Zootaxa 3635 (3): 201–223 (27 Mar. 2013)
Fifty Shades of Grey: giving colour to the poorly known Angolan Ashy reed frog (Hyperoliidae: Hyperolius cinereus), with the description of a new species
Phylogenetic reconstruction using the mitochondrial 16S marker shows that geographically separated populations of the poorly known Hyperolius cinereus (Anura: Hyperoliidae) from Angola form two distinct clades. The description of H. cinereus was originally based on only a single preserved adult male. Fresh material of both sexes allowed a detailed redescription of the species, which is restricted mainly to the south-draining Cunene and Cubango river systems.
Bioacoustic and morphological characters, in conjunction with colouration differences, allow the description of a cryptic sister species from Lagoa Carumbo in north-eastern Angola, occurring in the Luele and Lovuo river systems of the Congo drainage basin. Tadpoles, for H. cinereus and the new species, are described.
Zootaxa 3635 (3): 275–285 (27 Mar. 2013)
Cyrtodactylus sanook (Squamata: Gekkonidae), a new cave-dwelling gecko from Chumphon Province, southern Thailand
OLIVIER S.G. PAUWELS, MONTRI SUMONTHA, ALICE LATINNE & L. LEE GRISMER
We describe a new cave-dwelling species, Cyrtodactylus sanook sp. nov., from Tham Sanook, Chumphon Province, southern Thailand, characterized by a maximum SVL of 79.5 mm; 18–20 longitudinal rows of dorsal tubercles at midbody; a continuous series of enlarged femoral and precloacal scales, no femoral pores, three or four precloacal pores in males (no pores in females), no precloacal groove nor depression; 19–20 subdigital lamellae on 4th toe; transversally enlarged subcaudal plates; and 6–7 irregular pale narrow dorsal bands between limb insertions. It seems endemic to this cave and is the 7th Thai Cyrtodactylus species that is known only from a cave environment.
Morrison, C. A., Robinson, R. A., Clark, J. A., Risely, K., Gill, J. A. (2013), Recent population declines in Afro-Palaearctic migratory birds: the influence of breeding and non-breeding seasons. Diversity and Distributions. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12084
Recent, rapid population declines in many Afro-Palaearctic migratory bird species have focussed attention on changing conditions within Africa. However, processes influencing population change can operate throughout the annual cycle and throughout migratory ranges. Here, we explore the evidence for impacts of breeding and non-breeding conditions on population trends of British breeding birds of varying migratory status and wintering ecology.
Great Britain (England & Scotland).
Within- and between-species variation in population trends is quantified for 46 bird species with differing migration strategies.
Between 1994 and 2007, rates of population change in Scotland and England differed significantly for 19 resident and 15 long-distance migrant species, but were similar for 12 short-distance migrant species. Of the six long-distance migrant species that winter in the arid zone of Africa, five are increasing in abundance throughout Britain. In contrast, the seven species wintering in the humid zone of Africa are all declining in England, but five of these are increasing in Scotland. Consequently, populations of both arid and humid zone species are increasing significantly faster in Scotland than England, and only the English breeding populations of species wintering in the humid zone are declining.
Population declines in long-distance migrants, especially those wintering in the humid zone, but not residents or short-distance migrants suggest an influence of non-breeding season conditions on population trends. However, the consistently less favourable population trends in England than Scotland of long-distance migrant and resident species strongly suggest that variation in the quality of breeding grounds is influencing recent population changes. The declines in humid zone species in England, but not Scotland, may result from poorer breeding conditions in England exacerbating the impacts of non-breeding conditions or the costs associated with a longer migration, while better conditions in Scotland may be buffering these impacts.
