Advertisement

Rhinopithecus bieti at Xiaochangdu, Tibet: Adaptations to a Marginal Environment

  • Zuofu Xiang
Chapter
Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)

Abstract

Understanding the ways in which primates have adapted to tolerate harsh environments, such as temperate forests found at high altitudes with extreme variations in temperature and food supply, may help us to understand the persistence of particular primate species when many others are in decline. In this chapter, I review the main results from the study of the ecology and behavior of an endangered monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti) in a harsh environment at Xiaochangdu, Tibet. The monkeys varied their diet throughout the year to cope with strongly seasonal food availability. They prefer to feed on leaves or fruit whenever they can be obtained, suggesting that lichens serve as a staple or a fallback food, not the resource of choice for this population. They had longer daily travel length (DTL) in summer and spring than in winter. The behavioral responses of the group were site-specific to the temperate zone and generally in accordance with current theories of primate ecology that both travel requirements to find fruit and the time and energy available for traveling increase as the proportion of fruit in the diet increases. The monkeys ranged at elevations between 3,550 and 4,300 m; however, they did not generally prefer any particular altitudinal zone. This vertical ranging behavior may be a site-specific phenomenon resulting from peculiarities of the monkeys’ habitat such as human disturbance patterns. Mating events occurred between July and October; births occurred between February and mid-March. Variation in food availability, temperature, and photoperiod may be ecological influences on the timing of reproductive events.

Keywords

Home Range Deciduous Broadleaf Forest Fallback Food Lean Season Rhinopithecus Roxellana 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31071937), the Project of Public Benefit for Forestry (201104073), and the State Forestry Administration of China. We thank Ms. Alicia Krzton for useful suggestions and editing of the English manuscript, and the staff at the administrative bureau of Honglaxueshan National Nature Reserve of Mangkang County in Tibet for their support. Without the help of our field assistants, Mr. Ding Z, Ci R, Zhu J, Wang Z, A’Nan, and Deng P, it would have been impossible to complete the fieldwork.

