Maximum ingested food size in captive strepsirrhine primates: Scaling and the effects of diet

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Abstract

Little is known about ingested food size (Vb) in primates, even though this variable has potentially important effects on food intake and processing. This study provides the first data on Vb in strepsirrhine primates using a captive sample of 17 species. These data can be used for generating and testing models of feeding energetics. Strepsirrhines are of interest because they are hypometabolic and chewing rate and daily feeding time do not show a significant scaling relationship with body size. Using melon, carrot, and sweet potato we found that maximum Vb scales isometrically with body mass and mandible length. Low dietary quality in larger strepsirrhines might explain why Vb increases with body size at a greater rate than does resting metabolic rate. Relative to body size, Vb is large in frugivores but small in folivores; furthermore scaling slopes are higher in frugivores than in folivores. A gross estimate of dietary quality explains much of the variation in Vb that is not explained by body size. Gape adaptations might favor habitually large bites for frugivores and small ones for folivores. More data are required for several feeding variables and for wild populations. Am J Phys Anthropol 142:625–635, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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