Green, A. W., Hooten, M. B., Grant, E. H. C., Bailey, L. L. (2013), Evaluating breeding and metamorph occupancy and vernal pool management effects for wood frogs using a hierarchical model. Journal of Applied Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12121
World-wide declines in amphibian populations are often attributed to loss of habitat and exploitation; additionally, climate change may play an important role in future declines. Despite protection of habitat, amphibians relying on temporary habitats, such as vernal pools, may need active management to maintain their populations under forecasts of warming temperatures and more variable precipitation. However, few studies have examined the factors influencing where these species choose to breed (breeding occurrence) and the conditional likelihood of successful metamorphosis, while accounting for imperfect detection.We developed an occupancy model and estimated parameters within a Bayesian framework to investigate the factors influencing probabilities of wood frog Lithobates sylvatica breeding and successful metamorphosis at Patuxent Research Refuge, Maryland, USA. Our objectives were to obtain estimates of breeding occurrence and metamorph occupancy and evaluate the success of current management actions.The probabilities of wood frog breeding and successful metamorphosis varied by year and were positively related to the pond’s typical hydroperiod length and annual precipitation. Contrary to our predictions, previous occupancy states had little effect on breeding and metamorph occupancy probabilities, which is likely to be due to high correlation of occupancy with hydroperiod length. Additionally, we did not observe a relationship between breeding occupancy probabilities and the spatial arrangement of pools. Although sample sizes were small, management actions resulted in an increase in both breeding and metamorph occupancy probabilities.Synthesis and applications. We demonstrate that management actions targeting short-hydroperiod pools favourably influence both components of breeding success. However, continued monitoring is needed to determine whether managed pools remain suitable for wood frogs. With predicted changes in climate and a positive relationship between breeding occupancy and winter precipitation, a proactive focus on active management of vernal pools may provide a means to maintain wood frog populations in the future.
Directional compass preference for landing in water birds
Hart V, Malkemper EP, Ku¿ta T, Begall S, Nováková P, Hanzal V, Pleska¿ L, Je¿ek M, Policht R, Husinec V, ¿ervený J, Burda H
Frontiers in Zoology 2013, 10:38 (8 July 2013)
Landing flight in birds is demanding on visual control of velocity, distance to target, and slope of descent. Birds flying in flocks must also keep a common course of landing in order to avoid collisions. Whereas the wind direction may provide a cue for landing, the nature of the landing direction indicator under windless conditions has been unknown. We recorded and analysed landing directions of 3,338 flocks in 14 species of water birds in eight countries.
We show that the preferred landing direction, independently of the direction from which the birds have arrived, is along the north-south axis. We analysed the effect of the time of the year, time of the day (and thus sun position), weather (sunny versus overcast), light breeze, locality, latitude, and magnetic declination in 2,431 flocks of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and found no systematic effect of these factors upon the preferred direction of landing. We found that magnetic North was a better predictor for landing direction than geographic North.
In absence of any other common denominator determining the landing direction, the alignment with the magnetic field lines seems to be the most plausible if not the only explanation for the directional landing preference under windless and overcast conditions and we suggest that the magnetic field thus provides a landing direction indicator.
Galateanu G, Hildebrandt TB, Maillot A, Etienne P, Potier R, et al. (2013) One Small Step for Rhinos, One Giant Leap for Wildlife Management- Imaging Diagnosis of Bone Pathology in Distal Limb. PLoS ONE 8(7): e68493. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068493
Chronic foot disease poses a threat to the general health, represents a tremendous clinical challenge, and often is a reason for euthanasia in captive megaherbivores, among them the elephant and rhinoceros. Nevertheless, apart from the elephant, foot pathology is handled as being confined only to soft tissues whereas bone pathology is often overlooked. As a case in point, the authors selected the second largest mammal on land, the rhinoceros. We performed a computed tomographic (CT) study using the highest resolution available in veterinary world, followed by digital radiography of eight distal limbs from two white and one Indian rhinoceroses. Our study demonstrated that bone pathology in rhinoceroses’ foot is present and in large numbers, yet none of these were diagnosed ante mortem. Even when the animals were euthanized due to foot problems, the decision was based on soft tissue pathology rather than orthopedic reasons. Even more worrying is the fact that the largest number of osteopathologies was present in one of the white rhinoceroses that showed no discernable related clinical signs. This study describes for the first time the existence of bone pathology in white rhinoceros foot, in addition to the two previously described rhinoceros species – Indian and black rhinoceroses. Furthermore, the chronic foot disease reported for the Indian rhinoceros in our study was not restricted to soft tissue structures as was presumed ante mortem but included severe bone pathology. New evidence suggesting that osteopathology in rhinoceroses’ distal limb is more widespread than it was thought before could force us to rethink of radiographic diagnosis in captive megaherbivores as routine examination incorporated into their health management. The anticipated improvements in radiologic examinations in megaherbivores will increase the effectiveness of their management and husbandry and open the way for improved animal welfare and better wildlife conservation.
Zootaxa 3686 (1): 077–084 (10 Jul. 2013)
Tetraodon palustris, a new freshwater pufferfish (Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae) from the Mekong Basin of Thailand
PASAKORN SAENJUNDAENG, CHAVALIT VIDTHAYANON & CHAIWUT GRUDPUN
Tetraodon palustris, new species, is described from the Mekong basin of Thailand. Tetraodon palustris differs from T.
cochinchinensis and T. fangi in having no ocellus on the flank and spinules dorsally from the interorbital region to the end of the dorsal-fin base. Tetraodon cochinchinensis is distinguished from T. fangi by having a longer snout (43.5–49.2% HL in T. cochinchinensis vs. 37.9–41.1% HL in T. fangi) and is covered with spinules dorsally from the front of the nasal organs to the end of the dorsal-fin base (vs. from the front of the eyes to the end of the dorsal-fin base in T. fangi).
Barbara van Asch, Ai-bing Zhang, Mattias C. R. Oskarsson, Cornelya F. C. Klütsch, António Amorim, and Peter Savolainen
Pre-Columbian origins of Native American dog breeds, with only limited replacement by European dogs, confirmed by mtDNA analysis
Proc. R. Soc. B September 7, 2013 280 1766 20131142; doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.1142 1471-2954
Dogs were present in pre-Columbian America, presumably brought by early human migrants from Asia. Studies of free-ranging village/street dogs have indicated almost total replacement of these original dogs by European dogs, but the extent to which Arctic, North and South American breeds are descendants of the original population remains to be assessed. Using a comprehensive phylogeographic analysis, we traced the origin of the mitochondrial DNA lineages for Inuit, Eskimo and Greenland dogs, Alaskan Malamute, Chihuahua, xoloitzcuintli and perro sín pelo del Peru, by comparing to extensive samples of East Asian (n = 984) and European dogs (n = 639), and previously published pre-Columbian sequences. Evidence for a pre-Columbian origin was found for all these breeds, except Alaskan Malamute for which results were ambigous. No European influence was indicated for the Arctic breeds Inuit, Eskimo and Greenland dog, and North/South American breeds had at most 30% European female lineages, suggesting marginal replacement by European dogs. Genetic continuity through time was shown by the sharing of a unique haplotype between the Mexican breed Chihuahua and ancient Mexican samples. We also analysed free-ranging dogs, confirming limited pre-Columbian ancestry overall, but also identifying pockets of remaining populations with high proportion of indigenous ancestry, and we provide the first DNA-based evidence that the Carolina dog, a free-ranging population in the USA, may have an ancient Asian origin.
Zootaxa 3686 (2): 183–200 (11 Jul. 2013)
Taxonomic reappraisal of the sphagesaurid crocodyliform Sphagesaurus montealtensis from the Late Cretaceous Adamantina Formation of São Paulo State, Brazil
FABIANO VIDOI IORI, THIAGO DA SILVA MARINHO, ISMAR DE SOUZA CARVALHO & ANTONIO CELSO DE ARRUDA CAMPOS
Sphagesaurus montealtensis is a sphagesaurid whose original description was based on a comparison with Sphagesaurus huenei, the only species of the clade described to that date. Better preparation of the holotype and the discovery of a new specimen have allowed the review of some characteristics and the identification of several synapomorphies of S. montealtensis with the genus Caipirasuchus: presence of antorbital fenestra; external nares bordered only by the premaxillae; premaxilla with four teeth and one diastema (between the 3rd–4th teeth); one diastema between the 4th premaxillary tooth and the 1st maxillary tooth; dentary with ten teeth and two diastemata (between the 4th–5th and 5th – 6th teeth); nasal with a groove parallel to the suture with the frontal bone; nasal long, with an acute anterior margin touching anterolaterally the premaxilla, jugal is a straight bar in the lateral view; frontal is longer than wide; a dorsoventrally expanded and vertically oriented quadrate with a groove separating the medial and lateral condyles; the frontal has a discrete sagittal crest; dentary with six posterior
sphagesauriform teeth and four anterior conical teeth, the first three are the smallest of the series and the fourth is slightly laterally compressed. The referral of S. montealtensis to the genus Caipirasuchus, as Caipirasuchus montealtensis comb. nov. is proposed here, based on the new taxonomic observations and the results of a phylogenetic analysis.
Zootaxa 3686 (2): 201–243 (11 Jul. 2013)
On Psilorhynchus sucatio and P. nudithoracicus, with the description of a new species of Psilorhynchus from northeastern India (Ostariophysi: Psilorhynchidae)
KEVIN W. CONWAY, DREW E. DITTMER, LACI E. JEZISEK & HEOK HEE NG
Psilorhynchus sucatio (Hamilton) is redescribed based on the examination of 462 specimens, 13–67 mm standard length (SL). Psilorhynchus nudithoracicus Tilak & Husain is redescribed based on the examination of 97 specimens, 10–68 mm SL. Psilorhynchus gracilis Rainboth is placed in the synonymy of P. nudithoracicus. Psilorhynchus hamiltoni, a new species and a member of the P. balitora species group, is described from the Tista River in West Bengal, India. It is distinguished from all other members of the P. balitora species group by having a well-developed lateral stripe, 6–7 poorly developed saddles that do not make contact with the lateral blotches, 7–11 lateral blotches, 34–35 lateral line scales, 9+8–9 principal caudal-fin rays, 36 total vertebrae, and the ventral surface between paired fins with a broad rectangular scaleless patch. A key to the species groups of Psilorhynchus is also provided, as are revised diagnoses for the P. balitora and P. nudithoracicus species groups.
Zootaxa 3686 (2): 277–288 (11 Jul. 2013)
A new montane species of Philautus (Amphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae) from western Sarawak, Malaysia, Borneo
J. MAXIMILIAN DEHLING & D. MATTHIAS DEHLING
A new species of Philautus is described from western Sarawak. The new species was collected in lower montane forest in two national parks in Sarawak and recorded from another park. It differs from its congeners by a unique combination of morphological characters, including a long, acuminate snout, long legs, and comparatively extensive toe webbing. The advertisement call of the new species differs from all calls of other species that have been analyzed so far. Comparison of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene sequence corroborates its distinct specific status.
Luke Mangaliso Duncan, Megan Anne Jones, Mathew van Lierop, Neville Pillay, Chimpanzees use multiple strategies to limit aggression and stress during spatial density changes, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Available online 10 July 2013, ISSN 0168-1591, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2013.06.001.
The regulation of aggression in captive animals is an important welfare concern. Captive environments typically provide limited space for animals and many species exhibit heightened aggression in response to spatial restriction. However, primates appear to regulate aggression under these conditions. These findings have led to the proposal of three models for responses to spatial density changes: the density-intensity, tension-reduction and conflict-avoidance models. Our study aimed to investigate whether spatial restriction in two groups of captive chimpanzees at the Johannesburg Zoo, South Africa, supported the hypotheses of one or more of these models. In addition, a forth model based on the coping hypothesis of stereotypic behaviour was tested. Behavioural observations of both chimpanzee groups were conducted during the nine month reconstruction of the chimpanzee exhibit, and the associated variation in spatial limitation. Both chimpanzee groups used a tension-reduction tactic to limit aggression in the outdoor environments under high spatial density. In the indoor environments, the one (orphan) group of chimpanzees adopted a tension-reduction tactic to limit aggression while the other (family) group adopted a conflict-avoidance tactic. In both groups, indoor high-density conditions generated significant increases in abnormal behaviour. Our findings provide mixed support for the tension-reduction and conflict-avoidance models, while offering no clear evidence for the density-intensity model. The outcomes suggest that the chimpanzees may also have utilised abnormal behaviour as an outlet for the stress of spatial restriction. Together with evidence from other studies, our results suggest that chimpanzees are flexible in their response to the stress of spatial restriction and may employ aggression-mediation tactics in a context dependent manner. With regard to primate welfare, our findings suggest that aggression during spatial restriction may not necessarily be as prominent a welfare concern as previously thought but redirected and abnormal behaviour may still compromise animal wellbeing under spatial restriction.
Unni Støbet Lande, Leif Egil Loe, Ole Johan Skjærli, Erling L. Meisingset, Atle Mysterud
The effect of agricultural land use practice on habitat selection of red deer European Journal of Wildlife Research July 2013
The population of red deer (Cervus elaphus) has increased substantially in many western European countries during recent decades. Simultaneously, agricultural practices have undergone major changes. Observations suggest that meadows and pastures are important sources of nutrients for deer, but there are few studies quantifying the selection of agricultural land by deer in general. Here, we study red deer selection of various types of agricultural land and the history of land use (times of fertilisation and since renewal) in Norway. We used data from 14 female and 12 male red deer with GPS collars during the years 2007–2010. Our study design was to compare pairs of agricultural fields that had received “low” and “high” use by a given individual red deer and data were analysed by using case–control logistic regression. Our results showed that both sexes selected meadows over other types of agricultural land. Females selected intensively fertilised meadows and meadows of intermediate age, while male selection did not depend on meadow age (time since renewal) or fertilisation. The smaller females thus selected meadows of high quality, while the larger males continued to use old meadows of lower quality but rich in biomass. Our analysis suggests that a decreasing supply of meadows in the future due to lower production of livestock fodder may also affect management of red deer, and that a future change in the intensity of agricultural practices may affect sexes of wild large herbivores differently.
Sara Villén-Pérez, Luis M. Carrascal, Oscar Gordo
Wintering forest birds roost in areas of higher sun radiation
European Journal of Wildlife Research July 2013
We analyze environmental determinants of roost site selection by tree gleaning passerines wintering in a Mediterranean montane oakwood at a craggy area of high variation in altitude and hill-shading pattern. We hypothesize that in temperate latitudes of cold winter climate, birds should spend the night in areas of low altitudes, higher temperatures, and higher solar radiation in order to minimize thermoregulation costs during resting time and to improve foraging conditions just before and after roosting. We study night occupation of woodland locations by the presence of feces in 159 wooden nest boxes (i.e., under identical controlled roosting situations). We employ GIS methods to quantify solar radiation at each location surrounding the nest boxes and data loggers to measure air temperature in the field. Birds prefer to roost in forest patches with higher solar radiation, where the period of light available for foraging is extended and thermoregulation costs during daytime are minimized. They also selected woodland patches with taller trees, a pattern consistent with their foraging preferences for trunks and branches. Other environmental variables played a negligible role in determining the selection of roost sites. Here, we show, for the first time, the importance of sun radiation determining where to spend the night in wintering birds and call attention on considering the thermal space in forest management. Forest management should preserve woodland patches with taller trees more exposed to solar radiation to enhance winter habitat suitability for birds in these Mediterranean oakwoods.
