Which senses play a role in nonhuman primate food selection ? A comparison between squirrel monkeys and spider monkeys
2007 (English)In: American Journal of Primatology, ISSN 0275-2565, E-ISSN 1098-2345, Vol. 69, no 3, 282-294 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In order to optimize foraging efficiency and avoid toxicosis, animals must be able to detect, discriminate, and learn about the predictive signals of potential food. Primates are typically regarded as animals that rely mainly on their highly developed visual systems, and little is known about the role that the other senses may play in food selection. It was therefore the aim of the present study to assess which senses are involved in the evaluation of food by two species of New World primates: the squirrel monkey and the spider monkey. To this end, six animals per species were repeatedly presented with both familiar and novel food items, and their behavior was videotaped and analyzed. To obtain a further indication of the relative importance of visual and chemosensory cues, the animals were also presented with familiar food items that were experimentally modified in color, odor, or both color and odor. The results demonstrate that squirrel monkeys and spider monkeys use olfactory, gustatory, and tactile cues in addition to visual information to evaluate novel food, whereas they mainly inspect familiar food items visually prior to consumption. Our findings also show that in both species the use of nonvisual cues decreased rapidly with repeated presentations of novel food, suggesting a fast multimodal learning process. Further, the two species clearly differ in their relative use of nonvisual cues when evaluating novel or modified food, with spider monkeys relying more on olfactory cues than squirrel monkeys, and squirrel monkeys relying more on tactile cues compared to spider monkeys.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 69, no 3, 282-294 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-39756DOI: 10.1002/ajp.20345Local ID: 51123OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-39756DiVA: diva2:260605