Bard, K. A., Dunbar, S., Maguire-Herring, V., Veira, Y., Hayes, K. G. and McDonald, K. (2013), Gestures and social-emotional communicative development in chimpanzee infants. Am. J. Primatol.. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22189
Communicative skills of chimpanzees are of significant interest across many domains, such as developmental psychology (how does communication emerge in prelinguistic beings?), evolution (e.g., did human language evolve from primate gestures?), and in comparative psychology (how does the nonverbal communication of chimpanzees and humans compare?). Here we ask about how gestures develop in chimpanzee infants (n = 16) that were raised in an interactive program designed to study skill development. Data on socio-communicative development were collected following 4 hr of daily interaction with each infant, longitudinally from birth through the first year of life. A consistent and significant developmental pattern was found across the contexts of tickle play, grooming, and chase play: Infant chimpanzees first engaged in interactions initiated by others, then they initiated interactions, and finally, they requested others to join them in the interaction. Gestures were documented for initiating and requesting tickle play, for initiating and requesting grooming, and for initiating and requesting chase play. Gestural requests emerged significantly later than gestural initiations, but the age at which gestures emerged was significantly different across contexts. Those gestures related to hierarchical rank relations, that is, gestures used by subordinates in interaction with more dominant individuals, such as wrist presenting and rump presenting, did not emerge in the same manner as the other gestures. This study offers a new view on the development of gestures, specifically that many develop through interaction and communicate socio-emotional desires, but that not all gestures emerge in the same manner.
Chang, Z., Yang, B., Vigilant, L., Liu, Z., Ren, B., Yang, J., Xiang, Z., Garber, P. A. and Li, M. (2013), Evidence of male-biased dispersal in the endangered Sichuan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana). Am. J. Primatol.. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22198
Although sex-biased dispersal has profound effects on the viability of small and isolated populations resulting from habitat change and anthropogenic disturbance, the direction and strength of sex-biased dispersal in the endangered Sichuan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) remains poorly understood. Here, we investigated dispersal patterns of R. roxellana using 15 polymorphic microsatellite loci. Using noninvasive methods we obtained 337 fecal samples from individuals residing in four multilevel troops that inhabit the Shennongjia Nature Reserve (SNR). Our study site contains an isolated population of approximately 1,000 Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys located in the easternmost distribution of the species‘ range. Our results indicated that the mean coefficient of relatedness among troop members was low (mean relatedness ± SE = 0.038 ± 0.025). However, the mean relatedness of monkeys residing in the same troop was significantly higher than the mean relatedness of monkeys belonging to different troops, suggesting that some members of the same troop were closely relatived. Sex-biased dispersal tests revealed that dispersal in R. roxellana was male-biased. Moreover, analysis of isolation-by-distance indicated that the correlation between pairwise genetic distance and geographical distance was positive for females, while it was negative for males. These data suggest that males tended to disperse further than females, although these values were not statistically significant. Considering previous field data collected on Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys from other sites, we suggest that mating competition among males and female mate choice represent the major causes of male-biased dispersal in R. roxellana.
Fagot, J., Gullstrand, J., Kemp, C., Defilles, C. and Mekaouche, M. (2013), Effects of freely accessible computerized test systems on the spontaneous behaviors and stress level of Guinea baboons (Papio papio). Am. J. Primatol.. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22193
Fagot and Paleressompoulle [Fagot and Paleressompoulle (2009) Behav Res Methods 41: 396–404] described a new automated learning device for monkeys (ALDM) to test the cognitive functions of nonhuman primates within their social groups. However, the impact of the ALDM procedure on animal well-being needs to be investigated. The present study assessed the consequences of ALDM testing on the behavioral repertoire of Guinea baboons (Papio papio) and their stress levels as inferred from measurements of saliva cortisol. Accessibility to ALDM test computers reduced the number of resting periods as well as the number of stereotypies. Lower cortisol levels were also found during ALDM testing. These findings and others demonstrate that ALDM testing has a positive impact on animal well-being and can be considered as a means for behavioral enrichment in captive primates.