Lackey, C. W., Beckmann, J. P. and Sedinger, J. (2013), Bear historical ranges revisited: Documenting the increase of a once-extirpated population in Nevada. The Journal of Wildlife Management. doi: 10.1002/jwmg.548
Black bears (Ursus americanus) were once abundant in Nevada and distributed throughout the state, yet recognition of the species‘ historical occurrence in the state is uncommon and has therefore been ignored in published distribution maps for North America. The lack of representation on distribution maps is likely due to the lack of any scientific data or research on bears in Nevada until 1987. Historical records dating back to the 1840s compiled by Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) biologist Robert McQuivey indicate presence of black bears throughout the state in the 1800s through about 1930. The paucity of historical references after 1931 suggest extirpation of black bears from Nevada’s interior mountain ranges by this time. We report on historical records of black bears in the state of Nevada and the results of a current population estimate of black bears derived from a sample of marked bears (n = 420) captured 707 times between 1997 and 2008. Using Pradel and Cormack–Jolly–Seber models in Program MARK, we estimated overall population size, finite rate of growth (λ = 1.16), quarterly and annual survival rates for males and females, seasonal capture probabilities, and recruitment rates. Our results indicate an overall population size of 262 ± 31 adult black bears in western Nevada. These results suggest that the once abundant, then extirpated population of black bears in Nevada is increasing at an annual average rate of 16%. Although the current distribution is limited to the western part of the state, our findings suggest possible expansion of the population into historical habitat within the interior and eastern portions of the state that have been absent of bears for >80 years. Finally, based on historical records, we present suggested revised historical distribution maps for black bears that include the Great Basin ranges in Nevada.
Carneiro, M., Baird, S. J. E., Afonso, S., Ramirez, E., Tarroso, P., Teotónio, H., Villafuerte, R., Nachman, M. W. and Ferrand, N. (2013), Steep clines within a highly permeable genome across a hybrid zone between two subspecies of the European rabbit. Molecular Ecology. doi: 10.1111/mec.12272
Maintenance of genetic distinction in the face of gene flow is an important aspect of the speciation process. Here, we provide a detailed spatial and genetic characterization of a hybrid zone between two subspecies of the European rabbit. We examined patterns of allele frequency change for 22 markers located on the autosomes, X-chromosome, Y-chromosome and mtDNA in 1078 individuals sampled across the hybrid zone. While some loci revealed extremely wide clines (w ≥ 300 km) relative to an estimated dispersal of 1.95–4.22 km/generation, others showed abrupt transitions (w ≈ 10 km), indicating localized genomic regions of strong selection against introgression. The subset of loci showing steep clines had largely coincident centers and stepped changes in allele frequency that did not co-localize with any physical barrier or ecotone, suggesting that the rabbit hybrid zone is a tension zone. The steepest clines were for X- and Y-chromosome markers. Our results are consistent with previous inference based on DNA sequence variation of individuals sampled in allopatry in suggesting that a large proportion of each genome has escaped the overall barrier to gene flow in the middle of the hybrid zone. These results imply an old history of hybridization and high effective gene flow and anticipate that isolation factors should often localize to small genomic regions.
Sally A. Nofs, Robert L. Atmar, Wendy A. Keitel, Cathleen Hanlon, Jeffrey J. Stanton, Jie Tan, Joseph P. Flanagan, Lauren Howard, Paul D. Ling, Prenatal Passive Transfer of Maternal Immunity in Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus), Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, Available online 26 March 2013, ISSN 0165-2427, 10.1016/j.vetimm.2013.03.008.(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016524271300113X)
Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants exhibit characteristics of endotheliochorial placentation, which is common in carnivore species and is associated with modest maternal to fetal transplacental antibody transfer. However, it remains unknown whether the bulk of passive immune transfer in elephants is achieved prenatally or postnatally through ingestion of colostrum, as has been documented for horses, a species whose medical knowledgebase is often extrapolated for elephants. To address this issue, we took advantage of the fact that many zoo elephants are immunized with tetanus toxoid and/or rabies vaccines as part of their routine health care, allowing a comparison of serum antibody levels against these antigens between dams and neonates. Serum samples were collected from 3 newborn Asian elephant calves at birth (before ingestion of colostrum); 2-4 days after birth; and 2-3 months of age. The findings indicate that the newborns had anti-tetanus toxoid and anti-rabies titers that were equivalent to or higher than the titers of their dams from birth to approximately 3 months of age, suggesting that the majority of maternal-to-fetal transfer is transplacental and higher than expected based on the architecture of the Asian elephant placenta.
