The Toque Macaque is a commonly found monkey in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Toque Macaques (Macaca sinica) are the smallest species of Macaca, a golden-brown coloured monkey, endemic to Sri Lanka. Locally known as the “Rilawa”, it is easily distinguished by the toque-shaped swirl of hair on the top of its head, with the amount of hair on the top of the head being geographically variable within their range.
There are three recognised subspecies of Toque Macaque; dry zone Toque Macaque (M.s. sinica), wet zone Toque Macaque (M.s. aurifrons) and the highland Toque Macaque (M.s. opisthomelas).
They live in troops, sometimes numbering up to 20 members, the dry zone subspecies has earned the nickname “temple monkey” as they are commonly sighted in the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, where many ancient monuments including temples are situated. This subspecies has been the subject of one of the longest behavioural studies of any primate species conducted in the world.