Jason N. Bruck
Decades-long social memory in bottlenose dolphins
Proc. R. Soc. B October 7, 2013 280 1768 20131726; doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.1726 1471-2954
Long-term social memory is important, because it is an ecologically relevant test of cognitive capacity, it helps us understand which social relationships are remembered and it relates two seemingly disparate disciplines: cognition and sociality. For dolphins, long-term memory for conspecifics could help assess social threats as well as potential social or hunting alliances in a very fluid and complex fission–fusion social system, yet we have no idea how long dolphins can remember each other. Through a playback study conducted within a multi-institution dolphin breeding consortium (where animals are moved between different facilities), recognition of unfamiliar versus familiar signature whistles of former tank mates was assessed. This research shows that dolphins have the potential for lifelong memory for each other regardless of relatedness, sex or duration of association. This is, to my knowledge, the first study to show that social recognition can last for at least 20 years in a non-human species and the first large-scale study to address long-term memory in a cetacean. These results, paired with evidence from elephants and humans, provide suggestive evidence that sociality and cognition could be related, as a good memory is necessary in a fluid social system.
Zootaxa 3694 (6): 501–524 (8 Aug. 2013)
A new species of lizard in the genus Caledoniscincus (Reptilia: Scincidae) from southern New Caledonia and a review of Caledoniscincus atropunctatus (Roux)
ROSS A. SADLIER, AARON M. BAUER, PERRY L.WOOD, Jr., SARAH A. SMITH & TODD R. JACKMAN
A new species of skink, Caledoniscincus notialis sp. nov., is described from the ultramafic ranges in southern New Caledonia. It is most similar to, and has previously been referred to Caledoniscincus atropunctatus (Roux), a species with a widespread distribution throughout the Grand Terre and Loyalty Islands. The new species is distinct genetically from all other Caledoniscincus and can be distinguished by a unique pattern of dorsal coloration in males. Its range extends over much of the extensive ultramafic block in the south of the island, including the Goro Plateau and the mountain ranges at the southern edge of the Chaine Centrale north to Mt. Humboldt. It occurs mainly in humid forest habitat, much of which is now present only as isolated fragments in southern New Caledonia. Its preference for a habitat that has undergone a significant reduction in area of extent in a region under pressure from a range of anthropogenic threats suggests this new
species is of conservation concern, and could be ranked as Vulnerable under IUCN listing. The genetic relationships of a redefined Caledoniscincus atropunctatus identifies two major subgroups, one located mainly in the northern and centraleast regions of Grand Terre and the other in the southern and central-west regions and also including the population on the
Zootaxa 3694 (6): 525–544 (8 Aug. 2013)
A new species of Elachistocleis (Anura: Microhylidae) from north-western Argentina
LAURA C. PEREYRA, MAURICIO S. AKMENTINS, GABRIEL LAUFER & MARCOS VAIRA
Elachistocleis haroi sp. nov. is described from El Algarrobal, Jujuy province, north-western Argentina. The new species is diagnosed by the dorsal pattern of mid-longitudinal bright yellow stripe from the intraocular zone, surpassing the postcephalic transverse skin fold, to vent; dorsum grayish brown mottled with a paravertebral symmetric pattern of dark spots resembling a pine tree; and a thin regular yellow line on the posterior surface of the thighs and tibiae. The advertisement call is a long trill with an average duration of 3.18 seconds, multipulsed with a mean dominant frequency of 4.56 kHz. The tadpole is characterized by the oral dermal flaps with papillae-like edges.
