Abstract View

Circadian clock determines the timing of rooster crowing
Tsuyoshi Shimmura, Takashi Yoshimura
Current Biology – 18 March 2013 (Vol. 23, Issue 6, pp. R231-R233)

Crowing of roosters is described by onomatopoetic terms such as cock-a-doodle-doo (English), ki-ke-ri-ki (German), and ko-ke-kok-koh (Japanese). Rooster crowing is a symbol of the break of dawn in many countries. Indeed, crowing is frequently observed in the morning [1]. However, people also notice that crowing is sometimes observed at other times of day. Therefore, it is yet unclear whether crowing is under the control of an internal biological clock, or is simply caused by external stimuli. Here we show that predawn crowing is under the control of a circadian clock. Although external stimuli such as light and crowing by other individuals also induce roosters crowing, the magnitude of this induction is also regulated by a circadian clock.

Zootaxa 3630 (1): 155–164 (19 Mar. 2013)
Callogobius winterbottomi, a new species of goby (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from the Western Indian Ocean

Callogobius winterbottomi new species is described from the 33.8 mm SL holotype and two paratypes (32.2 mm SL and 22.9 mm SL) from the Comoros, Western Indian Ocean. It is distinguished from all other known Callogobius species by the following combination of characters: sensory pores absent, 23–26 scales in lateral series, and sensory papillae preopercular row not continuous with transverse opercular row. One additional specimen of Callogobius winterbottomi was located from South Africa. A new standardized naming system for Callogobius sensory papillae rows is presented for identification and clarification of character states among Callogobius species. The new species is tentatively placed among what we term the “sclateri group”, a clade including C. sclateri (Steindachner) and three other species that exhibit a modified female urogenital papilla with lateral distal flaps and elongate ctenii on the caudal peduncle scales. Callogobius tutuilae (Jordan & Seale) is removed from synonymy with C. sclateri because it has partially united pelvic fins (vs separate) and the preopercular sensory papillae row is continuous with the transverse opercular row (vs separate).

Zootaxa 3630 (1): 165–183 (19 Mar. 2013)
Systematics of Sturnira (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) in Ecuador, with comments on species boundaries

Molecular and morphological analyses of variation often conflict with historical species descriptions based on a few characters and small samples sizes. Here we present a molecular phylogeny together with a quantitative morphological analysis of the species in Sturnira in Ecuador. The 438 terminal taxa or organisms included in the anlaysis occur within a total of 10 ingroup lineages, which contain considerable substructure. Some species, as recognized by their morphological traits, form paraphyletic arrangements with other taxa. We could not distinguish the close species pairs S. erythromos / S. bogotensis and S. ludovici / S. oporophilum in morphospace and therefore when distinct lineages were recovered genetically, they initially contained mixed membership of specimens identified using morphological criteria. Similarly, the qualitative character states that diagnose S. luisi in its original description are not recovered in a quantitative analysis of morphological variation and thus S. luisi cannot be mapped to a single lineage in a molecular phylogeny. We present additional evidence to corroborate the existence of S. perla as a species. We found a remarkable geographic structure within some species containing sister pairings, with lineages having a clear eastern or western distribution in relation to the Andes. Our analysis demonstrates the potential for conflict between character-based diagnoses, analysis of morphological variation and molecular phylogenetics in the identification of species and supports a combined approach to this problem.

Cole, S. G. and Dahl, E. L. (2013), Compensating white-tailed eagle mortality at the Smøla wind-power plant using electrocution prevention measures. Wildlife Society Bulletin. doi: 10.1002/wsb.263
Environmental impact assessment allows for compensation of environmental injuries in the form of resource-based restoration projects. Given that compensation is a desired policy at a given site, this study suggests an interdisciplinary scaling method (Resource Equivalency Analysis) that relies on a non-monetary bird-year metric to quantify and value the impact on human welfare from ecosystem service loss. The lost value associated with white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) turbine collisions at the Smøla wind-power plant (debit) in central Norway is compensated through white-tailed eagle electrocution-prevention measures at nearby power lines (credit), scaled using the same bird-year metric. We found that 172 actual and projected white-tailed eagle turbine collisions (2005–2027) led to a debit of 3,454 discounted bird-years, which captures lost life expectancy discounted to present value. Field searches indicated that annual white-tailed eagle electrocution mortality per electric distribution pole (or pylon) at Smøla ranges from 0.002 to 0.014 (2009–2011). We suggest that retrofitting between 348 and 2,209 pylons at a present-value cost of US$1.2–7.9 million (2011 at 3%) will provide equivalent value and thus compensate the public for their welfare losses. Improved electrocution probability models will improve cost-effectiveness of retrofitting as a compensatory measure. Although Resource Equivalency Analysis may provide an approach for scaling a biodiversity offset, it cannot address the inevitable environmental trade-offs required in assessing the social profitability of choosing to compensate at a particular site.

