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J Comp Physiol B. 1994;164(3):173-8.

Rate of digesta passage in the philippine flying lemur, Cynocephalus volans.

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New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Cornell University, Ithaca, NJ 14853.


The rate of digesta passage was measured in five captive Philippine flying lemurs (Cynocephalus volans). These animals were force fed capsules containing known quantities of either particulate or soluble markers. The volumes of the gastrointestinal tracts of three flying lemurs were determined based on the wet weight of the contents of each section of the gut. The mean rate of digesta passage was 14.37 +/- 3.31 h when determined using the particulate marker and 21.9 +/- 0.03 h when determined using the soluble marker. The values based on the particulate marker are between 2% and 10% of similar values for other arboreal folivores. The morphology of the gastrointestinal system of the Philippine flying lemur is similar to that of other hindgut fermenters. Flying lemurs have a simple stomach and a large caecum. The total gut capacity of the Philippine flying lemur is similar to that of other herbivores, but is slightly smaller than that of either the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), a hindgut fermenter, or the three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus), a foregut fermenter. These data suggest that flying lemurs deal with the problems of a folivorous diet very differently than some other arboreal mammals. Phascolarctos cinereus and Bradypus variegatus may represent one extreme with Cynocephalus volans representing the other extreme along a continuum of foraging strategies that are compatible with the arboreal folivore lifestyle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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