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Faecal particle size in free‑ranging primates supports a ‘rumination’ strategy in the proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus)


Matsuda, I; Tuuga, A; Hashimoto, C; Bernard, H; Yamagiwa, J; Fritz, J; Tsubokawa, K; Yayota, M; Murai, T; Iwata, Y; Clauss, Marcus (2014). Faecal particle size in free‑ranging primates supports a ‘rumination’ strategy in the proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus). Oecologia, 174(4):1127-1137.

Abstract

In mammalian herbivores, faecal particle size indicates chewing efficiency. Proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) are foregut fermenters in which regurgitation and remastication (i.e. rumination) was observed in the wild, but not with the same consistency as found in ruminants and camelids. To test whether this species has exceptional chewing efficiency among primates, as ruminants have among mammals, we compared faecal particle size in free-ranging specimens with those of 12 other primate species. The discrete mean faecal particle size (dMEAN) increased with body mass (M) as dMEAN (mm) = 0.65 (95 % confidence interval 0.49–0.87) M0.33 (0.23–0.43) in simple-stomached species. At 0.53 ± 0.09 mm, dMEAN of proboscis monkeys was particularly small for their average M (15 kg) and significantly smaller than values of two other foregut fermenting primate species. While we cannot exclude other reasons for the exceptional chewing efficiency in proboscis monkeys, this represents circumstantial evidence for regular use of rumination in this species. Thus, proboscis monkeys might be a model for convergent evolution towards rumination in a non-ungulate taxon.

Abstract

In mammalian herbivores, faecal particle size indicates chewing efficiency. Proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) are foregut fermenters in which regurgitation and remastication (i.e. rumination) was observed in the wild, but not with the same consistency as found in ruminants and camelids. To test whether this species has exceptional chewing efficiency among primates, as ruminants have among mammals, we compared faecal particle size in free-ranging specimens with those of 12 other primate species. The discrete mean faecal particle size (dMEAN) increased with body mass (M) as dMEAN (mm) = 0.65 (95 % confidence interval 0.49–0.87) M0.33 (0.23–0.43) in simple-stomached species. At 0.53 ± 0.09 mm, dMEAN of proboscis monkeys was particularly small for their average M (15 kg) and significantly smaller than values of two other foregut fermenting primate species. While we cannot exclude other reasons for the exceptional chewing efficiency in proboscis monkeys, this represents circumstantial evidence for regular use of rumination in this species. Thus, proboscis monkeys might be a model for convergent evolution towards rumination in a non-ungulate taxon.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:04 Apr 2014 09:07
Last Modified:23 Oct 2016 07:12
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0029-8549
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-013-2863-9
PubMed ID:24380969

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