Bonnet macaque

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Bonnet macaque
Bonnet macaque (Macaca radiata) Photograph By Shantanu Kuveskar.jpg
Bonnet macaque Macaca radiata

Mangaon, Maharashtra, India

Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Family: Cercopithecidae
Genus: Macaca
M. radiata
Binomial name
Macaca radiata
(É. Geoffroy, 1812)
Bonnet macaque range
  • diluta Pocock, 1931

The bonnet macaque (Macaca radiata), also known as zati, [2] is a species of macaque endemic to southern India. Its distribution is limited by the Indian Ocean on three sides and the Godavari and Tapti Rivers, along with its related competitor the rhesus macaque in the north. [1] [3] [4] Land use changes in the last few decades have resulted in changes in its distribution boundaries with the rhesus macaque, raising concern for its status in the wild. [5] [6]


This Old World monkey is a diurnal animal. [7] It is 35–60 cm long plus a tail of 35–68 cm. Males weigh 5.5 to 9.0 kg, females 3.5 to 4.5 kg. The monkey can live up to 35 years in captivity. [8]

The bonnet macaque feeds on fruits, nuts, seeds, flowers, invertebrates, and cereals. In southern India, this macaque exists as commensal to humans, feeding on food given by humans and raiding crops and houses. [9]

Two subspecies of bonnet macaques have been identified: M. r. radiata and M. r. diluta. [3]


The bonnet macaque has a very wide range of gestures and behaviors, which can be easily differentiated. Lip-smacking is one of the most common affiliative behaviors, where one individual may open and close its mouth in rapid succession, with its tongue between its teeth and its lips pressing against each other, giving an audible sound. A grimace is the most common gesture of fear or submission that a subordinate shows to a dominant individual during aggressive encounters. It consists of pulling back its upper lip, showing its upper teeth. It also has distinct alarm calls for predators such as pythons and leopards. [10] [11]

Social structure

[12] The bonnet macaque are very social animals and they communicate in a different range of facial expressions. The bonnet macaque, like other macaques, shares a linear dominance hierarchy; the alpha male is the most dominant male of the troop, followed by a beta male and a gamma male, and so on according to their dominance. Similarly, females also follow this linear hierarchy. The male and female hierarchies are different and of a nonoverlapping or nonmixing types. Males are usually dominant over females. [13] In their social groups females tend to stay in the same group they were born in, whereas males tend to join other groups, making bonnet macaques genetically diverse. [12]

The females' dominance hierarchy is stable (rarely changes), whilst the males' dominance hierarchy is very dynamic. In the male hierarchy, males close in rank often fight to rise in rank. A male has the best chance of obtaining a high rank in his prime age, resulting in the greatest benefits to reproduction. High-ranking individuals have first access to breeding females. Females are receptive during only a few months in a year, resulting in competition between males. In this situation, the ranks established by aggressive encounters come into play. Most of these aggressive encounters are easily resolved, but competition between similarly built or similarly aggressive males results in brutal and sometimes fatal fights. Female bonnet macaques attempt kidnappings of lower-ranking females. These are done mostly by mother females and the majority of the time they are not successful in completing it. [14] Different males may employ various means to rise in rank. Coalition formation between unrelated males to oust a more dominant male has been observed. Males often move from troop to troop to gain a higher rank with the resulting benefits. However, males remaining in a single troop have been observed to rise to become dominant male of that troop.

An important note is male bonnet macaques are generally far more laid back and carefree in their social lives than many other macaque species. Competition among male bonnet macaques is much more subdued and there is a much higher emphasis on pacifism. Male bonnet macaques groom each other, hug each other, sleep near each other, play together and engage in homosexual male on male anal sex as a social defuser, essentially regulating the bonnet macaque as the "bonobo" of the macaque family. While assertive males may take measures to monopolize matings, they cannot control females and these females will mate promiscuously, as macaques do. Some mysterious environmental pressures must have driven the bonnet macaque to form an unusually egalitarian social structure. Why this trend crops up convergently in separate macaque species rather than being an ancestral macaque trait is an enigma. A possible driving force may be these pacifist species inhabit more fertile habitats with more abundant food. Bonnet macaques are also fantastic swimmers and enjoy spending time in the water.

