Table of Content

    13 August 2015, Volume 35 Issue 3
    Genetic diversity and relatedness of the golden snub-nosed monkey provisioned group in Shennongjia National Natural Reserve
    ZHOU Yunyun, YANG Wanji, ZHANG Yuguang, LU Hui, LIU Xiao, LI Jia, ZHOU Jie, YANG Jingyuan, LI Diqiang, FENG Jinchao
    2015, 35(3):  229-240. 
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    To evaluate the genetic status of the golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) provisioned Group in Shennongjia National Natural Reserve, and to provide useful reference information for genetic management of the group, a group of 12 microsatellite markers (Table 2) were used in this study to analyze the genetic diversity and relatedness of the group. In addition, the loss of genetic diversity in the future was simulated by the software BottleSim. 12 microsatellite loci showed good amplification and assayed in 51 individuals (Table 1). Results of genetic diversity assessment (Table 3) indicated that a total of 50 alleles were detected. Mean observed heterozygosity (Ho), expected heterozygosity (He), and polymorphic information content (PIC) were 0.668, 0.630 and 0.567, respectively. Compared with Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkey populations (He:0.589- 0.740; Ho:0.550-0.720) and some endangered species such as Yunnan golden monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti) (He:0.78; Ho:0.58), Guizhou golden monkey (Rhinopithecus brelichi) (He:0.78; Ho:0.58), Tonkin leaf monkey (Trachypithecus francoisi) (He:0.559; Ho:0.551), the genetic diversity of the Shennongjia provisioned golden snub-nosed monkey group was not low. 11 units with certain parents and offspring were detected (Table 4). Relatedness analysis showed that these units had not yet suffered from inbreeding (relatedness index < 0.1875). The average relatedness index of this group was 0.1108, and 21.64% of individual pairs were possible relatives (relatedness index < 0.1875), which was 2 times higher than theoretical data in the wild animal population (10%). Additionally, 2 candidate parent pairs in present OMU (One Male Unit) were found to be possible relatives (>0.1875). The results from both parent identification and relatedness suggested that this group was in high risk of inbreeding. Simulation results showed that population size and sex ratio had an impact on genetic diversity, and a loss of genetic diversity would be slowed down by increasing the population size and optimizing the sex ratio. Based on results above, it is suggested that the essential task associated with the provision group is to build an accurate family tree and to check out the genetic background of individuals, especially candidate parentsTo establish a larger and more effective breeding group, with much greater genetic diversity, the group needs to get highly related individuals out of the group and to recruit suitable individuals from other groups.
    Homosexual and masturbating behaviors in a group of captive Yangtze finless porpoises (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis)
    ZHANG Changqun, ZHENG Yang, PLATTO Sara, HAO Yujiang, WANG Ding
    2015, 35(3):  241-252. 
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    Similar to terrestrial mammals, male-female sexual behavior is significant for the survival and continuation of certain cetacean species. However, non-reproductive mating behaviors, i.e. homosexual behaviors and masturbation, are widespread in all mammals. Therefore, it would be interesting and helpful to better understand the reproduction of cetaceans by further investigating their non-reproductive behaviors. We investigated male and female non-reproductive behaviors in a captive population of Yangtze finless porpoise including three males and four females. Fourteen sexual behaviors were defined in our sexual behavioral ethogram, and the occurrence frequencies and dyads of each non-reproductive behavior were recorded. Over half of the sexual behaviors were non-reproductive behaviors (3887 times, 69.87%); homosexual behaviors occurred 3633 times (65.31%) and masturbation was recorded 254 times (4.57%). Most homosexual behaviors were performed between males (3438 times, 94.63%). The dyads AFU & TAO (1921 times, 55.88%) were the most active dyads involved in male-male sexual behaviors, and most of these behaviors (1543 times, 80.32%) were cooperative by counterpart. The male homosexual behaviors are thought to be related to the gang coalition or training. One female-female pair (F7 & F9; 117 times; 60.00%) performed the most frequent homosexual behaviors. None of the female-female sexual behaviors were rejected by the counterpart. Female homosexual behaviors, however, may have something to do with company or communication.
    The maternal care by Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis) in a semi-natural enviroment
    WU Liang,CHEN Ran,WEI Yaolin,YANG Xu,ZHENG Bangyou,LI Jinhua
    2015, 35(3):  253-259. 
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    From May to September 2014, using focal-animal sampling methods, we studied the maternal care within 4 months postpartum of two adult Yangtze finless porpoises (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis) living in the semi-natural water environment of Tongling Freshwater Dolphins National Nature Reserve. The results indicate that there were five kinds of maternal care behaviors exhibited. Sheltering and carrying were the most common behaviors, while lifting, returning and intervening occurred occurred less often. As calves grew, the frequencies of lifting, carrying and intervening declined, while sheltering increased early in the calf’s life and leveled off as it grew. The returning behavior was relatively stable, but there was a peak in returning frequency when calves were approximately two months old. In addition, the frequencies of returning and intervening differed greatly between the two mothers. We conclude that the first two months of life are crucial for calf survival, so management should be strengthened during this period.
    A preliminary study on the energy content of the main food plants of François’ langur (Trachypithecus francoisi) in Fusui, Guangxi, China
    HUANG Xiaohong, LI Youbang, LU Shiyi, ZHAO Fei, WEI Zhouquan
    2015, 35(3):  260-270. 
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    The study of of the effect of food energy content on non-human primate food choice has been an important component of nutritional ecology. We studied the relationship between food energy content and food choice of François’ langur Trachypithecus francoisi in limestone habitat. We surveyed langurs with focal animal sampling and continuous recording techniques. We analyzed food energy content by calorimeter. The results showed that immature leaves were the dominant food item (58.5%), with fruits, mature leaves, seeds, flowers, and bark comprising the rest of the diet (12.4% ,12.1%, 10.6%, 4.3%, 2.4%, respectively). Diet varied among the plant types, with arborial sources accounting for 48.5% of the diet, followed by those from shrubs 34.6%, lianas 19.4% and herbs 17.2%. The total average food energy content was 17.09 kJ/g, with monthly mean energy content ranging from 16.52 kJ/g to 17.61 kJ/g. Energy content varied among plant parts: seeds contained the largest energy content (19.52 kJ/g) whilst mature leaves had the lowest (16.84 kJ/g). Energy content varied among plant types, with shrubs having the largest energy content (17.52 kJ/g) and herbs having the lowest (15.73 kJ/g). Energy content varied significantly among food samplesand plants, as well as between the fifteen most preferred food species and the fifteen least preferred ones (P < 0.001); but such variations were not found between months, or between rainy seasons and drought seasons (P > 0.05). There was no significant relationship between species energy content and feeding time of langurs (P >0.05). This suggests food energy content was not the main factor influencing food choice of the langur. Food choice strategy of the François’ langur requires more rigorous testing.
    Development of wing morphology in the Chinese noctule(Nyctalus plancyi
    LIU Hao, SHI Hongyan, LIU Hongling, TANG Zhonghai,WANG Jing
    2015, 35(3):  271-279. 
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    Postnatal changes in wing morphology were studied in Chinese noctule(Nyctalus plancyi) from 2012 to 2014. Wing measurements increased linearly in the early postnatal growth period, and then the rate of growth decreased. The growth rate of arm-wings length decreased at the age of 25 days while the growth rate of wingspan, area of wing and arm-wing decreased at the age of 30 days. The hand-wings length and hand-wings area showed linear growth until 40 days of age. The length of arm-wings developed fastest and reached 80.9% of adult’s value at the age of 28 days. The wing loading of new born pups was (16.27±2.46) N/m2, which increased linearly to a maximum of (18.55±2.92)N/m2 at 14 days of age, and thereafter decreased to a minimum of 80.0% of adult’s wing loading at 35 days of age. The observations on flight showed that at the age of 15-30 days the young were able to flutter their wings; at the age of 30-40 days they flew for a short distance and at the age of 40-50 days they exhibited sustained flight. The results implied that the wing of N. plancyi developed fast before they exhibited clumsy flight, thereafter, the young bats slowed down the growth rate of body mass and wing loading to obtain sustained flight quickly. Of the three nonlinear growth models (Logistic, Gompertz, and von Bertalanffy), the Gompertz equation provided the best fit to the empirical curves for wingspan. The Gompertz and Von Bertalanffy equations both fitted the postnatal changes in wing area better than the Logistic equation.
    Factors influencing nest site selection by Blyth’s vole (Phaiomys leucurus)
    WANG Zhenyu, LI Ye, ZHANG Xiang, SHI Lei
    2015, 35(3):  280-287. 
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    The key factors for nest site selection of Blyth's vole (Phaiomys leucurus) were analyzed in the Altun Mountain National Nature Reserve, Ruoqiang County, Xinjiang. A total of 261 sample areas, each consisting of 5 m × 5 m quadrants, were selected between 2011 and 2013.  Of these, 40 sample areas contained a vole nesting site. The degree of canopy cover, the number of plant species, vegetation cover, vegetation height, vegetation density, soil hardness, and distance to the nearest road were determined for each area. The Vanderloeg and Scavia Election Index, and Principle Component Analyses (PCA) were used to identify the principle components in habitat selection by Blyth’s vole. The results showed that there were highly significant differences in vegetation height and density, in the numbers of the plant species, and in soil hardness (P ?0.01) when comparing the nest sites and the random sites. According to Principal Component Analysis (PCA), the main factors affecting the nest site choice by Blyth’s vole were canopy cover, vegetation height, the number of differing plant species, and soil hardness. The Vanderloeg and Scavia Election Index indicated that Blyth’s vole prefers to burrow into areas with softer soil (3-4 kg/m2), areas whose vegetative microhabitat stands at a height of less than 8 cm, and areas with a section of low-lying canopy which provides hiding cover whose height is also less than 8 cm. Blyth’s vole preferred locations with fewer plant species, with canopy cover and vegetation low in height, and with softer soil.
    The rodent community and its relationship with environmental factors in Tianjin Palecoast and Wetland Natural Reserve
    CAI He,BIAN Shaowei
    2015, 35(3):  288-296. 
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    Rodents were trapped using snap traps from 2011 to 2013 at 31 sites in six habitats in the Tianjin Palecoast and Wetland Natural Reserve (TPWNR) and ten environmental variables were recorded for each site. In total, 157 individuals were captured comprising 7 species. The total trap capture success rate was 1.69%. There were three dominant rodents: Apodemus agrarius, Rattus norvegicus, and Cricetulus triton, for which trap capture successes were 0.59%, 0.25%, and 0.23%, respectively. The trap capture success rates, species richness, Shannon and Pielou index were significantly difference among the six habitats. The highest trap capture successes were found in areas with human habitation and cropland, followed by water’s edge; the remaining habitats were low. The highest values for both species richness and Shannon index were found in human inhabited areas and cropland, and the lowest value were found in alkali area habitat. The Pielou index was high in different habitats except of the water’s edge habitat. These results indicate that there was significant variation among the rodent communities in TPWNR. Such variations were controlled by environmental factors. The result of redundancy analysis with forward selection indicated that distance to crops, herbaceous coverage, water salinity and shrub height played key roles in defining the structures of rodent communities in TPWNR.
    Genetic diversity and population structure of midday gerbils(Meriones meridianus)in Qaidam Basin based on mtDNA Cyt b
    LUO Guangjie, JING Dongdong, LIAO Jicheng
    2015, 35(3):  297-303. 
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    The genetic diversities and population structures of Meriones meridianus representing 4 populations in the Qaidam Basin were investigated by examining mitochondrial Cyt b sequences. The results showed that Lenghu-Suganhu population had the highest genetic diversity (Hd =  1.000; π = 0.00530), while the Geermu population had the lowest(Hd = 0.750; π = 0.00255). AMOVA analyses indicated that 38.32% of the total genetic variation was attributable to differences among populations and 61.68% to differences among individuals within populations. A low level of genetic differentiation was found between the Lenghu-Suganhu and other populations and a high level was detected between the Geermu and other populations. Gene flow was extensive between populations except for the Geermu population. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that, as the original population in Qaidam Basin, M. meridianus in Lenghu-Suganhu spread from west to east along the basin periphery. The results of Mantel test illustrated that it was not obviously relevant between genetic distance and geographic distance among geographic populations (r = 0.031, P = 0.938). The Last Greatest Lakes Period on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau might be the major cause for genetic differentiation among M. meridianus populations in the Qaidam Basin.
