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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #194302


item Hall, Mary Beth

Submitted to: Electronic Publication
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2004
Publication Date: 3/21/2006
Citation: Hanson, A.M., Hall, M., Porter, L.M., Lintzenich, B. 2006. Composition and nutritional characteristics of fungi consumed by Callimico Goeldii in Pando, Bolivia. International Journal of Primatology [serial online]. Available:

Interpretive Summary: Preventing extinction of animals in the wild often depends on maintaining their habitat on which they rely for food and a place to live. Populations of animals are more likely to survive if food supplies and associated habitat crucial to meeting their nutrient needs can be maintained. If we wish to prevent extinctions, understanding habitat needs, including how the animals' nutritional needs are met by the feeds they choose and the extent of habitat needed to grow those feeds can provide a basis for making informed decisions about habitat conservation to preserve species. A study of food choices of Callimico monkeys in the wild was carried out to assess the nutrients the food supplied and, indirectly, the habitat needed to support the species. Callimico monkeys have been recorded as choosing to extensively consume fungi, but the nutritional value of these feedstuffs was unknown. Types of fungi consumed by these monkeys were collected in the field and analyzed for fiber, starch, sugar, crude protein, crude fat and minerals. The fungi were estimated to contain relatively little digestible nutrients. It is possible that the low nutrient content of the fungi makes it necessary for the monkeys to consume more of this feed in order to meet their nutrient requirements, and explain why the monkeys forage over and possibly require comparatively large ranges to search for food.

Technical Abstract: Though >22 species of Primates consume fungi, most do so at low rates, comprising <5% of their feeding time. Goeldi's monkeys (Callimico goeldii), spend up to 29% of their feeding time year-round consuming fungal sporocarps, the fruiting bodies of fungi. We provide comprehensive data on the nutritional characteristics of 4 species of fungi consumed by Callimico goeldii (Ascopolyporus polyporoides, Ascopolyporus polychrous, Auricularia auricula, and Auricularia delicata). The composition of the fungi is similar to that of other fungi: predominantly fiber (66.2-83.0% dry matter) with small amounts of sugar (2.0-5.6% dry matter) and crude fat (0.9-1.6% dry matter). Though the crude protein content is substantial (5.5-13.4% dry matter), much of the nitrogen in the fungi is not likely to be available to Callimico goeldii because it is associated with indigestible food components or is in nonprotein form. The mineral content of the fungi are within the normal range for fungi generally and the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio is low (0.07-0.25). Fungi appear to be a low-quality food resource for Callimico goeldii and may contribute to their relatively large home ranges and low population density compared to other Callitrichinae. Research on the ability of Callimico goeldii to digest fungi is needed to understand fully the nutritional value of fungi to them. We discuss adaptations Callimico goeldii may have for improving their ability to obtain nutrients from fungi and potential ecological correlates of mycophagy.