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Animals and housing

Three adult male black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata) were tested for their taste preferences for different substances. They were housed together at Kolmården Wildlife Park and had access to both an outdoor and indoor enclosure.


A total of 9 substances were tested for taste preferences. These were: galactose, polycose, glycine, L-alanine, L-proline, sorbitol, stevioside, rebaudioside A and saccharin. Additional trials with 100 mM sucrose were occasionally performed as the lemurs liked the taste and it was thus a way to keep them motivated throughout the experiments.

Experimental set-up

A two-bottle preference test of short duration (1 minute) was used. For every trial, in all experiments, the animals were presented simultaneously with two graduated bottles with metal drinking sprouts. One of the two bottles contained tap water and the other bottle contained a solution of a taste substance of a given concentration. Two test sessions were performed each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Every session included two to three trials with taste solutions of different concentrations. The number of trials that were performed depended on the willingness of the lemurs to cooperate. This resulted in a total of four to six trials per individual and day. The order in which the concentrations were presented was pseudorandomized, both within and between sessions and days.

Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/27/15