Document Detail

Colour cues for leaf food selection by long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) with a new suggestion for the evolution of trichromatic colour vision.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  9595683     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Leaf colour, size and toughness were investigated in five plant species important in the diet of Macaca fascicularis in Singapore. Leaf colour and size were examined as potential visual cues for food selection, whereas toughness mirrored fibre content, the inverse of food quality. As leaves matured, they changed colour and toughened. Leaf lightness and yellowness were strongly negatively correlated with toughness, but variation in both the red-green axis of the CIE Lab colour space and leaf size were not. Leaves selected as food by the macaques were distinguished by being very light, yellow to slightly green. Some leaves were dappled with red. The literature suggests that these leaves are relatively rich in protein without being tough and therefore would be sought after by primates. We argue that leaf colour is an important indicator of the nutritive value of leaves. Trichromatic vision is an important advantage in finding those palatable leaves that are dappled red. These would appear dark to dichromatic primates and be deceptive by making leaves look older (lower in quality) than they actually are. This would decrease the perceived window of feeding opportunity for such primates who would be at a disadvantage in trying to find these leaves. It is possible that trichromatic vision in catarrhine primates may have originally evolved for the detection of red coloration in the leaves of shade-tolerant tropical plants, enabling the better exploitation of a food resource.
P W Lucas; B W Darvell; P K Lee; T D Yuen; M F Choong
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Folia primatologica; international journal of primatology     Volume:  69     ISSN:  0015-5713     ISO Abbreviation:  Folia Primatol.     Publication Date:  1998  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1998-06-04     Completed Date:  1998-06-04     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0370723     Medline TA:  Folia Primatol (Basel)     Country:  SWITZERLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  139-52     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Anatomy, University of Hong Kong, China.
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MeSH Terms
Color Perception*
Macaca fascicularis*
Plants, Edible

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