Sleeping sites, sleeping trees, and sleep-related behaviors of black crested gibbons (Nomascus concolor jingdongensis) at Mt. Wuliang, Central Yunnan, China

Authors

  • Peng-Fei Fan,

    1. Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan, People's Republic of China
    2. Department of Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People's Republic of China
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  • Xue-Long Jiang

    Corresponding author
    1. Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan, People's Republic of China
    • Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 32 Jiaochang Donglu, Kunming, Yunnan 650223, P. R. China
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Abstract

Data on sleep-related behaviors were collected for a group of central Yunnan black crested gibbons (Nomascus concolor jingdongensis) at Mt. Wuliang, Yunnan, China from March 2005 to April 2006. Members of the group usually formed four sleeping units (adult male and juvenile, adult female with one semi-dependent black infant, adult female with one dependent yellow infant, and subadult male) spread over different sleeping trees. Individuals or units preferred specific areas to sleep; all sleeping sites were situated in primary forest, mostly (77%) between 2,200 and 2,400 m in elevation. They tended to sleep in the tallest and thickest trees with large crowns on steep slopes and near important food patches. Factors influencing sleeping site selection were (1) tree characteristics, (2) accessibility, and (3) easy escape. Few sleeping trees were used repeatedly by the same or other members of the group. The gibbons entered the sleeping trees on average 128 min before sunset and left the sleeping trees on average 33 min after sunrise. The lag between the first and last individual entering the trees was on average 17.8 min. We suggest that sleep-related behaviors are primarily adaptations to minimize the risk of being detected by predators. Sleeping trees may be chosen to make approach and attack difficult for the predator, and to provide an easy escape route in the dark. In response to cold temperatures in a higher habitat, gibbons usually sit and huddle together during the night, and in the cold season they tend to sleep on ferns and/or orchids. Am. J. Primatol. 70:153–160, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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