, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 187–198 | Cite as

Dietary adaptations of temperate primates: comparisons of Japanese and Barbary macaques

  • Goro Hanya
  • Nelly Ménard
  • Mohamed Qarro
  • Mohamed Ibn Tattou
  • Mieko Fuse
  • Dominique Vallet
  • Aya Yamada
  • Moe Go
  • Hino Takafumi
  • Riyou Tsujino
  • Naoki Agetsuma
  • Kazuo Wada
Original Article


Habitat, diet and leaf chemistry are compared between Japanese and Barbary macaques to reveal the similarities and differences in dietary adaptations of temperate primates living at the eastern and western extremes of the genus Macaca. Tree species diversity and proportion of fleshy-fruited species are much higher in Japan than in North Africa. Both species spend considerable annual feeding time on leaves. Japanese macaques prefer fruits and seeds over leaves, and Barbary macaques prefer seeds. These characteristics are adaptive in temperate regions where fruit availability varies considerably with season, since animals can survive during the lean period by relying on leaf and other vegetative foods. The two species are different with respect to the higher consumption of herbs by Barbary macaques, and the leaves consumed contain high condensed and hydrolysable tannin for Barbary but not for Japanese macaques. Barbary macaques supplement less diverse tree foods with herbs. Because of the low species diversity and high tannin content of the dominant tree species, Barbary macaques may have developed the capacity to cope with tannin. This supports the idea that digestion of leaves is indispensable to survive in temperate regions where fruit and seed foods are not available for a prolonged period during each year.


Barbary macaque Condensed tannin Japanese macaque Leaf chemistry Temperate forest 



We would like to thank our friends and colleagues who supported our fieldwork in Japan, Morocco and Algeria. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry Agency, Japan, and Haut Commissariat aux Eaux et Forêt et à la Lutte Contre la Désertification, Morocco gave us permission to study in the area. Dr. Y. Tsuji kindly provided his published data. This study was financed by the JSPS Core-to-core Program HOPE, Cooperation Research Program of KUPRI and the MEXT Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows, Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (#20770195 and #22687002) to G.H., the 21st Century COE Program (A14) and Global COE Program “Formation of a Strategic Base for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Research: from Genome to Ecosystem”.


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Goro Hanya
    • 1
  • Nelly Ménard
    • 2
  • Mohamed Qarro
    • 3
  • Mohamed Ibn Tattou
    • 4
  • Mieko Fuse
    • 5
  • Dominique Vallet
    • 2
  • Aya Yamada
    • 1
  • Moe Go
    • 1
  • Hino Takafumi
    • 6
  • Riyou Tsujino
    • 7
  • Naoki Agetsuma
    • 6
  • Kazuo Wada
    • 1
  1. 1.Primate Research Institute, Kyoto UniversityInuyamaJapan
  2. 2.UMR ECOBIO, Station Biologique, CNRS-Université RennesPaimpontFrance
  3. 3.Ecole Nationale Forestière d’IngénieursSaléMorocco
  4. 4.Institut Scientifique, Université Mohammed V-AgdalRabatMorocco
  5. 5.Sasayama Field Station, Kobe UniversitySasayamaJapan
  6. 6.Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere, Hokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  7. 7.Research Institute for Humanity and NatureKyotoJapan

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