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Ping X.,CAS Institute of Zoology | Ping X.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Li C.,CAS Institute of Zoology | Jiang Z.,CAS Institute of Zoology | And 2 more authors.
Mammalian Biology | Year: 2011

Many ungulate species around the world have been reported to use natural lick, and most have shown seasonal patterns of lick use. However few researches focused on sexual differences in seasonal patterns of salt lick use. From January 2006 to December 2008, we used remote video cameras to record the uses of artificial salt licks by wild sika deer (Cervus nippon) in Taohongling Nature Reserve, China. We compared sex differences of artificial salt lick use by sika deer assessing both lick use frequency and time spent licking. Our results showed that: (1) there were significant differences in monthly lick use frequency and monthly time spent licking between the two sexes. Females tended to use licks frequently during lactation while the uses of licks by males peaked during the rut; (2) both females and males used salt licks frequently during the period of pelage change; (3) no significant differences were recorded between the individuals of two sexes in terms of staying time, time spent licking per visit and lick duration. We suggest that sika deer could adjust their using of salt licks based on their sodium requirements in different physiological stages. Implications of this study for reserve managers are that more sodium should be supplemented during the rut and lactation. © 2010 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde.

Ping X.,CAS Institute of Zoology | Ping X.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Li C.,CAS Institute of Zoology | Jiang Z.,CAS Institute of Zoology | And 3 more authors.
Acta Ethologica | Year: 2011

Competition has long been considered as a confounding factor of group size effect but the understanding of interference competition is rudimentary for the difficulty in disentangling interference competition from scramble competition adequately. Here, we analysed remote-camera video records of wild sika deer (Cervus nippon) at salt licks in southern China from March 1, 2006 to November 30, 2008 to investigate how interference competition and predation risk interacted on vigilance behaviour. Scramble competition is negligible at salt licks; therefore, we could focus our interest in interference competition. We used linear mixed model to compare vigilance, licking and aggression behaviours among females with and without fawn as well as males with different group sizes to identify the primary role of vigilance behaviour in sika deer. In total, 168 individuals were recorded and observation time was 2,733.04 min. We found that deer spent much time on vigilance and scanned frequently in spring and winter, and females with fawn spent more time on vigilance than females without fawn, suggesting vigilance for predation risk. Aggression ratio increased first and then decreased, while scan frequency continued to decline and then slightly increased when group size increased from two to seven, implying vigilance for interference competition. Our results suggested vigilance in sika deer was influenced by both predation risk and interference competition, but was mainly driven by predation risk even at sites with intense interference competition. Our results of interference competition shed some light on finding the underlying mechanism of group size effect in wild populations. © 2011 Springer-Verlag and ISPA.

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