Macaca arctoidesstump-tailed macaque

Geographic Range

Stump-tailed macaques are native to southeast Asia. Their distribution includes China, India, Burma, West Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, eastern Bangladesh, and the Malay Peninsula. There is an introduced population in Tanaxpillo, Veracruz, Mexico, an island not inhabited by humans, where they live in conditions similar to their natural habitat in Asia. (Choudhury, 2002; Fooden, 1990)


Stump-tailed macaques are found in subtropical evergreen forests below 1500 m and tropical evergreen rainforests between 1800 and 2500 m. They live in wet environments and are not found in dry forests. (Fooden, et al., 1985; Fooden, 1990)

  • Range elevation
    2500 (high) m
    8202.10 (high) ft

Physical Description

Stump-tailed macaques, also known as bear macaques, have shaggy, dark brown hair covering them. They have hairless faces with red skin which darkens with sun exposure. Infants are born with white hair that darkens as they age. As they age, adult males and females show balding on the tops of their heads, much like human males, receding from the forehead towards the back of the skull. As in all other cercopithecines, they have cheek pouches that they use to store food when foraging. They are terrestrial quadrupedal movers. (Fooden, et al., 1985; Fooden, 1990)

Stump-tailed macaques have hairless tails that are shorter than other g.Macaca species. Tail length ranges from 3.2 to 69 mm. This species is sexually dimorphic in many aspects of their physiology. Males are larger, ranging from 9.9 to 10.2 kg and 517 to 650 mm in height whereas females are 7.5 to 9.1 kg and 485 to 585 mm in height. Males also have much larger canines, which they use for asserting dominance within their group. Like all cercopithecids, they have a dental formula of: 2/2, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3. (Choudhury, 2002; Fooden, 1990)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • male larger
  • Range mass
    7.5 to 10.2 kg
    16.52 to 22.47 lb
  • Range length
    485 to 650 mm
    19.09 to 25.59 in


Stump-tailed macaques are promiscuous in their mating behavior. Dominance plays a big role in who gets to mate. High ranking males monopolize females in the group. However, lower ranking males have other strategies of obtaining mating opportunities. They hang back and mate with females when the dominant male is not watching. Often referred to as the "sneaker" male strategy. (Brereton, 1994; Fooden, 1990)

Both males and females initiate mating, though males tend to be more active when it comes to sexual behavior. Females make eye contact and present their perineal region (rump). Males approach females and sit next to them. Males chatter their teeth and grimace. When copulation is occurring, other group members often harass the pair. (Brereton, 1994; Cerda-Molina, et al., 2006)

In their native habitat, stump-tail macaques breed during the months of October and November. In captivity they don't reproduce on any seasonal schedule. Females have an offspring about every 2 years. The gestation period is 177 days. After birth, infants are nursed for 9 months. After weaning they are still dependent on their mother and other adults in the group and don't reach independence until about 1.5 years old. (Brereton, 1994; Estrada and Estrada, 1984)

Young inherit rank maternally as females are philopatric. Male young disperse sometime after independence. (Brereton, 1994; Fooden, 1990)

  • Breeding interval
    Stump-tailed macaques can reproduce about every 2 years.
  • Breeding season
    Breeding occurs in October and November in wild, Feburary and March in the introduced Mexican population.
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average gestation period
    177 days
  • Average weaning age
    9 months
  • Average time to independence
    18 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    4 years
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    4.5 to 5 years

The primary caregiver for young is the mother. She nurses, carries, and protects them. Additionally, all the females in the group care for the young of other females, especially if the mother is high ranking. Females carry, play with, protect, and groom the young. Alpha males will also help protect young and infants since there is a good chance they are their offspring. (Bauers and Hearn, 1994; Estrada and Estrada, 1984)

Stump-tailed macaques are more gentle with their young than other macaque species. Their is no threat of kidnapping from other group members, so mothers tend to be lenient with their young and give them independence in exploring the environment around them. (Bauers and Hearn, 1994; Estrada and Estrada, 1984)

  • Parental Investment
  • precocial
  • pre-fertilization
    • provisioning
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • male
      • female
  • pre-independence
    • protecting
      • male
      • female
  • post-independence association with parents
  • extended period of juvenile learning
  • maternal position in the dominance hierarchy affects status of young


They can live up to 30 years in captivity. However, they tend to have shorter lifespans in the wild. (Choudhury, 2002)

  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    30 years


Stump-tailed macaques live in groups of up to 60 individuals consisting of adult males, females, and young. Females are philopatric and males leave after sexual maturity. They are hierarchical, with rank being reinforced through physical contact such as biting and slapping. However, compared to other macaque species, they are more peaceful and egalitarian in their social structure. When young males move into a new group they fight to establish rank in the hierarchy. After a disagreement or fight they have a specific ritual of reconciliation. The subordinate will present his rump to the dominant male, who will kiss or embrace the subordinate. The subordinate will respond by "lip smacking" or "teeth chattering". (Maestripieri, 1996)

Home Range

Territory size is unknown but is believed to be several square kilometers. During the day they travel 2 to 3 kilometers. They tend to travel less during the rainy season. After foraging during the day, they travel back to their sleeping sites in trees. (Choudhury, 2002; Fooden, 1990)

Communication and Perception

They communicate mostly visually and vocally. Common forms of visual communication are "teeth chattering", presenting one's rump to another individual, "lip smacking" and "barred teeth". When in heat, the females have swellings on their behind. This is a form of sexual communication, that they are receptive to mating.

