AnAge entry for Macaca mulatta

Classification (HAGRID: 02376)

Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Chordata
        Class: Mammalia (Taxon entry)
            Order: Primates (Taxon entry)
                Family: Cercopithecidae
                    Genus: Macaca
Macaca mulatta
Common name
Rhesus monkey
Simia erythraea, Simia fulvus, Macacus lasiotus, Pithecus littoralis, Macaca nipalensis, Macaca oinops, Simia rhesus, Inuus sancti-johannis, Macaca siamica, Macacus tcheliensis, Macacus vestitus, Inuus sanctijohannis, Macacus rhesus villosus, Macaca mulatta mcmahoni

Lifespan, ageing, and relevant traits

15 years
Maximum longevity
40 years (captivity)
ref. 1074
Sample size
Data quality

Despite a higher MRDT [0058], rhesus macaques appear to age significantly faster than humans do from a physiological perspective [0002]. The females of this species reach menopause at about the age of 25 [0434]. Four male monkeys under caloric restriction for part of their lives and one fed a normal diet have lived beyond 40 years [1074].

Old animals suffer from various age-related diseases common in humans, including heart disease and cancer; amyloidosis, diabetes and, in females, endometriosis have also been reported [0981]. Chinese rhesus macaques have demonstrated noticeable age-related changes in both T and B cell subsets, comparable to those found during human ageing. T cell ageing is slower in female Chinese rhesus macaques than in males, giving males a more severe immune risk profile [1183]. There have been conflicting reports on the effects of caloric restriction in rhesus macaques. One ongoing study first reported in 2009 that caloric restriction can lower the incidence of ageing-related deaths [0873], a second ongoing study reported in 2012 that caloric restriction did not improve survival even if beneficial health effects were observed [1074]. The former ongoing study reported again in 2014 that caloric restriction reduces age-related and all-cause mortality [1184]. A comprehensive assessment of longitudinal data from both sites concluded that caloric restriction does improve health and survival of rhesus monkeys [1257]. Aging has not been found to affect the number and size of alpha-motor neurons, in both this species and mice. However, these neurons were found to shed synaptic inputs with age, which may cause their disfunction in older animals [1314]. Additionally, these animals have been found to have naturally occurring deposits of Abeta. These deposits did not include the dimer form and, while they did induce gliosis, there were no other downstream pathologies related to Alzheimer's disease found in the specimen's brains [1316].

Similar to other monkey species, old females have been shown to spend less time in social interactions and with a smaller number of animals, while older males appear unaffected socially by age [1313].

Studies comparing ageing-associated differentially methylated positions (aDMPs) between mouse, dog, naked mole-rat, rhesus monkey, humpback whale and human, have shown that lifespan in these mammalian species is strongly correlated with the rate of change of methylation levels in aDMPs. Additionally, these methylation dynamics are a measure of cellular ageing [1315].

Life history traits (averages)

Female sexual maturity
1,231 days
Male sexual maturity
2,007 days
165 days
Litter size
1 (viviparous)
Litters per year
Inter-litter interval
444 days
Weight at birth
464 g
Weight at weaning
Adult weight
8,235 g
Postnatal growth rate
0.0012 days-1 (from Gompertz function)
Maximum longevity residual


Typical body temperature
310ºK or 37.3ºC or 99.1ºF
Basal metabolic rate
Not yet available


External Resources

Integrated Taxonomic Information System
ITIS 180099
Animal Diversity Web
ADW account
Encyclopaedia of Life
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NCBI Taxonomy
Taxonomy ID 9544
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Ageing Literature
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