2007 Vol. 28, No. 4

Display Method:
During 2003-2006, forty-three nests of Narcissus Flycatcher (Ficedula narcissina elisae) were found in Xiaolongmen Forestry, Beijing. Among the 43 nests, nine nests were found in nest boxes while other 34 nests were constructed both on open sites (29.4%) and in holes (70.6%). The 10 open nests were weaved between several upward twigs, and the 24 hole-nests were built in hollows, trunks or on stumps. Open nests had larger height above ground than the holenests. Narcissus Flycatchers only used the nest boxes with big entrances. The majority of nest trees were Betula dahurica. Vegetation characteristics of nest sites were measured in the samples around the nests with a radius of 6 m. According to the result of Principle Component Analysis on the variables describing the nest-site characteristics, the forest with big trees and abundant stumps provided appropriate nest sites for Narcissus Flycatchers. Of the 43 nests we found, 22 (51.2%) were successful, those that failed were destroyed by predators.
We studied the breeding biology and disturbance factors of oriental white storks (Ciconia boyciana) using instantaneous sampling and all occurrence sampling in Dawan Village, Anhui Province, China, in their breeding seasons of 2004 and 2005. Their nests were built on high electricity pylons, which were only 500 meters away from the nearest village. The foraging sites were mainly paddy fields and ponds. Strong wind and high temperature were the main natural disturbance factors that affected the bird's breeding. The main human disturbances included straw burning, metal thorns set on the electricity pylons to keep the birds away, agricultural activities and flight noise. Agricultural activities greatly affected feeding, nest material seeking, incubation and the behavicur of the birds. The foraging birds showed alertness and flew away when disturbed. However, they also developed a tolerance to human disturbance. The greater the agricultural activities in the area, the shorter the response distance to humans. There was a positive correlation between the activity of nest-material seeking during the breeding season and the mean daily agricultural activity intensity in the breeding area. Better understanding of the breeding disturbance of oriental white storks in the Yangtze river will help us to take good steps for the further conservation of the bird.
Platform Transmitter Terminals (PTTs) were fitted onto four Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) at Dashanbao National Nature Reserve in northeast Yunnan Province on 26 February and 1 March, 2005, to study their migratory routes and stopover sites. Of the four birds, two successfully arrived at their breeding ground in late March and early April. Of the two cranes, one completed its autumn migration in November, 2005 and spring migration in March, 2006. During spring migration, the two cranes crossed over the Jinsha River and then the Dadu River, in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. They finally arrived in the basins of the Baihe and Heihe Rivers, in the Ruoergai Marsh in the upper streams of the Yellow River. From wintering to breeding areas, these two birds traveled 674 km and 713 km respectively, stopped at three to four sites in Sichuan Province and took three to four days to travel this distance in spring 2005. The bird that completed its fall migration in 2005 took eight days. Based on location data from the PTTs, 13 stopover sites of the four Black-necked Cranes were confirmed in Sichuan Province, with an elevation over 1 900 m above sea level. Of the 13 sites, 11 were located on riversides and the other two were by alpine lakes.
The Saker Falcon(Falco cherrug) is listed as a second class state protected wild animal, mainly distributed in the western provinces of China. From March to July in 2005, the breeding ecology of the Saker Falcon was investigated at the eastern fringe of Junggar Basin, Xinjiang. The results showed that the breeding season of the Saker Falcon was from April to July. The clutch size varied from three to five and the average size was 4.0±0.63. The average length of the eggs were 55.40±3.06 mm and the breadth, 41.11±1.70 mm. The hatchability, survival rate and fecundity of the Saker Falcon were 70.8%, 64.7% and 1.8 respectively. The nest success rate was 83.3%. Their growth changes in body weight and tarsus length, followed a logistic growth curve. In Xinjiang, food is the key factor on clutch size and fecundity for the Saker Falcon. To better protect this Falcon, their habitat should be further protected to maintain a higher prey diversity and abundance, which is essential for the Saker's conservation.
