, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 317-337

First online:

An ecological study of troop fissions of Japanese monkeys (Macaca fuscata yakui) on Yakushima Island, Japan

  • Tamaki MaruhashiAffiliated withPrimate Research Institute, Kyoto University

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Wild, habituated, Japanese monkeys were observed from 1975 to 1979 on Yakushima Island, Southern Japan. The monkey troops had a continuous distribution in a warm temperate forest. Demographic data on local populations was collected. The population density was 33 animals/km2. The growth rate of the studied troop was 3.0% per year. A significant correlation between home range areas (R) and troop size (P) was found (r=0.955,p<0.005), using anR-P equation,R=1.84P. One troop split into three troops through two successive fissions. Twenty-one intertroop encounters were observed. Five types of encounters were distinguished. The encounters were apparently territorial defence. Increases in birth rate and socionomic sex ratio after the fissions were prominent. The following four factors had a direct effect upon the dispersion of the troops after fission: (1) dominance relation between the fission troops; (2) social pressure of the neighbors; (3) troop's attachment to its home range; and (4) structure of the environment. The home range of Japanese monkeys is a territory, and territoriality is a population regulating mechanism which serves to reduce competition for food.