Table of Content

    30 May 2024, Volume 44 Issue 3
    The circadian expression rhythms and adaptive evolution of the core circadian clock gene Per1 in bats
    WANG Hui, XU Ningning, LI Xintong, FENG Jiang
    2024, 44(3):  259-267.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150882
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    For a long time, research on circadian clock has been a hot topic in the field of life science. Previous studies have shown that the core clock gene Per1 is widely involved in the regulation of mammalian circadian rhythms. However, limited understanding of the adaptive sites evolved in the sequence of Per1 gene. And whether these adaptive alterations may promote the formation and stabilization of mammalian diurnal activity patterns remains to be investigated. In this study, we conducted in-depth molecular evolution analyses of the core clock gene Per1 through the real-time quantitative PCR, gene cloning sequencing and molecular evolution analysis. We have identified the circadian oscillation patterns of Per1 gene expressed in the brain of bats, from rest state to sleep state corresponding with the expression level of Per1 gene changed from high to low, and the sleep state showing the lowest expression level, while from wake state to active state, its expression level increased continuously, which was highly correlated with the maintenance of the central biological clock regulation function of Per1 gene. There were 15 potential and 2 significant positively selected sites were detected on the Per1 gene sequence, and one of the significant positively selected sites, 1118A amino acid site detected in nocturnal animals was found to be located on the functional domain of the gene encoded protein sequence. We also found that the evolution rate of Per1 gene in nocturnal mammals was generally higher than that in diurnal mammals, indicating that the core clock gene Per1 experienced strong selective pressures during the evolution of nocturnal mammals, further promoted the formation and stabilization of nocturnal activity patterns in mammals. This study provides a new understanding of the key molecular basis of mammalian homeostasis maintenance and adaptation to the periodically changing environmental conditions, and provides ideas and references for circadian clock related studies.
    Genetic diversity of sika deer based on microsatellite in Taohongling, Jiangxi
    ZHANG Yang, CHEN Luyao, HAN Weijie, ZHAN Jianwen, LIU Wuhua, HUANG Xiaofeng
    2024, 44(3):  268-276.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150803
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    Sika deer (Cervus nippon) is a ClassⅠkey protected wild animal in China. The Jiangxi Taohongling sika deer represents the largest population of South China sika deer (C. n. kopschi). Studying the genetic diversity of Taohongling sika deer and understanding its genetic background is crucial for enhancing the genetic diversity of sika deer in South China and promoting the population’s rapid development. This study collected a total of 108 suspected sika deer fecal samples from the Taohongling Sika Deer National Nature Reserve. Mitochondrial Cyt b gene amplification sequencing was used for species identification, while microsatellite markers and SRY/ZFX sex markers were employed for individual identification, genetic diversity analysis, and sex determination. The results showed that 96 out of the 108 samples were produced by 63 individual sika deer, resulting in a sex ratio of 1. 33 males to 1 female. The average number of alleles, observed heterozygosity, expected heterozygosity, and inbreeding coefficient of the 7 microsatellite loci were 3. 714, 0. 712, 0. 602, and -0. 087, respectively. Three loci significantly deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and all showed heterozygote excess. These findings suggest that the genetic diversity of Taohongling sika deer is moderate, with a certain degree of sexual imbalance. Furthermore, a negative inbreeding coefficient indicates that there is no current risk of inbreeding in the population. To improve the conservation and management of rare alleles, it is advisable to implement artificial breeding programs for the Taohongling sika deer. Additionally, measures such as promoting individual migration should be implemented to facilitate genetic exchange between the Taohongling sika deer and other South China sika deer populations. This will help maintain their population genetic diversity and promote rapid development.
    The index system construction of EES system based on Cov-AHP and the impact measurement of human-animal conflict
    WANG Lanxin, FANG Liang, XU Huimei, LIU Chao, CHEN Wenhui
    2024, 44(3):  277-286.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150836
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    In protecting wild animals and their habitats, human-animal conflicts occur occasionally. Exploring the influencing factors of human-animal conflicts and proposing corresponding suggestions to promote harmonious coexistence between man and nature is necessary. This study started with 22 variables of the economic, ecological, and social system (EES system) around Beijing from 2009 to 2017. It established an EES index evaluation system based on the Covariance-Analytic Hierarchy Process (Cov-AHP). In order to explore the influencing factors of human-animal conflict in the EES system, a multiple linear regression model is established and AIC criteria are used to screen and analyze the variables that significantly impact human-animal conflict. The results showed that the primary forms of human-animal conflict in the surrounding areas of Beijing were the destruction of farmland and orchards. The losses were the least in Pinggu District, the largest in Mentougou District and Yanqing District, and the peak of the conflict was from August to September every year. In the economic system, the increase in the growth rate of the secondary industry, the proportion of the secondary industry, the general budget revenue of the government, and the total grain production will aggravate the loss of human-animal conflict. In the ecosystem, the larger the area of reforestation and the closer the distance from the water system, the more likely it is to cause human-animal conflict loss, while the closer the distance from forest land, the less likely it is to cause human-animal conflict loss. In the social system, the Engel coefficient and total public library will increase the loss of human-animal conflict, while the proportion of protective measures is the opposite. Therefore, we should optimize the local industrial structure and strengthen the construction of ecological civilization while developing the economy. Improving the cultural literacy of residents: when carrying out the project of returning farmland to forest, the local ecology should be reasonably restored, and the overcorrection should not be overdone. Besides harmonious coexistence with wild animals, protection measures should be established and the negative impact of wild animals should be minimized. This study explores the main influencing factors of human-animal conflict in the EES complex system, providing a theoretical basis and data support for reducing the loss of human-animal conflict and promoting harmonious symbiosis between man and nature.
    Vulnerability assessment of suitable habitats for Equus hemionus in the Kalamaili National Park under climate change
    GAO Shuaishuai, HU Yang, SHAO Changliang, JIANG Liwei, ZHANG Yuguang, SU Zhizhu, WU Bo, LI Jia
    2024, 44(3):  287-296.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150846
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    Assessing Mongolian wild ass (Equus hemionus) vulnerability to climate change is a prerequisite for developing effective strategies to reduce emerging climate-related threats in the Kalamaili National Park. In this paper, a total of 207 Mongolian wild ass occurrence records and nine variables as model parameters were conducted on the BIOMOD2 platform to assess the vulnerability of suitable Mongolian wild ass habitat under current and future 2050s (2041-2071), 2080s (2071-2100) climatic scenario. The result revealed that out of the 10 BIOMOD2 platform models, the random forest (RF) simulation performed the best and the surface distribution differentiation chamber (SRE) model performed the worst. The true skill statistic (TSS) and the area under the subject working characteristic curve (AUC) of the combined model were 0. 939 and 0. 996, respectively, indicating that its simulation results for the current distribution of Mongolian wild ass were reliable. Annual mean temperature and mean temperature of coldest quarter are the dominant factors affecting the distribution of Mongolian wild ass. Suitable habitats for Mongolian wild ass were mainly distributed in the northern, central, and eastern parts of the Kalamaili National Park on both sides of National Highway 216. Under the background of future climate change, the suitable habitat area of Mongolian wild ass will be further reduced by 2080s (SSP370), suitable habitat will be mainly located in the eastern part of the national park and decreased by 68. 8% compared with the current period. In this study, we use simulation results from the combination model provided by the BIOMOD2 platform to analyze the dynamic changes in suitable habitats for Mongolian wild ass under different climatic conditions, to provide a benchmark for biodiversity conservation under climate change, and to assess further the effectiveness of climate change conservation in the Kalamaili National Park and propose an adaptive conservation plan.
