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Foraging behaviour and physical properties of foods consumed by wild black-capped capuchin (Cebus nigritus), in the Statue Park Carlos Botelho, SP

Grant number: 10/51565-0
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: December 01, 2010 - November 30, 2012
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Animal Behavior
Principal researcher:Patrícia Izar
Grantee:Patrícia Izar
Home Institution: Instituto de Psicologia (IP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The acquisition of food is essential to survival; therefore, by the prospect of Behavioural Ecology, selecting resources optimization strategies between costs and benefits in obtaining food must be selected. By this perspective, the physical properties of foods can be selective pressure for various anatomical and behavioural characteristics of animals. The physical properties of foods relate to external and internal characteristics that relate the size, shape and texture surface and reflect the strength of resources to fragmentation being measured by: toughness and elastic modulus. The roadblock caused by physical characteristics of foods can lead to the selection of behavioural strategies for overcome, such as the use of the tooth more efficiently or food processing before ingestion. The processing of food may help the animal capability to cause flaw and fractures and may involve the use of tools. These behavioural strategies can therefore ensure access to food, even if the animal has not anatomical specializations to eat it. In addition, the hardness of food could serve as a clue, for primates, about digestibility and about potential nutritional of foods. This work suggests that diet differences within and between groups could reflect differences in food processing strategies as a way to overcome roadblock caused by the physical properties of foods; and want to investigate the relationship between the potential nutritional food used by two groups of Cebus nigritus, in the Statue Park Carlos Botelho, with the values of physical properties. (AU)