Monday, April 19, 2010

Insectivory in Geladas

Thought I'd share this interesting observation about desert locust outbreaks in the Guassa Plateau, Ethiopia.  Fashing et al. (2010) observed that geladas (Theropithecus gelada), Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis) and thick billed raven (Corvus crassirostris) feast on locusts in large quantities during an outbreak and immediately after in the Guassa Plateau. Although geladas are highly specialized herbivores, the observation suggest a surprisingly flexible diet shift during these outbreaks.

I tried to access the article but unfortunately it is paid-only. (Thank you Michelle, from Spider Monkey Tales, for a copy of the article). Judging from the abstract, it seems that this observation was done only during the locust outbreak of June 2009. It would be interesting to conduct a continuous study of this phenomenon to see if this diet shift really is a trend, like the authors suggested.

Fashing, PJ. Nguyen, N. Fashing, NJ. 2010. Behavior of geladas and other endemic wildlife during a desert locust outbreak at Guassa, Ethiopia: ecological and conservation implications. Primates Retrieved April 19, 2010, from DOI:10.1007/s10329-010-0194-6


Anonymous said...

I have a copy of this article, if you want it. The Guassa geladas live in a much more pristine habitat than the ones I study, even though I work in a national park. The Simien Mountains National Park has extensive agricultural settlements inside its perimeter. The geladas, of course, will raid crops, etc. every now and then. With respect to other non-grass items though, I still see them try to eat various insects or worms when they encounter them...and they love rose hips when they are in season.

Raymond Vagell said...

Thanks Beastape! Michelle from Spider Monkey Tales actually forwarded me a copy.

I was actually thinking about you when I read the article. I guess a more pressing matter, just like the authors suggest, is the use of insecticides on locusts and whether these wildlife (geladas included) is affected. Much like DDT to bald eagles, etc.

I wonder if there are behavioral changes when these locusts are in abundance?