More from Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihl. Unfortunately the appealing and somewhat internet famous Japanese Macaques are an endangered species. In the wild they live in forests and on mountainsides. I met a load of these Macaques who live at Arashiyama near Kyoto. They’re about a meter (3 feet) long. Their groups are between 20-100 strong. In large numbers they were more terrifying than adorable. I particularly remember a viewing area where it was safer and more practical to cage the humans and let the monkeys grip the mesh to look in.
Female Macaques form “consortships”, temporary but exclusive pair bonds based on mutual sexual attraction. The two females spend every possible moment together once they’ve bonded. There are seven different sexual positions in homosexual copulation, and they most definitely use them all. Females will actively compete and fight with Macaques of both sexes for access to their chosen female partners. Heterosexual partnerships rarely last beyond the mating season, and the homosexual consortships don’t last more than a few weeks either although unlike the heterosexual partners the female couple will remain friends. In effect female Macaques are serially monogamous. Incest is taboo, but consortships may otherwise be between females of any age.
Japanese Macaque (Macaca fuscata)
Homosexuality: Female & Male Behaviours: Courtship, Affectionate, Sexual, Pair-bonding Ranking: primary Observed: Wild, Semiwild, Captivity
(See It’s Gay Animal Fortnight for an explanation of this box.)