Article

International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 497-530

First online:

Feeding ecology of the proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus)

  • Carey P. YeagerAffiliated withPsychology Department, University of California-DavisPsychology Department, University of Tennessee

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Abstract

Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) feeding behavior and ecology were studied at the Natai Lengkuas Station, Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan Tengah, Indonesia. Data on feeding behavior were collected using scan sampling during group follows. Three vegetational plots containing 1,732 trees were established and monitored monthly for changes in fruit, flower, and young leaf production. Basal area and canopy cover were calculated and used in estimating food abundance. Proboscis monkeys were found to be folivore/frugivores, specializing in seed consumption. At least 55 different plant species were used as food sources, with a marked preference for Eugenia sp. 3/4,Ganua motleyana and Lophopetalum javanicum. These tree species were among the most frequent and most dominant. However, proboscis monkeys were selective feeders; use of tree species as food sources was not based simply on relative density. During times of low food abundance and/or availability proboscis monkeys switched dietary strategies and increased dietary diversity. The average total home range was estimated to be 130.3 ha, with an average group density of 5.2 groups per km2. The average biomass per km2 was estimated to be 499.5 kg. Given their high biomass and predilection for consuming seeds of dominant species, proboscis monkeys may help to maintain and increase vegetational diversity.

Key words

Proboscis monkey Nasalis larvatus feeding behavior ecology seed eater