Undergradute Research

Slender loris (Loris tardigradus) Predator Behavior and Prey Selection:

 

The slender loris (Loris tardigradus) is an endangered, nocturnal prosimian primate found only in the tropical rainforest of Southern India and Sri Lanka. Although many believe that insects make up a substantial portion of the loris diet, little direct evidence exists.  An experimental system was therefore designed to test if insects are a dietary component of lorises and if so, which insect life-stage is preferentially chosen by feeding lorises. Four Lemur Center lorises (2 males and 2 females) were presented with the life stages of three insects: mealworm (Tenebrio molito), superworm (Zophobus morio), and wax worm (Galleria mellonella). The insects were placed in a ‘feeding box’ constructed out of lexan glass and lorises were allowed access to the feeding box for 10 minutes. Two Sony handheld video cameras, each focused on a separate feeding apparatus, were used to record observations. The cameras were placed on ‘nightshot’ mode and infrared information was observed on two television monitors simultaneously, one for each feeding apparatus. The order of insect removal by each slender loris was recorded as well as whether the removed insect was consumed. Results suggest that while captive male and female lorises have slightly different feeding preferences, both prefer the larval insect stage for all three insect species tested. Future work will adapt this monitoring system to collect data on feeding preferences of slender lorises in the wild.