Abstract # 64:

Scheduled for Friday, June 20, 2008 10:00 AM-10:10 AM: Session 7 (Meeting Room 2DEF) Oral Presentation

Digestive Retention Time in Tantalus Monkeys (Chlorocebus tantalus)

J. Wallis1, F. Agmen2 and H. Chapman2
1American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria, 2University of Canterbury, New Zealand
     To understand primate feeding strategies and their role in seed dispersal and forest regeneration, we must have an accurate measurement of the species’ digestive retention time. Such data are often difficult to acquire in a natural setting. Therefore, we used captive monkeys to measure this phenomenon in a controlled experimental setting. The subjects were two adult tantalus monkeys (Chlorocebus tantalus) living in a caged enclosure at the American University of Nigeria. With their regular diet, the monkeys were fed bananas laced with raisins containing non-toxic colored markers. Five trials were conducted on each subject. Processing of the bananas was monitored and discarded markers were removed from the enclosure to prevent later ingestion. For a total of 116 hours, all fecal samples (N=53) were collected, measured, and washed to retrieve the colored markers. Fecal collection continued until 24 hours had passed since a marker was last recovered. The mean digestive retention time was 30.0 hours (SD=13.0; range=12.8 - 66.5). These figures compare favorably to those of forest guenons and provide the data necessary to fully evaluate seed dispersal rates in an ongoing project of wild tantalus monkeys living in the forests of southeast Nigeria. The study further illustrates the interdisciplinary nature of our profession; by studying captive subjects in a controlled experimental setting, we can better understand behavioral ecology of their wild conspecifics.