Table of Content

    30 July 2018, Volume 38 Issue 4
    Relationships of boldness with musk secretion and reproductive effort in captive alpine musk deer during mating and non-mating seasons
    ZHOU Yang, LI Yong, ZHOU Mi, MENG Xiuxiang
    2018, 38(4):  344-351.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150182
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    Alpine musk deer (Moschus sifanicus) are endangered ungulates, and thus, captive breeding is the main way to conserve their population. Studying their boldness is important for successful captive breeding; the behavioral trait of boldness is a hot spot in animal personality research, but few quantitative studies have investigated it in mammals. Herein, we conducted a standardized behavior test in the Breeding Center for Alpine Musk Deer, Xinglongshan National Nature Reserve, Gansu Province of western China to investigate the effect of captive musk deer’s boldness with respect to musk secretion and reproductive effort, and we tested the relationship of boldness with captive environment, gender, and age during both mating and non-mating seasons. The results indicated that the captive environment had no significant effect on boldness (mating season P = 0.799; non-mating season P = 0.152) and gender also had no significant effect on boldness (mating season P = 0.144; non-mating season P = 0.733); however, age had a significant effect on boldness
    (mating season P = 0.012; non-mating season P = 0.009). Older age was associated with increased boldness. The boldness in the mating season was positively correlated to that in the non-mating season (r = 0.564, P < 0.001). Boldness during the non-mating season had a negative influence on male’s musk secretion (r = - 0.607, P = 0.016), while boldness during the mating season had a positive effect on the female’s reproductive success (r = 0.362, P = 0.045). Our results show that captive alpine musk deer’s boldness was affected by age and that there is a consistency in boldness in mating and non-mating seasons. Males with higher boldness during non-mating season secrete less musk, while females with higher boldness during mating season produce larger litters.
    Nutrient composition of blue sheep (Pseudois nayaur ) in the Helan Mountains,Ningxia,China
    WANG Rui, GAO Hui, TENG Liwei, LIU Zhensheng
    2018, 38(4):  352-358.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150145
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    The chemical composition of blue sheep (Pseudois nayaur) muscle tissues from the Helan Mountains was analyzed to quantify its nutritional content. Male and female blue sheep differed with respect to the content of phosphorus, zinc, amino acids, and fatty acids. Blue sheep meat was found to be a good source of protein and minerals, particularly calcium, phosphorus, and copper. Compared with the ideal EAA/TAA ratio (about 40%) recommended by the FAO/WHO, the protein of blue sheep was of high quality with a high EAA/TAA ratio (39.3% males, 39.2% females). The amino acid score and chemical score revealed that valine was the limiting amino acid and lysine content was high. Blue sheep meat was also found to be a good source of linoleic acid and linolenic acid.
    A study on the characteristics of crop damage caused by wild boar (Sus scrofa)and the attitudes of local residents in Chishui Alsophila National Nature Reserve, Guizhou Province, China
    SU Haijun, HU Canshi, ZHANG Mingming, LIANG Sheng
    2018, 38(4):  359-368.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150163
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    Crop damage caused by wild boars (Sus scrofa) can be currently regarded as a typical case of human-wildlife conflict. Analyzing the characteristics of the crop damage and understanding the attitudes of local residents on the damage and wildlife conservations, is very helpful to community-based management in Nature Reserves and wildlife conservation policy-making. An investigation was conducted in Chishui Alsophila Spinulosa National Nature Reserve (CCNNR), Guizhou province of China, and the results showed that,  wild boars damaged crops during all seasons but more severely during Feb. to Apr. and Oct. to Dec., which was influenced by crops harvest time. Spatially, the factors Locations of Cultivated Fields in the Nature Reserve, the Distance to Pathes, and the Distance to Water significantly contributed to the damage caused by wild boars, the cropland closer to a path (<55m) or to water (<270) were more damaged by wild boars. Although human activities happened frequently in the  Experimental Zone and the peripheral area of CCNNR, wild boar preferred to damage in these areas moreso than in other areas. The factor influencing wild boar preference was the Water Source which more significant than other factors of human disturbance and wildlife cover, such as Distance to Residence and Distance to Forest Edge. 70% of local residents thought the large size of the population of wild boar was the main reason for crop damage. 55% of local residents did not agree on the national policy of protecting wild boar, while 62% people supported hunting wild boar for controlling the population and reducing damage. The tolerance of local residents toward wild boar was significantly influenced both by the Age of Interviewee and Degree of Damage. People whose age ranged from 50 to 70 years old, the main proportion of local residents, bore relatively higher toleraance than did other age groups. In order to reduce economic damage and alleviate conflict, we suggest that the administrator of NR help the local people to apply the more effective measurements, and to build an effective rapid damage assessment and compensation system according to the characteristics of the crop damage, meanwhile, the conservation management on human dimension was also important based on the understanding of the attitudes of local residents.
    Relationship of rodent densities with forage loss in typical steppe
    LI Yanni, YUAN Shuai, FU Heping, WU Xiaodong, YUE Chuang, MAN Duhu, YANG Suwen, YE Lina, Wang Jianran
    2018, 38(4):  369-376.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150131
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    Study of the relationship of rodents density with forage loss is essential both for the calculation of economic injury levels (EIL) and for management decisions. An experiment was conducted to investigate rodent density and aboveground biomass of forage in typical steppe in Inner Mongolia each autumn from 2012 to 2016,. Rodents were live-captured and forage biomass was measured with a quadrat method. Rodent damage was estimated using the density and daily intake of rodents to determine forage loss. The results suggested that: (1) a three-parameter sigmoid curve modeled the relation between rodents density and forage loss, which was better than that of other models, and the formula was: Loss=k/(1+e a-rdensity). (2)The largest forage loss (=23.30%) occurredwhen the rodents density was greater than 906 standard rodent units per hectare. (3) Based on our optimal model, the damage threshold was 174 standard rodent units per hectare in typical steppe.
    Studies on spatial memory of rodents with different food hoarding strategies using Morris water maze
    ZHANG Dongyuan, LI Yuan, LI Jia, ZHANG Yihao, YI Xianfeng, WANG Zhenyu
    2018, 38(4):  377-383.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150149
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    The food strategies of rodents (e.g., scatter- or larder-hoarding) are related to their spatial memory; however, we lack quantitative experiments on these relationships. It is known that Apodemus peninsulae mainly scatter-hoard but also larder-hoard a few food items, but A. agrarius, Niviventer confucianus and Mus musculus only larder-hoard. In this study, the spatial memory of the four rodent species with different hoarding strategies was evaluated using a Morris water maze in order to illustrate the relationships between spatial memory and hoarding behavior. The results showed that the latency period of the four rodent species decreased significantly across the 5-day navigation experiment. The latent period was shortest in A. peninsulae but longest in M. musculus, followed by A. agrarius and N. confucianus. In the space exploration experiment, the frequency of crossing the platform in A. peninsulae, A. agrarius and N. confucianus was significantly higher than that of Mus musculus. The order of both time ratio and distance ratio in the target quadrant was: A. peninsulae > A. agrarius > N. niviventer > M. musculus, despite no significant difference. The results indicate that the spatial memory of A. peninsulae with scatter-hoarding behavior may be stronger than that of the other rodent species with larder-hoarding behavior, suggesting that the food storage strategy of rodent species is closely related to spatial memory.
    Effects of temperature and high-fat diet on metabolic thermogenesis and body fat content in striped hamsters
    BI Zhongqiang, WEN Jing, SHI Lulu, TAN Song, XU Xiaoming, ZHAO Zhijun
    2018, 38(4):  384-392.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150159
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    Adaptive regulation of energy metabolism is employed by small mammals to cope with seasonal environmental changes. In order to explore the strategy of trade-off between the energy expenditure of metabolic thermogenesis and body fat content, three experiments were designed using adult male hamsters. In experiment 1, animals were subjected to high or low-fat diet (HF or LF); in experiment 2, animals were exposed to either cold (5℃) or warm temperature (30℃); in experiment 3, animals were fed with high fat diet and transferred into a cold temperature (5℃). Food intake, energy intake and digestibility were measured using a food balance method; metabolic thermogenesis was measured using an open-flow respirometry system; body fat content was measured by ether extraction in a Soxhlet apparatus. The results showed that, in experiment 1, food intake was significantly reduced, but body fat content increased in HF group compared to that in LF group. In experiment 2, animals consumed significantly less food at the warm, but showed higher fat content than cold group. However, they increased energy intake and nonshivering thermogenesis, but decreased fat content in the cold compared to that in warm. In experiment 3, the HF hamsters showed significantly higher energy intake and nonshivering thermogenesis, but lower body fat content at the cold compared to the hamsters maintained at room temperature. These findings indicated that the effect of high fat diet on body fat accumulation was dependent on ambient temperature. The exposure to the cold induced body fat mobilization and the warm exposure increased fat storage. The striped hamsters increased thermogenesis at cold, but it was not completely compensated by energy intake, resulting in a significant elevation of fat mobilization. The reduction of thermogenesis when warm was the main factor inducing fat accumulation. The energy expenditure associated with metabolic thermogenesis played more important roles in body fat regulation than energy intake.
    Genetic diversity and population genetic structure of captive red pandas (Ailurus fulgens)
    XIU Yunfang, LIU Guowei, ZHENG Shuhuan
    2018, 38(4):  393-401.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150180
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    The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is an endangered species that is indigenous to Asia. This species is currently under serious threat due to habitat loss and fragmentation as well as to human activities. In China, red pandas have been raised in zoos for 60 years, and more than 400 individuals live in approximately 55 zoos today. Therefore, the genetic diversity and population genetic structure of captive red pandas must be understood. The genetic diversity and population genetic structure of 116 captive red pandas from 11 captive populations in China were investigated on the basis of 19 microsatellite loci. Our results revealed a high genetic diversity among the populations, with mean allelic richness varying from 3.505 ± 1.033 (Beijing) to 4.026 ± 1.219 (Mianning), and expected heterozygosity varying from 0.631 ± 0.225 (Huangshan) to 0.782 ± 0.171 (Wenling). In particular, significant deviation from the Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium was found in populations from Fuzhou and Jiangsu. The genetic differentiation index across all populations was 0.055, indicating significant genetic differentiation among the 11 populations. The 11 populations investigated were categorized into three genetic clusters through a microsatellite-based Bayesian clustering analysis, and they were consistent with the clustering results of wild populations. Overall, the genetic diversity among captive red pandas is as high as that of the wild population. Thus, to avoid inbreeding and maintain high genetic diversity among captive red pandas, more attention should be paid to developing a suitable, scientific breeding program, rather than introducing additional wild individuals into captivity.
    Classification of two zokor species based on mitochondrial gene,morphological and habitat indices
    LIU Li,ZHOU Yanshan,CHU Bin,WANG Guizhen,HUA Limin
    2018, 38(4):  402-410.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150188
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    This paper reports a study on zokors sampled from four localities in alpine meadows in the eastern Qilian Mountains in NW China. We studied the taxonomic status of zokor in small regions by molecular phylogenetic, morphological and habitat features. We sequenced the mitochondrial D-loop sequences, reconstructed phylogenetic trees and estimated genetic distances. In addition, we measured the zokors’ skulls and compared their morphologies. Finally, we investigated the habitat vegetation types, the dominant species of plant, and soil compactness of thezokor habitats. The results showed that the zokors belong to two species,Eospalax cansus and Eospalax baileyi, from four different samples. There were significant differences in orbital width and the tympanic bullae (nmale= 14, nfemale = 16,P<0.05) between the two zokor species, and a significant difference in zygomatic breadth between males of the two zokor species (nmale= 14, P<0.05). The two zokor species were also obviously different in external characters. E. cansus had spare and short hair on the tail and metapodia. However, E. baileyi had dense hair on the tail and metapodia. E. cansus prefer to live in alpine meadow at lower altitudes.  The dominant plants of its habitat were Kobresia humilis, Potentilla anserina, and Poa annua. E. baileyi prefer to live in higher altitude alpine shrub meadows. The dominant plants of its habitat were Poa annua, Potentilla fruticosa and Elymus dahuricus. There were no differences in soil compaction (P>0.05) between two zokors’ habitats. This study has provided some technical basis to distinguish E. baileyi and E. baileyi in the field.
    The impact on local forest ecosystem by elephants
    LIN Liu, ZHANG Li
    2018, 38(4):  411-419.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150138
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    Current taxonomy recognizes three extant species of elephants (Elephantidae), the African bush elephant Loxodonta africana, the African forest elephant Loxodonta cyclotis and the Asian elephant Elephas maximus. As large herbivores and an excellent keystone species, elephants can cause positive and/or negative impacts on their surrounding environments and these impacts can vary in both temporal and spatial scales. The positive impacts include: improved seed dispersal and germination; creating forest gaps and maintaining community diversity; and enriching food resources and habitat for other animals. The negative impacts include: causing biodiversity loss by reducing locally vulnerable species, and causing habitat degradation by transforming local plant communities from woodlands to shrub lands or grass lands. Population over-abundance by confinement to habitat islands due to habitat loss is mainly responsible for the negative impacts caused by elephants. Simply culling off elephants would not be an effective mitigation strategy to offset their negative impacts and is strongly discouraged. Rigorous scientific information on effective ways to evaluate and alleviate the negative impact of elephants and to guide proper management plans still is lacking. Local environmental conditions and site-specific objectives should be considered when developing management actions to curb the negative impact of elephants on woody vegetation. All elephant species, including African bush elephant, African forest elephant and Asian elephants, are currently facing severe population declines and habit loss. In order to save them from extinction, it is imperative to conduct more comprehensive research to better understand the relationship between elephants and the ecosystems in which they live.
    The survey of population size, distribution and sleeping caves of François’langur (Trachypithecus francoisi)in Yezhong Nature Reserve
    DENG Huaiqing, ZHOU Jiang
    2018, 38(4):  420-425.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150100
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    The population, distribution and sleeping caves of wild François’ languor (Trachypithecus francoisi) in Yezhong Nature Reserve were investigated by the interviews and field survey methods from January to April 2016. The results showed that there were total 16 groups (119 individuals) within in and around the Yezhong Nature Reserve, nine groups in the reserve, and seven groups outside of the reserve. The results also indicate that the François’ languors were sleeping in 23 caves. The average altitude of these caves is 1065 ±289.14 meters with the range 724-1638 meters, and the distance from the water source is 46.66 ± 17.46 meters with the range 20-90 meters. François' langurs’ sleeping caves are commonly located in evergreen broad-leaf deciduous mixed forests or bushes; the slope is generally above 75°, and far away from residential areas. To protect these valuable and unique wild François’ langurs, more protection should focus on the present habitats that still exist. Practical and effective protective measures must be established which include strengthening the management of reserve caves and expanding the protection range.
    Seasonal changes in serum reproductive steroids levels of red-bellied squirrels (Callosciurus erythraeus)
    JIA Yiping, JIN Wei, ZUO Zhicai, WANG Zhengyi, YU Shumin, DENG Junliang
    2018, 38(4):  426-432.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150092
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    We examined variation of some hormones reflecting reproductive function in the blood plasma of red-bellied squirrels (Callosciurus erythraeus). 70 males and 74 females were captured from February to December 2015 from Yingjing County, Sichuan Province. We measured the levels of reproductive hormones (testosterone: T, estradiol: E2, follicle-stimulating hormone: FSH, luteinizing hormone: LH, gonadotropin-releasing hormone: GnRH, progesterone: P4) by ELISA, and analyzed the data from the different sexes and months. In addition, impacts of reproductive status were also analyzed. These indices were analyzed by two-way ANOVA or ANCOVA. If some indices showed significant sex differences, monthly variations of those indices for any gender were further examined by one-way ANOVA or ANCOVA. The results were as follows: (1)There were sex differences in the levels of serum reproductive hormones in female and male squirrels that changing with reproductive status (except GnRH), and were lowest in October. (2)The serum concentrations of FSH, LH, T, E2 and P4 in males peaked in February or March and July or August, shortly before mating. Concentrations of FSH, LH and E2 in females and GnRH of both sexes peaked in February and July during the mating period, whereas T concentrations in females were low throughout the year, and serum P4 was highest in May. (3)Compared with non-reproductive squirrels, the concentrations of all serum reproductive hormones were significantly higher in pregnancy, mating and lactating female squirrels, or mating males. These results indicate that the levels of serum reproductive hormones in female and male squirrels can vary with the seasons and the reproductive status, which is of great significance to understanding the reproductive characteristics of the red-bellied squirrels and control their damage to plantations.