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Dietary flexibility of the greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus), a specialized feeder, in eastern Madagascar

Mihaminekena, T. Hasimija, Rakotonanahary, Ando N., Frasier, Cynthia L., Randriahaingo, Hery N. T., Sefczek, Timothy M., Tinsman, Jen, Randrianarimanana, H. Lucien, Ravaloharimanitra, Maholy, Rakotoarinivo, Toky Hery, Ratsimbazafy, Jonah, and others. (2024) Dietary flexibility of the greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus), a specialized feeder, in eastern Madagascar. American Journal of Primatology, . Article Number e23609. ISSN 0275-2565. E-ISSN 1098-2345. (doi:10.1002/ajp.23609) (KAR id:105134)


The degree of dietary flexibility in primates is species specific; some incorporate a wider array of resources than others. Extreme interannual weather variability in Madagascar results in seasonal resource scarcity which has been linked to specialized behaviors in lemurs. Prolemur simus, for example, has been considered an obligate specialist on large culm bamboo with >60% of its diet composed of woody bamboos requiring morphological and physiological adaptations to process. Recent studies reported an ever‐expanding list of dietary items, suggesting that this species may not be an obligate specialist. However, long‐term quantitative feeding data are unavailable across this species’ range. To explore the dietary flexibility of P. simus, we collected data at two northern sites, Ambalafary and Sahavola, and one southern site, Vatovavy, from September 2010 to January 2016 and May 2017 to September 2018, respectively. In total, we recorded 4022 h of behavioral data using instantaneous sampling of adult males and females from one group in Ambalafary, and two groups each in Sahavola and Vatovavy. We recorded 45 plant species eaten by P. simus over 7 years. We also observed significant differences in seasonal dietary composition between study sites. In Ambalafary, bamboo was the most frequently observed resource consumed (92.2%); however, non‐bamboo resources comprised nearly one‐third of the diet of P. simus in Sahavola and over 60% in Vatovavy. Consumption of all bamboo resources increased during the dry season at Ambalafary and during the wet season at Vatovavy, but never exceeded non‐bamboo feeding at the latter. Culm pith feeding was only observed at Ambalafary, where it was more common during the dry season. We identify P. simus as a bamboo facultative specialist capable of adjusting its feeding behavior to its environment, indicating greater dietary flexibility than previously documented, which may enable the species to survive in increasingly degraded habitats.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/ajp.23609
Uncontrolled keywords: conservation, primates, anthropogenic disturbance, dietary specialist
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2024 14:39 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2024 11:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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