Abstract View

Jongmin Yoon, T. Scott Sillett, Scott A. Morrison, Cameron K. Ghalambor Male’s return rate, rather than territory fidelity and breeding dispersal, explains geographic variation in song sharing in two populations of an oscine passerine (Oreothlypis celata)
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology July 2013

Males of some oscine passerines learn and share songs of neighboring males. This process can lead to the formation of song pattern neighborhoods or microhabitat song dialects. The degree to which song sharing occurs between populations and the spatial scale over which neighboring males share songs, however, can vary widely, and interpopulation comparisons have suggested that song sharing is more common in residents than in migrants. Here, we examine two populations of the orange-crowned warbler (Oreothlypis celata) to quantify patterns of song sharing at the northern (long-distance migrant) and southern (short-distance migrant) edges of the breeding distribution and to test if return rate, territory fidelity, and breeding dispersal explain the patterns found in the two populations. The southern population (O. celata sordida breeding on Santa Catalina Island, California; 33°N) had a higher annual return rate to their territories and exhibited higher song sharing in neighborhoods than their counterparts (O. celata celata breeding in Fairbanks, Alaska; 64°N). Year-to-year patterns of territory fidelity and breeding dispersal distances were similar between populations. Our results suggest that if migratory distance generally covaries with the proportion of returning males, this could explain different levels of song sharing between the short- and long-distance migrants.

Trevor J. Hefley, Andrew J. Tyre, Erin E. Blankenship
Statistical indicators and state–space population models predict extinction in a population of bobwhite quail
Theoretical Ecology July 2013

Early warning systems of extinction thresholds have been developed for and tested in microcosm experiments, but have not been applied to populations of wild animals. We used state–space population models and a statistical indicator to detect a transcritical bifurcation extinction threshold in a population of bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) located in an agricultural region experiencing habitat deterioration and loss. The extinction threshold was detectible using two independent data sets. We compared predictions from state–space population models to predictions from a statistical indicator and found that predictions were corroborated. Using state–space population models, we estimated that our study population crossed the extinction threshold in 2010 (2002–2036; 95 % confidence intervals [CI]) using the whistle count (WC) data set and in 2008 (1999–2064; 95 % CI) using the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data. With the statistical indicator, we estimated that the extinction threshold will be crossed in 2018 (2004–2031; 95 % CI) using the WC data and will be crossed in 2012 (2006–2018; 95 % CI) using the BBS data. We expect extinction in our study population soon after crossing the extinction threshold, but the time to extinction and potential reversibility of the threshold are unknown. Our results suggest that neither small nor decreasing population size will warn of the transcritical bifurcation extinction threshold. We suggest that managers of wildlife populations in regions experiencing land use change should try to predict extinction thresholds and make management decisions to ensure the persistence of the species.

Travis J. Ryan, William E. Peterman, Jessica D. Stephens, Sean C. Sterrett Urban
Movement and habitat use of the snapping turtle in an urban landscape
Ecosystems July 2013

In order to effectively manage urban habitats, it is important to incorporate the spatial ecology and habitat use of the species utilizing them. Our previous studies have shown that the distribution of upland habitats surrounding a highly urbanized wetland habitat, the Central Canal (Indianapolis, IN, USA) influences the distribution of map turtles (Graptemys geographica) and red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta) during both the active season and hibernation. In this study we detail the movements and habitat use of another prominent member of the Central Canal turtle assemblage, the common snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina. We find the same major upland habitat associations for C. serpentina as for G. geographica and T. scripta, despite major differences in their activity (e.g., C. serpentina do not regularly engage in aerial basking). These results reinforce the importance of recognizing the connection between aquatic and surrounding terrestrial habitats, especially in urban ecosystems.

Tabitha Price, Julia Fischer
Meaning attribution in the West African green monkey: influence of call type and context
Animal Cognition July 2013

The search for the evolutionary roots of human language has fuelled much research into the cognitive mechanisms underlying communication in nonhuman animals. One core issue has been whether the context-specific calls of nonhuman animals are meaningful, with call meaning inferred from recipients’ responses in the absence of supporting contextual cues. This direct inference may well offer an oversimplified view of how vocalisations are perceived, however, as responses under natural conditions are likely guided by contextual cues as well as by the signal. In this study, we investigate how the anti-predator responses of green monkeys, Chlorocebus sabaeus, are affected by alarm call structure and by context. We first simulated the presence of leopards and snakes to elicit alarm vocalisations and to identify predator-typical response behaviours. In both contexts, the monkeys produced chirp calls that revealed only graded variation in relation to predator type. We then carried out playback experiments to explore whether green monkeys would respond with predator-typical behaviour to leopard and snake chirps, and whether contextual cues, in the form of pre-exposure to a leopard or snake model, would modify these responses. Irrespective of context, subjects were more likely to respond to leopard chirps with a leopard-typical response. Predator priming did not have a significant effect on the type of response, but, together with call type, did affect response duration. This suggests that the immediate attribution of meaning was influenced by acoustic cues, whilst receiver’s prior knowledge was incorporated to guide subsequent behaviour.

