Celebes Crested Macaque, Macaca nigra

The Celebes Crested Macaque (Macaca nigra), known also as the Crested Black Macaque, Sulawesi Crested Macaque, or the Black Ape, is al Old World Monkey that resides in the northeast of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi as well as on smaller neighboring islands.

The skin and the hairless face is, with the exception of some white hair on the shoulder range, entirely jet black colored. The long muzzle with high cheeks and the long tuft of hair, or crest, at the top side of the head are remarkable. The tail is only about 1 inch of stub. With a total body length of 17 to 24 inches and a weight of 3.6 to 10.4 kilograms, it is one of the smaller macaque species. The life expectancy is estimated at about 20 years.

The Celebes Crested Macaque is a diurnal rain forest dweller. This macaque is mostly terrestrial, spending more than 60 percent of its day on the ground searching for food and socializing, while sleeping and searching for food in the trees.

The macaque is frugivorous, with 70 percent of its diet consisting of fruits. It also consumes buds, fungus, seeds, leaves, birds, and bird eggs, insects, and the occasional small frog or lizard.

It resides in groups of 5 to 25 animals. Smaller groups have only a single male, while the larger groups have up to four males. The females, however, always outnumber the males by roughly 4 to 1. Since the young males leave their birth groups upon their maturity, they occasionally from bachelor groups prior to looking for a connection to an existing mixed group. Communication consists of a variety of sounds and gestures; such as the presentation of the long eyeteeth while grimacing a clear threatening gesture.

The macaque is also promiscuous, with both the males and the females mating multiple times with multiple partners. The receptivity of the females is clearly signified by an extreme tumescence and redness of their buttocks which, in contrast to the black skin color, is especially remarkable. The gestation period is 174 days, and the birth of the usually single offspring happens in the spring when the food is more plentiful. The young animals are nursed about one year and become fully mature in 3 to 4 years, the females somewhat sooner than the males.

Due to it devastating crops and fields, the macaque is hunted as a pest. It is also hunted to offer bush meat. Clearing the rainforests further threatens the survival of this mammal. The situation on the small neighboring islands of Sulawesi is somewhat better, sine these have a low human population.

Image Caption: Celebes Crested Macaque (Macaca nigra) pair at the Memphis Zoo. Credit: Kaldari/Wikipedia