Journal of Ecology and Rural Environment ›› 2024, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (2): 222-232.doi: 10.19741/j.issn.1673-4831.2023.0169

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Regional Differences in the Spatial Distribution and Activity Rhythms of Muntjacs in Subtropical Forests

MA Zheng-yan1, LI Jia-qi2, WAN Ya-qiong2, LI Yan-kuo1, SHAN Ji-hong3, WANG Zhen-yu4, SHAO Rui-qing5, ZHANG Chao1, LI Xiao-ying1   

  1. 1. College of Life Sciences, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang 330022, China;
    2. Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Nanjing 210042, China;
    3. The Center of Jiangxi Wildlife Conservation, Nanchang 330006, China;
    4. Key Laboratory of Protection and Utilization of Subtropical Plant Resources of Jiangxi Province, Nanchang 330022, China;
    5. The Forestry Academy of Jiangxi Province, Nanchang 330013, China
  • Received:2023-03-08 Online:2024-02-25 Published:2024-02-24

Abstract: Muntiacus reevesi (muntjac), belonging to the Cetartiodactyla, Cervidae family, exhibits substantial population and wide distribution in China. There have been relatively few studies on its spatial distribution and variability of activity rhythms. To understand the activity rhythm of muntjac and its influencing factors, muntjac activity in Taohongling Sika Deer National Nature Reserve, Jiuling Mountain National Nature Reserve and Qiyun Mountain National Nature Reserve in Jiangxi Province was monitored using infrared camera technology from March 2018 to February 2019. Each reserve had 60 infrared cameras, and the effective camera days were 9 692, 9 659, and 14 582 d, respectively. In the aforementioned three reserves, the number of independent effective photographs of muntjac were 603, 665, and 1 032 pieces, respectively. The single-season occupancy model was applied to assess the effects of environmental variables, such as elevation, slope, vegetation cover, and distance to water source, on the activity and distribution range of muntjac. The results reveal that muntjacs in Taohong ling and Jiuling Mountain reserves preferred areas with lower elevation, gentle slope, lower vegetation index, and closer distance to water sources, whereas muntjacs in Qiyun Mountain reserve preferred areas with higher elevation, steeper slope, higher vegetation index, and closer distance to water sources. The muntjac was an evident crepuscular species, with peak activity times of 06:00-08:00 and 17:00-19:00. The daily activity rhythms of the muntjac did not have significantly seasonal difference in Taohongling and Jiuling Mountain Reserves; however, there were significant seasonal fluctuations in Qiyun Mountain. There was no significant difference in annual activity rhythms among the reserves. The results of this study can help to further understand the activity rhythm pattern of the muntjac and its seasonal variation, as well as its ecological habits in its natural state, and provide scientific and data support for the conservation and management of this species.

Key words: muntjac, occupancy model, infrared camera, activity rhythm

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