    Effects of environmental enrichment on behaviors and fecal cortisol levels in captive golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana)
    HU Xinbo, HE Xin, HUANG Shufang, ZHU Yan
    2015, 35(3):  304-311. 
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    biotic environments coupled with confinement stressors can lead to psychological and physiological changes in captive golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana), such as stereotypic behaviors and elevated fecal cortisol levels. The Hangzhou Zoo environmental enrichment project involved seven individuals. Behavioral data were collected with an instantaneous sampling method between 08:30-10:30am and 14:00 -16:00 pm every working day from August 1st to November 1st, 2013. As a result of the enrichment, idle and stereotypic behaviors decreased significantly(P=0.021; P=0.034)while exploratory behaviors increased(P=0.018). After environmental enrichment was provided, golden snub-nosed monkeys tended to climb, explore and look around more often than before enrichment(P=0.012; P=0.014; P=0.010). An enzyme-linked immunoassay fecal cortisol analysis showed significantly decreased fecal cortisol levels in all but one male(P=0.028). Altogether, behavioral and endocrine results showed that the welfare of golden snub-nosed monkeys was improved after enrichment.
    Effects of coccidian parasites (Apicomplexa:Eimeriiade)on reproduction in plateau pika
    YANG Yanbin, DU Yin, CAO Yifan, DU Shouyang, BIAN Jianghui
    2015, 35(3):  312-320. 
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    The effects that parasitism on host reproduction depends on a trade-off between the host’s current reproductive success and its residual reproductive success. Coccidian parasites are microparasites, and the effect of microparasites on current reproductive success is greater than that on residual reproductive success. We tested the hypothesis that coccidian parasites(Apicomplexa:Eimeriiade) would impact on current reproduction of plateau pikas. In field observations, 170 plateau pikas were trapped in early-, middle- and late-breeding seasons. For infection rate, there were significant differences in breeding seasons. In the mid-period of breeding, non-infective females had a higher pregnant rate than infective females, and non-pregnant females had a higher infection intensity than did pregnant females. However, no effects were found in the other two breeding periods. No significant relationships between infection intensity or infection rate and testis and epididymis index were found in males in any breeding period. There also were no significant differences in testis or epididymis indices between infective and non-infective males. In addition, the field observation experiment results show that the infection with coccidia significantly decreased embryo weights. It was consistent with the results in the field infection experiment in this study. Our results demonstrated parasite infection influence on embryo development. Our results suggest that the sex-biased effects on plateau pika reproduction may be related to hosts modifying their reproductive strategy to optimize fitness.
    Storage duration of urinary steroid hormones of golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana)
    CHENG Haochun, FAN Penglai, YAO Hui, WANG Zhenlong, YANG Wanji, YANG Jingyuan, XIANG Zuofu
    2015, 35(3):  321-327. 
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    Analyzing steroid hormones in urine has been widely used in monitoring the physiology, health, and reproductive status of wildlife. Urine samples that are collected in the field must be stored before they are transferred and analyzed in the laboratory. Urinary steroid hormone metabolites vary across different species, necessitating different guidelines for storage duration and conditions. In this paper, 21 total urine samples from six adult golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) were used to validate the standard sample storage duration. The results indicate that testosterone and progesterone from males at 4 ℃ can be stored up to 7 days, while estradiol from females can be stored for less than 3 days. Under -20 ℃, testosterone samples from males did not change significantly within 60 days. Testosterone, progesterone, and estradiol levels in the female samples did not change significantly within 60, 45, and 60 days, respectively. We conclude that keeping urine samples under -20 ℃ is an effective and reliable preservation method for the golden snub-nosed monkey.
    Mitochondrial 12S-based analysis of genetic diversity of Baylisascaris schroederi in giant pandas from two mountain ranges in China
    XIE Yue, ZHOU Xuan, SUN Yun, GU Xiaobin, YANG Guangyou
    2015, 35(3):  328-335. 
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    The giant panda is an iconic and threatened species for wildlife conservation in China. Baylisascaris schroederi is the most common intestinal parasite found in the giant panda and represents a significant threat to both wild and captive populations. Given that giant pandas are geographically and genetically distinct and that there often is co-evolution between parasites and hosts, whether the evolution of B. schroederi correlates with the evolution of giant pandas has been, and is still, a matter of controversy. In this study, 34 B. schroederi isolates from two main giant panda populations distributed in Minshan (14) and Qionglai (20) mountain ranges, respectively, were subjected to analysis of population genetic diversities in terms of the complete mitochondrial 12S genes. Results showed that (1) a total of nine haplotypes were detected in the 34 isolates, with high haplotype diversity and low nucleotide diversity; (2) the negative neutrality tests (Tajima’s D and Fu's Fs) and mismatch analysis indicated that B. schroederi experienced a temporary population expansion in the recent past; (3) the low Gst and high Nm values suggested a low genetic variability between Minshan and Qionglai populations; additionally, (4) the phylogenetic tree and network map exhibited a mixed population distribution without area-originated specificity. Collectively, B. schroederi across Minshan and Qionglai exhibited an insignificant genetic differentiation and had low genetic diversities between them. This finding implies different evolutionary rates between B. schroederi and pandas, and the results should contribute to the control of B. schroederi in different mountain-range pandas.
    Sequence polymorphism of mtDNA D - loop of François’ langurs (Trachypithecus francoisi)in northeastern Guizhou,China
    HU Juan, CHEN Yuan, DENG Huaiqing, GU Xiaoming, LI Zhigang, ZHOU Jiang
    2015, 35(3):  336-341. 
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     Northeastern Guizhou is one of the main distribution areas of the François’ langur (Trachypithecus francoisi) in China, however, the habitat has been seriously damaged and population size of the François’ langur has declined very quickly, showing a distribution peculiarity of fragmentation in the Northeastern Guizhou. Therefore, understanding the morphological and molecular variation of different geographic groups of the François’ langur in these areas is of vital importance in designing conservation strategies. We used 79 faecal samples to investigate their mitochondrial DNA D-loop, all of which were collected from the wild François’ langur population in Northeastern Guizhou An additional 22 feces samples and 5 hair samples which were collected from the captive population in the Qianling Park of Guiyang were also tested. Finally, we obtained 88 sequences of this region (D-loop), containing 395 base pair fragment nucleotides. We identified 30 variable nucleotide sites of transitions and transversions, whereas no insertions/deletions was detected. 6 haplotypes were defined and used to construct the population phylogenetic tree, which revealed the François’ langur as an independent unit. This is helpful for studying the genetic diversity and conservation status of the wild Trachypithecus francoisi in Northeast Guizhou, and important for designing conservation strategies based on the evaluation of their adaptation ability and evolutionary potential.

    Translocating two lactating giant pandas and their cubs after behavioral training did not impair maternal behavior: a case study
    HE Yongguo, SONG Shixian, MA Kai, FENG Li, LI Desheng, LIU Dingzhen
    2015, 35(3):  342-347. 
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    In order to test whether moving female giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)and their infants impairs the mothers’nursing behavior and causes them to reject their pups. We observed two mother pandas’behavioral changes during translocating of enclosures for the first time. Our results showed that removing and returning cubs did not cause significant increases in vigilance or stereotypic behavior in the two lactating females. The female pandas slso did not show significant changes in nursing behavior before their cubs were removed and after they were returned to the females in the delivery pens. The lactating pandas also did not show remarkable changes in nursing behavior after they were moved to the new pens. Both the infants survived to adulthood. The data suggest that it is possible and safe to translocate lactating female giant pandas from their delivery pens to new pens,around 30 days after they give birth,provided that they first experiencesystematic odor exposure and behavioral training during adaptation sessions.