Zootaxa 3686 (5): 565–577 (15 Jul. 2013)
A new redfin species, Pseudobarbus skeltoni (Cyprinidae, Teleostei), from the Cape Floristic Region, South Africa
ALBERT CHAKONA & ERNST R. SWARTZ
A new cyprinid species, Pseudobarbus skeltoni sp. nov, is described from material recently collected in the upper Riviersonderend River (a major tributary of the Breede River system) and the Krom River (a tributary of the Molenaars River in the upper Breede River) in the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa. The new species is readily distinguished from congeners, except P. burgi and P. burchelli, by having two pairs of prominent oral barbels. Pseudobarbus skeltoni can be distinguished from P. burgi and P. burchelli by the following combination of characters: distinctive terminal (vs. subterminal)
mouth in adults; mouth inferior in sub-adults and young adults of P. skeltoni but lower lips are unretracted (vs. retracted) and lack a distinct cartilaginous plate; snout prominent; more slender head (head depth 64.2% of HL, vs. 70.1% of HL in P. burchelli and 74.1% of HL in P. burgi); and a longer head relative to standard length (30.5 % vs. 26.8% in P. burchelli and 25.8% in P. burgi). The new species attains the largest size of any Pseudobarbus. The restricted distribution and the small remaining population sizes of P. skeltoni indicate that this species is highly threatened and requires immediate
Superina, M., Pagnutti, N. and Abba, A. M. (2013), What do we know about armadillos? An analysis of four centuries of knowledge about a group of South American mammals, with emphasis on their conservation. Mammal Review. doi: 10.1111/mam.12010
Basic knowledge on the biology and ecology of a species is fundamental for the realistic assessment of its conservation status and for planning effective conservation strategies. The latest assessment of the 21 extant armadillo species (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for its Red List of Threatened Species shows that considerable gaps exist in our knowledge of these Neotropical mammals.Our goal was to analyse the existing literature on armadillos to define thematic and regional research priorities that will eventually benefit their conservation.We categorized 3117 publications on extant armadillos published between 1660 and 2011 according to their research topic, species studied, country and publication language.The number of publications per research topic and the number per species were very variable. The nine best-studied species are classed as Least Concern by the IUCN, while three of the four least-studied species are classed as Data Deficient. At least one field study was done in each range country, but over 80% of field research took place in the USA, Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia. Most research was done in the USA on leprosy in Dasypus novemcinctus. Most ecological research has been focused on four species, and data on the ecology of Data Deficient and Vulnerable taxa are virtually absent.Field research on armadillos should be intensified to broaden conservation-relevant knowledge. Additional studies in the Guianas, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Paraguay are urgently needed to assess the conservation status of armadillos in these regions. Future research should focus on ecology, conservation, population genetics, reproduction and threats. Species priorities should include country endemics, such as Dasypus pilosus (Peru), Tolypeutes tricinctus (Brazil) and Dasypus yepesi and Chlamyphorus truncatus (Argentina), as well as other Data Deficient and Vulnerable species, especially Cabassous centralis and Calyptophractus retusus.
Kumschick, S., Richardson, D. M. (2013), Species-based risk assessments for biological invasions: advances and challenges. Diversity and Distributions. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12110
An increasingly important component of invasive species management involves the formal assessment of risks associated with particular species becoming invasive and causing impact. We evaluated recent developments in risk assessment (RA) for alien species, with special emphasis on species-based pre-border assessments for intentional introductions. Our aim was to identify important advances and key challenges.LocationGlobal. A literature review was done to determine which approaches have been developed and fine-tuned over the last two decades, which of these have worked best and which are most widely used. We identified priorities for improving our ability to assess risks. The review is divided into sections on various types and foci of RAs: invasion stage, taxon, ecosystem, assessment method and impact type. RAs for plants are the most advanced, with the Australian Weed Risk Assessment (A-WRA) being the most widely applied and tested protocol. Based on the history of the A-WRA, we highlight advances that have been made in assessing risk of alien species for pre-border control and identify remaining challenges.Main conclusionsCurrently available RAs have proven to be cost-effective, but there is room for substantial improvement. Further work is needed to separate likelihood and consequence more explicitly, and provide better and more objective means for assessing risks of impact. Types and levels of uncertainty need to be more effectively incorporated. Advanced RA protocols are needed for taxa other than plants and vertebrates. The latest insights from research in invasion ecology need to be incorporated, and advances in other fields must also be taken into account.
