, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 19-32

Influence of Forest Seasonality on Gibbon Food Choice in the Rain Forests of Barito Ulu, Central Kalimantan

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Abstract

We describe the diet of two hybrid gibbon groups (Hylobates mulleri x H. agilis) in relation to forest seasonality. We collected data over 12 mo in lowland dipterocarp forest in the Barito Ulu research area, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Although non-fig fruit was the main dietary item (52–64% of diet), gibbon diet was most strongly influenced by the availability of flowers. During periods when flowers were most abundant and the gibbons increased consumption of them, they also ate figs or young leaves more often. We suggest that although flowers are nutritionally rich sources of food, providing relatively high levels of protein compared to fruit, they are unlikely to satiate gibbon hunger and they seek dietary bulk from figs or young leaves, because they are easily obtained. Rainfall also influenced food choice, and non-fig fruit availability had a weak influence on fruit selection for one group. The group concentrated feeding on the fruit of a few species when fruit was most abundant and ate a greater diversity of species when fruit was scarce. Gibbon diet appeared not to be influenced by changes in availability of figs, young leaves and diversity of fruiting species.