Daniel B. Thomas1, Daniel T. Ksepka
A history of shifting fortunes for African penguins
Africa is home today to only a single breeding species of penguin, Spheniscus demersus (black-footed penguin), which is endangered with extinction. Spheniscus demersus has been the only breeding species of penguin to share African coastlines with humans over the last 400 000 years. Interestingly, African penguin diversity was substantially higher before the evolution of archaic humans. The fossil record indicates that a diverse assemblage of penguin species inhabited the southern African coasts for much of the Neogene. Previous excavations have identified four distinct species in Early Pliocene coastal marine deposits. Here we extend this pattern of high diversity and report the oldest record of penguins from Africa. Seventeen penguin specimens were identified from the Saldanha Steel locality, revealing the presence of at least four distinct species in South Africa during the Miocene. The largest of these species reached the size of the extant Aptenodytes patagonicus (king penguin), whereas the smallest was approximately the size of the smallest extant penguin Eudyptula minor (little blue penguin). Recovery of Miocene penguin remains is in accordance with earlier predictions of multiple pre-Pliocene colonizations of Africa and supports a higher level of ecological diversity amongst African penguins in the past.
A. Rosov, E. Gootwine, Birth weight, and pre- and postweaning growth rates of lambs belonging to the Afec-Assaf strain and its crosses with the American Suffolk, Small Ruminant Research, Available online 26 March 2013, ISSN 0921-4488, 10.1016/j.smallrumres.2013.02.015.
We evaluated the contribution of the American Suffolk, a known terminal sire breed, to growth traits of lambs born to Afec-Assaf ewes. By contemporaneous comparisons during 10 lambing periods, birth weight, preweaning and postweaning Average Daily Gain (ADG) of Afec-Assaf lambs (n =1301), 1/2 Suffolk lambs (n =98), 1/4 Suffolk lambs (n =598) and 1/8 Suffolk lambs (n =237) were compared. On average (mean±SD) lambs’ birth weight, weaning age, weaning weight, final weight and final age were 4.5±1.2kg, 35±6 days, 14.7±3.3kg, 54.7±8.2kg and 153±12 days, respectively. Preweaning, postweaning and overall ADG was: 294±66, 343±62 and 330±53g/day, respectively. Birth weight of 1/2 Suffolk, 1/4 Suffolk and 1/8 Suffolk lambs, all born to Afec-Assaf ewes, did not differ from that of Afec-Assaf lambs. Lambs belonging to the 1/2 Suffolk and 1/4 Suffolk crosses had higher preweaning and postweaning ADG than Afec-Assaf lambs. The difference in total ADG between Afec-Assaf and 1/2 Suffolk lambs was about 22g/day, leading to an estimated body weight difference of 3.3kg between lambs of the two genotypes at the age of 150 days. Genetic analysis suggested no significant differences between the Suffolk and Afec-Assaf in birth weight or in postweaning ADG. However, additive, heterosis and recombination effects significantly contributed to the difference between the two genotypes in preweaning ADG, and additive and heterosis effects significantly contributed to the difference between the two genotypes in total ADG.
Arijana Barun, Matthew L. Niemiller, Benjamin M. Fitzpatrick, James A. Fordyce, Daniel Simberloff
Can genetic data confirm or refute historical records? The island invasion of the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus)
Biological Invasions, March 2013
Many studies aimed at reconstructing the invasion history of a species rely, in part, on inferences based on patterns of genetic variation. These inferences warrant careful interpretation, however. In particular, given the time scale of most invasions, the typical demography of invasive species in their invaded range, and the available molecular tools, the underlying assumptions of population genetic models will often be violated. Given this fact, we examined the potential of population genetic data for reconstructing the history of serial introductions of the small Indian mongoose, Herpestes auropunctatus. We used simulations to test the power of existing microsatellite data for testing the credibility of historical introduction records. Although our results are generally consistent with most historical records for H. auropunctatus, the existing data have low power to reject alternative historical hypotheses. Simulations of a wide range of founder population sizes show broadly overlapping results, making rather different historical scenarios of introductions difficult to rule out with typical datasets. We advocate caution in the use of molecular population genetics to infer the history of invasive species, and we suggest extensive simulations as a tool to evaluate, in advance, this approach for addressing important research questions.