The species diversity of soil ciliates in scenic spots and Historic Sites of Maijishan was studied by observation in vivo, fixation and staining. One hundred and fifteen species of soil ciliates were identified, including eleven unnamed species and twenty-six new records of soil ciliates in China, belonging to three classes, twelve orders, forty-one families and fifty-five genera. There were forty-seven, forty-six, forty-four, thirty-three and twenty-six species respectively distributed in Jiezi Wenquan, Quxi Jingqu, Maijishan Shikuqu, Shimenshan Jingqu and Xianrenai Jingqu, and Halteria grandinella, Histriculus similis, Colpoda inflata, C. cucullus, C. fastigata, Tetrahymena rostrata, Spathidium procerum and Spathidium muscicola were widely distributed species. Of which, Prostomatida and Hypotrichida were dominant groups, Colpodida and Scuticociliatida subdominant groups and Pleurostomatida, Suctorida and Oligotrichida incidental groups in the soil ciliate community. The species diversity of soil ciliates in the Scenic Spots and Historic Sites of Maijishan was quite dissimilar to that in other areas of China according to the reported results of relevant studies. This study showed that there were abundant species and a large number of endemic and rare species of soil ciliates in the Scenic Spots and Historic Sites of Maijishan, and their community was complex and unique. The species composition of soil and aquatic ciliate communities in the Scenic Spots and Historic Sites of Maijishan were quite dissimilar, indicating that the soil and aquatic ciliate community belonged to two independent communities.
We surveyed the habitat structure of Black crested gibbons (Nomascus concolor) in Pinghe, Ailao Mountains, Yunnan Province (E 101°17′16.1″, N 24°20′09.5″, Alt 2 600 m) using a quadrat method. This survey recorded 57 tree species from 37 genera and 24 families and nine woody liana species from eight genera and six families. The dominant families are Ericaceae, Magnoliaceae, Theaceae and Fagaceae. After ranking the importance values of the major species, we found that Rhododendron irroratum, the dominant species of the region, is distributed in various slope positions. The arbor's diversity and evenness index decreased significantly in the ditch. The proportion of canopy Layer Ⅰ and Ⅱ, as well as the abundance of the woody vine, increased from the summit to the ditch. Compared with other populations black crested gibbons in Ailao Mountains act at a relatively low level above the ground (10-22 m) and have less fleshy fruit species for eating.
Winter diet composition, selectivity and foraging strategy of red deer (Cervus elaphus alxaicus) was studied with a microhistological analysis technique, using faeces and food in the stomach in combination with field investigations from November 2003 to February 2004 in Helan Mountains between Ningxia Muslem Municipality and Inner Mongolia Municipality. We collected 219 faeces pellets from red deer,which formed 14 composite samples. The results showed that Ulmus pumila, Populus davidiana, Prunus monglica, Dasiphora spp., Graminoids (Stipa spp., Poa spp.) and Caragana spp. were staples of the red deer. The percentages of the above items in the diet were 27.37%, 11.75%, 9.83%, 8.12%, 7.51% and 6.52% respectively. The red deer had positive selectivity for Ulmus pumila, Populus davidiana, Prunus monglica, Dasiphora spp., Caragana spp. and Juniperus rigida, and negative selectivity for Graminoids (Stipa spp., Poa spp.), Pinus tabulaeformis and Pinus crassifolia. Their preference order was as follows: Populus davidiana>Juniperus rigida>Caragana spp. >Prunus monglica>Dasiphora spp. >Ulmus pumila>Graminoids>Pinus tabulaeformis>Pinus crassifolia. The results of spearman correlative analysis has show that the food selectivities of red deer did not correlate with water, crude ashes, crude protein, crude fat, crude fibre and nitrogen-free extract. The crude protein percentage in the nutritional composition of browsed plants, was sufficient for the red deer, but energy expenditure may be a more critical factor for the wintering red deer. To obtain maximum energy input with minimum energy output is the foraging strategy of the red deer in winter.
Different species of seed predation was studied in northwest Yunnan province, China from September to October in 2004. Eighteen species belonging to 17 genus and 15 families were collected from the field. The experiment was done in two habitats with different disturbance intensities. Two kinds of seed densities were chosen: one had three and the other had 15 seeds in each plate. Three treatments were set: rodents excluded with metal mesh, ants excluded with butter and open with no mesh and butter. The results showed that the rodent (Apodemus latronum) was the only seed consumer and dispersal feeding was observed. Seed predation rates were significantly higher in the light disturbance habitat (44.1%) compared to the heavy disturbance habitat (40.4%) (F1,430=7.78, P<0.01). Seeds with high density had higher predation rates (446%) than seeds with low density (39.9) (F1,430=13.16, P<0.001). The attraction of different kinds of seeds to predators was significantly different (F17,414=106.69, P<0.001). Predators preferred the seeds of Pinus armandii, Dipsacus asper and Aconitum chungdianensis, but not the seeds of Sabina squamata, Piptanthus concolor, Cotoneaster sp and Iirs bulleyana. There was no significant relationship between seed size and seed predation (P>0.05). There was also no significant difference in predation between seeds with different hardness (P>0.05).
