Characteristics of stable isotope signature of diet in tissues of captive Japanese macaques as revealed by controlled feeding
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- Nakashita, R., Hamada, Y., Hirasaki, E. et al. Primates (2013) 54: 271. doi:10.1007/s10329-013-0346-6
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We determined the magnitude of isotopic fractionation of carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios (as enrichment factors, Δδ13C and Δδ15N, respectively) between the tissues and diets of captive Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) using a controlled feeding experiment, to provide basic data for reconstructing their feeding habits. The Δδ13C and Δδ15N values, respectively, were 0.9 ± 0.2 ‰ (mean ± standard deviation, SD) and 3.0 ± 0.3 ‰ for whole blood, 1.3 ± 0.2 ‰ and 4.3 ± 0.3 ‰ for plasma, and 0.8 ± 0.2 ‰ and 3.0 ± 0.2 ‰ for red blood cells. However, the Δδ13C and Δδ15N values for hair were 2.8 ± 0.3 ‰ and 3.4 ± 0.2 ‰, respectively. No difference was detected in the δ13C and δ15N values of hair sampled from different parts of the body. We investigated the effects of diet on δ13C in growing hair by alternating the diet of the macaques each month between two diets that differed markedly in δ13C. Hair regrown after shaving repeatedly recorded the δ13C of the diet consumed during the time of hair growth. On the other hand, hair naturally grown during the diet-change experiment did not show a clear pattern. One possible reason is that the hair had grown abnormally under unnatural indoor conditions and showed complicated isotope signatures. To reconstruct the long-term feeding history of Japanese macaques, we need to further clarify the relationships between the stable isotope signature of diet and various body tissues.