Table of Content

    13 November 2016, Volume 36 Issue 4
    Population genetic structure and demographic history of Ochotona cansus (Lagomorpha, Ochotonidae)
    CHANG Yongbin, YANG Qisen, WEN Zhixin, XIA Lin, LV Xue, CHENG Jilong, Andrey A. Lissovsky, HOU Jianhua, GE Deyan
    2016, 36(4):  373-387.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201604001
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    In the present study, we studied the population genetic structure and demographic history of Gansu pika (O. cansus) by using multiple mitochondrial loci (COI, Cyt b, tRNA-Thr, tRNA-Pro, control region, totally 2417 base pairs). Bayesian analysis of the concatenated genes revealed two major lineages: Lineage 1 included samples from Baishuijiang and Tangjiahe; Lineage 2 contained samples from the other 12 locations. The phylogenetic structure of haplotype network built based on the same genes was almost the same as that of the Bayesian tree. Bayesian analysis of population structure (BAPS) divided O. cansus into four geographic populations. Population A contained samples from Baishuijiang and Tangjiahe; B included WL (Wolong, Sichuan) only; C included North Qinghai population(GC,MY,QL),South Qinghai-North Sichuan population(JW,JZ,RE,ZK),KD (Kangding, Sichuan), TB (Taibai Mountain, Shaanxi); and D included LF (Loufan, Shanxi) and WQ (Wuqi, Shaanxi). Species tree constructed on mtDNA showed that the major divergence time for the four geographic populations were: 0.72 Ma, 0.32Ma, 0.12Ma, which generally coincided with the Kunhuang Movement (1.10-0.60Ma) and Gonghe Movement (0.15Ma), the two dramatic geological events during the uplift of Qinghai-Plateau. Moreover, we estimated the demographic history of O. cansus by using three methods: neutrality tests, mismatch distributions and extended Bayesian skyline plots. The results indicated that O. cansus might have not experienced population expansion, but it was significantly decreased since the Last Glacial Maximum. The Ecological Niche Modeling indicated that the potential distribution of O. cansus in the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is smaller than Current and LIG, and the precipitation played a more important role than did temperature in the population dynamics of Gansu pika. This is possibly because precipitation strongly influences the food resources and habitats of Gansu Pika by affecting the vegetation succession.
    Condensed tannins contents of foods of Rhinopithecus bieti in Mt. Lasha, Yunnan, China
    GUO Aiwei, DANG Xinyan, CHEN Fenfen, ZHANG Yingjun, CUI Liangwei, XIAO Wen
    2016, 36(4):  388-396.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201604002
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    Food selection by folivorous primates is thought to relate to nutrients and plant secondary metabolites. In order to study the condensed tannin of the food plants and its potential influence on food selection of Rhinopithecus bieti, we collected samples of foraging foods (FF) species (n=192) and non-foraging foods (NFF) species (n=188) of Rhinopithecus bieti at Mt. Lasha, Yunnan between April 2010 to March 2012. We measured the condensed tannins (CT) from these samples using the Folin–Denis method. The results showed that the CT contents in monkey’s food were lower than in NFF. The CT content of FF in spring was higher than other seasons. The CT content of FF did not vary significantly in summer, autumn and winter. Among all the FF items, the condensed tannins levels of monkey’s foods were ranked as: buds > flowers > leaves > fruits > lichens. The CT contents in lichen were the lowest all the FF. The CT varied among the different plant parts within a species in different seasons. Buds had the largest average CT in spring. Fruits had the largest average CT in summer and autumn. The CT of leaves was higher than lichen in winter. Monthly average CT of all food species did vary across months. It had the largest average CT (8.36% ± 6.22%) in March and the lowest average CT (1.28% ± 1.19%) in February. Therefore, according to the food species and the supply of temporal-spatial characteristics, the Rhinopithecus bieti may adaopt from high protein fiber ratios/high tannin to low protein fiber ratios/low tannin continuous spectrum foraging strategies.
