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Open AccessArticle

Activity Rhythms of Coexisting Red Serow and Chinese Serow at Mt. Gaoligong as Identified by Camera Traps

1
College of Life Science and Technology, Central South University of Forestry & Technology, Changsha 410004, China
2
Institute of Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Biology, Central South University of Forestry & Technology, Changsha 410004, China
3
State Key Lab of Integrated Management of Pest Insects and Rodents, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
4
Lushui Bureau of Mt. Gaoligong National Nature Reserve, Liuku 673229, China
5
Key Lab of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1071; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121071
Received: 9 October 2019 / Revised: 28 November 2019 / Accepted: 28 November 2019 / Published: 2 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Application of Camera Trap Technology in Field Research)
How congeneric species with similar realized niches manage to coexist is a central question in the study of biodiversity. Here, we examined the daily activity rhythm of two coexisting serow species in a mid-mountain humid evergreen broadleaf forest. We used camera traps in a five-year survey at Mt. Gaoligong, western Yunnan, China. We compared the daily activity rhythm of the rare red serow (Capricornis rubidus), a medium-sized solitary ungulate, with the coexisting Chinese serow (C. milneedwardsii milneedwardsii). Although their overall daily activity rhythms were similar, the rare red serow tended to range, feed, and stay vigilant from afternoon through midnight throughout the year. By contrast, Chinese serows preferred to be active from sunrise to noon in the wet season, but shifted their activities and behaviors to afternoon and midnight in the dry season. Interestingly, we found red serows sometimes ranging together with Chinese serows. When they encountered each other, red serows altered their activity patterns more notably, while Chinese serows significantly increased their activity level. These findings are understandable given their similar resource requirements. Although exploitative competitors, red and Chinese serow coexist by avoiding interference competition by altering their respective activity patterns in time.
Surveying the activity rhythms of sympatric herbivorous mammals is essential for understanding their niche ecology, especially for how they partition resources and their mechanisms of coexistence. Over a five-year period, we conducted infrared camera-trapping to monitor the activity rhythms of coexisting red serow (Capricornis rubidus) and Chinese serow (C. milneedwardsii milneedwardsii) in the remote mountainous region of Pianma, Mt. Gaoligong, Yunnan, China. Cameras captured images of red serow and Chinese serow on 157 and 179 occasions, respectively. We used circular kernel density models to analyze daily activity rhythms and how temporal variations in activity ensure their co-existence. Although their overall activity levels and patterns were similar, temporal activity and behavior partitioning among the two species occurred during the wet season. Compared with Chinese serows, red serows exhibited less variable daily activity levels, patterns, as well as feeding and vigilance behaviors between seasons. When the two species occasionally ranged together, red serows tended to alter their activity pattern while Chinese serows significantly increased their activity level. Red serow and Chinese serow are exploitative competitors but coexist by altering their daily activity rhythms when in contact and changing activity patterns during the wet season, enabling their coexistence. View Full-Text
Keywords: camera traps; activity rhythm; competition; montane forest; species interactions; niche partitioning; Bovidae; Gaoligong camera traps; activity rhythm; competition; montane forest; species interactions; niche partitioning; Bovidae; Gaoligong
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, Y.; Xiao, Z.; Zhang, L.; Wang, X.; Li, M.; Xiang, Z. Activity Rhythms of Coexisting Red Serow and Chinese Serow at Mt. Gaoligong as Identified by Camera Traps. Animals 2019, 9, 1071. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121071

AMA Style

Chen Y, Xiao Z, Zhang L, Wang X, Li M, Xiang Z. Activity Rhythms of Coexisting Red Serow and Chinese Serow at Mt. Gaoligong as Identified by Camera Traps. Animals. 2019; 9(12):1071. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121071

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chen, Yixin; Xiao, Zhishu; Zhang, Long; Wang, Xinwen; Li, Ming; Xiang, Zuofu. 2019. "Activity Rhythms of Coexisting Red Serow and Chinese Serow at Mt. Gaoligong as Identified by Camera Traps" Animals 9, no. 12: 1071. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121071

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