The reign of Japan's monkey queen under threat amid breeding season and love triangle
A high-ranking male called Luffy has recently tried to woo Yakei, but rather than returning any interest, she appears fearful of him.
The reign of Japan's monkey queen Yakei is reportedly under threat. It was only last year the 9-year-old female became the queen of the 677-strong troop of Japanese macaque monkeys in 70 years.
Yakei's reign at Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden in the northwest of Oita, on the island of Kyushu is under threat. Going by reports there is a love triangle angle to the story.
Experts, reports say, are anticipating that Yakei could lose power to an 18-year-old aggressive male during the current breeding season, which runs from November until March.
Last April Yakei beat up her own mother to become the alpha female of the group. Subsequently, she violently overthrew Sanchu, a 31-year-old alpha male who had been the leader of troop B for five years.
In 2011, during a previous breeding season Yakei paired with 15-year-old male Goro, after he bit her in the face. It caused Yakei's bottom to flush bright red – a sign she wanted Goro as a mate.
However, now Yakei rules the troop, Goro doesn't seem to have an interest in her.
Meanwhile, another 18-year-old high-ranking male called Luffy has recently tried to woo Yakei, but rather than returning any interest, she appears fearful of him.
Yu Kaigaishi, a researcher at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science has been quoted by the New York Times, as saying that when he visited Takasakiyama last week, he observed that Yakei showed a facial expression known as "fear grimace" typical for subordinate individuals against Luffy." Kaigaishi added that he also observed Luffy pushing Yakei away to monopolise food. This apparent sign of subservience could be a sign that Luffy could take over the troop during the mating season, when behaviours can become aggressive.
According to the Daily Mail Online, the next few weeks could be fascinating for experts at the reserve as this primate soap opera continues.