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Sleeping site use of the white-headed langur Trachypithecus leucocephalus: The role of predation risk, territorial defense, and proximity to feeding sites

Author(s): Dayong LI, Qihai ZHOU, Xiaoping TANG, Henglian HUANG, Chengming HUANG

Journal: Current Zoology
ISSN 1674-5507

Volume: 57;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 260;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: White-headed langur | Trachypithecus leucocephalus | Sleeping site | Limestone habitat

We collected data on sleeping site use from two groups of white-headed langurs Trachypithecus leucocephalus living in Fusui Nature Reserve, China between August 2007 and July 2008. This information was used to test several hypotheses regarding ultimate causes of sleeping site use in this primate. White-headed langurs slept either in caves (17 sites) or on a cliff ledge (one site). They used all sleeping sites repeatedly, and reused some of them on consecutive nights; three nights was the longest consecutive use of any one sleep site. We suggest that langurs use sleeping sites to make approach and attack by predators difficult, and to increase their own familiarity with a location so as to improve chances for escape. Langurs’ cryptic behaviors with an increased level of vigilance before entering sleeping sites may also help in decreasing the possibility of detection by predators. Group 1 spent more sleeping nights in the central area of their territory than expected; in contrast, group 2 spent more sleeping nights in the periphery of their territory, which overlaps with that of another groups, than expected. The position of sleeping site relative to the last feeding site of the day and the first feeding site of the subsequent morning indicated a strategy closer to that of a multiple central place forager than of a central place forager. These results suggest that territory defense and food access may play an important role in sleeping site use of white-headed langurs [Current Zoology 57 (3): 260–268, 2011].

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