Abstract View

Zootaxa 3681 (1): 044–058 (19 Jun. 2013)
The taxonomic status of badgers (Mammalia, Mustelidae) from Southwest Asia based on cranial morphometrics, with the redescription of Meles canescens

The Eurasian badgers (Meles spp.) are widespread in the Palaearctic Region, occurring from the British Islands in the west to the Japanese Islands in the east, including the Scandinavia, Southwest Asia and southern China. The morphometric variation in 30 cranial characters of 692 skulls of Meles from across the Palaearctic was here analyzed. This craniometric analysis revealed a significant difference between the European and Asian badger phylogenetic lineages, which can be further split in two pairs of taxa: meles – canescens and leucurus – anakuma. Overall, European badger populations are very similar morphologically, particularly with regards to the skull shape, but differ notably from those from Asia Minor, the Middle East and Transcaucasia. Based on the current survey of badger specimens available in main world museums, we have recognized four distinctive, parapatric species: Meles meles, found in most of Europe; Meles leucurus from continental Asia; M. anakuma from Japan; and M. canescens from Southwest Asia and the mountains of Middle Asia. These results are in agreement with those based on recent molecular data analyses. The morphological peculiarities and distribution range of M. canescens are discussed. The origin and evolution of Meles species, which is yet poorly understood, is also briefly discussed.

Evolutionary implications of the divergent long bone histologies of Nothosaurus and Pistosaurus (Sauropterygia, Triassic)
Krahl A, Klein N, Sander PM
BMC Evolutionary Biology 2013, 13:123 (18 June 2013)

Eosauropterygians consist of two major clades, the Nothosauroidea of the Tethysian Middle Triassic (e.g., Nothosaurus) and the Pistosauroidea. The Pistosauroidea include rare Triassic forms (Pistosauridae) and the Plesiosauria of the Jurassic and Cretaceous. Long bones of Nothosaurus and Pistosaurus from the Muschelkalk (Middle Triassic) of Germany and France and a femur of the Lower Jurassic Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus were studied histologically and microanatomically to understand the evolution of locomotory adaptations, patterns of growth and life history in these two lineages.
We found that the cortex of adult Nothosaurus long bones consists of lamellar zonal bone. Large Upper Muschelkalk humeri of large-bodied Nothosaurus mirabilis and N. giganteus differ from the small Lower Muschelkalk (Nothosaurus marchicus/N. winterswijkensis) humeri by a striking microanatomical specialization for aquatic tetrapods: the medullary cavity is much enlarged and the cortex is reduced to a few millimeters in thickness. Unexpectedly, the humeri of Pistosaurus consist of continuously deposited, radially vascularized fibrolamellar bone tissue like in the Plesiosaurus sample. Plesiosaurus shows intense Haversian remodeling, which has never been described in Triassic sauropterygians.
The generally lamellar zonal bone tissue of nothosaur long bones indicates a low growth rate and suggests a low basal metabolic rate. The large triangular cross section of large-bodied Nothosaurus from the Upper Muschelkalk with their large medullary region evolved to withstand high bending loads. Nothosaurus humerus morphology and microanatomy indicates the evolution of paraxial front limb propulsion in the Middle Triassic, well before its convergent evolution in the Plesiosauria in the latest Triassic. Fibrolamellar bone tissue, as found in Pistosaurus and Plesiosaurus, suggests a high growth rate and basal metabolic rate. The presence of fibrolamellar bone tissue in Pistosaurus suggests that these features had already evolved in the Pistosauroidea by the Middle Triassic, well before the plesiosaurs radiated. Together with a relatively large body size, a high basal metabolic rate probably was the key to the invasion of the Pistosauroidea of the pelagic habitat in the Middle Triassic and the success of the Plesiosauria in the Jurassic and Cretaceous.

