, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 95–99 | Cite as

Coprophagy-related interspecific nocturnal interactions between Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata yakui) and sika deer (Cervus nippon yakushimae)

  • Mari NishikawaEmail author
  • Koji Mochida
News and Perspectives


The influence of sympatric large animals on the sleeping behavior of primates in the wild is still largely unknown. In this study, we observed behaviors of wild Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata yakui) at their sleeping sites, using a highly sensitive video camera. We found evidence of nocturnal interspecific interactions, such as agonistic interactions, between Japanese macaques and sika deer (Cervus nippon yakushimae). Deer approached sleeping clusters of macaques, which slept on the ground, to eat their feces or unidentified materials near the sleeping clusters, and as a result, the macaques were often quickly displaced from their sleeping site. There was a significant difference in the occurrence of macaque–deer agonistic interactions between seasons. Our results suggested that the size of the sleeping cluster, the number of adult macaques in the cluster, and the existence of adult males in the cluster did not influence the occurrence of the agonistic interactions. Finally, we discuss the influence of this interaction on macaques and speculate on the influential factors leading to nocturnal coprophagy of macaques’ feces by deer.


Sleep disturbance Sleeping sites Coprophagy Polyspecific association Japanese macaque Sika deer Yakushima 



We thank the Yakushima Forest Environment Conservation Center for giving us permission to study in the area. We also thank the Wildlife Research Center of Kyoto University and S. Yoshihiro for offering us excellent facilities at the Yakushima Field Research Station. We are very grateful to J. Yamagiwa, N. Nakagawa, J.R. Anderson, N. Agetsuma, Y. Agetsuma-Yanagihara, the members of the Laboratory of Human Evolution Studies and Laboratory of Ethology, Kyoto University, and two anonymous reviewers for offering helpful suggestions and comments on the manuscript. This study was financially supported by the Cooperative Research Fund of the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University and Global COE Program A06 to Kyoto University.


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Evolution Studies, Department of Zoology, Graduate School of ScienceKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Zoology, Graduate School of ScienceKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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