Biodiv Sci ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (6): 737-745.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2014.140073

Special Issue: 野生动物的红外相机监测

• Original Papers • Previous Articles     Next Articles

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:2014-11-20 Published:2014-12-11
  • Contact: 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