Table of Content

    13 May 2016, Volume 36 Issue 2
    The impact of elephant browsing on five plant species at Wild Elephant Valley, Xishuangbannan,Yunnan of China
    LIN Liu, GUO Xianming, LUO Aidong, ZHANG Li
    2016, 36(2):  129-137.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201602001
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    Transect surveys were used to study the browsing impact of Asian elephants' on Ardisia solanacea, Dalbergia mimocoides, Mallotus philippinensis, Kydia calycina and Cratoxylum cochinchinese at Wild Elephant Valley in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China. In total, 3,197 trees were studied and tree damage in relation to species, basal stem size, impact type, and impact level were recorded and analyzed. Our results showed there was no correlation between the intensity of foraging on a plant and its abundance (Pearson correlation, r=0.608, P=0.277). While foraging, Asian elephants showed preferences for Ardisia solanacea, Dalbergia mimosoides, Mallotus philippinensis and Kydia calycina, with the highest preference being for Dalbergia mimosoides (Preference ratio=1.4855). Avoidance of certain species was also shown, with Cratoxylum cochinchinese showing the highest avoidance by elephants (Preference ratio=0.5855). Ardisia solanacea suffered the most intense impact from foraging in the form of trunk breaking (52.21%) and leaf foraging (45.38%). Mallotus philippinensis experienced heavy leaf foraging (53.04%) and trunk breaking (41.44%), while Kydia calycina was mainly utilized by leaf foraging (53.55%) and was the only plant in our study barked (18.03%) by elephants. Cratoxylum cochinchinese was mainly utilized by leaf foraging (56.35%) and was most frequently pushed over (16.02%) by elephants. Interestingly, although it was the most frequently utilized species by foraging elephants, Dalbergia mimosoides experienced the lowest level of impact. Stem size was also a factor in the foraging preference of Asian elephants as trees with a stem size between 3-8 cm were most frequently utilized. More work is needed to better understand how the Asian elephant's selective browsing could impact plant species and overall community structure within its habitat. We suggest conservation measures should be taken to avoid high concentrations of Asian elephants in a specific area for a lengthy period of time.
    Comparative Space Use Patterns of Wild Giant Pandas and Livestock
    ZHOU Shiqiang, Vanessa HULL, ZHANG Jindong, HUANG Jinyan, LIU Dian, HUANG Yan, LI Desheng, ZHANG Hemin
    2016, 36(2):  138-151.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201602002
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    Habitat use describes how wildlife utilize natural resources, and their activity patterns, and has great influence on the genetic exchange between local populations and their viability. Between 2010 and 2012, we collected habitat data and GPS data from giant pandas and livestock—domestic horses at the Hetaoping section of Wolong National Nature Reserve and surrounding areas by using GPS collar tracking technology. Afterwards, we selected GPS data from a representative 3 pandas and 3 horses and calculated the terrain, home range, daily movement distance and number of core areas by applying analyses such as digital elevation model (DEM) and animal movement module. Finally, we analyzed and tested whether there were significant differences between the habitat use of giant pandas and of livestock. The results showed that there were significant differences in habitat use between giant pandas and livestock in terms of altitude, slope and aspect of the terrain, home range, daily movement distance and number of core areas both seasonally and yearly. For giant pandas, habitat use changed between Fargesia robusta, Yushania brevipaniculata and Bashania faberi bamboo forests according to season and food abundance (bamboo shoots, bamboo stems, bamboo leaves), and exhibited a random dispersal pattern across a large activity range (altitude range, home range), short daily movement distance, large number of core areas and high variation between individuals and months. For livestock, depending on the original release site and disturbance level, habitat use exhibited a different pattern. However, compared with that of giant pandas, horses featured small home ranges, long daily movement distance, small number of core areas, and low variation between individual groups and months. These two divergent habitat use patterns put distinctive levels of pressure on local natural resources: the one adopted by giant pandas is beneficial for the recovery of bamboo resources and the sustainable development of the ecosystem; on the contrary, the one adopted by livestock will cause deterioration of the bamboo resources and destruction to the integrity of the ecosystem. Consequently, it is urgent for Wolong National Nature Reserve to reinforce the management of domestic grazing animals, and coordinate economic development of local communities with biodiversity conservation.
    Influence of sheep grazing on major food selection by Brandt’ voles(Lasiopodpmys brandti)
    Hou Xianglei, Li Guoliang, Wan Xinrong Zhang Zhibin
    2016, 36(2):  152-157.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201602003
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    Food selection by animals is determined by their food resources, food quality and food preferences. Although livestock grazing can significantly decrease quality and quantity of the preferred-plant by rodents, it is still not clear how rodents respond to livestock grazing in their food selection. During May to October 2014, we conducted a food selection experiment in the Maodeng pasture, Xilinhot of Xilingol League in Inner-Mongolia. Based on vegetation changes in large-scale enclosures after five years livestock grazing experiment, we investigated food selection of the Brandt’s voles by using cage experiments. We found that grazing increased the coverage of Cleistogenes squarrosa, and decreased the coverage of Leymus chinensis and Stipa krylovii. Cleistogenes squarrosa was the predominant plant species in the enclosures. Grazing had no significant influence on the absolute feeding frequency on three plants by Brandt’s voles. There was no significant difference in feeding frequencies of Stipa krylovii and Cleistogenes squarrosa between seasons, but the feeding frequency of Leymus chinensis was highest in summer. The preference ranking of the three plants by voles was: Leymus chinensis > Stipa krylovii > Cleistogenes squarrosa. However, both seasonal and grazing factors showed no significant impacts on preference index of the three plants by voles. Our results indicate that food selection by Brandt’s voles was relatively stable under grazing pressure, suggesting they had high capacity for adapting to the changing food resources caused by grazing and seasonal factors. We speculate that Brandt’s voles achieve the balance of food components by adjusting feeding efforts.
    Mother-infant interaction in a provisioned group of golden snub-nosed monkeys Rhinopithecus roxellana in Shennongjia, China
    LIU Ruoshuang, YAO Hui, YANG Wanji, XIANG Zuofu
    2016, 36(2):  158-168.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201602004
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    The maternal behavior of primates is critical for offspring survival and female reproductive success, and also impacts infant development and adult relationships with other individuals. Thus, observations of mother-infant interactions are a subject of current interest. To document the maternal behavior of Rhinopithecus roxellana, and factors that affect mother – infant interaction, from March 2013 to October 2014 the relative distance between the mother and the infant, the mother’s restrainingof the infant, and rejection of allomaternal behavior were recorded for 15 mother-infant dyads in a provisioned group at Dalongtan, in Shennongjia National Nature Reserve. We found that the time infants spent in ventral contact with the mother was significantly negatively correlated with infant age, whereas there was no significant relationship between general body contact and infant age. Relative distance between mother and infant was negatively correlated with infant age at distances <1 m, and positively correlated at distances of 1-5 m, 5-10 m, and >10 m. The mother’s restraining behavior did not correlate with infant age, while the mother’s rejection of allomaternal behavior was negatively correlated with infant age. The results also suggest that the distance between mother and infant increased with the growth and development of the infant, and that the mother was less protective of the infant as it became more active and mobile. Maternal parity, the sex of the infant, the infant’s birth date, and social unit size had a minimal influence on mother-infant relationships. Lower food competition and intra-group aggression between the females in the provision population might explain this result of mother-infant relationship.
    New Evidence of Placenta Ingestion by Wild Female Tibetan Macaques (Macaca thibetana)
    CHEN Rui, LI Danyang, GU Zhiyuan, SUN Binghua, WANG Xi, XIA Dongpo, LI Jinhua
    2016, 36(2):  169-176.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201602005
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    Placenta ingestion is a crucial event in mammalian parturition which provides insight into understanding for both ecological and biological functions of reproduction. However, parturition in wild mammals mostly occurs at night, placing restrictions on observationand is seldom observed by researchers. Thus, little has been known for parturition in wild animals, especially for wild nonhuman primates. We occasionally observed a primiparous adult female Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) named THY ingesting placenta during the postpartum phase at 8:59 AM of April 9, 2015. Immediately, we used a focal sampling method and continuously recorded THY' s behavior during placenta ingestion. The whole process included licking, tearing to pieces, scraping and swallowing, and lasted for two hours and 29 minutes. The effective duration of THY' s placenta ingestion is more than 63 minutes. Therefore, placenta ingesting in primiparous Tibetan macaques took longer than it does in other nonhuman primates. Moreover, during placenta ingestion, the female participated in more social interactions with others compared with other species. We also found that the female showed vigilant behavior during the process of placenta ingestion. Our study provides the first evidence on parturition in Tibetan macaques and offers a new insight into understanding the parturition traits of the species.
    Carrying of dead infants by Golden Snub-Nosed Monkeys(Rhinopithecus roxellana)in the Qinling Mountains
    GUO Dong, QI Xiaoguang, TIAN Jiashen, HU Yongle, SI Kaichuang, GAO Cunlao, LI Baoguo
    2016, 36(2):  177-183.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201602006
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    The mother-infant bond represents the most stable and affiliative relationship in primate societies. Caring for infants by female primates can be considered a form of reproductive investment. Even though females incur no fitness benefits by continuing to carry their infants post mortem, this behavior has been documented in several primate species. To examine the factors influencing carrying of and caring for dead infants, and provide data supporting for relevant hypotheses, we collected data on this behavior by a group of golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in the Qinling Mountains. Between October 2013 and June 2014, four cases were recorded by focal animal sampling and all-occurrence sampling. Females whose infant had died acted nervously and sadly; they also held, groomed, smelled the corpse repeatedly. Age and status of decomposition of the corpse had no influence on the time females spent carrying it. Females carried dead infants for a shorter time when death occurred in the late of mating period, and this may benefit a female who is ready to conceive again. Considering the food phenology and the weight of the dead infant, we suggest that carrying and caring a corpse is restricted by substantial energy costs for the female.
    Sex differences in the distributions of estrogen receptor alpha and beta immunoreactivity in the forebrains of male and female mandarin voles (Microtus mandarinus)
    HE Fengqin, ZHANG Juwu, FANG Gang, LIU Ling, WANG Bo, GUO Chunlin
    2016, 36(2):  184-199.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201602007
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    Differences in the social behavior of monogamous and polygamous rodents may be related to estrogen receptor subtypes (ERs). The distribution of estrogen receptor α (ERα) and β (ERβ) immunoreactivity in polygamous rats and mice, and ERα immunoreactivity in the central nervous system of monogamous male prairie voles, have been reported, but no data on the ERβ distribution in monogamous voles is available. In the present study, the numbers of ERα and ERβ immunoreactive (IR) cells in the forebrain of male and female mandarin voles (Microtus mandarinus) were compared using immunocytochemistry. We found that ERα-IR and ERβ-IR cells were mainly found in nuclei in mandarin voles. ERα-IR and ERβ-IR cells were widely distributed throughout the forebrain and expression overlaps in many forebrain areas. However, the number of cells and degree of receptor expression per cell were different for each ER subtype. In the medial preoptic nucleus (MPN), bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) and medial amygdaloid nucleus (MeA) females had a higher ERα density than did males. The opposite pattern was found in the MPN and BNST where males had a higher ERβ density than did females. These results provide an important neuroanatomical basis for enhancing our understanding of how estrogens work through ERα and ERβ to regulate important processes including social behavior.
    Effects of road traffic noise on anxiety behavior and stress-related physiological parameters of the golden hamster Mesocricetus auratus
    Ma Hanqiu, Wang Yuting, Han Yuping, JiaXiaojing, Liu Dingzhen
    2016, 36(2):  200-206.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201602008
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    The effects of anthropogenic noise pollution on animals and human beings are receiving more and more concern, yet little literature is available about the effects of traffic noise on human and mammals at either behavioral and physiological levels. The present work investigated the effects of road-traffic noise in Beijing on anxiety behavior, haematological and stress parameters of the golden hamster Mesocricetus auratus. We individually and continuously exposed 14 adult male hamsters (7:7 = experimental: control group) to playbacks of digital audio recordings (road traffic noise or laboratory background noise) for 1 hour by a speaker (30W) next to the cage at standardized pressure levels (SPL), measured in decibels (dB). The traffic noise recordings were.collected at four points along the 2nd and 3rd ring roads of Beijing one week prior to the exposure, and the laboratory background noise recordings were recorded on the day of the test. The average traffic noise level was 80±10 dB SPL, and laboratory background noise was 50±4 dB SPL. We then tested and examined the anxiety behaviors of each hamster from the two groups in an open field right after the noise exposure. Finally all subjects were sacrificed to sample blood. Haematological parameters, serum cortisol level, ALT, AST, SOD, CAT, GSH-Px, TAOC, MDA and lysozyme activity were measured. The results show that no significant differences were found in anxiety behaviors of hamsters from the two groups. Blood platelet level of the experimental group decreased remarkably compared with that of the control group (P=0.044), while there was no obvious difference for other haematological parameters between the two groups. Stress responses did not vary much between the two groups, except GSH-Px activity, which was extremely decreased in the road noise treatment group (P < 0.001). Serum lysozyme level of the experimental group was also lower than that of the control (P = 0.051). The results indicate that 1 hour exposure to road traffic noise in Beijing has impaired some of the physiological functions of the golden hamster, albeit there is no obvious influence on anxiety behavior.
    Seed-hoarding behaviours of three sympatric rodent species on two tree species under semi-natural enclosure conditions
    HOU Xiang, ZHANG Bo, CHEN Xiaoning, WANG Jing, HAN Ning, CHANG Gang
    2016, 36(2):  207-214.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201602009
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    Seed-hoarding is believed to be an adaptive strategy for survival during periods of food shortage for many seed-eating rodents. Sympatric rodents may evolve different hoarding strategies which may be beneficial to their coexistence. This study investigated hoarding behaviours of three sympatric rodent species (Chinese white-bellied rats, Niviventer confucianus, south China field mice, Apodemus draco, Gansu hamster, Cansumys canus) on seeds of two co-occurring trees (Chinese chestnut, Castanea mollissima and Oriental white oak, Quercus aliena ) under enclosure conditions in Foping National Nature Reserve, Qinling China, during October-December 2014. Seeds of C. mollissima have higher protein and fat (hereafter high nutrition seeds), but fewer tannins than do seeds of Q. aliena (hereafter high tannin seeds). The results showed that, 1) N. confucianus larder-hoarded C. mollissima seeds, A. draco mainly larder-hoarded Q. aliena seeds as well as scatter-hoarded a few seeds of this species, whereas C. canus larder-hoarded seeds of the two tree species only; 2) N. confucianus and C. canus preferred to hoard the high nutrition seeds (C. mollissima), whereas A. draco tended to hoard the high tannin seeds (Q. aliena); 3) All three rodent species preferred to eat the high nutrition seeds (C. mollissima), rather than the high tannin seeds (Q. aliena). These results suggest that sympatric rodent species have different hoarding strategies for seeds of co-occurring trees, and such differences are largely affected by seed traits.
    Influence of wind and light on the burrow-sealing behavior of Transbaikal zokor(Myospalax psilurus)
    CHAI Xiangxian, FU Heping, LV Shijie, CHAO Ketu, WU Xiaodong, YUAN Shuai, LU Zhihong, Man Duhu, XING An, YANG Suwen
    2016, 36(2):  215-220.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201602010
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    Burrow-sealing behavior of Transbaikal zokor (Myospalax psilurus) is considered as a adaption to long-term underground living. Some research suggests that sealing-behavior was caused by the zokors’ fear of wind and light. However this view lacked empirical evidence. A study using a 2×2 contingency-table design including 2 factors and 4 treatments was conducted in August, 2014 in a Hulunbuir pasture, Inner Mongolia to examine the burrow-sealing behavior of zokors. Sixty-eight zokors were randomly divided into 4 groups, and each group was subjected to 1 treatment. Data of burrow-sealing behavior were recorded and analyzed using mutual information analysis of Shannon information and chi-square test. The results show that combination of wind with light did not affect sealing behavior of Transbaikal zokor(I=7.22×10-5); both wind and light had no significant influence on Transbaikal zokor sealing behavior (P﹥0.05) . These results indicated that sealing behavior of Transbaikal zokor did not correlated with wind and light.
    The relationship between the structure of the prestin gene and specific expression in tissues of the plateau zokor and its adaption to the underground life
    XU Lina, WEI Linna, WANG Yang, LI Xiao, WEI Lian, WEI Dengbang
    2016, 36(2):  221-231.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201602011
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    The Plateau zokor (Eospalax baileyi) is a typical subterranean mole rat in Qinghai-Tibet plateau. Subterranean mole rat is a kind of animal which has the ability to orient space accurately. Prestin expressed specifically in cochlea is the protein related to the echolocation. In order to shed light on the relationship between prestin and underground spatial orientation of plateau zokor, the CDS sequence of plateau zokor prestin gene was cloned and compared with other species. The software PAML was used to analyze the adaptive evolution of amino acid sites in the prestin of plateau zokor., The expression levels of prestin mRNA in cochlea, tail, paw and nose were determined with real-time PCR according to the cloned sequence. The results indicated that the CDS sequence of the plateau zokor prestin was similar to those of six kinds of mammals such as human, rat, mouse, naked mole rat, rabbit and cow; and the amino acid sequences showed a relatively high degree of conservation with nine particular amino acid substitutions. No significantly positive selection site was detected with Test 2 model. The expression level of prestin mRNA in plateau zokor cochlea was significantly higher than that in plateau pika (P<0.05), and the prestin mRNA in plateau zokor cochlea was significantly higher than that in the paw and nose (P<0.01).The result above suggested that prestin not only is expressed in the cochlea, but also in paw, nose and tail of plateau zokor. Plateau zokors may perceive low frequency sound waves to accurately orient the space with assistance from their paws, noses and tails during their underground trunk life.
    Current research status on behavioral laterality in Chinese nonhuman primates
    ZHAO Dapeng, LI Baoguo
    2016, 36(2):  232-240.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201602012
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    Preferential side use of limbs and sensory organs, defined as behavioral laterality, are shown by many animal species including human beings. Biological research on behavioral laterality has ecological and evolutionary significance. Behavioral laterality influences individual fitness at the individual level and works as one evolutionary stable strategy at the population level in social species. In China, nonhuman primate resources are abundant whereas behavioral laterality research on nonhuman primates started late; not until the 1980s'. The main purpose of this paper to summarize related research findings over the recent three decades and provide positive suggestions on the future of primate behavioral laterality research in China.
    Nutritional Content of Dry Season Foods and Its Influences on Food Choice of François’ Langurs at Nonggang
    Li Xiuju, WU Qian, HUANG Zhonghao, Huang Chengming, ZHOU Qihai
    2016, 36(2):  241-247.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201602013
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    The PROT / ADF ratio, energy, and some minerals have been suggested as important factors influencing the food choice of primates. However, whether these factors influence the food choice of colobines has been in debate. We collected leaf samples of 12 major food species and 26 non-food species for François’ langurs (Trachypithecus francoisi) during the dry season at Nonggang National Nature Reserve, Guangxi, China, on December 2005 for analysis. We measured the contents of water, crude fat, crude protein, crude fiber, acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), minerals (Ca、Mg、Cu、Zn、Fe、Mn), and calculated the ratio of crude protein and acid detergent fiber (PROT / ADF) for each sample, as well as compared their variations between major food species and non-food species, to explore how food nutritional contents influence on the food choice of François’ langurs. Our results indicated that, except for the content of water, there were no significant differences between major food species and non-food species in nutritional content, as well as the PROT/ADF ratio. We compared the relationship between nutritional content of main food species and percentage of feeding records for these species, and found that only Mg content was a factor determining the food choice of François’ langurs during the dry season. These results indicate that the food choice of François’ langurs during the dry season is not influenced by the content of main nutritional components and minerals.
    Preliminary study on vertical spatial niche of small mammals in Summer in Emei Mountain, Sichuan, China
    CHEN shunde, CHEN guiying, WANG qiong, WEI haixue, LIU shaoying
    2016, 36(2):  248-254.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.201602014
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    During June to July in 2014, the diversity of small mammals was investigated using snap traps and pitfalls along elevations varying from 700 m to 3099 m in Emei Mountain, Sichuan, China. A total of 202 small mammals of 18 species were captured. We analyzed the spatial niche breadth index and spatial niche overlap index of these small mammals. Niviventer confucianus has the highest index of the niche breadth (0.8438) while Apodemus draco、Uropsilus andersoni、Sorex bedfordiae、Sorex cylindricauda、Episoriculus macrurus、Anourosorex squamipes、Apodemus chevrieri and Eothenomys tarquinius have high indices of the niche breadth. So they were dominant species in the small mammal population in Emei Mountain. Niche overlap indices varied from 0 to 1. The spatial niche of Niviventer excelsior and Eothenomys melanogaster completely overlapped, and Sorex cylindricauda and Episoriculus macrurus almost completely overlapped. Spatial niche overlap of some small animals may coexist due to food niche separation, but the coexistence mechanism needs to be further clarified for some spatial niche overlap among shrew species.