Learning the ropes: The ontogeny of locomotion in red-shanked douc (Pygathrix nemaeus), Delacour's (Trachypithecus delacouri), and Hatinh langurs (Trachypithecus hatinhensis) I. positional behavior.
Recent studies at the Endangered Primate Rescue Center (EPRC) in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam's Cuc Phuong National Park by Byron et al. ( Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. [Suppl.] 34:51) and Covert and Byron ( Caring for Primates) revealed unexpected locomotor and postural behaviors in the red-shanked douc langur (Pygathrix nemaeus). This paper further elucidates the question of red-shanked douc suspensory behavior, and provides initial positional behavior data for two other rare Asian colobines, by comparing the ontogenetic positional behavior of red-shanked douc langurs, Delacour's langurs (Trachypithecus delacouri), and Hatinh langurs (Trachypithecus hatinhensis) at the EPRC. Two hundred and seven hours of positional behavior data were collected, with approximately equal amounts of data on each species, and equal amounts on adults and those less than 18 months in age. All young animals were more active than adults, used a wider repertoire of locomotor behaviors, and expressed suspensory behaviors more frequently than did the adults. Young animals also "invented" one new locomotor and two new postural behaviors. These differences are due to both play and explorative behavior, as well as to the youths' changing musculoskeletal systems. The number of positional behaviors utilized by the adults of these species is quite similar to one another (23-32), as is that utilized by the young (51-56). Douc langurs in both age categories used suspensory behaviors more frequently than did Delacour's and Hatinh langurs. Because the uniformity of enclosures offers a control, the results of this study generate hypotheses regarding adaptive radiations and niche partitioning in wild populations.