Primate genome architecture influences structural variation mechanisms and functional consequences
Omer Gokcumen, Verena Tischler, Jelena Tica, Qihui Zhu, Rebecca C. Iskow, Eunjung Lee, Markus Hsi-Yang Fritz, Amy Langdon, Adrian M. Stütz, Pavlos Pavlidis, Vladimir Benes, Ryan E. Mills, Peter J. Park, Charles Lee, and Jan O. Korbel
PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print September 6, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1305904110
Although nucleotide resolution maps of genomic structural variants (SVs) have provided insights into the origin and impact of phenotypic diversity in humans, comparable maps in nonhuman primates have thus far been lacking. Using massively parallel DNA sequencing, we constructed fine-resolution genomic structural variation maps in five chimpanzees, five orang-utans, and five rhesus macaques. The SV maps, which are comprised of thousands of deletions, duplications, and mobile element insertions, revealed a high activity of retrotransposition in macaques compared with great apes. By comparison, nonallelic homologous recombination is specifically active in the great apes, which is correlated with architectural differences between the genomes of great apes and macaque. Transcriptome analyses across nonhuman primates and humans revealed effects of species-specific whole-gene duplication on gene expression. We identified 13 gene duplications coinciding with the species-specific gain of tissue-specific gene expression in keeping with a role of gene duplication in the promotion of diversification and the acquisition of unique functions. Differences in the present day activity of SV formation mechanisms that our study revealed may contribute to ongoing diversification and adaptation of great ape and Old World monkey lineages.
PéREZ Z., J., RAMíREZ, C., BALTA, K.. A new record of Phyllodactylus sentosus (Dixon & Huey, 1970) (Squamata: Phyllodactylidae) for coastal desert of Peru. Cuadernos de Herpetología, Argentina, 27, abr. 2013. Disponible en: http://ppct.caicyt.gov.ar/index.php/cuadherpetol/article/view/1770. Fecha de acceso: 07 sep. 2013
The critically endangered gekkonid Phyllodactylus sentosus distribution is restricted to the city of Lima, with few (five) and small populations. The species has a low reproductive rate and a reduced ability to move. These biological characteristics, coupled with the high negative impact on human activities in the city of Lima as a result of the great destruction of their characteristic habitats greatly reduce the chances of survival of P. sentosus. Hence, P. sentosus is the only coastal reptile identified as “Critically Endangered” on the current Red List of Peruvian Wildlife from the National Institute of Natural Resources of Ministry of Agriculture INRENA. This new record for Lima city extends 4.5 km to north-east (straigth line) the distribution of P. sentosus. This record is added to a previous one, in the same location in February 2007, where there was a single juvenile individual. These two records confirm the presence of this species in the area.
PRIGIONI, C., BORTEIRO, C., KOLENC, F., COLINA, M., GONZáLEZ, E.. Geographic distribution and apparent decline of Crotalus durissus terrificus (Laurenti 1768; Serpentes, Viperidae) in Uruguay. Cuadernos de Herpetología, Argentina, 27, mar. 2013. Disponible en: http://ppct.caicyt.gov.ar/index.php/cuadherpetol/article/view/1980. Fecha de acceso: 07 sep. 2013.
The rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus (Laurenti, 1768; Serpentes, Viperidae) is a rare species in Uruguay, where it reaches the southern boundaries of its distribution. The most recent distribution map available for this species in Uruguay is based on a few specimens that were collected during the 1950s and 1960s. Herein, we make a comprehensive account of rattlesnake records in this country obtained from herpetological literature and other bibliographic sources, specimens accessioned in herpetological and non-specialized local collections, and new information gathered during field surveys.
Rapid growth, early maturation and short generation time in African annual fishes
Bla¿ek R, Pola¿ik M, Reichard M
EvoDevo 2013, 4:24 (4 September 2013)
Extreme environmental conditions can give rise to extreme adaptations. We document growth, sexual maturation and fecundity in two species of African annual fish inhabiting temporary savanna pools.
Nothobranchius kadleci started to reproduce at the age of 17 days and size of 31 mm and Nothobranchius furzeri at 18 days and 32 mm. All four study populations demonstrated rapid growth rates of up to 2.72 mm/day (23.4% of their total length). Both species may produce diapausing embryos or embryos that are able to hatch in as few as 15 days, resulting in a minimum generation time as short as only one month. Incubation on the surface of damp peat moss results in high embryo survival (73%) and a high proportion of rapidly developing embryos (58%) that skip diapauses and hatch in less than 30 days. We further demonstrated that rapid growth and maturation do not compromise subsequent fecundity.
Our data suggest that both species have the most rapid sexual maturation and minimum generation time of any vertebrate species, and that rapid maturity does not involve paedogenesis.
