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Special contribution"Out of the tropics: ecology of temperate primates"

Goro Hanya, Cyril C. Grueter, Tsuji Yamato

The distribution of most non-human primates falls largely into tropical regions, butsome non-human primate taxa, e.g. some langurs, macaques, baboons, gibbons and lemurs, have successfully colonized temperate regionsin East Asia, North and South Africa, Madagascar and South America(Fleagle 1999). Therefore, it is expected that these species exhibit a variety of adaptations that help them to cope with the ecological demands associated with living in marginaltemperate habitats. Temperate-living primates are not necessarily less studied than tropical-living ones; for example, Japanese macaques have been studied atmany study sites in the Japanese archipelago for more than 60 years (Nakagawa et al. 2010) and their unique adaptations to coldness and strong seasonality, which are key characteristics of temperate habitats, have been well documented (Hori et al. 1977; Hanya 2004; Hanya et al. 2007). However, there have been few attempts to relate these findings tostudies in tropical areas and to generalize the characteristics of temperate forests and the ecological strategies of primates that live there.The recent remarkable progress in primate field studies in continental temperate Asia, in particular China, now enables us to synthesize the compiled findings and obtain a better understanding of the general characteristics of temperate primates. For that purpose, we organized a symposium under the name of this special contribution at the XXIII Congress of the International Primatological Society in Kyoto on September 16th, 2010. This special contribution is derived from the talks delivered at the symposium and complementedwith additionalpapers. Five papers (Hanya et al. 2013; Sayers 2013; Grueter et al. 2013; Fa et al. 2013; Minhas et al. 2013) are included in the current issue, and more will follow in a subsequent one. We have included original case studies on the ecology of various temperate primates, such as macaques, colobines and gibbons. Each study examines how temperate-specific biotic and abiotic factors affect basic ecological adaptations, such as diet, activity budgets, ranging patterns and social organization. We have also included two papers that use a comparative approach and contrast temperate and tropical primates in terms of theirhabitat and diet, respectively. These papers amalgamateand integrate the current knowledge which until now has been scattered over the literature and present hypotheses that predict the sorts of adaptationsthat are required for primates to live and thrive in temperate forests. We believe that this special contribution marks a milestone in this interesting, yet-to-be-explored topic and will encourage further research on a more diverse range of taxa and invarious geographic areas,thereby scrutinizing the validity of the ideas and hypotheses presented in our papers.

Primates 54 (2)


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