Seasonal variation in the feeding ecology of the grey-cheeked mangabey (Lophocebus albigena) in Cameroon.
Seasonal fluctuations in resource abundance often cause primates to change their feeding behavior and ecology. The objective of this study was to examine the response of a largely frugivorous monkey, the grey-cheeked mangabey (Lophocebus albigena), to seasonal variations in fruit abundance. We used 15-min scan sampling to quantify feeding, activity, and habitat use by monkeys between February and December 1998 in the Dja Reserve, Cameroon. L. albigena were found to have omnivorous feeding habits, consuming the fruits, seeds, leaves, and flowers of 132 plant species. Although monkeys fed from many plant species, only five plant species accounted for 45% of all feeding records. The number of feeding observations on a plant species was significantly correlated with its fruit production. L. albigena responded to fruit-lean periods by shifting from a diet dominated by fruit to one dominated by seeds, flowers, and young leaves. This diet shift coincided with greater use of swamp habitat and higher dietary diversity. L. albigena spent the greatest percentage of scan samples feeding and traveling, but activities varied significantly over the day. Individuals spent a significantly higher percentage of scan samples feeding during the fruit-rich season than in the fruit-lean season. Comparing our results to those of studies in Gabon and Uganda, we found that L. albigena differ across regions in the number of plant species they consume and time spent feeding. These differences may be a result of variations in tree diversity or the strength of seasonal fluctuations in resource abundance among sites.
Poulsen, JR; Clark, CJ; Smith, TB
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