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Keywords:

  • ingestion rate;
  • Cebus apella;
  • food preferences;
  • energy intake rate

Abstract

Food intake is difficult to estimate under natural conditions. We investigated ingestion rates of 14 different food types in 26 captive capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). The procedure consisted in weighing a piece of food and using a two alternative choice tests to present food to the subject, alone in its cage. We recorded the food chosen and the time it took the subject to consume the food entirely. Consumption time was converted into ingestion rates (g/s) for each food type. Ingestion rates of food types significantly differed, and the difference was significantly higher among foods than among subjects. In particular, ingestion rates of the fruits were higher than those of human-processed food. Interestingly, food preferences were significantly related to energy intake rate, i.e., to the amount of energy ingested per unit of time, but not with ingestion rates or energy content alone. The energy acquired by eating different types of food cannot be calculated on the basis of the time spent eating unless a correction factor for each given food (or similar ones) is applied. Future controlled studies should provide field researchers with such corrections factors, possibly using foods collected in the wild. Am. J. Primatol. 70:510–513, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.