Differences in chemosensory response between eyed and eyeless Astyanax mexicanus of the Rio Subterráneo cave
Bibliowicz J, Alié A, Espinasa L, Yoshizawa M, Blin M, Hinaux H, Legendre L, Père S, Rétaux S
EvoDevo 2013, 4:25 (4 September 2013)
In blind cave-dwelling populations of Astyanax mexicanus, several morphological and behavioral shifts occurred during evolution in caves characterized by total and permanent darkness. Previous studies have shown that sensory systems such as the lateral line (mechanosensory) and taste buds (chemosensory) are modified in cavefish. It has long been hypothesized that another chemosensory modality, the olfactory system, might have evolved as well to provide an additional mechanism for food-searching in troglomorphic Astyanax populations.
During a March 2013 cave expedition to the Sierra de El Abra region of San Luís Potosi, Mexico, we tested chemosensory capabilities of the Astyanax mexicanus of the Rio Subterráneo cave. This cave hosts a hybrid population presenting a wide range of troglomorphic and epigean mixed phenotypes. During a behavioral test performed in situ in the cave, a striking correlation was observed between the absence of eyes and an increased attraction to food extract. In addition, eyeless troglomorphic fish possessed significantly larger naris size than their eyed, nontroglomorphic counterparts.
Our findings suggest that chemosensory capabilities might have evolved in cave-dwelling Astyanax mexicanus and that modulation of naris size might at least partially underlie this likely adaptive change.
Carmi Korine, Shai Daniel, Berry Pinshow, Roost selection by female Hemprich’s Long-Eared Bats, Behavioural Processes, Available online 7 September 2013, ISSN 0376-6357, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2013.08.013.
Selection of suitable roosts by bats can have fitness benefits by providing shelter and a place to rear young. Assuming that lactating bats behave differently from, and have greater food requirements than pregnant bats, we predicted that near the end of pregnancy, desert-dwelling bats would move to roosts appropriate to their changing needs. We followed radio-tagged pregnant and lactating female Hemprich’s Long-Eared Bats, Otonycteris hemprichii, to their roosts and characterized the shape of 38 roosts by measuring their linear dimensions, compass direction of the outer rock face, roost temperature (Tr) and the distance from the used roost to the bats’ main foraging site. We also compared roosts used by bats to randomly chosen “potential” roosts. During reproduction, female O. hemprichii roosted mainly in cracks. Throughout the bats’ reproductive period, most of the roosts faced the morning sun. Temperatures in roosts used by pregnant bats or distances to their main foraging site were not different from those used by lactating individuals. However, pregnant females used horizontal cracks while lactating females used vertical cracks. Comparing roosts used by bats to “potential roosts”, we found that the former had smaller daily amplitudes of Tr than the “potential” ones. Female O. hemprichii used only a small number of the available roosts in the area, and re-used some of them year after year. We suggest that, in contrast to bats that live in temperate habitats, O. hemprichii do not need to seek roosts with temperature conditions specific to the periods of pregnancy and lactation because natural changes in Tr suffice, and other factors are involved in the decision to choose a roost or to abandon it.
Transitions between Andean and Amazonian centers of endemism in the radiation of some arboreal rodents
Upham NS, Ojala-Barbour R, Brito M J, Velazco PM, Patterson BD
BMC Evolutionary Biology 2013, 13:191 (9 September 2013)
The tropical Andes and Amazon are among the richest regions of endemism for mammals, and each has given rise to extensive in situ radiations. Various animal lineages have radiated ex situ after colonizing one of these regions from the other: Amazonian clades of dendrobatid frogs and passerine birds may have Andean ancestry, and transitions from the Amazon to Andes may be even more common. To examine biogeographic transitions between these regions, we investigated the evolutionary history of three clades of rodents in the family Echimyidae: bamboo rats (Dactylomys-Olallamys-Kannabateomys), spiny tree-rats (Mesomys-Lonchothrix), and brush-tailed rats (Isothrix). Each clade is distributed in both the Andes and Amazonia, and is more diverse in the lowlands. We used two mitochondrial (cyt-b and 12S) and three nuclear (GHR, vWF, and RAG1) markers to reconstruct their phylogenetic relationships. Tree topologies and ancestral geographic ranges were then used to determine whether Andean forms were basal to or derived from lowland radiations.
Four biogeographic transitions are identified among the generic radiations. The bamboo rat clade unambiguously originated in the Amazon ca. 9 Ma, followed by either one early transition to the Andes (Olallamys) and a later move to the Amazon (Dactylomys), or two later shifts to the Andes (one in each genus). The Andean species of both Dactylomys and Isothrix are sister to their lowland species, raising the possibility that highland forms colonized the Amazon Basin. However, uncertainty in their reconstructed ancestral ranges obscures the origin of these transitions. The lone Andean species of Mesomys is confidently nested within the lowland radiation, thereby indicating an Amazon-to-Andes transition ca. 2 Ma.
