Anatomy and dietary specialization influence sensory behaviour among sympatric primates

Melin, AD ORCID:, Veilleux, CC, Janiak, MC ORCID:, Hiramatsu, C ORCID:, Sánchez-Solano, KG, Lundeen, IK, Webb, SE ORCID:, Williamson, RE ORCID:, Mah, MA, Murillo-Chacon, E, Schaffner, CM, Hernández-Salazar, L ORCID:, Aureli, F and Kawamura, S ORCID: 2022, 'Anatomy and dietary specialization influence sensory behaviour among sympatric primates' , Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 289 (1981) .

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Senses form the interface between animals and environments, and provide a window into the ecology of past and present species. However, research on sensory behaviours by wild frugivores is sparse. Here, we examine fruit assessment by three sympatric primates (Alouatta palliata, Ateles geoffroyi and Cebus imitator) to test the hypothesis that dietary and sensory specialization shape foraging behaviours. Ateles and Cebus groups are comprised of dichromats and trichromats, while all Alouatta are trichomats. We use anatomical proxies to examine smell, taste and manual touch, and opsin genotyping to assess colour vision. We find that the frugivorous spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) sniff fruits most often, omnivorous capuchins (Cebus imitator), the species with the highest manual dexterity, use manual touch most often, and that main olfactory bulb volume is a better predictor of sniffing behaviour than nasal turbinate surface area. We also identify an interaction between colour vision phenotype and use of other senses. Controlling for species, dichromats sniff and bite fruits more often than trichromats, and trichromats use manual touch to evaluate cryptic fruits more often than dichromats. Our findings reveal new relationships among dietary specialization, anatomical variation and foraging behaviour, and promote understanding of sensory system evolution.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the Royal Society B
Publisher: The Royal Society
ISSN: 1471-2954
Funders: University of Calgary, British Academy, Canada Research Chairs, Natural Environment Research Council, Animal Behavior Society, Chester Zoo, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, National Geographic Society, University of Chester, International Primatological Society, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router
Depositing User: Publications Router
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2022 08:20
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2022 08:30

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