Zootaxa 3666 (4): 401–435 (4 Jun. 2013)
Systematics of the caecilian family Chikilidae (Amphibia: Gymnophiona) with the description of three new species of Chikila from northeast India
RACHUNLIU G. KAMEI, DAVID J. GOWER, MARK WILKINSON & S. D. BIJU
A taxonomic review of the monogeneric northeast Indian caecilian family Chikilidae is presented based on 64 specimens. Chikila fulleri (Alcock, 1904), known previously only from a single specimen collected more than 100 years ago, is rediagnosed and characterised based on recent collections. We describe three additional species new to science, Chikila alcocki sp. nov., Chikila darlong sp. nov., and Chikila gaiduwani sp. nov. This species-level taxonomy is consistent with mitochondrial DNA sequence data. A key to the species of Chikila is presented.
FREEMAN, H. D., BROSNAN, S. F., HOPPER, L. M., LAMBETH, S. P., SCHAPIRO, S. J. and GOSLING, S. D. (2013), Developing a Comprehensive and Comparative Questionnaire for Measuring Personality in Chimpanzees Using a Simultaneous Top-Down/Bottom-Up Design. Am. J. Primatol.. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22168
One effective method for measuring personality in primates is to use personality trait ratings to distill the experience of people familiar with the individual animals. Previous rating instruments were created using either top-down or bottom-up approaches. Top-down approaches, which essentially adapt instruments originally designed for use with another species, can unfortunately lead to the inclusion of traits irrelevant to chimpanzees or fail to include all relevant aspects of chimpanzee personality. Conversely, because bottom-up approaches derive traits specifically for chimpanzees, their unique items may impede comparisons with findings in other studies and other species. To address the limitations of each approach, we developed a new personality rating scale using a combined top-down/bottom-up design. Seventeen raters rated 99 chimpanzees on the new 41-item scale, with all but one item being rated reliably. Principal components analysis, using both varimax and direct oblimin rotations, identified six broad factors. Strong evidence was found for five of the factors (Reactivity/Undependability, Dominance, Openness, Extraversion, and Agreeableness). A sixth factor (Methodical) was offered provisionally until more data are collected. We validated the factors against behavioral data collected independently on the chimpanzees. The five factors demonstrated good evidence for convergent and predictive validity, thereby underscoring the robustness of the factors. Our combined top-down/bottom-up approach provides the most extensive data to date to support the universal existence of these five personality factors in chimpanzees. This framework, which facilitates cross-species comparisons, can also play a vital role in understanding the evolution of personality and can assist with husbandry and welfare efforts.
Oliver Keuling, Eric Baubet, Andreas Duscher, Cornelia Ebert, Claude Fischer, Andrea Monaco, Tomasz Podgórski, Céline Prevot, Katrin Ronnenberg, Gunter Sodeikat, Norman Stier, Henrik Thurfjell
Mortality rates of wild boar Sus scrofa L. in central Europe
European Journal of Wildlife Research, June 2013
In many parts of Europe, wild boar Sus scrofa population increase, and thus, high densities and dispersal into new areas are accompanied by economic problems. Due to many factors like insufficient hunting strategies as well as underestimation of population densities and reproduction rates, harvest rates seem to be insufficient. Thus, we calculated mortality rates of several wild boar populations from 1998 to 2009, to show the efficiency of hunting within several studies distributed over eight European states. For calculating mortality rates, the daily probability of survival of radio telemetrically observed wild boar was analysed according to Mayfield (Wilson Bull 73:255-261, 1961) and with survival analysis in R for three age classes (0, 1, ≥2 years) and both sexes. The mortality rates of wild boar per annum, especially piglets, were comparably low (about 0.5 for piglets and similar for total population). About three third of all observed animals survived at least until the next period of reproduction. Mortality rates differed between some study areas, the sexes and age classes. The sex ratio of the shot piglets equals the sex ratio of captured piglets; there seems to be no sex-biased hunting in this age class, but in an older age. Shooting was the main cause of death; only very few animals died by natural causes, e.g. diseases. The comparative analysis of all studies reflects a low mortality of wild boar in highly productive populations. Our results certified the findings of several studies that predation, natural mortality, and road mortality have only small impact on wild boar populations, whereas especially, nutrition or hunting are mainly decisive. Assuming net reproduction rates of more than 200 % according to literature data, our results indicate that harvest rates are not sufficient at our study sites. In all our studies, mortality rates and, thus, harvest rates are less than the assumed total net reproduction. Especially, the harvest rate of piglets seems to be insufficient. Thus, the population will increase further. High reproduction has to be counteracted by regulating mainly the reproductive animals. For regulating a population, combined and effective hunting methods have to be conducted to harvest at least the net reproduction. Thus, we recommend higher hunting rates of piglets (80 % of the offspring should be harvested) and of adult females. Intensified hunting of piglets by drive hunts and at an early age as well as intensified single hunt on adult females might help regulating wild boar populations.