Until now, the correlation between the food found in a frog's stomach and the richness of food resources in their habitats were not fully considered when food selection of amphibians was studied in China. The diet of 494 specimens of Rana pleuraden were collected from Bailongsi and Xijiekou, Kunming, and the composition of the food resource in their habitats were investigated. The results showed that the food consumption of the frog and the food resource composition in the habitats were steady. The main groups of food resources were Orthoptera, Homoptera, Hemiptera, Coleoptera, Diptera, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera and Arachnida. However, the proportion of each group varied among specimens from different localities, years and months of the year. Rana pleuraden also showed selectivity towards its food and/or prey, supported by the results of scientific analyses, such as the discrepancy significance analysis, the correlation analysis and the selectivity analysis between food consumption and food resources. There was no correlation between food resource found in the habitats and the food in the frog's stomach (Bailongsi: r=0.077, P=0.575; Xiejiekou: r=-0.086, P=0.500). The insects of Orthoptera (Ei<-0.35) and Homoptera (Ei<-0.37) were avoided when feeding. The insects of Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera and Arachnida were the preferred prey for Rana pleuraden(Ei>0.45).
We describe the temporal and spatial expression pattern of Sox1 gene during Xenopus laevis early development and compare the expression patterns of Sox1-3 in the developing eye and brain. Alignment of Sox1-3 amino acid sequences shows a high conservation within the HMG-box DNA binding domains. RT-PCR analysis indicates that Sox1 is expressed throughout development from the unfertilized egg to at least the tadpole stage, although at different expression levels. The transcripts of XSox1 are detected in the animal pole at cleavage and blastrula stages and mainly in the central nervous system (CNS) and the developing eye at neurula stages. The study of the developmental expression of XSox1 will aid in the elucidation of the function of SoxB1 subgroup genes in vertebrate neurogenesis.
The current study was undertaken to evaluate the possibility of producing a human pro-insulin transgenic cow by means of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). A double selection system, Neomycin resistance (Neor) gene and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) gene linked through an inner ibosomal entry site (IRES) sequence directed by a Cytomegalovirus(CMV) promoter, was used for enrichment and selection of the transgenic cells and preimplantation embryos. Transgenes were introduced into bovine fetal fibroblast cells (BFF) cultured in vitro through electroporation (900 V/cm, 5 ms). Transgenic bovine fibroblast cells (TBF) were enriched through addition of G418 in culture medium (800 μg/mL). Before being used as a nuclear donor, the TBF cells were either cultured in normal conditions (10% FBS) or treated with serum starvation (0.5% FBS for 2-4 days) followed by 10 hours recovery for G1 phase synchronization. Transgenic cloned embryos were produced through GFPexpressing cell selection and SCNT. The results were the percentage of blastocyst development following SCNT was lower using TBF than BFF cells (23.2% VS 35.2%, P<0.05). No difference in the percentage of cloned blastocysts between the two groups of transgenic nuclear donor of normal and starvation cultures were observed (23.2% VS 18.9%, P>0.05). Two to four GFP-expressing blastocysts were transferred into the uterus of each synchronised recipient. One pregnancy from of seven recipients (21 embryos) was confirmed by rectum palpation 60 days after embryo transfer and one recipient has given birth to a calf at term. PCR and DNA sequencing analysis confirmed that the calf was produced using human proinsulin transgenic animal.
Generation of germline chimera is the key step in ES cell-mediated transgenesis, whereas the production of chimera, especially germline competent, is the only way to prove whether such potency is maintained. In this experiment, an established ES cell line expressing strong green fluorescence was used to produce chimera mice. After cell passage, ES cells were microinjected into KM's blastocysts. Nine EGFP-expressing chimeric mice were produced including eight male and one female. They developed into healthy adults. Results of a flow cytometry test showed the existence of GFP in several mice tissues: heart (77.96±15.78)%, spleen (84.06±3.60)%, kidney (42.49±19.79)% and marrow (52.02±18.78)%. The ES cell line proved to be important for the germ-line in contributing to the coat-color analysis of offspring(F1), produced by the cross between a female KM mouse and a male chimeric mouse.
During March to May of 2005, mature female swimming crabs were held in captive conditions and fed with fresh clam, Sinonovacula constricta. The spawned crabs were sampled and dissected to investigate the changes to the gonadosomatic index (GSI), hepatosomatic index (HSI), external features of ovary, ovarian histology and its stages during the second ovarian development of Portunus trituberculatus. The results demonstrated that: (1) the process of the second ovarian development could be divided into four stages: stage Ⅰ ovary was ribbonlike and milk white or buff, the main cells in the ovary were endogenous vitellogenic oocytes (EN) and previtellogenic oocytes (PR); stage Ⅱ ovary was buff and orange, the main cells were exogenous vitellogenic oocytes(EX); stage Ⅲ ovary was deep orange, the main cell types were ex and nearly-mature oocytes (NO); stage Ⅳ ovary was ripe, the main cell type was mature oocytes(MO); (2) During the period, the GSI increased significantly, while the HSI did not show a significant difference. A positive correlation could be found between GSI and ovarian development, days after spawning, however there was no significant correlation between GSI and HSI.
