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Unanswered Questions About the Giant Squid Architeuthis (Architeuthidae) Illustrate Our Incomplete Knowledge of Coleoid Cephalopods*
Clyde F. E. Roper and Elizabeth K. Shea
American Malacological Bulletin 2013 31 (1), 109-122

The giant squid, Architeuthis Steenstrup, 1857, serves as a model for what we know and do not know about the broad biological aspects of the coleoid cephalopods. Gaps in our knowledge of taxonomy and systematics, distribution, population size, habitat use, age and growth, predation and feeding, reproduction and life cycles, and functional morphology all are examined by our review of Architeuthis natural history. Continued Architeuthis research improves our understanding of all coleoid cephalopods, and provides an avenue to engage the public in the process of science.
* From the “Mollusks: The Great Unanswered Questions. The James H. Lee Memorial Symposium” presented at 77th Annual Meeting of the American Malacological Society on 24 July 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. All symposium manuscripts were reviewed and accepted by the Symposium Organizer and Guest Editor, Dr. Timothy A. Pearce.

The spread of an Atlantic fish species, Pomadasys incisus (Bowdich, 1825) (Osteichthyes: Haemulidae), within the Mediterranean Sea with new additional records from the French Mediterranean coast
P. Bodilis, F. Crocetta, J. Langeneck, P. Francour
Italian Journal of Zoology

For the first time three specimens belonging to the species Pomadasys incisus (Bowdich, 1825), the bastard grunt, were caught in the French Ligurian Sea. This subtropical species, which naturally entered the Mediterranean Sea through the Straits of Gibraltar in the first half of the nineteenth century, and is currently colonizing the whole Mediterranean coast except the Adriatic Sea, was until now unknown for this region. We reviewed its distribution after a compilation of the available literature, and tried to explain the spreading and the establishment of the bastard grunt as a Mediterranean species in light of the prevailing Mediterranean currents and the possible climate changes.

Uterine dynamics of the southern eagle ray Myliobatis goodei (Chondrichthyes: Myliobatidae) from the southwest Atlantic Ocean
J. H. Colonello, H. E. Christiansen, M. B. Cousseau, G. J. Macchi
Italian Journal of Zoology

Uterine layer changes and their relationship with the reproductive cycle were analyzed for the southern eagle ray Myliobatis goodei (Chondrichthyes: Myliobatidae), based on histological and histometric studies. The specimens were collected from bottom-trawl surveys conducted in the coastal southwest Atlantic ecosystem between latitude 34 and 42°S. Oviduct samples were removed and fixed in 10% buffered formalin until processing for histological analysis. Both oviducts are developed in mature females, but only the left is functional. After ovulation, the size of the right posterior oviduct decreases and the left develops into a complex uterus that occupies almost the entire coelomic cavity. This uterus undergoes successive morphological and functional changes related to reproductive stages. Mucosa was characterized by temporal villous extensions or trophonemata with high variability depending on reproductive events. Invaginations or crypts associated with presumably lipid secretion (histotrophe) were observed between the trophonematum bases. The muscular layer develops into a complex muscular-vascular-conjunctive structure. The nutrition of early-gestation embryos is lecithotrophic and later they receive nutrients from the yolk sac and histotrophe. After yolk depletion, embryos become entirely dependent on histotrophe. Uterolactation, presumptive water imbibition of the muscular layer, and uterine hypertrophy observed in this study reinforce the “similarities” between Myliobatiformes and mammals.

J.M. Corpa, A. García-Quirós, M. Casares, A.C. Gerique, M.D. Carbonell, M.T. Gómez-Muñoz, F.A. Uzal, J. Ortega, Encephalomyelitis by Toxoplasma gondii in a captive fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), Veterinary Parasitology, Volume 193, Issues 1–3, 31 March 2013, Pages 281-283, ISSN 0304-4017, 10.1016/j.vetpar.2012.11.018.
Encephalomyelitis due to Toxoplasma gondii was diagnosed in a fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox). The animal had ataxia, atrophy of hind limb muscles and progressive wasting before dying 12 months after the onset of clinical signs. Toxoplasmosis was suspected antemortem based on clinical signs and the detection of T. gondii DNA by PCR on EDTA-blood from live animal. Necropsy revealed necrotizing gastritis and severe emaciation. The main histological lesions included non-suppurative encephalomyelitis, with dilation of myelin sheaths and swollen axons in the spinal cord, and multifocal gliosis in the brain with intralesional protozoan cysts that stained positive for T. gondii immunohistochemistry. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first report of toxoplasmosis in a fossa, and a new host record.

