Abstract # 3191 Poster # 88:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 14 (Salon G (Sixth Floor)) Poster Presentation


OBSERVATIONS OF TERMITARIUM GEOPHAGY BY BALD-FACED SAKI MONKEYS (PITHECIA IRRORATA) IN MADRE DE DIOS, PERU

D. B. Adams1,2, J. Rehg3 and M. Watsa4
1The Ohio State University, Department of Anthropology, 174 W 18th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, USA, 2Texas State University - San Marcos, 3Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 4Washington University in St. Louis
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Geophagy has been reported in many primates, among platyrrhines most often in atelids and pithecids. Earth and soil-like materials may be consumed for nutritional or pharmacological properties. Due to their arboreal locations, termitaria may be more accessible sources for platyrrhine primates and may also differ geochemically from other soils. Behavioral and ecological contexts of geophagy can help identify its various functions in different taxa. We report observations of geophagy at arboreal termitaria by free-ranging bald-faced saki monkeys (Pithecia irrorata) at the Centro de Investigación y Capacitación Rio Los Amigos in Madre de Dios, Peru. Individuals of at least 2 saki groups fed from a single termitarium 4 times during 133 hours of data collection on sakis between May-August 2008, 3 times between June-August 2010, and once in January 2011. A second termitarium was visited by one group in July 2008. Termitaria were on tree trunks within 10 m of the ground and visitation patterns suggest they were not encountered opportunistically. Both adults and juveniles fed, and individual feeding lasted 5 minutes or less. Individuals removed parts by hand, visually inspected and manipulated pieces before chewing, and licked the mound. The principal mound showed no termite activity in August 2010 and January 2011, indicating the matrix was the procured item. Use of the same termitarium over years suggests its possible incorporation as a regular diet supplement.