Rhinopithecus bietiat Tacheng, Yunnan: Diet and Daytime Activities

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We collected data on diet and activity budget in a group of Rhinopithecus bieti at Tacheng (99°18′ E, 27° 36'N, between 2,700–3,700 m asl), Yunnan, from March 1999 to December 2000. We mainly recorded species-parts eaten with feeding scores from scanning state behaviors of one-male units in tree-crowns. We also conducted microscopic analysis of feces collected monthly. The subjects consumed 59 plant species, belonging to 42 genera in 28 families, of which 90 species-parts were distributed as follows: 21 in Winter, 38 in spring, 39 in Summer, 47 in autumn. Conversely, the group annually spent, on average, 35% of daytime feeding, 33% resting, 15% moving, and 13% in social activities. Seasonal changes are apparent in daytime budget and food item-related feeding time in tree-crowns, food remains in feces, and the number of species-parts eaten. Correlations within and between food items and time budget clearly indicate maximization of foraging effectiveness and minimization of energy expenditure. In consideration of reports from northern and southern groups, that which underlay the specific adaptation to the habitat appeared to be similar to those of other colobines. Thus, the ultimate factors for survival of the species are more hopeful than expected.

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