Table of Content

    30 March 2019, Volume 39 Issue 2
    Impact of social pressure on the estrus of captive female Asian elephants (Elephas maximus)
    TANG Ruchun, XU Kexin, YANG Xuan, YANG Haichao, BAO Mingwei, JIA Ting, ZHANG Jinguo, ZHANG Li
    2019, 39(2):  111-118.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150191
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    Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are considered an endangered species, and their reproduction in captivity is important for their conservation. In this study, we analyzed the impact of social pressure on stress status and the estrous cycle of captive female Asian elephants with the aim of determining the reason for their prolonged anestrous status. The levels of estradiol and progesterone indicate the estrous phase, and those of cortisol show stress status; therefore, we measured estradiol and cortisol in urine and feces, and progesterone in the urine of female elephants by radioimmunoassay. Social pressure was determined by the degree of aggressive and nonaggressive behavior. The results indicate the following: (1) females in a dominant position were more frequently engaged in aggressive behavior compared with those in a subordinate position; (2) cortisol levels in dominant females were significantly higher than those in subordinate females; (3) the levels of estradiol and progesterone in dominant individuals showed cyclic fluctuations, but those in subordinate individuals did not. These data suggest that among captive Asian elephants, social pressure may be the cause of low sex hormone levels and prolonged anestrus in subordinate females, which are therefore not engaged in reproductive behavior for a long time.
    Application of correspondence analysis and detrended correspondence analysis in foraging pattern of ungulates
    ZHANG Weiqi, ZHANG Ning, HE Huan, MA Jianzhang, ZHONG Linqiang, SUN Yue, ZHANG Minghai
    2019, 39(2):  119-125.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150230
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    Winter foraging patterns of moose were analyzed with 3 ordination methods, including correspondence analysis (CA), detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) and DCA with standardization in sample (DCA_std), using diet composition data of moose, in January of 2009 and January of 2010, at Erkehe forest farm of Dazhanhe wetland nature reserve in the Lesser Khingan Mountains. Procrustes analysis was used to compare effects of the 3 ordination methods. The results showed that axes 1 and 2 of all the three ordination methods could explain most variance of all variables with CA, DCA  and DCA_std  indicating 79.27%, 66.65% and 68.22% respectively. On axes 1, the methods could distinguish coniferous and deciduous trees while on axes 2, coniferous and other plant taxa except deciduous trees could be distinguished. Though all the three methods could reveal feeding pattern of ungulates, only DCA_std lacked apparent arc effects after graph visualizations. Procrustes analysis demonstrated that sum of displacement squares is the largest between DCA_std and CA, and DCA_std has the most unapparent arch effect, which in this case means performing data standardization before typical DCA could effectively eliminate the “arch effect”. Therefore, for diet composition data composed of food abundance, data standardization before typical DCA is necessary and might eliminate arch effect better. Meanwhile, standardization in samples would make ordination results more ecologically explicit.
    Effects of sample size and study range on accuracy of MaxEnt in predicting species distribution: a case study of the black-and-white snub-nosed monkey
    JI Qianzhao, WANG Rongxing, HUANG Zhipang, YUAN Jiahong, REN Guopeng, XIAO Wen
    2019, 39(2):  126-133.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150203
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    MaxEnt is a popular species distribution model which has been widely used in the last few years. Some case studies on endangered species, invasive plants, and simulated data, reported that the MaxEnt model is capable of accurately predicting species distribution even when trained with a small sample of occurrence data. However, only few studies focused on the effect of sample size on the prediction distribution of well-studied species. Moreover, the variation of study range size might further affect the accuracy of the model. The black-and-white snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti) occurs in a narrow region between the Yangtze River and Mekong River in southwest China. There are about 18-20 groups of R. bieti, living in the region and the population distribution of 16 of them is fairly well-known from long-term field observations performed by the Institute of Eastern-Himalaya Biodiversity Research team. A minimum bounding rectangle covering the occurrence data from these 16 groups R. bieti was defined as the minimum study range. Buffer zones of 25 to150 km at 25 km intervals from the minimum study range were drawn and used as alternative study range. In order to examine the effect of sample size and study range on the MaxEnt model prediction capabilities, we compiled different training datasets using occurrence data from 11 groups with sample sizes ranging from 1 to 10 groups, and background data sampled within each of the seven buffer ranges. Occurrence data from the remaining 5 groups were used as presence data for independent test. The Area Under the Curve (AUC) value of each resulting model increased with increasing sample size and study range. Our findings demonstrate how sample size influences the MaxEnt model prediction of species distribution. However, AUC values might be overestimated by an enlarged study range. Results indicated that background data should be sampled from the neighborhood of presence data. Furthermore, to predict the whole potential habitat of a species, presence data should cover the ecological gradient of this species.