References

  1. Altman, J. (1974). Observational study of behavior: Sampling methods. Behaviour, 49, 227–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bennett, L. E., & Davies, A. G. (1994). The ecology of Asian colobines. In A. G. Davies & J. F. Oates (Eds.), Colobine monkeys: Their ecology, behaviour, and evolution (pp. 129–171). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bishop, N. H. (1979). Himalayan langurs: Temperate colobines. Journal Human Evolution, 8, 251–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Butynski, T. M. (1990). Comparative ecology of blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis) in high- and low-density subpopulation. Ecology Monography, 60, 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chapman, C. A. (1988). Patterns of foraging and range use by three species of neotropical primate. Primates, 29, 177–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chapman, C. A., & Chapman, L. J. (1990). Dietary variability in primate populations. Primates, 31(1), 121–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chapman, C. A., Wrangham, R. W., & Chapman, L. J. (1995). Ecological constraints on group size: An analysis of spider monkey and chimpanzee subgroups. Behavior Ecology and Sociobiology, 36(1), 59–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chivers, D. J. (1994). Functional anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract. In A. G. Davies & J. F. Oates (Eds.), Colobine monkeys: Their ecology, behaviour, and evolution (pp. 205–227). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Clutton-Brock, T. H., & Harvey, P. H. (1979). Home range size, population density and phylogeny in primates. In I. S. Bernstein & E. O. Smith (Eds.), Primate ecology and human origins: ecological influences on social organization (pp. 201–214). New York: Garland STPM Press.Google Scholar
  10. Cozzolino, R., Cordischi, C., Aureli, F., & Scucchi, S. (1992). Environmental temperature and reproductive seasonality in Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). Primates, 33, 329–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cui, L. W., & Xiao, W. (2004). Sexual behavior in one-male unit of Rhinopithecus bieti in captivity. Zoo Biology, 19, 11–25.Google Scholar
  12. Ding, W., & Zhao, Q. K. (2004). Rhinopithecus bieti at Tacheng, Yunan: Diet and daytimes activities. Internitional Journal Primatology, 25, 583–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fernadez-Duque, E., Rotundo, M., & Ramirez-Llorens, P. (2002). Enivironmental determinants of birth seasonality in night monkeys of the Argentinean Chaco. International Journal of Primatology, 23, 639–656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 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. Behavior Ecology and Sociobiology, 50, 329–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grueter, C. C., Li, D. Y., van Schaik, C. P., Ren, B. P., Long, Y. C., & Wei, F. W. (2008). Ranging of Rhinopithecus bieti in the Samage Forest, China. I. Characteristics of range use. International Journal of Primatology, 29, 1121–1145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Grueter, C. C., Li, D. Y., Ren, B. P., Wei, F. W., & van Schaik, C. P. (2009). Dietary profile of Rhinopithecus bieti and its socioecological implications. International Journal of Primatology, 30, 601–624.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 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 Nanchong Teacher’s College, 2, 1–39.Google Scholar
  18. Huo, S. (2005). Diet and habitat use of Rhinopithecus bieti at Mt Longma, Yunnan, and phylogeny of the family Viverridae in China. PhD Dissertation of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Kunming.Google Scholar
  19. Janson, C. H., & Goldsmith, M. L. (1995). Predicting group size in primates: Foraging costs and predation risks. Behavior Ecology, 6, 326–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kay, R. N. B., & Davies, A. G. (1994). Digestive physiology. In A. G. Davies & J. F. Oates (Eds.), Colobine monkeys: Their ecology, behaviour, and evolution (pp. 229–250). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Kirkpatrick, R. C. (1996). Ecology and behavior of the Yunnan Snub-nosed langur (Rhinopithecus bieti, Colobinae). PhD dissertation, University of California, Davis.Google Scholar
  22. Kirkpatrick, R. C., & Long, Y. C. (1994). Altitudinal ranging and terrestriality in the Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti). Folia Primatologica, 63, 102–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 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
  24. Li, Z. X., Ma, S. L., Hu, C. H., & Wang, Y. X. (1981). The distribution and habit of Yunnan Snub-nosed monkey. Zoological Reserach, 2, 9–16.Google Scholar
  25. Li, D. Y., Grueter, C. C., Ren, B. P., Long, Y. C., Li, M., Peng, Z. S., et al. (2008). Ranging of Rhinopithecus bieti in the Samage Forest, China. II. Use of land cover types and altitudes. International Journal of Primatology, 29, 1147–1173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Liu, Z. H., Ding, W., & Grueter, 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
