International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 609–626 | Cite as

Effects of Seasonal Folivory and Frugivory on Ranging Patterns in Rhinopithecus roxellana

  • Yankuo Li
  • Zhigang JiangEmail author
  • Chunwang Li
  • Cyril C. Grueter


The distribution of food resources in time and space may affect the diet, ranging pattern, and social organization of primates. We studied variation in ranging patterns in a group of Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) over winter and summer in response to variation in their diet in the Qingmuchuan Nature Reserve, China. There was a clear diet shift from highly folivorous in winter to highly frugivorous in summer. The home range was 8.09 km2 in summer and 7.43 km2 in winter, calculated via the 95% kernel method. Corresponding to the diet shift, the focal group traveled significantly longer distances in summer (mean 1020 ± 69 m/d) than in winter (mean 676 ± 53 m/d); the daily range was also significantly greater in summer (mean 0.27 ± 0.02 km2/d) than in winter (mean 0.21 ± 0.01 km2/d). There was no significant variation in home range size between winter and summer, and the monkeys did not use geographically distinct ranges in summer and winter. However, overlap in the actual activity area and core range between winter and summer was only 0.13 km2, representing 4.4% of the summer core area and 5.3% of the winter core area. Differences were apparent between summer and winter ranging patterns: In summer, the group traveled repeatedly and uninterruptedly across its home range and made 3 circles of movement along a fixed route in 31 d; in winter, the activity area was composed of 3 disconnected patches, and the focal group stayed in each patch for an average of 8 successive days without traveling among patches. Winter range use was concentrated on mixed evergreen and deciduous forest patches where leaves and fruits were available, whereas the summer range pattern correlates significantly positively with the distribution of giant dogwood (Cornus controversa) fruits. Thus it appears that the diet shift of Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys between winter and summer caused the monkeys to use their home range in different ways, supporting the hypothesis that food resources determine primate ranging patterns.


frugivory range size ranging pattern Rhinopithecus roxellana Sichuan snub-nosed monkey 



We thank Dr. Joanna M. Setchell and an anonymous reviewer for suggestions that improved the article. We thank Chenghui Shen, Yihong Zhang, Tao Miao, and Youkui Xu for their help and support during field work. We thank Dengqing Mo, Shuqiang Wei, Xingrong Ma, Kaichun Tu, Shihua Pang for their help in monitoring the monkey group in the mountains and providing logistic support to the field camp. We acknowledge the Knowledge Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. CXTDS2005-4) and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, USA for financial support. We thank the Shaanxi Provincial Forestry Bureau and Qingmuchuan Nature Reserve Administration for permission to conduct this study.