Schmitt, N. T., Double, M. C., Jarman, S. N., Gales, N., Marthick, J. R., Polanowski, A. M., Scott Baker, C., Steel, D., Jenner, K. C. S., Jenner, M.-N. M., Gales, R., Paton, D. and Peakall, R. (2013), Low levels of genetic differentiation characterize Australian humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) populations. Marine Mammal Science. doi: 10.1111/mms.12045
Humpback whales undertake long-distance seasonal migrations between low latitude winter breeding grounds and high latitude summer feeding grounds. We report the first in-depth population genetic study of the humpback whales that migrate to separate winter breeding grounds along the northwestern and northeastern coasts of Australia, but overlap on summer feeding grounds around Antarctica. Weak but significant differentiation between eastern and western Australia was detected across ten microsatellite loci (FST = 0.005, P = 0.001; DEST = 0.031, P = 0.001, n = 364) and mitochondrial control region sequences (FST = 0.017 and ΦST = 0.069, P = 0.001, n = 364). Bayesian clustering analyses using microsatellite data could not resolve any population structure unless sampling location was provided as a prior. This study supports the emerging evidence that weak genetic differentiation is characteristic among neighboring Southern Hemisphere humpback whale breeding populations. This may be a consequence of relatively high gene flow facilitated by overlapping summer feeding areas in Antarctic waters.
Jacob Willie, Nikki Tagg, Charles-Albert Petre, Zjef Pereboom, Luc Lens
Plant selection for nest building by western lowland gorillas in Cameroon
Primates, June 2013
We examined 834 nests built by western lowland gorillas in Cameroon between July 2008 and July 2011 to identify the plant species used in their construction. Preference for each plant species for nesting was assessed using a ‘preference index’ calculated by combining information on the occurrence of each species in the forest and in the nests. Forty-six plant species representing about 15 % of the total number of species in the forest and 26 % of species used for nest building were frequently used by gorillas. Preference levels significantly varied among these species. Nests were mostly built with herbs of the families Marantaceae and Zingiberaceae and woody species such as Manniophyton fulvum (liana) and Alchornea floribunda (shrub). As observed in other gorilla populations, suitability for nest building and availability of gorilla food in stems were the likely determinants of plant selection. The total number of species used per nest ranged from 1 to 11, with an average of 4.9. This is high compared to other sites, emphasizing variability in the availability of nest building materials and habitat differences across the range of the western gorilla. Seasonal changes in the use of different habitat types for nesting did not appear to influence plant use for nest building as there was little variation in plant selection across seasons or the composition of nests. Our findings suggest that gorillas non-randomly select plant species to build nests, and use a particular set of species combined at varying proportions, with no clear seasonal or spatial patterns.
