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Influence of Fruit Availability on Fruit Consumption in a Generalist Primate, the Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta

Sengupta, Asmita and Radhakrishna, Sindhu (2016) Influence of Fruit Availability on Fruit Consumption in a Generalist Primate, the Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta. In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PRIMATOLOGY, 37 (6). pp. 703-717.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10764-016-9933-x


Fluctuations in resource availability occur in all ecosystems. To survive, species must alter their foraging strategies according to the quantity, quality, and distribution of available food. The rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), a commensal primate, is considered a generalist omnivore and very few studies have addressed how its feeding strategies change with respect to resource availability. We examined dietary diversity and frugivory levels in a group of rhesus macaques at the Buxa Tiger Reserve in northern India across one year. Using behavioural observations of diet and phenological monitoring, we found that although rhesus macaques fed on 107 food items including leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, and insects, fruits made up ca. 74% of their diet. Fruit consumption correlated positively with fruit availability, but fruit preference appeared to play an important role; 16% of all the fruit species they fed on accounted for > 50% of all fruit feeding observations. We suggest that afforestation programs involving preferred fruit species at the agricultural land-forest interface would prevent forest groups of rhesus macaques from gravitating toward human habitations and reduce conflict over anthropogenic resources. We further propose that the movement of certain primates in the direction of human habitations may be contingent on resource availability and food preference rather than an inherent propensity to gravitate to anthropogenic areas.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the SPRINGER, 233 SPRING ST, NEW YORK, NY 10013 USA
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Sustainable Technologies (formerly ASTRA)
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2017 04:15
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2018 08:08
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/55916

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