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Joyce Parga

January 26 2012Foraging Ecology PredationChapter 6 pg 145167 y Foraging feeding and foodrelated travel activities includes looking for handling and actually eating food y Can occupy more than 50 percent of a primates waking hours y For most primates it is the proportion of time devoted to feeding on different types of food that is used to characterize their diets y Some have seasonal diets and feeding behaviours y Primates also adjust their diets and behaviour to the spatial distribution of their food resources y Food is especially important to female primates because of the high metabolic costs associated with gestation and especially lactation y Toward the end of their pregnancy female primates must eat enough food to nourish both themselves and the fetuses developing in their womb as well as maintaining the body fat that theyll need to support nursing infants y Tarsiers and some other prosimians park their infants while they forage unencumbered y Most primate mothers bear most or all of the burden of caring for their infants until they are able to find food and move about on their own y Manufacturing milk is even more energetically costly and lactating females need to compensate for the energy they divert from their own maintenance into milk y Lactating females spend more time feeding and feeding on foods with higher energy contents y Prosimian mothers who park their infants produce milk that is higher in fat content than other prosimian and anthropoid mothers who carry their infants during lactation y The added weight of carrying infants while lactating clearly increases maternal energy requirementsy Betterfed females begin reproducing at an earlier age produce healthier offspring have shorter interbirth intervals and live longer to reproduce y There are three variables that affect female feeding strategies o Food Quality the proportion of readily digestible energy and essential proteins and nutrients in foodHigh Quality Diets Growth Diets high quality food that can be used to sustain ones self and converted into offspringLow Quality Diets food with little nutrient value to the organism usually sufficient for maintaining life but may result in malnourishment and preclude reproduction over extended periodsMost primates prefer high quality dietsGrowth diets permit reproductionMost primates diets also include some proportion of alternative lowerquality subsistence foods to fall back on for survival at least some of the timeSubsistence Foods survival or fallback lowquality food eaten when higherquality foods are rare or unavailableFallback Foods foods that are eaten at times when preferred foods are scarce or unavailable permitting survival instead of starvation available yearroundPrimates have different nutritional requirements and digestive abilitiesFruits are a basic source of caloric energyCarbohydrates a class of compounds easily converted by the body into metabolizable energyLipid fat that can be converted to energy through metabolic processesNearly all primates include some fruits into their diets but none could survive without other foods such as insects and leaves that provide essential amino acids as well as other vitamins and minerals often lacking or present in only small quantities in fruitProteins building block for bodily growth reproduction and functionMost primates obtain essential fats and starches from seedsFlowers are also good sources of carbohydrates with nectar providing soluble sugarsPollen is also high in protein but it is difficult to digestThe exudates or gums eaten by many marmosets and tamarins are key sources of calcium Mature leaves and grasses that are high in cellulose and dietary fiber are difficult to break down during the digestive processSharp shearing molars and strong chewing muscles are specializations that help folivorous primates break open plant cell wallsElongated gastrointestinal tracts provide more time for nutrients to be absorbed as they pass through the gutPlants typically suffer when parts of them are eaten by primates or other animalsProtective husks or spines are some of the physical defenses that plants have evolved to protect their fruits and seedsTo break through these defenses some primates have evolved strong jaws and teeth and powerful biting muscles that enable them to crack open hard fruits and crush their seedsPrimates may also have thick dental enamelOther plants rely on animals to disperse their seeds
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