Elena P. Cunningham, Charles H. Janson
Effect of Fruit Scarcity on Use of Spatial Memory in a Seed Predator, White-faced Saki (Pithecia pithecia)
International Journal of Primatology July 2013

Many studies have shown that primates use spatial memory to travel efficiently between important resources such as trees with ripe fruit or water holes. White-faced sakis (Pithecia pithecia) have shown strong evidence of spatial memory as they travel efficiently to feed on the seeds of highly productive fruit trees and the ripe fruit of a highly preferred tree species and to drink from natural cisterns in trees. Researchers theorize that primates rely less on memory when they feed on more evenly dispersed food. Here we examine the use of spatial memory in a group of wild white-faced sakis during a month of fruit scarcity when they foraged for desiccated seeds, leaves, insect material, and flowers. We used logistic regression and three computer models (the geometric model, the step model, and the change point model) to analyze their movement patterns. We find that the focal group does not demonstrate the use of memory. These results are in contrast to results from a study of spatial memory with the same focal group in the two immediately preceding months. The results conform to theories on the role of nutritionally dense and patchy foods in driving the use of memory during travel between feeding sites. They demonstrate that, within a short time, a group of primates can vary from a strong reliance on spatial memory to no demonstrable use of spatial memory.

Robinson, M. R., Santure, A. W., DeCauwer, I., Sheldon, B. C. and Slate, J. (2013), Partitioning of genetic variation across the genome using multimarker methods in a wild bird population. Molecular Ecology. doi: 10.1111/mec.12375
The underlying basis of genetic variation in quantitative traits, in terms of the number of causal variants and the size of their effects, is largely unknown in natural populations. The expectation is that complex quantitative trait variation is attributable to many, possibly interacting, causal variants, whose effects may depend upon the sex, age and the environment in which they are expressed. A recently developed methodology in animal breeding derives a value of relatedness among individuals from high-density genomic marker data, to estimate additive genetic variance within livestock populations. Here, we adapt and test the effectiveness of these methods to partition genetic variation for complex traits across genomic regions within ecological study populations where individuals have varying degrees of relatedness. We then apply this approach for the first time to a natural population and demonstrate that genetic variation in wing length in the great tit (Parus major) reflects contributions from multiple genomic regions. We show that a polygenic additive mode of gene action best describes the patterns observed, and we find no evidence of dosage compensation for the sex chromosome. Our results suggest that most of the genomic regions that influence wing length have the same effects in both sexes. We found a limited amount of genetic variance in males that is attributed to regions that have no effects in females, which could facilitate the sexual dimorphism observed for this trait. Although this exploratory work focuses on one complex trait, the methodology is generally applicable to any trait for any laboratory or wild population, paving the way for investigating sex-, age- and environment-specific genetic effects and thus the underlying genetic architecture of phenotype in biological study systems.

Lisa M. Schulte, Stefan Lötters
A danger foreseen is a danger avoided: how chemical cues of different tadpoles influence parental decisions of a Neotropical poison frog
Animal Cognition July 2013

The protection of offspring against predators and competitors is especially important in organisms using spatially separated breeding resources, impeding the offspring’s chances to escape. One example of such isolated reproductive resources are phytotelmata (small water bodies in plant axils), exploited by the Neotropical poison frog Ranitomeya variabilis (Dendrobatidae) for both clutch and tadpole deposition. Because poison frog tadpoles are often cannibalistic, parents tend to avoid deposition with conspecifics. Previous studies have shown that this avoidance is based on chemical cues produced by conspecific tadpoles. Further, cues produced by phylogenetically less-related tadpoles (Bufonidae) were avoided for clutch but not tadpole depositions. We analyzed how the different responses to tadpole cues are triggered. We tested the reactions of parental R. variabilis to tadpole cues of species differing in two aspects: whether or not they are dendrobatids, and whether or not they reproduce in phytotelmata. We found that for clutch deposition, tadpole cues were always avoided, i.e., all tadpoles were treated by the frogs as if they pose a danger to the eggs. However, responses varied for tadpole depositions: while dendrobatid larvae living in phytotelmata were avoided, those breeding in streams were not. Non-poison frog tadpoles were ignored when associated with habitat other than phytotelmata, but they were preferred when living in phytotelmata. This suggests that both phylogeny and tadpole habitat are important triggers for the decisions made by R. variabilis. Only tadpoles using the same breeding resources are considered as relevant for the frog’s own larvae (i.e., as a potential danger or food resource), while further decisions are related to evolutionary relationship.

Caroline A. Phillips, William C. McGrew
Identifying Species in Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) Feces: A Methodological Lost Cause?
International Journal of Primatology July 2013

Ascertaining the full range of dietary constituents of a primate population allows the identification of habitats with important food resources and can assist efforts to conserve primates. For unhabituated populations, we can acquire otherwise unobtainable dietary information from macroscopic inspection of fecal samples. This method has made a significant contribution to understanding food intake in various primate species. Increasing knowledge of the omnivorous diet of our closest living relatives, the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and the bonobo (P. paniscus), which range and forage in various habitats to meet daily nutrient requirements, provides more scope to assess human omnivory and its evolution from our last common ancestor. However, macroscopic inspection may lead to bias toward undigested and therefore identifiable food items, e.g., fruit seeds, vs. pulverized components, e.g., leaves, that are unidentifiable at this level. This study seeks to validate findings from macroscopic inspection by comparing species identified in fecal samples from select individuals vs. data from direct observations of their feeding. We collected data from 10 adult chimpanzees of the Kanyawara community in Kibale National Park. We identified 86% of species from which fruit had been eaten vs. only 21% from which leaves had been eaten in fecal samples analyzed. This study provides empirical support for previous assumptions and confirms the limitations of macroscopic inspection of feces for identifying the nonfrugivorous dietary elements to species level. However, valuable insights into seasonality of diet can be gleaned from macroscopic inspection. Also, if we combine data on species identified in feces with direct observation of food intake, we can establish when food items were eaten, which enables estimations of gut passage rates for wild populations. Finally, analyzing fecal samples collected from various group members can provide insight into the dietary repertoire at the individual level.

Katie E. McGhee, Joseph Travis, Heritable variation underlies behavioural types in the mating context in male bluefin killifish, Animal Behaviour, Available online 13 July 2013, ISSN 0003-3472, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.05.044.
In many species, consistent behavioural differences among individuals are linked to fitness variation. Determining the environmental and genetic factors that mould these behavioural types is crucial to understanding how behaviours might respond to selection. Male bluefin killifish, Lucania goodei, show extensive consistent behavioural variation in their levels of courtship, male-directed aggression and female-directed aggression, resulting in a range of fitness-related behavioural types coexisting within a population. To determine whether the behavioural components underlying a male’s stable behavioural type in the mating context are heritable and genetically correlated, we performed paternal half-sib crosses. Using animal models, we found that all three of these mating behaviours were moderately heritable (h2 = 0.17–0.29) and courtship behaviour was also heritable as a binomial trait (court yes/no: h2 = 0.50). Including effects of dam identity/common rearing environment experienced by full sibs decreased model fit, suggesting that early social interactions might contribute to behavioural types. In addition, we found evidence consistent with the possibility that the positive phenotypic correlations among mating behaviours are underlain by positive genetic correlations. Thus, it is possible that the seemingly maladaptive aggression that males direct towards females during social interactions persist due to genetic constraints and direct selection on male-directed aggression and courtship behaviour.

Lisa Boström-Einarsson, Mary C. Bonin, Philip L. Munday, Geoffrey P. Jones, Strong intraspecific competition and habitat selectivity influence abundance of a coral-dwelling damselfish, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Volume 448, October 2013, Pages 85-92, ISSN 0022-0981, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2013.06.017.
Coral reef ecosystems are experiencing a global decline in coral cover, with direct effects on reef fishes. A decline in habitat may lead to crowding of live coral specialists into remnant habitat patches, intensifying intraspecific competition. Increased local densities of conspecifics are known to negatively affect key demographic processes, but the magnitude of density effects and the role of crowding in response to habitat loss are poorly understood. In this study we examined habitat use and relationships between habitat availability and population density in a coral-dwelling damselfish — Chrysiptera parasema. First, we conducted habitat use and availability surveys to establish the level of habitat selectivity. We then investigated the evidence for crowding due to habitat loss by comparing densities within juvenile aggregations on natural reefs with high and low cover of the preferred habitat. Finally, we used a manipulative patch-reef experiment to measure the potential effects of crowding on mortality of juvenile C. parasema. Surveys revealed that 97% of juvenile C. parasema were associated with Acropora corals. Furthermore, C. parasema densities were closely related to the cover of bottlebrush Acropora, the preferred growth form. Contrary to predictions, there was no evidence of crowding on natural reefs with low coral cover, but rather, reefs with abundant Acropora cover supported larger aggregations with double the density of juveniles. We hypothesized that low densities of C. parasema on natural reefs with low coral cover could be explained by intense intraspecific competition. Experimental manipulations showed that juvenile mortality was density-dependent, with mortality 20% higher on high-density experimental patch-reefs compared to low-density reefs. Behavioural observations on the patch-reefs revealed that the frequency of agonistic interactions and distance to shelter were both unrelated to conspecific densities, highlighting the need for further research into mechanisms underpinning density dependent mortality. These results suggest that intraspecific competition may play an important role in reducing reef fish abundance as a consequence of habitat loss. Given that coral reef systems are currently under threat, with a global decline in coral cover, this study adds to the growing body of knowledge of how disturbances to habitat may affect reef fish communities.

