Selection of Fruit by Gibbons (Hylobates muelleri × agilis) in the Rain Forests of Central Borneo
- Cite this article as:
- McConkey, K.R., Aldy, F., Ario, A. et al. International Journal of Primatology (2002) 23: 123. doi:10.1023/A:1013253909046
Gibbons (Hylobates spp.) are among the main frugivorous primates in Southeast Asia, yet little is known about the criteria by which they select fruit for consumption. We studied two gibbon groups for 14 mo in the lowland dipterocarp forests of Central Borneo to determine their selectivity for different fruit species and traits. Ideal gibbon fruit were yellow, large, with a juicy-soft pulp, thin skin and available in large crops. Gibbons ultimately sought seedless fruit, but when seeds were present they selected fruit with a single, well-protected seed. Given that few fruit exhibited all the desired traits, we also carried out a multiple regression using the selection ratios of the various fruit species and their associated fruit traits to determine which traits ultimately determined gibbon choice. The analysis was stratified to account for differences in fruit availability. Selection was strongest when fruit were abundant in the forest and was based on seed width (<21 mm), color (yellow-orange), and fruit weight (1–5 g). No selection is apparent when food abundance was intermediate, but when fruit were scarce they preferentially ate larger fruit (6–30 g).