Rhesus macaque (click to enlarge)

Rhesus macaque (click to enlarge)

 

Common name Rhesus macaque
Latin name Macaca mulatta
Local name Vanar (Hindi, Sanskrit), Bandar (HP), Runda (Garhwali), Wuse-gagun ( Kashmiri)
IUCN/WPA/Indian status Least concern/ IV / Locally Common
Social unit Multi male, multi female social groups
Size / weight HBL: 46.9- 53.2 cm, Wt. 5.3- 7 kg
Description Rhesus macaque is a medium sized monkey with brown to grey fur. Fur on ventral side is lighter of shade. It has distinct face without fur which is pink in colour. It has medium sized tail of about 20 to 22 cm. Rhesus macaques have opposable thumbs on their forelimbs and hind limbs which aid them in climbing. Males and females show dimorphism. Females are smaller in size and show ano genital and fecial reddenning of the skin when they are sexually receptive.
Behavior Rhesus macaques are socially despotic with distinct social hierarchy. Core group of dominant males and females take decisions regarding foraging and movement. They are highly territorial and aggressively defend their home ranges from non-kin groups. To maintain the group cohesion individuals frequently groom other individuals. In terms of feeding habits, these macaques are generalists. Although they primarily feed on fruits, they also consume succulent leaves, wild fruits and berries in forests, insects, lizards, eggs, now started eating lot of food lying in the garbage bins etc.
Distribution Rhesus macaques are most widely distributed primates in the world next to Humans. They are found throughout Afghanistan to China and Thiland to the southern side. In india they are found in northernmost regions of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir upto Godavari river.
Habitat Being generalist species they utilize wide variety of habitats. Except from extreme environmental conditions of trans-Himalaya. Apart from temperate and deciduous forests they are also associated with agricultural fields, orchards. Due to high degree of provisioning they are also frequently found in human habitations like road sides, temples, villages and towns.