    Effect of ambient noise on the activity and echolocation calls of bats
    SUN Congnan, GUO Xiong, HUANG Xiaobin, JIANG Tinglei, FENG Jiang
    2016, 36(4):  397-403.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201604003
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    Ambient noise affecting the activity and vocalization of animals has been an important environmental selection pressure. Many vertebrates use a number of strategies to avoid ambient noise, including avoiding noisy areas, prolonging call duration and increasing call frequency. However, some animals do not make any response to ambient noise. Here, we conducted a natural experiment to investigate the potential effects of ambient noise on the activity levels and echolocation calls in bats. We recorded the echolocation pulses and activity from bats while flying in twelve areas with different ambient noise levels whose equivalent continuous A-weighted sound pressure levels were 47.5 dB47.7 dB54.4 dB54.9 dB55.1 dB55.1 dB58.0 dB60.6 dB60.8 dB62.5 dB62.8 dB67.3 dB respectively. A total of 1,017 pulses and 4,124 bat passes were analyzed at the twelve areas during all experimental trials over 12 successful nights. The results from linear regression models showed that changes in the number of bat passes and call parameters including pulse duration, starting frequency, peak frequency, ending frequency and bandwidth did not differ significantly among twelve areas (P > 0.05). The results may indicate that low frequency and low level (< 20 kHz, < 67.3 dB) ambient noise may have no significant effect on the echolocation calls and activity of bats producing high frequency calls.

    Effects of different-context peer reinforcing and oxytocin treatment on cocaine CPP in female mandarin voles
    WANG Jianli,MA Yongping,TAI Fadao, YU Peng
    2016, 36(4):  404-412.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201604004
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    Peer interaction is a substantial natural reward and influences the susceptibility to engage in drug use. Oxytocin (OT) regulates social behavior, thereby enhancing the reward value of social interaction. However, it remains unclear whether different-context peer interaction combined with OT exert different contributions to the rewarding effects of cocaine. Using female mandarin voles (Microtus mandarinus), a monogamous rodent with complex nonsexual social behavior, we first examined the conditioned place preference (CPP) and its persistence when subject voles were conditioned with cocaine (20 mg/kg) alone or conditioned with cocaine versus different peers (e.g. familiar female, unfamiliar female and unfamiliar male). Second, the CPP was examined when subjects received peripheral OT (1mg/kg) treatment and different context peer conditioning. We found that female voles maintained long-lasting cocaine preferences for over three weeks when conditioned with cocaine alone. The persistence time of cocaine CPP was shortened when simultaneously conditioned to a familiar female peer, while it was inhibited when simultaneously conditioned to an unfamiliar female or a male peer. The subject voles that received OT inhibited or reversed cocaine CPP when conditioned with familiar or unfamiliar males, respectively. These results indicate that different-context peer reinforcing differentially affects rewarding effects of cocaine. OT facilitates reward value of peer reinforcing, thereby contributing to attenuating cocaine preference and this effect varies with peer context.
    Fecal hormones imply different reproduction strategies of male Brandt's voles born in different seasons
    HAO Weili, WANG Dawei, REN Fei, HU Xiangfa, TIAN Lin, LI Ning, LIU Xiaohui
    2016, 36(4):  413-421.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201604005
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    Brandt's vole (Lasiopodomys brandtii), a seasonal breeder, is one of major rodent pests in Inner Mongolia grasslands. In previous literature, voles born in different seasons may have different reproductive strategies, but there is still a lack of endocrine evidence. In present study, using a mark-recapture method, we successively measured the testicular descent ratios and chronic variations of fecal testosterone and cortisol levels of male voles born in different seasons, and then analyzed their seasonal changes in reproductive activity in natural enclosure. Our results showed that higher testicular descent ratio and higher testosterone levels of overwintered voles could be maintained until early August; in newborn male voles, only some of the males born in May had a similar testosterone level in the breeding season, while those that were born after June did not develop their gonads in their birth year. Those results indicate that overwintered males could breed throughout the whole breeding season; some of the early born males possibly took part in breeding, while those born after June could not breed until the next breeding season. Moreover, higher cortisol levels were found in overwintered male voles, especially in breeding season, which suggested that overwintered males have higher reproductive effort which caused a high stress level and mortality in breeding season. These results suggest that male voles born in different seasons have different patterns of gonadal development and reproductive strategies, which are related to their life-span expectation and imply the balance between existence and reproduction.
