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Crab-eating Macaque - Macaca fascicularis
Topic Started: Jan 7 2012, 02:33 PM (2,684 Views)
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Crab-eating Macaque – Macaca fascicularis

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Suborder: Haplorrhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Superfamily: Cercopithecoidea
Family: Cercopithecidae
Subfamily: Cercopithecinae
Genus: Macaca
Species: M. fascicularis

  • M. f. atriceps,
  • Burmese Long-tailed Macaque : M. f. aurea,
  • M. f. condorensis,
  • M. f. fascicularis,
  • M. f. fusca,
  • M. f. karimondjawae,
  • M. f. lasiae,
  • M. f. philippinensis,
  • M. f. tua,
  • M. f. umbrosa

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The defining characteristic, for which they are named, is their extraordinarily long tail that is almost always longer than their height from head to rump, and ranges in length between 400 and 655 mm (1.31 and 2.15 ft) (Fa 1989; Groves 2001). Infants have a natal coat and are born black, changing to the adult pelage as they mature (Rowe 1996). By two to three months of age, they begin to lose their black coat and by one year, they have the adult coloration (Fooden 1995). Like other macaques (Macaca), long-tailed macaques are sexually dimorphic (Dittus 2004). Males measure between 412 and 648 mm (1.35 and 2.13 ft) and weigh, on average, between 4.7 and 8.3 kg (10.4 and 18.3 lb). Females measure only 385 to 503 mm (1.26 to 1.74 ft) and have average weights between 2.5 and 5.7 kg (5.5 and 12.6 lb) (Fa 1989). In addition to being taller and heavier, males have much larger canine teeth than females (Dittus 2004). Macaques have cheek pouches in which they can store food as they forage, and transport it away from the foraging site to eat (Lucas & Corlett 1998).

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These macaques are primarily arboreal and can leap distances between trees up to five meters (16.4 ft), using their long tails for balance (Rodman 1991; Rowe 1996). Long-tailed macaques move quadrupedally through the canopy and spend some amount of time on the ground (Rodman 1991).

Life span: 31 years
Total population: Unknown
Regions: Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand
Gestation: 5.5 months (165 days)
Height: 412 to 648 mm (M), 385 to 503 mm (F)
Average Weight: 4.7 to 8.3 kg (M), 2.5 to 5.7 kg (F)

It's the only Monkey specie in the Philippines

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M. fascicularis range (in red)

Long-tailed macaques are widespread throughout the islands of Southeast Asia into mainland Asia. They are found in the Philippines, in mainland Malaysia and on Borneo, in Indonesia on Sumatra, Java, Timor, and the Lesser Sunda Islands, in Burma, in India on the Nicobar Islands, and in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand (Fittinghoff & Lindburg 1980; Groves 2001)
Edited by Taipan, Jun 3 2016, 03:12 PM.
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Burmese Long-Tailed Macaques Use of Stone Tools Is Being Threatened by Human Activity in Thailand

