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The phylogenetic status of typical Chinese native pigs: analyzed by Asian and European pig mitochondrial genome sequences
Yu G, Xiang H, Wang J, Zhao X
Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology 2013, 4:9 (8 March 2013)

China is one of the most diverse countries, which have developed 88 indigenous pig breeds. Several studies showed that pigs were independently domesticated in multiple regions of the world. The purpose of this study was to investigate the origin and evolution of Chinese pigs using complete mitochondrial genomic sequences (mtDNA) from Asian and European domestic pigs and wild boars. Thirty primer pairs were designed to determine the mtDNA sequences of Xiang pig, Large White, Lantang, Jinhua and Pietrain. The phylogenetic status of Chinese native pigs was investigated by comparing the mtDNA sequences of complete coding regions and D-loop regions respectively amongst Asian breeds, European breeds and wild boars. The analyzed results by two cluster methods contributed to the same conclusion that all pigs were classified into two major groups, European clade and Asian clade. It revealed that Chinese pigs were only recently diverged from each other and distinctly different from European pigs. Berkshire was clustered with Asian pigs and Chinese pigs were involved in the development of Berkshire breeding. The Malaysian wild boar had distant genetic relationship with European and Asian pigs. Jinhua and Lanyu pigs had more nucleotide diversity with Chinese pigs although they all belonged to the Asian major clade. Chinese domestic pigs were clustered with wild boars in Yangtze River region and South China.

A. M. I. Auersperg, I. B. Laumer, and T. Bugnyar
Goffin cockatoos wait for qualitative and quantitative gains but prefer ‘better’ to ‘more’
Biol. Lett. June 23, 2013 9 3 20121092; doi:10.1098/rsbl.2012.1092 1744-957X

Evidence for flexible impulse control over food consumption is rare in non-human animals. So far, only primates and corvids have been shown to be able to fully inhibit the consumption of a desirable food item in anticipation for a gain in quality or quantity longer than a minute. We tested Goffin cockatoos (Cacatua goffini) in an exchange task. Subjects were able to bridge delays of up to 80 s for a preferred food quality and up to 20 s for a higher quantity, providing the first evidence for temporal discounting in birds that do not cache food.

Jancowski K, Orchard S (2013) Stomach contents from invasive American bullfrogs Rana catesbeiana (= Lithobates catesbeianus) on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. NeoBiota 16: 17-37. doi: 10.3897/neobiota.16.3806
Invasive alien American bullfrog populations are commonly identified as a pernicious influence on the survival of native species due to their adaptability, proliferation and consequent ecological impacts through competition and predation. However, it has been difficult to determine conclusively their destructive influence due to the fragmentary and geographically dispersed nature of the historical database. An expanding meta-population of invasive American bullfrogs, Rana catesbeiana (= Lithobates catesbeianus), becameestablished on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada in the mid- to late 1980s. An on-going bullfrog control program begun in 2006 offered a unique opportunity to examine the stomach contents removed from 5, 075 adult and juvenile bullfrogs collected from 60 sites throughout the active season (April to October). Of 15 classes of organisms identified in the diet, insects were numerically dominant, particularly social wasps and odonates (damselflies and dragonflies). Seasonality and site-specific habitat characteristics influenced prey occurrence and abundance. Native vertebrates in the diet included fish, frogs, salamanders, snakes, lizards, turtles, birds, and mammals, including some of conservation concern. Certain predators of bullfrog tadpoles and juveniles are commonly preyed upon by adult bullfrogs, thereby suppressing their effectiveness as biological checks to bullfrog population growth. Prey species with anti-predator defences, such as wasps and sticklebacks, were sometimes eaten in abundance. Many prey species have some type of anti-predator defence, such as wasp stingers or stickleback spines, but there was no indication of conditioned avoidance to any of these. Results from this study reinforce the conclusion that, as an invasive alien, the American bullfrog is an opportunistic and seemingly unspecialized predator that has a uniquely large and complex ecological footprint both above and below the water surface.

Christian Nawroth, Mirjam Ebersbach, Eberhard von Borell, Are juvenile domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domestica) sensitive to the attentive states of humans? – The impact of impulsivity on choice behaviour, Behavioural Processes, Available online 13 March 2013, ISSN 0376-6357, 10.1016/j.beproc.2013.03.002.
Previous studies have shown that apes, dogs and horses seem to be able to attribute attentive states to humans. Subjects chose successfully between two persons: one who was able to see the animal and one who was not. Using a similar paradigm, we tested a species that does not rely strongly on visual cues, the domestic pig (Sus scrofa domestica). Subjects could choose between two unfamiliar persons, with only one showing attention, in three different conditions (body, head away, body turned – head front). Subjects only showed a tendency towards the attentive human in the head away condition. However, by pooling those two conditions where the position of the human head was the only salient cue, we found a significant preference for the attentive person. Moreover, two approach styles could be distinguished – an impulsive style with short response times and a non-impulsive style where response times were relatively long. With the second approach style, pigs chose the attentive person significantly more often than expected by chance level, which was not the case when subjects chose impulsively. These first results suggest that pigs are able to use head cues to discriminate between different attentive states of humans.

W.L. García-Jiménez, P. Fernández-Llario, J.M. Benítez-Medina, R. Cerrato, J. Cuesta, A. García-Sánchez, P. Gonçalves, R. Martínez, D. Risco, F.J. Salguero, E. Serrano, L. Gómez, J. Hermoso-de-Mendoza, Reducing Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) population density as a measure for bovine tuberculosis control: Effects in wild boar and a sympatric fallow deer (Dama dama) population in Central Spain, Preventive Veterinary Medicine, Available online 13 March 2013, ISSN 0167-5877, 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2013.02.017.
Research on management of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in wildlife reservoir hosts is crucial for the implementation of effective disease control measures and the generation of practical bTB management recommendations. Among the management methods carried out on wild species to reduce bTB prevalence, the control of population density has been frequently used, with hunting pressure a practical strategy to reduce bTB prevalence. However, despite the number of articles about population density control in different bTB wildlife reservoirs, there is little information regarding the application of such measures on the Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa), which is considered the main bTB wildlife reservoir within Mediterranean ecosystems.
This study shows the effects of a management measure leading to a radical decrease in wild boar population density at a large hunting estate in Central Spain, in order to assess the evolution of bTB prevalence in both the wild boar population and the sympatric fallow deer population.
The evolution of bTB prevalence was monitored in populations of the two wild ungulate species over a 5-year study period (2007–2012). The results showed that bTB prevalence decreased in fallow deer, corresponding to an important reduction in the wild boar population. However, this decrease was not homogeneous: in the last season of study there was an increase in bTB-infected male animals. Moreover, bTB prevalence remained high in the remnant wild boar population.

José Z. Abramson, Victoria Hernández-Lloreda, Josep Call, Fernando Colmenares, Relative quantity judgments in the beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) and the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), Behavioural Processes, Available online 13 March 2013, ISSN 0376-6357, 10.1016/j.beproc.2013.02.006.
Numerous studies have documented the ability of many species to make relative quantity judgments using an analogue magnitude system. We investigated whether one beluga whale, Delphinapterus leucas, and three bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, were capable of selecting the larger of two sets of quantities, and analyzed if their performance matched predictions from the object file model versus the analog accumulator model. In Experiment 1, the two sets were presented simultaneously, under water, and they were visually (condition 1) or echoically (condition 2) available at the time of choice. In experiment 2, the two sets were presented above the water, successively (condition 1) or sequentially, item-by-item (condition 2), so that they were not visually available at the time of choice (condition 1) or at any time throughout the experiment (condition 2). We analyzed the effect of the ratio between quantities, the difference between quantities, and the total number of items presented on the subjects’ choices. All subjects selected the larger of the two sets of quantities above chance levels in all conditions. However, unlike most previous studies, the subjects’ choices did not match the predictions from the accumulator model. Whether these findings reflect interspecies differences in the mechanisms which underpin relative quantity judgments remains to be determined.

Gifford ME, Clay TA, Peterman WE. 2013. The effects of temperature and activity on intraspecific scaling of metabolic rates in a lungless salamander. J. Exp. Zool. 9999:1–7.
The scaling of metabolic rate with body mass holds substantial predictive power as many biological processes depend on energy. A significant body of theory has been developed based on the assumption that metabolic rate scales with body mass as a power function with an exponent of 0.75, and that this scaling relationship is independent of temperature. Here we test this hypothesis at the intraspecific level in a lungless salamander using data on both standard and maximal metabolic rates (SMR and MMR, respectively). We also address a recently proposed alternative explanation that predicts systematic variation in this mass-scaling exponent, the metabolic level boundaries hypothesis (MLB). Consistent with predictions of the metabolic theory of ecology the mass scaling of SMR and MMR were independent of temperature, however, we find evidence that the mass-scaling exponent for SMR and MMR differ significantly from 0.75. Further, our data do not provide strong support for MLB. Mass-scaling exponents for MMR generally exceed those for SMR, although these differences are rarely statistically significant. J. Exp. Zool. 9999A:1–7, 2013.

Yessoufou, K., Davies, T. J., Maurin, O., Kuzmina, M., Schaefer, H., van der Bank, M., Savolainen, V. (2013), Large herbivores favour species diversity but have mixed impacts on phylogenetic community structure in an African savanna ecosystem. Journal of Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12059
1. There has been much debate on the impact of large herbivores on biodiversity, especially given that large mammals are becoming locally extinct in many places.
2. The use of evolutionary information on community structure has typically been limited to evaluating assembly processes, for example, competition or habitat filtering, whereas a lack of long-term experiments has precluded the test of predictions considering more complex biotic interactions.
3. Reconstructing the complete phylogeny of the trees and shrubs of the Kruger National Park from DNA data, we tested for phylogenetic signal in antiherbivory traits and compared the phylogenetic structure of communities under various degrees of herbivore pressure using experimental plots spanning several decades.
4. We show that all antiherbivory traits examined demonstrated weak but significant phylogenetic signal, and that exclusion of large herbivores results in impoverished species diversity in restructured communities. Surprisingly, we also show that reduction in species diversity coupled with community reorganization does not necessarily result in a decrease in phylogenetic diversity, and that community responses to herbivore exclusion depend on initial structure.
5. Synthesis. Extinction of large mammal herbivores will have cascading effects on plant diversity; however, impacts on plant community structure are contingent on initial conditions. This research has implications for best practice when managing large herbivores and natural habitats.

Shape Variation in the Skull and Lower Carnassial in a Wild Population of Raccoon Dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides)
Masakazu Asahara
Zoological Science 2013 30 (3), 205-210

Individual variations in skull and lower carnassial morphology within a wild population of raccoon dog were examined using geometric morphometric techniques. We compared individual morphological variations by using relative warp analysis, and then tested morphological integration between the skull and carnassial by using partial least square (PLS) analysis. The most marked variation in skull shape was the dorsoventral flexion; i.e., deformation from klinorhynchy to airorhynchy. Two remarkable variations were observed, including tilting between the trigonid (or carnassial blade) and the talonid in the lower carnassial, and the relative sizes of the trigonid and the talonid. This observed variation in skull shape was similar to previous reports of variations among dog breeds that correlate with a polymorphism of the Runx2 gene. This polymorphism has also been reported to correlate with snout length, which is strongly related to carnivorous or omnivorous dietary adaptations, across the entire order Carnivora. Our results in the lower carnassial were also similar to previously reported patterns observed for carnivorous or omnivorous dietary adaptations among Carnivora. However, in our PLS analysis between skull and carnassial shapes, we only found a significant correlation in a lower dimension, suggesting a lower degree of integration. These results indicate that shape variations, which could be sources of natural selection in the skull and carnassial, were present in a wild population, suggesting high evolvability of these variations in the raccoon dog and the order Carnivora in general.

Molecular Cloning and Transcript Expression of Genes Encoding Two Types of Lipoprotein Lipase in the Ovary of Cutthroat Trout, Oncorhynchus clarki
Yong-Woon Ryu, Ricako Tanaka, Ayumi Kasahara, Yuta Ito, Naoshi Hiramatsu, Takashi Todo, Craig V. Sullivan, and Akihiko Hara
Zoological Science 2013 30 (3), 224-237

Large amounts of neutral lipids (NLs) are stored as lipid droplets in the ooplasm of fish oocytes, providing an essential energy resource for developing embryos and larvae. However, little is known about the origin of such lipids or about mechanisms underlying their uptake and accumulation in oocytes. We have proposed a model for this lipidation of teleost oocytes, as follows: very low density lipoprotein (Vldl) is metabolized by lipoprotein lipase (Lpl) outside and/or inside of the oocyte and the resulting fatty acids (FAs) are then utilized for de novo biosynthesis of NLs. As a first step toward verification of this model, cDNAs for genes encoding two types of Lpl, lpl and lpl2, were cloned from the ovary of cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarki. Examination of Lpl polypeptide sequences deduced from the cDNAs revealed features similar to LPLs/Lpls in other species, including several conserved structural and functional domains. Both types of lpl mRNA were highly expressed in lipid storage tissues (e.g., adipose tissue, muscle, and ovary) and were predominantly expressed in the granulosa cells of ovarian follicles. Ovarian lpl1 mRNA levels showed a remarkable peak in April (early oocyte lipid droplet stage) and then decreased to low values sustained until November (mid-vitellogenesis), after which time a small peak in lpl1 gene expression was observed in December (late vitellogenesis). The mRNA levels of lpl2 also were elevated in April and were highest in June (late lipid droplet stage), but did not show other pronounced changes. These results suggest that, in the cutthroat trout, Vldl is metabolized by the action of Lpls in the granulosa cell layer to generate free FAs for uptake and biosynthesis of neutral lipids by growing oocytes.

