International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 1037–1046 | Cite as

Reproductive Characters and Mating Behaviour of Wild Nomascus hainanus

  • Jiang Zhou
  • Fuwen Wei
  • Ming Li
  • Chan Bosco Pui Lok
  • Deli Wang


We report for the first time the reproductive behaviors of Hainan gibbons (Nomascus hainanus), based on 29 mo of field observations. Receptive females initiated courtship displays. Copulatory patterns involved the male mounting dorsoventrally from above and behind. Multiple intromissions with thrusting were brief, lasting <10 s per copulation. We observed multiple copulations ≤4 times/d, but could not confirm multiple ejaculations. We also observed postconception proceptivity and copulations in sexually active females. We estimated the gestation period to be 136–173 d. Infants became independent at 1.5 yr, and the natal group could drive out maturing offspring at ca. 5.5 yr. The interbirth interval is ca. 24 mo. Our limited data also suggest that mating activities peak in the rainy season. The Hainan gibbons are polygynous, with a 1 male-2 females mating system. We hypothesize that suboptimal habitat quality and limited forest area may contribute to the current mating structure, but more work needs to be done over a longer period to understand better the sociosexual behaviors of this critically endangered species.


copulation pattern gestation period Hainan gibbon interbirth interval Nomascus hainanus polygyny reproductive behavior social structure 



A grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China for Distinguished Young Scholars to Fuwen Wei (30125006) provided funding for the work. In addition, the Sate Forestry Administration, China; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Fauna & Flora International China Programme Office; and Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden, Hong Kong provided funding for C. B. P. Lok to conduct the work. Richard Corlett and John Fellowes provided invaluable help in preparing the draft of the manuscript. We would also thank Mr. Xu Yingdong, Mr. Zhou Zhaoli, and Mr. Feng Zhenlin for logistic support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiang Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fuwen Wei
    • 2
  • Ming Li
    • 2
  • Chan Bosco Pui Lok
    • 3
  • Deli Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Grassland Science, Key Laboratory of Vegetation EcologyNortheast Normal UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.Institute of ZoologyThe Chinese Academy of SciencesHaidianChina
  3. 3.Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden, China ProgrammeTai Po, N.T.China

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