C.L. Roever, R.J. van Aarde, M.J. Chase, Incorporating mortality into habitat selection to identify secure and risky habitats for savannah elephants, Biological Conservation, Volume 164, August 2013, Pages 98-106, ISSN 0006-3207, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2013.04.006.
Empirical models of habitat selection are increasingly used to guide and inform habitat-based management plans for wildlife species. However, habitat selection does not necessarily equate to habitat quality particularly if selection is maladaptive, so incorporating measures of fitness into estimations of occurrence is necessary to increase model robustness. Here, we incorporated spatially explicit mortality events with the habitat selection of elephants to predict secure and risky habitats in northern Botswana. Following a two-step approach, we first predict the relative probability of use and the relative probability of mortality based on landscape features using logistic regression models. Combining these two indices, we then identified low mortality and high use (primary habitat) and areas of high mortality and high use (primary risk). We found that mortalities of adult elephants were closely associated with anthropogenic features, with 80% of mortalities occurring within 25km of people. Conversely, elephant habitat selection was highest at distances of 30–50km from people. Primary habitat for elephants occurred in the central portion of the study area and within the Okavango Delta; whereas risky areas occurred along the periphery near humans. The protected designation of an area had less influence on the proportion of prime habitat therein than did the locations of the area in relation to human development. Elephant management in southern Africa is moving towards a more self-sustaining, habitat-based approach, and information on selection and mortality could serve as a baseline to help identify demographic sources and sinks to stabilize elephant demography.
Victor R. Simpson, Andrew M. Borman, Richard I. Fox, and Fiona Mathews
Cutaneous mycosis in a Barbastelle bat (Barbastella barbastellus) caused by Hyphopichia burtonii
J VET Diagn Invest 1040638713493780, first published on June 21, 2013 doi:10.1177/1040638713493780
A rare barbastelle bat (Barbastella barbastellus) died shortly after being found in emaciated condition in Devon, England. The skin over the muzzle and face was grossly thickened, crusty, and in places was sloughing and ulcerated. There were numerous nodules up to 3 mm in diameter on both wings and ear pinnae. Histologically, multiple foci of epidermal hyperplasia, hyperkeratosis, and crateriform erosions containing masses of fungal spores and septate hyphae were found in the wing. Epidermal hyperplasia and follicular hyperkeratosis, with fungal masses within keratinized follicles and also in fissured stratum corneum, were found in the pinna. Hyphae did not invade the dermis, and there was no inflammation, but there was multifocal serous exudation and crusting. No parasites or other significant organisms were identified. Microscopic and multiple cultural analyses of face and wing lesions demonstrated (10/10) a fine, septate fungus bearing laterally oval to clavate conidia; morphologically and culturally this was entirely consistent with Hyphopichia burtonii, and polymerase chain reaction analysis and sequencing gave 100% identity with the type strain. The organism isolated was morphologically consistent with that repeatedly seen in histology sections and demonstrates that although H. burtonii has not previously been recognized as a dermatophyte, it clearly has the ability to invade the skin of live bats. Although not identical, the lesions in this case show similarity with those of white nose syndrome and therefore H. burtonii should be considered as a potential pathogen of bats.
Brian D. Kangas, Jack Bergman
Repeated acquisition and discrimination reversal in the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus)
Animal Cognition June 2013
Repeated acquisition and discrimination reversal tasks are often used to examine behavioral relations of, respectively, learning and cognitive flexibility. Surprisingly, despite their frequent use in cognitive neuroscience and behavioral pharmacology, variables that control performance under these two tasks have not been widely studied. The present studies were conducted to directly investigate the controlling variables in nonhuman primates. Squirrel monkeys were trained with a touchscreen variant of the repeated acquisition task in which a novel pair of S+/S− stimuli was presented daily. Subjects learned to discriminate the two stimuli (acquisition) and, subsequently, with the contingencies switched (reversal). Results indicate that rates of both acquisition and reversal learning increased across successive sessions, but that rate of reversal learning remained slower than acquisition learning, i.e., more trials were needed for mastery. Subsequent experiments showed this difference between the rate of learning novel discriminations and reversal was reliable for at least 5 days between acquisition and reversal and notwithstanding the interpolation of additional discriminations. Experimental analysis of the S+/S− elements of the tasks revealed that the difference in the rate of learning could not be attributed to a relatively aversive quality of the S− or to a relatively appetitive quality of the S+, but, rather, to contextual control by the S+/S− stimulus complex. Thus, if either element (S+ or S−) of the stimulus complex was replaced by a novel stimulus, the rate of acquisition approximated that expected with a novel stimulus pair. These results improve our understanding of fundamental features of discrimination acquisition and reversal.
Frédéric Bertucci, Ricardo J. Matos, Torben Dabelsteen
Knowing your audience affects male–male interactions in Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens)
Animal Cognition June 2013
Aggressive interactions between animals often occur in the presence of third parties. By observing aggressive signalling interactions, bystanders may eavesdrop and gain relevant information about conspecifics without the costs of interacting. On the other hand, interactants may also adjust their behaviour when an audience is present. This study aimed to test how knowledge about fighting ability of an audience affects aggressive interactions in male Siamese fighting fish. Subjects were positioned between two dyads of non-interacting males and allowed to observe both dyads shortly before the view to one of the dyads was blocked, and the dyads were allowed to interact. Subjects were subsequently exposed to an unknown opponent in the presence of either the winner or the loser of the seen or unseen interaction. The results suggest a complex role of the characteristic of an audience in the agonistic behaviours of a subject engaged in an interaction. The presence of a seen audience elicited more aggressive displays towards the opponent if the audience was a loser. This response was different in the presence of an unseen audience. Subjects then directed a higher aggressiveness against their opponent if the audience was a winner. These results also suggest a potentially more complex and interesting process allowing individuals to gain information about the quality and threat level of an unknown audience while it is interacting with a third party. The importance of information acquisition for an individual to adapt its behaviour and the role of communication networks in shaping social interactions are discussed.
Agnès Candiotti, Klaus Zuberbühler, Alban Lemasson, Voice discrimination in four primates, Behavioural Processes, Available online 22 June 2013, ISSN 0376-6357, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2013.06.010.
One accepted function of vocalisations is to convey information about the signaller, such as its age-sex class, motivation, or relationship with the recipient. Yet, in natural habitats individuals not only interact with conspecifics but also with members of other species. This is well documented for African forest monkeys, which form semi-permanent mixed-species groups that can persist for decades. Although members of such groups interact with each other on a daily basis, both physically and vocally, it is currently unknown whether they can discriminate familiar and unfamiliar voices of heterospecific group members. We addressed this question with playbacks on monkey species known to form polyspecific associations in the wild: red-capped mangabeys, Campbell’s monkeys and Guereza colobus monkeys. We tested subjects’ discrimination abilities of contact calls of familiar and unfamiliar female De Brazza monkeys. When pooling all species, subjects looked more often towards the speaker when hearing contact calls of unfamiliar than familiar callers. When testing De Brazza monkeys with their own calls, we found the same effect with the longest gaze durations after hearing unfamiliar voices. This suggests that primates can discriminate, not only between familiar and unfamiliar voices of conspecifics, but also between familiar and unfamiliar voices of heterospecifics living within a close proximity.
