International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 541–573 | Cite as

Mineral Resource Availability and Consumption by Colobus in Kibale National Park, Uganda

  • Karyn D. Rode
  • Colin A. Chapman
  • Lauren J. Chapman
  • Lee R. McDowell


Very little information exists on mineral nutrition of tropical, forest-dwelling species, yet minerals are critical to growth, reproduction, and survival. We examined the mineral resources available to and consumed by colobus in Kibale National Park, Uganda. We combined behavioral data on black-and-white (Colobus guereza) and red colobus (Piliocolobus tephrosceles) in a section of unlogged forest, a heavily logged area, and a forest fragment with mineral analysis of their foods to estimate the proportion of the diet containing specific minerals (mineral content). We compared mineral content of colobus foods (natural and crops) across plant parts and among plant species. Additionally, we estimated mineral intake of frugivorous primates in Kibale from published dietary data and our estimates of mineral content of foods. Dietary mineral content for all colobus groups and frugivorous species is similar despite significant differences in the mineral content of foods. Ripe and unripe fruits are lower in mineral content than most foods. Foods rarely consumed, such as bark, petioles, and caterpillars have high levels of some minerals. The mineral content of crops is low in comparison to that ofnatural foods. For all colobus groups of both species, sodium content of foods was extremely low and iron content was generally low, suggesting that intake isbelow suggested requirements, though current suggested iron requirements may overestimate physiological needs. Copper content was marginal and deficient seasonally for most colobus groups. Despite a sodium-limiting environment, only one of 8 colobus groups appeared to select sodium; however, this may be due to a lack of variation in sodium content among plant species and a positive correlation between high plant sodium content and secondary compounds. Despite the lack of selection for sodium by colobines, some behaviors point to a potential sodium deficiency, including urine drinking, consumption of high-sodium swamp plants, and use of mud-puddles.

colobines minerals nutrition herbivory crop raiding foraging sodium population regulation 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karyn D. Rode
    • 1
  • Colin A. Chapman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lauren J. Chapman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lee R. McDowell
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of FloridaGainesville
  2. 2.Wildlife Conservation SocietyBronx
  3. 3.Animal Sciences DepartmentUniversity of FloridaGainesville

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