Hull, C. L. and Muir, S. C. (2013), Behavior and turbine avoidance rates of eagles at two wind farms in Tasmania, Australia. Wildlife Society Bulletin. doi: 10.1002/wsb.254
Understanding the interaction between eagles and wind farms is essential for the development of strategies to minimize collision risk, and to quantify avoidance rates for collision risk modeling. The purpose of our study was to measure the avoidance rates of Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagles (Aquila audax fleayi) and white-bellied sea-eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) using a new method, and to examine factors affecting these rates. We conducted eagle surveys at the Musselroe Wind Farm (undeveloped and used as a control); Studland Bay Wind Farm during commissioning and operational stages; and Bluff Point Wind Farm during the operational stage, all in northern Tasmania, Australia. Observers documented flight tracks and behavior of eagles over 875 days during the period 2006–2008. Both species demonstrated a distinct avoidance of the turbines, preferring to fly midway between them. Avoidance rates were 81%–97%, and differed significantly between species and sites, with white-bellied sea-eagles avoiding at a higher rate than wedge-tailed eagles. Eagles at Bluff Point had a higher avoidance rate than those at Studland Bay, even though the sites were only 3 km apart. Both species altered their avoidance rates in response to stages in the wind-farm development, but only the wedge-tailed eagle altered its rate in response to weather conditions, demonstrating a higher avoidance rate during wet and windy conditions. Our study found that the interaction of eagles and wind turbines is complex, which highlights the need for further study of avoidance rates in species at different sites

Amanda J. Guy, Release of rehabilitated Chlorocebus aethiops to Isishlengeni Game Farm in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Journal for Nature Conservation, Available online 19 March 2013, ISSN 1617-1381, 10.1016/j.jnc.2013.01.002.
Chlorocebus aethiops are treated as vermin by some in South Africa, and this has resulted in injury, illness and death of hundreds of C. aethiops, with orphans being very common. Rehabilitation centres care for, rehabilitate and aim to return these monkeys to the wild. This study describes the release of 29 C. aethiops to Isishlengeni Game Farm in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The troop was monitored for six months. Confirmed survival of the troop was 62%, with 17% suspected mortality and 21% of the troop unaccounted for. The release site was not ideal due to hunting activities, the proximity of dwellings and roads and the presence of a wild troop. Preparation for release could be improved through the provision of naturally occurring foods and pre-release disease screening. Post-release monitoring would greatly benefit from the use of tracking devices to allow all animals to be followed post-release.

How Do Female Red-Winged Blackbirds Allocate Food Within Broods?
Nicole Krauss and Ken Yasukawa
The Condor 2013 115 (1), 198-208

Nestlings communicate with parents via begging, but what does begging signal and how do parents allocate food to their nestlings? We tested the signal-of-need (SoN) and signal-of-quality (SoQ) hypotheses for nestling begging in the Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) by attempting to determine whether begging is negatively (SoN) or positively (SoQ) condition dependent, and by attempting to identify the attributes of nestlings that parents use to allocate food within broods. We quantified begging by its mean intensity (scale 0–7) and mean duration and parental allocation by the number of times each nestling was fed. We found that the intensity and duration of begging were not correlated with nestlings‘ size (estimated by body mass and tarsus length), condition (estimated from the residual of mass regressed on tarsus length), age, sex, or testosterone concentration, so begging did not appear to be negatively or positively condition dependent. A generalized linear model showed that mean intensity of begging, body condition, and log testosterone concentration were significant predictors of the number of feedings. These results are consistent with parents using begging intensity and nestling quality, but not long-term need, to allocate food within broods.

Ruiz-Navarro, A., Verdiell-Cubedo, D., Torralva, M., and Oliva-Paterna, F. J. (2013) Removal control of the highly invasive fish Gambusia holbrooki and effects on its population biology: learning by doing. Wildlife Research 40, 82–89.