José Nuno Gomes-Pereira, Raquel Marques, Maria Joana Cruz, Ana Martins
The little-known Fraser’s dolpin Lagenodelphis hosei in the North Atlantic: new records and a review of distribution
Marine Biodiversity June 2013
The distribution of the poorly known Fraser’s dolphin Lagenodelphis hosei Fraser (Sarawak Mus J 7:478–503, 1956), is revised for the northern Atlantic (NA), with new records for temperate and subtropical oceanic islands. Fraser’s dolphins are reported for the first time in the Azores, from a pod of approximately 50 individuals observed in August 2008, and for the Madeira Archipelago, where a pod of circa 80 individuals is described from opportunistic observations in August 2010. Observations in the Azores occurred during a period of regional increase in seawater temperature (23.5 °C; >1 °C for circa 15 days), revealing the species potential as a bio-indicator of climate change. The occurrence of Fraser’s dolphins in the NA is characterized by an equally small number of stranding events and sightings at sea which have been accumulating since 1972. A compilation of 47 occurrences from publications, reports and online databases (plus one report with 123 sightings in the Lesser Antilles), was used to comment on the species ecology in the region. Stranding events are often of a single specimen, occurring on both western and eastern margins. Sightings at sea are scattered throughout the NA, with most observations from the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea, where year-round sightings have been reported in the Lesser Antilles (off Guadeloupe). Observations are mostly confined to open waters over 200–2,200 m depth areas, approaching the coasts of oceanic islands. Pod sizes vary between 50 and 80 in the Caribbean Sea, with smaller pods observed in the Gulf of Mexico (15–30), only rarely exceeding 100 individuals per group (20 %, n = 5), in contrast to large aggregations reported in the Pacific. Captures have been reported from St. Vincent (Lesser Antilles) and more recently from Ghana. Mixed-species groups have been observed, such as with Peponocephala electra and Globicephala macrorhynchus. Knowledge of Fraser’s dolphin ecology in the NA is expected to grow with increasing surveys in the Caribbean area and tropical latitudes. Reports on the species occurrence, such as data from opportunistic platforms, should continue to reach the scientific community, including with associated environmental data.
Lyndsay A. Cartwright, Dallas R. Taylor, David R. Wilson, Patricia Chow-Fraser
Urban noise affects song structure and daily patterns of song production in Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Urban Ecosystems June 2013
Traffic noise is becoming a more prominent fixture in urban environments as cities and highways expand to accommodate the growing human population. Birds, in particular, rely heavily on vocal communication and have recently been shown to change the structure of their signals in response to environmental noise. Our objective was to determine the impact of traffic noise on Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) song structure and song timing. We recorded bird songs using a directional microphone and installed permanent recording devices to monitor daily song patterns at both high traffic noise sites and low traffic noise sites throughout southern Ontario, Canada. Our results indicate that at sites with high traffic noise, Red-winged Blackbirds sing songs with fewer introductory syllables, which are an important component of individual recognition and repertoire formation. In addition, the typical diurnal singing pattern of birds associated with noisy urban sites is more homogeneous than that of birds associated with quiet rural marshes. In the early morning and evening, singing effort was higher at rural sites than at urban sites, while in the midday singing effort at urban sites was higher than at rural sites. Birds at our noisy urban sites appear to be avoiding acoustic masking by increasing song production during the quiet part of the day and decreasing song production during the noisy rush hour periods. Based on our results, urban noise is impacting communication structure and the daily pattern of song production in a marsh-nesting species. These results have important implications for avian conservation and land use planning for urban development.
Himanshu S. Palei, Pratyush P. Mohapatra, Hemanta K. Sahu
Dry Season Diet of the Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus) in Hadagarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Eastern India
Proceedings of the Zoological Society June 2013
Dry season food habit of sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) in Hadagarh Wildlife Sanctuary was characterized by scat analysis. Importance value index (IVI) of contribution of different food items in the diet of sloth bear was estimated from the undigested food remnants. Percentage of dry weight and IVI score of Ziziphus fruits was highest, termites were the most frequently occurring food item in the diet and percentage of frequency occurrence was equal for both fruits and insects. The present study, as compared to previous studies, suggests that the dietary preference of sloth bear varies according to availability of food and the habitat quality.
