International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 637–659

Morphology and phenology of seeds and whole fruit eaten by Milne-Edwards’ sifaka,Propithecus diadema edwardsi, in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

  • Claire A. Hemingway

DOI: 10.1007/BF02735259

Cite this article as:
Hemingway, C.A. Int J Primatol (1996) 17: 637. doi:10.1007/BF02735259


Although it is an anatomical folivore, the diet of the Milne-Edwards’ sifaka (Propithecus diadema edwardsiA. Grandidier, 1871) in Ranomafana National Park contained 35% seeds, 30% whole fruit, and 28% leaves. Plant species used as seed sources differed from those used as whole fruit sources in terms of temporal variation in consumption, taxonomic affiliation, morphology, and phenology. Although seeds were destroyed in both exploitation styles used by the sifakas—seed and whole fruit-eating—the gross morphology of species used as seed sources conformed to the complex of traits typical for fruits experiencing seed predation, while species used as whole fruit sources conformed to traits typical for fruits that do not experience predispersal predation. Many of the 19 plant species from which the seed was extracted and eaten contained a single seed with moderate testa thickness, and fruits containing this type of seed were medium-sized with dry or fibrous flesh, moderate skin thickness, and a dull color. In contrast, brightly colored, juicy fruits with minimally protected seeds were characteristic of the 38 plant species from which both pericarp and seed were eaten. Compared to transectwide measures of fruit availability or patterns restricted to whole fruit sources, fewer species of seed sources produced fruit per month and fruiting activity was more seasonal.

Key words

seed predationfruit morphologyphenologyPropithecus diadema edwardsi

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claire A. Hemingway
    • 1
  1. 1.Biological Anthropology and AnatomyDuke UniversityDurham
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyWashington UniversitySt. Louis