    Molecular evolution of olfactory receptor genes in bats revealed by a genome-wide analysis
    2016, 36(4):  422-428.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201604006
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    Chiroptera, commonly known as bats, show a huge diversity in diets which may have shaped the sizes of olfactory bulbs in bats with distinct diets. To study whether olfaction impacts the dietary diversification in bats, we identified all olfactory receptor (i.e. OR) genes with a homology-based approach from the published genome data of ten species of bats, and assigned each gene into an OR gene subfamily. Our results showed that bats also possess 13 monophyletic subfamilies of OR genes, as reported in other mammals. Furthermore, within the suborder Yinpterochiroptera, we identified three subfamilies (OR1/3/7, OR2/13, OR5/8/9) with significant expansions in fruit-eating bats compared to insect-eating species, which suggested that the three gene subfamilies are associated with the recognition of ripe fruit smell. Together, this work recovered the evolutionary history of OR genes in bats using a genome-wide analysis, and identified some OR genes that may be specialized for the recognition of ripe fruit smell in fruit-eating bats. These results highlight the importance of olfaction in dietary selection for animals.
    Differential expression of somatostatin in the Harderian glands of different gender/age Cricetulus barabensis
    XU Jinhui, GENG Xiaocui, CHEN Lei, XUE Huiliang, XU Laixiang
    2016, 36(4):  429-437.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201604007
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    Harderian glands (HG) may act as a "standby" structure of the retinal-pineal axis, mediating light signals in vitro and neuroendocrine regulation in vivo. The functions of the gland are variable, and are usually regulated by neural-humoral factors. Somatostatin (SS) is one of the main inhibitors which mediate the growth and the development of vertebrates. In this study, the morphological parameters of HG in striped hamsters (Cricetulus barabensis) were examined. The SS cDNA sequence in HG was cloned and the differential expression levels of SS in HG for sexes and ages were detected by RT- PCR, so as to verify the functions of SS and its effects on the development of HG. The results showed that:(1) Striped hamsters’ body weight increases with age, regardless of gender. The weight and length of HG also increases with age. After the body weight was adjusted for, there were no age differences found for the weight and length of HG, while differences in HG weight were found between genders (P<0.05). (2) A cDNA sequence of SS with 489 bp in size was cloned. SS cDNA in HG of striped hamsters has the typical characteristics of secretory protein cDNAs, and is highly conserved in evolution. (3) SS was expressed in HG and significant differences in relative expression levels existed between sexes and among ages (P<0.05). (4) The relative expression levels of SS in HG declined gradually with tage, and significant negative correlations were detected between the relative expression levels of SS in HG and the morphological parameters of the HG. The above results suggest that sexual dimorphism occurrs in terms of the weight of HG and the SS expression of HG in striped hamsters. SS is an inhibitor, which is closely related to the development and growth of HG.
    Effects of a conspecific individual, a mirror image or video on foraging behavior of ICR mice (Mus musculus)
    CHU Wei, ZHANG Wei, ZHANG Hongmao
    2016, 36(4):  438-444.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201604008
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    It is unknown how animals regulate their foraging behavior in presence of mirror image and video of conspecific individuals. Here, foraging behaviors and time-budgets of ICR mice (Mus musculus) were tested in presence of a conspecific individual, a mirror image, conspecific video or non-competitors (control) within indoor enclosures. ICR mice tended to move foods to the area with low competitive risks for hoarding in presence of conspecific individuals, whereas they spent more time touching and staying with a conspecific individual than with the mirror image or conspecific video. These results suggest that ICR mice adopt different strategies of foraging and time-budgets under different conditions.
