Digestive strategy of the south-east African lesser bushbaby, Galago moholi

Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2000 Sep;127(1):39-48. doi: 10.1016/s1095-6433(00)00229-4.


Galago moholi is a small nocturnal primate, which has a specialised diet of Acacia exudate and insects. Both exudate and insect exoskeletons contain beta-linked polysaccharides that can be used as an energy source by mammals via microbial fermentation. The morphology of the gastro-intestinal tract of G. moholi suggests that the complex, elongate caecum, proximal colon and ansa coli are most likely to be the fermentation compartment. The results of a digesta marker study showed that there was selective retention of the fluid phase of the digesta, a pattern commonly seen in small caecum-fermenting mammals. There was also retention of the particle marker in the gastro-intestinal tract. Comparison to these results with those from other mammals, including other bushbaby species, suggests that this was due to retention of particulate digesta in both the stomach and the ansa coli, a U-shaped loop in the proximal colon. The digestive strategy of the south-east African lesser bushbaby is best described as caeco-ansal fermentation, as the caecum, proximal colon and ansa coli function as distinct fermentation chambers. However, we contend that, because it is soluble polysaccharides in exudates travel with the fluid phase of the digesta, reach the hindgut sooner than particles of the insect exoskeleton, and are fermented faster than particulate digesta, that lesser bushbabies, in spite of their small size (approximately 200 g) are able to include an apparently low-quality food (exudate) in their diet.

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Animals
  • Chromium / pharmacokinetics
  • Cobalt / pharmacokinetics
  • Digestion / physiology*
  • Digestive System / anatomy & histology
  • Digestive System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Edetic Acid / pharmacokinetics
  • Female
  • Galago / physiology*
  • Male


  • Chromium
  • Cobalt
  • Edetic Acid