Seasonal Effects on the Fecal Microbial Composition of Wild Greater Thick-Tailed Galagos (Otolemur crassicaudatus) Journal Article uri icon



  • AbstractBacterial communities present in the host digestive tract are important for the breakdown and absorption of nutrients required by the host. Changes in diet and the environment are major factors affecting the composition and diversity of the fecal microbiome. In addition to changes in ambient temperature and rainfall, primates living in seasonal temperate environments also need to adapt to seasonal changes in food resource quantity and quality. However, there is a lack of information about the fecal microbiome in African strepsirrhines relative to other primate taxa. We examined the effects of seasonal dietary and environmental changes on fecal microbial alpha diversity and composition in wild greater thick-tailed galagos (Otolemur crassicaudatus) at Lajuma Research Centre, South Africa. We collected fecal samples and assessed food availability and weather in summer and winter across 1 year and used 16S rRNA next-generation sequencing to characterise the fecal microbiome of 49 animals. We found significant increases in rainfall, ambient temperature, and food availability in summer compared with winter. However, we found no significant changes in body mass or in the overall diversity of bacterial species present in fecal samples between the two seasons. We found significant decreases in the abundance of certain bacterial families in winter, suggesting a change in diet. Our findings suggest that greater thick-tailed galagos can find food resources to maintain their body mass throughout the year. Our insights into the seasonal fecal microbiome of greater thick-tailed galagos add to the growing knowledge and understanding of fecal microbiomes in primates and how they help primates cope with changes to their environments.

publication date

  • November 28, 2023

has restriction

  • hybrid

Date in CU Experts

  • January 22, 2024 2:27 AM

Full Author List

  • Long C; Scheun J; Sauther ML; Cuozzo FP; Millette J; Tordiffe ASW

author count

  • 6

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0164-0291

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-8604