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Durham University

Department of Anthropology

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Publication details for Professor Russell Hill

Stringer, S.D., Hill, R.A., Swanepoel, L. & Koyama, N.F. (2020). Adapting methodology used on captive subjects for estimating gut passage time in wild monkeys. Folia Primatologica 91(4): 417-432.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Gut passage time of food has consequences for primate digestive strategies, which subsequently affect seed
dispersal. Seed dispersal models are critical in understanding plant population and community dynamics
through estimation of seed dispersal distances, combining movement data with gut passage times. Thus,
developing methods to collect in-situ data on gut passage time are of great importance. Here we present a
first attempt to develop an in-situ study of gut passage time in an arboreal forest guenon, samango monkey
(Cercopithecus albogularis schwarzi) in the Soutpansberg Mountain, South Africa. Cercopithecus spp.
consume large proportions of fruit and are important seed dispersers. However, previous studies on gut
passage times have been conducted only on captive Cercopithecus spp. subjects, where movement is
restricted, and diets are generally dissimilar to those observed in the wild. Using artificial digestive markers,
we targeted provisioning of a male and a female samango monkey four times over three and four days
respectively. We followed focal subjects from dawn until dusk following each feeding event, collecting
faecal samples, and recording the date and time of deposition and the number of markers found in each
faecal sample. We recovered 6.61% ± 4% and 13% ± 9% of markers from the male and the female
respectively and were able to estimate a gut passage window of 16.63 – 25.12 hrs from three of the eight
trials. We discuss methodological issues to help future researchers to develop in-situ studies on gut passage
times.