Chimpanzees detect ant-inhabited dead branches and stems: a study of the utilization of plant–ant relationships in the Mahale Mountains, Tanzania
Primates July 2013
Chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains of Tanzania consume several species of stem- and branch-inhabiting ants throughout the year, without tools. Those ants are cryptic species, and it was unknown how to find them constantly. There has been little research on how the chimpanzees locate these ants. In this study, I use behavioral observations of the chimpanzee predators and surveys of the ant fauna and plants across different habitats to test the hypothesis that chimpanzees use plant species as a cue to efficiently locate ant colonies in litter units (dead parts of the plant). Ants were found to be associated with live plants and with spaces within litter units which provide nesting places. Such ant–plant litter relationships were not necessarily as strong as the mutualism often observed between live plants and ants. The proportion of available litter units inhabited by ants was 20 %, and litter units of three plant species (Vernonia subligera, Dracaena usambarensis, and Senna spectabilis) were well occupied by ants in the home range of the chimpanzees. The ant-inhabited ratio in chimpanzee-foraged litter units was higher than that in the available units in the home range. Chimpanzees fed more often on Crematogaster spp. than on other resident ants and at a higher rate than expected from their occurrence in the litter units. Above three plant species were well occupied by Crematogaster sp. 3 or C. sp. 18. It is concluded that chimpanzees locate ants by selecting litter units of plant species inhabited by ants.
Reynolds, M. H., Weiser, E., Jamieson, I. and Hatfield, J. S. (2013), Demographic variation, reintroduction, and persistence of an island duck (Anas laysanensis). The Journal of Wildlife Management. doi: 10.1002/jwmg.582
Population variation in life history can be important for predicting successful establishment and persistence of reintroduced populations of endangered species. The Laysan duck (Anas laysanensis) is an endangered bird native to the Hawaiian Archipelago that was extirpated from most islands after the introduction of mammalian predators. Laysan ducks were restricted to a single remote island, Laysan Island (4.1 km2), for nearly 150 years. Since the species is not known to disperse between distant Hawaiian Islands today, 42 wild birds from Laysan Island were translocated to another mammalian predator-free low-lying atoll (Midway Atoll; 6.0 km2) to reduce extinction risk. We explored how variation in demography influences establishment and longer-term retention of genetic diversity (rare alleles) for reintroductions of this species. We observed dramatic differences in population growth between the source (λ = 1.18) and reintroduced (λ = 3.28) population. The number of eggs hatched at Midway Atoll was greater than at Laysan Island, however, we found no difference in hatching success (proportion of clutch hatched) between populations. Adult females produced 3 times as many fledglings per breeding year on Midway Atoll compared to Laysan Island. We estimated population abundance of both populations until 2010 and applied a Gompertz model with a Bayesian approach to infer density dependence, process variation, observation error, and carrying capacity for the Laysan Island and Midway Atoll populations. The carrying capacity from the Gompertz model for Midway Atoll (K = 883 ± 210 SD) was estimated to be greater than that of Laysan Island (K = 598 ± 76 SD). Translocations with small numbers of founders and no immigration can create population bottlenecks, leading to loss of genetic variation over time, and potentially reducing the reintroduced population’s viability or its potential to serve as a source for future translocations. Therefore, we also assessed the probability of retaining rare alleles in an isolated reintroduced Laysan duck population using life history parameters observed from the Laysan Island and Midway Atoll populations; we concluded that additional founders are needed under scenarios using demographic estimates from both Laysan Island and Midway Atoll to retain either 90% or 95% of source population genetic diversity.
Hernández-Pacheco, R., Rawlins, R. G., Kessler, M. J., Williams, L. E., Ruiz-Maldonado, T. M., González-Martínez, J., Ruiz-Lambides, A. V. and Sabat, A. M. (2013), Demographic variability and density-dependent dynamics of a free-ranging rhesus macaque population. Am. J. Primatol.. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22177
Density-dependence is hypothesized as the major mechanism of population regulation. However, the lack of long-term demographic data has hampered the use of density-dependent models in nonhuman primates. In this study, we make use of the long-term demographic data from Cayo Santiago’s rhesus macaques to parameterize and analyze both a density-independent and a density-dependent population matrix model, and compare their projections with the observed population changes. We also employ a retrospective analysis to determine how variance in vital rates, and covariance among them, contributed to the observed variation in long-term fitness across different levels of population density. The population exhibited negative density-dependence in fertility and the model incorporating this relationship accounted for 98% of the observed population dynamics. Variation in survival and fertility of sexually active individuals contributed the most to the variation in long-term fitness, while vital rates displaying high temporal variability exhibited lower sensitivities. Our findings are novel in describing density-dependent dynamics in a provisioned primate population, and in suggesting that selection is acting to lower the variance in the population growth rate by minimizing the variation in adult survival at high density. Because density-dependent mechanisms may become stronger in wild primate populations due to increasing habitat loss and food scarcity, our study demonstrates that it is important to incorporate variation in population size, as well as demographic variability into population viability analyses for a better understanding of the mechanisms regulating the growth of primate populations.
Baab, Karen L.; Mc Nulty, Kieran P.; Harvati, Katerina: Homo floresiensis contextualized: a geometric morphometric comparative analysis of fossil and pathological human samples, PLOS ONE (2013): http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069119
The origin of hominins found on the remote Indonesian island of Flores remains highly contentious. These specimens may represent a new hominin species, Homo floresiensis, descended from a local population of Homo erectus or from an earlier (pre-H. erectus) migration of a small-bodied and small-brained hominin out of Africa. Alternatively, some workers suggest that some or all of the specimens recovered from Liang Bua are pathological members of a small-bodied modern human population. Pathological conditions proposed to explain their documented anatomical features include microcephaly, myxoedematous endemic hypothyroidism (“cretinism”) and Laron syndrome (primary growth hormone insensitivity). This study evaluates evolutionary and pathological hypotheses through comparative analysis of cranial morphology. Geometric morphometric analyses of landmark data show that the sole Flores cranium (LB1) is clearly distinct from healthy modern humans and from those exhibiting hypothyroidism and Laron syndrome. Modern human microcephalic specimens converge, to some extent, on crania of extinct species of Homo. However in the features that distinguish these two groups, LB1 consistently groups with fossil hominins and is most similar to H. erectus. Our study provides further support for recognizing the Flores hominins as a distinct species, H. floresiensis, whose affinities lie with archaic Homo.
Zootaxa 3686 (3): 335–355 (12 Jul. 2013)
Terraranans of the Lost World: a new species of Pristimantis (Amphibia, Craugastoridae) from Abakapá-tepui in the Chimantá massif, Venezuelan Guayana, and additions to the knowledge of P. muchimuk
FERNANDO J. M. ROJAS-RUNJAIC, PATRICIA E. SALERNO, J. CELSA SEÑARIS & GREGORY B. PAULY
A new frog of the genus Pristimantis is named and described from the summit of Abakapá-tepui in the Chimantá massif, south-eastern Venezuela. The new species is known from two adult specimens and is the second craugastorid species described from this massif. It can be readily distinguished from all congeners inhabiting the highlands of the Guiana Shield by the unique combination of the following characters: dorsal skin shagreen and ventral skin coarsely areolate, tympanum small and ill-defined, vocal slits absent in males, finger I shorter than II, thumbs with two whitish and non-spinous nuptial
pads in adult males, fingers and toes with broad lateral fringes, basal webbing between all toes, throat and chest nacreous white in life. Also, based on five specimens of Pristimantis muchimuk recently collected from Churí-tepui, we provide new information on this little known species, including an amended diagnosis, notes on morphology, color variation, advertisement calls, and natural history.
Nanova, O. (2013), Geographical variation in the cranial measurements of the midday jird Meriones meridianus (Rodentia: Muridae) and its taxonomic implications. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. doi: 10.1111/jzs.12032
Cranial variation was studied across the geographical range of the Meriones meridianus species complex using 665 specimens from 112 localities. Morphometric results were compared with previously published data on genetic variation. Unsupervised model-based clustering analysis implemented in Mclust software was employed to identify the number and content of morphological clusters. Three clearly defined morphological groups corresponding to mtDNA clades were found. The results of the morphometric analysis are consistent with the hypothesis that these 3 groups should be treated as distinct species; specifically, M. psammophilus Milne-Edwards, 1871, M. penicilliger Heptner, 1933 and M. meridianus Pallas, 1773. M. psammophilus inhabits the Mongolian–Chinese part of the superspecies range, except for the Mongolian Dzungaria region, which is inhabited by M. meridianus. The range of the latter species extends westwards to north-west Kazakhstan and Kalmykia. M. penicilliger inhabits the southern part of the superspecies range from Tian Shan to Turkmenistan. M. dahli is craniometrically similar to M. meridianus; hence, its species status remains questionable.