  27. Long, Y. C., Kirkpatrick, R. C., Zhong, T., & Xiao, L. (1994). Report on the distribution, population, and ecology of the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus bieti. Primates, 35, 241–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Marsh, C. W. (1981). Ranging behaviour and its relation to diet selection in Tana River red colobus (Colobus badius rufomitratus). Journal Zoology (London), 195, 473–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Milton, K. (1980). The foraging strategy of howler monkeys: A study in primate economics. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Norberg, P. A. (1977). An ecological theory on foraging time and energetics and costs of optimal food searching method. Journal Animal Ecology, 46, 511–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Oates, J. F. (1987). Food distribution and foraging behavior. In B. B. Smuts, D. L. Cheney, R. M. Seyfarth, R. W. Wrangham, & T. T. Struhsaker (Eds.), Primate societies (pp. 197–209). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  32. Olupot, W., Chapman, C. A., Brown, C. H., & Waser, P. M. (1994). Mangabey (Cercocebus albigena) population density, group size, and ranging: A 20 year comparison. American Journal Primatology, 32, 197–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ren, B. P., Li, M., Long, Y. C., & Wei, F. W. (2009). Influence of day length, ambient temperature, and seasonality on daily travel distance in the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey at Jinsichang, Yunnan, China. American Journal Primatology, 71, 233–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Smith, A. T., & Xie, Y. (2009). A guide to the Mammals of China. Hunan, Changsha: Hunan Education Published Housed.Google Scholar
  35. Strier, K. B. (2003). Food, foraging and females. Boston Allyn and Bacon: Primates behavioural ecology.Google Scholar
  36. Takasaki, H. (1981). Troop size, habitat quality, and home range area in Japanese macaques. Behavior Ecology Sociobiology, 9, 277–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Vargas, A., Jiméneza, J., Palomates, F., & Palacios, M. J. (2002). Distribution, status and conservation needs of the golden-crowned sifaka (Propithecus tattaersalli). Biological Conservation, 108, 325–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wu, Z. Y. (1991). The areal-types of Chinese genera of seed plants. Acta Botanica Yunnanica, (4), 1–139.Google Scholar
  39. Xiang, Z. F. (2005). The ecology and behavior of black-and-white snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti, Colobinae) at Xiaochangdu in Honglaxueshan National Nature Reserve, Tibet, China. PhD Dissertation of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Kunming.Google Scholar
  40. Xiang, Z. F., & Sayers, K. (2009). Reports on seasonality of mating and birth events in wild black-and-white snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti) at Xiaochangdu, Tibet. Primates, 50, 50–55.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Xiang, Z. F., Huo, S., Ma, X. F., & Ma, S. L. (2004). Status and threat factors of non-human primates at Mt Huanglian area, Yunnan, China. Chinese Journal of Ecology, 23, 168–171. (in Chinese with an English abstract).Google Scholar
  42. Xiang, Z. F., Huo, S., Xiao, W., Quan, R. C., & Grueter, C. C. (2007a). Diet and feeding behavior of Rhinopithecus bieti at Xiaochangdu, Tibet: Adaptations to a marginal environment. American Journal of Primatology, 69, 1141–1158.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Xiang, Z. F., Huo, S., Wang, L., Cui, L. W., Xiao, W., & Zhong, T. (2007b). Distribution, status and conservation strategies of the black-and-white snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus bieti in Tibet. Oryx, 41, 525–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Xiang, Z. F., Huo, S., & Xiao, W. (2011). Habitat selection of black-and-white snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti) in Tibet: Implications for species conservation. American Journal of Primatology, 73, 347–355.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Xiao, W., Ding, W., Cui, L. W., Zhou, R. L., & Zhao, Q. K. (2003). Habitat degradation of Rhinopithecus bieti in Yunnan, China. International Journal Primatology, 24, 389–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Yang, S. J. (2003). Altitudinal ranging of Rhinopithecus bieti at Jinsichang, Lijiang, China. Folia Primatology, 74, 88–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yang, S. J., & Zhao, Q. K. (2001). Bamboo leaf-based diet of Rhinopithecus bieti at Lijiang, China. Folia Primatology, 72, 92–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zhang, S. Y., Liang, B., & Wang, L. X. (2000). Seasonality of matings and births in captive Sichuan Golden Monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana). American Journal of Primatology, 51, 265–269.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zhao, Q. K. (1996). Ecological information on statistics of human population and agriculture in Hengduan Mountains from Yunnan. Chinese Biodiversity, 4, 217–221. (in Chinese with an English abstract).Google Scholar
  50. Zhao, Q. K., He, S. J., Wu, B. Q., & Nash, L. T. (1988). Excrement distribution and habitat use in Rhinopithecus bieti in winter. American Journal of Primatology, 16, 275–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zhong, T., Xiao, L., Huo, S., Xiang, Z. F., Xiao, W., & Cui, L. W. (2008). Altitudinal range of black-and-white Snub-nosed Monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti) at Baima Snow Mountain, China. Zoological Research, 29, 181–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zou, R. J., Yang, S. C., & Ji, W. Z. (1999). Infant development and growth of the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti). Sichuan Journal Zoology, 18, 12–14.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Life Science and TechnologyCentral South University of Forestry and TechnologyChangshaPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations