Biodiversity Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (6): 737-745.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2014.140073

Special Issue: On Species Catalogue of China

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Seasonal activity patterns of ungulates in Qinling Mountains based on camera-trap data

Xiaodong Jia1, 2, Xuehua Liu2, *(), Xingzhong Yang1, Pengfeng Wu3, Melissa Songer4, Qiong Cai5, Xiangbo He6, Yun Zhu5   

  1. 1 School of Life Sciences, Northwestern University, Shaanxi 710069
    2 School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084
    3 School of Chemistry and Life Sciences, Shenyang Normal University, Liaoning 110034
    4 Conservation Ecology Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, Virginia 22630, USA
    5 Shaanxi Guanyinshan Nature Reserve, Foping County, Shaanxi 723400
    6 Shaanxi Foping Nature Reserve, Foping County, Shaanxi 723400
  • Received:2013-04-08 Accepted:2014-11-28 Online:2014-12-11
  • Liu Xuehua

Between August 2009 and April 2013, in the Guanyingshan Nature Reserve, Shaanxi Province, we collected photo data on six ungulates (Budorcas taxicolor, Naemorhedus griseus, Elaphodus cephalophus, Capricornis milneedwardsii, Muntiacus reevesi and Moschus berezovskii) with 18 infrared cameras. Using the relative abundance index (RAI), we analyzed activity patterns and seasonal differences of these six species. The results show that: (1) their total RAI in the study area reaches 58.71%, the RAI of B. taxicolor was 28.02%, and it was 13.24% for N. griseus, 10.08% for E. cephalophus, 4.21% for C. milneedwardsii, 2.26% for M. reevesi, and 0.90% for M. berezovskii. (2) Monthly RAIs (MRAI) of six ungulates reflected seasonal activity patterns; B. taxicolor, N. griseus, E. cephalophus, C. milneedwardsii, M. reevesi exhibited similar activity patterns. These species were most active in summer, became inactive in autumn and winter, and then gradually increased activity in spring. M. berezovskii, on the other hand, was most active in winter and least active in summer. (3) The time-period relative abundance indices (TRAI) of the six ungulates reflect their daily activity patterns. B. taxicolor and N. griseus have similar daily activity patterns with an active peak at 06:00-20:00.The daily activity pattern of E. cephalophus, M. reevesi and M. berezovskii showed obvious crepuscular habits. C. milneedwardsii also has two peaks but at 02:00-06:00 and 20:00-22:00 implying nocturnal activities. (4) Comparative analyses of daily activity patterns among the four seasons showed that B. taxicolor displayed a different pattern in spring with an activity peak at 16:00-20:00. Compared with other seasons, N. gresius, E. cephalophus and C. milneedwardsii have different patterns in winter with either a delayed or advanced activity peak. In the case of M. reevesi, spring daily activity patterns showed two peaks at 00:00-10:00 and 18:00-20:00. Due to a paucity of captures, M. berezovskii showed different activity patterns in all four seasons. (5) Analysis of the nocturnality showed that C. milneedwardsii was obviously nocturnal with a nighttime relative abundance index (NRAI) of 65.81%. Our results help us to understand the activity patterns of these ungulates in Qinling, to monitor their population dynamics, and provide a theoretical basis and data support for the nature reserves to protect the ungulate animals more efficiently.

Key words: activity patterns, camera trap, ungulates, relative abundance index (RAI), seasonal variation

Fig. 1

Camera trapping sites in the study area at Guanyinshan"

Table 1

The number of photos of six ungulates in four seasons at Guanyinshan"

有效照片数 Independents captures 样本量
Sample size
春季 Spring 夏季 Summer 秋季 Autumn 冬季 Winter
总和 Sum 396 870 544 350 2,160
羚牛 Budorcas taxicolor 181 333 300 217 1,031
川西斑羚 Naemorhedus griseus 91 257 77 62 487
毛冠鹿 Elaphodus cephalophus 62 176 115 18 371
中华鬣羚 Capricornis milneedwardsii 27 53 43 32 155
小麂 Muntiacus reevesi 26 45 4 8 83
林麝 Moschus berezovskii 9 6 5 13 33

Fig. 2

Annual activity patterns of six ungulates at Guanyinshan. (a)Budorcas taxicolor; Naemorhedus griseus; Elaphodus cephalophus; Capricornis milneedwardsii; (b) Muntiacus reevesi and Moschus berezovskii."

