Reproductive parameters of wild female Rhinopithecus roxellana

Authors

  • Xiao-Guang Qi,

    1. College of Life Sciences, and Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China of Ministry of Education, Northwest University, Xi'an, People's Republic of China
    2. Department of Geology, Northwest University, Xi'an, People's Republic of China
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  • Bao-Guo Li,

    Corresponding author
    1. College of Life Sciences, and Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China of Ministry of Education, Northwest University, Xi'an, People's Republic of China
    • College of Life Sciences, and Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China of Ministry of Education, Northwest University, No. 229, Taibai North Road, Xi'an 710069, P.R. China
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  • Wei-Hong Ji

    1. Institute of Natural Resource, Massey University, Albany, Auckland, New Zealand
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Abstract

On the basis on 6 years of observation, we estimated the reproductive parameters of a Golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) group in the Qinling Mountains, China. We observed 88 births in 47 females from 2001 to 2006. Two methods were used to calculate the birthrate. The first method is based on the number of births observed in a year, giving 0.49±0.07 (mean±SD), and the second method is based on the female-years of observation, giving 0.49±0.17 births per female per year in this troop. The mean interbirth interval is 21.88±6.01 months (mean±SD). The mortality of infant born between 2002 and 2005 was 22.4%. The interbirth intervals of females that had lost an infant before the age of 6 months were significantly shorter than that of females whose infants survived for more than 6 months. A female usually gives birth once every 2 years if the previous offspring survives to a weaning age of 5–6 months, or will give birth in the next year if the previous young dies before reaching an age of 6 months. Births were significantly concentrated during March to May of each year. The mean birth date was on April 14, median was April 12; and the standard deviation was 13.98 days. Birth peak occurs 6–7 months after mating peak. From observations on 15 individuals that gave birth for the first time, we concluded that the wild female Golden snub-nosed monkeys in Qinling Mountains start giving birth at an age of 5 or 6 years. We suggest that the seasonal reproductive pattern is an adaptive response to the availability of seasonal food. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that these reproductive characteristics are a result of adaptation to the seasonality of mountain climate and food resources. Am. J. Primatol. 70:311–319, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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