Abstract # 1078 Poster # 65:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 18, 2005 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: (Cambridge/Oxford Room) Poster Presentation


PLANTS EATEN BY RHESUS MONKEYS (Macaca mulatta) IN NEPAL: MONKEY LIFE STAGE DIFFERENCES AND NUTRIENT CONTENT

B. Marriott1,2, C. D. Nicholson3, C. Davis4 and E. Manheimer5
1RTI, RTI International, 3040 Cornwallis Road, P.O. Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194, USA, 2Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 3Smithsonian Institution, 4Davis Consulting, 5US Cochrane Collaboration
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     Among primates, only humans have adapted to a broader climatic and topographical range than rhesus monkeys. The species range extends from eastern Afghanistan on the west to Bangladesh in the east, and from southern China to southern India. Within this geographic range rhesus monkeys have been documented in many diverse town, temple, roadside, parkland, swamp, forest margin, and forest habitats. We present data on the plant species, specific plant parts, and nutrient content of vegetation consumed by a forest- and parkland-dwelling rhesus monkey troop of approximately 84 individuals in Nepal in 6 studies over a 5-year period. Data on plant species diversity and abundance were collected using 106 sample plots representing 12.5 percent of the area. The rhesus monkeys selected 218 plant species from 72 plant families from the 70 hectare habitat. Style of feeding (rate and duration of intake) and resulting nutrient intake varied significantly within each study (P < 0.05) for rhesus monkey life stages: adult male, pregnant and lactating adult females; juveniles (2-3 years) and yearlings (6 months to 2 years). The greatest dietary volume comprised a relatively few widely available plant species with smaller amounts of less abundant species serving as supplements. The caloric content of the plant parts eaten by the monkeys was within a narrow range that falls within typical values for non-cultivated vegetative plant parts. While no nutrient bioavailability data were available, of particular interest was the relatively high trace mineral content of the supplemental foods.