Aug. 14, 2013 — Human farming and the introduction of domestic dogs are posing a threat to the ability of Burmese long-tailed macaques to use stone tools. This was found in a study led by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) carried out at Thailand's Laem Son National Park. The research team has advised Thailand's authorities that in the management of their marine national parks they should pay closer attention to macaques' use of stones as tools.
Burmese long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis aurea) are a rare variety of the common long-tailed macaques of Southeast Asia, found only in Myanmar and bordering areas of Thailand. In a few locations, these monkeys use stone tools along the coasts to crack hard-shelled invertebrate prey, such as rock oysters, sea snails, and crabs.
The research team, comprising Assistant Professor Michael D. Gumert from Nanyang Technological University's Division of Psychology, Professor Yuzuru Hamada of Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute, and Professor Suchinda Malaivijitnond of Chulalongkorn University' Primate Research Unit, discovered that human activities are showing signs that the persistence of the macaques' stone-use tradition may be in jeopardy at Laem Son National Park, a marine national park along the western coast of Thailand.
"Macaques easily change their feeding behaviour when influenced by humans, and we are concerned stone-using macaques will lose their traditional feeding behaviour if illegitimate development continues within the protected park," said Assistant Professor Gumert, who is based at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
On Piak Nam Yai Island, the team's research site within the Laem Son National Park, they have found that human impact is altering the macaques and the island's ecosystems. Of highest concern is the illegal development of rubber farms and oil palm plantations within the park that is clearing portions of forest. Humans are also competing with the macaques for food, by their harvesting of bivalves, such as clams and oysters, at the protected coasts.
Another major concern is harassment by domestic dogs that have been released to protect the farms. The dogs are repelling macaques from the shores, which inhibits their tool-using activity. As these macaques are forced to become more vigilant and to constantly keep a look out for dogs on the coast, they are paying less attention to learning tool-using patterns from their seniors.
"Traditions need safety and stability to properly develop, otherwise, the coasts just become a danger area that macaques must learn to avoid, rather than a stable learning ground for developing tool-use," laments Dr Gumert.
"If these changes continue, the macaques could alter their foraging strategies, and potentially limit further development of their stone-using traditions in future generations," stressed Dr Gumert.
"Generally, when we think of conservation, we think of species preservation, but I think we must also be concerned with the preservation of rare and interesting behaviour produced by animals' cultures as well. Many animal species have unique traditions, and these traditions are fragile to disturbance. They require good conservation management of the habitats that foster these traditions," he added.
The researchers, who have studied the Burmese long-tailed macaques living on Piak Nam Yai Island since 2007, found that the island's macaque population had 192 individuals in nine groups and 88% of all adults there use stone tools. Tool-use is a part of the everyday life of these long-tailed macaques. "They have a fascinating lithic culture," noted Dr Gumert.
"These Burmese macaques are the only monkeys in Asia that use stone tools. Only two other primate species, out of several hundred in the world use stone tools -- the chimpanzees in Africa and capuchin monkeys in South America. Knowing about primate stone tool use has important implications to compare with early hominine tool use, as well as the origins of cultural behaviour. Studying traditions allow us to investigate the cultural capacity of animals," he added.
"We need to have better protection for these macaques. Otherwise, I am worried they will lose their natural foraging behaviour, like many macaques in Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia already have."
A major environmental problem currently affecting Southeast Asia is the large portion of the long-tailed macaque population that has acclimated to living around humans and using our food sources. Voicing concern, Dr Gumert said, "This is directly the consequence of human development, and we don't want these rare stone-using macaques going the path of so many other macaques whose natural behaviour has been destroyed by our actions. Piak Nam Yai Island, should be fully protected from human activity because it is a national park and therefore legally protected land for natural resources and wildlife."
Looking ahead, the researchers hope to develop a long-term research programme in Thailand on tool-using long-tailed macaques that is based out of NTU and Chulalongkorn University. Dr Gumert plans to build permanent research sites around these animals, and bring in students and other scientists to study the behaviour and ecology of these macaques.
"We should also explore into Myanmar, because we think the behaviour may be more common there. Macaque stone tool-use was first reported back in the 1880's in the journal, Nature, by Alfred Carpenter, an English seaman. He saw tool-using monkeys in the Myeik Archipelago of then Burma, which has hundreds of islands in the chain. Laem Son National Park is at the southern part of that island chain and probably represents the southern boundary of this behaviour. We need to get into Myanmar and see how the macaques have changed since a century ago," Dr Gumert added.
"These monkeys are extraordinary and a natural treasure to the Southeast Asian region. I believe stone-using macaques will become a symbol of coastal preservation here, a symbol for protecting Thailand and Myanmar's wonderful coastal ecosystems, and all that depends on them," Dr Gumert said.

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Burmese long-tailed macaque using a stone tool, to crack open a rock oyster at Piak Nam Yai island, Laem Son National Park, Thailand.


