Watering holes: The use of arboreal sources of drinking water by Old World monkeys and apes

Sharma, Narayan and Huffman, Michael A and Gupta, Shreejata and Nautiyal, Himani and Mendonc, Renata and Morinof, Luca and Sinha, Anindya (2016) Watering holes: The use of arboreal sources of drinking water by Old World monkeys and apes. Behavioural Processes, 129. pp. 18-26.

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    Abstract: Water is one of the most important components of an animal’s diet, as it is essential for life. Primates, as do most animals, procure water directly from standing or free-flowing sources such as pools, ponds and rivers, or indirectly by the ingestion of certain plant parts. The latter is frequently described as the main source of water for predominantly arboreal species. However, in addition to these, many species are known to drink water accumulated in tree-holes. This has been commonly observed in several arboreal New World primate species, but rarely reported systematically from Old World primates. Here, we report observations of this behaviour from eight great ape and Old World monkey species, namely chimpanzee, orangutan, siamang, western hoolock gibbon, northern pig-tailed macaque, bonnet macaque, rhesus macaque and the central Himalayan langur. We hypothesise three possible reasons why these primates drink water from tree-holes: (1) coping with seasonal or habitat-specific water shortages, (2) predator/human conflict avoidance, and (3) potential medicinal benefits. We also suggest some alternative hypotheses that should be tested in future studies. This behaviour is likely to be more prevalent than currently thought, and may have significant, previously unknown, influences on primate survival and health, warranting further detailed studies.
    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Copyright belongs to the Publisher
    Keywords: Primate Tree-hole Dipping-and-licking Seasonal water Predator avoidance Self medication
    Subjects: School of Natural and Engineering Sciences > Animal Behaviour
    Programmes > Ecology, Behaviour and Conservation
    Divisions: Schools > Natural Sciences and Engineering
    Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2016 11:34
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2016 11:34
    URI: http://eprints.nias.res.in/id/eprint/1146

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