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Mycophagy among Primates

  • AMY M. HANSON (a1), KATHIE T. HODGE (a2) and LEILA M. PORTER (a3)

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.

Corresponding author
Current address: Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo, Mammal Department, Bronx, 2300 Southern Boulevard, NY, 10460, USA. (corresponding author). Email:
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  • ISSN: 0269-915X
  • EISSN: 1474-0605
  • URL: /core/journals/mycologist
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