In the case of females, the stable dominance hierarchy is a result of female philopatry, when individuals tend to remain with the troop into which they are born. This results in the formation of matrilinear groupings of closely related females. These matrilines help each other during antagonistic interactions. As the matrilines are continuously reinforced with new births of females in a troop, ranks rarely change. A few rare cases of rank reversal for females have been recorded in which matrilines have become extremely depleted due to few female births. Male infants would not help to reinforce the matrilines, as they move off to new troops, leaving their natal troops.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

Macaque Genus of Old World monkeys

The macaques constitute a genus (Macaca) of gregarious Old World monkeys of the subfamily Cercopithecinae. The 23 species of macaques inhabit ranges throughout Asia, North Africa, and Gibraltar. Macaques are principally frugivorous, although their diet also includes seeds, leaves, flowers, and tree bark. Some species, such as the crab-eating macaque, subsist on a diet of invertebrates and occasionally small vertebrates. On average, southern pig-tailed macaques in Malaysia eat about 70 large rats each per year. All macaque social groups are matriarchal, arranged around dominant females.

Crab-eating macaque Species of monkey from Southeast Asia

The crab-eating macaque, also known as the long-tailed macaque and referred to as the cynomolgus monkey in laboratories, is a cercopithecine primate native to Southeast Asia. A species of macaque, the crab-eating macaque has a long history alongside humans; it has been alternately seen as an agricultural pest, sacred animal in some temples, and more recently, the subject of medical experiments.

Old World monkey Family of mammals

Old World monkey is the common English name for a family of primates known taxonomically as the Cercopithecidae. Twenty-four genera and 138 species are recognized, making it the largest primate family. Old World monkey genera include baboons and macaques. Common names for other Old World monkeys include the talapoin, guenon, colobus, douc, vervet, gelada, mangabey, langur, mandrill, surili (Presbytis), patas, and proboscis monkey. Phylogenetically, they are more closely related to apes than to New World monkeys. They diverged from a common ancestor of New World monkeys around 45 to 55 million years ago.

Rhesus macaque Species of Old World monkey

The rhesus macaque, colloquially rhesus monkey, is a species of Old World monkey. It is listed as least concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and its tolerance of a broad range of habitats. It is native to South, Central, and Southeast Asia and has the widest geographic range of all non-human primates, occupying a great diversity of altitudes and a great variety of habitats, from grasslands to arid and forested areas, but also close to human settlements.

<i>Mandrillus</i> Genus of Old World monkeys

Mandrillus is a genus of large Old World monkeys distributed throughout central and southern Africa, consisting of two species: M. sphinx and M. leucophaeus, the mandrill and drill, respectively. Mandrillus, originally placed under the genus Papio as a type of baboon, is closely related to the genus Cercocebus. They are characterised by their large builds, elongated snouts with furrows on each side, and stub tails. Both species occupy the west central region of Africa and live primarily on the ground. They are frugivores, consuming both meat and plants, with a preference for plants. M. sphinx is classified as vulnerable and M. leucophaeus as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Barbary macaque Species of Old World monkey

The Barbary macaque, also known as Barbary ape or magot, is a macaque species native to the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco along with a small introduced population in Gibraltar. It is one of the best-known Old World monkey species.

Japanese macaque The only nonhuman primate in Japan

The Japanese macaque, also known as the snow monkey, is a terrestrial Old World monkey species that is native to Japan. They are colloquially referred to as "snow monkeys" because some live in areas where snow covers the ground for months each year– no other non-human primate is more northern-living, nor lives in a colder climate. Individuals have brownish grey fur, pinkish-red faces, and short tails. Two subspecies are known.

Dominance hierarchy Type of social hierarchy

A dominance hierarchy, formerly and colloquially called a pecking order, is a type of social hierarchy that arises when members of animal social groups interact, creating a ranking system. In social living groups, members are likely to compete for access to limited resources and mating opportunities. Rather than fighting each time they meet, relative rank is established between members of the same sex. Based on repetitive interactions, a social order is created that is subject to change each time a dominant animal is challenged by a subordinate one. In mammals, a dominant individual is sometimes called an alpha.

Arunachal macaque Species of Old World monkey

The Arunachal macaque is a macaque native to Arunachal Pradesh in North-east India. It is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. It was scientifically described in 2005.