Differences in the timing of these biogeographic transitions do not appear to explain the different polarities of these trees. Instead, even within the radiation of a single family, both Andean and Amazonian centers of endemism appear enriched by lineages that originated in the other region. Our survey of other South American lineages suggests a pattern of reciprocal exchange between these regions—among mammals, birds, amphibians, and insects we found no fewer than 87 transitions between the Andes and Amazon from Miocene-Pleistocene. Because no clear trend emerges between the timing and polarity of transitions, or in their relative frequency, we suggest that reciprocal exchange between tropical highland and lowland faunas in South America has been a continual process since ca. 12 Ma.
Oklander, L. I., Kowalewski, M. and Corach, D. (2013), Male reproductive strategies in black and gold howler monkeys (Alouatta caraya). Am. J. Primatol.. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22191
Behavioral and demographic factors such as group size, social structure, dispersal patterns, and mating systems affect male reproductive success. In the present study, we analyze the relationship between social structure, genetic relatedness of adult males and offspring paternity in one population of Alouatta caraya inhabiting a continuous forest in Northern Argentina. After 14 months of behavioral studies and genotyping 11 microsatellites, we found that dominant or central males achieved greater mating success and fathered all the offspring conceived during our study in two multimale–multifemale groups (both including three adult males). Although skewed toward the dominant males, females copulated with almost all resident males and with extra group males. We found significantly fewer agonistic interactions between adult males in the group with fewer females and where males were more genetically related to each other (average relatedness r = 0.237; 0.015 int/ind/hr vs. r = 0.02; 0.029 int/ind/hr). Paternity was also analyzed in two other neighboring groups which also showed strong skew to one male over a 2-year period. These results reveal that even though female black and gold howlers mate with many males, infants are typically fathered by one dominant male.
Smith, Andrew G., McAlpine, Clive, Rhodes, Jonathan, Seabrook, Leonie, Lunney, Daniel, and Baxter, Greg (2013) Are there habitat thresholds in koala occupancy in the semiarid landscapes of the Mulgalands Bioregion?. Wildlife Research , http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR13010
Context: Habitat thresholds are the critical point(s), below which the probability of occurrence of a species declines. Identifying thresholds assists land managers to decide how much habitat is needed to conserve a species. However, for any given species, a threshold may not exist, or might occur at one scale but not at others, and it may differ across regions. The use of critical habitat thresholds can negatively affect populations if simplified conservation targets for habitat retention are prescribed. This problem is relevant to the koalas where there is evidence of habitat thresholds in mesic regions, but no studies of thresholds in semiarid regions.
Aims: The aim of the present study was to investigate whether a threshold exists between the occupancy of a site by koalas and habitat variables at both the site and at four landscape scales in the semiarid Mulgalands Bioregion of Queensland, Australia.
Methods: We modelled habitat relationships using standard and piece-wise logistic regression, and an information-theoretic approach, to determine whether the best model that explained the occupancy–habitat relationships was linear or had a distinct threshold. The site-scale variable was the percentage of primary eucalypt species. The landscape-scale variables included the amount of primary and secondary habitat, and an interaction between them.
Key findings: There was a threshold relationship between the occurrence of koalas and the percentage of primary trees at the site scale. At the landscape scale, most threshold models failed to converge, and evidence pointed to a linear relationship between habitat amount and koala occupancy.
Conclusions: Conservation actions for koalas in the Mulgalands Bioregion should concentrate on protecting the primary tree resource for koalas, namely, river red gums (E. camaldulensis). However, the maintenance or restoration of primary and secondary habitat to distances of 1000 m from the creek is important because of the linear relationship between koala presence and habitat amount.
Implications: As habitat is lost in the semiarid Mulgalands Bioregion, koala occupancy declines. If known thresholds from mesic regions are used to define a minimum amount of habitat to be retained for koalas, conservation of local koala populations may well fail.
Razafindratsima, O. H., Jones, T. A. and Dunham, A. E. (2013), Patterns of movement and seed dispersal by three lemur species. Am. J. Primatol.. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22199
We combined data on gut-passage times, feeding, and movement to explore the patterns of seed dispersal by Eulemur rubriventer, Eulemur rufrifrons, and Varecia variegata editorum lemurs in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. These lemur species deposited less than half of their consumed seeds >100 m away from conspecific trees (40–50%). Long-distance dispersal (>500 m) was rare and average dispersal distances were short relative to those reported of similar-sized haplorrhine primates. The three lemur species showed no significant differences in mean seed-dispersal distances. However, they differed in the shape of their frequency distributions of seed-dispersal distances as a result of differences in how they moved through their habitats. The short distances of seed dispersal we observed and the depauperate frugivorous fauna in Madagascar suggest seed-dispersal may be more limited than in other tropical forests with important implications for plant-community dynamics, biodiversity maintenance, and restoration efforts in Madagascar.