Albanese, B., Litts, T., Camp, M. and Weiler, D. A. (2013), Using occupancy and species distribution models to assess the conservation status and habitat use of the goldline darter (Percina aurolineata) in Georgia, USA. Ecology of Freshwater Fish. doi: 10.1111/eff.12085
The goldline darter (Percina aurolineata) is threatened by recent increases in urbanisation in the Coosawattee River watershed, but no studies have addressed their current status. Similarly, limited data on habitat use make it difficult to understand factors that may impact this species. We compared occurrence data before (1996–2000) and after (2009–2011) a period of rapid development and population growth within the watershed. Single-season occupancy models were built to account for imperfect species detection and to identify habitat covariates. MaxEnt was used to identify important stream reaches for conservation and to understand landscape scale factors correlated with the distribution of goldline darters. Our results indicate a high proportion of sites occupied upstream of Carters Lake during the historic and recent time periods, with no evidence of decline. However, occurrences of goldline darters for sites in Talking Rock Creek and the lower Coosawattee River were sparse in the historic period and absent during the recent period. The probability of detecting goldline darters is low and was positively associated with the occurrence of small substrate. Species distribution models were strongly influenced by watershed area and elevation and indicated a high probability of suitable habitat within the Coosawattee River and large tributaries upstream of Carters Lake. While goldline darter occupancy is currently stable upstream of Carters Lake, continued urbanisation is a threat to long-term persistence. We recommend additional monitoring and describe a protocol that allows for precise estimates of species occupancy while minimising the risk of sampling-related mortality.
Amilhat, E., Fazio, G., Simon, G., Manetti, M., Paris, S., Delahaut, L., Farrugio, H., Lecomte-Finiger, R., Sasal, P. and Faliex, E. (2013), Silver European eels health in Mediterranean habitats. Ecology of Freshwater Fish. doi: 10.1111/eff.12077
The degradation in the quality of silver eel and their health could have been a major factor in the collapse of the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) population. However, the health status of the spawners has been poorly studied until now. This study evaluated the quality of migrant male silver eels from four Mediterranean habitats in France presenting different degrees of contamination: Canet-Saint-Nazaire, Salses-Leucate and Bages-Sigean lagoons and La Berre River. We considered pathogens including Anguillicoloides crassus and EVEX virus and the concentration of chemical contaminants including PCBs, OCs and heavy metals. Our study results revealed different patterns of pollution and infection in the four habitats, with high individual variability. No single silver eel was free of pollution. Total dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) and copper contaminations, as well as the Swim bladder Degenerative Index (induced by parasitism), were remarkably high in eels from Canet lagoon, while eels from Salses lagoon showed lower levels of contaminants and parasite infection. A non-negligible proportion of eels were strongly impacted with levels of contaminants/parasites that could potentially impair their migration and reproduction. Our study revealed low to moderate contamination levels compared with the other Mediterranean sites previously reported, except for high concentrations of DDTs and Cu in Canet lagoon. We discuss the contribution of these results in the context of possible implications for silver eels reproductive success and local eel population management.
