Original Article

Mycophagy among Primates

a1 Department of Ecology and Evolution, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York, USA.
a2 Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA.
a3 Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle, W. A. 98195, USA.

Article author query
hanson a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
hodge k   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
porter l   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The majority of the 22 primate species known to eat fungi spend less than 5% of their feeding time doing so. The Goeldi's monkey (Callimico goeldii), a small South American primate, devotes up to 63% of its feeding time to the consumption of Auricularia auricula, A. mesenterica, Ascopolyporus polyporoides and A. polychrous. This may be as much as 6.1kg/animal/year of fresh weight of fungus consumed by an animal weighing half a kilogram; in comparison, the average person in the U.S.A. consumes 1.9 kg/person/year of fresh weight of mushrooms. The nutritional benefits of mycophagy appear to be relatively few, but need to be investigated further. Mycophagy by Goeldi's monkeys may be a strategy for reducing feeding competition during the dry season and likely affects the monkeys' home range size and distribution pattern.

Key Words: Primates; Callimico; mycophagy; Auricularia; Ascopolyporus.

c1 Current address: Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo, Mammal Department, Bronx, 2300 Southern Boulevard, NY, 10460, USA. (corresponding author). Email: