Habitat and Ecology
The Formosan serow is intermediate feeder between selective browser and roughage eater (Hofmann 1985) with a tendency of being a selective browser (Hofmann 1985, Ochiai 1999). Formosan serow feeds on grasses, shrubs, browse, young twigs, some fruits, and even juvenile parts of conifers (McCullough 1974, Lue 1987). Based on information from aborigines, Lue (1987) stated that preferred food plants include, but are not limited to, Urtica fissa, Elatostema edule, Anisogonium esculentum, Begonia laciniata, Polygonum chinensis, Chamabainia cuspidate, Mussaenda parviflora, Perrottetia arisanensis, and Pellionia arisanensis. Analysis of relationships between forest structures and occurrence frequencies suggested that they may prefer disturbed and early-succession forests with gaps (Chiang 2007) where they could find grass and shrubs to browse (personal observations and McCullough 1974, Lue 1987).
Virtually nothing is known of its social organization. Captive animals mark objects with their infra-orbital glands and have localized dung sites; both behaviours are suggestive of territoriality (Chen 1987). Its reproduction is known almost exclusively from a limited number of captive animals (Wang and Chen 1981, Chen 1987). There is a single young born after seven months gestation (Smith and Xie 2008). Female Formosan serow are likely to be pregnant during September and November and give birth after March based on captive and hunters’ observations (Chen 1990). Formosan serow is mostly solitary (personal observation and Chen 1990), although captive groups with up to eight animals have been maintained (Chen 1987). Young Formosan serows were observed to follow their mothers with occasional hiding behaviour suggesting a follower type (Chen 1990). In the wild, young serows had also been photographed by camera traps to follow their parents in spring and fall (Pei and Chiang 2004).
Camera trapping data in remote areas with least human activities showed that Formosan serow is active day and night with significantly more diurnal activities (74% vs. 26%, Pei and Chiang 2004). It is most active during the 3 hours after sunrise and during the 4 hours before sunset (but lower activity levels than in the morning) and seasonal variations of activity levels were more pronounced in the afternoon (Pei and Chiang 2004). However, Formosan serow could become more nocturnal in areas close to human activities (Liu 2003).
Habitat segregation was found between Formosan serow, sambar deer (Cervus unicolor swinhoei) and Reeve’s muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi micrurus) (Chiang 2007). There may be competition in the wild with the sympatric sambar deer and Reeve’s muntjac, though the effects of these interactions require further research.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Naemorhedus swinhoei
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Naemorhedus swinhoei
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1994Vulnerable(Groombridge 1994)
- 1990Vulnerable(IUCN 1990)
- 1988Vulnerable(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
Both sexes bear horns that curve slightly backward and measure 10-20 centimeters in length. The horns are conical in shape and are never shed. The Formosan serow is the only native bovid of Taiwan.
Life style and behavior
They are highly vigilant and not easy to observe. However, their faeces is commonly found in Yushan National Park. At dawn and dusk, they graze and browse in the woods singly or in small numbers. They generally eat the leaves below the shoulder height, or vines, ferns, shrubs, or herbs on the ground. In addition, they need to absorb salt and they can be observed licking minerals deposited on cliffs or rocks.
Taiwan serows can jump as high as 2m and run as fast as 20 km per hour. Among all mammals in Taiwan, they are the best high jumpers. They can be found at an elevation as low as 50 meters, but is mostly seen at 1000 meters or up to 3500 meters. Their habitats include conifer forest, mixed broad-leaved forests, and the steep slopes of bare rocks and gravel cliffs. You can sometimes spot them on top of Nanhu Mountain (南湖大山), Hsuehshan (雪山), Yushan (玉山), and Siouguluan Mountain (秀姑巒山). They also live in the Taroko National Park. Their hoofs separate to two sides and can easily hold on to rocks on steep slopes. They are also good tree climbers. They are solitary and territorial, which use tears to smear branches or stones as markers.
September to November is Taiwan serow's mating season. Their gestation period lasts about seven months. Calves are delivered between next year's March and June. Usually it gives birth to one calf, but can sometimes deliver twins. New born calves can stand on their own in just a few hours. Three-month old calves can feed by themselves, but can still be nursed by mothers. Males do not take care of calves. From six-months to one-year old, calves gradually separate from mothers and live independently. They grow to sexual maturity in two to three years and can live up to approximately 15 years.
Since 1989, Formosan serows were listed as rare and valuable species (珍貴稀有保育類) and protected by Taiwan's Cultural Heritage Preservation Law (Traditional Chinese: 文化資產保存法). The main threats to the Formosan serow are habitat destruction and harvesting.
- Chiang, P.J. & Pei, K.J-C. (2008). "Capricornis swinhoei". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- "Capricornis swinhoei: Formosan serow". Ultimate Ungulate. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- "Alpine Tundra Areas: Fauna". Government Information Office. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- "A Formosan serow (Capricornis crispus swinhoei) fights for life". National Parks of Taiwan. May 20, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-21.[dead link]
- 徐佩霜 & 李培芬 (August 2001). "台灣長鬃山羊". National Taiwan University. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- "Capricornis crispus swinhoei". National Taiwan University. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-21.