Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 331–346

Frugivory and Taste Responses to Fructose and Tannic Acid in a Prosimian Primate and a Didelphid Marsupial


  • B. Simmen
    • CNRS/UMR 9935, Laboratoire d'Ecologie GénéraleMuséum National d'Histoire Naturelle
  • B. Josseaume
    • CNRS/UMR 9935, Laboratoire d'Ecologie GénéraleMuséum National d'Histoire Naturelle
  • M. Atramentowicz
    • CNRS/URA 1183, Laboratoire d'Ecologie GénéraleMuséum National d'Histoire Naturelle

DOI: 10.1023/A:1020850914167

Cite this article as:
Simmen, B., Josseaume, B. & Atramentowicz, M. J Chem Ecol (1999) 25: 331. doi:10.1023/A:1020850914167


The taste responses to sweet and astringent compounds were investigated in two mammals of similar ecology, by using the classical method of the two-bottle test. The taste threshold for fructose was higher in Microcebus murinus, a prosimian primate, than in Caluromys philander, a didelphid marsupial. The profiles of suprathreshold responses resembled a dissymmetric bell-shaped curve, but the rate of consumption of sweet solutions up to maximal intake increased more rapidly in Microcebus than in Caluromys. Despite showing a photoperiod-synchronized physiology, Microcebus displayed no seasonal variation of the taste threshold and suprathreshold responses. The depressing effect of tanning acid on the ingestion of fructose solutions increased progressively with tannin concentration and was lower as fructose concentration increased. Inhibition thresholds for tannic acid were similar between the two species. The data suggest that adaptation to frugivorous diets is associated with globally similar shaping of the taste responses, even though subtle differences of palatability may account for differences of feeding selectivity.

Discriminationsugartanninecological convergencetaste thresholdseasonalityprimateMarsupialia

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999