    Population structure and activity rhythm of sambar deer (Rusa unicolor)
    HE Xingcheng, FU Qiang, WU Yongjie, WANG Bin, CHEN Xue, RAN Jianghong
    2019, 39(2):  134-141.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150195
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    The Sambar deer (Rusa unicolor) is a national protected animal (Category II). From May 2016 to May 2017, we investigated the behaviors of sambar deer in the salt site and other habitats in the Anzi River Nature Reserve of Sichuan Province to study the species’ population structure, daily activity rhythm, and salt-licking behavior rhythm through infrared camera trapping. The infrared cameras were installed in 108 locations, resulting in 401 and 620 valid records collected in non-salt and natural salt sites respectively. The results indicated that the daily activity rhythm of sambar deer differed across four seasons. In spring, daily activity peaked in the evening during the hours of 17:00-20:00. In summer, the peaks of diurnal activity were not obvious. Sambar deer had only one activity peak in autumn, during the hours of 17:00-19:00. In winter, there were three peaks of daily activity, appearing during the hours of 8:00-10:00, 17:00-19:00, and 23:00-02:00 respectively. The peak of salt-licking behavior occurred during the hours of 22:00-04:00 at night, and there was no significant difference in salt-licking behavior rhythm between males and females (coefficient of overlapping Δ = 0.670). There are two categories of salt-licking behavior in sambar deer, licking alone or licking in groups, but licking alone occurred more frequently and comprised 57.6% of all salt-licking behavior. When licking in groups, the group size of sambar deer varied from 2 to 7, with the most common group size being 2, and comprised 21.5% of all salt-licking behavior. The female to male occurrence ratio (female and male) of sambar deer in valid photographs was 2.05:1 in non-salt licking sites and 2.66∶1 in salt licking sites,
    indicating that female deer replenish salt more frequently than male deer. This study provides important scientific information for the management of this protected species in the nature reserve.
    Sexual dimorphism in Harpiocephalus harpia and its new records from Hubei and Zhejiang, China
    YUE Yang, HU Yifeng, LEI Boyu, WU Yi, WU Hua, LIU Baoquan, YU Wenhua
    2019, 39(2):  142-154.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150251
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    Sexual dimorphism is a widespread phenomenon within mammals, and males are generally larger than females. In contrast bats reveal a characteristic female-biased sexual dimorphism, females are larger than males, but its driving mechanism is still unclear. In order to explore the mechanism of sexual dimorphism within Harpiocephalus harpia, 32 specimens were sampled during bat surveys from seven sites in Guangdong, Guangxi, Jiangxi, Hunan, Hainan, Hubei and Zhejiang provinces. All specimens were deposited in Key Laboratory of Conservation and Application in Biodiversity of South China, Guangzhou University. Through multivariate statistical analysis of craniodental and wing characteristics, we examined absolute differences and relative differences after controlling for disparities in forearm length. Significant differences between sexes were evident only in skull, in the teeth and zygomatic breadth. Comparisons of the rest of the craniodental indices, wing measurements and estimated wing areas were not siginficant. The result favors a “Resource Competition Hypothesis” rather than a “Big Mother Hypothesis”. In addition, 12 specimens of H. harpia were collected from Hubei (3 males, 2 females) in July and from Zhejiang (2 males, 5 females) in August, 2017, represent new distribution records from the provinces, which adds to the accumulation of basic biological data of the rare species in China.
