Adaptations for avian frugivory: assimilation efficiency and gut transit time of Manacus vitellinus and Pipra mentalis
I examined the digestive physiology of two avian frugivores, the golden-collared manakin, Manacus vitellinus, and the red-capped manakin, Pipra mentalis, to discover how these birds extract energy from fruit. Using 14 species of fruit in the natural diet of manakins, I examined the assimilation of nutrients from fruit pulp, fruit passage rates, seed passage rates, and gut morphology. Fruits in the manakins' diets had high water content (average, 84%) and low nutrient concentrations (3 kJ/g wet pulp; 17 kJ/g dry pulp; 1% nitrogen/g dry pulp). Manacus and Pipra did not differ in the average assimilation of energy in fruit pulp (63%), although it varied from 37 to 84% depending on fruit species. Assimilation of total nonstructural carbohydrates in the fruit pulp was very high (86–98%) in both species. Gut evacuation was rapid; maximum transit time of a labeled fruit was 30 min. Seeds passed through the gut faster (Manacus: 15 min; Pipra: 12 min) than the accompanying fruit epidermis (both spp: 22 min). Manakins regurgitated large seeds (>5 mm diameter) in 7 to 9 min. Rapid gut passage time, high assimilation of nonstructural carbohydrates, and the selective regurgitation and rapid elimination of bulky seeds enable manakins to process a large volume of food per day. By increasing rates of fruit intake and gut passage, manakins can effectively increase total nutrient uptake. These adaptations of manakins are requisite for harvesting sufficient nutrients from fruit, due to its low nutrient density, high water content, and bulky seeds.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 4 - ethologie animale
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics