Exudates as a fallback food for Callimico goeldii



Fallback foods have been defined as resources for which a species has evolved specific masticatory and digestive adaptations, and are consumed principally when preferred foods are scarce. In the present field investigation, we examine fungi, fruit, and exudate consumption in one group of Callimico goeldii in order to determine the importance of exudates as a fallback food for this species. Based on a total of 1,198 hr of quantitative behavioral data collected between mid-November 2002–August 2003, we found that pod exudates of Parkia velutina accounted for 19% of callimico feeding time in the dry season. This resource was not consumed in the wet season when fruits and fungi were the most common items in the diet. In the dry season of 2005 (July), the same callimico study group did not consume Parkia pod exudates. Instead, the group ate exudates obtained from holes gouged in tree trunks by pygmy marmosets and exudates resulting from natural weathering and insect damage on trunks, roots, and lianas. Pod exudates are reported to contain greater amounts of readily available energy than do trunk and root exudates, and were consumed throughout all periods of the day, particularly in the late afternoon. Trunk and root exudates were consumed principally in the morning. We propose that digestive adaptations of the hindgut, which enable callimicos to exploit fungi (a resource high in structural carbohydrates) year-round, predispose them to efficiently exploit and process exudates as fallback foods when other resources, such as ripe fruits, are scarce. Am. J. Primatol. 71:120–129, 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.