Li, P.-H., Li, W.-B., Li, B.-W. 2022. Positional behavior and substrate use in wild Tibetan macaques. Animals 12(6), 767.
Body size and individual development significantly affect positional behavior and substrate use. However, only a few studies have been conducted on immature wild macaques. We studied wild Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) inhabiting Mt. Huangshan, China, to explore the degree of interspecific variation in positional behavior in relation to body weight and individual development. From September 2020 to August 2021, we used instantaneous scan sampling (duration 5 min, interval 10 min) to record age–sex groups, locomotions, postures, and substrate attributes. The results showed that Tibetan macaques used terrestrial substrates in nearly two-thirds of the recorded observations. The main postural modes were sitting and quadrupedal standing. The main locomotor modes were quadrupedal walking and climbing among all age–sex group records. Positional behavior and substrate use in adults only significantly differed from those in juveniles and infants. Although adult males were larger than the other age–sex groups, they did not climb and bridge more frequently than the other age–sex groups. The frequency of climbing, leaping, and suspension was significantly higher in juveniles than in adults. In addition, adult males used terrestrial and larger substrates more frequently, while juveniles and infants used arboreal substrates and terminals more frequently than adult males during traveling and feeding. We hypothesize that the more positional behavioral spectrum of Tibetan macaque juveniles’ may be related to rapid skeletal muscle development. These results suggest that differences in interspecific positional behavior may be caused by the individual development and survival needs of individuals, rather than just body size.