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Keywords:

  • Delacour's langur;
  • limestone;
  • Vietnam;
  • folivory;
  • diet

Abstract

The six limestone langur taxa of Southeast Asia inhabit the rugged limestone karst mountains, although the reason for their current restriction to this habitat is unclear. From August 2007 to July 2008, I collected data on the diet and feeding behavior of the critically endangered Delacour's langur (Trachypithecus delacouri) in Van Long Nature Reserve, Vietnam. I used these data to evaluate the hypothesis that limestone langurs are found on karst habitat because they depend on endemic limestone plants. Feeding accounted for 29% of the langurs' activity budget. Young leaves dominated the diet monthly, seasonally, and annually. The annual diet consists of nearly 79% foliage with almost 60% young leaves. Despite a distinct wet and dry season, over the study period, seasonal variation in plant part consumption was slight. Fruit and seeds were a small contribution to the diet. Delacour's langurs ate 42 of 145 available species, and they concentrated on a subset of this number. Five plant species comprised more than 60% of the diet and 16 species comprised more than 93%. More than half of the diet came from climbers. Delacour's langurs are among the most highly folivorous of studied colobines and, along with the closely related T. leucocephalus of southern China, the most folivorous of the Asian langurs. Whether high folivory is owing to a lack of available fruits and seeds in limestone habitats is unknown. What is certain, however, is that the plant species most important in the Delacour's langurs' diet at VLNR, throughout the study, were not plants endemic to limestone. Feeding dependence alone, therefore, cannot explain the current distribution of limestone langurs on karst habitat. Am. J. Primatol. 72:317–324, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.