Zootaxa 3694 (6): 565–578 (8 Aug. 2013)
A new genus and species of Planopinae (Xenarthra: Tardigrada) from the Miocene of Santa Cruz Province, Argentina
ALFREDO A. CARLINI, DIEGO BRANDONI & CARLOS N. DAL MOLIN
Prepoplanops boleadorensis, a new genus and species of Planopinae (Xenarthra, Tardigrada), is described herein. The new taxon is based on a nearly complete specimen recovered from the Cerro Boleadoras Formation (Miocene, Río Zeballos Group), in northwestern Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. The shape and length of the predentary region of the skull and the length of the diastema of Prepoplanops boleadorensis differ from those present in the species of Planops. The posterolateral opening of the mandibular canal and the position of the posterior margin of the mandibular symphysis differ from
those of species of Prepotherium. In addition, Prepoplanops boleadorensis differs from Planops martini in the size of the humeral tuberosities, the development of the deltoid crest, the position of the distal margin of the humeral trochlea, the shape and position of the olecranon, the development of the femoral epicondyles, and the shape of the medial margins of the patellar trochlea and medial condyle. On the other hand, it differs from Prepotherium potens in the shape of the medial margin of the medial condyle. The recognition of Prepoplanops boleadorensis increases the diversity of Planopinae for
the Miocene of Patagonia, Argentina.
Chang-Fu Zhou, Shaoyuan Wu, Thomas Martin, Zhe-Xi Luo. A Jurassic mammaliaform and the earliest mammalian evolutionary adaptations. Nature, 2013; 500 (7461): 163 DOI: 10.1038/nature12429
The earliest evolution of mammals and origins of mammalian features can be traced to the mammaliaforms of the Triassic and Jurassic periods that are extinct relatives to living mammals. Here we describe a new fossil from the Middle Jurassic that has a mandibular middle ear, a gradational transition of thoracolumbar vertebrae and primitive ankle features, but highly derived molars with a high crown and multiple roots that are partially fused. The upper molars have longitudinal cusp rows that occlude alternately with those of the lower molars. This specialization for masticating plants indicates that herbivory evolved among mammaliaforms, before the rise of crown mammals. The new species shares the distinctive dental features of the eleutherodontid clade, previously represented only by isolated teeth despite its extensive geographic distribution during the Jurassic. This eleutherodontid was terrestrial and had ambulatory gaits, analogous to extant terrestrial mammals such as armadillos or rock hyrax. Its fur corroborates that mammalian integument had originated well before the common ancestor of living mammals.
Bjørn P. Kaltenborn, Oddgeir Andersen, John D.C. Linnell, Is hunting large carnivores different from hunting ungulates? Some judgments made by Norwegian hunters, Journal for Nature Conservation, Available online 8 August 2013, ISSN 1617-1381, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2013.05.004.
The increase in large carnivore populations in a number of European countries causes numerous social conflicts and populations need to be kept at levels that are acceptable to the public. This may eventually require opening up or increasing public hunting of species like bear, wolf, wolverines and lynx as a management strategy. We surveyed a sample of 672 Norwegian hunters to examine how they judged a set of dilemmas associated with hunting carnivores versus ungulates. More than one-half of the sample would like to maintain or increase the current population sizes of the large carnivores (for wolverines: 57.5%; bears: 65.6%; wolves: 66.1%; lynx: 59.6%). A large majority of hunters (85.5%) emphasise not stressing the game over securing success in killing game, require adequate shooting skills (87.7%), linking harvest strategies to ecological principles (79.5%) rather than the level of conflict, and sustainable wildlife populations (95.1%) over optimum economic yield. Carnivore hunting is associated with a stronger preference for quotas based on science rather than local knowledge as well as paying more attention to the conflict level, compared to the judgments made for ungulate hunting. Positive attitudes toward maintaining or increasing carnivore populations are associated with a concern for animal welfare, and faith in scientific information, ecological values and sustainable wildlife populations.