    Sexual dimorphism in the frequency of echolocation calls facilitates sex recognition in least horseshoe bats
    PANG Yulan, LUO Bo, WANG Man, WU Xiu, FENG Jiang
    2019, 39(2):  155-161.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150227
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    Sexual dimorphism in call frequency is widespread in a variety of animals. Despite possessing comparatively poor vision, bats conduct their activities at night. They primarily employ acoustic signals for spatial navigation, prey tracking, and social information transfer. Here, we use adult least horseshoe bats, Rhinolophus pusillus, to assess whether sexual dimorphism in the frequency of echolocation calls facilitates sex recognition. Analyses revealed that echolocation calls of R. pusillus showed marked gender differences in frequency parameters. In the playback periods, the number of response calls was the highest for white noise, followed by male echolocation call, and was the lowest for female echolocation call. The number of bat response calls, however, increased progressively after the playback of white noise, female echolocation call, and male echolocation call. The intensity of bat response calls showed a rapid decrease in the presence of white noise versus echolocation call stimuli. These results indicate that frequency parameters of echolocation calls encode information on caller sex in least horseshoe bats, which facilitates sex recognition within the population. Our findings provide some implications for the potential role of echolocation calls in mate choice among bats.
    The relationships between the mounds of transbaikal zokor and plants with different root types
    JI Yu, YUAN Shuai, FU Heping, YUE Chuang, MAN Duhu, YANG Suwen, WU Xiaodong
    2019, 39(2):  162-171.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150206
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    An experiment with three quadrants(20m×50m)was conducted to monitor the locations of plants and the number of new and old mounds in the habitat of Myospalax aspalax in natural ground in Baiyinkulun pasture, Xinlinguole, Inner Mongolia from 2013 to 2015. The relationships between the number of new and old mounds and plant biomass, plant number and species were analyzed by Partial RDA (Partial Redundancy Analysis). The results showed that in spring, the number of new zokor mounds was positively correlated with the axis-rooted system and creeping-root system which accounted for much of the variation. The number of old mounds of zokor was positively correlated with sparse grove system. The number of old mounds was negatively correlated with the axis-rooted system and creeping-root system, and accounted for much of the variation. In autumn, the number of new mounds of zokor was positively correlated with the sparse grove system, dense clumping system and creeping-root system, and accounted for much of the variation. The number of old zokor mounds was positively correlated with the sparse grove system, dense clumping system and creeping-rooted system, and accounted for much of the variation. These results suggest that there were seasonal differences in zokor’s mound-forming activity and micro-habitat selection, and those activities were affected by food resources. Axis-rooted system and creeping-root system had significant effects on the spring activities of zokor, while the the sparse grove system, dense clumping system and creeping-root system had important effects on zokor's autumn activities.
    cDNA coding region cloning and functional analysis of Fibulin 5 in sika deer
    CHU Wenhui, WANG Quanwei, WANG Yusu, WANG Guiwu, LI Chunyi
    2019, 39(2):  172-181.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150232
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    The cDNA coding region of FBLN5 of sika deer was cloned to investigate the function of FBLN5 in antler regeneration. RT-qPCR was used to analyze the sequence and using bioinformatic tools RNAi vectors of FBLN5 were constructed to down regulate the FBLN5 gene expression in PPP cells. Conditioned medium both from down regulated and negative control groups were made and added to HUVEC cells to test the biofuntion of FBLN5 in PPP cells by MTT assay. The results revealed that: 1. The length of cDNA of FBLN5 is 1347 bp, which encodes a protein of 272 amino acids. 2. Bioinformatics predicts that FBLN5 is a hydrophilic protein with one transmembrane region and a signal peptide including 23 amino acids. FBLN5 has three kinds of domains: vWA_Matrilin, cEGF and EGF_CA. We predicted the tertiary structure of sika deer FBLN5. 3. The RNAi sequence pLVTHM-FBLN2 was most effective. It down regulated the expression of FBLN5 in PPP cells by up to 88.72%. MTT assay revealed that the proliferation of HUVEC cells was stimulated by up to 35.7% as cultured with whole conditioned medium of pLVTHM-FBLN2 group in construct with negative control group. We concluded that FBLN5 may be involved in angiogenesis and homeostasis in the process of antler regeneration
    Generation and validation of a polyclonal antibody against recombinant Galectin-1 in sika deer (Cervus nippon)
