International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 577–591 | Cite as

Population Structure and Ranging Patterns of Rhinopithecus roxellana in Zhouzhi National Nature Reserve, Shaanxi, China

  • Chia L. Tan
  • Songtao Guo
  • Baoguo Li
Special Issue: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation of Colobine Monkeys


We describe the population structure and ranging patterns of a troop of Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) based on a study conducted between November 2002 and November 2003 in Zhouzhi National Nature Reserve, Shaanxi Province, China. The troop comprised several 1-male units and an all-male unit. Opportunistic censuses revealed that there were ≥112 individuals in the troop. The adult sex ratio (male vs. female) was 1:3.7. The ratios of adults to immatures and infants to adult females were 1:0.7 and 1:2, respectively. Via a grid system, we estimated the home range of the troop to be 18.3 km2, of which 7.4 km2 was the core area. The subjects exhibited distinct seasonal ranging patterns. Their movement across the home range was extensive in spring and restricted in autumn. In addition, reuse of quadrats was highest in winter and lowest in spring in comparison with other seasons. The daily path length (DPL) varied from .75 to 5 km, with a mean of 2.1 km. Seasonal analysis showed that DPL is significantly shorter in winter than in spring or summer; however, there is no significant difference between the DPLs of spring and summer or those of spring and autumn. The monkeys occupied elevations 1500–2600 m above sea level; the annual mean of altitudinal range is 2137 m. Contrary to early studies that reported Rhinopithecus roxellana migrates to lower elevations in winter, we found no evidence supporting a seasonal altitudinal shift. Using the highest troop count and home range estimate, and considering the extent of range overlap between neighboring troops, we calculated the population density and biomass of Rhinopithecus roxellana to be 7.2 individuals/km2 and 68.3 kg/km2, respectively. The temporal and spatial distribution of food resources may be the most important determinant of ranging behavior in Rhinopithecus roxellana, though understanding the relationship between resource distribution and seasonal range use may require further investigation.


adult sex ratio altitudinal range biomass Colobinae daily path length home range population density 



We thank Zhouzhi National Nature Reserve for permission to conduct the study. We also thank Q. Wang and Y. Liang for their arduous efforts in tracking the monkey troop and A. Dixson, J. A. Phillips, K. Wada, and K. Watanabe for their scientific advice. J. A. Phillips and 2 anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript. The National Nature Science Foundation of China (30370202), Primate Conservation, Inc., Amerman Foundation, Offield Family Foundation, and the Zoological Society of San Diego funded our study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Conservation and Research for Endangered Species (CRES)Zoological Society of San DiegoEscondidoUSA
  2. 2.College of Life SciencesNorthwest UniversityXi’anChina

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