  1. Basabose, A. K. (2005). Ranging patterns of chimpanzees in a montane forest of Kahuzi, Democratic Republic of Congo. International Journal of Primatology, 26, 33–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 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
  3. Buchanan-Smith, H. M. (1991). A field study on the red-bellied tamarin, Saguinus l. labiatus, in Bolivia. International Journal of Primatology, 12, 259–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chapman, C. A. (1990). Ecological constraints on group size in three species of Neotropical Primates. Folia Primatologica, 55, 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clutton-Brock, T. H. (1975). Ranging behaviour of red colobus (Colobus badius tephrosceles) in the Gombe National Park. Animal Behaviour, 23, 706–22.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Clutton-Brock, T. H., & Harvey, P. H. (1977). Primate ecology and social organization. Journal of Zoology (London), 183, 1–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Curtis, D. J., & Zaramody, A. (1998). Group size, home range use, and seasonal variation in the ecology of Eulemur mongoz. International Journal of Primatology, 19, 811–835.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dasilva, G. L. (1994). Diet of Colobus polykomos on Tiwai Island: selection of food in relation to its seasonal abundance and nutritional quality. International Journal of Primatology, 15, 655–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ding, W., & Zhao, Q. K. (2004). Rhinopithecus bieti at Tacheng, Yunnan: diet and daytime activities. International Journal of Primatology, 25, 583–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Diniz-Filho, J. A. F., Bini, L. M., & Hawkins, B. A. (2003). Spatial autocorrelation and red herrings in geographical ecology. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 12, 53–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dutilleul, P., Clifford, P., Richardson, S., & Hemon, D. (1993). Modifying the t test for assessing the correlation between two spatial processes. Biometrics, 49, 305–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Furuichi, T., & Hashimoto, C. (2004). Botanical and topographical factors influencing nesting-site selection by chimpanzees in Kalinzu Forest, Uganda. International Journal of Primatology, 25(4), 755–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Glessner, K. D. G., & Britt, A. (2005). Population density and home range size of Indri indri in a protected low altitude rain forest. International Journal of Primatology, 26, 855–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grueter, C. C., Li, D., Ren, B., & Wei, F. (2009). Choice of analytical method can have dramatic effects on primate home range estimates. Primates, 50(1), 81–84.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Grueter, C. C., Li, D., Van Schaik, C. P., Ren, B., Long, Y., & Wei, F. (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. Guo, S., Li, B., & Watanabe, K. (2007). Diet and activity budget of Rhinopithecus roxellana in the Qinling Mountains, China. Primates, 48, 268–276.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Harris, T., & Chapman, C. (2007). Variation in diet and ranging of black and white colobus monkeys in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Primates, 48, 208–221.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Harris, S., Cresswell, W. J., Forde, P. G., Trewhella, W. J., Woollard, T., & Wray, S. (1990). Home-range analysis using radio-tracking data—a review of problems and techniques particularly as applied to the study of mammals. Mammal Review, 20, 97–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Harrison, M. J. S. (1983). Patterns of range use by the green monkey, Cercopithecus sabaeus, at Mt. Assirik, Senegal. Folia Primatologica, 41, 157–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hill, D. A. (1997). Seasonal variation in the feeding behavior and diet of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata yakui) in lowland forest of Yakushima. American Journal of Primatology, 43, 305–22.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Hu, J. (1998). Rhinopithecus roxellana (pp. 65–68). Mammalia: China Red Data Book of Endangered Animals.Google Scholar
  22. Hu, J., Deng, Q., Yu, Z., Zhou, S., & Tian, Z. (1980). Research on the ecology and biology of the panda, golden monkey, and other rare species. Journal of Nanchong Teacher’s University, 2, 1–29.Google Scholar
  23. Isbell, L. A. (1983). Daily ranging behavior of red Colobus (Colobus badius tephrosceles) in Kibale Forest, Uganda. Folia Primatologica, 41, 34–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jiang, Z. G. (2005). Biodiversity of the Qingmuchuan Nature Reserve, Shaanxi Province: Vegetation (pp. 29–32). Beijing: Tsinghua University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kirkpatrick, R. C. (1998). Ecology and Behavior in Snub-nosed and Douc Langurs. In N. C. Jablonski (Ed.), The natural history of the doucs and snub-nosed monkeys (pp. 160–268). Singapore: Word Scientific.Google Scholar
  26. Kirkpatrick, R. C., & Long, Y. C. (1994). Altitudinal ranging and terrestriality in the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti). Folia Primatologica, 63, 102–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Koganezawa, M., & Imaki, H. (1999). The effects of food sources on Japanese monkey home range size and location, and population dynamics. Primates, 40, 177–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Legendre, P. (2000). Program Mod_t_test. Departement de sciences biologiques, Université de Montréal. Available on www. fas. umontreal. ca/biol/legendre.Google Scholar
  29. 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
