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Coexistence Patterns of Sympatric Black-and-white Snub-nosed Monkeys and Rhesus Monkeys in Baimaxueshan National Nature Reserve, Yunnan, China

Coexistence Patterns of Sympatric Black-and-white Snub-nosed Monkeys and Rhesus Monkeys in Baimaxueshan National Nature Reserve, Yunnan, China

Xin Niu1, Xuelan Fang2, Sang Ba3, Yihao Fang1,4, Davide Fornacca1,7, Kun Tan1,4, Yanpeng Li1,4,5*, Zhipang Huang1,4,5* and Wen Xiao1,4,5,6,7

1Institute of Eastern-Himalaya Biodiversity Research, Dali University, Dali, Yunnan 671003, China.
2Key Laboratory for Conserving Wildlife with Small Populations in Yunnan, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224, China.
3Baimaxueshan National Nature Reserve Administrative Bureau, Diqing, Yunnan 674500, China.
4Yunling Black and White Snub-Nosed Monkey Observation and Research Station of Yunnan Province, Dali, Yunnan 671003, China.
5International Centre of Biodiversity and Primates Conservation, Dali University, Dali, Yunnan 671003, China.
6The Provincial Innovation Team of Biodiversity Conservation and Utility of the Three Parallel Rivers Region from Dali University, Dali, Yunnan 671003, China.
7Collaborative Innovation Center for Biodiversity and Conservation in the Three Parallel Rivers Region of China, Dali, Yunnan 671003, China.
Xin Niu and Xuelan Fang contributed equally to the work.
* Corresponding author:,


Ecological niche differentiation among sympatric animal species is a primary mechanism maintaining a long-term and stable coexistence. Information on the pattern of coexistence among sympatric species is vital to provide specific conservation measures and management. This study focuses on the spatial-temporal niche differentiation strategy adopted by black-and-white snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti) and rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) to support their coexistence along a large elevation gradient in the temperate montane forest of Xiangguqing, located in the southern section of Baimaxueshan National Nature Reserve, China. Daily activities of the monkeys were recorded with infrared camera traps installed at elevation intervals of 200 m between 2,100 m and 3,500 m from January 2018 to May 2021. The time interval between the two species appearing at the same plots and the number of individuals were calculated for each site and differences were assessed according to seasons and elevation. No direct encounters between the two species were captured by camera traps, although they did appear up in the same camera traps at altitudes between 2,900 m - 3,500 m. M. mulatta was also observed at elevations below 2,500 m, near the farmland and villages. The two monkey species were mostly recorded at an altitudinal spectrum within 3,100 m - 3,500 m, but with significant differences in seasonal frequencies in the same elevational gradients. The two species avoided encountering each other to limit direct competition and conflicts. Moreover, differences in foraging strategy and dietary selection contributed to the coexistence of the two primate species in mountain habitats. Our findings suggest that, to support the coexistence and survival of these two primate species living in high altitude montane regions, the habitats along the overall elevational gradients should be included in wildlife conservation policies.

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology


Pakistan J. Zool., Vol. 56, Iss. 2, pp. 503-1000


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