Factors Influencing Interannual and Intersite Variability in the Diet of Trachypithecus francoisi
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- Zhou, Q., Huang, Z., Wei, X. et al. Int J Primatol (2009) 30: 583. doi:10.1007/s10764-009-9362-1
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Comparative studies of the diet of the same species in different habitats, and over the long term, are essential to understanding a species’ behavioral and ecological plasticity. Moreover, such studies can help researchers and managers evaluate a species’ capacity to cope with changes in habitat quality resulting from natural processes or human disturbance, which is important for developing conservation strategies. We compared dietary data for François’ langur (Trachypithecus francoisi) collected at Nonggang and Fusui Nature Reserves, Guangxi Province, China, over 2 separate study periods to evaluate interannual and intersite variation in diet. Young leaves were the preferred staple foods for langurs, whereas mature leaves and seeds served as fallback foods in response to seasonal shortage in the abundance of young leaves. Species composition of the diets and the percentage of feeding records for plant species varied between the 2 study periods. The langurs at both study sites fed selectively, and they did not base their diet simply on the abundance of plant species in the habitat. However, the plant species eaten by langur groups inhabiting the 2 different reserves were markedly different, and the top 10 food species eaten by the Fusui group showed no overlap with those eaten by the Nonggang group. The variation may be related to differences in forest composition resulting from different level of human disturbance. In summary, our results indicate that François’ langurs exhibit a comparable dietary pattern both temporally and geographically, but there is marked interannual and intersite difference in species composition of the langur diet.