1Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 2Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Southern Mississippi, 3Department of Anthropology, East Carolina University, 4Department of Animal Science, University of Minnesota, 5Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder
April 18, 2020 , Platinum Ballroom
Understanding the food decisions of primates is fundamental for interpreting their feeding patterns and anatomical and physiological dietary traits. Primates may avoid foods high in structural fiber and secondary toxins, or positively select foods with elevated levels of protein, fat, or high energy yields. We examined the food choices of eleven captive Northern greater galagos (Otolemur garnettii). For a 14-day period, the galagos were given a frugivorous diet (blackberries, raspberries, and tamarind) and an insectivorous diet (crickets, mealworms, nightcrawlers, and redworms). Both diets included a pre-formulated primate chow (Lab Diet 5045) to ensure nutritional stability. We weighed each food prior to feeding and the amount leftover by each individual. We determined the preference for each food based on the weight consumed. All foods were analyzed for acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), crude non-structural carbohydrates (NSC), crude fat (CF), and crude protein (CP) to examine which nutritional properties may drive food selection. For the frugivorous diet, we found that the colony preferred tamarind to blackberries (P<0.05). Compared to both berries, tamarind was significantly higher in NSC (P<0.0001), and lower in ADF (P<0.0001), NDF, CP (P<0.001), and CF (P<0.01). For the insectivorous diet, the galagos preferred redworms and nightcrawlers (P<0.0001), both higher in NSC (P<0.01) and lower in NDF (P<0.001). We also found that mealworms were higher in CF (P<0.0001) while crickets and nightcrawlers were higher in CP (P<0.0001). For both diets we found that galagos select foods high in carbohydrates and low in fiber.
This project was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (RAPID Award #1840977), and the University of North Carolina Honors College.