Risk of invasion by frequently traded freshwater turtles
Simone Masin, Anna Bonardi, Emilio Padoa-Schioppa, Luciana Bottoni, Gentile Francesco Ficetola
Biological Invasions July 2013
Risk assessment allows the identification of non-native species most likely to become invasive and cause harm, and helps to set up preventive measures such as trade regulations. Freshwater turtles are among the most traded pets; an increasing number of species are easily available and frequently released by owners in natural wetlands. This study identified a pool of freshwater turtles frequently traded at cheap prices, and performed risk assessment at multiple steps of the invasion process. Establishment risk was assessed through species distribution models (MaxEnt and Boosted Regression Trees) based on global presence records and bioclimatic variables. We also analyzed ecological and life history traits favouring release, establishment and population growth. Besides the already invasive Trachemys scripta, at least 14 species are easily found in the pet market. For most of them, species distribution models identified areas with suitable climate outside the native range. Validation with independent data confirmed the reliability of the modelling approach. Pelodiscus sinensis and Pelomedusa subrufa had the broadest areas of suitable climate outside the native range. For all the species, possibility of coexistence with humans and reproductive traits suggest high risk of invasion, if introduced in areas with suitable climate. The availability of spatially explicit maps of risk allows to identify areas where preventive measures are urgently needed. In Europe, an expansion of trade regulations is needed to avoid that multiple freshwater turtles become invasive.
Persistence across Pleistocene ice ages in Mediterranean and extra-Mediterranean refugia: phylogeographic insights from the common wall lizard
Salvi D, Harris D, Kaliontzopoulou A, Carretero MA, Pinho C
BMC Evolutionary Biology 2013, 13:147 (11 July 2013)
Pleistocene climatic oscillations have played a major role in structuring present-day biodiversity. The southern Mediterranean peninsulas have long been recognized as major glacial refugia, from where Northern Europe was post-glacially colonized. However, recent studies have unravelled numerous additional refugia also in northern regions. We investigated the phylogeographic pattern of the widespread Western Palaearctic lizard Podarcis muralis, using a range-wide multilocus approach, to evaluate whether it is concordant with a recent expansion from southern glacial refugia or alternatively from a combination of Mediterranean and northern refugia.
We analyzed DNA sequences of two mitochondrial (cytb and nd4) and three nuclear (acm4, mc1r, and pdc) gene fragments in individuals from 52 localities across the species range, using phylogenetic and phylogeographic methods. The complex phylogeographic pattern observed, with 23 reciprocally monophyletic allo- parapatric lineages having a Pleistocene divergence, suggests a scenario of long-term isolation in multiple ice-age refugia across the species distribution range. Multiple lineages were identified within the three Mediterranean peninsulas — Iberia, Italy and the Balkans – where the highest genetic diversity was observed. Such an unprecedented phylogeographic pattern – here called „refugia within all refugia“ — compasses the classical scenario of multiple southern refugia. However, unlike the southern refugia model, various distinct lineages were also found in northern regions, suggesting that additional refugia in France, Northern Italy, Eastern Alps and Central Balkans allowed the long-term persistence of this species throughout Pleistocene glaciations.
The phylogeography of Podarcis muralis provides a paradigm of temperate species survival in Mediterranean and extra-Mediterranean glacial refugia. Such refugia acted as independent biogeographic compartments for the long-term persistence of this species, for the differentiation of its genetic lineages, and for the short-distance post-glacial re-colonization of neighbouring areas. This finding echoes previous findings from recent phylogeographic studies on species from temperate ecoregions, thus suggesting the need for a reappraisal of the role of northern refugia for glacial persistence and post-glacial assembly of Holarctic biota.