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Faecal particle size in free-ranging proboscis monkeys, Nasalis larvatus: variation between seasons

Thiry, Valentine, Clauss, Marcus, Stark, Danica, Beudels-Jamar, Roseline C., Vercauteren Drubbel, Régine, Nathan, Senthilvel K.S.S., Goossens, Benoit ORCID: and Vercauteren, Martine 2018. Faecal particle size in free-ranging proboscis monkeys, Nasalis larvatus: variation between seasons. Folia Primatologica 89 (5) , pp. 327-334. 10.1159/000490794

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Reducing the size of food particles is crucial for herbivores. Seasonal dietary changes are known to influence animals’ chewing efficiency. Proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) are foregut fermenters, with a high chewing efficiency allowing them to achieve very fine faecal particles. In this study, we investigated how proboscis monkeys’ chewing efficiency varies between wet and dry seasons, hypothesising differences possibly related to diet change. Faecal particle size analysis is an established approach to estimate chewing efficiency in mammalian herbivores. We analysed 113 proboscis monkey faecal samples collected in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, between 2015 and 2017. By following standard sieve analysis protocols, we measured a mean particle size MPS0.025–8 of 0.45 ± 0.14 mm, and confirmed a previous result that proboscis monkeys have a very low faecal MPS. This study highlights a seasonal influence on proboscis monkeys’ chewing efficiency, with smaller MPS (better chewing efficiency) during the wet season. During that time of the year, individuals may potentially change their diet, as all faecal samples contained intact seeds. Whether the seasonal MPS difference in proboscis monkeys is smaller than in other colobines due to their “rumination” strategy remains to be investigated.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Publisher: Karger
ISSN: 0015-5713
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 October 2018
Date of Acceptance: 11 June 2018
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2022 08:24

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