Activity Rhythms of Coexisting Red Serow and Chinese Serow at Mt. Gaoligong as Identified by Camera Traps
College of Life Science and Technology, Central South University of Forestry & Technology, Changsha 410004, China
Institute of Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Biology, Central South University of Forestry & Technology, Changsha 410004, China
State Key Lab of Integrated Management of Pest Insects and Rodents, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Lushui Bureau of Mt. Gaoligong National Nature Reserve, Liuku 673229, China
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.
Received: 9 October 2019 / Revised: 28 November 2019 / Accepted: 28 November 2019 / Published: 2 December 2019
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.