Zootaxa 3620 (3): 301–350 (7 Mar. 2013)
Taxonomy of the super-cryptic Hyperolius nasutus group of long reed frogs of Africa (Anura: Hyperoliidae), with descriptions of six new species
A. CHANNING, A. HILLERS, S. LÖTTERS, M.-O. RÖDEL, S. SCHICK, W. CONRADIE, D. RÖDDER, V. MERCURIO, P. WAGNER, J.M. DEHLING, L.H. DU PREEZ, J. KIELGAST10 & M. BURGER
Specimens from across the range of the Hyperolius nasutus species group were sequenced for two mitochondrial genes and one nuclear gene. Advertisement calls were recorded from the same specimens where possible, and morphological characters were compared. Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood produced a tree indicating 16 clades. The clades show little or no overlap in combinations of 16S sequence difference, shared tyr haplotypes, advertisement call parameters, snout profiles and webbing. On the basis of these data we recognise H. acuticeps, H. adspersus, H. benguellensis, H. dartevellei, H. igbettensis, H. nasutus, H. nasicus, H. poweri, H. viridis and describe six new species: Hyperolius friedemanni sp. nov. Mercurio & Rödel, Hyperolius howelli sp. nov. Du Preez & Channing, Hyperolius inyangae sp. nov. Channing, Hyperolious jacobseni sp. nov. Channing, Hyperolius rwandae sp. nov. Dehling, Sinsch, Rödel & Channing, and Hyperolius lupiroensis sp. nov. Channing. Hyperolius lamottei is confirmed to be outside the H. nasutus group clade. Hyperolius granulatus, H. oxyrhynchus, H. punctulatus and H. sagitta are assigned as junior synonyms. As our results are based on a small number of specimens, these hypotheses await testing with larger sample sizes and more characters. A species distribution model suggests where outlier populations might be found.
Zootaxa 3620 (3): 379–403 (7 Mar. 2013)
Symphurus orientalis (Bleeker) redefined based on morphological and molecular characters (Pleuronectiformes: Cynoglossidae)
MAO-YING LEE, THOMAS A. MUNROE & KWANG-TSAO SHAO
Aphoristia (= Symphurus) orientalis Bleeker 1879, collected from an unspecified depth and location in Japanese waters, is the first described species of symphurine tonguefish from Indo-Pacific waters. The original description with accompanying illustration is based on the unique holotype specimen and provides limited diagnostic characters for this taxon. Subsequent to its description, the holotype of A. orientalis has been lost. Limited diagnostic information and loss of the holotype have caused considerable confusion to subsequent systematic studies regarding the identity of this and similar tonguefish species occurring in the Indo-West Pacific region. Several, often-cited, taxonomic accounts purportedly redescribing S. orientalis are erroneous because they include more than one species in these redescriptions. These
erroneous redescriptions not only confused the species concept of S. orientalis (Bleeker), but also confounded the systematics of similar Indo-West Pacific tonguefishes. Symphurus novemfasciatus Shen and Lin, described on two specimens collected in southern Taiwan, shares many morphological and pigmentation features similar to those of S. orientalis. Morphological data from a large series of tonguefishes collected in Taiwanese and Japanese waters, as well as molecular data from a smaller number of specimens from these locations, including the type locality of S. novemfasciatus, confirm the presence of only one species, S. orientalis (Bleeker), among these specimens. Symphurus novemfasciatus Shen and Lin is therefore regarded as a junior subjective synonym of S. orientalis. Symphurus orientalis is redefined based on a large series of specimens identified by a consistent set of morphological criteria, and a neotype is designated to stabilize nomenclature and systematics of this species. Symphurus orientalis differs from congeners by its combination of: a predominant 1–2–2–2–2 pattern of interdigitation of proximal dorsal-fin pterygiophores and neural spines, 12 caudalfin rays, 9 abdominal and 52–55 total vertebrae, four hypurals, 96–101 dorsal-fin rays, 82–89 anal-fin rays, 87–99 longitudinal scale rows, 37–42 transverse scales, 5–11 (usually) distinct, complete or incomplete, blackish-brown crossbands on the ocular side, uniformly white blind side, and conspicuous bluish-black peritoneum. Documenting morphological variation for S. orientalis represents the most important step towards clarification of the identity of this and other symphurine tonguefish species from this region. Reliable identification of specimens of S. orientalis also provides the foundation for evaluating the status of several other, poorly-known, nominal species of Indo-West Pacific tonguefishes that have features similar to those of S. orientalis. Improved identifications will lead to better knowledge on the geographic distribution of S. orientalis and these other species, as well as to improve estimates of biodiversity and the biogeography
of Indo-West Pacific symphurine tonguefishes.
D. J. McCafferty, C. Gilbert, A.-M. Thierry, J. Currie, Y. Le Maho, and A. Ancel
Emperor penguin body surfaces cool below air temperature
Biol. Lett. June 23, 2013 9 3 20121192; doi:10.1098/rsbl.2012.1192 1744-957X
Emperor penguins Aptenodytes forsteri are able to survive the harsh Antarctic climate because of specialized anatomical, physiological and behavioural adaptations for minimizing heat loss. Heat transfer theory predicts that metabolic heat loss in this species will mostly depend on radiative and convective cooling. To examine this, thermal imaging of emperor penguins was undertaken at the breeding colony of Pointe Géologie in Terre Adélie (66°40′ S 140° 01′ E), Antarctica in June 2008. During clear sky conditions, most outer surfaces of the body were colder than surrounding sub-zero air owing to radiative cooling. In these conditions, the feather surface will paradoxically gain heat by convection from surrounding air. However, owing to the low thermal conductivity of plumage any heat transfer to the skin surface will be negligible. Future thermal imaging studies are likely to yield further insights into the adaptations of this species to the Antarctic climate.
Mid-Pliocene warm-period deposits in the High Arctic yield insight into camel evolution, Natalia Rybczynski, John C. Gosse, C. Richard Harington, Roy A. Wogelius, Alan J. Hidy & Mike Buckley, Nature Communications 4, Article number: 1550 doi:10.1038/ncomms2516
The mid-Pliocene was a global warm period, preceding the onset of Quaternary glaciations. Here we use cosmogenic nuclide dating to show that a fossiliferous terrestrial deposit that includes subfossil trees and the northern-most evidence of Pliocene ice wedge casts in Canada’s High Arctic (Ellesmere Island, Nunavut) was deposited during the mid-Pliocene warm period. The age estimates correspond to a general maximum in high latitude mean winter season insolation, consistent with the presence of a rich, boreal-type forest. Moreover, we report that these deposits have yielded the first evidence of a High Arctic camel, identified using collagen fingerprinting of a fragmentary fossil limb bone. Camels originated in North America and dispersed to Eurasia via the Bering Isthmus, an ephemeral land bridge linking Alaska and Russia. The results suggest that the evolutionary history of modern camels can be traced back to a lineage of giant camels that was well established in a forested Arctic.
Ruiz-Olmo, J., Such-Sanz, A. and Piñol, C. (2013), Substrate selection for urine spraying in captive wildcats. Journal of Zoology. doi: 10.1111/jzo.12025
This study documents the urine spraying behaviour of wildcats, Felis silvestris. Urine spraying is considered a short term visual mark and the main form of scent marking by felids. When urine spraying, a wildcat raises up its tail and ejects backwards a spray of urine against a prominent object of its surrounding environment. The selection of a urinating substrate should maximize the communicating value of the mark, but the factors that influence this selection are poorly understood. We hypothesized that urine spraying marks are not placed randomly, but that wildcats select marking post based on traits that enhance the effectiveness of the scent mark, by maximizing their detectability, diffusion or persistence. This study shows that wildcats select common juniper, Juniperus communis, to spray their urine mark on not because of the physical traits of the plant, but based on the species. The effectiveness of an olfactive mark has to do with the degradation and oxidation of its chemical components. The common juniper has a high concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOC) with antioxidant activity. We therefore suggest that wildcats can recognize the VOC composition of different plants, and based on its VOC, select those plants which could enhance the olfactory effectiveness of the mark. Thus, the recognition of volatile compounds in the surrounding environment should be important in the marking behaviour of wildcats.
Forelimb preferences in quadrupedal marsupials and there implications for laterality evolution in mammals
Giljov A, Karenina K, Malashichev Y
BMC Evolutionary Biology 2013, 13:61 (6 March 2013)
Acquisition of upright posture in evolution has been argued to facilitate manual laterality in primates. Owing to the high variety of postural habits marsupials can serve as a suitable model to test whether the species-typical body posture shapes forelimb preferences in non-primates or this phenomenon emerged only in the course of primate evolution. In the present study we aimed to explore manual laterality in marsupial quadrupeds and compare them with the results in the previously studied bipedal species. Forelimb preferences were assessed in captive grey short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica) and sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps) in four different types of unimanual behaviour per species, which was not artificially evoked. We examined the possible effects of sex, age and task, because these factors have been reported to affect motor laterality in placental mammals.
In both species the direction of forelimb preferences was strongly sex-related. Male grey short-tailed opossums showed right-forelimb preference in most of the observed unimanual behaviours, while male sugar gliders displayed only a slight, not significant rightward tendency. In contrast, females in both species exhibited consistent group-level preference of the left forelimb. We failed to reveal significant differences in manual preferences between tasks of potentially differing complexity: reaching a stable food item and catching live insects, as well as between the body support and food manipulation. No influence of subjects‘ age on limb preferences was found.
The direction of sex-related differences in the manual preferences found in quadrupedal marsupials seems to be not typical for placental mammals. We suggest that the alternative way of interhemispheric connection in absence of corpus callosum may result in a fundamentally distinct mechanism of sex effect on limb preferences in marsupials compared to placentals. Our data confirm the idea that non-primate mammals differ from primates in sensitivity to task complexity. Comparison of marsupial species studied to date indicate that the vertical body orientation and the bipedalism favor the expression of individual– and population — level forelimb preferences in marsupials much like it does in primates. Our findings give the first evidence for the effect of species-typical posture on the manual laterality in non-primate mammals.
Naito, Y., Costa, D. P., Adachi, T., Robinson, P. W., Fowler, M., Takahashi, A. (2013), Unravelling the mysteries of a mesopelagic diet: a large apex predator specializes on small prey. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12083
1. To gain insight into the foraging behaviour of deep diving seals, we developed a long-term jaw-motion recorder, which successfully measured the feeding attempts of four post-breeding female northern elephant seals for 55–68 days during migration in the north-east Pacific Ocean.
2. Using the jaw-motion recorders in conjunction with satellite tracking data, we first reveal the three-dimensional fine-scale distribution of deep foraging activity in the north-east Pacific Ocean.
3. A large number of jaw-motion events (23 817–58 766 during 2925–4178 dives, per seal) were observed with diel patterns suggesting their dependency on small mesopelagic prey. Calculations using at-sea field metabolic-rate and the photographs concurrently obtained by the head-mounted camera indicated feeding on small mesopelagic prey (10–20 g) including lantern fish (F. Myctophidae).
4. The foraging behaviour of the northern elephant seal contrasts with echolocating toothed whales, which make fewer feeding attempts, suggesting the whales forage more selectively. We hypothesize that the continuous diving mode exhibited by this seal could be attributed to their reliance on small prey and their less efficient ‘passive sensors’ for prey search, that is, their vision or whiskers to detect prey.
Condit, R., Reiter, J., Morris, P. A., Berger, R., Allen, S. G. and Le Boeuf, B. J. (2013), Lifetime survival rates and senescence in northern elephant seals. Marine Mammal Science. doi: 10.1111/mms.12025
The aim of this study was to extend 40 yr of prior demographic work on northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) at Año Nuevo, California, by including the oldest animals. We used a Bayesian mark-recapture analysis to estimate lifelong survival and lifespan of a cohort of 372 weaned pups branded in 1985–1987 and resighted until 2008. Annual survival probability of females averaged 86.3%/yr at ages 5–16, then declined until age 21, the age of the oldest female. Male survival was lower, averaging 67.7%/yr from age 1 to age 15, the age of the oldest male. Northern elephant seal females in the expanding population at Año Nuevo live longer than southern elephant seal females (M. leonina) at colonies whose populations are declining. This comparison suggests that high survival of females is a key factor in population growth.