Smallwood, K. S. (2013), Comparing bird and bat fatality-rate estimates among North American wind-energy projects. Wildlife Society Bulletin. doi: 10.1002/wsb.260
Estimates of bird and bat fatalities are often made at wind-energy projects to assess impacts by comparing them with other fatality estimates. Many fatality estimates have been made across North America, but they have varied greatly in field and analytical methods, monitoring duration, and in the size and height of the wind turbines monitored for fatalities, and few benefited from scientific peer review. To improve comparability among estimates, I reviewed available reports of fatality monitoring at wind-energy projects throughout North America, and I applied a common estimator and 3 adjustment factors to data collected from these reports. To adjust fatality estimates for proportions of carcasses not found during routine monitoring, I used national averages from hundreds of carcass placement trials intended to characterize scavenger removal and searcher detection rates, and I relied on patterns of carcass distance from wind turbines to develop an adjustment for variation in maximum search radius around wind turbines mounted on various tower heights. Adjusted fatality rates correlated inversely with wind-turbine size for all raptors as a group across the United States, and for all birds as a group within the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, California. I estimated 888,000 bat and 573,000 bird fatalities/year (including 83,000 raptor fatalities) at 51,630 megawatt (MW) of installed wind-energy capacity in the United States in 2012. As wind energy continues to expand, there is urgent need to improve fatality monitoring methods, especially in the implementation of detection trials, which should be more realistically incorporated into routine monitoring.
Mathews, F., Swindells, M., Goodhead, R., August, T. A., Hardman, P., Linton, D. M. and Hosken, D. J. (2013), Effectiveness of search dogs compared with human observers in locating bat carcasses at wind-turbine sites: A blinded randomized trial. Wildlife Society Bulletin. doi: 10.1002/wsb.256
With the expansion of wind-energy generation, there is a growing need to develop accurate and efficient methods to detect bat casualties resulting from turbine collision and barotrauma. We conducted a formal blinded trial comparing the abilities of search dogs and human observers to locate bat carcasses. Dogs located 73% (46/63) of bats, whereas humans found 20% (12/60). We therefore recommend search dogs as an effective means of monitoring bat fatalities, particularly when a high degree of search accuracy is important. This includes surveys for rare species, or cases where searches are limited in extent or duration, because the application of correction factors is problematic where very few or no casualties are found. The dogs averaged 40 min to complete a survey, which was <25% of the time taken by humans. At large sites, the high initial set-up costs for search dogs can therefore be offset by the increased number of surveys that can be conducted within a given time. However, care must be taken with the selection and training of the dogs and handlers to produce consistent results. To allow fatality rates to be estimated from the number of casualties located, it is essential that assessments of the accuracy of the dog–handler team are made at each site.
Griffin AS, Alonzo SH, Cornwallis CK (2013) Why Do Cuckolded Males Provide Paternal Care? PLoS Biol 11(3): e1001520. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001520
In most species where it has been studied, males do not abandon or reduce paternal care when they are cuckolded by other males. These observations have presented a long-standing challenge to our understanding of what drives selection for paternal care. Our analysis of cuckolded fathers from 50 species of birds, fish, mammals, and insects, however, shows that sometimes it pays for males to stick around. In the case of humans and burying beetles, this is because females are relatively monogamous—by deserting, it is most likely the case that fathers will be deserting their own young. In species such as the chacma baboon, males face a significant risk of cuckoldry, and face potentially high penalties in terms of future breeding success by wasting precious resources on the young of other males. Unlike in humans, promiscuous females in these species will almost certainly lose the support of her mate in the effort to raise her young to adulthood.
Rosana Arizmendi-Mejía, Teresa Militão, Ginés Viscor, Jacob González-Solís, Pre-breeding ecophysiology of a long-distance migratory seabird, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Volume 443, May 2013, Pages 162-168, ISSN 0022-0981, 10.1016/j.jembe.2013.02.047.
The energetic demands of animals change throughout their annual life cycle. In migrating birds, reproduction and migration are the two most energy demanding processes; the transition from one to the other require a number of physiological adjustments. When arriving to the breeding grounds, long-distance migratory birds need to recover from migration and prepare for reproduction. This process is crucial, since pre-breeding body condition has been established as a critical factor influencing reproductive success in several avian species. In the present study we examined the physiological condition of the Cory’s shearwater (Calonectris diomedea borealis, Cory 1881) after arrival from migration to a breeding colony, as well as its changes throughout the pre-laying period. We weighed and took blood samples from 149 shearwaters newly arrived to their breeding colony. If birds were found again after 10, 20, 30 or 40& days since their first capture, they were resampled. We examined individual variation of biochemical parameters, body mass and blood oxygen transport capacity in both males and females. Our results indicate that birds were improving their body condition after arrival from migration. Plasma metabolites revealed shearwaters were depositing fat and degrading muscular mass during post-migration and pre-laying, suggesting shearwaters were remodeling their body composition to have more space for lipid reserves. Females started fat deposition earlier than males, probably to cope with the lipid demands of egg formation. This study shows that biochemical blood parameters are good indicators of the ecophysiological changes experienced by post-migrating and pre-breeding birds.