  30. 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.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Li, Y. (2006). Seasonal variation of diet and food availability in a group of Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys in Shennongjia Nature Reserve, China. American Journal of Primatology, 68, 217–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. Li, B., & Liu, A. (1994). Home range of primates (in Chinese with English abstract). Chinese Journal of Ecology, 13, 61–65.Google Scholar
  35. Li, B., Pan, R., & Oxnard, C. E. (2002). Extinction of snub-nosed monkeys in China during the past 400 years. International Journal of Primatology, 23(6), 1227–1244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Li, D. Y., Peng, Z. S., Ren, B. P., Gruter, C. C., Zhou, Q. H., & Wei, F. W. (2006). Early autumn habitat selection by the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti) in Tacheng, Yunnan. Journal of China West Normal University, 27(3), 233–238. In Chinese.Google Scholar
  37. Liu, Z., 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, 691–696.Google Scholar
  38. Liu, Y., Qin, H., Wu, J., Sun, C., Wu, Z., & Chen, J. (2006). Florae of seed plants in Qingmuchuan Nature Reserve of Shaanxi. Acta Botanica Boreali-Occidentalia Sinica, 26, 1244–1249.Google Scholar
  39. 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
  40. Lu, J. Q. (2007). Daily activity budget and social structure of Rhinopithecus roxellana in Qinling Mountains. Thesis, Northwest University, Xi’an (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  41. Ma, Q. (2003). The studies on ethology and ecology of Chinese snub-nosed monkey in Xiaoshengnongjia district. MS Thesis, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  42. Maruhashi, T. (1980). Feeding behavior and diet of the Japanese monkey (Macaca fuscata yakui) on Yakushima Island, Japan. Primates, 21, 141–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Milton, K., & May, M. L. (1976). Body weight, diet and home range area in primates. Nature, 259, 459–462.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Newton, P. (1992). Feeding and ranging patterns of forest hanuman langurs (Presbytis entellus). International Journal of Primatology, 13, 245–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Nkurunungi, J., & Stanford, C. (2006). Preliminary GIS analysis of range use by sympatric Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. Primates of Western Uganda, 193–205.Google Scholar
  46. 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. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  47. O'Brien, T. G., & Kinnaird, M. F. (1997). Behavior, diet, and movements of the Sulawesi Crested Black Macaque (Macaca nigra). International Journal of Primatology, 18, 321–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Ren, B. P. (2002). Reproductive behaviours of the Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys, Rhinopithecus roxellana. Ph D Thesis, Beijing: Beijing Normal University (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  49. Ren, R. M., Yan, K. H., Su, Y. J., Zhou, Y., Li, J. J., Zhu, Z. Q., et al. (2000). A field study of the Society of Rhinopithecus roxellana (in Chinese). Beijing: Beijing University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Robbins, M. M., & McNeilage, A. (2003). Home range and frugivory patterns of Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. International Journal of Primatology, 24, 467–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Scholz, F., & Kappeler, P. M. (2004). Effects of seasonal water scarcity on the ranging behavior of Eulemur fulvus rufus. International Journal of Primatology, 25, 599–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Singleton, I., & Van Schaik, C. (2001). Orangutan home range size and its determinants in a Sumatran swamp forest. International Journal of Primatology, 22, 877–911.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sterling, E. J., Nguyen, N., & Fashing, P. J. (2000). Spatial patterning in nocturnal prosimians: a review of methods and relevance to studies of sociality. American Journal of Primatology, 51, 3–19.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Strier, K. B. (1987). Ranging behavior of woolly spider monkeys, or muriquis, Brachyteles arachnoides. International Journal of Primatology, 8, 575–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Strier, K. B. (2003). Food, foraging and females. Primates behavioural ecology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  56. Tan, C. L., Guo, S., & Li, B. (2007). Population structure and ranging patterns of Rhinopithecus roxellana in Zhouzhi National Nature Reserve, Shaanxi, China. International Journal of Primatology, 28, 577–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Ueda, H., Takatsuki, S., & Takahashi, Y. (2002). Bark stripping of hinoki cypress by sika deer in relation to snow cover and food availability on Mt. Takahara, central Japan. Ecological Research, 17, 545–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wallace, R. B. (2006). Seasonal variations in black-faced black spider monkey (Ateles chamek) habitat use and ranging behavior in a southern Amazonian tropical forest. American Journal of Primatology, 68, 313–332.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Wang, S., & Xie, Y. (2004). China species red list. Beijing: Higher Education.Google Scholar
  60. 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, 651–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Yang, Y., Lei, X., & Yang, C. (2002). Ecology of the wild Guizhou snub-nosed monkey (in Chinese). Guiyang: Guizhou Scientific.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yankuo Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhigang Jiang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Chunwang Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cyril C. Grueter
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of ZoologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of PrimatologyMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary AnthropologyLeipzigGermany

Personalised recommendations