Rueda, M., Hawkins, B. A., Morales-Castilla, I., Vidanes, R. M., Ferrero, M. and Rodríguez, M. Á. (2013), Does fragmentation increase extinction thresholds? A European-wide test with seven forest birds. Global Ecology and Biogeography. doi: 10.1111/geb.12079
Theory predicts that fragmentation aggravates habitat loss, increasing the extinction threshold of habitat specialists. However, contradictory empirical results have fuelled claims that fragmentation has been overemphasized, and more attention should be given to habitat loss for preserving species. We assess variation in species sensitivity to forest amount and fragmentation and evaluate if fragmentation is related to extinction thresholds in seven forest bird species.LocationEurope. We use the percentage of forest cover and the proportion of cover occurring in the largest patch to partition effects of forest amount versus fragmentation, and apply logistic regression to model the presence–absence of 17 forest bird species. For seven species showing robust models, we define two fragmentation scenarios, low and maximum, across the forest cover gradient and quantify species‘ sensitivity to forest contraction with no fragmentation, and to fragmentation under constant forest cover. Finally, we develop two tests of the extinction threshold hypothesis by comparing the occurrence probability of each species under the two fragmentation scenarios at different forest covers. As expected, forest contraction had negative impacts on the occurrence probability of all seven species modelled, but – in line with theory – fragmentation also led to a higher extinction threshold for three (Western capercaillie, Hazel grouse and Eurasian pygmy-owl). One species (Black woodpecker) exhibited the opposite pattern indicating that it probably benefits from fragmentation. Differences among species responses may reflect dispersal abilities, specializations in resources/habitat characteristics and/or sensitivity to potential modifications of interspecific interactions.Main conclusionsAlthough forest amount is of primary importance for the persistence of forest specialist birds, fragmentation is also relevant for some, and neglecting forest fragmentation would be a mistake for these species. Species-specific traits can be helpful for interpreting species‘ reactions to fragmentation, and it should not be assumed that it always, or never, matters.
Boyles, J. G., Thompson, A. B., McKechnie, A. E., Malan, E., Humphries, M. M. and Careau, V. (2013), A global heterothermic continuum in mammals. Global Ecology and Biogeography. doi: 10.1111/geb.12077
The ability of endotherms to physiologically regulate body temperature (Tb) is presumed to be important in the adaptive radiation of birds and mammals. Recently, attention has shifted towards determining the extent and energetic significance of Tb variation documented in an ever-expanding list of species. Thus, we provide the first global synthesis of ecological and evolutionary correlates of variation in mammalian Tb.LocationWorld-wideMethodsWe conducted a phylogenetically informed analysis of Tb variation using two complementary metrics, namely Thermoregulatory Scope (TS) and Heterothermy Index (HI), that treat Tb variation as a continuous variable. We included morphological (e.g. body mass), ecological (e.g. food habits) and environmental (e.g. latitude) correlates in the analysis. Among 560 mammal species included in the TS analysis, Tb relates most strongly to body mass (included in all models), season (relative parameter weight: 0.95), absolute latitude (0.80) and hoarding behavior (0.72), with small-bodied, high latitude and non-hoarding species expressing the most Tb variation. Small-bodied and high latitude species also express a greater range of thermoregulatory patterns than large-bodied and low latitude species. were generally similar in HI analysis, but in summer the extent of heterothermy decreases with latitude.Main conclusionsMammalian heterothermy is related to evolutionary history, climate conditions constraining minimum Tb, resource conditions mediating energy supply for maintaining high Tb, and latitudinal variation in the nature of seasonality. Our analysis further shows that traditional classification of mammals as hibernators, daily heterotherms or homeotherms is clouded or possibly misleading.
Bouwhuis, S., Quinn, J. L., Sheldon, B. C. and Verhulst, S. (2013), Personality and basal metabolic rate in a wild bird population. Oikos. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00654.x
Personality and metabolic rate are predicted to show covariance on methodological and functional grounds, but empirical studies at the individual level are rare, especially in natural populations. Here we assess the relationship between exploration behaviour, an important axis of personality, and basal metabolic rate (BMR) for 680 free-living great tits Parus major, studied over three years. We find that exploration behaviour is weakly negatively related to BMR among female, but not male, birds. Moreover, we find exploration behaviour to be independent of methodological aspects of BMR measurements (e.g. activity levels, time to acclimatize) which have been suggested to be indicative of personality-related activity or stress levels during measurement. This suggests that the weak link between exploration behaviour and BMR found here is functional rather than methodological. We therefore test the hypothesis that selection favours covariance between exploration behaviour and metabolic rate, but find no evidence for correlational survival or fecundity selection. Our data therefore provide at best only very weak evidence for a functional link between personality and metabolic rate, and we suggest that studies of personality and metabolic strategies, or personality and daily energy expenditure, are required to further resolve the link between personality and metabolic rate.
