International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 1535–1547 | Cite as

Food Preferences and Nutrient Composition in Captive White-handed Gibbons, Hylobates lar

  • Ronald Jildmalm
  • Mats Amundin
  • Matthias Laska


We aimed to assess spontaneous food preferences in captive white-handed gibbons and to analyze whether they correlate with nutrient composition. Via a 2-alternative choice test, we repeatedly presented 3 male Hylobates lar with all possible binary combinations of 10 types of food that are part of their diet in captivity and found the following rank order of preference: grape > banana = fig > apple > pear > honeydew melon > carrot > tomato > cucumber > avocado. Correlational analyses revealed a highly significant positive correlation between the food preference ranking and the total carbohydrate, fructose, and glucose contents of the foods (p < 0.01, respectively). With the exception of the trace mineral selenium (p < 0.05), there was no other significant correlation with any other macro- or micronutrient. In addition, the food preferences were stable across the day because rankings obtained from tests performed at 0900, 1200, and 1500 h, respectively, did not differ significantly (p > 0.05). Our results suggest that captive white-handed gibbons are not opportunistic, but selective feeders with regard to maximizing net gain of energy because only the content of carbohydrates, but not the contents of total energy, proteins, or lipids significantly correlate with the displayed food preferences. Further, the results suggest that captive Hylobates lar, in contrast to their free-ranging conspecifics, do not display marked changes in their food selection across the day.


food preferences frugivory Hylobates lar nutrient composition white-handed gibbons 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IFM BiologyLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  2. 2.Kolmårdens DjurparkKolmårdenSweden

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