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Geophagy by the bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata) of southern India: a preliminary analysis

J. VOROS, WILLIAM. C. MAHANEY, M. W. MILNER, R. KRISHNAMANI, S. AUFREITER & R. G. V. HANCOCK

PRIMATES, 42 (4): 327-344.

2001

Abstract

Bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata) in the Marakkanam Reserved Forest of southern India consume termitaria soils. Samples from the ingested termite mounds are compared with samples taken from the surrounding uneaten soils in an attempt to determine why the termitaria soils are eaten. Particle size, clay and primary mineral composition, geochemistry and scanning electron microscopic analyses are used to search for a possible explanation for geophagy among the bonnet macaques. Kaolin minerals abound throughout the Marakkanam soil sample suite. But the termitaria soils are distinguished by the presence of small amounts of smectite. An abundance of kaolin minerals in combination with small amounts of smectite strongly resembles the mineralogy of eko, a traditional African remedy for stomach ailments, and Kaopectate™, a western anti-diarrhoeal preparation. The percentage of mature leaves and fruits of Azadirachta indica consumed by the bonnet macaques is relatively high. Plant feeding deterrents, such as, acid detergent fibre (ADF) and the inherent nature of the fruits of Azadirachta indica, when consumed in large quantities to act as a purgative, could cause gastrointestinal upsets and diarrhoea. At Marakkanam, bonnet macaques ingest termitaria earth that would act as a pharmaceutical agent to alleviate gastrointestinal upsets and control diarrhoea.

 
Geophagy by the bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata) of southern India: a preliminary analysis
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hortus

leafindicus

malabaricus

 

by HENDRIK VAN RHEEDE

The Hortus Indicus Malabaricus comprises 12 volumes of about 500 pages each, with 794 copper plate engravings. The first of the 12 volumes of the book was published in 1678, and the last in 1693. It is believed to be the earliest comprehensive printed work on the flora of southern India, Asia and the tropics.

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the flora

leafsylvatica

for southern india

 

by Col. RH BEDDOME

Col. Richard Henry Beddome was a British military officer and naturalist in India. His publications include The Flora Sylvatica for Southern India, 1869–73; Ferns of Southern India, 1873; Ferns of British India, 1876; Forester's Manual of Botany for Southern India, 1869–74; Icones Plantarum Indies Orientalis, 1874.

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plants of the

leafcoast

of coromandel

 

by W ROXBURGH

William Roxburgh was a Scottish surgeon and botanist who worked extensively in India, describing species and working on economic botany. He is known as the founding father of Indian botany. In 1795 Plants of the coast of Coromandel was published in 3 volumes. He was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society.

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the fauna of british

mothindia

including ... Moths

 

by Sir GF HAMPSON

Sir George Francis Hampson was an English entomologist. Hampson travelled to India to become a tea-planter in the Nilgiri Hills, where he became interested in moths and butterflies. He then commenced work on The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma: Moths (4 volumes 1892-1896).

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