    Comparative study on the spatial and temporal niche of the same domain distribution of Arctonyx collaris and Paguma larvata in Suichang, Zhejiang Province
    ZHAO Jiale, GONG Xiaofei, PAN Jiangyan, LI Yue, WEN Zuohao, YE Yi, GAO Jianming, ZHAO Ayong, LIN Zhihua
    2024, 44(3):  297-308.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150840
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    The hog badger (Arctonyx collaris) and the masked palm civet (Paguma larvata) are dominant species among small carnivores in the mountainous areas of Suichang, Zhejiang, with similar feeding habits and environmental niches. In order to explore the mechanism by which hog badger and masked palm civet coexist in the same region, we conducted infrared camera monitoring in five sample areas (Baima Mountain, Qianfo Mountain, Jiulong Mountain, Niutou Mountain, and Hushan) of Suichang County, Zhejiang Province from June 2020 to June 2022. 71 camera deployment sites were selected and a total of 123 infrared cameras were used, resulting in a total of 19 654 effective working days and 2 184 independent effective events. We build species distribution models and daily activity rhythm models to analyze the spatiotemporal niches of hog badger and masked palm civet in the region. The results showed that both species were dominant among the local intermediate predators, but the relative abundance index (RAI) of hog badgers (9. 26) was higher than that of masked palm civets (3. 96). Both species exhibited high similarity in habitat selection, with an overlap coefficient of 0. 783 and an index of 0. 960 in spatial niche. There was a significant difference in diurnal activity between the two species (P < 0. 01), with hog badgers being active both during the day and night, while masked palm civets were mainly active at night. There was a significant overlap in spatial niche between hog badgers and masked palm civets, but a considerable differentiation in temporal niche, indicating a tendency for coexistence through reactive strategies between the two species. This study provides preliminary insights into the spatio-temporal niche characteristics and coexistence mechanisms of hog badgers and masked palm civets and serves as an example and theoretical reference for understanding interspecific relationships and biodiversity conservation of coexisting intermediate predators in the same region.
    Seasonal variation patterns of daily activity rhythm of small Indian civets (Viverricula indica) and their potential rodent prey in Guizhou Chishui Alsophila National Nature Reserve, China
    BAI Xiaojie, XIAO Wenhong, ZHANG Tingyue, LIU Bangyou, XIAO Zhishu, LIU Wei
    2024, 44(3):  309-320.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150806
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    The daily activity rhythm of animals is an adaptive response with endogenous characteristics to environmental constraints (e. g. photoperiod, climate), food availability, and predation risk. Elucidating the driving factors of daily activity rhythms is crucial in understanding wildlife fitness and guiding conservation. Currently, more and more researchers are paying attention to the use of infrared camera technology to explore the daily activity rhythms of wild animals. This study was based on the monitoring data from 60 infrared-triggered cameras in three sample plots (two in the reserve and one outside the reserve) using continuous 1 km×1 km grids throughout the year in Guizhou Chishui Alsophila Reserve and its surrounding areas from December 2016 to July 2022. We selected the data of small Indian civets (Viverricula indica) and their potential rodent prey monitored in the corresponding sites of civets. We compared the daily activity rhythm characteristics of small Indian civets and their potential rodent prey by employing a kernel density estimation and using overlap coefficient to quantify the temporal overlap between the inside and outside of the reserve across wet and dry seasons. Our results showed that small Indian civets had two distinct peaks of activity: one in the early morning from 03: 00 – 06: 00 and the other in the evening from 19: 00 – 24: 00. When comparing the two seasons, we found small Indian civets had an earlier morning activity peak in the wet season (03: 00 – 05: 00) than that in the dry season (04: 00 – 06: 00), with higher and more concentrated morning activity intensity in the wet season; but with an extended activity after dusk in the wet season. The overlap analysis between the activity of small Indian civets and their potential rodent prey revealed a higher overlap coefficient (over 90%) with nocturnal rodents. There were higher overlap coefficients in the dry season (∆ = 0. 93) than in the rainy season (∆ = 0. 90), but not with Pallas squirrels (Callosciurus erythraeus) (wet season, ∆ = 0. 18; dry season, ∆ = 0. 16). The peak of the early morning activity of the small Indian civet ended about one hour later in the reserve sites than outside the reserve. Additionally, some daytime activity mainly occurred in the areas inside the reserve. Therefore, our results suggest that the daily activity rhythm of the small Indian civet is both conservative and seasonally plastic. These were affected by the seasonal distribution of prey and environmental changes but also affected by human activity. Our study contributes to a better understanding of small Indian civets’ life history characteristics and their effective conservation.
    Suitable habitat and daily activity patterns of Ursus arctos pruinosus in Dulan County, Qinghai Province
    CHEN Xinyang, LI Yaoyu, XIE Peigen, SONG Xiao, XU Aichun
    2024, 44(3):  321-332.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150810
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    Ursus arctos pruinosus is a unique subspecies of brown bear found in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which serves as an umbrella and flagship species for biodiversity conservation. To manage and protect this species, it is very important to understand the factors that determine its suitable habitat distribution, as well as its daily activity patterns. From July 2021 to July 2022, a monitoring program was conducted in Dulan County, Qinghai Province, using 150 infrared camera traps to survey the Ursus arctos pruinosus. The MaxEnt model was used to predict its historical and future habitat distributions by combining three topographic variables (elevation, slope, and aspect) as well as 19 bioclimatic variables using data from the base period of 1970 - 2000 and the future climate of 2040 - 2060 projected by the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) under the medium development path. Based on the data captured by the infrared cameras, the daily activity patterns of Ursus arctos pruinosus were estimated using kernel density estimation. The results showed that the MaxEnt model has a high predictive accuracy for the suitable habitat distribution of Ursus arctos pruinosus in both the historical and projected future time periods, with the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve exceeding 0. 9, indicating reliable predictions. The main environmental factors affecting the habitat distribution of Ursus arctos pruinosus were elevation, minimum temperature of coldest month, and annual temperature range. Under projected future climate conditions, there will be a slight increase in the unsuitable habitat area for Ursus arctos pruinosus and the highly suitable habitat in Gouli Township will shift eastward. We found that the daily activity of Ursus arctos pruinosus mainly occurs at night following a crepuscular pattern, with peak activity occurring around sunset. This study identified the spatial distribution of Ursus arctos pruinosus in Dulan County and the factors influencing it, and then predicted future trends in this distribution. Given the unique daily activity patterns of Ursus arctos pruinosus compared to other brown bear subspecies, we believe that the region may face more severe human-bear conflict in the future and should be given more attention in conservation work.
    Survey on the population and reproduction of free-ranging cats at the Xianlin Campus of Nanjing University
    SUN Taozhu, WU Qiong, ZHANG Zhenwei, LI Zhongqiu
    2024, 44(3):  333-343.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150821
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    The free-ranging cat is a significant threat to global biodiversity, yet there is a dearth of research on the fundamental biology of these non-domesticated felines within China. Between 2018 and 2022, we undertook a comprehensive study focusing on the population dynamics and reproductive biology of free-ranging cats on the Xianlin Campus of Nanjing University, which covers approximately 195 hectares. Utilizing point sampling surveys conducted over a continuous 20-day period, we generated a population accumulation curve for the cat population. Despite having pre-existing knowledge of the cats’distribution, we found that a single day of sampling yielded a discovery rate of only 51. 22%, with a confidence interval of 44. 51% to 53. 66%. This rate improved to 84. 15% (confidence interval: 81. 10% to 86. 59%) following six days of repeated sampling efforts. From 2018 to 2022, the cat population on the Xianlin Campus of Nanjing University saw a swift increase, rising from 51 individuals in 2018 to 220 by 2022. To delve into the population’s dynamics and reproductive patterns, we conducted detailed monthly surveys six times between March 2021 and March 2022. Over this period, we documented a total of 273 cats, comprising 149 adults and 124 kittens, with a near-even sex ratio. The one-year retention rate for the cats was approximately 58. 71%, with a marked difference favoring neutered cats over their unneutered counterparts in terms of survival. Regarding reproduction, while cats are capable of breeding year-round, the peak breeding season is predominantly from March to June. Among the 65 recorded litters, 84 cats survived past the six-month mark. Assuming an average litter size of 3 to 4 kittens, the survival rate of these feral cats on the campus at six months was estimated to be around 36. 92%, with a range of 32. 31% to 43. 08%. Our findings suggest that sampling efforts of low intensity may have led to an underestimation of the free-ranging cat population. Furthermore, in an environment where human care is abundant, the survival and reproductive success rates of these cats remain high, unaffected by limitations in food, shelter, or disease. This presents considerable challenges for the control and management of free-ranging cat populations.