Laila M. Proença, Jean C. R. Silva, Paula D. Galera, Marília B. Lion, Jader S. Marinho-Filho, Alessandra Mara Alves Ragozo, Solange Maria Gennari, J. P. Dubey, Silvio Arruda Vasconcellos, Gisele Oliveira Souza, José Wilton Pinheiro Júnior, Vânia Lúcia de Assis Santana, Gilvan L. França, and Flávio H. G. Rodrigues
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 2013 44 (1), 152-155

Domestic dogs are reservoirs for many infectious diseases and may represent a potential source of infection for wild canid populations. A serologic investigation of antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum, Brucella abortus, and Leptospira spp. was conducted on three maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) and seven crab-eating foxes (Cerdocyon thous), all free-living, at the Águas Emendadas Ecological Station (ESECAE), Federal District, Brazil, between February and October 2006. Out of the 10 samples analyzed, eight (80%) were seropositive for T. gondii: 3/3 (100%) of the maned wolves and 5/7 (71.4%) of the crab-eating foxes. None of the animals presented anti–N. caninum, B. abortus, and Leptospira spp. antibodies. This study demonstrated that the wild canid populations at ESECAE presented high exposure to T. gondii and indicated that there is high environmental contamination at the Station, which can be attributed to its proximity to urban zones, the presence of domestic cats in the study area, or the existence of other wild infected felines.

Adrien W. D. Sanches, Pedro R. Werner, Tereza C. C. Margarido, and Jose R. Pachaly
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 2013 44 (1), 186-188

Neoplastic disease is not well documented in giant anteaters. This report describes a disseminated lymphoma in an adult male giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) from the City Zoo of Curitiba, State of Paraná, Brazil. No clinical signs were noticed before its death, except for a slight inappetence. At postmortem examination, pale white to yellow, variably sized nodules infiltrated the heart, liver, and intestinal lymph nodes. Histologically, two distinct cell populations were present in the nodular lesions: one characterized by smaller cells, primarily lymphocytic in nature, and another characterized by larger rounded cells with loose chromatin and frequently indented nuclei resembling histiocytes. Giant binucleated cells were occasionally observed. Mitotic figures numbered 2–3 mitotic figures/×400 field. Both cellular populations presented with moderate pleomorphism, large nuclei, a high nucleus-to-cytoplasm ratio, distinct nucleoli, and coarse nuclear chromatin. The neoplasia was classified as a form of multicentric lymphohistiocytic lymphoma (Rappaport Classification) and as an intermediate grade lymphoma (National Cancer Institute Working Formulation).

Debabrata Mahapatra, Mary Reinhard, and Hemant K. Naikare
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 2013 44 (1), 220-224

A 1-yr-old albino male corn snake (Elaphae guttata guttata), which was part of a large breeding stock, was presented to the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, Zoo and Exotic Animal Clinic with a history of anorexia for 2 wk and progressively declining body condition. The animal was euthanized due to a poor prognosis. Histopathology, electron microscopy, and polymerase chain reaction analysis on tissues revealed concurrent infection with adenovirus and Cryptosporidium. Primary infection with adenovirus could have caused immunodeficiency in the snake, thus predisposing it to secondary infection with Cryptosporidium. To the authors‘ knowledge, this is the first report of co-infection of adenovirus and Cryptosporidium in a Colubrid species of snake.

Michele Miller, Peter Buss, Jenny Joubert, Nomkhosi Mathebula, Marius Kruger, Laura Martin, Markus Hofmeyr, and Francisco Olea-Popelka
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 2013 44 (1), 55-61

Forty free-ranging white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) were anesthetized with etorphine, azaperone, and hyaluronidase in Kruger National Park, South Africa, between February and August 2009. Eighteen rhinoceros received butorphanol in the dart combination, and 22 rhinoceros had butorphanol administered intravenously within 15 min of darting. Body position, blood gas values, heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature were measured at two time points after darting, approximately 10 min apart (sample 1 mean collection time after darting, 9.4 ± 2.7 min; sample 2 mean collection time, 18.6 ± 2.8 min). A significant number of field-captured rhinoceros remained standing at the first sample period when butorphanol was administered in the dart. Higher median values for arterial partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2) in combination with lower arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PaCO2) in standing versus recumbent rhinoceros suggested improved ventilation in this posture (P < 0.05). When the effect of time, body position, and age was controlled, median values for respiratory rate, lactate, and pH were better in rhinoceros that received butorphanol in the dart (P < 0.05). There was also a trend toward higher median values for SO2 and bicarbonate in rhinoceros receiving butorphanol in the dart. Intravenous administration of butorphanol resulted in significantly decreased median PaCO2 and heart rate in recumbent rhinoceros (P < 0.05) without changes in PaO2 between sample periods 1 and 2. However, rhinoceros remained hypoxemic during the short anesthetic procedure despite butorphanol administration. Preliminary results suggest that administration of butorphanol (either in the dart or intravenously) improves some metabolic parameters in free-ranging recumbent white rhinoceros without significantly affecting ventilation. It is hypothesized that this may be due to a lighter state of immobilization. Addition of butorphanol to the dart provides handling and physiologic advantages because the majority of rhinoceros remain standing.

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