Influence of fruit and invertebrate consumption on the gut microbiota of wild white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus)

Elizabeth K. Mallott*, Katherine R. Amato, Paul A. Garber, Ripan S. Malhi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Invertebrate consumption is thought to be an integral part of early hominin diets, and many modern human populations regularly consume insects and other arthropods. This study examines the response of gut microbial community structure and function to changes in diet in wild white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus), a primate that incorporates a large proportion of invertebrates in its diet. The goal of the study is to better understand the role of both fruit and invertebrate prey consumption on shaping primate gut microbiomes. Materials and methods: Fecal samples (n = 169) and dietary data were collected over 12 months. The V3-V5 region of microbial 16S rRNA genes was amplified and sequenced. The IM-TORNADO pipeline was used to analyze sequences. Results: White-faced capuchin gut bacterial communities were characterized primarily by Firmicutes (41.6%) and Proteobacteria (39.2%). There was a significant relationship between the invertebrate diet composition of individual capuchins and their gut microbiome composition. However, there was no relationship between the fruit diet composition of individual capuchins and their gut microbiome composition, even when examining multiple timescales. Discussion: The results of our study indicate that there is a stronger relationship between gut microbial community structure and invertebrate diet composition than between gut microbial community structure and fruit consumption. As invertebrates and other animal prey play an important role in the diet of many primates, these results give important insight into the role of faunivory in shaping the evolution of host-microbe interactions in primates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-588
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume165
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Keywords

  • gut microbiome
  • human evolution
  • insectivory
  • omnivory
  • white-faced capuchins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology

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