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Arid and humid forest comparisons of energy balance in lemurids
We are comparing two lemurid species, ring-tailed lemurs and brown lemurs, to investigate resource extraction and use in arid and humid environments. Our approach is to track resource use from environmental availability to extraction. We are monitoring net energy balance by measuring calories and nutrients in foods and energy expenditure and protein flux in excreta.
Lemur catta tooth wear and diet
Intraspecific variation in primate dental wear: the role of environment and diet.
Collaborators: Frank Cuozzo (University of North Dakota, Grand Forks), Michelle Sauther (University of Colorado, Boulder), Peter Ungar (University of Arkansas, Fayetteville).
We have demonstrated correlations among feeding behavior, food mechanical properties, and degree of tooth wear in three populations of ring-tailed lemurs in southwestern Madagascar. Tooth wear and loss are related to dependence on the ripe fruits of the tamarind, Tamarindus indica or kily, that occur to differing degrees in the three sites. Where kily occurs, it forms the majority of the lemur diet, at least seasonally. The lemurs open the fruit shell, which is the toughest and hardest 'food' part in their diet, by inserting it on the postcanines and repeatedly biting it until it cracks. Tooth wear and loss are greatest in this area, and tooth wear is correlated with dietary toughness and frequency of consumption of this fruit.