    WANG Zhen, WANG Datao, YU wei, LI Chunyi
    2019, 39(2):  182-190.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150222
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    Galectin-1, a mammalian galactoside lectin is present in many cells and tissues. It is involved in many physiological processes, such as cell adhesion, proliferation, apoptosis, and inflammation. Galectin-1 is a member of the β-galactoside binding family, which are involved in the regulation of the immune system and development of tumors. Antler is a rare accessory organ that can periodically shed and regenerate from its pedicle in deer and has attracted attention as a new model for studying mammalian organ regeneration. Deer antlers offer a unique opportunity to explore how nature has devised a system of epimorphic regeneration in mammals. Antler regeneration is a stem cell-based process derived from antler stem cells that are located in the pedicle periosteum (PP). Elevated expression of galectin-1 in antler stem cells suggest that this molecule may play an important role in antler regeneration. To study the biological function of Galectin-1 in antler regeneration, it is necessary to generate a polyclonal antibody. In this study, the Galectin-1 gene of Sika deer (Cervus nippon) was inserted into the pET28a vector to obtain the recombinant plasmid, pET28a-Galectin-1. This recombinant plasmid was then transformed into Escherichia coli strain BL21(DE3) for induction and expression. The target protein was purified by using a Ni-NTA agarose affinity column. The purified protein was used to immunize rabbits to obtain the polyclonal antibody. Antibody titer was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for Galectin-1. The specificity of antibody was confirmed by western blot analysis and the expression of Galectin-1 in the antler stem cells was detected by an immunofluorescence assay. The results showed that the titer of the antibody was 1:64000 with high specificity and that Galectin-1 was expressed in almost all of the antler PP cells. We have generated a specific polyclonal antibody of deer Galectin-1, which will serve as an important tool for the study of the regulation of Galectin-1 in antler regeneration.
    Expression of the members of the TGFB family and their receptors in mink (Mustela vison) testes at different stages during seasonal regression
    ZHANG Yufei, CAO Manyuan, WANG Liying, ZHAO Weigang, XU Baozeng
    2019, 39(2):  191-201.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150253
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    The aim of our work is to discover molecular biology mechanisms underlying testis regression in mink. To this end, HE staining technique was used to examine the histological morphology of mink testis at different stages during regression. In addition, real-time PCR (RT-PCR) was applied to determining the expression levels of the members of transforming growth factor beta (TGFB) family and their receptors at different stages in mink testes. Our results showed that the diameters and the weights of the mink testis were gradually reduced after April, being only half of the diameter and 1/8 of the weight in July. In parallel, histological assessment demonstrated that mink testis experienced severe regression, i.e. the lumen of the seminiferous tubules was progressively absent, while the diameter of the seminiferous tubules was reduced to 1/3 of its largest size during the same time. The RT- PCR data indicated that the expression levels of the members of TGFB, such as TGFb3, INHBA; and their receptors, like TGFBR1, ACVR2A, ACVR2B, SMAD2 and SMAD4, decreased in the mink testis from April to July. Our study suggests that the signaling pathways of the TGFB superfamily may play a key role in preventing degeneration in the mink.
    A review of research on the dietary specialization in vampire bats
    CHEN Yuxuan, ZHAO Huabin
    2019, 39(2):  202-208.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150240
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    Members of Chiroptera (i.e. bats) possess a huge diversity of diets, which include insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, fruits, flowers, nectar, pollen, foliage, and blood. Of bats, approximately 70% of bat species are insectivorous, while only three species of bats (i.e. vampire bats) feed exclusively on blood. Vampire bats are the only group of mammals that drink blood, which appear to be unique and have become an attractive animal model to study dietary shift in mammals. Here we review studies on morphology, physiology, behavior, sensory systems, and gut microbiota in vampire bats, and highlight their adaptive traits of dietary specializations. Following the release of a high-quality genome sequence of the common vampire bat, we will have opportunities to explore functional changes of diet-related genes in vampire bats, aiming to dissect the molecular basis of dietary shift in animals. This review will be helpful in future studies of dietary changes in vampire bats and other animals.