Journal Reference
Michael D. Gumert, Yuzuru Hamada, Suchinda Malaivijitnond. Human activity negatively affects stone tool-using Burmese long-tailed macaques Macaca fascicularis aurea in Laem Son National Park, Thailand. Oryx, 2013; : 1 DOI: 10.1017/S0030605312000130

Animal traditions can affect survival by improvinghow individuals use their environment. They are inherited through social learning and are restricted to small subpopulations. As a result, traditions are rare and their preservation needs to be considered in biodiversity conservation. We studied Burmese long-tailed macaques Macaca fascicularis aurea living on Piak Nam Yai Island in Laem Son National Park, Thailand, which maintain a rare stone tool-using tradition for processing hard-shelled invertebrate prey along the island’s shores. We found the population had 192 individuals in nine groups and most individuals used stone tools. This population is under pressure from the local human community through the development of farms and release of domestic dogs Canis familiaris onto the island. The level of anthropogenic impact varied in each macaque groups’ range and juvenile–infant composition varied with impact. The proportion of young was smaller in groups overlapping farms and was negatively correlated with the amount of dog activity in their range. We also found that coastal use by macaques was negatively related to living near plantations and that the dogs displaced macaques from the shores in 93% of their encounters. We conclude that human impact is negatively affecting Piak Nam Yai’s Macaques and are concerned this could disrupt the persistence of their stone-use tradition. we discuss the impact and the potential consequences, and we recommend better protection of coastal areas within Laem Son National Park.

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Journal Reference:
Srichan Bunlungsup, Hiroo Imai, Yuzuru Hamada, Michael D. Gumert, Aye Mi San and Suchinda Malaivijitnond. 2015. Morphological Characteristics and Genetic Diversity of Burmese Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis aurea). American Journal of Primatology. 78(4); 441–455. DOI: 10.1002/ajp.22512

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Fig. 1. Distribution range of Macaca fascicularis aurea (Mfa; black) and M. fascicularis fascicularis (Mff; gray). Black, white, and gray circles indicate the Mfa, Mff, and hybrid locations of the samples collected in this study.
DOI: 10.1002/ajp.22512

Macaca fascicularis aurea (Mfa) is the only macaque which has been recorded to use stone tools to access encased foods. They live in close contact with M. fascicularis fascicularis (Mff) in southwestern Thailand and the hybrids were reported [Fooden, 1995]. Although Mff and Mfa can be seen in the same habitat types, tool-use behavior has never been reported in Mff. Thus, comparing the morphological characteristics and genetics between Mfa and Mff should help elucidate not only the morphological differences and genetic divergence between these subspecies but also potentially the relationship between genetics and their tool use behavior. We surveyed Mfa and Mff in Myanmar and Thailand, ranging from 16° 58′ to 7° 12′ N. Fecal or blood samples were collected from eight, five, and four populations of Mfa, Mff, and Mff × Mfa morphological hybrids along with three individuals of captive Chinese M. mulatta (Mm), respectively, for mtDNA and Y-chromosome (TSPY and SRY genes) DNA sequence analyses. In addition, eight populations were captured and measured for 38 somatometric dimensions. Comparison of the somatic measurements revealed that Mfa had a statistically significantly shorter tail than Mff (P < 0.05). Based on the mtDNA sequences, Mfa was separated from the Mm/Mff clade. Within the Mfa clade, the mainland Myanmar population was separate from the Mergui Archipelago and Thailand Andaman seacoast populations. All the morphological hybrids had the Mff mtDNA haplotype. Based on the Y-chromosome sequences, the three major clades of Mm/Indochinese Mff, Sundaic Mff, and Mfa were constructed. The hybrid populations grouped either with the Mm/Indochinese Mff or with the Mfa. Regarding the genetic analysis, one subspecies hybrid population in Thailand (KRI) elicited tool use behavior, thus the potential role of genetics in tool use behavior is raised in addition to the environmental force, morphological suitability, and cognitive capability.

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