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Comp Biochem Physiol A Physiol. 1996 May;114(1):1-8.

The digestive strategy of the common marmoset, Callithrix jacchus.

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Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.


Digestive tract morphology and function were studied in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), a small (350 g) exudivore with a well-developed caecum. Transit times (times of first appearance of the markers in the faeces following a pulse dose in the food) were similar for Co-EDTA, which marks the fluid phase of the digesta, and Cr-mordanted cell walls, which marked the large (600-1200 microns) particulate phase of the digesta. However, mean retention time (the average time taken for the markers to transverse the whole digestive tract) for Co-EDTA was significantly longer than for Cr-cell walls, indicating selective retention of fluid digesta relative to large particles, probably in the caecum. These data are consistent with a digestive strategy of the common marmoset that appears to be based on rapid digestion of higher quality foods (animal prey, fruits) in the small intestine, followed by microbial fermentation of the complex polysaccharides of plant exudates in the caecum, which would allow for considerable dietary flexibility in its natural habitat of scrub forests.

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