Simon, J. and Dörner, H. (2013), Survival and growth of European eels stocked as glass- and farm-sourced eels in five lakes in the first years after stocking. Ecology of Freshwater Fish. doi: 10.1111/eff.12050
European eels Anguilla anguilla stocked as wild-sourced glass eels showed a better overall performance of growth and survival compared with farm-sourced eels after stocking in five isolated lakes within a 7-year study period. Eels stocked as farm eels lost their initial size advantage over eels stocked as glass eels within 3–5 years after stocking. Population sizes estimated for consecutive stocking batches indicated that 8–17% of eels stocked as farm eels survived 3–6 years after stocking compared with 5–45% of eels stocked as glass eels. This study coupled with results of previous studies suggests that stocking of farm eels may have no advantage in growth and survival compared with stocking of glass eels if stocking occurs at an optimal time in spring. In addition, the use of relatively expensive farm eels may provide no general advantage over stocking of glass eels. However, if glass eels are only available for stocking purposes very early in the year, lower survival rates than obtained in the present study can be assumed and stocking with relatively more expensive farm eels could possibly be a better option.
Olivier Lambert, Christian de Muizon, Giovanni Bianucci
The most basal beaked whale Ninoziphius platyrostris Muizon, 1983: clues on the evolutionary history of the family Ziphiidae (Cetacea: Odontoceti)
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2013, 167, 569–598.
Ninoziphius platyrostris, from the late Neogene of Peru, is one of the best-known fossil beaked whales (Odontoceti: Ziphiidae), with a holotype including the skull with ear bones, mandibles, teeth, and postcranial elements. Furthermore, based on several characters, including a complete functional upper and lower dentition, it is usually considered as one of the most archaic ziphiids. However, the poorly preserved dorsal portion of the holotype skull has led to unresolved phylogenetic relationships. With the addition of two newly prepared skulls from the same Peruvian locality we redescribed N. platyrostris. In the light of recent ziphiid discoveries, an emended diagnosis of the species is proposed here. In our cladistic analysis Ninoziphius is the most basal stem ziphiid. Newly observed or reassessed morphological traits allow functional and ecological considerations. The morphology of the oral apparatus suggests that Ninoziphius was less specialized for suction feeding than most extant ziphiids. Tooth wear in the holotype may indicate benthic feeding. Although the vertebral column of Ninoziphius corresponds to less developed locomotor abilities for deep dives, its cranial morphology does not provide definitive arguments for an echolocation system less efficient than in deep diving extant ziphiids. Finally, the phylogenetic tree produced was used to detail the evolutionary history of several major ziphiid features (dental reduction, development of mandibular tusks, and increased body size).
Christopher T. McGarrity, Nicolas E. Campione, David C. Evans
Cranial anatomy and variation in Prosaurolophus maximus (Dinosauria: Hadrosauridae)
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2013, 167, 531–568
Prosaurolophus maximus Brown is a saurolophine hadrosaurid known from numerous complete, articulated skulls from the Dinosaur Park Formation (Campanian, Alberta, Canada) that range in size by approximately half a metre in total skull length. Therefore, it is an important taxon for understanding patterns of growth and variation in saurolophines. This study describes the cranial anatomy of P. maximus from the type locality of Dinosaur Provincial Park (Dinosaur Park Formation: Campanian) on the basis of ten articulated skulls, quantitatively examines its range of osteological variation, and provides the first hypothesized ontogenetic series for this taxon. A second species, Prosaurolophus blackfeetensis Horner, was named on the basis of geologically younger material from Montana (Two Medicine Formation: Campanian) that is diagnosed by putative morphological differences in the nasal crest. However, considerable nasal crest variation in the sample from the Dinosaur Park Formation does not permit quantitative differentiation of P. blackfeetensis from P. maximus. Furthermore, a species-level phylogenetic analysis of saurolophines that includes both P. maximus and P. blackfeetensis as originally defined recovers them as sister taxa that do not differ morphologically in the character matrix. Based on both the morphometric and phylogenetic data, this study supports the hypothesis that P. blackfeetensis is a junior synonym of P. maximus, thereby substantially increasing its temporal range to 1.6 million years, and a concomitant period of morphological stasis in this taxon. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London