Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 560–571

Gustatory Responsiveness to Six Bitter Tastants in Three Species of Nonhuman Primates

  • Matthias Laska
  • Rosa Mariela Rivas Bautista
  • Laura Teresa Hernandez Salazar
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10886-009-9630-8

Cite this article as:
Laska, M., Rivas Bautista, R.M. & Hernandez Salazar, L.T. J Chem Ecol (2009) 35: 560. doi:10.1007/s10886-009-9630-8

Abstract

Gustatory responsiveness of six adult squirrel monkeys, four spider monkeys, and five pigtail macaques to six bitter tastants was assessed in two-bottle preference tests of brief duration (2 min). Animals were given the choice between a 30-mM sucrose solution and defined concentrations of a bitter tastant dissolved in a 30-mM sucrose solution. With this procedure, Saimiri sciureus, Ateles geoffroyi, and Macaca nemestrina were found to significantly discriminate concentrations as low as 0.2, 0.05, and 0.1 mM quinine hydrochloride; 1, 1, and 0.05 mM caffeine; 20, 5, and 1 mM naringin; 5, 2, and 1 mM salicin; 0.01, 0.001, and 0.02 mM sucrose octaacetate; and 0.05, 0.01, and 0.5 mM denatonium benzoate, from the alternative stimulus. With the exception of naringin in the pigtail macaques, all three species rejected all suprathreshold concentrations of all bitter tastants tested. The spider monkeys and the pigtail macaques displayed the lowest taste avoidance thresholds with three of the six tastants each; in contrast, the squirrel monkeys displayed the highest taste avoidance thresholds with four of the six tastants. The across-tastant patterns of taste avoidance thresholds were identical in spider monkeys and squirrel monkeys; both species displayed the following order of sensitivity: sucrose octaacetate > denatonium benzoate > quinine hydrochloride > caffeine > salicin > naringin. All three primate species were more sensitive to the two artificial tastants (sucrose octaacetate and denatonium benzoate) compared to the four naturally occurring tastants. However, the concentrations detected by all three primate species with the four naturally occurring tastants are well below those reported in plants or arthropods consumed by these species suggesting that they may use bitterness as a criterion for food selection.

Keywords

Taste preference thresholdsBitter tasteSaimiriAtelesMacaca

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Laska
    • 1
  • Rosa Mariela Rivas Bautista
    • 2
  • Laura Teresa Hernandez Salazar
    • 2
  1. 1.IFM BiologyLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  2. 2.Instituto de Neuro-EtologiaUniversidad VeracruzanaXalapaMexico