Abstract # 2542 Event # 216:

Scheduled for Monday, September 21, 2009 02:00 PM-02:10 PM: Session 23 (Mission Bay Ballroom AB) Oral Presentation


USING FEEDING TRACES TO DETERMINE FOOD PRIORITY OF AYE-AYE (DAUBENTONIA MADAGASCARIENSIS) IN RANOMAFANA NATIONAL PARK, MADAGASCAR

T. M. Sefczek
San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Dr, Dept. of Anthropology, San Diego, CA 92103, USA
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There are two hypotheses regarding aye-ayes’ feeding strategies: primarily feeding on seeds of Canarium madagascariensis, filling the ecological niche of a squirrel, or as a generalist seed/insect feeder. This research tested the hypothesis that Canarium seeds serve as a primary food source for the aye-ayes in Ranomafana, Madagascar. Aye-ayes’ deadwood feeding traces were shown to be positively related to the abundance of Canarium trees. I used such feeding traces as a proxy for evidence of Canarium use. New feeding traces are more easily identifiable than new feeding traces in Canarium seeds, which can be fed on several months after the tree has fruited. Testing the prediction that during the fruiting season Canarium trees with fruit will have significantly more feeding traces around them than areas absent of Canarium, deadwood feeding traces were enumerated along four, 40m transects in 20 locations, 10 with Canarium, 10 without, every other week from August to December, 2008. A total of 393 traces were counted; 227 in Canarium and 166 in areas without. A Mann-Whitney U test showed no significant difference [Z=-1.93; p=0.054]. These results suggest that aye-ayes act more as a generalist seed/insect feeder, rather than feeding primarily on Canarium seeds. Knowledge from this research regarding aye-aye feeding strategies can ultimately inform conservation strategies for this potential flagship species. Acknowledgments: National Geographic Society, Zoological Society of San Diego