Tedesco, P. A., Oberdorff, T., Cornu, J.-F., Beauchard, O., Brosse, S., Dürr, H. H., Grenouillet, G., Leprieur, F., Tisseuil, C., Zaiss, R., Hugueny, B. (2013), A scenario for impacts of water availability loss due to climate change on riverine fish extinction rates. Journal of Applied Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12125
Current models estimating impact of habitat loss on biodiversity in the face of global climate change usually project only percentages of species ‘committed to extinction’ on an uncertain time-scale. Here, we show that this limitation can be overcome using an empirically derived ‘background extinction rate–area’ curve to estimate natural rates and project future rates of freshwater fish extinction following variations in river drainage area resulting from global climate change. Based on future climatic projections, we quantify future active drainage basin area losses and combine them with the extinction rate–area curve to estimate the future change in extinction rate for each river basin. We then project the number of extinct species in each river basin using a global data base of freshwater fish species richness. The median projected extinction rate owing to climate change conditions is c. 7% higher than the median background extinction rate. A closer look at the pattern reveals great geographical variations highlighting an amplification of aridity by 2090 and subsequent increase in extinction rates in presently semi-arid and Mediterranean regions. Among the 10% most-impacted drainage basins, water availability loss will increase background extinction rates by 18·2 times (median value). Projected numbers of extinct species by 2090 show that only 20 river basins among the 1010 analysed would experience fish species extinctions attributable to water availability loss from climate change. Predicted numbers of extinct species for these rivers range from 1 to 5.Synthesis and applications. Our results strongly contrast with previous alarming predictions of huge surface-dependent climate change–driven extinctions for riverine fishes and other taxonomic groups. Furthermore, based on well-documented fish extinctions from Central and North American drainages over the last century, we also show that recent extinction rates are, on average, 130 times greater than our projected extinction rates from climate change. This last result implies that current anthropogenic threats generate extinction rates in rivers far greater than the ones expected from future water availability loss. We thus argue that conservation actions should be preferentially focused on reducing the impacts of present-day anthropogenic drivers of riverine fish extinctions.
Gordo, O., Tryjanowski, P., Kosicki, J. Z., Fulín, M. (2013), Complex phenological changes and their consequences in the breeding success of a migratory bird, the white stork Ciconia ciconia. Journal of Animal Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12084
The timing of bird migration has shifted in response to climate change. However, few studies have linked the potential consequences of any phenological shift on individual fitness and even fewer have disentangled the role of plasticity and microevolution in the observed shifts.The arrival date and breeding success of white storks (Ciconia ciconia) have been recorded since the 1880s in Slovakia. We used data for two periods (1895–1913 and 1977–2007), which were considered, respectively, as populations before and after the start of climate warming. About 4000 male and 2500 female arrival dates along with 3000 breeding attempts were studied.Mean arrival dates did not differ between the two periods. During 1977–2007, males tended towards a slight delay for most fractions of arrival distribution. Protandry was reduced by 30% (1·44 days).In both sexes, the early percentiles of the arrival distribution arrived later those years with warmer temperatures at the African wintering grounds, while late percentiles advanced their arrival when temperatures were higher in the European areas flown over during migration.Mean breeding success of the Slovakian population has not changed since 1977. However, fecundity selection for arrival date reduced over the years: at the end of 1970s and 1980s, early breeders had more success than late breeders, but this seasonal trend disappeared towards the end of the study period. An early arrival and territory acquisition may have become less of an advantage due to the enhancement of feeding opportunities during the breeding season in recent decades. A century ago, stork arrival varied spatially, with earlier arrivals at low altitudes, southern slopes and warmer and drier regions. This spatial variation mostly vanished, and at present, we found little correlations with topographical and climatic gradients.We showed that long-term temporal changes in the timing of biological events may be complex because each fraction of a population and sex may show different temporal trends in their arrival dates. In addition, the effect of biotic and abiotic factors may change consistently in space and time, and thereby phenotypes‘ value depends on the circumstances that are expressed due to its variable fitness consequences.Using a very long-term, large-scale dataset of the migratory phenology of one of the most cherished European birds, the white stork, the authors provide new insights into the plastic and microevolutionary responses of migratory birds to climate change. Phenological changes and their long-term dynamics are shown to be much more complex than previously thought.
Masataka Ueno, Kazunori Yamada, Masayuki Nakamichi
The effect of solicitations on grooming exchanges among female Japanese macaques at Katsuyama
Primates July 2013
In group-living primates, individuals often exchange grooming with not only kin but also non-kin. We investigated the effect of soliciting behaviors on grooming exchanges in a free-ranging Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) group at Katsuyama. In this study, we used a focal animal sampling method, targeting 14 females. Data were collected for 15.75 ± 2.67 (mean ± SD) hours per focal female. We classified female–female pairs into three pair types: kin pairs, affiliated non-kin pairs, and unaffiliated non-kin pairs. Females received grooming more frequently when they solicited after grooming their partners than when they did not solicit in all pair types. In addition, females received grooming less frequently when they did not groom their unaffiliated non-kin partners before soliciting; prior grooming was not needed to receive grooming from kin or affiliated non-kin partners. The degree of grooming reciprocity did not differ according to the frequency with which females in kin or affiliated non-kin pairs solicited after grooming. On the other hand, grooming reciprocity between unaffiliated non-kin females was more balanced when they solicited frequently after grooming, as compared with when they did not. In conclusion, our study suggests that soliciting behaviors promote grooming exchanges in female Japanese macaques.
Jennifer J. Henderson, H. Carl Gerhardt, Restoration of call attractiveness by novel acoustic appendages in grey treefrogs, Animal Behaviour, Available online 16 July 2013, ISSN 0003-3472, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.06.005.
Ethologists have often reported preferences for novel signals, especially if they are more extravagant than normal signals. Such preferences presumably reflect sensory biases that may promote the evolution of both novel and complex signals. We tested behavioural responses of female grey treefrogs, Hyla versicolor, to novel complex calls in relation to the response properties of previously described temporally selective neurons in the auditory midbrain. As predicted by the selectivity of interval-counting neurons, females discriminated against synthetic advertisement calls containing a gap, a missed pulse or a pulse of abnormally short duration. The addition of a novel tonal appendage to such defective calls often resulted in partial restoration of the attractiveness of the signal. The restorative effect occurred only when an appendage with a higher amplitude followed (rather than led) the defective call. Our results show how the consideration of proximate mechanisms can provide insights about the evolution of complex signals; the behavioural results, in turn, suggest new ways of assessing the response properties of the auditory system.
Paul M. Regular, April Hedd, William A. Montevecchi, Must marine predators always follow scaling laws? Memory guides the foraging decisions of a pursuit-diving seabird, Animal Behaviour, Available online 16 July 2013, ISSN 0003-3472, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.06.008.
Foraging animals are expected to adapt their movement patterns to their environment in a way that maximizes efficiency. The search strategies they rely on to achieve this is an enduring question in ecology. Scale-free Lévy and Brownian search strategies have received particular attention as both strategies are considered effective when prey are abundant and Lévy search is thought to optimize success when prey are patchy. Environmental context has been shown to explain Lévy and Brownian movement patterns for various marine predators, but potential effects of habitat structure and cognitive skills are often overlooked. We used bird-borne global positioning sensors (GPS) and temperature depth recorders (TDR) to assess flight paths and dive profiles of foraging parental common murres, Uria aalge. Movement patterns while flying and diving were best approximated by Brownian motion even though their primary prey, capelin, Mallotus villosus, are patchily distributed. Contrary to expectations, there was virtually no support for Lévy flights. Further analyses revealed that murre foraging activities are not random, but are rather more deterministic. Murres repeatedly returned to previously visited sites, indicating a role of memory, and they focused foraging activities using small-scale area restricted search. Such behaviour appears to induce movement patterns that reflect the distribution of capelin. These findings highlight the efficacy of assessing deterministic search behaviour when interpreting the movement patterns of animals that may be informed about their environment.
Ravel, A., Marivaux, L., Qi, T., Wang, Y.-Q., Beard, K. C. (2013). New chiropterans from the middle Eocene of Shanghuang (Jiangsu Province, Coastal China): new insight into the dawn horseshoe bats (Rhinolophidae) in Asia —Zoologica Scripta, 00, 000–000.
Until recently, the fossil record of Paleogene bats in Asia primarily included extinct families (i.e. ‘Eochiroptera’) from the early Eocene of Vastan in India and from the middle-late Eocene of the Liguanqiao and Yuanqu basins in central China. Here, we describe a new fauna of Chiroptera from the middle Eocene Shanghuang fissure fillings of China. The fauna includes abundant material referred to a new rhinolophid (Protorhinolophus shanghuangensis gen. and sp. n.), one specimen of a possible rhinopomatid and several indeterminate rhinolophoids. This new bat assemblage constitutes the earliest record of extant families of microbats in Asia. Because it lacks representatives of ‘Eochiroptera’, this Shanghuang bat fauna indicates significant turnover in Asian bat communities. The dental pattern of P. shanghuangensis shows a mosaic of primitive and derived features (‘Eochiroptera’ vs Rhinolophidae dental characteristics), suggesting that this taxon occupies a basal position among the Rhinolophidae. Rhinolophids were already well diversified at the end of the late Eocene in Europe. Interestingly, many dental characteristics of Protorhinolophus are also found in a primitive rhinolophoid taxon, Vaylatsia, from the middle Eocene to late Oligocene of Europe, supporting a close relationship between these taxa. These affinities testify to the widespread Eurasian distribution of rhinolophoids during the Eocene and are consistent with a westward dispersal of the group from eastern Asia to Europe owing to the greater antiquity of Protorhinolophus.
Quirke, T., O’Riordan, R. and Davenport, J. (2013), A comparative study of the speeds attained by captive cheetahs during the enrichment practice of the “cheetah run”. Zoo Biol.. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21082
The enrichment practice of the “cheetah run” is becoming increasingly popular within zoological institutions as a method to enrich captive cheetahs. A lure moving at speed represents an artificial prey item that the cursorial cheetah can pursue, therefore allowing it to perform an important hunting behavior within a captive setting. This study was conducted in order to highlight how employing different forms of this type of enrichment may influence its efficacy. This is important in relation to the future development of an optimum type of “cheetah run” enrichment which maximizes the potential beneficial effects and therefore positively impacts upon cheetah welfare in captivity. Video recordings were carried out at three separate institutions (Fota Wildlife Park, Ireland; Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, South Africa; Cheetah Conservation Fund, Namibia). Randomization tests were carried out to compare the highest speeds attained between males and females, trained and untrained cheetahs and also between the three institutions. Females and trained individuals reached significantly higher speeds compared with males and untrained individuals, respectively. The only significant difference between the three institutions was between the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre and the Cheetah Conservation Fund, where cheetahs at the Ann van Dyk center reached significantly higher speeds. The current study represents the first detailed study of any aspect of the “cheetah run” across multiple institutions. It also includes the first quantification of the speed of cheetahs in captivity in relation to differing enrichment practices.
Owen-Smith, N., Le Roux, E. and Macandza, V. (2013), Are relatively rare antelope narrowly selective feeders? A sable antelope and zebra comparison. Journal of Zoology. doi: 10.1111/jzo.12058
Animals that are relatively rare in local species assemblages are commonly assumed to be narrowly selective in their habitat or dietary requirements, with the latter generally assessed in terms of the range of food types consumed. We investigated whether a narrow dietary range might help explain the restricted distribution and low local densities attained by sable antelope Hippotragus niger compared with other grazing ungulates. Selection by sable antelope for grass species, its relation to species availability and the resulting evenness of the diet were compared with these measures for zebra Equus quagga, which are assumed to be generalist feeders owing to their hindgut fermentation system, under dry season conditions when food was most limiting. Both grazers exhibited a clear distinction between highly favoured and infrequently accepted or rejected grass species in the same region, and both favoured mostly the same common grass species, but sable showed greater acceptance of several less common grass species than did zebra. Distinctions were evident among individual sable herds in favoured grass species, dependent on local availability. Dietary evenness was similar for sable and zebra herds overall, although seasonal trends differed depending on whether animals concentrated their diet more narrowly on a few grass species or broadened it during more extremely dry conditions. Hence, although sable were more narrowly selective for green leaf content than zebra, the dietary acceptance range of these two grazers at grass species level did not differ fundamentally. In particular, sable readily consumed tall grass species rated as having low to moderate forage value. This dietary tolerance enables sable antelope to occupy savannah woodlands associated with relatively infertile soils where the risk of predation is reduced due to the relatively low abundance of other prey. Accordingly, the causes of local rarity may lie in the restricted availability of food in the places to which these species are restricted by other factors.
Claudia Fugazza, Ádám Miklósi
Deferred imitation and declarative memory in domestic dogs
Animal Cognition July 2013
This study demonstrates for the first time deferred imitation of novel actions in dogs (Canis familiaris) with retention intervals of 1.5 min and memory of familiar actions with intervals ranging from 0.40 to 10 min. Eight dogs were trained using the ‘Do as I do’ method to match their own behaviour to actions displayed by a human demonstrator. They were then trained to wait for a short interval to elapse before they were allowed to show the previously demonstrated action. The dogs were then tested for memory of the demonstrated behaviour in various conditions, also with the so-called two-action procedure and in a control condition without demonstration. Dogs were typically able to reproduce familiar actions after intervals as long as 10 min, even if distracted by different activities during the retention interval and were able to match their behaviour to the demonstration of a novel action after a delay of 1 min. In the two-action procedure, dogs were typically able to imitate the novel demonstrated behaviour after retention intervals of 1.5 min. The ability to encode and recall an action after a delay implies that facilitative processes cannot exhaustively explain the observed behavioural similarity and that dogs’ imitative abilities are rather based on an enduring mental representation of the demonstration. Furthermore, the ability to imitate a novel action after a delay without previous practice suggests presence of declarative memory in dogs.
Jeanne Tarrant, Adrian J. Armstrong, Using predictive modelling to guide the conservation of a critically endangered coastal wetland amphibian, Journal for Nature Conservation, Available online 16 July 2013, ISSN 1617-1381, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2013.03.006.
Amphibians are the most threatened Class of vertebrate, with wetland-associated anurans in particular suffering high levels of habitat loss. We used predictive modelling to better understand the distribution of a critically endangered South African endemic (Hyperolius pickersgilli) and to guide conservation action. MaxEnt distribution models were produced based on limited occurrence data. Predicted localities with probability of occurrence ≥60% were surveyed. Ten new sub-populations were discovered. The mean probability of occurrence for the species at wetlands where it was detected was greater than that at wetlands where it was not detected or absent. In addition, 17 known historical localities were re-visited and the species deemed absent at 8 of these. The total number of localities at which the species is now known to occur is 18, which is an increase in the known extant sub-populations of six. We recalculate the area of occupancy and extent of occurrence for the species as 108km2 and 2081.5km2, respectively; both increases on previous estimates. Implications of these changes on the IUCN Red List status of H. pickersgilli are discussed. A friction map was created to identify possible linkages between sub-populations, which can be used to guide habitat restoration and population repatriation. Given the degree of isolation of subpopulations and the potentially severe threats to most of these, urgent conservation action for H. pickersgilli remains crucial. This study provides a method for use in conservation planning for wetland-breeding amphibians in eastern coastal regions of Africa and elsewhere.
Gaillard, J.-M., Nilsen, E. B., Odden, J., Andrén, H., Linnell, J. D. C. (2013), One size fits all: Eurasian lynx females share a common optimal litter size. Journal of Animal Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12110
Lack proposed that the average clutch size of altricial species should be determined by the average maximum number of young the parents can raise such that all females in a given population should share a common optimal clutch size. Support for this model remains equivocal and recent studies have suggested that intra-population variation in clutch size is adaptive because each female has its own optimal clutch size associated with its intrinsic ability to raise offspring.Although Lack litter size and condition-dependent litter size are presented as two competing models, both are based on the concept of individual optimization. We propose a unified optimal litter size model (called ‘adaptive litter size’) and identify a set of conditions under which a common vs. a state-dependent optimal litter size should be observed.We test whether females of Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) have a common optimal litter size, or whether they adjust their litter size according to their state. We used a detailed individual-based data set collected from contrasting populations of Eurasian lynx in Scandinavia.Observed reproductive patterns in female lynx provide strong support for the existence of a common optimal litter size. Litter size did not vary according to female body mass or reproductive category, or among contrasted populations and years. A litter size of 2 was associated with a higher fitness than both smaller and larger litters, and thus corresponded to the ‘adaptive litter size’ for female lynx.We suggest that the reproductive pattern of female lynx might correspond to a risk avoidance tactic common to all individuals, which has evolved in response to strong environmental constraints generated by a highly unpredictable food supply during lactation.Twinning in Eurasian lynx has evolved as a bet-hedging life history tactic in response to high unpredictability of food supply during lactation. Here it is shown that a litter size of two leads to more recruits and much lower variance in recruitment than larger litters, resulting in a fitness advantage for females producing twins.