Dietary breadth and resource use of François' langur in a seasonal and disturbed habitat

Authors

  • Gang Hu

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Rare Wildlife, China West Normal University, Nanchong, Sichuan, People's Republic of China
    2. Institute of Wildlife, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming, Yunnan, People's Republic of China
    • Institute of Rare Wildlife, China West Normal University, Nanchong, Sichuan, 637009, People's Republic of China
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Abstract

Previous studies of Trachypithecus species indicated that they were selective feeders that concentrated on relatively few food species/items. From January to December 2005, I quantified potential food availability and the food species/items eaten by five groups of François' langur (Trachypithecus francoisi) in the Mayanghe Nature Reserve (MNR), People's Republic of China. These langurs fed on 164 species, of which the top ten accounted for 51% of all feeding records. Langurs consumed more species (91) in the spring than in other seasons (73 summer, 75 autumn, and 67 winter), and only 38 species were consumed in all seasons. Nontree food species, such as bushes and lianas, accounted for 47% of the total feeding records and for a majority (68%) of the feeding records in winter. The annual diet consisted of leaves (64% of feeding records), fruit and seed (32%), and other nonfoliage items (4%); the langurs switched from being more folivorous in spring (93%) and summer (79%) to being more frugivorous in autumn (53%) and winter (56%). There was no correlation between the proportion of feeding records and the food availability in the most frequently consumed species, indicating that these langurs were selective feeders; there were significant correlations between consumption and abundance in both the entire set of 112 food species and the set of 86 infrequently consumed species, indicating that foods that are more available are eaten more frequently. It appeared that in the seasonal and disturbed habitat, feeding decisions and diet composition of the langur may be driven more by food availability, and less by animal's selectivity, than at other sites. The results indicate that François' langur copes with habitat alterations by broaden its dietary breadth; this has implications for the adaptive significance of dietary breadth, and has implications for future conservation strategies for species which exist in degraded habitats. Am. J. Primatol. 73:1176–1187, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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