N. I. Silkina, V. R. Mikryakov, D. V. Mikryakov
Specific features of immune status and lipid metabolism in bream, Abramis brama L. from the Kuban River
Russian Journal of Ecology July 2013, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 332-335

Antimicrobial properties of blood serum and contents of immune complexes, total lipids, and lipid peroxidation products have been analyzed in bream from segments of the Kuban River with different levels of anthropogenic pollution. The results show that the test parameters vary depending on the river segment inhabited by the fish.

Claudia Kistler, Daniel Hegglin, Kuno von Wattenwyl, Fabio Bontadina
Is electric fencing an efficient and animal-friendly tool to prevent stone martens from entering buildings?
European Journal of Wildlife Research July 2013

Wildlife such as stone martens Martes foina have adapted to live in urban areas, which are spreading worldwide. Conflicts with humans can arise when martens enter buildings and cause serious damage to roof insulation. Therefore, there is an increasing demand for measures that will reduce such human–wildlife conflicts. Data we collected from a big insurance company regarding the costs of repairs of damages caused by martens revealed an estimate of 655 annual cases per Mio inhabitants and pay-outs of approximately €200,000 per year from 2002 to 2006. The data collected from pest control organisations showed an increase of damage claims from around 20 up to 150 cases per year in the last 20 years. In an experimental case study, the analysis of video recordings (26 nights) and long-term bait controls (103 nights) showed that installed electric wires and woven wire mesh prevented martens from entering a building they previously used intensively. Our results suggest that electric fencing could be a simple, short-termed measure to exclude martens from buildings before definitively sealing the openings. Electric fencing needs further quantitative and qualitative evaluation at different study sites to develop an animal-friendly, practical and cost-effective tool that prevents martens from causing damage to roof insulations.

Anders Jarnemo, Camilla Wikenros
Movement pattern of red deer during drive hunts in Sweden
European Journal of Wildlife Research July 2013

We investigated the movement pattern of GPS-collared red deer (Cervus elaphus) during drive hunts with loose dogs. In 46 flights of hinds (N = 9), the median flight distance was 2.5 km (range 0.4–15.0). In 28 % of the flights, the hind left its home range. Average time before returning to home range was 23 h (range 2–88). Hinds in a less forested site left their home ranges more often, fled longer distances, moved at higher speed, and returned later than hinds in a homogenous forest. Speed of movement increased with number of hunts in the less forested site. In eight flights of stags (N = 4), the median flight distance was 5.1 km (range 2.2–13.3). The start of hunting season seemed to trigger stags’ departure to their wintering areas. Knowledge of reactions to disturbance can aid game management to choose hunting methods and dogs that cause less disturbance but may also be used to deter deer from areas where they damage crops and forest plantations.

Zootaxa 3686 (4): 401–431 (15 Jul. 2013)
Taxonomy and distribution of the salamander genus Bolitoglossa Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854 (Amphibia, Caudata, Plethodontidae) in Brazilian Amazonia

For nearly 40 years Bolitoglossa paraensis has been synonymized with Bolitoglossa altamazonica. This fact has been mainly related to taxonomic ambiguities arising from the morphological similarities between these species and the scarcity of material deposited in collections. However, during the past 30 years new material of Bolitoglossa has been collected in many places throughout the Brazilian Amazonia, including the type locality of B. paraensis, Santa Isabel do Pará. In this article we designate the neotype of B. paraensis based on new material from the type locality, correct misinterpretations
about this name. We determined how many species of the genus Bolitoglossa occur in Brazilian Amazonia, described three new species, B. caldwellae sp. nov., B. madeira sp. nov., and B. tapajonica sp. nov., provide a key for identifying Brazilian salamanders. Were analyzed two hundred and seventy eight specimens of Bolitoglossa from the Brazilian states of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, and Rondônia; morphological data of B. altamazonica from Colombia were used for comparison purposes. We confirm the presence of B. altamazonica in extreme western Brazil, and expand the number of species occurring in Brazilian Amazonia to five.

Zootaxa 3686 (4): 432–446 (15 Jul. 2013)
A new Cyrtodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Phu Yen Province, southern Vietnam

We describe a new species of the genus Cyrtodactylus based on five adult specimens from Dai Lanh Cape, Tuy Hoa District, Phu Yen Province, southern Vietnam. Cyrtodactylus kingsadai sp. nov. is distinguished from the remaining Indochinese bent-toed geckos by a combination of the following characters: maximum SVL of 94 mm; dorsal pattern consisting of a dark nuchal loop, continuous or partly interrupted neck band and four in part irregular transverse body bands between limbs; internasal single; dorsal tubercles in 17–23 irregular transverse rows; ventrals in 39–46 longitudinal rows at midbody; lateral skin folds present, without interspersed tubercles; precloacal pores 7–9 plus in total 3–7 femoral pores in
males (1-4 femoral pores on each side) with precloacal and femoral pore series separated from each other by 7–9 poreless scales; enlarged femoral scales and precloacal scales present; postcloacal spurs three; subcaudal scales transversely enlarged. This is the 29th species of Cyrtodactylus known from Vietnam.

Zootaxa 3686 (4): 447–460 (15 Jul. 2013)
Description and phylogenetic relationships of a new species of treefrog of the Dendropsophus leucophyllatus group (Anura: Hylidae) from the Amazon basin of Colombia and with an exceptional color pattern

We describe Dendropsophus manonegra sp. nov. from the upper Amazon basin in the eastern foothills of the Andes in Colombia (1° 47′ 42.2“ N, 75° 38′ 48.7“ W; 1040 m a.s.l.). Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences of 2582 aligned base pairs of the 12S and 16S rRNA genes recovered the new species as a member of the D. leucophyllatus species group and sister to D. bifurcus. Morphological traits, such as the presence of pectoral glands in males and females, support this hypothesis.
The new species is readily distinguished from all other members of the species group by having bluish-black coloration on fingers, toes, webbing, axillary membranes, groin and hidden surfaces of arms and legs. Some aspects on the composition and systematics of the D. leucophyllatus group are discussed.

Zootaxa 3686 (4): 471–481 (15 Jul. 2013)
Rediscovery of Biswamoyopterus (Mammalia: Rodentia: Sciuridae: Pteromyini) in Asia, with the description of a new species from Lao PDR

A new species of the flying squirrel genus Biswamoyopterus is described from Lao PDR. It is based on a single specimen collected from a local food market at Ban Thongnami, Pak Kading District, Bolikhamxai Province. The new taxon shows close affinities to Biswamoyopterus biswasi, which is only known from the holotype collected in 1981, 1250 km from the current locality, in Arunachal Pradesh, Northeast India. However, it differs substantially in pelage colour, most particularly on the ventral surfaces of the body, patagia, tail membrane, and tail. The single specimen was found in an area of central
Lao PDR, which is characterised by its extensive limestone karst formations and which is home to other rare endemic rodents, including the Kha-nyou (Laonastes aenigmamus) and the Lao limestone rat (Saxatilomys paulinae).

Bengsen, A. J., Gentle, M. N., Mitchell, J. L., Pearson, H. E. and Saunders, G. R. (2013), Impacts and management of wild pigs Sus scrofa in Australia. Mammal Review. doi: 10.1111/mam.12011
Globally, wild or feral pigs Sus scrofa are a widespread and important pest. Mitigation of their impacts requires a sound understanding of those impacts and the benefits and limitations of different management approaches.Here, we review published and unpublished studies to provide a synopsis of contemporary understanding of wild pig impacts and management in Australia, and to identify important shortcomings.Wild pigs can have important impacts on biodiversity values, ecosystem functioning and agricultural production. However, many of these impacts remain poorly described, and therefore, difficult to manage effectively. Many impacts are highly variable, and innovative experimental and analytical approaches may be necessary to elucidate them.Most contemporary management programmes use lethal techniques to attempt to reduce pig densities, but it is often unclear how effective they are at reducing damage.We conclude that greater integration of experimental approaches into wild pig management programmes is necessary to improve our understanding of wild pig impacts, and our ability to manage those impacts effectively and efficiently.

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