Intake, digestibility, and passage of a commercially designed diet by two Propithecus species.

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The digestibility and passage of an experimental diet was used to compare the digestive physiology of two Propithecus species: P. verreauxi and P. tattersalli. Though both animals have a similar feeding ecology, the captive status of P. verreauxi is considered more stable than that of P. tattersalli. The test diet included a local tree species, Rhus copallina, at 15% of dry matter intake (DMI) and Mazuri Leafeater Primate Diet at 85% of DMI. The chemical composition of the diet (dry matter basis) was 25% crude protein, 34% neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and 22% acid detergent fiber (ADF) with a gross energy of 4.52 kcal/g. After a 6 week acclimation to the experimental diet, animals were placed in research caging. After a 7 day adjustment period, animals were dosed with chromium mordant and Co-EDTA as markers for digesta passage and all feed refusals and feces were collected at timed intervals for 7 days. Digestibility values, similar for both species, were approximately 65% for dry matter, crude protein, and energy, and 40% and 35% respectively, for NDF and ADF. Transit times (17-18.5 hr) and mean retention times (31-34 hr) were not significantly different between species, and there was no difference between the chromium mordant and Co-EDTA. Serum values for glucose, urea, and non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) were obtained during four different time periods to monitor nutritional status. While there was no change in serum glucose, serum urea increased over time. The NEFAs increased across all four time periods for P. verreauxi and increased for the first three periods then decreased in the last period for P. tattersalli. Results obtained indicate no difference in digestibility nor digesta passage between species, and that both Propithecus species were similar to other post-gastric folivores.





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Campbell, JL, JH Eisemann, KE Glander and SD Crissey (1999). Intake, digestibility, and passage of a commercially designed diet by two Propithecus species. Am J Primatol, 48(3). pp. 237–246. 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2345(1999)48:3<237 Retrieved from

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Kenneth Earl Glander

Professor Emeritus of Evolutionary Anthropology

Primate ecology and social organization: the interaction between feeding patterns and social structure; evolutionary development of optimal group size and composition; factors affecting short and long-term demographic changes in stable groups; primate use of regenerating forests.

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