Thursday, April 11, 2019

Common Toque Macaque

Macaque is a genus of 23 species of monkey all found in Asia, except for one species, the Barbary macaque, found in North Africa and Gibraltar. Their arms and legs are about the same length, the fur is a shade of brown or black, the muzzles are rounded in profile with nostrils on the upper surface. The tail varies from absent to long. 
Common toque macaques in Anhuradhapura.
The toque macaque (Macaca sinica) is reddish-brown, the smallest species of macaque and only found in (endemic to) Sri Lanka. It gets its name from the toque shaped swirl of hair on its head that resembles a hat. The amount of hair is regionally variable and part of what distinguishes the subspecies. It has been listed as endangered since 2008 by the IUCN Red List. There are three subspecies of toque macaque: (1) the common or dry zone toque macaque (M. s. sinica) which we saw in Anuradhapura, Pollonaruwa, Dambulla, Sigiriya Rock, Yala NP, Udawalawe NP and Bundala NP has a lighter coat, longer limbs and tail and a shorter toque or swirl of hair; (2) the pale-fronted or wet zone toque macaque (M. s. aurifrons) which we saw in Kandy has a reddish or golden coat and a longer toque hat or swirl of hair on its head; and (3) the highland or hill zone toque macaque (M. s. opisthomelas) which we saw in Nuwara Eliya, which is similar to aurifrons, but has longer, thicker, dark brown fur, a contrasting golden color on the anterior part of its brown cap and shorter limbs and tail. This site was helpful in identifying which subspecies we saw at each site. 
At Sigiriya Rock.
At Anuradhapura - a good view of the hat hair and proportions of limbs and tail to body. 
The same macaque with a profile view of the head. 
A different view of the funky looking hat hair. 
More hat hair on a different macaque.

At Sigiriya Rock. A young macaque and its hat hair.
An older macaque at Sigiriya Rock.
Although listed as endangered, because of habitat destruction, they were very common in certain areas. They were also very entertaining. This is the star monkey in the 2015 Disney documentary "Monkey Kingdom," which filmed the monkeys at Polonnaruwa.
A mother with her baby clinging to her underside in Bundala NP. 

1 comment:

  1. I just love their "hat hair," as you call it. They all look like 1960s beatniks.