Abstract # 24:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2007 01:30 PM-01:45 PM: Session 5 (North Main Hall E) Oral Presentation

Biogeography of Assamese Macaque with Special Reference to Newly Reported Enigmatic Macaque in Arunachal Pradesh, India

J. Biswas1,2, D. Borah1,2, J. Das1,2,3, P. C. Bhattacharjee1,2 and R. Horwich4
1Animal Ecology & Wildlife Biology Lab, Department of Zoology, Gauhati University, Guwahati, Assam 781014, India, 2Primate Research Center Northeast India, 3Wildlife areas Development and Welfare Trust, 4Community Conservation, Inc.
     Macaca assamensis has two sub-species based on tail morphology, M. assamensis assamensis and M. a. pelops. M. a. assamensis is distributed in eastern Arunachal Pradesh and other states of Northeast India, northern and eastern Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Yunan and Guangxi provinces of China. M. a. pelops is distributed in central Nepal, Sikkim, northern West Bengal, Bhutan, northwestern Assam and lower elevation of western Arunachal Pradesh. There is no information available on M. a. assamensis from western part of Arunachal Pradesh. In this study, we reported M. a. assamensis from high elevation (1500–3200m) of northwestern part of Arunachal Pradesh, a 400 km range extension of the sub-species towards west. The individuals of the sub-species in the high elevation have relatively short tail (T/HB=0.41; T/HF=1.36), prognathous head with elongated muzzle, dark pelage and predominantly terrestrial habit which could be distinguished from that of the individuals of low elevation in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. It also shares certain characters independently to that of M. thibetana, which is distributed in east central China, like bulky body, dark pelage and buffy whisker. These animals have a mixture of features resembling M. thibetana and M. assamensis, initiating a debate of an ‘enigmatic macaque’ as a distinct species - M. munzalla or sub-species. These animals in high altitudes might represent the transition or intermediate form, and demand more study to recognize as a separate species or a subspecies.