CZAAWE Resource Article

Age class differences in the feeding behavior of captive Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscataia) in the forested and nonvegetated enclosure groups
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
2011
Authors 
Publication/Journal 
Zoo Biology
ISBN 
1098-2361
Abstract 
Abstract Age class differences in feeding behavior of primates are affected by many factors, including feeding competition, foraging skills, habitat type, food abundance and distribution, body mass, and food types. Two captive groups of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata), one housed in a forested enclosure and the other in a nonvegetated enclosure, were studied to examine the effect of environmental enrichment on age class differences in feeding behavior. Although there was no significant age class difference in time spent feeding on provisioned foods in either enclosure, the feeding rate (intake of unit food/minute) of adults consuming provisioned monkey chow was significantly higher than that of immatures in both enclosures, and was faster for both age groups in the nonvegetated than in the forested enclosure. Overall, feeding time was greatly extended for individuals of both age classes in the forested enclosure compared with their counterparts in the nonvegetated enclosure. Immatures in the forested enclosure utilized a significantly greater number of plant species and food items, exploiting many food items available among the terminal branches, and spent significantly more time feeding than adults. Perhaps constrained by larger body size, adults fed more often on the ground or middle height of the trees, likely reducing competition over plant food resources between adults and immatures. The natural vegetation played an important role in extending feeding time and segregating substrate use during feeding by adults and immatures. This study revealed the benefits concerning environmental enrichment of a naturally forested enclosure, which provides captive primates the opportunity to exhibit age class and species-typical feeding behaviors of importance for their dietary maintenance and general health.