    Relationship between aggressiveness, fecal steroid levels and musk secretion in captive Alpine musk deer (Moschus chrysogaster)
    WANG Xiaolong, WU Jiayi, ZHOU Xin, Lü Qingxin, SHEN Liquan, GENG Shuo, MENG Xiuxiang
    2024, 44(3):  344-350.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150804
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    The development and expression of animal behavior are regulated by hormones. The personality traits of animals, such as aggressiveness are closely related to their hormone levels, which affects their growth and reproduction. This study was conducted from 2 October to 15 December 2021 at Xinglongshan Musk Deer Breeding Center of Gansu Province. The methods of focal sampling and all events recording were used to record the behavior of 53 male musk deer, and the levels of fecal steroids were detected by non-invasive sampling method. The relationship between the aggressiveness of male musk deer and the levels of fecal cortisol, testosterone, musk secretion and musk ketone were analyzed. The results showed that aggressiveness of musk deer was significantly positively correlated with cortisol level (r = 0. 311, P =0. 023). The level of cortisol in aggressive individuals (60. 41 ±2. 82) ng/g was significantly higher than that in less aggressive individuals (49. 35 ±4. 32) ng/g. There was a significant positive correlation between aggressiveness of musk deer and testosterone level (r = 0. 326, P =0. 017). The level of testosterone in aggressive individuals (101. 27 ±4. 94) ng/g was significantly higher than that in less aggressive individuals (84. 48 ±4. 10) ng/g. There was a significant negative correlation between aggressiveness of musk deer and musk secretion (r = -0. 282, P =0. 041). The musk secretion of less aggressive individuals (10. 62 ±0. 58) g was significantly higher than that of aggressive individuals (8. 28 ±0. 91) g. There was a significant negative correlation between aggressiveness of musk deer and muscone content (r = -0. 285, P =0. 039). The content of muscone in less aggressive individuals (1. 98 ±0. 18) % was significantly higher than that in aggressive individuals (1. 31 ±0. 23) %. Based on the results of this study, in the practice of musk deer domestication, it is necessary to avoid the strong aggressive individuals in the same group, and to optimize the community structure of captive musk deer based on the rapid assessment of aggression and the real-time monitoring of fecal hormones, so as to reduce the community stress of musk deer and improve the musk secretion of individuals. The results of this study can provide an important reference for ex-situ conservation of endangered musk deer and improving the production of medicinal musk.
    Characteristics of sex hormone level and sex organ histology in estrus cycle of plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae)
    WANG Yujun, ZHANG Xiaoqian, FANG Yougui, YANG Qien, JIA Gongxue
    2024, 44(3):  351-359.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150872
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    In order to study the phenotypic change of estrus in female plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae) and its relationship with sex hormone level and reproductive organ development, plateau pikas in breeding period and non-breeding period were selected for our experiment. The periodic vaginal changes were detected by vulvar morphological observation and vaginal smear, and the result showed that the estrus cycle of breeding pika was between 7 and 11 days and the oestrus stage lasted 3 to 4 days, while the vaginal state of non-breeding pika was close to proestrus stage. The serum and urine samples of pikas from oestrus, dioestrus and non-breeding periods were collected, and the concentrations of estradiol and progesterone were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The serum estradiol content of oestrus pika was significantly higher than those of dioestrus and non-breeding pikas (P =0. 033 8), while the serum progesterone content of non-breeding pika was significantly higher than those of oestrus and dioestrus pikas (P =0. 019 5). The sensitivity of urine detection was weaker than serum detection, and the difference was only found in the urine estradiol between oestrus and non-breeding periods (P =0. 000 9). The ovarian weight of oestrus pika was significantly higher than those of dioestrus and non-breeding pikas (P < 0. 000 1), and the ovarian weight of dioestrus pika was also significantly higher than that of non-breeding pika (P =0. 007 2). Hematoxylin and eosin staining showed that the oestrus ovary was mainly composed of antral follicles, the dioestrus ovary contained secondary follicle, antral follicle and corpus luteum. Additionally, there were large amounts of primordial and primary follicles in the non-breeding ovary. There were three distinct layers in the uterus of plateau pika, including endometrium, myometrium and perimetrium. At the oestrus period, the endometrium was thicker and the glands and blood vessels were abundant; at the dioestrus period, the numbers of glands and blood vessels were dramatically reduced; at the non-breeding period, the uterus was obviously degraded with the thinner endometrium and the glands and blood vessels were almost completely disappeared. We confirmed the validity of the vaginal smear method in determining the estrus cycle of plateau pika and described the characteristics of sex hormone level and sex organ histology in pikas from different estrus periods. This study can provide an important reference for clarifying the regulation mechanism of seasonal reproduction in female plateau pika.