Contrasting patterns of genetic diversity between the northern and southern populations of yellow bullhead catfish, Ameiurus natalis in North America
Aquatic Ecology August 2013
Environmental conditions have profound influence on the life history characteristics of a species, for instance, the yellow bullhead (Ameiurus natalis) population in its southernmost native range, South Florida was previously reported to be distinguished from other A. natalis populations in the United States by growth rates and feeding habits. Utilizing mitochondrial DNA control region sequence data, the present study sought to evaluate the patterns of intraspecific diversification of this North American freshwater catfish, A. natalis. The analyses have revealed the existence of four distinct matrilineal lineages (Mississippi, Gulf coast, Southeast Atlantic, and South Florida) with strong geographic specificity. Although all the lineages showed rapid demographic expansion, the South Florida lineage is shown to have greater genetic diversity than the remaining lineages. The persistence of more favorable environmental conditions and suitable habitats during the late-Pleistocene period in southern Florida could be the possible explanation for such genetic disparities among the lineages. However, taken together with the conclusion of previous studies, the present study predicted that the recurrent density-dependent process resulting from the altercation of hydrology in South Florida may cause the reduction in genetic diversity and put this species at risk in this region.
W.F. Fikse, S. Malm, T.W. Lewis, Opportunities for international collaboration in dog breeding from the sharing of pedigree and health data, The Veterinary Journal, Available online 8 August 2013, ISSN 1090-0233, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.04.025.
Pooling of pedigree and phenotype data from different countries may improve the accuracy of derived indicators of both genetic diversity and genetic merit of traits of interest. This study demonstrates significant migration of individuals of four pedigree dog breeds between Sweden and the United Kingdom. Correlations of estimates of genetic merit (estimated breeding values, EBVs) for the Fédération Cynologique Internationale and the British Veterinary Association and Kennel Club evaluations of hip dysplasia (HD) were strong and favourable, indicating that both scoring schemes capture substantially the same genetic trait. Therefore pooled use of phenotypic data on hip dysplasia would be expected to improve the accuracy of EBV for HD in both countries due to increased sample data.
Zootaxa 3696 (1): 001–293 (9 Aug. 2013)
An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia
HELEN K. LARSON, REX S. WILLIAMS & MICHAEL P. HAMMER
There are 1474 fish species now known from the Northern Territory, in 195 families, with a number of these species still undescribed. The 1474 species include 120 new records for the NT and three for Australia, while nine non-native species exist as small feral populations.
The most speciose family is the Gobiidae (gobies), with 150 recognised species, and is the main fish group inhabiting coral reef and mangrove areas. The fish fauna of the Northern Territory occupies several biogeographical regions, which include the internal river drainages of Australia and the Sahul Shelf adjoining New Guinea and Indonesia. The Northern Territory’s fish fauna most closely resembles that of north-western Western Australia, and many species are shared with this region. Among the Northern Territory’s fish fauna are 55 species considered to be threatened under various listings (ASFB, EPBC), with the poor state of knowledge of the NT’s fish populations and their true distributions hindering assessment. Many sampling gaps remain and the basic biology of most species is unknown.
Zootaxa 3695 (1): 001–081 (9 Aug. 2013)
Morphological and taxonomic revision of species of Squatina from the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean (Chondrichthyes: Squatiniformes: Squatinidae)
DIEGO F. B. VAZ & MARCELO R. DE CARVALHO
The morphology and taxonomy of species of Squatina from the southwestern Atlantic Ocean are revised. Species previously considered valid, Squatina argentina (Marini, 1930), Squatina guggenheim Marini, 1936 and Squatina occulta Vooren and da Silva, 1991, are investigated and described in detail, including a morphometric and meristic study of specimens from their recorded range. The taxonomic status of the doubtful nominal species Squatina punctata Marini, 1936 was also evaluated. This species was previously considered a junior synonym of S. argentina, a junior synonym of S. guggenheim, or a senior synonym of S. occulta. Although there is much morphological similarity between Squatina species, significant differences in dermal denticle patterns, dorsal coloration, tooth formula, and size at maturity are reported, enabling the recognition of S. argentina, S. guggenheim and S. occulta as valid species, and relegating S. punctata to the synonymy of
S. guggenheim. Differences in skeletal morphology between valid species are described and considered supportive of the taxonomic hypothesis, corroborating a previous study of neurocrania. Additionally, an unidentified specimen is reported, as Squatina sp., from the continental shelf of Bahia state, Brazil, recognized by having more vertebral centra and a conspicuous dermal denticle morphology on interspiracular region, features not present in other South America angelshark species. A report on the only known syntype of Squatina dumeril Le Sueur, 1818 is presented, describing features that are still preserved and designating it as lectotype. Lateral-line sensory canals, skeleton, and cranial and hypobranchial muscles for the three valid species of Squatina from the southwestern Atlantic, as well as the brain and cranial nerves of S. guggenheim, are described and illustrated.
Erika Patrícia Quintino, Júlio César Bicca-Marques
Predation of Alouatta puruensis by Boa constrictor
Primates August 2013
Reports of successful predator attacks on primates are rare. Primates from all major radiations are particularly susceptible to raptors, carnivores, and snakes. Among New World primates, reports of snake predation are limited to medium- and small-bodied species. Here, we report the first documented case of successful predation of an atelid by a snake—an adult female Purús red howler monkey, Alouatta puruensis, that was subdued by a ca. 2-m-long Boa constrictor in an arboreal setting at a height of 7.5 m above the ground. The victim belonged to a group composed of six individuals (one adult male, two adult females, two juveniles, and one infant) that inhabited a ca. 2.5-ha forest fragment in the State of Rondônia, western Brazilian Amazon. The boa applied the species’ typical hunting behavior of striking and immediately coiling around its prey and then killing it through constriction (probably in less than 5 min), but the entire restraint period lasted 38 min. The attack occurred around noon. The howler was swallowed head-first in 76 min. The only group member to respond to the distress vocalization emitted by the victim was the other adult female, which was closest to the location where the attack occurred. This female ran toward the snake, also vocalizing, and hit it with her hands several times, but the snake did not react and she moved off to a nearby tree from where she watched most of the interaction. The remaining group members stayed resting at a height approximately 15 m above the victim in a nearby tree without showing any overt signs of stress, except for a single whimper vocalization. This event indicates that even large-bodied atelids are vulnerable to predation by large snakes and suggests that B. constrictor may be a more common predator of primates.
Giovanna Bonadonna, Valeria Torti, Rose Marie Randrianarison, Nicole Martinet, Marco Gamba, Cristina Giacoma
Behavioral correlates of extra-pair copulation in Indri indri
Primates August 2013
Active pursuit of extra-pair mating has been reported for Indri indri, the socially monogamous largest living lemur. This study, conducted in a mountain rainforest in eastern Madagascar, presents the first evidence for extra-pair mating of indri and discusses the alternative mating strategy and alteration of the social, territorial, spatial, and vocal behavior of the adult female of a group of wild indris. Further studies may investigate whether extra-pair copulation is an attempt to breed with a partner of superior quality and thus lead to extra-pair paternity. If so, it could potentially play a role in maintaining genetic variability within a population.
Herstoff, E. and Urban, M. C. (2013), Will pre-adaptation buffer the impacts of climate change on novel species interactions?. Ecography. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2013.00116.x
Species are expected to alter their ranges as climates change. Climate-induced range expansions of predators could threaten evolutionarily naïve prey populations, leading to high mortality at the invasion front. If prey can apply existing defenses against local predators to novel predation threats induced by climate change, mortality threats will be less than expected. Here, we examine if spotted salamander larvae Ambystoma maculatum from populations that coexist with native red-spotted newts Notophthalmus viridescens survive better when exposed to a novel predator, the marbled salamander Ambystoma opacum. We show that regional mean winter temperatures warmed 2.0°C over 116 yr in the region, and that A. opacum survival increases in ponds with higher winter temperatures. Hence as winters continue to warm, this apex predator will likely colonize ponds north of their current range limit. Next, we performed common garden experiments to determine if local adaptations to native N. viridescens and exposure to A. opacum or N. viridescens kairomones (predator chemical cues) altered A. maculatum survival in predation trials. We did not find evidence for local adaptation to N. viridescens. However, A. maculatum from high-N. viridescens ponds that were reared with A. opacum kairomones suffered significantly higher mortality from the native predator N. viridescens. This outcome suggests an unanticipated interaction between local adaptation and plastic responses to novel kairomones from a potentially range-expanding predator. Current projections of biodiversity losses from climate change generally ignore the potential for eco-evolutionary interactions between native and range-expanding species and thus could be inaccurate.
Jigneshkumar Trivedi and Kauresh D. Vachhrajani (2013). First record of the marbled electric ray, Torpedo sinuspersici off Gujarat, north-west coast of India. Marine Biodiversity Records, 6, e94 doi:10.1017/S1755267213000705.
One female specimen of Torpedo sinuspersici was collected from the trawl catch along the Saurashtra coast of Junagadh district, Gujarat, India. Although a total 486 species of marine fish have been identified so far from the State, the present paper describes the first record of T. sinuspersici from the coast of Gujarat State of India.
Arthur R. Bos and Girley S. Gumanao (2013). Seven new records of fish (Teleostei: Perciformes) from coral reefs and pelagic habitats in southern Mindanao, the Philippines. Marine Biodiversity Records, 6, e95 doi:10.1017/S1755267213000614.
Seven coral reef-associated and deep-water fish species were found in a local fish market on Samal Island in the Davao Gulf, constituting the first records for the Philippine archipelago. The specific geographical distributions of Eumegistus illustris (Bramidae), Paracaesio kusakarii (Lutjanidae) and Saloptia powelli (Serranidae) are greatly enlarged by these observations. The first records of Ariomma brevimanum (Ariommatidae), Brama orcini (Bramidae), Aulacocephalus temminckii (Serranidae) and Pseudanthias fasciatus (Serranidae) confirm the Indo-Pacific-wide distributions of these species. In contrast to the other records, A. brevimanum and B. orcini were encountered regularly and length–weight relationships, not earlier provided in the scientific literature, were calculated. We also measured the largest specimen ever for B. orcini (total length of 420 mm). These observations substantiate the uniqueness of the poorly-studied fauna of the southern Philippines and underline the importance of marine Philippine fauna within the Coral Triangle.
Ilya A. Volodin, Elena V. Volodina, Ekaterina N. Lapshina, Kseniya O. Efremova, Natalia V. Soldatova
Vocal group signatures in the goitred gazelle Gazella subgutturosa
Animal Cognition August 2013
The potential for vocal modification in mammals has recently been of great interest. This study focuses on the potential for vocal matching in juvenile and adolescent goitred gazelles Gazella subgutturosa that were group housed as part of an animal management programme. Two groups of animals (16 and 19 unrelated individuals, respectively) were recorded at two different ages, juvenile and adolescent, regarding 20–25 calls per individual per age; each group was evaluated in a separate year. Vocal similarity of group members compared to non-members was prominent in both ages, but higher in juveniles. Individual identity was prominent in both ages and higher in adolescents. The more prominent vocal indicators of group membership in juveniles could be related to their higher social dependence compared to adolescents. The more individualized calls of adolescents could be a mechanistic consequence of more stable growth at older age. Our results suggest vocal plasticity of goitred gazelles under social influences. These data add to recent evidence about domestic goat kids Capra hircus, suggesting that vocalizations of species that are not capable of imitation are more flexible than previously thought.