Quantification of Morphological Variation within Species of Anoura from Ecuador, with an Emphasis on A. fistulata (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae)
Pablo Jarrín-V and David Coello
Acta Chiropterologica 2012 14 (2), 317-333

The original description for Anoura fistulata (long-lipped bat) was mostly qualitative in nature. Here we make a quantitative reassessment of morphological variation in skull shape for this and other Ecuadorian species. Our goal is to provide a perspective into morphospace for understanding the boundaries and extent of variation within and among species of Anoura occurring in Ecuador. Our results show that, besides its singular differences in soft-tissue anatomy, the distribution of samples in morphospace for A. fistulata suggests this species occupies an intermediate space between A. geoffroyi and A. caudifer. Anoura geoffroyi and A. caudifer share opposite regions of morphospace, where size is the largest factor contributing to variation, and along the shape vector both species are distinguished mostly by a contraction of the maxilla and a contraction of the braincase, respectively. Although size is the main factor determining boundaries among species, for A. cultrata shape seems to be more relevant, as its geometric configuration of the skull is remarkably different. The other species are similar in shape when size is factored out. An unusual group of specimens may require further study as they may represent an unknown species, as these occupy unexpected areas of morphospace. A discussion of why we do not think there is evidence to assign this unusual group to any of the small species of Anoura (i.e. A. caudifer, A. aequatoris, and A. luismanueli) is also included. Populations of A. geoffroyi from the western and eastern slopes of the Andes show statistically supported differences in most of the measured morphological traits, however this is not true for A. caudifer. The effect of western and eastern habitats on the geometric configuration of the skull is different and inverted between both species. This results in a statistical interaction between the two slopes of the Andes and the two species. Eastern populations of A. geoffroyi and A. caudifer are morphologically closer than western populations in both species. Anoura geoffroyi possesses a larger altitudinal range and a larger body size, a positive correlation that may concur with the hypothesis of body size serving as a buffer to extreme or highly variable environments. The frequency distribution of character states in morphospace and their differentiation across the various species of Anoura is discussed in the context of diet and habitat.

Taxonomic Position of the Bobrinski’s Serotine (Eptesicus bobrinskoi, Vespertilionidae, Chiroptera)
Iliya V. Artyushin, Vladimir S. Lebedev, Dmitry G. Smirnov, and Sergei V. Kruskop
Acta Chiropterologica 2012 14 (2), 291-303

The taxonomic position of Bobrinski’s serotine (Eptesicus bobrinskoi) is still unclear. In the present study the relationships between E. bobrinskoi and other small Palaearctic serotines were examined based on morphometric and molecular evidence. Both mitochondrial (cytochrome b) and nuclear (THY) sequence data indicate that E. bobrinskoi is closely related to Gobi serotine (E. gobiensis). The difference between these two forms is significantly lower than between either of them and any other Palaearctic serotine. The results of morphometric analysis suggest that morphological differentiation between E. gobiensis and E. bobrinskoi is to a large extent accounted for by size difference. It is concluded that the species status of Bobrinski’s serotine is doubtful and this bat should be treated as a subspecies of E. gobiensis.

Taxonomic Status Assessment of the Mexican Populations of Funnel-Eared Bats, Genus Natalus (Chiroptera: Natalidae)
Ricardo López-Wilchis, Luis M. Guevara-Chumacero, Neófito ángeles Pérez, Javier Juste, Carlos IbáñEz, and Irene D. L. A. Barriga-Sosa
Acta Chiropterologica 2012 14 (2), 305-316

Due to its morphological conservatism, the American funnel-eared bats of the genus Natalus have had a complex taxonomic history. In Mexico only one species, N. stramineus, has traditionally been recognized. But recently a new endemic species, N. lanatus, was described in the region as a sympatric sibling species of N. stramineus. Natalus stramineus, with a geographic distribution extending from Mexico to Panama, was subsequently reassigned to N. mexicanus. In this study, we analyzed morphological and molecular characters to determine if two distinct species of funnel-eared bats (N. lanatus and N. mexicanus) occur in Mexico. We found that the proposed diagnostic morphological characters that separate the two taxa are not consistent and rarely differentiate between the two forms. Likewise, phylogenetic analyses do not support the separation of Natalus into two species in Mexico, but there is clearly geographic structure when all Mexican haplotypes are combined. The genetic distance between the haplotypes that could be ascribed to N. lanatus and N. mexicanus was typically within the range of conspecifics and not distinct species. To summarize, the results of both morphological and molecular analyses point to the presence of a single species of Natalus in Mexico.

Bat Fatalities at Wind Farms in North-Eastern Greece
Panagiotis Georgiakakis, Elżbieta Kret, Beatriz Cárcamo, Baptiste Doutau, Artemis Kafkaletou-Diez, Dimitris Vasilakis, and Eleni Papadatou
Acta Chiropterologica 2012 14 (2), 459-468

Several recent impact studies reveal that in some localities industrial wind farms are associated with high numbers of bat fatalities. In Europe, most published studies have been conducted in the northwest, while bat diversity generally is much higher in the south of the continent. Here we provide evidence from a post-construction monitoring study conducted in north-eastern Greece between August 2009 and July 2010. Overall, 88 turbines from nine wind farms were intensively searched, and 181 dead and two injured bats were found in their proximity. The most frequently killed species were Nyctalus leisleri (n – 56), Pipistrellus pipistrellus/ P. pygmaeus (53), P. nathusii (35), Hypsugo savii (23) and N. noctula (10). Fatality rates were high from June to September. Most killed bats were adult males. Observed differences in the temporal pattern of fatalities among species may be associated with differences in their behaviour and distribution. Sex segregation with males at higher elevation, where the wind farms were located, and/or absence of females from such areas during summer may be the reason behind the higher male mortality rates. Bat fatalities were unequally distributed among wind farms and turbines. Four turbines (5%) accounted for 27% and 13 turbines (15%) for 51% of the fatalities. The most frequently killed species exhibited different spatial patterns of fatality, presumably because some turbines were located closer to roosts and/or commuting corridors. Fatalities were positively correlated with tower height but not with rotor size. To reduce bat fatalities, we recommend an increase in the cut-in speed of turbines responsible for fatalities from sunset to sunrise.

Kathrin H. Dausmann, Jens Wein, James M. Turner, Julian Glos
Absence of heterothermy in the European red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)
Mammalian Biology – Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde

The European red squirrel Sciurus vulgaris inhabits areas which undergo profound seasonal declines in food availability and ambient temperature. We measured the body temperature (Tb) of free-ranging S. vulgaris over the course of one year to examine its thermoregulatory strategies and found no evidence of heterothermy, with Tb never dropping below 36.7 °C. A lower average Tb and a reduced active phase are likely to have resulted in some energetic savings, sufficient for survival during the particularly mild winter with unhindered access to food stores. We cannot exclude that a different Tb pattern may be seen in energetically more demanding years, but we can confirm that heterothermy is not an obligatory behaviour in this species to counter energetic bottlenecks. Either S. vulgaris is indeed a strict homeotherm, or the need for torpor is flexibly adjusted.