    Effects of different grazing intensity on population density, body weight, blood glucose and blood lipid of Spermophilus dauricus
    LIU Zhenshan, ZHAO Geng, PAN Jiaying, PENG Xia, YANG Ming
    2024, 44(3):  360-369.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150828
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    Overgrazing has led to grassland degradation, creating a suitable living environment for some rodents, and exacerbating grassland degradation and rodent infestation. Daurian ground squirrel (Spermophilus dauricus) is a grounddwelling Sciuridae and is a typical seasonal hibernator mainly distributed in the grassland and the agricultural-pastoral zone in northern China. To analyze the effects of grazing and vegetation cover on the population density, body weight, blood glucose and blood balance of Daruian ground squirrels, we selected field plots with different distances between villages (near village and far from village) at Heishitou town, Erguna, Hulunbuir Grassland. The field plots near village showed high grazing intensity, while the field plots far from village showed low grazing intensity. Our results showed that the burrow density and capture rate of the ground squirrels in high grazing intensity plots were significantly higher than those in low grazing intensity plots. The body weight and blood triglyceride concentration of the ground squirrels in the high grazing intensity plots were significantly higher than those in the low grazing intensity plot, while the serum glucose of ground squirrels in the low grazing intensity plots was significantly higher than that in the high grazing intensity plots. The total dry matter of vegetation in high grazing intensity plots was significantly higher than that in low grazing intensity plots, and the total dry matter and quantity of Leymus chinensis in high grazing intensity plots were significantly higher than those in low grazing intensity plots, and there were also differences on vegetation types. The above results indicate that grazing may change the type and quantity of vegetation in the grassland ecosystem through livestock trampling, feeding, and excrement, which provides more abundant and high-quality food resources for Daurian ground squirrels, promotes the accumulation of fat, and is conducive to the survival and reproduction of this species. These results are helpful in understanding the environmental adaptation of Daurian ground squirrels and provide a theoretical basis for the establishment of an environmentally friendly integrated management system for rodent pests, which has significance for the protection of biodiversity and the maintenance of ecological balance.
    New record of Mogera insularis in the mainland of China
    YAO Hongfeng, HU Jiangxiao, HAN Jixue, TANG Ruohui, ZHOU Jiajun, HE Kai, ZHANG Yucai, CHU Jun, ZHAO Kai, CHEN Zhongzheng
    2024, 44(3):  370-376.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150873
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    Mogera insularis (Mammalia: Eulipotyphla: Talpidae) was previously considered to be limited to Taiwan and Hainan, China. In this study, we collected three mole specimens in Anhui Province. We integrated molecular and morphometric approaches to assess the identity of these specimens. Our results indicate that one specimen from Huangshan is M. latouchei while the other two from Xuancheng and Dabie Mountains, Anqing are M. insularis. The maximum likelihood (ML) tree based on the complete Cytochrome b (Cyt b) gene showed that the M. insularis specimens from Anhui and Taiwan form a monophyletic clade with strong support (support value = 98. 1%), and the genetic distance between them was 1. 87%. Additionally, phylogenetic analysis showed that the M. insularis from Taiwan and Hainan are non-monophyletic, suggesting M. i. hainana might be a distinct species. This study provides the first record of M. insularis in the mainland of China, which greatly expanded the distribution of this species.
