Food Mechanical Properties in Three Sympatric Species of Hapalemur in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

Title

Food Mechanical Properties in Three Sympatric Species of Hapalemur in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

Creator

Yamashita N; Vinyard C J; Tan C L

Publisher

American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Date

2009
2009-07

Description

We investigated mechanical dietary properties of sympatric bamboo lemurs, Hapalemur g. griseus, H. aureus, and H. (Prolemur) simus, in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Each lemur species relies on bamboo, though previous behavioral observations found that they specialize on different parts of a common resource (Tan: Int J Primatol 20 [1999] 547-566; Tan: PhD dissertation [2000] State University of New York, Stony Brook). On the basis of these earlier behavioral ecology studies, we hypothesized that specialization on bamboo is related to differences in mechanical properties of specific parts. We quantified mechanical properties of individual plant parts from the diets of the bamboo lemur species using a portable tester. The diets of the Hapalemur spp. exhibited high levels of mechanical heterogeneity. The lemurs, however, could be segregated based on the most challenging (i.e., mechanically demanding) foods. Giant bamboo culm pith was the toughest and stiffest food eaten, and its sole lemur consumer, H. simus, had the most challenging diet. However, the mechanical dietary properties of H. simus and H. aureus overlapped considerably. In the cases where lemur species converged on the same bamboo part, the size of the part eaten increased with body size. Plant parts that were harvested orally but not necessarily masticated were the most demanding, indicating that food preparation may place significant loads on the masticatory apparatus. Finally, we describe how mechanical properties can influence feeding behavior. The elaborate procurement processes of H. simus feeding on culm pith and H. griseus and H. aureus feeding on young leaf bases are related to the toughnesses of protective coverings and the lemurs' exploitation of mechanical vulnerabilities in these plants. Am J Phys Anthropol 139:368-381, 2009. (C) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Subject

Anthropology; bamboo lemur; diet; evolution; Evolutionary Biology; fracture-toughness; genus cebus; hardness; macaca-fascicularis; mechanical properties; morphology; patterns; primates

Identifier

Format

Journal Article

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Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Pages

368-381

Issue

3

Volume

139

Citation

Yamashita N; Vinyard C J; Tan C L, “Food Mechanical Properties in Three Sympatric Species of Hapalemur in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed December 2, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/7630.

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