Abstract # 6001 Event # 187:

Scheduled for Monday, September 15, 2014 10:15 AM-10:30 AM: Session 25 (Mary Gay) Oral Presentation


HOWLER MONKEY NUTRITIONAL GEOMETRY: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM AN INTERSPECIFIC APPROACH

N. Righini1, V. A. Fernandez2, P. A. Garber1 and J. M. Rothman3,4
1University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Anthropology, Urbana, IL 61801, USA, 2Estación Biológica Corrientes, Museo Argentino de Cs. Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia” (CONICET), Argentina, 3Hunter College of the City University of New York, Department of Anthropology, 4New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (NYCEP)
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     Recent research on the nutritional ecology of human and non-human primates (Gorilla, Ateles and Papio) indicates that different species can solve problems of nutrient balancing in alternative ways. Howler monkeys are considered the most folivorous of New World primates, however marked intra and interspecific differences in the amount of fruits, leaves, and flowers consumed suggest that patterns of nutrient and energy intake vary in response to site-specific differences in the phytochemical content of plant foods. We examined the nutritional ecology of Alouatta pigra in Mexico and A. caraya in Argentina to elucidate the factors affecting food choice and nutritional strategies. We conducted full-day focal follows of 22 adult individuals (2,675 focal hours) and analyzed the nutritional composition of foods consumed. Black howlers maintained a relatively constant ratio of daily protein and non-protein energy intake (0.04-0.44, CV = 36%) despite seasonal changes in the specific food items consumed and the proportion of food types exploited. An analogous pattern was found in black-and-gold howlers during the winter (ratio = 0.27-0.29, CV = 3.5%), whereas during the spring, when the diet varied most in protein content (5-30% of total energy vs 19-23% in the winter), a protein prioritization pattern was evident. Using an interspecific comparison, we were able to identify how nutrient prioritization patterns varied in response to seasonal changes in the nutritional composition of local plant foods.