Vocal communication often consists of "coo" which is used to stay in contact with other group members or when approaching another individual. They also use grunts when approaching another after fighting or if they are interested sexually. As mentioned before alpha males will "roar" to fend off predators.

When infants are distressed they will let out a shrill "whistle". (Fooden, 1990; Maestripieri, 1996)

Food Habits

Stump-tailed macaques have cheek pouches that, when filled, can hold a volume equal to that of their stomach. They forage starting in the morning through midday. They are omnivorous, but they eat mostly fruit. They also eat seeds, flowers, roots, leaves, and animals such as frogs, freshwater crabs, birds, and bird eggs. They have also been known to raid corn crops and cultivated fruits. (Fooden, et al., 1985; Fooden, et al., 1985)

  • Animal Foods
  • birds
  • mammals
  • amphibians
  • reptiles
  • eggs
  • insects
  • terrestrial worms
  • aquatic crustaceans
  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • roots and tubers
  • seeds, grains, and nuts
  • fruit
  • flowers


Potential predators are large raptors, common leopards, dogs, and clouded leopards. To deter predators, they shake branches, bare their canines, assume aggressive postures, and alpha males will "roar". (Chetry, et al., 2003)

Ecosystem Roles

Stump-tailed macaques contribution to native ecosystems as seed dispersers. (Choudhury, 2002; Fooden, 1990)

  • Ecosystem Impact
  • disperses seeds

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Humans have used stump-tailed macaques for testing the anti-hairloss drug minoxidil also known as Rogaine. By testing on the macaques, researchers were able to produce a safe product for human use. (Uno, 1986)

  • Positive Impacts
  • research and education

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Stump-tailed macaques can be a nuisance for farmers by crop raiding. (Fooden, 1990)

  • Negative Impacts
  • crop pest

Conservation Status

On the IUCN list stum-tailed macaques are considered vulnerable. They are at risk for extinction in the near future. Their populations have decreased 20% in the last 10 years. There have already been instances of certain populations disappearing. Indian and Bangladesh populations haven't been seen since 1990. Habitat and hunting are the main causes and concerns for their conservation. They are also becoming more uncommon in Thailand and Malaysia. Human induced habitat change is the primary cause of population decline. Urban and agricultural expansion threatens native habitats. In India, where these macaques are legally protected, they have set aside areas of land for stump-tailed macaque conservation and are enforcing protection. (Choudhury, 2002)


Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Charlotte Erfurth (author), University of Oregon, Stephen Frost (editor, instructor), University of Oregon.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map


living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

World Map


uses sound to communicate

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
dominance hierarchies

ranking system or pecking order among members of a long-term social group, where dominance status affects access to resources or mates


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


an animal that mainly eats fruit


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.


referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


generally wanders from place to place, usually within a well-defined range.


an animal that mainly eats all kinds of things, including plants and animals


chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species


the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.


rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


remains in the same area


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


associates with others of its species; forms social groups.

stores or caches food

places a food item in a special place to be eaten later. Also called "hoarding"


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement


The term is used in the 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals to refer collectively to species categorized as Endangered (E), Vulnerable (V), Rare (R), Indeterminate (I), or Insufficiently Known (K) and in the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals to refer collectively to species categorized as Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN), or Vulnerable (VU).


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


uses sight to communicate


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

young precocial

young are relatively well-developed when born


Bauers, K., J. Hearn. 1994. Patterns of paternity in relation to male social rank in the stumptailed macaque, Macaca arctoides. Behaviour, 129(3-4): 149-176.

Brereton, A. 1994. Copulatory behavior in a free-ranging population of stumptail macaques (Macaca arctoides) in Mexico.. Primates, 35(2): 113-122.

Cerda-Molina, A., L. Hernández-López, S. Rojas-Maya, C. Murcia-Mejía, R. Mondragón-Ceballos. 2006. Male-Induced Sociosexual Behavior by Vaginal Secretions in Macaca arctoides.. International Journal of Primatology, 27/3: 791-807.

Chetry, D., R. Medhi, P. Bhattacharjee. 2003. Anti-predator behavior of stumptail macaques in Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam, India.. Asian Primates, 8/4: 20-22.

Choudhury, A. 2002. Status and conservation of the stump-tailed macaque Macaca arctoides in India. Primate Rep, 63: 63-72.

Estrada, A., R. Estrada. 1984. Female-infant interactions among free-ranging stumptail macaques (Macaca arctoides).. Primates, 25(1): 48-61.

Fooden, J. 1990. The bear macaque, Macaca arctoides: a systematic review. Journal of Human Evolution, 19(6/7): 607-86.

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

Maestripieri, D. 1996. Social communication among captive stump-tailed macaques (Macaca arctoides). Int J Primatol, 17(5): 785-802.

Pertovaara, A., I. Linnankoski, D. Artchakov, P. Rämä, S. Carlson. 2004. A potential aphrodisiac for female macaques. Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior;, 79/1: 137-141.

Uno, H. 1986. The stumptailed macaque as a model for baldness: effects of minoxidil.. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 8/2: 288-296.