Douglas, L. R., Winkel, G. and Sherry, T. W. (2013), Does the Bananaquit Benefit Commensally from Parrot Frugivory? An Assessment Using Habitat Quality. Biotropica. doi: 10.1111/btp.12035
How strong-beaked frugivores such as parrots affect other frugivores is poorly understood. This study quantitated six indices of habitat quality for the facultatively frugivorous Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) using two habitat types and three treatments of habitat quality, namely old growth forest versus citrus orchards in Dominica, the latter habitat type with and without parrot frugivory. The study also controlled for elevation, rainfall and citrus fruit maturity. The results indicate that both the quantity of parrot frugivory and fruit maturity at the time of frugivory influenced the habitat quality for Bananaquits. Their abundance was higher, individuals stored more fat, and parasite loads were lower on farms with more parrot frugivory. Fruit quality mediated the influence of the quantity of parrot frugivory insofar as Bananaquit body condition was tightly correlated with the fruit chemistry at the time of frugivory or harvest. This study provides empirical evidence of a commensal association and underscores the important ecological role of Neotropical psittacines as mediators of habitat quality for other animal. The findings further suggest that loss of these apex consumers may have triggered previously unappreciated trophic cascades, particularly in island ecosystems lacking large mammalian canopy frugivores.
Altenritter, M. E. L., Wieten, A. C., Ruetz, C. R. and Smith, K. M. (2013), Seasonal spatial distribution of juvenile lake sturgeon in Muskegon Lake, Michigan, USA. Ecology of Freshwater Fish. doi: 10.1111/eff.12040
We examined seasonal spatial distribution and diel movements of juvenile lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens in Muskegon Lake, Michigan (a protected, drowned river mouth lake that links the Muskegon River to Lake Michigan). We surgically implanted ultrasonic tags in 20 juveniles (age 1–7) captured in gill nets to track their locations during August–December 2008/2009 and September 2010–October 2011. Most juveniles were observed ≤1.5 km from the mouth of the Muskegon River in Muskegon Lake at a mean depth of 7.5 m (SE = 1.3 m) during summer. In fall, juveniles moved away from the river mouth to the deepest part of Muskegon Lake and were observed at a mean depth of 15.8 m (SE = 1.3 m) during winter. The shift in spatial distribution coincided with fall turnover (i.e., loss of thermal stratification) and with changes in dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations in the hypolimnion. During summer, DO concentrations in the hypolimnion were typically 7 mg·l−1 in 94% of instances. Tracking in 2009 revealed no significant change in depth distribution or movement over the diel cycle. We only observed two tagged juveniles immigrating to Lake Michigan, suggesting that juveniles use Muskegon Lake for multiple years. Our results suggest that: (i) Muskegon Lake serves as an important nursery habitat for juvenile lake sturgeon that hatched in the Muskegon River before they enter Lake Michigan and (ii) seasonal changes in DO concentration in the hypolimnion likely affect the spatial distribution of juveniles in Muskegon Lake.
Hamner, R. M., Constantine, R., Oremus, M., Stanley, M., Brown, P. and Scott Baker, C. (2013), Long-range movement by Hector’s dolphins provides potential genetic enhancement for critically endangered Maui’s dolphin. Marine Mammal Science. doi: 10.1111/mms.12026
For endangered populations with low genetic diversity, low levels of immigration could lead to genetic rescue, reducing the risk of inbreeding depression and enhancing chances of long-term species survival. Our genetic monitoring of Maui’s dolphins revealed the first contemporary dispersal of their sister subspecies, Hector’s dolphin, from New Zealand’s South Island into the Maui’s dolphin distribution along ~300 km of the North Island’s northwest coast. From 2010 to 2012, 44 individuals were sampled within the Maui’s dolphin distribution, four of which were genetically identified as Hector’s dolphins (two living females, one dead female, one dead male). We also report two Hector’s dolphins (one dead female neonate, one living male) sampled along the North Island’s southwest coast, outside the presumed range of either subspecies. Together, these records demonstrate long-distance dispersal by Hector’s dolphins (≥400 km) and the possibility of an unsampled Hector’s dolphin population along the southwest coast of the North Island. Although two living Hector’s dolphins were found in association with Maui’s dolphins, there is currently no evidence of interbreeding between the subspecies. These results highlight the value of genetic monitoring for subspecies lacking distinctive physical appearances as such discoveries are not detected by other means, but have important conservation implications.