Comparisons of Suspensory Behaviors Among Pygathrix cinerea, P. nemaeus, and Nomascus leucogenys in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam

  • Kristin A. Wright
  • Nancy J. Stevens
  • Herbert H. Covert
  • Tilo Nadler


In our study at the Endangered Primate Rescue Center of Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam, we aimed first to assemble a positional behavioral profile of captive gray-shanked (Pygathrix cinerea) and red-shanked (P. nemaeus) doucs that relates to the use of forelimb suspensory postures and arm-swinging locomotion. The profile is of interest because researchers have documented that red-shanked doucs more frequently use suspensory postures and locomotions than other colobines do. We confirmed that red-shanked doucs commonly use suspensory positional behaviors and also that gray-shanked doucs use suspensory behaviors at similar or even higher frequencies than those of red-shanked doucs. Our second goal was to assemble a preliminary kinematic profile of suspensory locomotion in Pygathrix within the context of the arm-swinging locomotion exhibited by northern white-cheeked gibbons, Nomascus leucogenys. Mean forelimb angles at initial contact and release of arm-swinging behaviors were remarkably consistent among gibbons and doucs despite the fact that gibbons typically used more continuous brachiation. Doucs also exhibit a greater range of forelimb angles than gibbons do. In addition, trunk orientation tends to be less vertical at initial contact for doucs than for gibbons, perhaps owing to the frequent use of quadrupedal sequences directly before or after forelimb suspension. Our behavioral and kinematic analyses add to the emerging realization that Pygathrix is capable of, and frequently expresses, a range of suspensory positional behaviors, including brachiation.


forelimb suspension positional behavior Pygathrix cinerea Pygathrix nemaeus 



K. A. Wright, H. H. Covert, and T. Nadler thank Nancy Stevens and Kristian Carlson for the invitation to participate in this symposium. All of the authors thank 2 anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions that improved the manuscript. We acknowledge Mr. Truong Quang Bich, Director of Cuc Phuong National Park and Mr. Do Van Lap, Chief of Scientific and International Collaborations and thank them for permission to work in Cuc Phuong National Park. We also acknowledge Dr. Ulrike Streicher, Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Hien, the Keepers, and all of the staff at the Endangered Rescue Center for their support and assistance. We obtained IACUC approval before conducting this research and all aspects of our work complied with international and facility regulations. The Zoological Society of San Diego provided partial financial support for the study via H. H. Covert.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristin A. Wright
    • 1
  • Nancy J. Stevens
    • 2
  • Herbert H. Covert
    • 3
  • Tilo Nadler
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyKansas City University of Medicine and BiosciencesKansas CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical SciencesOhio University College of Osteopathic MedicineAthensUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA
  4. 4.Cuc Phuong National ParkEndangered Primate Rescue CenterNho Quan DistrictVietnam

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