Zootaxa 3681 (4): 413–439 (24 Jun. 2013)
A new microendemic species of Tropidurus (Squamata: Tropiduridae) from southern Brazil and revalidation of Tropidurus catalanensis Gudynas & Skuk, 1983
TOBIAS SARAIVA KUNZ & MÁRCIO BORGES-MARTINS
The South American and cis-andean lizard genus Tropidurus has a complex taxonomic history. Most species were recently described and previous revisions included few specimens from the southern part of the continent. Tropidurus torquatus has the broadest geographic distribution in the genus and several morphological and ecological differences were described within its distribution. We analyzed the geographic variation in external morphological characters of Tropidurus torquatus, including large number of samples from southern Brazil. Tropidurus catalanensis is revalidated and Tropidurus
imbituba sp. nov., with a restrict distribution in the southern coast of Brazil, is described. The new species is distinguished from Tropidurus catalanensis by the number of dorsal scales. It can be distinguished from T. catalanensis and T. torquatus by a distinct orange ventral coloration in adults, which can reach the lateral portion of the body in adult males. Our analysis also suggests that at least two other undescribed species could be recognized under the name Tropidurus torquatus in southeastern and central Brazil.
Zootaxa 3681 (4): 455–477 (24 Jun. 2013)
The genus Cnemidophorus (Squamata: Teiidae) in State of Piauí, northeastern Brazil, with description of a new species
MARCÉLIA BASTO DA SILVA, & TERESA C.S. ÁVILA-PIRES
The state of Piauí, northeastern Brazil, is covered mainly by ‘cerrado’ (33% of the total area of the state) and ‘caatinga’ (37%) vegetations, with another 19% occupied by ecotonal zones. Piauí lies within the known distribution of the Cnemidophorus ocellifer species group, currently composed of ten species. Until recently only C. ocellifer (Spix, 1825), a name recognized to cover several species, was recorded from Piauí. Currently two other species are registered from Piauí: C. confusionibus Arias, Carvalho, Rodrigues and Zaher 2011 and C. venetacaudus Arias, Carvalho, Rodrigues and Zaher 2011. We analyzed the external and hemipenial morphology of specimens from different localities in the state and our results indicate the presence of at least four species: C.cf. ocellifer, C. confusionibus, C. venetacaudus and C. pyrrhogularis sp. nov. Hemipenial analysis corroborates the existence of two subgroups within C. ocellifer species group. Cnemidophorus pyrrhogularis sp. nov., a member of the ocellifer subgroup, occurs in the northern part of Piauí, in ecotonal areas, and differs from the remaining species of the genus mainly on hemipenial morphology, number of femoral pores, number the lamellae under fourth finger and fourth toe, and color pattern. Diagnoses and hemipenis description of the four taxa are presented, as well as a detailed description of the new species.
Vicki Hamilton, Karen Evans, Ben Raymond, Mark A. Hindell, Environmental influences on tooth growth in sperm whales from southern Australia, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Volume 446, August 2013, Pages 236-244, ISSN 0022-0981, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2013.05.031.
Long time series are a necessary tool for investigating relationships between environmental variability and population parameters in marine predators and establishing changes in these, particularly under longer-term climatic change. Multi-decadal ecological datasets are however, generally lacking, as their collection requires substantial commitment. We examined time series of growth layer group widths measured in sperm whale teeth, as indicators of energetic history, firstly to investigate commonalities in growth both within and between individuals and secondly to investigate potential relationships between tooth growth and the marine environment. Growth layer group estimates obtained from the teeth of 27 individual whales ranged 14–52 GLGs. Time series of tooth growth were highly variable both within and between individuals, reflecting differences in overall tooth structure within individuals and independence of energetic budgets among individuals. Relationships between tooth growth and broad-scale environmental variables were unclear. Spatial relationships between sea surface temperature and tooth growth histories were identified across the austral summer and corresponded to historical foraging regions in southern Australian waters. Our results demonstrate the potential for sperm whale teeth to provide extended time series of individual growth and nutritional histories. Further research is needed to understand the influence of intrinsic and extrinsic factors on tooth growth and in association, a better understanding of the responses of marine mammal species to environmental variability.
Gilberto Pozo-Montuy, Juan Carlos Serio-Silva, Colin A. Chapman, Yadira M. Bonilla-Sánchez
Resource Use in a Landscape Matrix by an Arboreal Primate: Evidence of Supplementation in Black howlers (Alouatta pigra)
International Journal of Primatology June 2013
Across the tropics, landscapes of continuous rain forest are being replaced by forest fragments embedded in a matrix of pastures and farmlands. This conversion has endangered many species, including arboreal primates. Species vary, however, in how they are able to supplement their diets from the matrix, although this is rarely studied in primates. We studied two groups of black howlers (Alouatta pigra) for a total of 1156 h, one inhabiting a smaller fragment (0.4 ha) and the other a larger fragment (20 ha). monkeys inhabiting the smaller fragment spent more time in the matrix than in the habitat fragment, spending 50 % of their time (335 of 667 h) in an abandoned mango (Mangifera indica) plantation, 8.8 % in scattered trees, and 0.2 % in pastures. In contrast, monkeys in the larger fragment spent 75 % of their time (368 of 489 h) in the forest fragment and only 25 % of their time in the matrix. Feeding in the matrix accounted for 53 % and 12 % of the foraging time for groups in the smaller and larger fragments respectively. We suggest that Alouatta pigra can use resources in the matrix to supplement their diet by means of crop raiding or taking other resources in many fragmented landscapes and that this may be true also for many fragment-dwelling primates. It is important to include a consideration of the matrix in conservation planning, considering both the total resources available to primates and the consequences of crop raiding for farmers.
Zootaxa 3681 (5): 524–538 (25 Jun. 2013)
A new species of Liolaemus from the darwinii group (Iguania: Liolaemidae), Tucumán province, Argentina
VIVIANA JUÁREZ HEREDIA, CECILIA ROBLES & MONIQUE HALLOY
A new species of the genus Liolaemus (Iguania: Liolaemidae) is described from the province of Tucumán, northwestern Argentina. This new lizard species is a member of the L. boulengeri group and within this group, it is a member of the L. darwinii subgroup. It is found at a site called Los Cardones (Km 98), at an altitude of 2725 m, near Amaicha del Valle, Tucumán province. Including this new species, the L. darwinii subgroup now has 20 species. Liolaemus pacha sp. nov. was known as L. quilmes, but differences mainly in size (snout-vent-length and head measurements) and in color pattern show that it clearly separates from this species and others of this group. Male and female snout-vent lengths, male width, height and length of head are greater than in L. quilmes. It also exhibits a larger and wider male torso, larger hand, and a greater number of gular scales and scales around the body. Adult males of L. pacha sp. nov. present a more marked coloration pattern, with numerous light blue and white spots, discontinuous yellow dorsolateral stripes, paravertebrals and prescapular black spot enlarged and more conspicuous than in males of L. quilmes.
Zootaxa 3681 (5): 552–562 (25 Jun. 2013)
Glyptothorax igniculus, a new species of sisorid catfish (Teleostei: Siluriformes) from Myanmar
HEOK HEE NG & SVEN O. KULLANDER
Glyptothorax igniculus, new species, is described from the Chindwin River system (part of the Irrawaddy River drainage) in northwestern Myanmar. It differs from other species of Glyptothorax in the Irrawaddy drainage except G. burmanicus in having a thoracic adhesive apparatus with a lanceolate central depression that is nearly enclosed posteriorly by skin ridges, vs. having an adhestive apparatus that is open caudally. In G. burmanicus the adhesive apparatus is oval in outline and completely closed. Glyptothorax chindwinicus Vishwanath & Linthoingambi, 2007 is shown to be a junior synonym of G. burmanicus Prashad & Mukerji, 1929. Glyptothorax rugimentum is reported for the first time from the Chindwin drainage.
Reid Tingley, Rod A. Hitchmough, David G. Chapple, Life-history traits and extrinsic threats determine extinction risk in New Zealand lizards, Biological Conservation, Volume 165, September 2013, Pages 62-68, ISSN 0006-3207, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2013.05.028.
