Biodiversity Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (6): 638-647.doi: 10.17520/biods.2019070

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Coat pattern variation and activity rhythm of Asiatic golden cat (Catopuma temminckii) in Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon National Nature Reserve of Tibet, China

Wang Yuan1, Li Sheng2, Liu Wulin1, *(), Zhu Xuelin1, Li Bingzhang1   

  1. 1 Forestry Inventory and Planning Institute of Tibet Autonomous Region, Lhasa 850000
    2 School of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871
  • Received:2019-03-11 Accepted:2019-05-27 Online:2019-06-20
  • Liu Wulin

From 2013 to 2018 we conducted camera-trapping surveys on the elusive Asiatic golden cat (Catopuma temminckii) in Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon National Nature Reserve, Tibet. With an extensive survey effort of 14,071 camera-days at 70 camera stations, we obtained 101 independent detections of Asiatic golden cat, of which 60 (59.4%) were captured during day time and used to identify the coat markings of each captured individual. Four types of coat variations were detected and defined. The capture rates were: 46 common form, 7 red form, 4 melanistic form, and 3 gray form. The gray form was the first ever record in China. Results indicate that individuals of different forms could be co-existing and southeast Tibet has the most diverse coat variations of Asiatic golden cat in China. We described the morphological characteristics shared among and between the different forms, which will provide a sound foundation for further research on this species. The Asiatic golden cats in the study area showed a diurnal activity rhythm with the highest activity peak between 10:00 and 12:00. There were significant differences in daily-discrepancy index α and diurnal-nocturnal index β in different months and the activity intensity and peak patterns had obvious seasonal changes. This study has accumulated basic data for wildlife inventory of the East Himalayan biodiversity hotspot, and also provided basic information and reference for subsequent research on the mechanisms determining coat variations of felid species.

Key words: Asiatic golden cat (Catopuma temminckii), camera-trapping, Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon National Nature Reserve, activity rhythm

Table 1

The camera-trapping efforts and number of independent photographs of Asiatic golden cat in the 9 survey areas in Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon National Nature Reserve between 2013 and 2018"

Survey areas
红外相机位点数 Number of camera stations 海拔范围
Elevation range
Number of camera-days
Number of photographs
Number of independent photographs of golden cat
比西日区 The Bixiri Area 11 2,235-3,479 2,794 12,294 34
The south bank of the Yarlung Zangbo River Area
10 582-668 1,880 16,751 0
乌马山区 The Uma Mountain Area 6 1,751-3,145 1,374 6,942 0
拉吉山区 The Raj Mountain Area 8 1,631-2,086 1,968 8,467 12
旦各着区 The Dangezhuo Area 3 954-1,434 630 684 2
格当沟区 The Gedang Ditch Area 16 2,230-2,470 2,691 8,713 46
美玉伦巴区 The Meiyulunba Area 2 1,751-2,315 294 5,172 1
西贡河区 The Xigong River Area 6 1,124-1,590 1,080 6,532 3
德阳沟区 The Deyang Ditch Area 8 815-1,294 1,360 6,359 3
合计 Total 70 582-3,479 14,071 71,914 101

Fig. 1

The four coat patterns of Asiatic golden cats photographed during camera-trapping surveys at the Tibetan Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon National Nature Reserve. a, Common form; b, Red form; c, Melanistic form; d, Gray form."

Table 2

Statistics of identifiable color photos in independent photos of Asiatic golden cats in each monitoring area"

Survey areas
No. of independent photographs
各色型独立照片数 No. of independent photographs of each form
Common form
Red form
Melanistic form
Gray form
比西日区 The Bixiri Area 34 6 7 3
The south bank of the Yarlung Zangbo River Area
乌马山区 The Uma Mountain Area 0
拉吉山区 The Raj Mountain Area 12 1
旦各着区 The Dangezhuo Area 2 2
格当沟区 The Gedang Ditch Area 46 35 3
美玉伦巴区 The Meiyulunba Area 1
西贡河区 The Xigong River Area 3 3
德阳沟区 The Deyang Ditch Area 3
合计 Total 101 46 7 4 3

Fig. 2

The daily activity pattern of Asiatic golden cat in Tibetan Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon National Nature Reserve (N = 101)"

Fig. 3

The day (a) and monthly (b) changes of Asiatic golden cat of daily-discrepancy index (α)"

Fig. 4

The day (a) and monthly (b) changes of Asiatic golden cat of diurnal-nocturnal index (β)"

Fig. 5

Daily changes of the seasonal-activity index (γ) of Asiatic golden cat"

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