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Water-Plant and Soil Consumption by Guereza Monkeys (Colobus guereza): A Relationship with Minerals and Toxins in the Diet?

J. F. Oates
Biotropica
Vol. 10, No. 4 (Dec., 1978), pp. 241-253
DOI: 10.2307/2387676
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2387676
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Water-Plant and Soil Consumption by Guereza Monkeys (Colobus guereza): A Relationship with Minerals and Toxins in the Diet?
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Abstract

Black-and-white colobus monkeys, Colobus guereza, were frequently observed coming to the ground in a swamp and eating water plants at a site in western Uganda. Normally, guereza intergroup relationships were antagonistic, but many groups shared the swamp pools. Analysis of water-plant samples indicated high levels of sodium, iron, manganese, and zinc compared with other items of the guereza's leaf-dominated diet. There was also evidence of clay consumption by guerezas at a stream bank in the same area. Analysis of the clay showed it to contain considerably more magnesium, iron, and copper than neighboring soils. A comparison of estimated mineral intakes and requirements suggests that the dry-land diet of the guereza population may be deficient in sodium, and perhaps barely sufficient in copper, manganese, and zinc. Water-plant consumption may remedy mineral deficiencies, but clay may be consumed for other reasons: to adsorb plant toxins or to adjust the pH of the forestomach.

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