, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 327-357

Patterns of Frugivory in Three West African Colobine Monkeys

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Abstract

We studied the comparative feeding ecology of three species of colobus (Procolobus badius, Procolobus verus, and Colobus polykomos) on Tiwai Island, Sierra Leone. We collected dietary data on each species by scan-sampling habituated groups. Because these groups were observed in the same study area during overlapping time periods, the confounding effects of temporal and spatial variability in food availability were reduced. Our results show that the annual diets of the two larger species (Procolobus badius and Colobus polykomos) include roughly equal proportions of fruits (including seeds), young leaf parts, and mature leaf parts, although P. badius had a greater intake of floral parts. Procolobus verus consumed almost no mature leaf parts, few fruits and seeds, and many young leaf parts. Colobus polykomos commonly fed from lianas. Seeds were the dominant fruit item eaten by all three colobus, and the fruits they selected were generally dull and non-fleshy, in contrast to the brightly-colored, pulpy fruits eaten by guenons. Leguminous plants contributed substantially to the diets of both the larger species, but comparisons with other African forest sites indicate that colobine biomass is not closely correlated with the abundance of leguminous trees in the forest.

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