A species’ vulnerability to extinction depends on extrinsic threats such as habitat loss, as well as its intrinsic ability to respond or adapt to such threats. Here we investigate the relative roles of extrinsic threats and intrinsic biological traits in determining extinction risk in the lizard fauna of New Zealand. Consistent with the results of previous studies on mammals and birds, we find that habitat specialization, body size and geographic range size are the strongest predictors of extinction risk. However, our analyses also reveal that lizards that occupy areas with high levels of annual rainfall and are exposed to exotic predators and high human population densities are at greater risk. Thus, while the intrinsic traits that render species prone to extinction appear largely congruent across vertebrate taxa, our findings illustrate that both extrinsic threats and intrinsic traits need to be considered in order to accurately predict, and hence prevent, future population declines.
Peng Zhang, Kunio Watanabe
Intraspecies variation in dominance style of Macaca fuscata
Primates June 2013
Knowledge of intraspecific variation is important to test the evolutionary basis of covariation in primate social systems, yet few reports have focused on it, even in the best-studied species of the Macaca genus. We conducted a comparative study of the dominance styles among three provisioned, free-ranging groups of Japanese macaques at Shodoshima Island, Takasakiyama Mountain and Shiga Heights, and collected standard data on aggressive and affiliative behavior during a period of 5 years. Our data in the Takasakiyama and Shiga groups support previous studies showing that Japanese macaques typically have despotic social relations; nevertheless, our data in the Shodoshima group are inconsistent with the norm. The social traits of Shodoshima monkeys suggested that: (1) their dominance style is neither despotic nor tolerant but is intermediate between the two traits; (2) some measures of dominance style, e.g., frequency and duration of social interactions, covary as a set of tolerant traits in Shodoshima monkeys. This study suggests broad intraspecific variation of dominance style in Japanese macaques as can be seen in some other primate species.
Nagarajan Baskaran, Govindarajan Kannan, Uthrapathy Anbarasan, Anisha Thapa, Raman Sukumar, A landscape-level assessment of Asian elephant habitat, its population and elephant–human conflict in the Anamalai hill ranges of southern Western Ghats, India, Mammalian Biology – Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, Available online 24 June 2013, ISSN 1616-5047, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2013.04.007.
Spatial information at the landscape scale is extremely important for conservation planning, especially in the case of long-ranging vertebrates. The biodiversity-rich Anamalai hill ranges in the Western Ghats of southern India hold a viable population for the long-term conservation of the Asian elephant. Through rapid but extensive field surveys we mapped elephant habitat, corridors, vegetation and land-use patterns, estimated the elephant population density and structure, and assessed elephant–human conflict across this landscape. GIS and remote sensing analyses indicate that elephants are distributed among three blocks over a total area of about 4600km2. Approximately 92% remains contiguous because of four corridors; however, under 4000km2 of this area may be effectively used by elephants. Nine landscape elements were identified, including five natural vegetation types, of which tropical moist deciduous forest is dominant. Population density assessed through the dung count method using line transects covering 275km of walk across the effective elephant habitat of the landscape yielded a mean density of 1.1 (95% CI=0.99–1.2)elephant/km2. Population structure from direct sighting of elephants showed that adult male elephants constitute just 2.9% and adult females 42.3% of the population with the rest being sub-adults (27.4%), juveniles (16%) and calves (11.4%). Sex ratios show an increasing skew toward females from juvenile (1:1.8) to sub-adult (1:2.4) and adult (1:14.7) indicating higher mortality of sub-adult and adult males that is most likely due to historical poaching for ivory. A rapid questionnaire survey and secondary data on elephant–human conflict from forest department records reveals that villages in and around the forest divisions on the eastern side of landscape experience higher levels of elephant–human conflict than those on the western side; this seems to relate to a greater degree of habitat fragmentation and percentage farmers cultivating annual crops in the east. We provide several recommendations that could help maintain population viability and reduce elephant–human conflict of the Anamalai elephant landscape.