Physiology, Behavior, and Conservation*
Steven J. Cooke, Daniel T. Blumstein, Richard Buchholz, Tim Caro, Esteban Fernández-Juricic, Craig E. Franklin, Julian Metcalfe, Constance M. O’Connor, Colleen Cassady St. Clair, William J. Sutherland and Martin Wikelski
Physiological and Biochemical Zoology

Many animal populations are in decline as a result of human activity. Conservation practitioners are attempting to prevent further declines and loss of biodiversity as well as to facilitate recovery of endangered species, and they often rely on interdisciplinary approaches to generate conservation solutions. Two recent interfaces in conservation science involve animal behavior (i.e., conservation behavior) and physiology (i.e., conservation physiology). To date, these interfaces have been considered separate entities, but from both pragmatic and biological perspectives, there is merit in better integrating behavior and physiology to address applied conservation problems and to inform resource management. Although there are some institutional, conceptual, methodological, and communication-oriented challenges to integrating behavior and physiology to inform conservation actions, most of these barriers can be overcome. Through outlining several successful examples that integrate these disciplines, we conclude that physiology and behavior can together generate meaningful data to support animal conservation and management actions. Tangentially, applied conservation and management problems can, in turn, also help advance and reinvigorate the fundamental disciplines of animal physiology and behavior by providing advanced natural experiments that challenge traditional frameworks.

Dehydration Hardly Slows Hopping Toads (Rhinella granulosa) from Xeric and Mesic Environments
Ivan Prates, Michael J. Angilleta Jr., Robbie S. Wilson, Amanda C. Niehaus and Carlos A. Navas
Physiological and Biochemical Zoology

The locomotor capacity of amphibians depends strongly on temperature and hydration. Understanding the potential interactions between these variables remains an important challenge because temperature and water availability covary strongly in natural environments. We explored the effects of temperature and hydration on the hopping speeds of Rhinella granulosa, a small toad from the semiarid Caatinga and the Atlantic Rain Forest in Brazil. We asked whether thermal and hydric states interact to determine performance and whether toads from the Caatinga differ from their conspecifics from the Atlantic Forest. Both dehydration and cooling impaired hopping speed, but effects were independent of one another. In comparison to performances of other anurans, the performance of R. granulosa was far less sensitive to dehydration. Consequently, dehydrated members of this species may be able to sustain performance through high body temperatures, which agrees with the exceptional heat tolerance of this species. Surprisingly, toads from both the Caatinga and the Atlantic Forest were relatively insensitive to dehydration. This observation suggests that migration or gene flow between toads from the forest and those from a drier region occurred or that toads from a dry region colonized the forest secondarily.

Individual Variation in Thermogenic Capacity Is Correlated with Flight Muscle Size but Not Cellular Metabolic Capacity in American Goldfinches (Spinus tristis)
David L. Swanson, Yufeng Zhang and Marisa O. King
Physiological and Biochemical Zoology

Cold tolerance and overwinter survival are positively correlated with organismal thermogenic capacity (=summit metabolic rate [Msum]) in endotherms. Msum varies seasonally in small-bird populations and may be mechanistically associated with variation in flight muscle size or cellular metabolic capacity, but the relative roles of these traits as drivers of individual variation in thermogenic performance are poorly known. We measured flight muscle size by ultrasonography, pectoralis and supracoracoideus muscle masses, and muscular activities of key aerobic enzymes (citrate synthase, carnitine palmitoyl transferase, and β-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase) and correlated these measurements with Msum for individual American goldfinches (Spinus tristis) to test the hypotheses that muscle size and/or cellular metabolic capacity serve as prominent drivers of individual variation in organismal metabolic capacity. Ultrasonographic flight muscle size was weakly positively correlated with Msum ( ). Both log10-transformed Msum and flight muscle mass were significantly correlated with log10 body mass, so we calculated allometric residuals for log Msum and for log flight muscle mass to test their correlation independent of body mass. Flight muscle mass residuals were significantly positively correlated with Msum residuals, and this correlation was primarily driven by variation in pectoralis muscle mass. In contrast, none of the mass-specific activities of any enzyme in any muscle were significantly correlated with Msum. These data suggest that flight muscle size, not cellular metabolic capacity, is the primary driver of individual variation in thermogenic performance in goldfinches. This is consistent with the idea that phenotypic flexibility of flight muscle mass is a general mechanism mediating variation in metabolic performance in response to changing energy demands in birds.

Island Life Shapes the Physiology and Life History of Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis)
Kevin D. Matson, Robert A. Mauck, Sharon E. Lynn and B. Irene Tieleman
Physiological and Biochemical Zoology

Island organisms face a range of extrinsic threats to their characteristically small populations. Certain biological differences between island and continental organisms have the potential to exacerbate these threats. Understanding how island birds differ from their continental relatives may provide insight into population viability and serve as a predictive tool for conservation efforts. We compared an eastern bluebird population in Ohio with a threatened population in Bermuda in terms of the birds’ development, morphology, immunology, and reproduction. These comparisons revealed that island nestlings had shorter wings and island adults had longer wings than their continental analogs. Island nestlings also had shorter tarsi than continental nestlings at day 8 posthatch, but this difference was absent at day 15 and in adults. Adults weighed less in Bermuda than in Ohio, and both nestlings and adults in Bermuda exhibited higher levels of two immunological indexes (concentrations of an acute-phase protein and titers of nonspecific antibodies). Clutch sizes and hatch rates did not differ between the island and continental populations; however, as the breeding season progressed, brood sizes declined in Bermuda, whereas no such decline occurred in Ohio. Despite these differences and differences in nestling development, island and continental parents fed their nestlings at equal rates. Overall, our results suggest that the Bermuda phenotype may be adjusted to certain aspects of the island environment but not to others. Efforts to conserve the bluebirds of Bermuda may be improved by focusing on the intraseasonal patterns in nestling mortality and, more generally, the survival probabilities of different age classes.

Comparative Visual Function in Predatory Fishes from the Indian River Lagoon
D. Michelle McComb, Stephen M. Kajiura, Andrij Z. Horodysky, and Tamara M. Frank
Physiological and Biochemical Zoology
Vol. 86, No. 3 (May/June 2013), pp. 285-297

Visual temporal resolution and spectral sensitivity of three coastal teleost species (common snook [Centropomus undecimalis], gray snapper [Lutjanus griseus], and pinfish [Lagodon rhomboides]) were investigated by electroretinogram. Temporal resolution was quantified under photopic and scotopic conditions using response waveform dynamics and maximum critical flicker fusion frequency (CFFmax). Photopic CFFmax was significantly higher than scotopic CFFmax in all species. The snapper had the shortest photoreceptor response latency time (26.7 ms) and the highest CFFmax (47 Hz), suggesting that its eyes are adapted for a brighter photic environment. In contrast, the snook had the longest response latency time (36.8 ms) and lowest CFFmax (40 Hz), indicating that its eyes are adapted for a dimmer environment or nocturnal lifestyle. Species spectral responses ranged from 360 to 620 nm and revealed the presence of rods sensitive to dim and twilight conditions, as well as multiple cone visual pigments providing the basis for color and contrast discrimination. Collectively, our results demonstrate differences in visual function among species inhabiting the Indian River Lagoon system, representative of their unique ecology and life histories.

Dietary Carotenoids Increase Yellow Nonpigment Coloration of Female Convict Cichlids (Amantitlania nigrofasciata)
Alexandria C. Brown, Kevin J. McGraw, and Ethan D. Clotfelter
Physiological and Biochemical Zoology
Vol. 86, No. 3 (May/June 2013), pp. 312-322

The carotenoid trade-off hypothesis states that diet-derived carotenoids are traded off among competing physiological demands, but this statement is rarely tested in ornamented females. In this study, reverse sexually dimorphic convict cichlids (Amantitlania nigrofasciata) were fed diets containing carotenoid supplementation at three biologically relevant levels for 12 wk. This treatment was followed by spectral, microscopic, and chemical analysis to determine how females allocated the pigments to tissues and how those decisions affected their ventral patch coloration. Yellow coloration of the integument increased with carotenoids in the diet, as did carotenoids deposited in ovaries, but diet did not change carotenoid allocation to skin. The results of this study suggest that females have the ability to modulate their expression of yellow coloration via an alternative coloration strategy. Gonadosomatic index and tank environment were also related to ventral patch color, supporting previous behavioral work highlighting the importance of social selection in reinforcing signal honesty.

