Both diet and host phylogeny shape the gut microbial community, and separating out the effects of these variables can be challenging. In this study, high-throughput sequencing was used to evaluate the impact of diet and phylogeny on the gut microbiota of nine colobine monkey species (N = 64 individuals). Colobines are leaf-eating monkeys that fare poorly in captivity—often exhibiting gastrointestinal (GI) problems. This study included eight Asian colobines (Rhinopithecus brelichi, Rhinopithecus roxellana, Rhinopithecus bieti, Pygathrix nemaeus, Nasalis larvatus, Trachypithecus francoisi, Trachypithecus auratus, and Trachypithecus vetulus) and one African colobine (Colobus guereza). Monkeys were housed at five different captive institutes: Panxi Wildlife Rescue Center (Guizhou, China), Beijing Zoo, Beijing Zoo Breeding Center, Singapore Zoo, and Singapore Zoo Primate Conservation Breeding Center. Captive diets varied widely between institutions, but within an institution, all colobine monkey species were fed nearly identical or identical diets. In addition, four monkey species were present at multiple captive institutes. This allowed us to parse the effects of diet and phylogeny in these captive colobines. Gut microbial communities clustered weakly by host species and strongly by diet, and overall, colobine phylogenetic relationships were not reflected in gut microbiota analyses. Core microbiota analyses also identified several key taxa—including microbes within the Ruminococcaceae and Lachnospiraceae families—that were shared by over 90% of the monkeys in this study. Microbial species within these families include many butyrate producers that are important for GI health. These results highlight the importance of diet in captive colobines.
- Gut microbiota
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Soil Science