Barbary Macaque

Barbary Macaque

name = Barbary MacaqueMSW3 Groves|pages=164]
status = EN
trend = unknown
status_system = iucn3.1
status_ref = IUCN2008|assessors=Butynski "et al"|year=2008|id=12561|title=Macaca sylvanus|downloaded=2008-10-06 Listed as Endangered (EN A2bcd+4bcd v3.1)]

image_width = 200px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Primates
familia = Cercopithecidae
genus = "Macaca"
species = "M. sylvanus"
binomial = "Macaca sylvanus"
binomial_authority = (Linnaeus, 1758)

The Barbary Macaque ("Macaca sylvanus") is a macaque with just a stub of a tail. Found in the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco with a small, possibly introduced, population in Gibraltar, the Barbary Macaque is one of the best-known Old World monkey species. Besides humans, they are the only primates that live freely in Europe. Although the species is commonly referred to as the "Barbary Ape", the Barbary Macaque is a true monkey, not an ape.


This monkey is yellowish-brown to grey with lighter undersides, growing to a maximum size of 75 cm (30 in) and 13 kg (29 lb). Its face is a dark pink and its tail is vestigial. The front limbs of this monkey are longer than its hind limbs. Females are somewhat smaller than males.


Dwelling in forests of cedar, pine and oak, the Barbary Macaque may frequent elevations of 2,100 m (6,900 ft) or more. It is a diurnal animal, dividing its time more or less equally between arboreal and terrestrial territory. Mostly herbivorous, this monkey feeds on leaves, roots, and fruit, but will also eat insects. By day, the Barbary Macaque patrols a territory which may span several square kilometers; it peacefully co-exists with other primate species, sharing watering holes without incident. The Barbary Macaque moves about energetically on all fours, occasionally rising erect on its hind limbs to survey for threats.

The Barbary Macaque is a gregarious monkey, forming mixed groups of several females and males; the troop of 10 to 30 individuals is matriarchal, with its hierarchy determined by lineage to the lead female. Unlike other macaques, the males participate in rearing the young; much time is spent playing and grooming with them. In this way, a strong social bond is formed between a male and his offspring, both the male's own and those of others in the troop. This may be a result of selectiveness on the part of the females, who seem to prefer highly parental males.

The mating season runs from November through March. After a gestation period of 147 to 192 days, typically one baby per female is born; twins are a rarity. The monkeys reach maturity at 3 to 4 years of age, and may live for 20 years or more.


The habitat of the Barbary Macaque is under threat from increased logging activity; they are listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List. Local farmers see the monkeys as pests worthy of extermination. Once common throughout northern Africa and southern Europe, there are estimated to be just 1,200 to 2,000 Barbary Macaques left.

Human use

Many of the mistaken ideas about human anatomy contained in the writings of Galen are apparently due to his use of these animals, the anthropoid available to him, in dissections. Strong cultural taboos of his time prevented his performing any actual dissections of human cadavers, even in his role as physician and teacher of physicians.

Gibraltar population

The last wild population in Europe is that of Gibraltar, which unlike that of North Africa is thriving. At present there are some 230 animals in five troops occupying the area of the Upper Rock, though occasional forays into the town may result in damages to personal property.


External links

*ARKive - [ images and movies of the Barbary Macaque "(Macaca sylvanus)"]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Barbary macaque — Tailless, terrestrial monkey (Macaca sylvana) found in groups in Algeria and Morocco and on the Rock of Gibraltar. It is about 24 in. (60 cm) long and has yellowish brown fur and a bald, pale pink face. Lacking a tail, this macaque has often been …   Universalium

  • Barbary macaque — noun see Barbary ape …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Barbary macaque — noun Macaca sylvanus, an Old World monkey found in Gibraltar and the Atlas Mountains in Algeria and Morocco …   Wiktionary

  • Macaque berbère — Macaca sylvanus …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Macaque — Taxobox name = MacaquesMSW3 Groves|pages=161 165] image caption = Crab eating Macaque ( Macaca fascicularis ) regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia ordo = Primates familia = Cercopithecidae subfamilia = Cercopithecinae genus =… …   Wikipedia

  • macaque — /meuh kak , kahk /, n. any monkey of the genus Macaca, chiefly of Asia, characterized by cheek pouches and, usually, a short tail: several species are threatened or endangered. [1690 1700; < F < Pg macaco monkey. See MACACO] * * * I Any of about… …   Universalium

  • Barbary Leopard — Taxobox name = Barbary Leopard status = CR status system = iucn3.1 regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia ordo = Carnivora familia = Felidae genus = Panthera species = P. pardus subspecies = P. p. panthera trinomial = Panthera… …   Wikipedia

  • Barbary ape — noun Etymology: Barbary, Africa Date: 1791 a tailless monkey (Macaca sylvanus) of northern Africa and Gibraltar called also Barbary macaque …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Barbary ape — noun A tailless monkey, Macaca sylvanus, found on Gibraltar and in parts of north Africa Syn: Barbary macaque …   Wiktionary

  • macaque — [mə käk′] n. [Fr < Port macaco, monkey] any of a genus (Macaca) of monkeys of Asia, Africa, and the East Indies, with a long or short tail that is not prehensile, including the rhesus monkey and Barbary ape …   English World dictionary

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