MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: What are the 30 types of bamboo eaten by pandas?

Date: Fri Jul 23 13:50:59 1999
Posted By: Ruth Allard, Conservation Biologist, American Zoo and Aquarium Association
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 930976272.Zo

Dear Mel,

After looking at a number of reference books on pandas, I'm afraid I don't 
have a definitive list for you, but here's a summary of what I found.  The 
tricky issue here is the fact that experts don't seem to agree on bamboo 
classifications.  This makes it hard for them to agree on lists of species 
eaten by pandas.  Here's what I found:

*Fargesia robusta (umbrella bamboo)
*Phyllostachys bambusoides (giant timber bamboo)
*Phyllostachys nigra (black-stemmed Whangee cane)
*other Phyllostachys species (some say there are over 50, but this 
reference didn't mention which are/may be eaten by pandas)
*Gelidocalamus fangianus (arrow bamboo)
*Fargesia nitida (sword bamboo)
*Yushania chungii (stone bamboo, severely depleted due to agriculture)
*Fargesia denudata
*Fargesia scabrida
*Fargesia aurita (known stand seems to have died, according to one 
*Bashania fargesii
*Chimonobambusa szechuanensis
*Qiongzhuea tumidiroda
*Qiongzhuea opienensis
*Indocalamus longiauritus
(this information all came from the book Pandas, by Chris Catton, 1990)

The Giant Pandas of Wolong, by George B. Schaller, Hu Jinchu, Pan Wenshi, 
and Zhu Jing, 1985 also lists:
*Fargesia spathacea

I honestly don't know which other species are eaten by pandas, but I'm not 
sure researchers know either.  Panda habitat is pretty hard to maneouver 
in, and there are so few left to observe.

Keep asking good questions, and enjoy the following panda web sites I've 

Best regards,


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