loading page

Diverse diets and high-sugar foraging preferences: foraging criterion in low altitude primates
  • +3
  • Bowen Li,
  • Wen-Bo Li,
  • Chao Liu,
  • Yadong Li,
  • Penghui Li,
  • Jin Li
Bowen Li
Anhui University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Wen-Bo Li
Anhui University
Author Profile
Chao Liu
Anhui University
Author Profile
Yadong Li
Anhui University
Author Profile
Penghui Li
Anhui University
Author Profile
Jin Li
Anhui University
Author Profile


Nutrient composition and food availability determine food choices and foraging strategies of animals. Altitude affects species distribution and food availability, whereas primate food needs increase with body size. However, the mechanism of food selection in large primates at low altitudes requires further investigation. As the largest species in the genus Macaca, the Tibetan macaque (Macaca thibetana) has sophisticated foraging strategies. In this study, we researched a group of 29 wild Tibetan macaques (Tianhu Mountain Group) that live in a low-altitude area around Mt. Huangshan, Anhui Province, China. We used instantaneous and scan sampling for observing the foraging behavior of these macaques from September 2020 to August 2021. We recorded the dietary composition and food availability, compared the nutrient content of staple food and non-food items, and analyzed the role of key nutrients in food selection. We found that Tibetan macaques forage on 111 plants belonging to 93 genera and 55 families. The food types included 52.5% fruits, 17.0% mature leaves, 6.3% young leaves, 1.9% stems, 4.5% flowers, 14.4% bamboo shoots, 1.3% tender shoots, and 2.1% other. Tibetan macaques forage for a maximum total of 76 plant species during spring. However, dietary diversity was highest during summer (H’=3.052). Monthly fruit consumption was positively correlated with food availability. Staple foods are lower in fiber and tannins than non-foods. In addition, there was a positive correlation between the time spent foraging for specific foods and sugar content of the food. The results showed that the plant species and food types fed by Tibetan macaques were diverse, and their foraging strategies varied seasonally. Our findings confirm the effect of nutrients on food choice in Tibetan macaques, highlighting the importance of sugar in their food choices and suggesting that the foraging behavior of Tibetan macaques is highly flexible and adaptive.
07 Mar 2022Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
07 Mar 2022Submission Checks Completed
07 Mar 2022Assigned to Editor
11 Mar 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
18 May 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
19 May 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
04 Jul 20221st Revision Received
11 Jul 2022Assigned to Editor
11 Jul 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
11 Jul 2022Submission Checks Completed
12 Jul 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
11 Aug 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
16 Aug 20222nd Revision Received
17 Aug 2022Submission Checks Completed
17 Aug 2022Assigned to Editor
17 Aug 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
05 Sep 2022Editorial Decision: Accept