Lion Tailed Macaque

Lion Tailed Macaque

Lion Tailed Macaque (Macaca Silenus)

  • Family:  Cercopithecidae
  • Genus: Macaca
  • Species: M. Silenus

Common name: Lion Tailed Macaque

Physical Description:

  • Average Male Weight: 7 kilograms
  • Average Female Weight: 5 kilograms
  • Age of Maturity: 2.5-4 years
  • Life Expectancy: about 20 years
  • Head to tail length: 45-60 cm (both male and female)
  • Black or dark brown fur with long sliver white hair around the face.
  • Face is furless and black.
  • Small tuft of hair at the end of the tail (like a lion tail).
    Male has more prominent tuft then females.
  • Cheeks are like pouches to carry food in.
  • Spends most of the time in trees.
  • Males have large canines.

Geographic Location and Range of Species:

  • Southeast India (Ghats)
  • Long narrow band of forest that measures 850 km long and 30 km wide.
  • Tropical wet evergreen forest.


  • Omnivorous-eats plant and animal life
  • Indigenous fruits.
  • Leaves, buds, seeds, and flowers.
  • Insects and small vertebrates.
  • Arboreal living style: large individual spaces to themselves and they feed on a variety of different fruits, most of their time is spent exploring and gathering food.
  • They gather all their food.

Social Organization:

  • Live in groups of about 15-20.
  • Many females and few males. (3 to 1 ratio)
  • Male leader of the group.
  • Very territorial.
  • Young males leave the group once they become mature.
  • Females remain in same group for life.


  • Begin to mate once they hit of the age of 2.5-4 years after birth, can mate the whole year.
  • Gestation period- last six months, then a single offspring is born.
  • Offspring is born every other year.
  • Sexual skin under tail that swells during estrus.

Parental Care:

  • Nurtured by parent for a year.

Language/Communication Abilities:

  • Vocal and visual communication
  • Scream calls: a loud scream is made when a non-group member approaches.
  • Loud call: from the male, to keep the group spaced.
  • Fear grimace: (visual cue) to reduce aggression. Lips curl so the teeth are exposed and clenched together.
  • Staring with open mouth: (visual cue) expressing a threat. Staring with the mouth open but teeth are not exposed.

Web Sites:


Clarke, A S., N M. Czekala, and D G. Lindburg. “Primates.” Behavioral and adrenocortical responses of male cynomolgus and lion-tailed macaques to social stimulation and group formation 36.1 Jan. (). Web. 7 Feb. 2011.

Honnavalli N. Kumara and Anindya Sinha (2009). Decline of the Endangered lion-tailed macaque, Macaca silenus in the Western Ghats, India. Oryx, 43, pp 292-298

Singh, W., W. Kaumanns, M. Singh,H.S. Sushma & S. Molur (2009). The Liontailed Macaque Macaca silenus (Primates: Cercopithecidae): conservation history and status of a flagship species of the tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 1(3): 151-157.

Fa, John E., and Donald G. Lindburg. Evolution and ecology of macaque societies. New York: Press Syndicate of University of Cambridge, 1996. N. pag. Web. 7 Feb. 2011.

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