Biodiversity Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (6): 746-751.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2014.14180

Special Issue: On Species Catalogue of China

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Grouping behavior of wild camel (Camelus ferus) referred from video data of camera trap in Kumtag Desert

Yadong Xue, Fang Liu, Yuguang Zhang, Diqiang Li*()   

  1. Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry
    Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Environment of State Forestry Administration, Beijing 100091
  • Received:2014-08-27 Accepted:2014-11-26 Online:2014-12-11
  • Li Diqiang E-mail:lidq@caf.ac.cn

There are great knowledge gaps concerning the population dynamics and behavioral ecology of wild camels. This study focused on grouping behaviors of camels (Camelus ferus) through the use of continuous camera trapping at 11 water source sites and eight field surveys conducted in the Kumtag Desert to evaluate seasonal variation in grouping behavior. We recorded 430 individual wild camels in a total of 64 groups. The largest group contained 71 individuals, the smallest group 1. The average group size was 10.74 during the breeding season, and 2.94 during the non-breeding season. Our data on seasonal grouping of camels, including average and maximum group size, supported the idea that wild camels live in open fission fusion groups, which tend to concentrate during the winter rutting season. At these 11 water source sites, 281 groups were recorded over the course of one year. Though no difference in average group size was detected between seasons in the camera trap data, both camera trap and field survey data supported the hypothesis that maximum group size was larger in the breeding season than in the non-breeding season. Group size was larger on the northern slope of the Altun Mountains than at Xihu wetland. Topography of the water source sites, the camera angle view, and the monitoring duration of cameras could all lead to an underestimate of wild camel group size. Even considering the limitations of our study, camera traps provide a new method and insights compared with traditional field surveys, and they are more economical and practical as well.

Key words: Camelus ferus, behavior, population, seasonal variation, water source sites

Fig. 1

Route of field surveys and distribution of camera traps in Kumtag Desert between 2011 and 2013"

Table 1

The observation records of wild camels in Kumtag Desert between 2011 and 2013"

编号
Number
调查时间
Survey time
调查地点
Locations
群体数
Populations
个体数
Individuals
最大群
Maximum
group size
最小群
Minimum
group size
1 2011.10.24-10.27 阿尔金山北麓 ARJ 7 83 55 1
2 2012.2.15-2.19 阿尔金山北麓 ARJ 16 80 14 1
西湖湿地 XH 0 - - -
3 2012.5.26-6.1 阿尔金山北麓 ARJ 8 39 22 1
西湖湿地 XH 0 - - -
阿奇克谷地 AQK 0 - - -
4 2012.9.16-9.25 阿尔金山北麓 ARJ 4 11 6 1
西湖湿地 XH 1 3 - -
阿奇克谷地 AQK 0 - - -
5 2013.1.23-1.31 阿尔金山北麓 ARJ 3 78 71 1
西湖湿地 XH 0 - - -
6 2013.5.8-5.15 阿尔金山北麓 ARJ 13 29 4 1
西湖湿地 XH 0 - - -
阿奇克谷地 AQK 0 - - -
7 2013.8.25-9.11 阿尔金山北麓 ARJ 6 11 4 1
西湖湿地 XH 1 4 - -
阿奇克谷地 AQK 0 - - -
8 2013.12.12-12.18 阿尔金山北麓 ARJ 5 92 51 1
西湖湿地 XH 0 - - -
阿奇克谷地 AQK 0 - - -

Table 2

The observation records of wild camels with camera traps in Kumtag Desert"

月份
Month
有效录像
Available videos
个体数
Individuals
集群大小平均值
Average group size
中位数
Median group size
最大群
Maximum group size
最小群
Minimum group size
1 6 12 2.00±0.36 2 3 1
2 8 37 4.62±3.07 1 26 1
3 60 147 2.45±0.50 1 30 1
4 37 146 3.94±0.74 2 17 1
5 49 147 3.00±0.50 1 16 1
6 22 65 2.95±0.74 2 17 1
7 14 35 2.50±0.99 1 15 1
8 14 21 1.50±0.31 1 5 1
9 6 20 3.33±1.58 2 11 1
10 30 47 1.57±0.28 1 9 1
11 29 59 2.03±0.53 1 16 1
12 6 9 1.50±0.34 1 3 1

Table 3

The group size of wild camels at water source sites"

水源地
Sites
有效录像
Available videos
集群大小平均值
Average
group size
最大集群
Maximum group size
最小集群
Minimum group size
A1 26 4.15±1.40 30 1
A2 32 2.84±0.61 17 1
A3 49 1.20±0.08 3 1
A4 29 3.34±0.71 17 1
A5 10 1.33±0.33 2 1
A6 62 2.95±0.49 17 1
A7 33 1.85±0.22 6 1
X1 36 2.28±0.60 15 1
X2 3 3.00±1.15 5 1
X3 1 - 16 -
X4 0 - - -

Fig. S1

Wild camels recorded with camera traps at water source sites http://www.biodiversity-science.net/fileup/PDF/w2014-180-1.pdf"

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