Fig. 3

The daily activity patterns of six ungulates at Guanyinshan. (a) Budorcas taxicolor and Naemorhedus griseus; (b) Elaphodus cephalophus; Capricornis milneedwardsii; Muntiacus reevesi; Moschus berezovskii."

Fig. 4

Daily activity patterns of six ungulates in four seasons at Guanyinshan"

Fig. 5

The norcturnal RAI of six ungulates at Guanyinshan. 1. Capricornis milneedwardsii; 2. Muntiacus reevesi; 3. Moschus berezovski; 4.Naemorhedus griseus; 5.Elaphodus cephalophus; 6. Budorcas taxicolor."

[1] Champion FW (1927) With a Camera in Tiger Land. Chatto &Windus, London.
[2] Chen W (陈伟), Hu JC (胡锦矗) (2012) Seasonal differences in microhabitat use by tufted deer (Elaphodus cephalophus) in Tangjiahe Nature Reserve.Acta Theriologica Sinica(兽类学报), 32, 188-192. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[3] Chen W, Hu JC, Lu X (2009) Microhabitat use and separation between the serow (Capricornis sumatraensis) and the Chinese goral (Naemorhedus griseus) in winter.Mammalia, 73, 249-252.
[4] Chen W, Wu QG, Hu JC, Lu X, You ZQ (2012) Seasonal habitat use of Chinese goral (Naemorhedus griseus) in a subtropical forest.Russian Journal of Ecology, 43, 256-260.
[5] Gysel LW, Davis EM (1956) A simple automatic photographic unit for wildlife research.Journal of Wildlife Management, 20, 451-453.
[6] Han LX (韩联宪), Liu SL (刘尚莲), Liang HM (梁惠媚), Yang XX (杨秀熙), Yang GS (杨光姒) (1999) A preliminary observation on behavior and activity circadian rhythms of Muntiacus reevesi in captivity.Journal of Southwest Forestry College(西南林学院学报), 19, 192-195. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[7] Hu TH (胡天华), Li YG (李元刚) (2013) Application of infrared triggered cameras to monitoring of wild animal in Helan Mountain Nature Reserve.Ningxia Journal of Agriculture and Forest Science and Technology(宁夏农林科技), 54, 57-59. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[8] Karanth KU (1995) Estimating tiger Panthera tigris populations from camera-trap data using capture-recapture models.Biological Conservation, 71, 333-338.
[9] Kong F (孔飞), Zhu Y (朱云), Chang BH (常保华), Cai Q (蔡琼), Zhang HF (张洪峰), Li P (李鹏), Wu XM (吴晓民) (2013) Research on the habitats selection by mainland serow (Capricornis sunatraensis) in winter in Guanyin Mountain. Shaanxi Forest Science and Technology(陕西林业科技),27, 56. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[10] Liu XH, Wu PF, Songer M, Cai Q, He XB, Zhu Y, Shao XM (2013) Monitoring wildlife abundance and diversity with infra-red camera traps in Guanyinshan Nature Reserve of Shaanxi Province, China.Ecological Indicators, 33, 121-128.
[11] Lu XL (卢学理), Jiang ZG (蒋志刚), Tang JR (唐继荣), Wang XJ (王学杰), Xiang DQ (向定乾), Zhang JP (张建平) (2005) Auto-trigger camera traps for studying giant panda and its sympatric wildlife species.Acta Zoologica Sinica(动物学报), 51, 495-500. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[12] Ma SL (马世来), Harris RB (1996) Use of auto-trigger camera system in wildlife survey.Zoological Research(动物学研究), 17, 360-370. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[13] Rovero F, Marshall AR (2009) Camera trapping photographic rate as an index of density in forest ungulates.Journal of Applied Ecology, 46, 1011-1017.
