxpillo, an uninhabited island in Lake Catemaco, Veracruz, Mexico in 1974, where it ranges in seminatural conditions.[5] Most information on the species comes from the introduced population on Tanaxpillo and other captive settings, as few long-term studies have been conducted on the stump-tailed macaque in the wild.[5]

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

Sound of Stump-tailed macaque (Macaca arctoides) – Kaeng Krachan National Park

Stump-tailed macaque generally share the same social structure of any macaque species with a linear dominance hierarchy that is rigid and hereditary in females yet fluctuates among males based on their fighting ability and social manoeuvring, but what makes stump-tail macaques truly unique is their ability to defuse intense confrontations and maintain a high degree of pacifism and harmony in their troop, thanks to their surprisingly rich repertoire of reconciliation tactics.[9] This species has no lasting pair bonds and is truly promiscuous, a staple for macaques. Physical violence very rarely occurs, and although minor scraps often flair up and physical intimidation displays occur, they tend to quickly be resolved, resulting in this species being labelled as peaceful.[10] Stump-tailed macaques are remarkably unfussy in their eating habits though fruit generally is a staple part of their diet. Stump-tail macaques have a large, bulky, muscular build with thick, solid limbs, making them very mobile on land yet quite ungainly in trees, and this unusual physique for a macaque may be responsible for this species unique tendency to consume larger quantities of meat than other macaque species. Stump-tail macaques feed on very large quantities of insects, small animals and eggs.[10]


A study population of female stump-tailed macaques was found to have increased levels of steroid sex hormones, specifically 17β-estradiol and progesterone levels. 17β-estradiol levels were significantly greater during summer and fall and progesterone levels were significantly greater during summer, fall and winter. This explains that stump-tailed macaques have two mating seasons per year: one in summer (July–August) and one in fall (November). This is supported by the distribution of birth frequency in stump-tailed macaques.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 161. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b c d Chetry, D.; Boonratana, R.; Das, J.; Yongcheng, L.; Htun, S.; Timmins, R.J. (2020). "Macaca arctoides". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T12548A185202632. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T12548A185202632.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  3. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (1988). "Priority ratings for conservation of Indian primates". Oryx. 22 (2): 89–94. doi:10.1017/S0030605300027551.
  4. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (2002). "Status and conservation of the stump-tailed macaque Macaca arctoides in India". Primate Report. 63: 63–72.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Cawthon Lang, K.A. (2005). "Primate Factsheets: Stump-tailed macaque (Macaca arctoides) Taxonomy, Morphology, & Ecology". Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  6. ^ Felix, Dr. Jiri. "Animals of Asia". London: Hamlyn Publishing Group, 1983.
  7. ^ Nuttall, Matthew N.; Griffin, Olly; Fewster, Rachel M.; McGowan, Philip J. K.; Abernethy, Katharine; O'Kelly, Hannah; Nut, Menghor; Sot, Vandoeun; Bunnefeld, Nils (2021). "Long-term monitoring of wildlife populations for protected area management in Southeast Asia". Conservation Science and Practice. 4 (2): e614. doi:10.1111/csp2.614. ISSN 2578-4854. S2CID 245405123.
  8. ^ Griffin, O.; Nuttall, M. (2020-12-04). "Status of Key Species in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary 2010-2020". doi:10.19121/2020.Report.38511. S2CID 229677607. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ Call, J.; Aureli, F.; de Waal, F.B.M. (1999). "Reconciliation patterns among stumptailed macaques: a multivariate approach". Animal Behaviour. 58 (1): 165–172. doi:10.1006/anbe.1999.1116. PMID 10413553. S2CID 28385684.
  10. ^ a b "Stump-Tailed Macaque - Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures on". Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  11. ^ Mondragón-Ceballos, R.; García-Granados, M.D.; Matamoros-Trejo, G.; Hernández-López, L.E. (2018). "Annual variations in sexual hormones and births' frequency in female stump-tailed macaques (Macaca arctoides)". Theriogenology. 108: 201–206. doi:10.1016/j.theriogenology.2017.11.013. PMID 29227912.