C. P. B. Breviglieri, G. C. O. Piccoli, W. Uieda, G. Q. Romero
Predation-risk effects of predator identity on the foraging behaviors of frugivorous bats
Oecologia, May 2013
Predators directly and indirectly affect the density and the behavior of prey. These effects may potentially cascade down to lower trophic levels. In this study, we tested the effects of predator calls (playbacks of bird vocalizations: Tyto alba, Speotyto cunicularia, and Vanellus chilensis), predator visual stimuli (stuffed birds) and interactions of visual and auditory cues, on the behavior of frugivore phyllostomid bats in the field. In addition, we tested if the effects of predation risk cascade down to other trophic levels by measuring rates of seed dispersal of the tree Muntingia calabura. Using video recording, we found that bats significantly decreased the foraging frequency on trees when a visual cue of T. alba was present. However, no stimuli of potential predatory birds, including vocalization of T. alba, affected bat foraging frequency. There was a change in bat behavior during 7 min, but then their frequency of activity gradually increased. Consequently, the presence of T. alba decreased by up to ten times the rate of seed removal. These results indicate that risk sensitivity of frugivorous phyllostomid bats depends on predator identity and presence. Among the predators used in this study, only T. alba is an effective bat predator in the Neotropics. Sound stimuli of T. alba seem not to be a cue of predation risk, possibly because their vocalizations are used only for intraspecific communication. This study emphasizes the importance of evaluating different predator stimuli on the behavior of vertebrates, as well as the effects of these stimuli on trait-mediated trophic cascades.
Stopover optimization in a long-distance migrant: the role of fuel load and nocturnal take-off time in Alaskan northern wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Schmaljohann H, Korner-Nievergelt F, Naef-Daenzer B, Nagel R, Maggini I, Bulte M, Bairlein F
Frontiers in Zoology 2013, 10:26 (12 May 2013)
In long-distance migrants, a considerably higher proportion of time and energy is allocated to stopovers rather than to flights. Stopover duration and departure decisions affect consequently subsequent flight stages and overall speed of migration. In Arctic nocturnal songbird migrants the trade-off between a relatively long migration distance and short nights available for travelling may impose a significant time pressure on migrants. Therefore, we hypothesize that Alaskan northern wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe) use a time-minimizing migration strategy to reach their African wintering area 15,000 km away.
We estimated the factors influencing the birds‘ daily departure probability from an Arctic stopover before crossing the Bering Strait by using a Cormack-Jolly-Seber model. To identify in which direction and when migration was resumed departing birds were radio-tracked. Here we show that Alaskan northern wheatears did not behave as strict time minimizers, because their departure fuel load was unrelated to fuel deposition rate. All birds departed with more fuel load than necessary for the sea crossing. Departure probability increased with stopover duration, evening fuel load and decreasing temperature. Birds took-off towards southwest and hence, followed in general the constant magnetic and geographic course but not the alternative great circle route. Nocturnal departure times were concentrated immediately after sunset.
Although birds did not behave like time-minimizers in respect of the optimal migration strategies their surplus of fuel load clearly contradicted an energy saving strategy in terms of the minimization of overall energy cost of transport. The observed low variation in nocturnal take-off time in relation to local night length compared to similar studies in the temperate zone revealed that migrants have an innate ability to respond to changes in the external cue of night length. Likely, birds maximized their potential nightly flight range by taking off early in the night which in turn maximizes their overall migration speed. Hence, nocturnal departure time may be a crucial parameter shaping the speed of migration indicating the significance of its integration in future migration models.
Zootaxa 3647 (4): 518–526 (13 May 2013)
Pseudolaguvia nubila, a new sisorid catfish (Teleostei: Sisoridae) from northeastern India
HEOK HEE NG, LALRAMLIANA, SAMUEL LALRONUNGA & LALNUNTLUANGA
This study describes Pseudolaguvia nubila, a new miniature sisorid catfish from the Kaladan River drainage in northeastern India. Pseudolaguvia nubila can be distinguished from congeners in having a combination of a mottled brown body with yellowish bands, a weakly projecting snout in which the premaxillary teeth are barely exposed when the mouth is closed, head width 19.7–21.7% standard length (SL), eye diameter 10.8–14.0% head length (HL), interorbital distance 25.6–31.8% HL, absence of a pale Y-shaped marking on the dorsal surface of the head and supraoccipital process, a smooth anterior edge of the dorsal spine, dorsal-fin spine length 16.4–19.3% SL, length of dorsal-fin base 15.1–17.3% SL, 7–8 serrations on the anterior edge of the pectoral spine, pectoral-fin spine length 18.1–22.0% SL, dorsal to adipose distance 13.1–16.8% SL, length of adipose-fin base 14.2–15.9% SL, pelvic-fin length 15.8–18.5% SL, body depth at anus 13.9–17.1% SL, caudal-peduncle length 15.7–20.2% SL, caudal-peduncle depth 9.1–11.1% SL, and caudal-fin length 20.3–25.3% SL.
Zootaxa 3647 (4): 527–540 (13 May 2013)
A new species of the genus Ocadia (Testudines: Geoemydidae) from the middle Miocene of Tanegashima Island, southwestern Japan and its paleogeographic implications
AKIO TAKAHASHI, KIMIHIKO ŌKI, TAKAHIRO ISHIDO & REN HIRAYAMA
A new geoemydid turtle, Ocadia tanegashimensis (Testudines: Geoemydidae) is described on the basis of a relatively
well–preserved shell from the lower middle Miocene of Tanegashima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan.
This species is clearly distinguished from two congeneric species (extant O. sinensis and O. nipponica from the middle
Pleistocene of eastern Japan) due to the presence of the following character states: length of the entoplastron as long as the interhyoplastral suture, the costals dovetailed with one another in outline, the third pleural overlapping only the sixth and seventh peripherals. The present study suggests that the initial intrageneric diversification of Ocadia began not later than the early Miocene in eastern Asia.
Latham, A. David M., Latham, M. Cecilia, Boyce, Mark S., and Boutin, Stan (2013) Spatial relationships of sympatric wolves (Canis lupus) and coyotes (C. latrans) with woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) during the calving season in a human-modified boreal landscape. Wildlife Research
Context: Woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) populations have declined across most of North America. Wolf (Canis lupus) predation on adults is partially responsible for declines; however, caribou declines also can be attributed to low calf survival. Wolves and invading coyotes (C. latrans) may contribute to mortality of calves.
Aim: We assessed wolf and coyote food habits and population and individual level selection for caribou-preferred habitats (bogs and fens) during the caribou calving season (15 April to 30 June) in north-eastern Alberta, Canada, to determine what role these predators might play as a mortality factor for caribou calves.
Methods: We deployed global positioning system and very high-frequency (VHF) radio-collars on 32 wolves and nine coyotes in January 2006 – January 2008, and VHF collars on 42 adult female caribou individuals in 2003–08. We assessed wolf and coyote habitat selection using used-available resource-selection functions, and spatial overlap of wolves and coyotes with caribou using logistic regression to estimate coefficients for latent selection-difference functions. We collected and analysed scats to assess wolf and coyote food habits.
Key results: Wolves generally avoided caribou-preferred habitats, particularly bogs. Most coyotes selected caribou-preferred habitats (bogs and/or fens); however, relative to caribou, they were found closer to upland forests. Hair from adult and calf caribou was uncommon in wolf and coyote diet and caribou is likely to be an uncommon alternative prey for these predators.
Conclusions: We found that >25% of wolf packs and most coyotes selected caribou-preferred habitats during the calving season. Although caribou was not an important prey, limited secondary predation, by these predators and black bears (Ursus americanus), on adult and calf caribou is likely to be contributing to caribou population declines.
Implications: We caution that predation on caribou is likely to escalate as coyotes expand into this region and increasing human disturbance continues to create habitat for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), which is an important prey for both wolves and coyotes.
Townsend J, Medina-Flores M, Wilson L, Jadin R, Austin J (2013) A relict lineage and new species of green palm-pitviper (Squamata, Viperidae, Bothriechis) from the Chortís Highlands of Mesoamerica. ZooKeys 298: 77-105. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.298.4834
A new species of palm-pitviper of the genus Bothriechis is described from Refugio de Vida Silvestre Texíguat in northern Honduras. The new species differs from congeners by having 19 dorsal scale rows at midbody, a bright green dorsal coloration in adults, the prelacunal scale fused to the second supralabial, and in representing a northern lineage that is sister to Bothriechis lateralis, which is distributed in Costa Rica and western Panama and is isolated from the new taxon by the Nicaraguan Depression. This represents the 15th endemic species occurring in Refugio de Vida Silvestre Texíguat, one of the richest herpetofaunal sites in Honduras, itself being the country with the highest degree of herpetofaunal endemism in Central America. We name this new species in honor of a Honduran conservationist slain in fighting against illegal logging, highlighting the sacrifices of rural activists in battling these issues and the critical importance of conservation in these areas.
Zootaxa 3649 (1): 1–62 (14 May 2013)
Taxonomy and redescription of the Yellow-footed Antechinus, Antechinus flavipes (Waterhouse) (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae)
ANDREW M. BAKER & STEVE VAN DYCK
We provide a taxonomic redescription of the ubiquitous and variable dasyurid marsupial Yellow-footed Antechinus, Antechinus flavipes (Waterhouse), which comprises three currently recognized subspecies whose combined geographic distribution spans almost the length and breadth of Australia. A. flavipes leucogaster Gray is confined to south-west Western Australia; A. flavipes flavipes is distributed in south-eastern Australia across four states—South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland; A. flavipes rubeculus Van Dyck is confined to the wet tropics of Queensland. A. flavipes is readily distinguished from all extant congeners based on external morphology by the following combination of features: a grey head; orange-yellow toned flanks/rump, feet and tail base; pale eye-rings and a darkened tail tip. A. flavipes skulls are stout, being broad at the level of the rear upper molars, have small palatal vacuities and small entoconid cusps on the lower molars. However, notable differences among subspecies of A. flavipesprevent any obvious collection of skull characters being diagnostic for species-level discrimination among congeners. A. flavipes rubeculus is the largest of the three subspecies of Yellow-footed Antechinus and most similar in skull morphology to A. leo, A. bellus and A. godmani—all four species are geographically limited to tropical Australia. A. f. rubeculus is notably larger in many characters than its conspecifics: A. f. flavipes, the next largest, and A. f. leucogaster, the smallest of the group. A. f. flavipes and A. f. leucogaster diverge significantly at only a few skull characters, and both subspecies have cranial morphological affinities with the recently discovered A. mysticus, most notably A. f. leucogaster. Phylogenies generated from mt- and nDNA data strongly support Antechinus flavipes as monophyletic with respect to other members of the genus; within A. flavipes, each of the three recognized subspecies form distinctive monophyletic clades.
Narelle A. Dybing, Patricia A. Fleming, Peter J. Adams, Environmental conditions predict helminth prevalence in red foxes in Western Australia, International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, Available online 13 May 2013, ISSN 2213-2244, 10.1016/j.ijppaw.2013.04.004.
Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are the most common and widely distributed wild carnivore worldwide. These predators harbour a wide range of parasites, many of which may have important conservation, agricultural and zoonotic repercussions. This project investigated the occurrence of helminth parasites from the intestines of 147 red foxes across 14 sampling localities of southwest Western Australia. Helminth parasites were detected in 58% of fox intestines: Dipylidium caninum (27.7% of foxes), Uncinaria stenocephala (18.2%), Toxocara canis (14.9%), Spirometra erinaceieuropaei (5.4%), Toxascaris leonina (4.7%), Taenia serialis (1.4%), Taenia hydatigena (0.7%), unidentified Taenia spp. (4.1%), Brachylaima cribbi (0.7%), Plagiorchis maculosus (0.7%) and an Acanthocephalan; family Centrorhynchidae (2.1%). Importantly, two cestodes of agricultural significance, Echinococcus granulosus and Taenia ovis, were not detected in red foxes in this study, despite the presence of suitable intermediate hosts in the diets of these animals. Parasite richness varied from 1–3 species per host, with average parasite number varying from 1–39 worms (across all helminth species). Regression analyses indicated that the presence of four helminth parasites was related to various environmental factors. The presence of S. erinaceieuropaei, T. leonina and U. stenocephala was positively associated with average relative humidity which may affect the longevity of infective stages in the environment. The presence of S. erinaceieuropaei and U. stenocephala was positively associated with 5-y-average minimum temperature which could reflect poor survival of infective stages through cold winter conditions. The presence of T. canis and U. stenocephala was positively associated with the percentage cover of native vegetation at each sampling location, which is likely to reflect transmission from native prey species acting as paratenic hosts. These data identify environmental factors affecting transmission and potential distribution of each parasite taxon, and provide important information increasing our understanding of the potential effects of environmental change on parasite ecology.
Nikki Tagg, Jacob Willie
The Influence of Transect Use by Local People and Reuse of Transects for Repeated Surveys on Nesting in Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and Central Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) in Southeast Cameroon
International Journal of Primatology, May 2013
Monitoring populations of endangered species over time is necessary to guide and evaluate conservation efforts. This is particularly important for nonprotected areas that ensure connectivity between protected populations but are prone to uncontrolled hunting pressure. We investigated whether use of transects by local people and transect reuse for repeated surveys influence great ape nesting and bias results. We conducted simultaneous marked nest count surveys over 12 mo on established and newly opened transects in a nonprotected area subject to traditional heavy use by local people and recorded forest composition and signs of human activity. Chimpanzee and gorilla density estimates and encounter rates per kilometer were lower on established transects than on new ones. A generalized linear model indicated that hunting activity, distance to a regularly used forest trail, and transect type (old or new) predicted chimpanzee nest abundance, and distance to the trail and transect type predicted gorilla nest abundance, with no effect of habitat type (percentage suitable habitat) for either species. We, therefore, suggest that the difference in great ape nesting is a result of high levels of hunting by local people on established transects and forest trails. Our results support the use of repeated line transect surveys for monitoring great ape populations in many circumstances, although we advocate taking precautions in nonprotected areas, to avoid the bias imposed by use of established transects for hunting.
Claudia Menzel, Andrew Fowler, Claudio Tennie, Josep Call
Leaf Surface Roughness Elicits Leaf Swallowing Behavior in Captive Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and Bonobos (P. paniscus), but not in Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) or Orangutans (Pongo abelii)
International Journal of Primatology, May 2013
Researchers have described apparently self-medicative behaviors for a variety of nonhuman species including birds and primates. Wild chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas have been observed to swallow rough leaves without chewing, a behavior proposed to be self-medicative and to aid control of intestinal parasites. Researchers have hypothesized that the presence of hairs on the leaf surface elicits the behavior. We investigated the acquisition and the underlying mechanisms of leaf swallowing. We provided 42 captive great apes (24 chimpanzees, six bonobos, six gorillas, and six orangutans) with both rough-surfaced and hairless plants. None of the subjects had previously been observed to engage in leaf swallowing behavior and were therefore assumed naïve. Two chimpanzees and one bonobo swallowed rough-surfaced leaves spontaneously without chewing them. In a social setup six more chimpanzees acquired the behavior. None of the gorillas or orangutans showed leaf swallowing. Because this behavior occurred in naïve individuals, we conclude that it is part of the behavioral repertoire of chimpanzees and bonobos. Social learning is thus not strictly required for the acquisition of leaf swallowing, but it may still facilitate its expression. The fact that apes always chewed leaves of hairless control plants before swallowing, i.e., normal feeding behavior, indicates that the surface structure of leaves is indeed a determinant for initiating leaf swallowing in apes where it occurs.
Anna Viktoria Schnoell, Claudia Fichtel A novel feeding behaviour in wild redfronted lemurs (Eulemur rufifrons): depletion of spider nests
Primates, May 2013
Reports on behavioural innovations in wild primate populations as well as on their transmission are rare. Here, we report observations suggesting that redfronted lemurs (Eulemur rufifrons) invent new behaviours in the wild. We observed a novel feeding behaviour in redfronted lemurs in Kirindy Forest, western Madagascar. The feeding behaviour consisted of depletion of nests of a social spider species (Stegodyphus sp.). The behaviour was observed in only one out of four study groups, although spider nests were present in the home ranges of all four groups. The behaviour was exhibited in three different years (2009, 2011, 2012) and appears to be re-invented from time to time. Interestingly, in 2011 this behaviour was shown by four individuals and probably spread within the group. This feeding behaviour has only been observed between the middle of June and early August (i.e. the early dry season), and nests were found to be empty later on, suggesting that these nests are available as a food source only seasonally. Our observation contributes a rare case of behavioural innovations in a wild primate population.
B. Pisanu, E. V. Obolenskaya, E. Baudry, A. A. Lissovsky, J.-L. Chapuis
Narrow phylogeographic origin of five introduced populations of the Siberian chipmunk Tamias (Eutamias) sibiricus (Laxmann, 1769) (Rodentia: Sciuridae) established in France
Biological Invasions, June 2013, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 1201-1207
Large native geographical range and number of introduction events are often invoked to explain the successful establishment of alien mammal species. To infer the native geographic range of the Siberian chipmunks Tamias (Eutamias) sibiricus (Lax.) invasion in France, we identified the subspecies that individuals sampled in 5 out of the 11 established populations belonged. Based on craniometrical measures, variation in the mtDNA sequence of the cytochrome b, and alarm call sonogram shape, all French specimens were members of T. (E.) s. barberi which has the smallest geographical range (Korean peninsula) of the three recognized subspecies. An intense pet trade between European countries and Korea until the 1980’s best explains the success in establishment of this small ground-squirrel in France, where it was released mainly by private owners. Size of the native geographical range should be interpreted with caution in explaining the establishment of an invasive species, at least without a precise knowledge of its introduction pathways and taxonomic status.
Silje Hogner, Terje Laskemoen, Jan T. Lifjeld, Václav Pavel, Bohumír Chutný, Javier García, Marie-Christine Eybert, Ekaterina Matsyna, Arild Johnsen
Rapid sperm evolution in the bluethroat (Luscinia svecica) subspecies complex
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, May 2013
Spermatozoa are among the most variable animal cell types, and much research is currently directed towards explaining inter- and intraspecific variation in sperm form and function. Recent comparative studies in passerine birds have found associations between the level of sperm competition and both sperm length and sperm velocity. In species with sperm competition, postcopulatory sexual selection may shape the morphology of sperm as adaptations to the female environment. The speed of evolutionary change in sperm morphology at the species level is largely unknown. In this study, we analysed variation in sperm morphology among morphologically distinct and geographically isolated bluethroat subspecies in Europe. Consistent with previous studies, our analyses of mtDNA and nuclear introns suggest recent divergence and lack of lineage sorting among the subspecies. We found significant divergence in total sperm length and in the length of some sperm components (i.e. head and midpiece). There was a significantly positive relationship between pairwise divergences in sperm morphology and mitochondrial DNA, suggesting a role for genetic drift in sperm divergence. The magnitude of sperm length divergence was considerably higher than that in other geographically structured passerines, and even higher than that observed between several pairs of sister species. We hypothesize that the rapid sperm evolution in bluethroats is driven by sperm competition, and that strong postcopulatory sexual selection on sperm traits can lead to rapid speciation through reproductive incompatibilities.
S. A. Plaksa, Yu. A. Yarovenko, A. A. Gadzhiev
Status evaluation of corsac fox (Canidae, Vulpes corsac) population in Dagestan
Arid Ecosystems, April 2013, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 85-91
Investigation into the population of corsac fox in Dagestan enabled us to identify the animal’s distribution, habitat, home ranges, forage base, and population size dynamics. A significant correlation has been established between the population size of corsac fox, annual precipitation, and the number of grazing livestock. Limiting factors that determine the population status of the corsac fox are studied.
V. M. Neronov, N. Yu. Arylova, M. Yu. Dubinin, T. Yu. Karimova, A. A. Lushchekina
Current state and prospects of preserving saiga antelope in Northwest Pre-Caspian region
Arid Ecosystems, April 2013, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 57-64
To identify the main factors that affected a catastrophic decrease in the population of the saiga antelope in the Northwest Pre-Caspian region from 800 000 heads in the middle of the past century to about 5000 heads in Spring 2012, long-term data about the saiga antelope biology and the condition of its habitat were analyzed. The results obtained by modern procedures can be used to plan measures for preserving and restoring the population of the saiga antelope in Russia.