[14] Tape KD, Gustine DD (2014) Capturing migration phenology of terrestrial wildlife using camera traps.BioScience, 64, 117-124.
[15] Wallace RB, Gomez H, Ayala G, Espinoza F (2003) Camera trapping for jaguar (Panthera onca) in the Tuichi Valley, Bolivia.Mastozoologia Neotropical, 10, 133-139.
[16] Wan XR (宛新荣), Wang MJ (王梦军), Wang GH (王广和), Liu W (刘伟), Zhong WQ (钟文勤) (2002) Numerical indices for evaluating the activity patterns of rodent species.Acta Theriologica Sinica(兽类学报), 22, 211-217. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[17] Wang T, Skidmore AK, Zeng Z, Beck PSA, Si Y, Song Y, Liu X, Prins HHT (2010) Migration patterns of two endangered sympatric species from a remote sensing perspective.Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 76, 1343-1352.
[18] Wu H (吴华), Hu JC (胡锦矗) (2001) A comparison in spring and winter habitat selection of takin, serow and groal in Tangjiahe, Sichuan.Acta Ecologica Sinica(生态学报), 21, 1627-1633. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[19] Wu PF (武鹏峰), Liu XH (刘雪华), Cai Q (蔡琼), He XB (何祥博), Melissa S, Zhu Y (朱云), Shao XM (邵小明) (2012) The application of infrared camera in mammal research in Guanyinshan Nature Reserve, Shaanxi.Acta Theriologica Sinica(兽类学报), 32, 67-71. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[20] Xue H (薛辉), Li YM (李永民), Wu XB (吴孝兵), Gu CM (顾长明), Chen WH (陈文豪), Wu JZ (吴建中) (2013) Application of the passive infrared sensor camera in the survey of pheasants and beasts in Guniujiang National Nature Reserve.Anhui Forestry Science and Technology(安徽林业科技), 39, 36-38. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[21] Yu LG (余梁哥), Chen MJ (陈敏杰), Yang SJ (杨士剑), Li XY (李学友), Shi L (师蕾) (2013) Camera trapping survey of Nyticebus pygmaeus, Nyticebus coucang and other sympatric mammals at Dawei Mountain,Yunnan.Sichuan Journal of Zoology(四川动物), 32, 814-818. (in Chinese)
[22] Zhang SS (章书声), Bao YY (鲍毅新), Wang YN (王艳妮), Fang PF (方平福), Ye B (叶彬) (2012) Activity rhythms of black muntjac (Muntiacus crinifron) revealed with infrared camera.Acta Theriologica Sinica(兽类学报), 32, 368-372. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[23] Zheng JQ (郑建清) (2011) Time budgets and behavior of captive red goral (Nemorhaedus cranbrooki) in summer.Chinese Journal of Wildlife(野生动物), 32, 249-251. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[24] Zheng X (郑祥), Bao YY (鲍毅新), Ge BM (葛宝明), Zheng RQ (郑荣泉) (2006) Seasonal changes in habitat use of black muntjac (Muntiacus crinifrons) in Zhejiang.Acta Theriologica Sinica(兽类学报), 26, 201-205. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[25] Zheng LB (张履冰), Xu HF (徐宏发), Xue WJ (薛文杰), Jiang HR (姜海瑞), Meng XX (孟秀祥) (2008) Winter and spring diet composition of musk deer in Feng County, Shaanxi.Sichuan Journal of Zoology(四川动物), 27, 110-114. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[26] Zeng ZG (曾治高), Song YL (宋延龄) (2001) Daily activity rhythm and time budget of golden takin in spring and summer.Acta Theriologica Sinica(兽类学报), 21, 7-13. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[1] Qingsong Zhou Chao-Dong ZHU Zhi-Shu XIAO. (2020) Advances in techniques and methods of wildlife monitoring . Chin J Plant Ecol, 44(生态技术与方法专辑): 0-0.
