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La perception gustative et la consommation des tannins chez le maki (Lemur catta)

Abstract : The feeding behavior of primates is conditioned both by the available resources (depending on the seasons) and by the animal's own choice, involving individual criteria. The consumed foods are picked according to their chemical components (nutriments, toxic elements...): the gustative system acts as an intermediary between the primate and the chosen food. Tannins are strongly toxic secondary components in most common plants. The Lemur catta, an emblematic primate of Madagascar, is regularly exposed to tannins in its natural environment.
In temperate climate, and exposed to a highly tannic vegetation (oaks, willows, bramble), captive Lemur catta spontaneously use to eat plants which taste is perceived as repulsive (from 0,1 g/L for tannic acid, a threshold determined by the “two-bottle test”). Both the quantities of consumed tannins and the concentration of tannins in the diet of the animals vary, according to the seasons, whereas the perception of the taste of tannic acid doesn't change. On the other hand, individual differences in tannin consumption can be explained by differences in taste perception: the most sensitive animals are the heaviest tannin consumers.
The animals' consumption of soil observed almost daily (usually in the morning, with an empty stomach) is clearly linked to the consumption of tannin plants; geophagy could therefore be a protection, since clay has the capacity to adsorb tannins. The consumed condensed tannins could play a role in the progressive diminution of the animal's parasitism. Semi-freedom, completed with an access to varied types of plants, allows captive lemurs to diversify their food and to share some activities as wild lemurs.
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Contributor : Sylvie Peronny Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, January 19, 2007 - 4:04:58 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, June 26, 2022 - 5:35:56 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - 8:06:24 PM


  • HAL Id : tel-00125461, version 1


Sylvie Peronny. La perception gustative et la consommation des tannins chez le maki (Lemur catta). Ecologie, Environnement. Museum national d'histoire naturelle - MNHN PARIS, 2005. Français. ⟨tel-00125461⟩



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