Balancing the Energy Budget in Free-Ranging Male Myotis daubentonii Bats
Nina I. Becker, Marco Tschapka, Elisabeth K. V. Kalko, and Jorge A. Encarnação
Physiological and Biochemical Zoology
Vol. 86, No. 3 (May/June 2013), pp. 361-369

Mammals use five main, mutually nonexclusive mechanisms to balance energy budgets: torpor, metabolic compensation, change in activity patterns, change in ingested energy, and/or variability in digestive efficiency. Bats, as small and actively flying mammals, have a high mass-specific energy demand; therefore, balancing mechanisms should be pronounced in this group. We found that male Myotis daubentonii exhibited marked variation in the relative importance of these different mechanisms during their period of seasonal activity in response to extrinsic (ambient temperature, insect abundance) and intrinsic (reproduction, body condition) factors. Cold ambient temperatures in spring facilitated long and frequent daily torpor bouts, whereas in early summer, increased energy intake was the dominant factor in energy balancing. Intake was further increased in late summer, when insect abundance was highest, and daily torpor bouts were shorter and less frequent than in early summer. In autumn, males used metabolic compensation to reduce their resting metabolic rate in addition to daily torpor. Metabolic compensation might be one of the mechanisms that allow males to maintain high body temperature during the day while decreasing the need for foraging time at night, thus maximizing their opportunities to mate.

Monika Moravkova, Vojtech Mrlik, Ilona Parmova, Petr Kriz, and Ivo Pavlik
High incidence of Mycobacterium avium subspecies hominissuis infection in a zoo population of bongo antelopes (Tragelaphus eurycerus)
J VET Diagn Invest 1040638713490689, first published on June 18, 2013 doi:10.1177/1040638713490689

Mycobacterium avium subsp. hominissuis (Mah) infection was diagnosed in 5 captive bongo antelopes (Tragelaphus eurycerus) originating from a collection in a zoological garden. The animals suffered from emaciation. Postmortem examination revealed nodular lesions in the lungs of all 5 examined animals. Acid-fast bacilli were observed in the lungs of 4 animals. Culture and polymerase chain reaction identification based on IS901 negativity and IS1245 positivity confirmed Mah infection in the lungs of all 5 antelopes. In 3 animals, Mah was also isolated from other organs (liver, spleen, and kidney). Molecular analysis of these isolates using IS1245 restriction fragment length polymorphism and/or mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units–variable number tandem repeat revealed that the studied antelopes were infected by 1 identical genotype. Furthermore, in 2 antelopes, other genotypes were also detected. This shows the possibility of either genetic modifications occurring during infection or polyclonal infection. Culture examination of environmental samples from the enclosures holding the bongos revealed Mah in mulch bark, peat, and soil. Genotyping of these environmental isolates determined several genotypes with 1 dominant genotype that was identical to the dominant genotype detected in antelopes.

Amano, M., Yamada, T. K., Kuramochi, T., Hayano, A., Kazumi, A. and Sakai, T. (2013), Life history and group composition of melon-headed whales based on mass strandings in Japan. Marine Mammal Science. doi: 10.1111/mms.12050
We examined melon-headed whales that mass-stranded live in two events in Japan: (1) 171 animals at Tanegashima Island in 2001 and (2) 85 animals at Hasaki in 2002. We report here the results of life history traits and group composition of these strandings, and compare them to another mass stranding with 135 individuals at Aoshima in 1982. In the Hasaki event, most stranded animals, including those released were sexed and measured. The proportion of live males released was much higher than that of females, and larger animals, especially females, were more likely to have died. Females were estimated to attain sexual maturity at around 7 yr and give birth every 3–4 yr. The sex ratio was significantly different between the Hasaki and Aoshima events. Among dead specimens, females of various age classes were included in all strandings, while age distribution of males varied considerably among strandings. This suggests females show group fidelity while males move between groups. Asymptotic body length of females from Hasaki was significantly smaller than that from Tanegashima, suggesting that more than one population of melon-headed whales exist off Japan.