Social grooming Behavior in social animals

Social grooming is a behavior in which social animals, including humans, clean or maintain one another's body or appearance. A related term, allogrooming, indicates social grooming between members of the same species. Grooming is a major social activity, and a means by which animals who live in close proximity may bond and reinforce social structures, family links, and build companionships. Social grooming is also used as a means of conflict resolution, maternal behavior and reconciliation in some species. Mutual grooming typically describes the act of grooming between two individuals, often as a part of social grooming, pair bonding, or a precoital activity.

Toque macaque Species of Old World monkey

The toque macaque is a reddish-brown-coloured Old World monkey endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is known as the rilewa or rilawa, . Its name refers to the whorl of hair at the crown of the head, compared to a brimless toque cap.

Stump-tailed macaque Species of Old World monkey

The stump-tailed macaque, also called the bear macaque, is a species of macaque found in South Asia. In India, it is found in south of the Brahmaputra River, in the northeastern part of the country. Its range in India extends from Assam and Meghalaya to eastern Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.

Wedge-capped capuchin Species of New World monkey

The wedge-capped capuchin or weeper capuchin is a capuchin monkey from South America. It is found in northern Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname, Venezuela and possibly northern Colombia. The genus Cebus is divided into several different species. However, taxonomists argue over the specific divisions within the genus, which are uncertain and controversial. Cebus olivaceus is known to dwell in tall, primary forest and travel over long distances during the day.

Captivity (animal) Animal being held by humans

Animals that are held by humans and prevented from escaping are said to be in captivity. The term is usually applied to wild animals that are held in confinement, but may also be used generally to describe the keeping of domesticated animals such as livestock or pets. This may include, for example, animals in farms, private homes, zoos and laboratories. Animal captivity may be categorized according to the particular motives, objectives and conditions of the confinement.

Southern pig-tailed macaque Species of mammal

The southern pig-tailed macaque, also known as the Sundaland pig-tailed macaque and Sunda pig-tailed macaque, is a medium-sized macaque that lives in southern Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It is known locally as the beruk.


Girneys are soft vocalizations used by species of Old World monkeys to ease affiliative social interactions between unrelated members of the same species. The vocalizations are most commonly used by adult females around birthing season; the female will direct the call towards an unrelated mother and her offspring as an attempt to initiate friendly contact. However, mothers themselves will never direct girneys towards their own offspring as girneys do not increase affiliative interactions between relatives. Monkeys will also produce call when interacting with a dominant member of the same species, and when avoiding further conflict after becoming victim of an agonistic interaction. In all contexts, the vocalization is beneficial as it allows the signaler to inform potential aggressor that they are nonthreatening, thereby reducing the chance of attack and increasing fitness. Girneys are often accompanied by lip-smacking and a hesitant approach towards the dominant monkey. If the vocalization successfully reduces tension, it may be followed by allogrooming, alloparenting, and/or a rocking embrace.

Baboon Genus of mammals

Baboons are primates comprising the genus Papio, one of the 23 genera of Old World monkeys. There are five species of baboons, commonly known as hamadryas baboon, Guinea baboon, olive baboon, yellow baboon and chacma baboon. Each species is native to one of five areas of Africa and the hamadryas baboon is also native to part of the Arabian Peninsula. Baboons are among the largest non-hominoid primates and have existed for at least two million years.

Tibetan macaque Species of Old World monkey

The Tibetan macaque, also known as the Chinese stump-tailed macaque or Milne-Edwards' macaque, is a macaque species found from eastern Tibet east to Guangdong and north to Shaanxi in China. It has also been reported from northeastern India. This species lives in subtropical forests at elevations from 800 to 2,500 m above sea level.


A gecker is a vocalization most often associated with infant primates. It is defined as a loud and distinct vocalization, which consists of a broken staccato noise. In 1965, Irven DeVore of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences described geckering as a "single sharp yak sound", which may be repeated. It has also been characterized as "cackling." It is common in to all types of macaques, geckering is also associated with fearful jackals and mongooses. Patas monkeys have also been observed to gecker. In macaques, bickering is associated with spastic jerking of the body. Geckers are also commonly displayed in combination with grimaces.

Primate sociality

Primate sociality is an area of primatology that aims to study the interactions between three main elements of a primate social network: the social organisation, the social structure and the mating system. The intersection of these three structures describe the socially complex behaviours and relationships occurring among adult males and females of a particular species. Cohesion and stability of groups are maintained through a confluence of factors, including: kinship, willingness to cooperate, frequency of agonistic behaviours, or varying intensities of dominance structures.


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