Following a recent amendment, a national management policy for the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) with a greater emphasis on population regulation has been promoted to reduce their contributions to agricultural and property damage. There is an urgent need to understand the role of macaques in native ecosystems, as this knowledge can serve as a driving force in formulating a more balanced management policy. In this context, we ofer updated information on the ecological roles of macaques in cool-temperate forests with heavy snowfall. We found that, although selective foraging by macaques on bark and/or buds of woody plants might constrain populations of some plant species, such foraging is unlikely to be overly destructive and may in fact have the potential to suppress the overgrowth of certain plant species. In addition, although macaques are unlikely to play the role of primary seed dispersers in forests because of functional redundancy, they can promote soil-seed accumulation by supporting the ecological function of dung beetles as secondary seed dispersers. Thus, recent research supports the possibility that the presence of macaques in forests is of essential importance in maintaining biological diversity in heavy snowfall regions.
Molecular phylogenetic analyses have established most components of primate systematic classiications, which are signiicantly diferent from the traditional morphology-based classiications. This becomes an issue when inferring the phylogeny of extinct taxa, for which molecular data are usually unavailable. Researchers have attempted to extract phylogenetic signals from morphological characters to infer relationships between extant and extinct taxa. One of the most disruptive factors obscuring phylogenetic signals of morphological characteristics is size-related shape variation (i.e., allometry). Although some issues remain, researchers have successfully detected phylogenetic information that was previously hidden by the strong efects of allometry. Recently, the importance of morphological data and fossil evidence has been reconsidered, and the total-evidence approach has been resurrected. This approach incorporates both extinct and extant taxa and uses all available data, i.e., both molecular and morphological characters. The validity of the total-evidence approach should be evaluated under various conditions using simulation studies and tested using the actual data for various primate taxa.
We observed a male Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) feeding on a foam nest of the Japanese tree frog (Rhacophorus arboreus). On 1st July 2013, an adult male (perhaps a solitary individual) fed on an egg mass twice at approximately 17:00 at Juni-ko lakes (Nagaike Pond), Shirakami Mountains. The monkey tore the egg mass apart by hand and ingested it without removing the foam, which is diferent from the more typical response to feeding on sticky items, such as snails and gum. This is the irst case report of feeding on the egg mass of tree frogs by Japanese macaques.