The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Nutritional content of fallback and preferred foods in the diet of the Sanje mangabey (Cercocebus sanjei), Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Tanzania


Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at San Antonio

Friday 2:30-2:45, Ballroom C Add to calendar

This research evaluates theoretically derived predictions about the role of fallback foods in the diet of the Sanje mangabey (Cercocebus sanjei) through investigation of levels of antifeedants (condensed tannins CT and phenolics) and selected nutrients (crude protein, ether extract, NDF, ADF and ADL) associated with switching from preferred foods to fallback foods. A sample of 30 adult mangabeys from a habituated group was followed for 12 months, from December 2010 to November 2011, in the Mwanihana Forest, Udzungwa Mountains National Park. The mangabeys spent 50.6% of their plant diet feeding on ripe fruits, 29.6% on seeds, 6.8% on woody plant pith, 6.5% on fungus, 3.1% on young leaves and 1.2% on flowers. A selection ratio was calculated to identify fallback and preferred foods. Fallback seeds and plant pith intake were found to be significantly negatively correlated with ripe fruit availability (rho = - 0.350, rho = - 0.339; p<0.05) and were also negatively selected for their high CT and phenolics levels (rho: -0.448, rho = -0.414; p<0.05). During periods of low ripe fruit availability, two fallback foods, seeds of Parinari excelsa and pith of Aframomum species, accounted for up 38.9% and 19.8% of feeding time, respectively, and contained 48.76% (DM) of lipid content and 25.01% (DM) of crude protein, respectively. This study confirms that plant secondary compounds influence dietary choice in frugivorous cercopithecines and that fallback foods with high lipid and protein content may be used to maintain dietary quality year-round, despite high content levels of condensed tannins and phenolics.

This work was supported by a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant by the National Science Foundation # 1028772, the American Society of Primatology general small grant, the International Primatological Society Research grant and the Primate Conservation Inc grant #878

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