Zoological Research ›› 2018, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (4): 255-265.doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.045

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Ecology and social system of northern gibbons living in cold seasonal forests

Zhen-Hua Guan1, Chang-Yong Ma2, Han-Lan Fei2, Bei Huang3, Wen-He Ning3, Qing-Yong Ni4, Xue-Long Jiang3, Peng-Fei Fan2,*   

  1. 1 Yunnan Academy of Biodiversity, Forest Disaster Warning and Control Key Laboratory, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming Yunnan
    650224, China
    2 School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou Guangdong 510275, China.
    3 State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Yunnan
    650223, China
    4 College of Animal Sciences and Technology, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu Sichuan 611130, China
  • Online:2018-07-18 Published:2018-05-11
  • Contact: Peng-Fei Fan,E-mail:fanpf@mail.sysu.edu.cn E-mail:fanpf@mail.sysu.edu.cn
  • Supported by:


Gibbons in China represent the northernmost margin of present day gibbon species distribution (around N25°). Compared to tropical habitats, northern gibbon habitats are characterized by low temperatures and remarkable seasonal variation in fruit abundance. How gibbons adapt to their cold and seasonal habitats and what ecological factors affect their sociality are key questions for understanding their ecology and social system evolution, the elucidation of which will contribute to the conservation of these special populations/species. According to preliminary short-term studies, northern gibbons consume more leaves and use larger home ranges than tropical gibbons. Interestingly, some Nomascus groups consist of more than one adult female. However, these preliminary results are not well understood or incorporated into current socio-ecological theories regarding gibbon species. To better understand northern gibbons, our team has systematically studied three habituated groups of Nomascus concolor, three groups of N. nasutus, and two habituated groups of Hoolock tianxing since 2002. In this paper, we stress the challenges facing gibbons living in northern habitats and summarize their behavioral adaptations to their harsh environments. We also describe the northern gibbon social system and discuss the potential relationships between their ecology and sociality. Finally, we highlight future research questions related to northern gibbons in China.

CLC Number: 

[1] You-Ji Zhang, Yi-Xin Chen, Hao-Chun Chen, Yuan Chen, Hui Yao, Wan-Ji Yang, Xiang-Dong Ruan, Zuo-Fu Xiang. Social functions of relaxed open-mouth display in golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(2): 113-120.
[2] Peng-Lai Fan, Yi-Ming Li, Craig B. Stanford, Fang Li, Ze-Tian Liu, Kai-Hua Yang, Xue-Cong Liu. Home range variation of two different-sized groups of golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in Shennongjia, China: implications for feeding competition [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(2): 121-128.
[3] Jin-Bo Xiong, Li Nie, Jiong Chen. Current understanding on the roles of gut microbiota in fish disease and immunity [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(2): 70-76.
[4] Chao-Hao Chen, Bi-Jun Li, Xiao-Hui Gu, Hao-Ran Lin, Jun-Hong Xia. Marker-assisted selection of YY supermales from a genetically improved farmed tilapia-derived strain [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(2): 108-112.
[5] Yi Ren, Shui-Fang Liu, Li Nie, Shi-Yu Cai, Jiong Chen. Involvement of ayu NOD2 in NF-κB and MAPK signaling pathways: Insights into functional conservation of NOD2 in antibacterial innate immunity [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(2): 77-88.
[6] Cheng-Dong Wang, Xiao-Fang Guo, Thomas Chi Bun Wong, Hui Wang, Xu-Feng Qi, Dong-Qing Cai, Yi Deng, Hui Zhao. Developmental expression of three prmt genes in Xenopus [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(2): 102-107.
[7] Yan-Fang Cui, Feng-Jie Wang, Lei Yu, Hua-Hu Ye, Gui-Bo Yang. Metagenomic comparison of the rectal microbiota between rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(2): 89-93.
[8] Qi Jiang, Dong-Po Xia, Xi Wang, Dao Zhang, Bing-Hua Sun, Jin-Hua Li. Interchange between grooming and infant handling in female Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(2): 139-145.
[9] Wei-Wei Fu, Xiao-Wei Wang, Cheng-Liang Wang, Hai-Tao Zhao, Yi Ren, Bao-Guo Li. Effects of age, sex and manual task on hand preference in wild Rhinopithecus roxellana [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(2): 129-138.
[10] Ruo-Han Qi, Yan Chen, Zhi-Lai Guo, Fen Zhang, Zheng Fang, Kai Huang, Hai-Ning Yu, Yi-Peng Wang. Identification and characterization of two novel cathelicidins from the frog Odorrana livida [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(2): 94-101.
[11] Simon Musila, Zhong-Zheng Chen, Quan Li, Richard Yego, Bin Zhang, Kenneth Onditi, Immaculate Muthoni, Shui-Wang He, Samson Omondi, James Mathenge, Esther N. Kioko, Xue-Long Jiang. Diversity and distribution patterns of non-volant small mammals along different elevation gradients on Mt. Kenya, Kenya [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(1): 53-60.
[12] . 2019 New Year Address of Zoological Research [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(1): 1-2.
[13] . Contents [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(1): 1-69.
[14] Ogeto Mwebi, Esther Nguta, Veronica Onduso, Ben Nyakundi, Xue-Long Jiang, Esther N. Kioko. Small mammal diversity of Mt. Kenya based on carnivore fecal and surface bone remains [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(1): 61-69.
[15] Simon Musila, Ara Monadjem, Paul W. Webala, Bruce D. Patterson, Rainer Hutterer, Yvonne A. De Jong, Thomas M. Butynski, Geoffrey Mwangi, Zhong-Zheng Chen, Xue-Long Jiang. An annotated checklist of mammals of Kenya [J]. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(1): 3-52.
Full text