    Establishment of fluorescent quantitative RT-PCR assay for detection of the giant panda rotavirus
    CHEN Zhenrong, LIAO Hong, HAO Zhongxiang, MA Lei, GONG Yongping, WANG Chengdong, CHEN Xin, HAN Guoquan, LAN Jingchao, YAN Qigui
    2016, 36(4):  445-451.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201604009
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    This study aimed to develop an effective diagnosis for the giant panda rotavirus (GPRV) infection and early recessive infection of giant pandas, and to provide technical support for the quantitative analysis of the virus. Our study was based on the published sequence of the giant panda rotavirus strain vp4 gene in GenBank. A pair of specific primers was designed, and a fast accurate fluorescence quantitative RT-PCR detection method of giant panda rotavirus was established. Primer concentration, annealing temperature and the numbers of cycles then were optimized. In addition, standard curves were constructed and the Fluorescent Quantitative RT-PCR method and the routine RT-PCR were compared. The results show that the newly-developed Fluorescent Quantitative RT-PCR could detect 1.0×100copies/μL of plasmid DNA and its sensitivity was 100 times higher than that of the routine RT-PCR. The specificity and reproducibility test showed that the new method had the advantages of specificity and reproducibility. These results show that the method can be a stable and reliable detection method for GPRV, and could be used for the studies on characteristics of GPRV and for the diagnosingGPRV infection.
    The largest gray wolf (Canis lupus) home ranges in the world may exist in the Mount Kalamaili Ungulate Nature Reserve, Xinjiang, China
    DUAN Xiaonan, CHU Wenwen, WANG Yuan, DU Congcong, HE Lei, CHU Hongjun
    2016, 36(4):  452-458.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201604010
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    Understanding wildlife movement and space use is essential for designing effective conservation management strategies. Many top predators, such as wolves (Canis lupus), are elusive and difficult to study. We captured and placed GPS collars on free-ranging male and female grey wolves Canis lupus in the Mount Kalamaili Ungulate Nature Reserve in January and November 2014. We recorded 513 active locations for the adult male and 870 locations for the adult female. Minimum Convex Polygon (MCP) estimated home range sizes of 1947km2 and 3728km2 for the male and female wolf, respectively. On a global scale these preliminary results suggest that wolves persisting in Mount Kalamaili Ungulate Nature Reserve may have the largest home range sizes of any wolf population in the world. Locally, it may demonstrate the need for large-scale management of this key protected landscape as both male and female wolves require vast areas to survive. Further research is urgently required to expand the sample size of collared wolves to increase confidence in home range estimates and to examine any ecological or human-induced effects on habitat selection for this important population of wolves.
    First confirmation of the distribution of flat-skulled shrew (Sorex roboratus) in China
    LIU Zhu, YANG Xi, XIE Ruixue, LIU Huan, JIN Zhimin, ZHANG Xinpeng
    2016, 36(4):  459-463.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201604011
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    In 2014 and 2015, two shrew specimens were trapped using pitfall traps in the Hengdaohezi region of the Changbai Mountains and the Huzhong region of the Great Khingan Mountains in Heilongjiang Province, China. Their morphological and skull indices were measured and compared to known specimens of Sorex roboratus. Body lengths were 66.52mm (H2) and 58.46mm (D36). Tail lengths were 40.33mm (H2) and 31.46mm (D36). Greatest lengths of skulls were 21.68 mm (H2) and 19.85 mm (D36). Basal lengths were 17.44 mm (H2) and15.64 mm (D36). The size of first maxillary and second maxillary were similar, and the second maxillary was larger than the third maxillary.  Based on morphological characteristics, the two new specimens were assigned to the species flat-skulled shrew, Sorex roboratus. To further confirm the species assignment, we sequenced their mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and constructed a phylogenetic tree by using the sequences of the specimens with cyt b sequences of Sorex species in GenBank. It was shown that our specimen lay in a monophyletic clade together with S. roboratus. The genetic distances between S. roboratus specimens recorded in GenBank and our specimen were between 0.003 and 0.009. The morphological and molecular genetic evidence above supported the assignment of the two specimens to the flat-skulled shrew, S. roboratus, suggesting a new record of the species in China.
