Mycophagy among Primates
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: email@example.com