[2] Xiongwei Yang,Ankang Wu,Qixian Zou,Guangrong Li,Mingming Zhang,Canshi Hu,Haijun Su. (2020) Field monitoring of mammals and birds using infrared cameras in Mayanghe National Nature Reserve, Guizhou, China . Biodiv Sci, 28(2): 219-225.
[3] Xiao Zhishu,Chen Lijun,Song Xiangjin,Shu Zufei,Xiao Ronggao,Huang Xiaoqun. (2019) Species inventory and assessment of large- and medium-size mammals and pheasants using camera trapping in the Chebaling National Nature Reserve, Guangdong Province . Biodiv Sci, 27(3): 237-242.
[4] Xiao Wenhong,Shu Zufei,Chen Lijun,Yao Wutao,Ma Yong,Zhang Yingming,Xiao Zhishu. (2019) Using occupancy models in wildlife camera-trapping monitoring and the study case . Biodiv Sci, 27(3): 249-256.
[5] Xiao Wenhong,Hu Li,Huang Xiaoqun,Xiao Zhishu. (2019) Using capture-recapture models in wildlife camera-trapping monitoring and the study case . Biodiv Sci, 27(3): 257-265.
[6] Wang Cheng, Zhou Daqing, Liang Sheng, Su Haijun, Hu Canshi, Zhang Mingming. (2019) Camera-trapping survey on mammals and birds in Guizhou Chishui Alsophila National Nature Reserve . Biodiv Sci, 27(10): 1147-1152.
[7] Zhang Qianwen, Gong Yuening, Song Xiangjin, Wang Xincai, Yang Changteng, Shu Zufei, Zou Fasheng. (2018) Comparing the effectiveness of camera trapping to traditional methods for biodiversity surveys of forest birds . Biodiv Sci, 26(3): 229-237.
[8] Kai Liu, Jun He, Jihui Zhang, Jun Feng, Qiang Yu, Changming Gu, Hailong Wu. (2017) Mammal resource status in the mountain forest ecosystems of southern Anhui Province based on camera trap data . Biodiv Sci, 25(8): 896-903.
[9] Ze-Bin LIU, Yan-Hui WANG, Yu LIU, Ao TIAN, Ya-Rui WANG, Hai-Jun ZUO. (2017) Spatiotemporal variation and scale effect of canopy leaf area index of larch plantation on a slope of the semi-humid Liupan Mountains, Ningxia, China . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 41(7): 749-760.
[10] Liu Jianguo, Liu Weiguo, Zhu Yuanyuan, Huo Jusong, Maria?Nurlan. (2017) Seasonal Variation of N and P Stoichiometric Characteristics in Leaves of Certain Ephemeral Plants in the Gurbantunggut Desert, China . Chin Bull Bot, 52(6): 756-763.
[11] Ge Gao,Bin Wang,Chenxiang He,Xu Luo. (2017) Biodiversity of birds and mammals in alpine habitat of Mt. Gaoligong, Lushui County, Yunnan . Biodiv Sci, 25(3): 332-339.
[12] Yili Guo, Dongxing Li, Bin Wang, Kundong Bai, Wusheng Xiang, Xiankun Li. (2017) C, N and P stoichiometric characteristics of soil and litter fall for six common tree species in a northern tropical karst seasonal rainforest in Nonggang, Guangxi, southern China . Biodiv Sci, 25(10): 1085-1094.
[13] Xiang GU, Shi-Ji ZHANG, Wen-Hua XIANG, Lei-Da LI, Zhao-Dan LIU, Wei-Jun SUN, Xi FANG. (2016) Seasonal dynamics of active soil organic carbon in four subtropical forests in Southern China . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 40(10): 1064-1076.
[14] Zhishu Xiao,Xuezhi Wang,Xinhai Li. (2014) An introduction to CameraData: an online database of wildlife camera trap data . Biodiv Sci, 22(6): 712-716.
[15] Hongpan Wu, Hongjun Chu, Yuan Wang, Jianwei Ma, Yan Ge, Lan Bu. (2014) Monitoring activity rhythms of Equus hemionus at watering holes by camera traps in Mount Kalamaili Ungulate Nature Reserve, Xinjiang . Biodiv Sci, 22(6): 752-757.
Full text