Sexual segregation in Tibetan gazelle: a test of the activity budget hypothesis

Authors

  • Z. Li,

    1. Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
    2. Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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  • Z. Jiang

    1. Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
    2. Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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Correspondence
Prof. Zhigang Jiang, Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China. Tel: +86 10 64807268; Fax: +86 10 64807099
Email: jiangzg@ioz.ac.cn

Abstract

Tibetan gazelle Procapra picticaudata, a threatened endemic species on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, is a sexually dimorphic ungulate. Males are larger than females and both sexes live in different groups, except during the rutting season. In order to test the activity budget hypothesis, which was proposed to explain social segregation in ungulates, we studied the activity budget of male and female Tibetan gazelles during the summers of 2005 and 2006. The activity budget hypothesis predicts that females spend more time feeding and group members synchronize their activities more in the same-sex groups than in the mixed-sex groups. We found that females and males of Tibetan gazelle had different activity budgets; females spent significantly longer time feeding and comparably less time on other activities. Activity synchronization indexes between female groups and male groups were similar (female groups: 0.81±0.17, male groups: 0.80±0.19), whereas both of them were significantly higher than that of mixed-sex groups (0.58±0.29). These results suggest that although sexual segregation might be caused by multiple mechanisms, the activity budget hypothesis about sexual segregation is supported by our studies of Tibetan gazelle on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

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