There are now 24 recognised macaque species. The macaques are a diverse and highly successful group, with the broadest distribution of any nonhuman primate, from Morocco to Japan. Each species is specially adapted to thrive in their natural habitat, which means that different macaque species exhibit not only varying morphological and physiological adaptations, but also different social behaviour.
Why do we study macaques?
Macaques are highly gregarious and live in large, mixed sex social groups of up to several hundred individuals. These large social groups, along with the species-specific social adaptations we observe, make the Macaca genus an ideal study system for investigating the evolutionary origins of friendships. Taking a cross-species comparative approach, we are not only able to ask questions about why macaques form social relationships in the way they do, but also how different species vary in the structure of their social network, and how this links to the different socio-ecological pressures they are facing.
Click through the slideshow below to find out more about each of the 24 macaque species.