    Analysis of age factors affecting the branching velvet and weight of antlers in Père David’s deer (Elaphurus davidianus)
    MENG Qinghui, XIA Zhiqiang, SHAN Yunfang, LI Junfang, HU Huagang, XIAO Xuan, BAI Jiade, ZHONG Zhenyu, MENG Xiuxiang, BAI Chao, ZHANG Chenglin
    2024, 44(3):  377-384.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150789
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    Père David’s deer (Elaphurus davidianus) is originally deer species native distributed in the plains and wetlands of China. Characterized by cylindrical antlers with a main branch in front and auxiliary branches behind, they shed their antlers after the winter solstice. In Père David’s deer, the relationship between external parameters and the weight of the antlers varies significantly for Père David’s deer. In this study, we conducted a comprehensive analysis by tracking and recording the dates of antler branching, the number of branches, and the weight of antlers from 2019 to 2023. Additionally, we utilized an infrared rangefinder to measure the length, diameter, and total length of antler branches across different age groups. In 2022, we further measured the parameters of shed antlers’cross-sections using a caliper and employed qRT-PCR to determine changes in the content of related molecules in the velvet tissue of different age groups. Subsequently, we conducted a correlation analysis of antler branching and weight parameters with age. The results showed that with each additional year of age, the antlers exhibited an increase of one branch. Between the ages of 3 and 7, the weight of antlers demonstrated the following progression: 1 223 g, 872 g, 884 g, 899 g, and 699 g, respectively. Furthermore, for every additional centimeter of antler stem diameter, the weight of antler increases of 535 g, 531 g, 613 g, 681 g, and 721 g, respectively. The content of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) also exhibited an age-related increase (P =0. 0007, n = 18). Under consistent age conditions, the escalation in antler weight displayed the strongest correlation with the number of antler branches (r = 0. 8274, P =0. 0054), antler diameter (r = 0. 8364, P =0. 0007), and antler total length (r = 0. 7971, P =0. 0073). Moreover, the weight of the antler cross-section positively correlated with outer diameter length (r = 0. 9470, P =0. 0066), outer diameter width (r = 0. 9246, P =0. 0018), and outer diameter length-width ratio (r = 0. 9217, P =0. 0027). The rise in velvet weight exhibited positive correlations with the daily growth length, dry total length, and main stem circumference of velvet. However, from 20 to 60 days post-regeneration, the content of VEGF demonstrated a subsequent decrease accordingly. Nonetheless, these findings offer valuable insights into understanding the relationship between the number of antler branches and vascular endothelial regeneration factors, as well as screening molecular mechanisms associated with deer velvet production. Furthermore, they serve as a foundation for enhancing deer velvet production, breeding practices, and the scientific conservation of deer species.
    Analysis of the chemical components in the urine of the Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla)
    WU Wenbin, LI Jun, WANG Kai, AN Fuyu, XU Xuelin, LIAO Shujia, TONG Fuchun, HUA Yan
    2024, 44(3):  385-393.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150863
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    Chemical communication is extremely important for many life activities of mammals, and urine is one of the pivotal signal sources in this process. Although pangolins use scent as their primary social medium, the study in the field of chemical communication for those animals is still unavailable. As a paradigmatic nocturnal mammal, urine could play a key role in the chemical communication for the Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla). In this study, we analyzed the volatile components in the urine of Chinese pangolins (♀, n = 3; ♂, n = 3) based on Headspace-Soild Phase Microextraction (HS-SPME) and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). We found that 44 chemical compounds were detected from urine, including 17 ketones, nine aldehydes, five alkanes, four aromatic hydrocarbons, three esters, two olefins, two alcohols, one thioether, and one peroxide. 32 and 38 chemical compounds of urine were found in females and males, respectively. There was sex dimorphism in the composition and relative content of volatile components of urine according to the results of PCA analysis. In males, di-tert-butyl peroxide and octane were unique, and acetone, 2-pentanone, butyl acetate, and ethyl acetate had higher relative contents than those in females. Females had no specific components, but they had higher relative contents of hexane and methylcyclopentane than males. 11 volatile components, including 3-penten-2-one, 3-methylcyclopentanone, cyclohexanone, 2-octanone, pentanal, decanal, 3,3-dimethylhexane, ethylbenzene, 4- methyl-1-hexene, 5-ethyl-1, 3-cyclohexadiene, and 6-methyl-hept-2-en-4-ol, were unique at individual level. Here, we characterized the volatile chemical components of urine in the Chinese pangolins, and demonstrated the differences of urine odor at gender and individual levels, and exhibited potential chemical communication functions of urine.
    Discovery of blackened Muntiacus vaginalis in Nuozhadu Provincial Nature Reserve, Yunnan
    LU Wen, DAI Lujiao, LEI Yuan
    2024, 44(3):  394-394.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150947
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