Context: For the success of future conservation and management programs, it is necessary to better understand the resilience mechanisms of invasive species and their invasive potential. In this sense, the study of the effects that management actions have on their biological traits is essential.
Aims: The present study aimed to assess the effects of removal control on the abundance and biology of an isolated population of the top invasive fish Gambusia holbrooki (eastern mosquitofish).
Methods: Experimental removal control with traps and handnets was carried out on a population of mosquitofish inhabiting a small semiarid stream in south-eastern Spain. Mosquitofish were periodically captured for more than 3 years. Temporal variations in abundance, fish somatic condition and reproductive investment, percentage of mature females, size at maturity and population recruitment were analysed.
Key results: Individuals of the 1+ age class increased their reproductive investment when population abundance was lower, thus increasing recruitment rate during the first months of the recruitment period. Individuals of the 0+ age class were responsible for expanding the reproductive period in conditions of low fish abundance.
Conclusions: The mosquitofish population showed variations of reproductive parameters that could indicate a compensatory density-dependent phenotypic response under diminished abundance conditions. However, its removal by the constant use of a combination of active and passive capture methods, reinforced by increased extraction effort according to its local biology, has led to an eradication of the population. The target mosquitofish population showed distinct ecological features that may have contributed to the effectiveness of local control, namely, low initial fish density, isolation in a headwater stretch and the prevalence of individuals in sunlit shallow ponds.
Implications: The compensatory mechanisms of this invasive species in low-density conditions should be considered in the design of management programs. Moreover, further research into removal control methods for mosquitofish or similar species is also needed.

A New Species of Softtail (Furnariidae: Thripophaga) from the Delta of the Orinoco River in Venezuela
Steven L. Hilty, David Ascanio, and Andrew Whittaker
The Condor 2013 115 (1), 143-154

We describe a new species of softtail, genus Thripophaga, from the southern portion of the delta of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. In plumage the new species is most similar to the Orinoco Softtail (T. cherriei) from the upper Rio Orinoco and to the Striated Softtail (T. macroura) of southeastern Brazil. It differs from either in voice, plumage, and mensural characters, but, like these two species, it has a small and geographically isolated range. The new taxon, as far as is currently known, is restricted to seasonally flooded forest along streams and rivers in the vicinity of the Brazo Imataca, a closed loop branch of the Rio Grande, which is the largest branch of the Rio Orinoco passing through the southern part of the Orinoco delta. We also present notes on the behavior, ecology, and conservation of this species.

Zootaxa 3630 (2): 308–316 (20 Mar. 2013)
After eighty years of misidentification, a name for the glass catfish (Teleostei: Siluridae)

We resolve the identity of the glass catfish, a species of Asian freshwater fish commonly encountered as an ornamental ish and an experimental subject that has long been misidentified as either Kryptopterus bicirrhis or K. minor. Our study indicates that the glass catfish is an unnamed species distinct from either, which we describe here as Kryptopterus vitreolus. Kryptopterus vitreolus is known from river drainages in peninsular and southeastern Thailand, and is distinguished from congeners in having a combination of: transparent body in life, maxillary barbels reaching beyond the
base of the first anal-fin, dorsal profile with a pronounced nuchal concavity, snout length 29–35% head length (HL), eye diameter 28–34% HL, slender body (depth at anus 16–20% standard length (SL)) and caudal peduncle (depth 4–7% SL), 14–18 rakers on the first gill arch, and 48–55 anal-fin rays.

Zootaxa 3630 (2): 317–332 (20 Mar. 2013)
Resolving an enigma by integrative taxonomy: Madagascarophis fuchsi (Serpentes: Lamprophiidae), a new opisthoglyphous and microendemic snake from northern Madagascar

Herpetological surveys in the dry forests of the limestone massif Montagne des Français in the far north of Madagascar have recently yielded a number of undescribed reptile species. Here we describe an additional new and potentially microendemic species of the snake genus Madagascarophis (Squamata: Serpentes: Pseudoxyrhophiinae) which lives in this massif syntopically with M. colubrinus septentrionalis and differs distinctly from M. colubrinus and M. meridionalis in its mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences. Morphologically Madagascarophis fuchsi sp. nov. is characterized by
a broad contact between the posterior inframaxillaries (genials), 25 dorsal scale rows at midbody, and a low number of ventrals (171–172). We re-describe the holotype of M. ocellatus and present new data on the morphological variation of the northern subspecies M. c. septentrionalis and M. c. citrinus. Although Montagne des Français has recently been included into the network of nature reserves in Madagascar, continuous deforestation is strongly threatening this important center of reptile endemism. In line with the assessment of other microendemic reptiles of this massif we suggest to consider the new species as Critically Endangered according to the IUCN criteria and encourage new efforts to protect
this area more efficiently.

