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Frontiers of Agriculture in China

ISSN 1673-7334

ISSN 1673-744X(Online)

CN 11-5729/S

Front Agric Chin    2009, Vol. 3 Issue (3) : 300-303     DOI: 10.1007/s11703-009-0055-5
Behavioral patterns of captive alpine musk deer: sex-specific behavior comparisons
Lin LU1,2, Peishi YAN1,2(), Xiuxiang MENG3(), Jinchao FENG3, Hongfa XU3, Qisen YANG3, Zuojian FENG3
1. College of Animal Science and Technology, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China; 2. Department of Animal Science and Technology, Beijing University of Agriculture, Beijing 102206, China; 3. College of Life and Environment Sciences, Central University for Nationalities, Beijing 100081, China
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The aim of this study was to document the behavior of captive alpine musk deer and to determine if daily behavior patterns varied between females and males. From August 2002 to January 2003, focal sampling was used to observe 32 adult captive alpine musk deer (13 female and 19 male) at Xinglongshan Musk Deer Farm (XMDF), Xinglongshan National Nature Reserve, Gansu Province. Results indicated similar behavior patterns for males and females, with only two out of 12 recorded behaviors showing significant sex differences. In comparison to females, males rested for a longer duration and exhibited tail pasting more frequently. This study also provided the first recording of tail pasting by female musk deer.

Keywords alpine musk deer (Moschus sifanicus)      behavior pattern      captivity      sex difference     
Corresponding Authors: YAN Peishi,; MENG Xiuxiang,   
Issue Date: 05 September 2009
URL:     OR
resting, RElying on the ground and in inactive and relaxed state
standing-alert, SAstanding still, ears pointed, alert and gazing at stimuli or potential stimuli
locomotion, LOmoving without any accompanying behaviors
feeding/drinking, FDfeeding or drinking
ruminating, RUexpressing typical series of rumination behavior, i.e., chewing, swallowing, and regurgitating
tail-pasting, TPrubbing the tail and scent-marking on the surface of the wall or doorframe
urinating/defecating, UDfull or partial exhibiting of a series of activities such as earth-scratching, urinating, and pellet covering
environmental sniffing, ES exploring the wall or ground with nose
ano-genital sniffing, AS sniffing or licking the ano-genital region of another deer
self-directed behavior, SDexpressing activities directed to itself, including self-grooming with mouth, self-scratching, and other self-directed behaviors
affinitive interaction, AIdirect physical contact between animals without obvious aggression i.e., mutual grooming, nursing, and licking
agonistic interaction, CIobvious aggressive behaviors with or without direct body contact i.e., fighting, chasing, and attacking with projected canines (in males)
miscellaneous behavior, MBall other behaviors that occurred at very low frequency and duration i.e., nursing fawns
Tab.1  Ethogram of selected behaviors for captive alpine musk deer
Fig.1  The comparison of the behavioral frequency between female (=13) and male (=19) musk deer
Note: Behaviors include resting (RE), standing-alert (SA), locomotion (LO), feeding/drinking (FD), ruminating (RU), tail-pasting (TP), urinating/defecating (UD), self-directed behavior (SD), environmental sniffing (ES), ano-genital sniffing (AS), ano-genital sniffing (AS), affinitive interaction (AI), and agonistic interaction (CI).
Fig.2  The comparison of the behavioral duration between female (=13) and male (=19) musk deer
Note: Behaviors include RE, SA, LO, FD, RU, TP, U, SD, ES, AS, AS, AI, and CI.
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