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Hanya G, Otani Y, Hongo S, Honda T, Okamura H, Higo Y (2018) Activity of wild Japanese macaques in Yakushima revealed by camera trapping: Patterns with respect to season, daily period and rainfall. PLoS ONE 13: e0190631.

Animals are subject to various scales of temporal environmental fluctuations, among which daily and seasonal variations are two of the most widespread and significant ones. Many biotic and abiotic factors change temporally, and climatic factors are particularly important because they directly affect the cost of thermoregulation. The purpose of the present study was to determine the activity patterns of wild Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) with a special emphasis on the effect of thermal conditions. We set 30 camera traps in the coniferous forest of Yakushima and monitored them for a total of 8658 camera-days between July 2014 and July 2015. Over the one-year period, temperature had a positive effect, and rainfall had a negative effect on the activity of macaques during the day. Capture rate was significantly higher during the time period of one hour after sunrise and during midday. During winter days, macaques concentrated their activity around noon, and activity shifted from the morning toward the afternoon. This could be interpreted as macaques shifting their activity to warmer time periods within a single day. Japanese macaques decreased their activity during the time before sunrise in seasons with lower temperatures. It was beneficial for macaques to be less active during cooler time periods in a cold season. Even small amounts of rainfall negatively affected the activity of Japanese macaques, with capture rates decreasing significantly even when rainfall was only 0.5-1 mm/min. In conclusion, thermal conditions significantly affected the activity of wild Japanese macaques at various time scales.

Key words: activity rhythm; camera trapping; rainfall; thermoregulation; weather

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<Last update: January 4, 2018>