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Bunder - Macaca mulatta - Overview - Encyclopedia of Life

Macaca mulatta — Overview

Bunder learn more about names for this taxon


Macaca mulatta Trusted

© Dr. Vijay Anand Ismavel MS MCh


Macaca mulatta Trusted

© Vijay Barve


© 2015 Simon J. Tonge

Source: CalPhotos

Macaca mulatta Trusted

© Discover Life and original sources

Source: Discover Life

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IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Brief Summary

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This adaptable species is highly promiscuous and both males and females mate with as many members of the opposite sex as possible. They travel in groups of between 8 and 180 individuals, usually with two to four times as many females as males. Breeding takes place whenever the seasons permit, with no defined period in non-seasonal areas. Females undergo a regular oestrus cycle of 26 – 29 days, but unlike many other macaques, the genital region swells and darkens in colour only slightly during the fertile period, and only in younger adult females (4). Gestation lasts around 165 days, and females give birth to a single young or, rarely, twins. The young is fed milk for a year, first clinging to the mother's belly, but riding on her back when older. After weaning, female juveniles may remain with the same group whereas males often disperse to another. Females become sexually mature between 2.5 and 4 years and males between 4.5 and 7 years. Females who reach ages of more than 25 years go through the menopause, eventually becoming infertile (6). The rhesus macaque shows dominance hierarchies in both sexes, but more so in males. The status of each individual is inherited from its mother. There may be confrontations between groups, but these are rare as weaker groups actively avoid stronger groups. Females within groups can be very loud, but rarely fight as they are usually closely related (4). All members of the group practise social grooming for pleasure, health and as a form of submission and appeasement. Appeasement is also shown by the fear grimace in which the lips are retracted to reveal the clenched teeth. Staring with the mouth open signifies threat and putting the tail vertically upwards indicates aggressive confidence. Infants attract their mother's attention by cooing, and adult females will also coo to attract a male. Males respond by lip-smacking as an invitation to mate (5). The diet of the rhesus macaque varies by region. They are omnivorous opportunists, feeding mainly on roots, herbs, insects, crop plants and small animals. They are good swimmers and will cross water to find food (4).


© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Present in 74 collections

See all 74 collections in which this page appears.

Belongs to 1 community

EOL has data for 72 traits

See all 72 traits for this taxon. Trait data body length (VT) 400 mm female
500 mm male
540 mm female
more population trend Unknown habitat anthropogenic habitat
arboreal habitat
more trophic level herbivore primary diet fruit
more habitat includes Deserts and Xeric Shrublands
Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
more type specimen repository National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution (USNM) male adult trophic level omnivore diet includes animals


Classification from NCBI Taxonomy selected by C. Michael Hogan - see more.

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