Variable digestibility of captive northern greater galagos (Otolemur garnettii) fed experimental “frugivorous” and “invertebrate” diets

James E. Loudon, B. Katherine Smith, Sydnie Bianchi, Michaela E. Howells, Mead A. Krowka, Andres M. Gomez, Samuel Davison, Oliver C.C. Paine, Matt Sponheimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Few studies have addressed the nutritional ecology of galagos. Observations of galagos in the wild reveal that they rely on fruits and invertebrates to varying degrees depending on their availability. We conducted a 6-week comparative dietary analysis of a colony of captive-housed northern greater galagos (Otolemur garnettii), which included five females and six males with known life histories. We compared two experimental diets. The first was fruit dominated and the second was invertebrate dominated. For each diet, we examined dietary intake and apparent dry matter digestibility over the course of 6 weeks. We found significant differences between the apparent digestibility of the diets, with the “invertebrate” diet being more digestible than the “frugivorous” diet. The lower apparent digestibility of the “frugivorous” diet was driven by the higher fiber contents of the fruits provided to the colony. However, variation in apparent digestibility of both diets was found among individual galagos. The experimental design used in this study may provide useful dietary data for the management of captive colonies of galagos and other strepsirrhine primates. This study may also be helpful for understanding the nutritional challenges faced by free-ranging galagos through time and across geographic space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)644-650
Number of pages7
JournalZoo Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023

Bibliographical note

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  • Otolemur garnettii
  • apparent digestibility
  • dietary fiber
  • galago
  • primate nutrition


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