    Preliminary survey on mammal and bird resources using camera traps in Wulingyuan World Natural Heritage Site, Hunan Province, China
    PAN Dan, WU Bingxian, ZHANG Bing, CUI Shan, ZHANG Zhiqiang, HU Xinhua, YANG Daode
    2019, 39(2):  209-217.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150242
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    Wulingyuan World Natural Heritage Site is located in the Wuling Mountains in Hunan Province, one of the key areas of biodiversity in China, and has high protection priority. However, no systematic biodiversity survey has been carried out since it was established, which could hinder its effective management. To understand the current status of mammal and bird resources and promote the scientific protection of biodiversity in the area, we set up 36 infrared cameras at 107 sites from January 2016 to July 2017, with each site maintained for about 4 months. Among a total of 1514 independent photos, 607 independent photos of mammals belonging to 4 orders, 8 families, and 14 species were recorded. The 7 species with the highest relative abundance index (RAI) among the 14 mammal species were: rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), red-hipped squirrel (Dremomys pyrrhomerus), sand badger (Arctonyx collaris), Reeves’s muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi), Chinese ferret-badger (Melogale moschata), masked palm civet (Paguma larvata taivana), and tufted deer (Elaphodus cephalophus). There were 907 independent photos of birds belonging to 5 orders, 10 families, and 37 species. Among the 37 bird species, the 7 with the highest RAI were: blue whistling-thrush (Myophonus caeruleus), golden pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus), scaly thrush (Zoothera dauma), red-billed blue magpie (Urocissa erythrorhyncha), grey-winged blackbird (Turdus boulboul), greater necklaced laughing thrush (Garrulax pectoralis), and Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius). Elliot’s pheasant (Syrmaticus ellioti) is a Class I national protected species, while Chrysolophus pictus, Temminck’s tragopan (Tragopan temminckii), koklass pheasant (Pucrasia macrolopha), crested goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus), and Macaca mulatta are Class II national protected species. Macaca mulatta, Chrysolophus pictus, Dremomys pyrrhomerus, and Myophonus caeruleus are diurnal species, while Arctonyx collaris is nocturnal. The activity frequency of Chrysolophus pictus, Myophonus caeruleus, and Dremomys pyrrhomerus decreased between 12:00 and 14:00. Possibly, these animals avoid high temperatures at noon to reduce the energy consumption associated with activity.
    A new record of the Taiwanese gray shrew (Crocidura tanakae Kuroda, 1938) in Hubei Province
    LEI Boyu, YUE Yang, CUI Jifa, JI Shengnan, YU Wenhua, HAN Wenbin, ZHOU Youbing
    2019, 39(2):  218-223.  DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150224
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    In September 2017, five shrew specimens were collected in Xingshan county, Hubei province, central China. Being dark grey, each shrew specimen has small body size (71.72±3.49, 67.19-77.01 mm), and a long two-color tail (52.39±1.37, 53.11-53.22 mm) with obvious hair. The cranium is flat and slightly firm, having an evident herringbone ridge, with a blunt snout. The phylogenetic relationship was reconstructed by Bayesian inferences based on the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequence, combined with the homologous sequences of seven Crocidura species retrieved from NCBI database. In the phylogenetic tree, these individuals clustered with C. tanakae, and they combined into a monophyletic clade. Furthermore, they have the closest genetic distance with C. tanakae compared with the other species. According to the morphological and phylogenetic evidence, the collected specimens were identified as the Taiwanese grey shrew (C. tanakae), which were recorded for the first time in Hubei province, China. The sample sites in this study, located in the northmost distribution area of C. tanakae to date, covered diverse habitats, including farmland, deciduous broad-leaved forests, evergreen broad-leaved forests and shrubs. This discovery extends the previous species ranges to a larger scale and contributes profound implications for its biogeographic distribution.
    Golden jackal (Canis aureus) recorded in Jilong County, Tibet
    DONG Lei, LUO Hao, LI Sheng
    2019, 39(2):  224-226. 
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    During a field expedition on the southern slope of Himalayas, we photographed a golden jackal at the Alpine meadow and scrubland (85°24’27″E, 28°23’32″N, elevation 3400 m) in Jilong County, Tibet, on July 7, 2018. This is the first confirmed field record of golden jackal (Canis aureus) in China, and also a new occurrence record to its global distribution. Further research is needed to determine its population and distribution status along the China-Nepal borders and the adjacent areas.