Zootaxa 3616 (1): 61–72 (18 Feb. 2013)
A new species of the genus Gracixalus (Amphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Southern Guangxi, China

A new species of the genus Gracixalus is described from Nonggang National Nature Reserve, based on eleven specimens from evergreen karst forests in Sino-Vietnamese border region of southern China. The new species, Gracixalus nonggangensis sp. nov., is medium sized species of Gracixalus that can be distinguished from its congeners by a combination of the following characters: SVL ranging from 29.9–35.3 mm in males and 33.6–38.0 mm in females; vomerine teeth absent; distinct tympanum as wide as the disc of finger III; the lower part of the tympanum with many small tubercles; tibiotarsal articulation reaching the tip of the snout; dorsum smooth yellowish-olive in life with a wide, dark-green irregular mark; throat, chest and belly white with light grey-blue tint and brown marbling; broad, dark olive, transverse stripes on limbs; finger webbing absent, toes one-third webbed; male with internal subgular vocal sac. Based on a 16S ribosomal RNA mitochondrial gene fragment, G. nonggangensis sp. nov. forms a monophyletic group embedded within the genus Gracixalus.

Zootaxa 3616 (1): 73–84 (18 Feb. 2013)
Phenotypic variation of Leptodactylus cupreus Caramaschi, São-Pedro and Feio, 2008 (Anura, Leptodactylidae)

This study describes for the first time the female of Leptodactylus cupreus and provides new information concerning its geographical distribution, male’s morphology and bioacustics. Leptodactylus cupreus, a poorly known species from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, was originally allocated in the L. mystaceus complex of the L. fuscus species group. Based on morphological observations, we infer that L. cupreus should be in fact related to L. mystacinus, a species that, although assigned to the L. fuscus species group, is not assigned to the L. mystaceus complex. Therefore, we comment the phylogenetic relationships concerning L. cupreus, L. mystaceus and L. mystacinus.

Hemdal, J. and McMullin, E. (2013), Husbandry of a Lake Victoria cichlid, the Pitch-black fulu Haplochromis piceatus, in public aquariums: a 20 year retrospective. International Zoo Yearbook. doi: 10.1111/izy.12012
The Lake Victoria haplochromine cichlids comprise a unique ‘species flock’ of over 500 historic species, of which perhaps only half still exist because of the introduction of invasive species and eutrophication of the Lake. Dr Les Kaufman supervised the establishment of captive populations of those cichlids he was able to acquire from Africa and Europe by developing the first North American regional studbook. Long-term propagation of these fish was then undertaken by public aquariums in Europe and North America. One species, the Pitch-black fulu Haplochromis piceatus, stands out as it has thrived at public aquariums and within the organizational structure of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plans. These cooperative breeding programmes focus on the conservation of select species of threatened animals. Captive populations of H. piceatus at public aquariums in the United States show a relatively slow loss of genetic diversity. Additionally, fish in at least two breeding programmes show a higher than expected heterozygosity, indicating that these programmes are successfully keeping their fish from inbreeding. The husbandry and genetic management of this population of fish is outlined, hopefully providing useful information for nascent breeding programmes of other aquatic species at zoos and aquariums around the world.

Kumar, R. and Devi, K. R. (2013), Conservation of freshwater habitats and fishes in the Western Ghats of India. International Zoo Yearbook. doi: 10.1111/izy.12009
The Western Ghats, India, present a series of challenges and opportunities for novel approaches to conservation. Running parallel to the coast of the Indian Peninsula, the Ghats represent the western edge of the Deccan Plateau and traverse 1400 km over six states, giving rise to rivers that drain over a third of the country. A global biodiversity hotspot with varied topography housing diverse ecological niches, the Western Ghats present significant challenges to, and opportunities for, conservation. Dense human habitation near river systems and dependence on freshwater resources for livelihoods make it difficult to establish protected areas. Freshwater fishes in this region account for c. 40% of the freshwater fishes in India and around 189 species are endemic to the Western Ghats. All the usual threats to the fishes and their habitats are present, and the freshwater fishes of the Western Ghats are of great social and economic importance to the local community. Zoos, aquariums and the general public can play a role in conservation efforts through education and research. Utilizing traditional customs already in place, such as water bodies in the vicinity of temples where no fishing occurs, in conjunction with ecotourism and more modern technologies, such as live gene banks and cryopreservation, may ease the burden on the freshwater habitats and fishes in the region.

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