Zootaxa 3669 (1): 065–075 (5 Jun. 2013)
Early development of fat snook, Centropomus parallelus (Poey 1860) (Teleostei, Centropomidae) from Southeastern Brazil
MICHAEL KENGO ITAGAKI, MARIO KATSURAGAWA, CELINA MARIA MARCONDES PIMENTEL, IDILI DA ROCHA OLIVEIRA & MARCIO HIDEKAZU OHKAWARA
Early development of fat snook, Centropomus parallelus (Poey 1860), is described based on embryos and larvae obtained from rearing experiments and from specimens caught in the field, in Cananéia, southeastern Brazil, during December 1999–January 2000. Larvae of common snook, C. undecimalis, were also collected to compare the pigmentation pattern and body shape. Eggs of C. parallelus were relatively small (0.65 to 0.70 mm in diameter), spherical, and usually with a single oil globule. Notochord length (NL) of newly hatched ranged between 1.1 mm to 1.4 mm. Notochord flexion began at 3.4 mm NL and was usually completed by 4.0 mm SL. Larval and early juvenile of both species were very similar with
tenuous distinction, however, some morphological and pigmentation characters were used to distinguish their early stages. The main differences were as follow: trend of lower values of the ratio of body depth to body length (BD/BL) for C. parallelus larger than 10.0 mm SL; absence of the post-temporal spine in C. undecimalis; absence of pigmentation along the dorsal midline of C. parallelus larvae by 2.6–7.0 mm; and presence of a pair of dendritic melanophores posterior to the bases of pelvic fins in C. parallelus larger than 6.0.
Baldwin C, Robertson R (2013) A new Haptoclinus blenny (Teleostei, Labrisomidae) from deep reefs off Curaçao, southern Caribbean, with comments on relationships of the genus. ZooKeys 306: 71-81. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.306.5198
A second species of the blenniiform genus Haptoclinus is described from deep reefs off Curaçao, southern Caribbean. Haptoclinus dropi sp. n. differs from the northwestern Caribbean Haptoclinus apectolophus Böhlke and Robins, 1974, in having 29 total dorsal-fin elements—III-I-XIII, 12 (vs. 31—III-I-XIV, 13 or III-I-XIII, 14); 19 anal-fin soft rays (vs. 20-21); 12 pectoral-fin rays (vs. 13); 12 precaudal vertebrae (vs. 13); and the first dorsal-fin spine longer than the second (vs. the second longer than the first). It further differs from Haptoclinus apectolophus in lacking scales (vs. three-quarters of body densely scaled), in having a distinctive pattern of spotting on the trunk and fins in preservative (vs. no spotting), and in lacking a fleshy flap on the anterior rim of the posterior nostril (vs. flap present). Color in life is unknown for Haptoclinus apectolophus, and the color description presented for the new species constitutes the first color information for the genus. Familial placement of Haptoclinus remains questionable, but the limited relevant information obtained from morphological examination of the new species provides additional support for a close relationship with the Chaenopsidae. Haptoclinus dropi represents one of numerous new teleost species emerging from sampling to 300 m off Curaçao as part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP).
SNOW, N. P. and ANDELT, W. F. (2013), Capture success higher near roads for san clemente island foxes. Wildlife Society Bulletin. doi: 10.1002/wsb.295
Recently, island fox (Urocyon littoralis) populations on 4 of 6 California Channel Islands (USA) were greatly reduced by colonizing golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) and a suspected outbreak of disease, creating concern for subspecies on all islands. Consequently, efforts of live-trapping foxes for research, monitoring, and vaccination has increased. Despite increased trapping efforts, evaluation of factors that influence capture success has not been conducted. We examined capture success of island foxes at 85 random trapping locations on San Clemente Island during 170 trap-nights during 2006–2007. We captured 98 island foxes, and found that traps placed ≤10 m from primary roads had higher overall capture success (i.e., 1.52 times more likely to capture foxes) than traps placed at random locations throughout the study area. We found no evidence to suggest that the density of edges between land-cover types (i.e., sum length of edges per 100-m buffered area [m/m2]), nightly temperature, proportions of land-cover, or type of attractant tested (n = 3) affected capture success. All attractants captured similar proportions of sex and age classes of foxes. Our findings suggest that future trapping efforts would have the most success if conducted along roads.
Lydia Beaudrot, Matthew J. Struebig, Erik Meijaard, S. van Balen, Simon Husson, Andrew J. Marshall Co-occurrence patterns of Bornean vertebrates suggest competitive exclusion is strongest among distantly related species
Oecologia, June 2013
Assessing the importance of deterministic processes in structuring ecological communities is a central focus of community ecology. Typically, community ecologists study a single taxonomic group, which precludes detection of potentially important biotic interactions between distantly related species, and inherently assumes competition is strongest between closely related species. We examined distribution patterns of vertebrate species across the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia to assess the extent to which inter-specific competition may have shaped ecological communities on the island and whether the intensity of inter-specific competition in present-day communities varies as a function of evolutionary relatedness. We investigated the relative extent of competition within and between species of primates, birds, bats and squirrels using species presence–absence and attribute data compiled for 21 forested sites across Borneo. We calculated for each species pair the checkerboard unit value (CU), a statistic that is often interpreted as indicating the importance of interspecific competition. The percentage of species pairs with significant CUs was lowest in within-taxon comparisons. Moreover, for invertebrate-eating species the percentage of significantly checkerboarded species pairs was highest in comparisons between primates and other taxa, particularly birds and squirrels. Our results are consistent with the interpretation that competitive interactions between distantly related species may have shaped the distribution of species and thus the composition of Bornean vertebrate communities. This research highlights the importance of taking into account the broad mammalian and avian communities in which species occur for understanding the factors that structure biodiversity.
Biton R, Geffen E, Vences M, Cohen O, Bailon S, Rabinovich R, Malka Y, Oron T, Boistel R, Brumfeld V, Gafny R (2013) The rediscovered Hula painted frog is a living fossil. Nature Communications.
Amphibian declines are seen as an indicator of the onset of a sixth mass extinction of life on earth. Because of a combination of factors such as habitat destruction, emerging pathogens and pollutants, over 156 amphibian species have not been seen for several decades, and 34 of these were listed as extinct by 2004. Here we report the rediscovery of the Hula painted frog, the first amphibian to have been declared extinct. We provide evidence that not only has this species survived undetected in its type locality for almost 60 years but also that it is a surviving member of an otherwise extinct genus of alytid frogs, Latonia, known only as fossils from Oligocene to Pleistocene in Europe. The survival of this living fossil is a striking example of resilience to severe habitat degradation during the past century by an amphibian.
Clock for the City: Circadian Differences Between Forest and City Songbirds’
Proceedings of the Royal Society B., 5. Juni 2013
To keep pace with progressing urbanization organisms must cope with extensive habitat change. Anthropogenic light and noise have modified differences between day and night, and may thereby interfere with circadian clocks. Urbanized species, such as birds, are known to advance their activity to early morning and night hours. We hypothesized that such modified activity patterns are reflected by properties of the endogenous circadian clock. Using automatic radio-telemetry, we tested this idea by comparing activity patterns of free-living forest and city European blackbirds (Turdus merula). We then recaptured the same individuals and recorded their activity under constant conditions. City birds started their activity earlier and had faster but less robust circadian oscillation of locomotor activity than forest conspecifics. Circadian period length predicted start of activity in the field, and this relationship was mainly explained by fast-paced and early-rising city birds. Although based on only two populations, our findings point to links between city life, chronotype and circadian phenotype in songbirds, and potentially in other organisms that colonize urban habitats, and highlight that urban environments can significantly modify biologically important rhythms in wild organisms.
Luebke, J. F. and Matiasek, J. (2013), An Exploratory Study of Zoo Visitors‘ Exhibit Experiences and Reactions. Zoo Biol.. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21071
Visiting a zoo or aquarium is not only fun, but can also have a positive impact on visitors‘ knowledge and attitudes regarding animals and the environment. The biggest challenge, however, is for these institutions to strategically provide opportunities for cognitive and affective learning while simultaneously facilitating enjoyment and fun. Recent studies in zoos and aquaria have examined various factors that can influence learning such as engaging visitors‘ emotions or connecting with visitors‘ prior knowledge and interests. The intent of the current study was to further this line of investigation and explore the relationship between visitors‘ predispositions and their cognitive and affective experiences and reactions as they walked through an animal exhibit. We selected three indoor immersion exhibits and one outdoor naturalistic exhibit for the study to obtain a wide range of different animals and exhibit settings. Research assistants randomly intercepted visitors leaving the exhibits and asked, among other things, the extent they experienced certain thoughts and feelings while they were walking through the exhibits. Results revealed that visitors‘ emotional responses to viewing animals were key experiences along with opportunities for introspection and reflection during their time in the exhibits. Implications of the study are discussed in reference to providing both fun and meaningful learning experiences for visitors.
ROY, C. L., HERWIG, C. M. and DOHERTY, P. F. (2013), Mortality and refuge use by young ring-necked ducks before and during hunting season in north-central Minnesota. The Journal of Wildlife Management. doi: 10.1002/jwmg.559
North-central Minnesota has a system of waterfowl refuges that were created over the last 6 decades to benefit ring-necked ducks (Aythya collaris). New refuges were placed to complement existing refuges and to relieve high hunting pressure in bog areas that were traditionally remote and inaccessible but were receiving increasing use. These refuges have been credited with keeping waterfowl in the area, but this has not been substantiated with data. Furthermore, the survival benefits of these refuges, if any, to locally produced ring-necked ducks have not been evaluated. We examined weekly mortality and movements onto and off of refuges with data from young ring-necked ducks captured and radio-marked before fledging. We used a multi-state model to investigate factors affecting transitions between 4 states (i.e., alive and on a refuge, alive and off a refuge, dead and off a refuge, and dead and on a refuge), and to account for variation in detection probabilities. Our most-supported model based on Akaike’s Information Criterion with a small sample size correction (AICc) included movements onto and off of refuge as a function of year and hunting season, and mortality as a function of year, hunting season, and sex. The second ranked model (ΔAICc = 2.74) was similar to the top model but without the sex effect. Other models received considerably less support. Mortality was greater during hunting season than before hunting opened. Young males had greater mortality rates (mean ± SE) off the refuge than young females both before (0.050 ± 0.004 vs. 0.030 ± 0.002) and during hunting season (0.234 ± 0.019 vs. 0.137 ± 0.011). Probabilities of movement onto refuges were greater during hunting seasons than during weeks with no hunting pressure (0.073 ± 0.046 vs. 0.023 ± 0.015), although birds left refuges at a similar rate during hunting and before hunting seasons (0.424 ± 0.116 vs. 0.457 ± 0.125). Birds that used refuges were detected on the study area longer. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that ducks benefit from refuges; we found lesser mortality of birds on refuges (no birds were detected dead on a refuge), and greater mortality off refuges during hunting season. We did not evaluate whether survival benefits of refuges accrued from reduced disturbance, greater time foraging, benefits of membership in a flock, or simply safety from hunters. Future studies examining food availability and foraging behavior on and off refuges may help clarify the contributions of these variables to reducing mortality of young ring-necked ducks during hunting seasons.
Vander Haegen, W. M., Orth, G. R. and Linders, M. J. (2013), Survival and causes of mortality in a northern population of western gray squirrels. The Journal of Wildlife Management. doi: 10.1002/jwmg.567
We studied survival of radio-marked western gray squirrels (Sciurus griseus) and quantified causes of mortality including incidence and severity of notoedric mange in south-central Washington, 1998–2005. We used known-fate models in Program MARK to explore alternative hypotheses on factors related to survival and correlation analysis to investigate parameters that might be related to incidence of mange. The best-supported models indicated that survival varied by year and by sex and that survival of males was lower during the breeding season compared to the non-breeding season. We found little support for differences in survival between juvenile (5–12 months old) and adult squirrels, or for winter severity or size of the acorn crop as significant influences on survival. We determined the likely proximate cause of death for 81 animals; 63% were killed by predators and 37% succumbed to disease, with most disease deaths attributed to mange. Mange was documented in the population during all years and occurred more frequently in animals captured in spring than in animals captured in fall. Counter to our predictions, occurrence of mange was not correlated with 2 measures of winter severity but was strongly correlated with mildness of the preceding winter (number of days with mean air temperature ≥0° C). Sequential use of nests by individual squirrels during mild winters with temperatures conducive to survival of ephemeral, free-living mites may partially explain the periodic epizootics of notoedric mange in this western gray squirrel population. Continued deterioration of squirrel habitat through fragmentation will place additional stressors on the population and may compound the effects of mange on this threatened species.