    Effects of ethanol on sucrose solution consumption in captive nectarivorous bats Eonycteris spelaea
    PENG Xingwen,LIU Qi,HE Xiangyang,ZHANG Qin,LIU Hui,Liang Jie,SUN Yunxiao,LIU Zhixiao,ZHANG Libiao
    2016, 36(4):  464-468.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201604012
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    Nectarivorous bats,(Eonycteris spelaea) generally choose to eat nectar or ripe fruit in which ethanol concentration increases as the fruit and nectar ripen. Ethanol concentration may act as an odor cue, guiding frugivorous bats to the fruit or flower, and aiding them in assessing its quality. We wondered whether ethanol could act as an appetitive stimulant and influenced the quantity of food consumption by captive bats. We offered food (sucrose solution) containing 7 concentrations levels of ethanol (0.005%, 0.01%, 0.05%, 0.1%, 0.3%, 0.5% or 1%),to captive bats  to test whether the bats’ responses were positive or negative, i.e., they ate more or less when ethanol in the food increased comparing to control (ethanol free). The results showed that E. spelaea did not change consumption of food containing 0.005% ethanol, but significantly decreased consumption at higher levels of ethanol concentration (≥0.01%), When ethanol concentration in food was at 1%, food consumption was only 34% compared to that of ethanol free. Our results indicatethat ethanol in food has a negative influence on food intake when its concentration reached 0.01%, but the reasons for this remained to be further tested.
    Ecological Restoration and Conservation Research of Typical Fragile Ecosystems in China: endangerment mechanisms and conservation technologies of endangered animals
    WEI Fuwen,DU Weiguo,ZHAN Xiangjiang,LI Baoguo,YANG Guang,FANG Shengguo,ZHANG Zhengwang,LI Ming
    2016, 36(4):  469-475.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201604013
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    A bibliometrical analysis of status on animal behavior in China
    CUI Shaopeng, LI Weiqi, YI Lina, LI Chunwang, ZHU Lan, JIANG Zhigang
    2016, 36(4):  476-484.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201604014
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    We adopted a bibliometrical approach to evaluate the status of animal behavior research in China. We used the terms “animal behavior” and “ethology” as keywords to search and collect Chinese and English literature in animal behavior studies by Chinese researchers in the Science Citation Index and the China Academic Journal Network Publishing database. We performed quantitative analyses on the distributions of the years of publication, the author and authors’ affiliations, the journals, the research funds, times cited, study animals, the countries of the collaborators, research area, and fund types. The results indicated that animal behavior studies started late in China and that the growth of publications fluctuated in the past three decades. There has been a trend toward English-language and away from Chinese-language in recent years. The average number of citations per paper was 2.81. The distribution of organizations and researchers engaged in the field of animal behavior were scattered, but there were core research groups formed in China. Both Chinese and English publications were concentrated in several journals and a professional journal aimed at animal behavior was needed in China. Research funds had a wide array of sources with the National Natural Science Foundation of China as the main funding source. The percentage of publications which contained international collaborators in English was much more than that in Chinese. The main collaborating country was USA. Mammals were the most important focal animal, followed by birds in Chinese publications but insects in English publications. Reproductive behavior was a major field of study, and more research on activity rhythms, time budgets, observation recordings, and behavior echograms were reported in Chinese than in English. In general, the development of animal behavior publications in China followed a logistic growth pattern. Though the overall level of the research is still lower, we expect that animal behavior study has stepped into a new stage of development.