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Spicing up the menu: evidence of fruit feeding in Galago moholi

Abstract

The African lesser bushbaby, Galago moholi, is described as a food specialist, feeding exclusively on small arthropods and gum primarily from Acacia karroo trees. We studied a population of G. moholi in a highly fragmented habitat in the southernmost part of its natural distributional range in South Africa. In this habitat, we opportunistically observed bushbabies feeding on fruits of the winter fruiting tree, Pappea capensis. Plot counts of tree composition revealed that although the dominant tree species in the area belonged to the genus Acacia, A. karroo trees were widely absent and gum could only be found in small quantities on other Acacia species. The analysis of P. capensis fruits showed high levels of protein, fat, and energy content, making the fruits a potentially important food source for G. moholi during winter when insect availability is low. Our observation is the first documented case of fruit feeding in G. moholi, suggesting that the species is not a food specialist as previously reported but can supplement its diet with fruit when available.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Tom van Niekerk and Dr. Marti Koen for their hospitality and permission to work at Buffelsdrift conservation area. The research conducted was accomplished with the financial assistance of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; DA 1031/3-1), the Department of Research and Innovation (University of Pretoria) and the DST-NRF SarchI Chair of Mammal Behavioural Ecology and Physiology. We thank K. Dausmann and J. Ganzhorn for the opportunity to analyze fruit samples at the University of Hamburg, Germany; the South African Weather Service for supplying weather charts for this study; and J.A. Mostert for providing invaluable assistance during the identification of tree species.

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Correspondence to Julia Nowack.

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Scheun, J., Bennett, N.C., Ganswindt, A. et al. Spicing up the menu: evidence of fruit feeding in Galago moholi . Primates 55, 359–363 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-014-0420-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-014-0420-8

Keywords

  • Galago moholi
  • Feeding
  • Fruits
  • Gum
  • Winter food source