Joshua Johnstone Amiel, Tom Lindström, Richard Shine
Egg incubation effects generate positive correlations between size, speed and learning ability in young lizards
Animal Cognition August 2013
Previous studies have suggested that body size and locomotor performance are targets of Darwinian selection in reptiles. However, much of the variation in these traits may derive from phenotypically plastic responses to incubation temperature, rather than from underlying genetic variation. Intriguingly, incubation temperature may also influence cognitive traits such as learning ability. Therefore, we might expect correlations between a reptile’s size, locomotor speed and learning ability either due to selection on all of these traits or due to environmental effects during egg incubation. In the present study, we incubated lizard eggs (Scincidae: Bassiana duperreyi) under ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ thermal regimes and then assessed differences in hatchling body size, running speed and learning ability. We measured learning ability using a Y-maze and a food reward. We found high correlations between size, speed and learning ability, using two different metrics to quantify learning (time to solution, and directness of route), and showed that environmental effects (incubation temperature) cause these correlations. If widespread, such correlations challenge any simple interpretation of fitness advantages due to body size or speed within a population; for example, survivors may be larger and faster than nonsurvivors because of differences in learning ability, not because of their size or speed.
Meiri, M., Lister, A. M., Higham, T. F. G., Stewart, J. R., Straus, L. G., Obermaier, H., González Morales, M. R., Marín-Arroyo, A. B. and Barnes, I. (2013), Late-glacial recolonization and phylogeography of European red deer (Cervus elaphus L.). Molecular Ecology. doi: 10.1111/mec.12420
The Pleistocene was an epoch of extreme climatic and environmental changes. How individual species responded to the repeated cycles of warm and cold stages is a major topic of debate. For the European fauna and flora, an expansion–contraction model has been suggested, whereby temperate species were restricted to southern refugia during glacial times and expanded northwards during interglacials, including the present interglacial (Holocene). Here, we test this model on the red deer (Cervus elaphus) a large and highly mobile herbivore, using both modern and ancient mitochondrial DNA from the entire European range of the species over the last c. 40 000 years. Our results indicate that this species was sensitive to the effects of climate change. Prior to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) haplogroups restricted today to South-East Europe and Western Asia reached as far west as the UK. During the LGM, red deer was mainly restricted to southern refugia, in Iberia, the Balkans and possibly in Italy and South-Western Asia. At the end of the LGM, red deer expanded from the Iberian refugium, to Central and Northern Europe, including the UK, Belgium, Scandinavia, Germany, Poland and Belarus. Ancient DNA data cannot rule out refugial survival of red deer in North-West Europe through the LGM. Had such deer survived, though, they were replaced by deer migrating from Iberia at the end of the glacial. The Balkans served as a separate LGM refugium and were probably connected to Western Asia with genetic exchange between the two areas.
Anich, N. M., Worland, M. and Martin, K. J. (2013), Habitat use by spruce grouse in northern Wisconsin. Wildlife Society Bulletin. doi: 10.1002/wsb.318
Spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) habitat use varies widely across their range and is not well-understood near the southern extent of their range. Threats to conifers from climate change make understanding habitat use at the southern edge of the range increasingly important. We obtained habitat information on 55 radiocollared spruce grouse in northern Wisconsin, USA from 16 May 2007 to 10 July 2012. Black spruce (Picea mariana) and tamarack (Larix laricina) were the most common habitat components. Some of our findings differed from previous reports, including little use of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) or northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis), use of tamarack in summer more than any other tree species, and winter roosting and feeding in red pine (Pinus resinosa), especially where jack pine (P. banksiana) was not available. Male display points contained fewer small broadleaf saplings (x¯ = 652 trees/ha), greater percent conifer (87%), more jack pine (x¯ = 148 trees/ha), and denser canopy (x¯ = 65% closure) compared with random points (3,288 small broadleaf saplings/ha, 70% conifer, 7 jack pine/ha, and 51% closure). Dense ground cover was the best predictor of brood points, although brood points were similar to random points. Winter flock points were typified by dense canopy cover (x¯ = 76% closure) and more jack pine (x¯ = 407/ha). Management should be focused on areas with extensive conifer, especially near black spruce–tamarack swamps. Retaining or establishing closed-canopy coniferous uplands, especially jack pine stands 15–30 years old, adjacent to lowland conifer swamps should benefit spruce grouse populations.