The delimitation between Tylototriton shanjing and T. verrucosus was not clear. Forty individuals of T. verrucosus and T. shanjing were collected from fourteen localities in Southwest China and 753?bp of partial mitochondrial Cyt b gene sequence were sequenced. Molecular phylogenetic trees of T. verrucosus group were reconstructed using neighbor-joining, maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference methods. Pairwise sequence comparisons to determine the amount of variation were performed using MEGA 3.0 software. According to the results of phylogeny analysis and Kimura 2-parameter distance, the species validities were evaluated. The results showed that: (1) the T. shanjing did not form a monophyletic group; (2) the genetic distance was low between T. shanjing and T. verrucosus, it was only 1.2% on average. Therefore, T. shanjing as a valid species is not supported and can be argued to be a synonym of T. verrucosus. According to our phylogenetic tree, the genetic divergences and geographic distribution, T. verrucosus' distribution in the Yunnan Province can be divided into three geographic groups, i.e. the Pianma group, the Middle and West Yunnan group and the Southeast Yunnan group.
Mitochondrial gene fragments of 16S rRNA gene of four species (Rhacophorus rhodopus, R. reinwardtii, Philautus albopunctatus and P. rhododiscus) from 11 populations were sequenced in this study. Homologous sequences of R. bipunctatus, Theloderma asperum, T. corticale and Buergeria japonica were obtained by screening the GenBank database. After excluding all gaps and ambiguous positions, aligned sequences were 500 bp in length with 115 variable sites and 92 parsimony-informative sites. Using B. japonica as an outgroup, phylogenetic relationships were analyzed using Bayesian inference, maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods. Our results indicated that neither of R. rhodopus and P. albopunctatus were monophyletic at the species level. The population of R. rhodopus from Hainan Island was more close to R. bipunctatus than to populations of R. rhodopus from Yunnan Province. Furthermore, the populations of R. rhodopus from Yunnan Province can be divided into two main lineages. Theloderma corticale and P. rhododiscus were clustered together and T. asperum was nested in P. albopunctatus. We considered that P. albopunctatus Liu and Hu, 1962, was the synonymy of T. asperum Boulenger, 1886, and suggested removing P. rhododiscus from Philautus into the genus Theloderma.
We captured one female Miniopterus magnater (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) with partial albinism on its ventral neck in a mine cave in Jinzhai County, Anhui Province China, on October 24, 2006. The body mass, body length with head, forearm length, tibia length, hind foot length, tail length, ear length and ear width of this bat are 14.4 g, 50.1 mm, 48.2 mm, 20.7 mm, 9.3 mm, 51.2 mm, 10.7 mm and 8.8 mm, respectively, which are all in the parameter range of normal individuals.
The Rufous-vented Laughingthrush Garrulax gularis, though considered to be distributed in the SE of Tibet, China, is yet no evidence of its occurrence confirmed at any sure locality until so far. During our field investigation in March 2007 on the birds around Simao (now the Pu'er City) of S Yunnan, we learned that the Rufous-vented Laughingthrush might be present in Jiangcheng county. In mid-May, we found the bird in the wild, a small flock of approximately ten individuals, at an altitude of 1 100 m by a village near Zhengdong in the SW of Jiangcheng county approximately 50 km from the Laos-China border. Further investigations revealed that the Rufous-vented Laughingthrush its was present in the south of Jiangcheng county, usually in flocks in dense secondary forests and shrubs at altitudes lower than 1 300 m. This is the first formal record of the occurrence of the Rufous-vented Laughingthrush in China.
All animals including non-human primates require good husbandry and welfare conditions. The purpose of this paper is to encourage discussion and active review of the husbandry of captive non-human primates and to assist with the management of changes to benefit their welfare. We introduce the welfare concept of “Five Freedoms”, which are 1) freedom from thirst, hunger or malnutrition; 2) freedom from discomfort; 3) freedom from pain, injury and disease; 4) freedom to express normal behaviour; 5) freedom from fear and distress. The “Five Freedoms” concept promotes not only physical well-being of primates, but also psychological well-being. The practical strategies to improve husbandry of vertebrate animals include: concern about their physical environment, nutrition supplement, colony management, breeding activity of captive non-human primates and environment enrichment. People in charge of research and management with primates should always strive towards the betterment of captive animals' welfare by improving their captive environment on the basis of performance standards. These reviews may provide material concerning the husbandry and welfare of captive primates.