Abstract # 188:

Scheduled for Monday, September 15, 2014 10:30 AM-10:45 AM: Session 25 (Mary Gay) Oral Presentation


F. Koch and C. Fichtel
German Primate Center , Kellnerweg 4, Göttingen 37077, Germany
     Studies of non-human primate diet and food selection have long described the ecology of a species as a whole, treating conspecific individuals as ecologically equivalent. However, it has been shown in a variety of species, from invertebrates to vertebrates, that individuals often specialize on different resources. In primates, intraspecific variation in diet composition has been observed in gorillas, chimpanzees, vervet monkeys, capuchins and other species. This can be explained either in terms of ecology (food abundance and profitability), inter- and intra-group competition or social learning. In order to investigate the factors driving within species variation in diet composition, we compared the diet of 8 neighboring groups of Verreaux’s sifakas (Propithecus verreauxi)in western Madagascar over a period of one year. We selected the 10 tree species of highest importance for their diet and analyzed their relative contribution to the diet of each group. Additionally we measured the abundance of those species in each home range. Our results show that although the abundance of the 10 species was comparable in all home ranges, their relative importance to the diet of each group varied. Geometrical framework analyses will be conducted to elucidate the role of nutrients in the variation of diet composition between groups.