Responses of Javan Gibbon (Hylobates moloch) Groups in Submontane Forest to Monthly Variation in Food Availability: Evidence for Variation on a Fine Spatial Scale


  • Grant sponsor: Amore-Pacific Foundation; Grant sponsor: Ewha Womans University (Ewha Global Top 5 Grant 2011); Grant sponsor: Primate Conservation Inc.

Correspondence to: Jae C. Choe, Division of EcoScience, Ewha Womans University, Seodaemun-gu Daehyun-dong 11-1, Seoul, Republic of Korea. E-mail:


Primates tend to prefer specific plant foods, and primate home ranges may contain only a subset of food species present in an area. Thus, primate feeding strategies should be sensitive to the phenology of specific species encountered within the home range in addition to responding to larger scale phenomena such as seasonal changes in rainfall or temperature. We studied three groups of Javan gibbons (Hylobates moloch) in the Gunung Halimun-Salak National Park, Indonesia from April 2008 to March 2009 and used general linear mixed models (GLMM) and a model selection procedure to investigate the effects of variation in fruit and flower availability on gibbon behavior. Preferred foods were defined as foods that are overselected relative to their abundance, while important food species were those that comprised >5% of feeding time. All important species were also preferred. Season and measurements of flower and fruit availability affected fruit-feeding time, daily path lengths (DPL), and dietary breadth. Models that included the availability of preferred foods as independent variables generally showed better explanatory power than models that used overall fruit or flower availability. For one group, fruit and preferred fruit abundance had the strongest effects on diets and DPL in the models selected, while another group was more responsive to changes in flower availability. Temporal variation in plant part consumption was not correlated in neighboring groups. Our results suggest that fine-scale local factors are important determinants of gibbon foraging strategies. Am. J. Primatol. 74:1154-1167, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.