Southern Pig-Tailed Macaque

Southern Pig-Tailed Macaque

Sundaland pig-tailed macaque, Sunda pig-tailed macaque, Beruk

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Infraorder
Genus
SPECIES
Macaca nemestrina
Population size
900,000
Life Span
26-35 yrs
WEIGHT
4.7-14.5 kg
LENGTH
467-564 mm

The Southern pig-tailed macaque is a medium-sized macaque that lives in Southeast Asia. It has buff-brown fur, with a darker dorsal area and lighter ventral area. Its common name refers to the short tail held semi-erect, resembling the tail of a pig.

Distribution

Southern pig-tailed macaques are found in the southern half of the Malay Peninsula (only just extending into southernmost Thailand), Borneo, Sumatra, and Bangka Island. They mainly live in dense rainforest, but will also enter plantations and gardens.

Southern Pig-Tailed Macaque habitat map

Geography

Continents
Subcontinents
Introduced Countries

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Southern pig-tailed macaques are mainly terrestrial, but also skilled climbers and often forage in the tree canopy. Unlike almost all primates, these macaques love water. They live in large groups that split into smaller groups during the daytime when they are foraging. There is a hierarchy among males, based on strength, and among females, based on heredity. Thus, the daughter of the alpha female will immediately be placed above all other females in the group. The alpha female leads the group, while the male role is more to manage conflict within the group and to defend it. Pig-tailed macaques are generally silent but they make a lot of vocalizations when they need to. They communicate with each other with the help of screams, squeals, growls, barks, screeches, and have the most common vocalization the sounds as 'coo'. Group members also groom each other, kiss, and feed together.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Southern pig-tailed macaques are omnivores. They eat mainly fruits, seeds, berries, leaves, cereals, fungi, and invertebrates.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
year-round
PREGNANCY DURATION
5.7 months
BABY CARRYING
1 infant
FEMALE NAME
female
MALE NAME
male
BABY NAME
infant

Southern pig-tailed macaques are polygynandrous (promiscuous), meaning that both the males and the females have multiple partners. Their breeding season takes place year-round. Females give birth to a single infant every two years and the gestation period lasts around 5.7 months. The young are born altricial and unable to feed and care for themselves independently. Mothers carry them, protect them, and nurse for 4-5 months. After one year of age, juveniles begin to associate more with other juveniles through rough tumble and playing activities. Young females become reproductively mature at 3 years of age and males start to breed when they are 4.5 years old.

Population

Population threats

The main threat to Southern pig-tailed macaques is habitat loss due to logging and agricultural development. They are also hunted for food, killed as crop pests or captured for the exotic pet trade.

Population number

According to the Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER) resource the total population size of the Southern pig-tailed macaques is 900,000 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.

Ecological niche

Southern pig-tailed macaques play an important role in their ecosystem, as they disperse seeds of various fruits and plants they consume.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • In Thailand, Southern pig-tailed macaques have been trained for 400 years to harvest coconuts.
  • Macaques have large pouches in their cheeks where they carry extra food.
  • Like other macaques species, Southern pig-tailed macaques are considered highly intelligent and are also known for their mischievous temper.
  • Macaques have a very complex social structure and hierarchy. If a macaque of a lower level in the social chain has eaten berries and none are left for a higher-ranking macaque, then the one higher in status can remove the berries from the other monkey's mouth.
  • Young females usually stay with the group in which they were born but young adult males tend to disperse and attempt to enter other social groups. However, not all males succeed in joining other groups and may become solitary, trying to join other social groups for many years.

References

1. Southern Pig-Tailed Macaque on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_pig-tailed_macaque
2. Southern Pig-Tailed Macaque on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/12555/181324867

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