Fernando J. Sutili, Leticia T. Gressler, Agueda C. Vargas, Carla C. Zeppenfeld, Bernardo Baldisserotto, Mauro A. Cunha, The use of nitazoxanide against the pathogens Ichthyophthirius multifiliis and Aeromonas hydrophila in silver catfish (Rhamdia quelen), Veterinary Parasitology, Available online 19 June 2013, ISSN 0304-4017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2013.06.012.
The antiparasitic and antibacterial activities of nitazoxanide (NTZ) against Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (Ich) and Aeromonas hydrophila, respectively, were evaluated in silver catfish juveniles (Rhamdia quelen). In the first experiment, fish naturally infected by Ich were treated with different concentrations of NTZ. Fish mortality and the number of trophonts/juveniles were evaluated. In the second experiment, the antimicrobial potential in vitro (MIC test) and preventive potential in vivo against A. hydrophila was evaluated. The treatment with 1.5 mg L−1 NTZ showed the best result against Ich, with a significant reduction of trophonts and fish mortality of 10%. NTZ did not show in vitro activity against A. hydrophila at concentrations tested, but showed a probable preventive activity in vivo. However, these results are preliminary and more studies should be conducted.

Aurélie Albert, Marie-Claude Huynen, Tommaso Savini, Alain Hambuckers
Influence of Food Resources on the Ranging Pattern of Northern Pig-tailed Macaques (Macaca leonina)
International Journal of Primatology June 2013

Food availability may influence primates’ home range size and use. Understanding this relationship may facilitate the design of conservation strategies. We aimed to determine how fruit availability influences the ranging patterns of a group of northern pig-tailed macaques (Macaca leonina) living around the visitor center of Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. We predicted that macaques would increase their range during low fruit abundance periods to gather high-quality food and that they would go where there are more fruits or more fruits of particular species. We also predicted that human food, linked to human presence, would attract the macaques. We followed the macaques and recorded their diet and movements within their home range. We superimposed a grid on kernels defining the monthly home range surface to compare spatially macaques’ travel and the availability of fruits measured on botanical transects. Our results showed that the macaques increased their monthly home range in March, probably to obtain newly available fruits. During high fruit abundance seasons, they spent more time near particular fruit species. In August and September, although fruits became rare again, macaques kept their home range large, perhaps to find enough fruits as supplies dwindled. Finally, from October to February, they decreased their monthly home range size while consuming human food, a high-quality item. In conclusion, the macaques used several ranging strategies according to fruit availability. However, we think that, without human food, macaques would tend to increase their range during low fruit abundance periods, as predicted.

