L. Scott Mills, Marketa Zimova, Jared Oyler, Steven Running, John T. Abatzoglou, and Paul M. Lukacs
Camouflage mismatch in seasonal coat color due to decreased snow duration
PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print April 15, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1222724110
Most examples of seasonal mismatches in phenology span multiple trophic levels, with timing of animal reproduction, hibernation, or migration becoming detached from peak food supply. The consequences of such mismatches are difficult to link to specific future climate change scenarios because the responses across trophic levels have complex underlying climate drivers often confounded by other stressors. In contrast, seasonal coat color polyphenism creating camouflage against snow is a direct and potentially severe type of seasonal mismatch if crypsis becomes compromised by the animal being white when snow is absent. It is unknown whether plasticity in the initiation or rate of coat color change will be able to reduce mismatch between the seasonal coat color and an increasingly snow-free background. We find that natural populations of snowshoe hares exposed to 3 y of widely varying snowpack have plasticity in the rate of the spring white-to-brown molt, but not in either the initiation dates of color change or the rate of the fall brown-to-white molt. Using an ensemble of locally downscaled climate projections, we also show that annual average duration of snowpack is forecast to decrease by 29–35 d by midcentury and 40–69 d by the end of the century. Without evolution in coat color phenology, the reduced snow duration will increase the number of days that white hares will be mismatched on a snowless background by four- to eightfold by the end of the century. This novel and visually compelling climate change-induced stressor likely applies to >9 widely distributed mammals with seasonal coat color.
Zootaxa 3640 (2): 177–199 (17 Apr. 2013)
Two novel genera and one new species of treefrog (Anura: Rhacophoridae) highlight cryptic diversity in the Western Ghats of India
ROBIN KURIAN ABRAHAM, R. ALEXANDER PYRON, ANSIL B. R., ARUN ZACHARIAH & ANIL ZACHARIAH
Amphibian diversity in the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot is extremely high, especially for such a geographically restricted area. Frogs in particular dominate these assemblages, and the family Rhacophoridae is chief among these, with hundreds of endemic species. These taxa continue to be described at a rapid pace, and several groups have recently been found to represent unique evolutionary clades at the genus level. Here, we report DNA sequences, larval and breeding data for two species of rhacophorid treefrog (Polypedates bijui and a new, hitherto undescribed species). Remarkably, they represent unique, independent clades which form successive sister groups to the Pseudophilautus (Sri Lanka) + Raorchestes (India, China, Indochina) clades. We place these species into two new genera (Beddomixalus gen. nov. and Mercurana gen. nov.). Both of these genera exhibit a distinct reproductive mode among Rhacophoridae of peninsular India and Sri Lanka, with explosive breeding and semiterrestrial, unprotected, non-pigmented eggs oviposited in seasonal swamp pools, which hatch into exotrophic, free-living aquatic tadpoles. Relationships and representation of reproductive modes in sister taxa within the larger clade into which these novel genera are placed, is also discussed. These results suggest that more undescribed taxa may remain to be discovered in South Asia, and the crucial importance of conserving remaining viable habitats.
Zootaxa 3640 (2): 242–257 (17 Apr. 2013)
A new oviraptorid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous of southern China
SHUO WANG, CHENGKAI SUN, CORWIN SULLIVAN & XING XU
This paper describes a new oviraptorid dinosaur taxon, Ganzhousaurus nankangensis gen. et sp. nov., based on a specimen collected from the Upper Cretaceous Nanxiong Formation of Nankang County, Ganzhou City, Jiangxi Province, southern China. This new taxon is distinguishable from other oviraptorids based on the following unique combination of primitive and derived features: relatively shallow dentary; absence of fossa or pneumatopore on lateral surface of dentary; weakly downturned anterior mandibular end; shallow depression immediately surrounding anterior margin of external mandibular fenestra; external mandibular fenestra subdivided by anterior process of surangular; dentary posteroventral process slightly twisted and positioned on mandibular ventrolateral surface; shallow longitudinal groove along medial surface of dentary posteroventral process; angular anterior process wider transversely than deep dorsoventrally; sharp groove along ventrolateral surface of angular anterior process; ventral border of external mandibular fenestra formed mainly by angular; ventral flange along distal half of metatarsal II; and arctometatarsal condition absent. Phylogenetic analysis places Ganzhousaurus nankangensis gen. et sp. nov in the clade Oviraptoridae, together with Oviraptor, Citipati, Rinchenia and the unnamed Zamyn Khondt oviraptorid.
Anil Mohapatra, Dipanajan Ray and Prasanna Yennawar (2013). First record of Naso reticulatus (Perciformes: Acanthuridae) from Indian waters. Marine Biodiversity Records, 6, e56 doi:10.1017/S1755267213000341.
The first record of Naso reticulatus from Indian waters is documented. This species was reported only by its type specimens from Indonesia and Taiwan previously. Our record of this species from Indian waters extends the distributional range of N. reticulatus to the east coast of India.
Joseph, M. B., Mihaljevic, J. R., Arellano, A. L., Kueneman, J. G., Preston, D. L., Cross, P. C., Johnson, P. T. J. (2013), Taming wildlife disease: bridging the gap between science and management. Journal of Applied Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12084
Parasites and pathogens of wildlife can threaten biodiversity, infect humans and domestic animals, and cause significant economic losses, providing incentives to manage wildlife diseases. Recent insights from disease ecology have helped transform our understanding of infectious disease dynamics and yielded new strategies to better manage wildlife diseases. Simultaneously, wildlife disease management (WDM) presents opportunities for large-scale empirical tests of disease ecology theory in diverse natural systems.To assess whether the potential complementarity between WDM and disease ecology theory has been realized, we evaluate the extent to which specific concepts in disease ecology theory have been explicitly applied in peer-reviewed WDM literature.While only half of WDM articles published in the past decade incorporated disease ecology theory, theory has been incorporated with increasing frequency over the past 40 years. Contrary to expectations, articles authored by academics were no more likely to apply disease ecology theory, but articles that explain unsuccessful management often do so in terms of theory.Some theoretical concepts such as density-dependent transmission have been commonly applied, whereas emerging concepts such as pathogen evolutionary responses to management, biodiversity–disease relationships and within-host parasite interactions have not yet been fully integrated as management considerations.Synthesis and applications. Theory-based disease management can meet the needs of both academics and managers by testing disease ecology theory and improving disease interventions. Theoretical concepts that have received limited attention to date in wildlife disease management could provide a basis for improving management and advancing disease ecology in the future.
Frey, J.K.; Lewis, J.C.; Guy, R.K.; Stuart, J.N. Use of Anecdotal Occurrence Data in Species Distribution Models: An Example Based on the White-Nosed Coati (Nasua narica) in the American Southwest. Animals 2013, 3, 327-348.
Species distributions are usually inferred from occurrence records. However, these records are prone to errors in spatial precision and reliability. Although influence of spatial errors has been fairly well studied, there is little information on impacts of poor reliability. Reliability of an occurrence record can be influenced by characteristics of the species, conditions during the observation, and observer’s knowledge. Some studies have advocated use of anecdotal data, while others have advocated more stringent evidentiary standards such as only accepting records verified by physical evidence, at least for rare or elusive species. Our goal was to evaluate the influence of occurrence records with different reliability on species distribution models (SDMs) of a unique mammal, the white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) in the American Southwest. We compared SDMs developed using maximum entropy analysis of combined bioclimatic and biophysical variables and based on seven subsets of occurrence records that varied in reliability and spatial precision. We found that the predicted distribution of the coati based on datasets that included anecdotal occurrence records were similar to those based on datasets that only included physical evidence. Coati distribution in the American Southwest was predicted to occur in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona and was defined primarily by evenness of climate and Madrean woodland and chaparral land-cover types. Coati distribution patterns in this region suggest a good model for understanding the biogeographic structure of range margins. We concluded that occurrence datasets that include anecdotal records can be used to infer species distributions, providing such data are used only for easily-identifiable species and based on robust modeling methods such as maximum entropy. Use of a reliability rating system is critical for using anecdotal data.
Furnari, N. (2013), New findings on the origin of Cavia intermedia, one of the world’s rarest mammals. Mammal Review. doi: 10.1111/mam.12004
Cavia intermedia, a rare species of cavy found exclusively on Moleques do Sul Island, Brazil, differs from other cavies in genetic and morphological characteristics and has been regarded as phylogenetically closest to Cavia magna. Here, I present morphological evidence for the likely origin of Cavia intermedia from an ancestor shared with Cavia magna: an external female genital organ similar in size and appearance to the male’s penis. Masculinization of the female genitalia has been observed in Cavia magna but does not occur in Cavia aperea, which suggests a sister relationship between Cavia magna and Cavia intermedia.
Long-distance movements of little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus)
Kaleigh J. O. Norquay, Felix Martinez-Nuñez, Jack E. Dubois, Kim M. Monson, and Craig K. R. Willis
Journal of Mammalogy 2013 94 (2), 506-515
Quantifying distributions, home ranges, and individual movements for wildlife species is crucial for understanding their ecology and is important for conservation. This has become especially urgent for bat species affected by white-nose syndrome, a new disease of hibernating bats associated with the fungus Geomyces destructans. We studied within- and between-season movements of individual little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) throughout a 337,540-km2 study area in Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, Canada. Our objectives were to quantify proportions of male and female bats that relocated from hibernacula and/or summer roosts between years, proportions of males and females captured at swarms that hibernated at those sites versus other hibernacula, and distances traveled by males and females during relocation events. We predicted that bats would exhibit male-biased dispersal, with males significantly more likely to relocate and more likely to travel long distances during relocation events. Between 1989 and 2010, we recaptured 1,459 of 10,432 banded individuals. Seasonal movements from hibernacula and/or swarms to summer colonies ranged widely from 10 to 647 km. Consistent with previous studies we found high fidelity to summer colonies and hibernacula across years. However, some individuals switched sites between years and the median relocation distance was 315 km, with over 20% of individual movements exceeding 500 km. Surprisingly, we found that females were significantly more likely to relocate than males. Our data could help explain apparent jumps in the distribution of G. destructans, but more data on transmission of the fungus in the wild are needed.
Thermoregulation during reproduction in the solitary, foliage-roosting hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus)
Brandon J. Klug and Robert M. R. Barclay
Journal of Mammalogy 2013 94 (2), 477-487
The reproductive benefits of maintaining a high body temperature (Tb) are well understood, but costs may be prohibitively high. Many small mammals raise offspring in insulated nests, burrows, or roosts, and may form communal maternity colonies, all of which are behaviors that reduce the costs of maintaining Tb. However, some temperate-zone bats are solitary and raise young in exposed roosts. Little is known about how these species maintain energy balance in the face of high thermoregulatory costs, and whether they stay warm invariably for reproductive benefits, or use a more adaptive thermoregulatory strategy. We studied Tb patterns in response to foraging conditions, weather, and pup age in free-ranging adult and juvenile hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus). Lactating females regularly entered torpor, although its use was most extensive following poor foraging conditions, during inclement weather, and when pups were young. Juvenile L. cinereus appeared capable of staying warm from 3 days of age, but used torpor throughout development, gradually decreasing its use as they grew. Our results indicate that for this species, torpor is important throughout lactation, and torpor use changes in response to individually specific trade-offs between energetic cost and developmental benefit. We suggest that the costs of active thermoregulation during early development of L. cinereus pups outweigh the benefits of staying warm, and an extended growing season (as a result of their migratory nature) is more conducive to using torpor. Finally, we suggest that torpor use during lactation is dynamic and adaptive. Fine-scale changes within reproductive stages need to be considered, rather than broadly assessing thermoregulatory behavior among stages.
Internal and external indicators of male reproduction in the lesser long-nosed bat Leptonycteris yerbabuenae
Felipe Rincón-Vargas, Kathryn E. Stoner, Rosa María Vigueras-Villaseñor, Jafet M. Nassar, Óscar M. Chaves, and Robyn Hudson
Journal of Mammalogy 2013 94 (2), 488-496
Information on animal reproduction is critical for the application of wildlife conservation plans. The lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae) is classified as threatened in Mexico; however, many aspects of its reproductive biology are still unstudied. The formation of a dorsal patch in males of Leptonycteris spp. during the mating period has been described and evidence suggests this patch is involved in reproductive behavior. We determined the male reproductive cycle of L. yerbabuenae over time based on the seminiferous cycle. We then related these internal indicators with 3 external indicators—testis size, dorsal patch size, and female/male ratio in the population. Finally, we evaluated whether the epididymis functions in long-term sperm storage. Bats were captured monthly and external indicators were registered. Three adult males were euthanized each month for the evaluation of internal indicators. We determined only 1 period of spermatogenesis per year beginning in September and completing in January. The seminiferous epithelium cycle showed 11 stages and 14 steps. Internal reproductive indicators were correlated with external indicators. External testis size and female/male ratio were positively correlated with dorsal patch size. A testis size of approximately 48.2 mm2 corresponded with the beginning of sperm production. The epididymis was not involved in long-term sperm storage. This study provides the 1st description in L. yerbabuenae of the annual timing of the male reproductive cycle based on histological characteristics, and also reports a relationship between the size of the dorsal patch and male reproductive function.
An entrained circadian cycle of peak activity in a population of hibernating bats
Paul R. Hope and Gareth Jones
Journal of Mammalogy 2013 94 (2), 497-505
Biological rhythms exist in many diverse forms of life. Individuals must remain entrained to environmental changes to survive. Some hibernating mammals maintain biological rhythms even during deep torpor; however, cues used for entrainment are poorly understood. We studied activity in an assemblage of hibernating Myotis bats (mainly M. nattereri) inhabiting a temperate maritime climate over 3 consecutive winters using ultrasound detectors and a series of active infrared motion detectors. Here we demonstrate that the timing of peak activity changed as day length changed over winter, but nevertheless remained entrained to a time close to dusk that would be most advantageous for winter foraging. Diurnal activity was infrequent throughout winter. There was an increase in activity at higher hibernaculum temperatures, particularly as temperatures rose above the lower threshold for insect flight (6–10°C). Finally we show that ultrasound detectors and infrared motion detectors produce broadly comparable measures of bat activity within a hibernation site.
Phylogeography and population genetic structure of the Talas tuco-tuco (Ctenomys talarum): integrating demographic and habitat histories
Matías S. Mora, Ana P. Cutrera, Enrique P. Lessa, Aldo I. Vassallo, Alejandro D’Anatro, and Fernando J. Mapelli
Journal of Mammalogy 2013 94 (2), 459-476
We examined the phylogeography of the South American subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum (Talas tuco-tuco) using mitochondrial DNA control region (D-loop) sequences. This species is an herbivorous rodent endemic to the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, that lives in natural grasslands in coastal sand dune habitats and in some fragmented inland populations. In this study we assessed the genetic relationship among populations of C. talarum across its entire distributional range and analyzed how the geological history of the habitat has affected the genetic structure and demographic history of these populations. A complex network of haplotypes in conjunction with analysis of molecular variance results showed high genetic subdivision and a strong phylogeographic pattern among populations of C. talarum. Pairwise FST-values showed significant differentiation among all populations studied. The overall pattern was similar to that expected under the isolation-by-distance model, suggesting equilibrium between gene flow and local genetic drift. Major geographical barriers (e.g., rivers and unsuitable habitat) in the area, in conjunction with population isolation, appeared to be associated with strong genetic differentiation among the different geographical groups. Local mismatch distributions and tests of neutrality suggest contrasting histories for different groups of populations; although some populations appeared to be characterized by demographic stability and no significant departures from neutrality, others showed departures from strict neutrality consistent with a recent demographic expansion. Finally, a close association seems to exist between the major climatic changes that occurred during the late Pleistocene and Holocene in the central region of Argentina and the main historical demographic changes inferred from C. talarum. Current populations of C. talarum appear to be relicts of a more extended historical distribution along the Argentinean Pampas. These historical extinctions, however, have not erased the signature of long-term stability and geographical structure in this species along the coastal and inland distribution ranges.
Species composition and interspecific behavior affects activity pattern of free-living desert hamsters in the Alashan Desert
Elke Scheibler, Franziska Wollnik, David Brodbeck, Elisabeth Hummel, Shuai Yuan, Fu-Shun Zhang, Xiao-Dong Zhang, He-Ping Fu, and Xiao-Dong Wu
Journal of Mammalogy 2013 94 (2), 448-458
Plasticity of circadian rhythm was investigated for the model species desert hamster (Phodopus roborovskii) under natural conditions in the Alashan Desert using the radiofrequency identification (RFID) technique, that is, animals were caught in the field and marked with passive transponders, and burrows were equipped with integrated microchip readers and photosensors for detection of movements into or out of the burrow. Additionally, video observations with infrared cameras were conducted at feeding sites to verify RFID data and analyze interspecific behavior. Composition of the rodent community changed during observation periods from a midday gerbil (Meriones meridianus)-dominated community to a desert hamster (P. roborovskii)-dominated community in 2009 and from a northern three-toed jerboa (Dipus sagitta)-dominated community to a hamster-dominated community in 2010. Activity pattern of hamsters was clearly affected by species composition. In the hamster-dominated community, activity started 1.7 h ± 1.0 SD after sundown and ended 7.2 ± 1.4 h after sundown. A similar activity pattern was found for the jerboa-dominated community. In contrast, hamsters shortened their activity tremendously in the gerbil-dominated community, to 2.2 ± 1.3 h (activity began at 0.8 ± 0.3 h after sundown and ended at 3.0 ± 1.5 h after sundown). An analysis of interspecific behavior at feeding sites showed clearly that gerbil behavior was characterized by aggressive attacks (60.4% attacks versus 6.1% being attacked), whereas jerboa behavior was dominated by avoidance of direct contact (67.5% avoidance versus 22.9% attack). Hamster intraspecific behavior included all 4 elements in a similar ratio (27.3% attacks, 21.8% being attacked, 22.7% fleeing without direct contact, and 22.7% causing fleeing without direct contact).
Would East African savanna rodents inhibit woody encroachment? Evidence from stable isotopes and microhistological analysis of feces
Bradley J. Bergstrom
Journal of Mammalogy 2013 94 (2), 436-447
It is well established that massive consumption of plants by the abundant and diverse assemblage of savanna ungulates in East Africa competitively suppresses the native guild of herbivorous to omnivorous small mammals. An important role of woody plant suppression in the Acacia-dominated savannas for this guild of rodents, when released from ungulate competition, has been demonstrated only recently, but without direct evidence of which species are involved. In an effort to establish which of the common species in this guild are most likely to impact growth of trees and forbs, as opposed to grasses or insects, or both, I present data on atomic and isotopic ratios of fecal carbon and nitrogen from 8 commonly occurring muroid rodents from savanna and bush habitats on the Laikipia Plateau of central Kenya: Acomys percivali, Acomys wilsoni, Aethomys hindei, Arvicanthis niloticus, Mastomys natalensis, Mus spp. (thought to be mostly M. minutoides), Saccostomus mearnsi, and Gerbilliscus robustus. In this region where all grasses are C4 and all trees and other nongrasses are C3, different ratios of 13C:12C (δ13C) in plant tissues give pure grazers, pure browsers, and mixed-feeding herbivores distinctive carbon isotope signatures. Degree of omnivory is revealed by C:N and, arguably, by δ15N, but the latter is influenced by dietary protein quality and varies widely by plant species and soil type. Joint consideration of stable-isotope data, total C:N, and microhistological analysis of feces allowed better resolution of dietary niche of each species than any of these data sets could, alone. Grass was either coequal to browse (dicots) or dominated the plant portion of each species‘ diet, which was somewhat unexpected given rodents‘ hypothesized role in limiting Acacia recruitment. All species consumed some arthropods. A. niloticus, the only diurnal species, was the most herbivorous, being largely a grazer. S. mearnsi, A. hindei, and M. natalensis were mixed-feeding (grass–browse) herbivores. Mus spp. and Acomys spp. were omnivores whose plant components were largely grass. G. robustus was primarily an insectivore–omnivore whose smaller plant component was grass. Both S. mearnsi and A. niloticus displayed a significant increase in proportion of C4 grasses in the diet in periods following significant rains, a pattern previously documented from δ13C diet studies in large mammalian herbivores. Fecal δ15N was significantly higher for rodents that consumed more grass and for rodents released from competition with ungulates, suggesting a partial mechanism for that competitive release. S. mearnsi, followed by A. hindei and M. natalensis, were most likely to feed on woody dicots including Acacia.
Palatability of plants to small mammals in nonnative grasslands of east-central Illinois
Carrie E. DeJaco and George O. Batzli
Journal of Mammalogy 2013 94 (2), 427-435
Understanding the impact of small mammals on the development of grasslands requires information on their food preferences. We conducted feeding trials with 4 species of common small mammals, prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster), meadow voles (M. pennsylvanicus), white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus), and eastern cottontails (Sylvilagus floridanus), to determine the relative palatability of plant shoots and seeds in introduced grasslands of east-central Illinois. Because we needed to conduct many feeding trials we developed a rapid method for comparison of palatability of plants to multiple species of small mammals in the field. We evaluated the method by comparison with previous data on food preference and palatability for voles at nearby study sites. Shoots of herbaceous legumes (Medicago sativa and Trifolium pratense) and dandelions (Taraxacum officianale) were among the most palatable foods for voles, and bluegrass (Poa pratensis) was among the least palatable. Meadow voles found palatable more species of graminoids than did prairie voles, and meadow voles, but not prairie voles, found palatable a greater percentage of graminoids than of forbs. A greater percentage of introduced plants than of native plants were palatable to prairie voles, but this likely reflected a high proportion of introduced graminoids among tested plants. White-footed mice found palatable a few forbs and a greater percentage of annual plants compared with perennial plants, whereas cottontails found palatable many forbs and woody plants and a greater percentage of perennial plants. White-footed mice tended to eat larger amounts and more kinds of seeds than voles, and only white-footed mice tended to eat more of large-seeded species. Plant type did not appear to significantly affect palatability of seeds for any mammal. We used these results to predict the likely impact of small mammals on the development of nonnative grasslands.
Population ecology of the nine-banded armadillo in Florida
W. J. Loughry, Carolina Perez-Heydrich, Colleen M. McDonough, and Madan K. Oli
Journal of Mammalogy 2013 94 (2), 408-416
We used 15 years (1992–2006) of capture–mark–recapture (CMR) data obtained from a population of nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) located at the Tall Timbers Research Station near Tallahassee, Florida and multistate CMR models to estimate and model capture probabilities, annual apparent survival, and transition probabilities between reproductive and nonreproductive states (for adult females only). Using an information theoretic approach, we then examined various influences on these parameters. Across all years, capture probability, p, was higher for adults than for yearlings, and higher for males than for females. There was also substantial yearly variation. Conditional on survival, the annual transition probability, ψ, for reproductive adult females to remain reproductive was 0.853 ± 0.044; the estimate for nonreproductive adult females to become reproductive was 0.388 ± 0.060. Annual apparent survival, S, was lowest for juveniles (S = 0.541 ± 0.118) and highest for reproductive adult females (S = 0.753 ± 0.034). Contrary to expectation, these data provided no evidence for a cost of reproduction among adult females. Finally, annual apparent survival was lower for all animals during an extensive hardwood removal that occurred from 1998 to 2000 than in either preceding or subsequent years.
Landscape structure influences space use by white-tailed deer
Amy C. Dechen Quinn, David M. Williams, and William F. Porter
Journal of Mammalogy 2013 94 (2), 398-407
Variation in space-use patterns among free-ranging mammal populations has been an important area of study in behavioral ecology. We investigated the influence of landscape characteristics associated with landscape fragmentation and diversity on the home-range size of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). We evaluated the relative contribution of 3 main land-cover types (forest, agriculture, and rangeland) to the composition of each home range and constructed sex- and season-specific linear regression models using landscape metrics relevant to habitat fragmentation and diversity. Both core and home-range areas were dominated by forest, agriculture, and rangeland. We found that landscape configuration metrics aimed at quantifying landscape fragmentation were good predictors of space use by white-tailed deer and that deer occupied smaller home ranges in highly fragmented areas. Our results indicate that once important cover types are present and patches are sized to meet the resource needs of the individual, configuration of those resource patches influences overall space use. These findings support the assertion that space use by white-tailed deer varies along a gradient of fragmentation.
Effects of chemical immobilization on the movement rates of free-ranging polar bears
Gregory W. Thiemann, Andrew E. Derocher, Seth G. Cherry, Nicholas J. Lunn, Elizabeth Peacock, and Vicki Sahanatien
Journal of Mammalogy 2013 94 (2), 386-397
The capture and handling of free-ranging animals is an important tool for wildlife research, conservation, and management. However, live capture may expose individual animals to risk of injury, impairment, or mortality. The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a species of conservation concern throughout its range and physical mark–recapture techniques have formed the basis of polar bear research and harvest management for decades. We examined movement patterns of polar bears postcapture to measure their recovery from chemical immobilization and determine whether captured bears experienced prolonged effects that would affect individual fitness. Adult female (n = 61) and juvenile (n = 13) polar bears in 3 Canadian subpopulations were captured during the course of other studies using a combination of tiletamine hydrochloride and zolazepam hydrochloride delivered via remote injection from a helicopter. Bears were fitted with satellite-linked global positioning system collars and we used 3 individual-based metrics to assess their recovery from immobilization: time to move 50 m; time to move 100 m; and time to reach a baseline movement rate threshold (km/day) derived from each individual’s movements in a fully recovered state (i.e., 30–60 days postcapture). There were no differences in recovery rate metrics across years, age classes, or between females with cubs of different ages. When compared across subpopulations, only the time to move 50 m differed, being shortest in the southern Beaufort Sea. Bears captured on land during the ice-free period in western Hudson Bay and Foxe Basin were more variable in their response to capture than were those handled on the sea ice of the Beaufort Sea, but in all 3 areas, bears showed gradual increases in movement rates. Movement rates indicative of recovery were often reached 48 h after capture and 51 (69%) of 74 bears appeared to be fully recovered in ≤3 days. Consistent with preliminary work on chemical immobilization of polar bears, there was no relationship between drug dose and rate of recovery. Our results indicated that polar bears captured in different locations, seasons, and life-history stages recovered predictably from chemical immobilization in a time frame that is unlikely to affect individual fitness.
Food availability and foraging near human developments by black bears
Jerod A. Merkle, Hugh S. Robinson, Paul R. Krausman, and Paul Alaback
Journal of Mammalogy 2013 94 (2), 378-385
Understanding the relationship between foraging ecology and the presence of human-dominated landscapes is important, particularly for American black bears (Ursus americanus), which sometimes move between wildlands and urban areas to forage. The food-related factors influencing this movement have not been explored, but can be important for understanding the benefits and costs to black bear foraging behavior and the fundamental origins of bear conflicts. We tested whether the scarcity of wildland foods or the availability of urban foods can explain when black bears forage near houses, examined the extent to which male bears use urban areas in comparison to females, and identified the most important food items influencing bear movement into urban areas. We monitored 16 collared black bears in and around Missoula, Montana, during 2009 and 2010, while quantifying the rate of change in green vegetation and the availability of 5 native berry-producing species outside the urban area, the rate of change in green vegetation, and the availability of apples and garbage inside the urban area. We used parametric time-to-event models in which an event was a bear location collected within 100 m of a house. We also visited feeding sites located near houses and quantified food items bears had eaten. The probability of a bear being located near a house was 1.6 times higher for males, and increased during apple season and the urban green-up. Fruit trees accounted for most of the forage items at urban feeding sites (49%), whereas wildland foods composed <10%. Black bears foraged on human foods near houses even when wildland foods were available, suggesting that the absence of wildland foods may not influence the probability of bears foraging near houses. Additionally, other attractants, in this case fruit trees, appear to be more important than the availability of garbage in influencing when bears forage near houses.
Origins and genetic structure of black bears in the Interior Highlands of North America
Kaitlyn M. Faries, Thea V. Kristensen, Jeff Beringer, Joseph D. Clark, Don White, Jr., and Lori S. Eggert
Journal of Mammalogy 2013 94 (2), 369-377
Although black bears (Ursus americanus) were believed to be extirpated from the Interior Highlands of North America by the early 1900s, populations have recently recovered, aided in part by reintroductions in Arkansas. Today black bears can be found in the Ozark and Ouachita National Forests of northern and western Arkansas, the White River National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Arkansas, and the Ozark region of southern Missouri. Previous genetic studies have investigated the effects of translocating black bears from Minnesota and Manitoba, Canada, into the Ozark and Ouachita National Forests between 1958 and 1968, with differing results. We used nuclear microsatellite loci to infer the genetic structure of black bears across the Interior Highlands and to investigate the sources of bears found today in southern Missouri. Our results suggest that the Ozark population was strongly influenced by the reintroductions, whereas the Ouachita population was influenced to a lesser degree. Although the majority of bears in the Ozark region of Arkansas and Missouri represent a single genetic unit, bears in Webster County, Missouri, may represent a remnant of the historical population of the region. Our results confirm that the bear population in the White River National Wildlife Refuge is strongly differentiated genetically from other Arkansas populations and support previous reports that the Ouachita bear population may have resulted from an admixture of a remnant population and reintroduced bears.
Zootaxa 3640 (3): 373–394 (18 Apr. 2013)
Non-invasive ancient DNA protocol for fluid-preserved specimens and phylogenetic systematics of the genus Orestias (Teleostei: Cyprinodontidae)
YARELI ESQUER GARRIGOS, BERNARD HUGUENY, KELLIE KOERNER, CARLA IBAÑEZ, CELINE BONILLO, PATRICE PRUVOST, ROMAIN CAUSSE, CORINNE CRUAUD & PHILIPPE GAUBERT
Specimens stored in museum collections represent a crucial source of morphological and genetic information, notably for taxonomically problematic groups and extinct taxa. Although fluid-preserved specimens of groups such as teleosts may constitute an almost infinite source of DNA, few ancient DNA protocols have been applied to such material. In this study, we describe a non-invasive Guanidine-based (GuSCN) ancient DNA extraction protocol adapted to fluid-preserved specimens that we use to re-assess the systematics of the genus Orestias (Cyprinodontidae: Teleostei). The latter regroups pupfishes endemic to the inter-Andean basin that have been considered as a ‘species flock’, and for which the morphologybased taxonomic delimitations have been hotly debated. We extracted DNA from the type specimens of Orestias kept at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle of Paris, France, including the extinct species O. cuvieri. We then built the first molecular (control region [CR] and rhodopsin [RH]) phylogeny including historical and recently collected representatives of all the Orestias complexes as recognized by Parenti (1984a): agassizii, cuvieri, gilsoni and mulleri. Our ancient DNA extraction protocol was validated after PCR amplification through an approach based on fragment-by-fragment chimera detection. After optimization, we were able to amplify < 200 bp fragments from both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA (CR and RH, respectively) from probably formalin-fixed type specimens bathed entirely in the extraction fluid. Most of the individuals exhibited few modifications of their external structures after GuSCN bath. Our approach combining type material and ‘fresh’ specimens allowed us to taxonomically delineate four clades recovered from the well-resolved CR tree into four redefined complexes: agassizii (sensu stricto, i.e. excluding luteus-like species), luteus, cuvieri and gilsoni. The mulleri complex is polyphyletic. Our phylogenetic analyses based on both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA revealed a main, deep dichotomy within the genus Orestias, separating the agassizii complex from a clade grouped under shallow dichotomies as (luteus, (cuvieri, gilsoni)). This ‘deep and shallow’ diversification pattern could fit within a scenario of ancient divergence between the agassizii complex and the rest of Orestias, followed by a recent diversification or adaptive radiation within each complex during the Pleistocene, in- and outside the Lake Titicaca. We could not recover the reciprocal monophyly of any of the 15 species or morphotypes that were considered in our analyses, possibly due to incomplete lineage sorting and/or hybridization events. As a consequence, our results starkly question the delineation of a series of diagnostic characters listed in the literature for Orestias. Although not included in our phylogenetic analysis, the syntype of O. jussiei could not be assigned to the agassizii complex as newly defined. The CR sequence of the extinct O. cuvieri was recovered within the cuvieri clade (same haplotype as one representative of O. pentlandii), so the mtDNA of the former species might still be represented in the wild.
Zootaxa 3640 (3): 425–441 (18 Apr. 2013)
The second known specimen of Monodelphis unistriata (Wagner) (Mammalia: Didelphimorphia), with redescription of the species and phylogenetic analysis
RONALD H. PINE, DAVID A. FLORES & KURT BAUER
Very little information exists relevant to the species grouping and phylogenetic relationships of the opossum genus Monodelphis Burnett. Of the clearly distinct named species, the least information is available for M. unistriata (Wagner), one
of the world’s most poorly known species of mammals. Extant specimens consist of the Brazilian holotype of a skin now
without a skull and dating from almost 200 years ago, and a second specimen with skin and incomplete skull dating from
over a hundred years ago and from Argentina. The most recent published notes on the holotype date from well over half
a century ago and, all told, such notes, the earliest dating from 1842, add up to a highly fragmentary and contradictory picture. No observations whatsoever have ever been published for the second and more complete specimen. Also, no hypotheses have ever been made concerning the intrageneric affinities of M. unistriata and such affinities have also been obscure throughout the genus. Herein, we provide a detailed redescription of M. unistriata, the first published images of specimens, and the first account, beyond the previous few most vague and incomplete remarks, of the morphology of the skull. In an effort to ascertain the phylogenetic affinities of M. unistriata, we performed a combined molecular (cytochrome b) and nonmolecular (postcranial, cranial, integument, and karyotypic characters) parsimony analysis incorporating 27 species of didelphids, including 11 of Monodelphis. Our results strongly support the monophyly of Monodelphis, and place M. unistriata as sister group to M. iheringi, among the included species.
Zootaxa 3640 (3): 479–482 (18 Apr. 2013)
The valid generic names for the fish species usually placed in Cyclocheilichthys (Pisces: Cyprinidae)
Cyclocheilichthys is the valid name for the genus that includes Barbus apogon Valenciennes. Cyclocheilichthys has
precedence over Anematichthys, which is a simultaneous objective synonym. If C. enoplos is considered not to be
congeneric with C. apogon, the valid name for a genus that includes it is Cyclocheilos.