Federico Villalobos, Tree squirrels: A key to understand the historic biogeography of Mesoamerica?, Mammalian Biology – Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, Available online 19 March 2013, ISSN 1616-5047, 10.1016/j.mambio.2013.02.003.
A multi-taxon historical biogeography approach (Brooks Parsimony Analysis) was used to estimate relationships among the Mesoamerican lowland and highland areas and the particular biogeographic history of Mesoamerican squirrels (Sciurus, Microsciurus and Syntheosciurus species). A total of 15 lowland areas and 12 highland areas plus 41 clades comprising 240 species (45,135 records) were employed to obtain Taxon-Area Cladograms and Area Cladograms. A single most parsimonious General Area Cladogram indicated a strong vicariant relationship between Southern Mexico and the remainder of Mesoamerica, and identified several vicariant nodes (Modern Chiapanencan Volcanic Arc, Honduras’ Great Central Depression, and Nicaraguan Depression) as well as historically independent highland areas. A secondary BPA in relation with Sciurus species showed several instances of post speciation dispersal or range expansion, lack of response to vicariant events, and, possibly, lineage duplication. The results obtained suggest that Mesoamerican biotas have been subjected to several major vicariant events, but the reticulated nature of some of its areas also indicates that dispersal (post-speciation dispersal and range expansion) had been important in the diversification of the Mesoamerican biota. This trend was also observed in the particular biogeographic history of Mesoamerican tree squirrels.

Verónica V. Benitez, Sandra Almada Chavez, A. Cecilia Gozzi, M. Laura Messetta, M. Laura Guichón, Invasion status of Asiatic red-bellied squirrels in Argentina, Mammalian Biology – Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, Available online 19 March 2013, ISSN 1616-5047, 10.1016/j.mambio.2012.10.002.

The only known introduction of a squirrel species into South America is the case of the Asiatic red-bellied tree squirrel Callosciurus erythraeus that was introduced in the Pampas Region of Argentina in 1970. To inform management programmes, we analysed the current distribution, expansion rate, and abundance of the red-bellied squirrel in Argentina, and identified invasion pathways. Apart from the first and main focus of invasion, three other invasion foci have originated as a consequence of intentional releases between 1995 and 2000. The main invasion focus already extends over >1300 km2, where estimated density averaged 15 ind ha−1 and numbers of squirrels may reach 100,000 individuals. The area invaded in the other three invasion foci varied between <1 and 34 km2 and mean densities were around 3–5 ind ha−1. Squirrel abundance and residents’ attitude towards this introduced species in the main invasion focus make eradication unfeasible, though management actions such as control, containment and mitigation of damages should be undertaken. Eradication of the relatively small invasion foci must be immediately evaluated, with priority given to valuable conservation areas under high invasion risk.

Alicia P. Melis and Michael Tomasello
Chimpanzees‚ (Pan troglodytes) strategic helping in a collaborative task
Biol. Lett. April 23, 2013 9 2 20130009; doi:10.1098/rsbl.2013.0009 1744-957X

Many animal species cooperate, but the underlying proximate mechanisms are often unclear. We presented chimpanzees with a mutualistic collaborative food-retrieval task requiring complementary roles, and tested subjects‘ ability to help their partner perform her role. For each role, subjects required a different tool, and the tools were not interchangeable. We gave one individual in each dyad both tools, and measured subjects‘ willingness to transfer a tool to their partner as well as which tool (correct versus incorrect) they transferred. Most subjects helped their partner and transferred the tool the partner needed. Thus, chimpanzees not only coordinate different roles, but they also know which particular action the partner needs to perform. These results add to previous findings suggesting that many of chimpanzees‘ limitations in collaboration are, perhaps, more motivational than cognitive.

Where has all the road kill gone?
Charles R. Brown, Mary Bomberger Brown
Current Biology – 18 March 2013 (Vol. 23, Issue 6, pp. R233-R234)

An estimated 80 million birds are killed by colliding with vehicles on U. S. roads each year [1], and millions more die annually in Europe [2] and elsewhere. Losses to vehicles are a serious problem for which various changes in roadway design and maintenance have been proposed [3]. Yet, given the magnitude of the mortality reported for some species [4], we might expect natural selection to favor individuals that either learn to avoid cars or that have other traits making them less likely to collide with vehicles. If so, the frequency of road kill should decline over time. No information is available for any species on whether the extent of road-associated mortality has changed [2]. During a 30-year study on social behavior and coloniality of cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) in southwestern Nebraska, we found that the frequency of road-killed swallows declined sharply over the 30 years following the birds’ occupancy of roadside nesting sites and that birds killed on roads had longer wings than the population at large.

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