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

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.


  1. Altmann, S. A. (1974). Baboons: Space, time, and energy. American Zoologist, 14, 221–248.Google Scholar
  2. Barton, R. A., Whiten, A., Strum, S. C., Byrne, R. W., & Simpson, A. J. (1992). Habitat use and resource availability in baboons. Animal Behavior, 43, 831–844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bennett, E. L. (1986). Environmental correlates of ranging behaviour in the banded langur, Presbytis melalophos. Folia Primatologica, 47, 26–38.Google Scholar
  4. Bennett, E. L., & Davies, G. (1994). The ecology of Asian colobines. In A. G. Davies, & J. F. Oates (Eds.), Colobine Monkeys: Their Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution (129–171). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bleisch, W. V., & Xie, J. H. (1998). Ecology and behavior of the Guizhou snub-nosed langur (Rhinopithecus [Rhinopithecus] brelichi), with a discussion of socioecology in the genus. In N. G. Jablonski (Ed.), The Natural History of the Doucs and Snub-nosed Monkeys (217–239). Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.Google Scholar
  6. Bleisch, W., Cheng, A.-S., Ren, X.-D., & Xie, J.-H. (1993). Preliminary results from a field study of wild Guizhou snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus brelichi). Folia Primatologica, 60, 72–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boinski, S. (1987). Habitat use by squirrel monkeys (Saimiri oerstedi) in Costa Rica. Folia Primatologica, 49, 151–167.Google Scholar
  8. Boonratana, R. (2000). Ranging behavior of proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) in the lower Kinabatangan, Northern Borneo. International Journal of Primatology, 21, 497–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Butynski, T. M. (1990). Comparative ecology of blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis) in high- and low-density subpopulations. Ecological Monographs, 60, 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chapman, C. (1988). Patterns of foraging and range use by three species of neotropial primates. Primates, 29, 177–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chapman, C. A. (1990). Ecological constraints on group size in three species of neotropical primates. Folia Primatologica, 55, 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chapman, C. A., Wrangham, R. W., & Chapman, L. J. (1995). Ecological constraints on group size: An analysis of spider monkey and chimpanzee subgroups. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 36, 59–57.Google Scholar
  13. Chapman, C., & Fedigan, L. M. (1984). Territoriality in the St Kitts vervet, Cercopithecus aethiops. Journal of Human Evolution, 13, 677–686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Clutton-Brock, T. H., & Harvey, P. H. (1977). Species differences in feeding and ranging behaviour in primates. In Clutton-Brock T. H. (Ed.), Primate Ecology: Studies of Feeding and Ranging Behaviour in Lemurs, Monkeys and Apes (557–584). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  15. Clutton-Brock, T. H., & Harvey, P. H. (1979). Home range size, population density and phylogeny in primates. In Bernstein I. S. & Smith E. O. (Eds.), Primate Ecology and Human Origins: Ecological Influences on Social Organization (201–214). New York: Garland STPM Press.Google Scholar
  16. Crook, J. H., & Gartlan, J. S. (1966). Evolution of primate societies. Nature, 210, 1200–1203.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dasilva, G. L. (1992). The western black-and-white colobus as a low-energy strategist: Activity budgets, energy expenditure and energy intake. Journal of Animal Ecology, 61, 79–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Davies, A. G. (1994). Colobine populations. In Davies A. G. & Oates J. F. (Eds.), Colobine Monkeys: Their Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution (285–310). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Di Bitetti, M. S. (2001). Home-range use by the tufted capuchin monkey (Cebus apella nigritus) in a subtropical rainforest of Argentina. Journal of Zoology, 253, 33–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Eisenberg, J. F., Muckenhirn, N. A., & Rudran, R. (1972). The relation between ecology and social structure in primates. Science, 176, 863–874.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Eudey, A., & Members of the Primate Specialist Group (2000). Rhinopithecus roxellana. In IUCN 2004, 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species,
  22. Gillespie, T. R., & Chapman, C. A. (2001). Determinants of group size in the red colobus monkey (Procolobus badius): An evaluation of the generality of the ecological-constraints model. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 50, 329–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grant, J. W. A., Chapman, C. A., & Richardson, K. S. (1992). Defended versus undefended home range size of carnivores, ungulates and primates. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 31, 149–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Guo, S. (2004). Research on the Feeding and Ranging Behaviors of Golden Monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) of Qinling Mountains. MS Thesis, Northwest University, Xi’an (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  25. Happel, R., & Cheek, T. (1986). Evolutionary biology and ecology in Rhinopithecus. In D. M. Taub & F. A. King (Eds.), Current Perspectives in Primate Social Dynamics (305–324). New York: van Nostrand & Reinhold.Google Scholar
  26. Harrison, M. J. S. (1983). Patterns of range use by the green monkey, Cercopithecus sabaeus, at Mt. Assirik, Senegal. Folia Primatologica, 41, 157–179.Google Scholar
  27. Hu, J. (1998). Rhinopithecus roxellanae. In S. Wang (Ed.), China Red Data Book of Endangered Animals: Mammalia (65–68). Beijing: Science Press.Google Scholar
  28. Hu, J. C., Deng, Q. X., Yu, Z. W., Zhou, S. D., & Tian, Z. X. (1980). Research on the ecology and biology of the giant panda, golden monkey, and other rare animals. Journal of Nanchong Teacher’s University 2,1–29; also excerpted In F. Chen, S. Liu, B. Li, W. Ji, X. Yang, S. Luo & W. Xie (Eds.), Progress in the Studies of Golden Monkeys (207–215). Xi’an: Northwest University Press (1989) (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  29. Isbell, L. A. (1983). Daily ranging behavior of red colobus (Colobus badius tephrosceles) in Kibale Forest, Uganda. Folia Primatologica, 41, 34–48.Google Scholar
  30. Janson, C. H. (1988). Intra-specific food competition and primate social structure: A synthesis. Behaviour, 105, 1–17.Google Scholar
  31. Janson, C. H., & Goldsmith, M. L. (1995). Predicting group size in primates: Foraging costs and predation risks. Behavioral Ecology, 6, 326–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Johns, A. D. (1985). Selective logging and wildlife conservation in tropical rain-forest: Problems and recommendations. Biological Conservation, 31, 355–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Johns, A. D. (1986). Effects of selective logging on the behavioral ecology of west Malaysian primates. Ecology, 67, 684–694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kaplin, B. A. (2001). Ranging behavior of two species of guenons (Cercopithecus lhoesti and C. mitis doggetti) in the Nyungwe Forest Reserve, Rwanda. International Journal of Primatology, 22, 521–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kavanagh, M. (1981). Variable territoriality among tantalus monkeys in Cameroon. Folia Primatologica, 36, 76–98.Google Scholar
  36. Kinnaird, M. F. (1992). Variable resource defense by the Tana River crested mangabey. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 31, 115–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kinnaird, M. F., & O’Brien, T. G. (2000). Comparative movement patterns of two semiterrestrial Cercopithecine primates: The Tana River Crested Mangabey and the Sulawesi Crested Black Macaque. In S. Boinski & P. A. Garber (Eds.), On the Move: How and Why Animals Travel in Groups (327–335). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  38. Kirkpatrick, R. C. (1998). Ecology and behavior in snub-nosed monkey and douc langurs. In N. G. Jablonski (Ed.), The Natural History of the Doucs and Snub-nosed Monkeys (155–190). Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.Google Scholar
  39. Kirkpatrick, R. C., & Long, Y. C. (1994). Altitudinal ranging and terrestriality in the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti). Folia Primatologica, 63, 102–106.Google Scholar
  40. Kirkpatrick, R. C., Gu, H. J., & Zhou, X. P. (1999). A preliminary report on Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) at Baihe Nature Reserve. Folia Primatologica, 70, 117–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kirkpatrick, R. C., Long, Y. C., Zhong, T., & Xiao, L. (1998). Social organization and range use in the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus bieti. International Journal of Primatology, 19, 13–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Li, B. G., Jia, Z. Y., Pan, R. L., & Ren, B. P. (2003a). Changes in distribution of the snub-nosed monkey in China. In L. K. Marsh (Ed.), Primates in Fragments: Ecology and Conservation (29–51). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  43. Li, B., Chen, C., Ji, W., & Ren, B. (2000). Seasonal home range changes of the Sichuan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in the Qinling Mountains of China. Folia Primatologica, 71, 375–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Li, B., He, P., Yang, X., Wei, W., Ren, B., Yang, J., Si, K., & Liu, Y. (2001). The present status of the Sichuan snub-nosed monkey in the Qinling Mountains of China, and a proposed conservation strategy for the species. Biological Conservation, 3, 107–114.Google Scholar
  45. Li, B., Ren, B., & Gao, Y. (1999). A change in the summer home range of Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys in Yuhuangmiao, Qinling Mountains. Folia Primatologica, 70, 269–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Li, B., Zhang, P., Watanabe, K., Tan, C. L., Fukuda, F., & Wada, K. (2003b). A dietary shift in Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys. Acta Theriologica Sinica, 23, 358–360.Google Scholar
  47. Li, Y. (2001). The seasonal diet of the Sichuan snub-nosed monkey (Pygathrix roxellana) in Shennongjia Nature Reserve, China. Folia Primatologica, 72, 40–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Li, Y. (2002). The seasonal daily travel in a group of Sichuan snub-nosed monkey (Pygathrix roxellana) in Shennongjia Nature Reserve, China. Primates, 43, 271–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Li, Y. (2004). The effect of forest clear-cutting on habitat use in Sichuan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in Shennongjia Nature Reserve, China. Primates, 45, 69–72.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Li, Y., Stanford, C. B., & Yang, Y. (2002). Winter feeding tree choice in Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellanae) in Shennongjia Nature Reserve, China. International Journal of Primatology, 23, 657–675.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Liu, A. (1991). Seasonal Home Range Use by a Troop of Sichuan Golden Monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in Qinling Mountains, MS Thesis, Northwest University, Xi’an (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  52. Liu, S.-F. (1959). A preliminary investigation of the golden monkey in Qinling Mountains. Journal of Northwest University, 3, 19–26 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  53. Liu, Z.-H., & Zhao, Q.-K. (2004). Sleeping sites of Rhinopithecus bieti at Mt. Fuhe, Yunnan. Primates, 45, 241–248.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Liu, Z.-H., Ding, W., & Grüter, C. C. (2004). Seasonal variation in ranging patterns of Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys Rhinopithecus bieti at Mt. Fuhe, China. Acta Zoologica Sinica, 50, 691–696.Google Scholar
  55. Lowen, C., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (1994). Territory size and defendability in primates. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 35, 347–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Mace, G. M., Harvey, P. H., & Clutton-Brock, T. H. (1983). Vertebrate home range size and energetic requirements. In I. R. Swingland & P. J. Greenwood (Eds.), The Ecology of Animal Movement (32–53). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  57. Marsh, C. W., Johns, A. D., & Ayres, J. M. (1987). Effects of habitat disturbance on rain forest primates. In C. W. Marsh & R. A. Mittermeier (Eds.), Primate Conservation in the Tropical Rain Forest (83–107). New York: Alan R. Liss.Google Scholar
  58. Milton, K., & May, M. L. (1976). Body weight, diet and home range area in primates. Nature, 259, 459–462.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Mitani, J. C., & Rodman, P. S. (1979). Territoriality: The relation of ranging pattern and home range size to defendability, with an analysis of territoriality among primate species. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 5, 241–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Oates, J. F. (1986). Food distribution and foraging behavior. In B. B. Smuts, D. L. Cheney, R. M. Seyfarth, R. W. Wrangham & T. T. Struhsaker (Eds.), Primate Societies (197–209). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  61. Olupot, W., Chapman, C. A., Brown, C. H., & Waser, P. M. (1994). Mangabey (Cercocebus albigena) population density, group size, and ranging: A twenty-year comparison. American Journal of Primatology, 32, 197–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Peres, C. A. (2000). Territorial defense and the ecology of group movements in small-bodied neotropical primates. In S. Boinski & P. A. Garber (Eds.), On the Move: How and Why Animals Travel in Groups (100–123). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  63. Poirier, F. E., & Hu, H. X. (1983). Macaca mulatta and Rhinopithecus in China: Preliminary research results. Current Anthropology, 24, 387–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Raemaekers, J. (1980). Causes of variation between months in the distance traveled daily by gibbons. Folia Primatologica, 34, 46–60.Google Scholar
  65. Ramos-Fernandez, G., & Ayala-Orozco, B. (2003). Population size and habitat use of spider monkeys at Punta Laguna, Mexico. In L. K. Marsh (Ed.), Primates in Fragments: Ecology and Conservation (191–209). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  66. Ren, R., Yan, K., Su, Y., Zhou, Y., Li, J., Zhou, Z., Hu, Z., & Hu, Y. (2000). A Field Study of the Society of Rhinopithecus roxellanae. Beijing: Beijing University Press (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  67. Sekulic, R. (1982). Daily and seasonal patterns of roaring and spacing in four red howler Alouatta seniculus troops. Folia Primatologica, 39, 22–48.Google Scholar
  68. Skorupa, J. P. (1986). Responses of rainforest primates to selective logging in Kibale forest, Uganda: A summary report. In K. Benirschke (Ed.), Primates: The Road to Self-Sustaining Populations (57–70). New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  69. Stanford, C. (1991). The Capped Langur in Bangladesh: Behavioral Ecology and Reproductive Tactics. Basel: Karger.Google Scholar
  70. Struhsaker, T. T. (1997). Ecology of an African Rain Forest: Logging in Kibale and the Conflict between Conservation and Exploitation. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.Google Scholar
  71. Su, Y., Ren, R., Yan, K., Li, J., Zhou, Y., Zhu, Z., Hu, Z., & Hu, Y. (1998). Preliminary survey of the home range and ranging behavior of golden monkeys (Rhinopithecus [Rhinopithecus] roxellana) in Shennongjia National Natural Reserve, Hubei, China. In N. G. Jablonski (Ed.), The Natural History of the Doucs and Snub-nosed Monkeys (255–268). Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.Google Scholar
  72. Tan, C. L., Zhang, P., Li, B., Watanabe, K., & Wada, K. (2003). A preliminary study on the social organization of Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in Qinling, China. American Journal of Primatology, 60, 144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Tan, C. L., Guo, S., & Li, B. (2005). Effects of commercial logging on food distribution and ranging behavior of Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys. The 19th Annual Meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology Book of Abstracts (205–206). Brasília: University of Brasília.Google Scholar
  74. Terborgh, J. (1983). Five New World Primates: A Study of Comparative Ecology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  75. van Schaik, C. P., van Noordwijk, M. A., de Boer, R. J., & den Tonkelaar, I. (1983). The effect of group size on time budgets and social behaviour in wild long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 13, 173–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wada, k., & Tokida, E. (1981). Habitat utilization by wintering Japanese monkeys Macaca fuscata fuscata in the Shiga Heights. Primates, 22, 330–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wang, S., & Xie, Y. (2004). China Species Red List. Vol. 1. Red List. Beijing: Higher Education Press.Google Scholar
  78. Waser, P. (1977). Feeding, ranging and group size in the mangabey Cercocebus albigena. In T. H. Clutton-Brock (Ed.), Primate Ecology: Studies of Feeding and Ranging Behaviour in Lemurs, Monkeys and Apes (183–222). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  79. Waser, P. M. (1976). Cercocebus albigena: Site attachment, avoidance, and intergroup spacing. American Naturalist, 110, 911–935.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Watts, D. P. (1998). Long-term habitat use by mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei). 1. Consistency, variation, and home range size and stability. International Journal of Primatology, 19, 651–668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Whitten, A. J. (1982). Home range use by Kloss gibbons (Hylobates klossii) on Siberut Island, Indonesia. Animal Behavior, 30, 182–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Williams, J. M., Pusey, A. E., Carlis, J. V., Farm, B. P., & Goodall, J. (2002). Female competition and male territorial behaviour influence female chimpanzees’ ranging patterns. Animal Behavior, 63, 347–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Wrangham, R. W. (1980). An ecological model of female-bonded primate groups. Behaviour, 75, 262–300.Google Scholar
  84. Yang, Y., Lei, X., & Yang, C. (2002). Ecology of the Wild Guizhou Snub-nosed Monkey. Guiyang: Guizhou Technical Publishing (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  85. Zhang, P., Li, B. G., Wada, K., Tan, C. L., & Watanabe, K. (2003). Social structure of a group of Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in the Qinling Mountains of China. Acta Zoologica Sinica, 49, 727–735 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  86. Zhang, Y., Chen, L., Qu, W., & Coggins, C. (2002). The Primates of China: Biogeography and Conservation Status-Past, Present, and Future. Beijing: China Forestry Publishing House.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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

Personalised recommendations