Loken, B., Spehar, S. and Rayadin, Y. (2013), Terrestriality in the bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus morio) and implications for their ecology and conservation. Am. J. Primatol.. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22174
Aside from anecdotal evidence, terrestriality in orangutans (Pongo spp.) has not been quantified or subject to careful study and important questions remain about the extent and contexts of terrestrial behavior. Understanding the factors that influence orangutan terrestriality also has significant implications for their conservation. Here we report on a camera trapping study of terrestrial behavior in the northeastern Bornean orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus morio, in Wehea Forest, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. We used 78 non-baited camera traps set in 43 stations along roads, trails, and at mineral licks (sepans) to document the frequency of orangutan terrestriality. Habitat assessments were used to determine how terrestrial behavior was influenced by canopy connectivity. We compared camera trapping results for P. p. morio to those for a known terrestrial primate (Macaca nemestrina), and another largely arboreal species (Presbytis rubicunda) to assess the relative frequency of terrestrial behavior by P. p. morio. A combined sampling effort of 14,446 trap days resulted in photographs of at least 15 individual orangutans, with females being the most frequently recorded age sex class (N = 32) followed by flanged males (N = 26 records). P. p. morio represented the second most recorded primate (N = 110 total records) of seven primate species recorded. Capture scores for M. nemestrina (0.270) and P. p. morio (0.237) were similar and almost seven times higher than for the next most recorded primate, P. rubicunda (0.035). In addition, our results indicate that for orangutans, there was no clear relationship between canopy connectivity and terrestriality. Overall, our data suggest that terrestriality is relatively common for the orangutans in Wehea Forest and represents a regular strategy employed by individuals of all age−sex classes. As Borneo and Sumatra increasingly become characterized by mixed-use habitats, understanding the ecological requirements and resilience in orangutans is necessary for designing optimal conservation strategies.

Pernille M. Svendsen, Rupert Palme, Jens Malmkvist, Novelty exploration, baseline cortisol level and fur-chewing in farm mink with different intensities of stereotypic behaviour, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Available online 19 June 2013, ISSN 0168-1591, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2013.05.011.
The present study aimed to examine the extent to which abnormal behaviours, stereotypic behaviour and fur-chewing, commonly used indicators of reduced welfare, are interrelated and linked to other welfare indicators in mink. Three groups were used based on behavioural observations, mink with no stereotypic behaviour (NST), mink performing stereotypic behaviour with only few repetitions (up to 4; ST1) and mink performing stereotypic behaviour with few (up to 4) and more repetetions (5 and above), in their repertoire ST2. Indicators of welfare included stereotypic behaviour observations, fur-chewing evaluation, baseline cortisol (faecal cortisol metabolites, FCM), and approach/avoidance behaviour in a novel object test and a stick test. There was no significant relation between the performance of stereotypic behaviour and fur-chewing. We found a higher level of FCM in the ST1 group with no tail-chewing behaviour and in tail-chewing mink in general, indicative of stress. However, unexpectedly tail-chewing mink were more explorative towards novel objects. The results supports that stereotypic behaviour and fur-chewing in mink are elicited by different environmental factors, suggested to be related to foraging and under-stimulation respectively.

Schmidt, J. H. and Rattenbury, K. L. (2013), Reducing effort while improving inference: Estimating Dall’s sheep abundance and composition in small areas. The Journal of Wildlife Management. doi: 10.1002/jwmg.557
Recent work has demonstrated that aerial distance sampling surveys are more efficient and effective than unadjusted minimum count surveys for estimating Dall’s sheep (Ovis dalli) abundance, although large sample size requirements (e.g., 150–200 detections) may discourage implementation of these methods in small (<2,500 km2) or low density areas. However, a Bayesian analytical approach using informed priors and borrowing detection information across surveys can increase precision and decrease required sample sizes. Using these methods, we conducted distance sampling surveys across a majority of the Dall's sheep habitat within National Park Service units in Alaska during 2010–2011. We compared 4 analytical scenarios using increasing amounts of detection information to demonstrate the increases in efficiency that can be gained over time through the use of this approach. Based on our analysis using all available survey information in the estimation of the detection function, we estimated that 2,252 (1,871–2,765), 2,809 (2,361–3,379), 1,669 (1,339–2,120), and 12,428 (10,780–14,470) sheep occurred in Denali National Park and Preserve (DENA), the Western Arctic National Parklands (WEAR), the Itkillik preserve subarea of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (WRST), respectively. These estimates were achieved with relatively small numbers of group detections in DENA (n = 57), the Itkillik preserve area (n = 48), and WEAR (n = 100), suggesting that sample size requirements for Dall's sheep distance sampling surveys can be reduced by an additional 50–75% over previously recommended levels when adequate prior information is available. In addition, we describe a formal approach for estimating the size of individual composition classes (i.e., lambs, ewe-like sheep,

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