McKey et al. 1981

McKey et al. 1981 - Bio/o&icdJournal o fthe Linncan...

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Bio/o&icd Journal ofthe Linncan Society (19811, 16: 115-146. With 6 figures Food selection by black colobus monkeys (Colobus satanas) in relation to plant chemistry* DOYLE B. MXKEY, J. STEPHEN GARTLAN Primate Ecology Unit, Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center, 1223 Capitol Court, Madison, WI 53706, U.S.A. PETER G. WATERMAN, F.L.S.? ANDGILLIAN M. CHOO Phytochemistry Research Laboratory, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow GI I X W, Scotland, U. K. Accepled fmpublication April 1981 Black colobus monkeys (CO~U/JU\ wlnruir) in the Douala-Edea Reserve, a rain-forest on the coast of Cameroon, have been shown avoid young and mature leaves of most of the common plants in their habitat and to feed disproportionately heavily on leaves of rare plants. The proportion of leaves in the diet was low compared most colobines studied, and the monkeys spent over half their feeding time eating seeds. Patterns food selection were analysed in relation distribution of nutrients, digestion-inhibitors and toxins in the vegetation. Colobw ~atrmc~ select food items that are rich in mineral nutrients and nitrogen and low in content of the general digestion-inhibitors, lignin and tannin. They achieve this in the following ways: (i) by feeding preferentially on young leaves, which have higher nutrient content and lower contents of digestion-inhibitors than mature leaves; (ii) by eating those mature leaves with highest nument content relative to content of digestion- inhibitors; and (iii) by eating seeds, which are sources of readily available energy and which, as an item class, are less rich in digestion-inhibitors. Seeds at Douala-Edea appear contain Ins nitrogen than leaves and C. J&UUU selects those seeds with highest nitrogen content. It is suggested that seed- feeding may be facilitated by the ability of the forestomach flora of these ruminant-like monkeys detoxify some of the secondary compounds contained in seeds. Avoidance of most unused young and mature leaf items is correlated with a low nutrienudigestion-inhibitor ratio; avoidance of most unused seeds could be accounted for by their low nitrogen contents. Most items whose avoidance could not be explained in terms of these major constraints on food selection possess secondary compounds likely to be toxic. It is proposed that relative importance of digestion-inhibitors, low nutrient content and toxins as constraints on food selection by generalist herbivores will vary greatly among forests with different nutrient and secondary chemistry profiles. KEY WORDS:- Community ecology - tropical rainforest - plant-animal interactions - generalist herbivores - plant chemical defences - food selection - ruminant-like digestion - Colh sutmw. 'Publication 20-02 1 of the Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center.
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McKey et al. 1981 - Bio/o&icdJournal o fthe Linncan...

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