[1] ZHENG Ping-ping,CHEN Wen,LI Jie,RUI Jin-long,NIE Liu-wang *. Construction of a cDNA Library from the Testis and Sequence Analysis of the Ubiquitin Gene from Rana nigromaculata (in English)[J]. Zoological Research, 2007, 28(1): 9 -16 .
[2] PAN Pu-liang,WANG Hong,N.G.Jablonski. Long Bone and Skeletal Allometry in Rhinopithecus[J]. Zoological Research, 1989, 10(1): 23 -30 .
[3] WANG Guo-han,LUO Jun-lie,WANG Zheng-sun. Comparative Studies on The karyotypes of Three Species of Nematodes in The genus Neoaplect ana[J]. Zoological Research, 1989, 10(1): 71 -77 .
[4] LI Fan,ZHONG Jun-sheng. A NEW SPECIES OF RHINOGOBIUS FROM ZHEJIANG PROVINCE, CHINA (Teleostei: Gobiidae)[J]. Zoological Research, 2007, 28(5): 539 -544 .
[5] TANGSu-ni,HUANG Jing-fei. Evolutionary Diversities of Aminoacyl-tRNA Synthetases[J]. Zoological Research, 2007, 28(5): 563 -567 .
[6] . Phylogentic Relationships of Butterflies in the Subfamily Elymninae (Lepidoptera: Satyridae) Based on Mitochondrial ND1 and COI Gene Sequences[J]. Zoological Research, 2007, 28(5): 477 -484 .
[7] WEI Zhu-ying,SHAO Hua,LIU Dong-jun,BOU Shor-gan. Mytomycin Made in China Can Be Used to Isolate Embryonic Stem Cells with Ability in Contributing to Germ Lines[J]. Zoological Research, 2007, 28(6): 654 -658 .
[8] DAI Qiang,GU Hai-jun ,,WANG Yue-zhao. Theories and Models for Habitat Selection[J]. Zoological Research, 2007, 28(6): 681 -688 .
[9] YANG Ze-yu,MIAO Yong-wang ,LI Da-lin,HUO Jin-long,CHEN Tao,HE Chao-yang,CHUANG Xiang-hui,TANG Shou-kun. Unfolding of Population Structure in Dehong Buffalo Using Microsatellite DNA Markers[J]. Zoological Research, 2007, 28(6): 659 -663 .
[10] NIU Yi-dong,LIANG Shu-long. Microsatellite Variation Within Three Populations of Inbred C57BL/6J Strain[J]. Zoological Research, 2008, 29(6): 599 -602 .