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Seasonal changes in food resource distribution and feeding sites selected by Japanese macaques on Koshima Islet, Japan

Moe Go


Primates, 51:149-158

Feeding sites of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) change according to seasonal fluctuations in food resource distribution. To examine what characteristics of food items affect feeding site selection, I describe herein the seasonal changes in food items, feeding sites, and food resource distributions of this species. Feeding behavior of monkeys and their food resource distributions were investigated on Koshima Islet, southern Japan, for four study periods (i.e., seasons) in 2002. Monkeys showed large variations in their diet between seasons. To weigh the relative influence of the distribution and abundance of food items on feeding site selection in each season, multiple regression analyses were performed by 100 m 9 100 m grid. In the analyses, feeding time was a dependent variable and the abundance of staple food items, for which feeding time was over 5% in each season, in each grid square was an independent variable. There was no correlation between the resource distribution of most food items and the distribution of feeding time by monkeys in each season. Monkeys spent more feeding time where multiple staple food items were available. Food items that affected feeding site selection by monkeys had the following three characteristics: (1) clumped distribution, (2) seasonal availability, and (3) fruit. This suggests that monkeys are likely to select feeding sites to consume food items whose availability is limited temporally and spatially, which may enable them to simultaneously use other widely distributed, abundant food items efficiently.


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