Frederick, C., Hunt, K., Kyes, R., Collins, D., Durrant, B., Ha, J. and Wasser, S. K. (2013), Social influences on the estrous cycle of the captive sun bear (Helarctos malayanus). Zoo Biol.. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21092
We examined the potential influences of existing social housing arrangements on captive sun bear female reproductive cycling. Three social conditions were studied: 1.2, 1.1, and 0.2. Fecal hormone metabolites of total estrogens, progestins and glucocorticoids were compared between the three social conditions and were analyzed along with vaginal cytology data in individuals that experienced a change in social condition. Behavioral data were collected on females in each of the social conditions and summarized into agonistic, affiliative and sexual categories. Results indicated that sun bears are spontaneous ovulators, but that the presence of a male does influence hormone metabolite concentrations and cytological profiles. Male presence was also associated with a greater proportion of females cycling. In most female pairs, only one female cycled, typically the younger, subordinate female. The presence of a second female appeared to have a suppressive influence on both cycling and mating behavior. Agonistic behavior and associated stress may be a mechanism for lowering progesterone. In contrast, high estrogen levels were associated with low levels of agonistic interactions; thus, reproductive cycle monitoring could facilitate social introductions with either sex. Females in 1.2 social groupings had significantly higher GC metabolite concentrations and agonistic behavior, suggesting that 1.2 social groupings may not be advisable for captive breeding programs. Data from the North American historical captive population indicate that at most 32% of all sun bear pairs and only 18.5% of females have successfully reproduced. Implications of these social and reproductive patterns for captive management are discussed.
Waite, D. W., Deines, P. and Taylor, M. W. (2013), Quantifying the impact of storage procedures for faecal bacteriotherapy in the critically endangered New Zealand parrot, the kakapo (Strigops habroptilus). Zoo Biol.. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21098
The endemic New Zealand kakapo is classified as ‘critically endangered’ and, in an effort to prevent extinction and restore the kakapo population, intensive handling of rare kakapo chicks is often utilised to reduce mortality and improve health outcomes among juveniles. Due to concerns that hand-reared chicks may not receive a full bacterial complement in their gut in the absence of regurgitated food from their mother, conservation workers feed a suspension of frozen adult faeces to captive chicks. However, the efficacy of this practice is unknown, with no information about the viability of these bacteria, or whether certain bacterial taxa are selected for or against as a consequence of freezing. In this study we experimentally determined the effects of freezing and reanimation on bacterial cell viability and diversity, using a faecal sample obtained from a healthy adult kakapo. Freezing reduced the number of viable bacterial cells (estimated by colony-forming units, CFU) by 99.86%, although addition of a cryoprotectant prior to freezing resulted in recovery of bacterial cells equivalent to that of non-frozen controls. Bacterial taxonomic diversity was reduced by freezing, irrespective of the presence of a cryoprotectant. While this study did not address the efficacy of faecal supplementation per se, the obtained data do suggest that faecal bacteriotherapy using frozen faeces (with a cryoprotectant) from healthy adult birds warrants further consideration as a conservation strategy for intensively managed species.
Clark, F. E., Davies, S. L., Madigan, A. W., Warner, A. J. and Kuczaj, S. A. (2013), Cognitive enrichment for bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus): Evaluation of a novel underwater maze device. Zoo Biol.. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21096
Cognitive enrichment is gaining popularity as a tool to enhance captive animal well-being, but research on captive cetaceans is lacking. Dolphin cognition has been studied intensively since the 1950s, and several hundred bottlenose dolphins are housed in major zoos and aquaria worldwide, but most dolphin enrichment consists of simple floating objects. The aim of this study was to investigate whether a novel, underwater maze device (UMD) was cognitively enriching for one group of male and one group of female dolphins at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, CA. The dolphin’s task was to navigate a rubber ball through a maze of pipes, towards an exit pipe. We also tested a modification where an edible gelatine ball fell into the pool once the UMD was solved. The UMD was provided to each group between 8 and 11 times over a 4-week period. Male dolphins used the UMD without prior training, whereas females did not use the UMD at all. Two male dolphins solved the UMD 17 times, using a variety of problem-solving strategies. The UMD had no significant effect on circular (repetitive) swimming patterns, but males spent significantly more time underwater when the UMD was present. Males used the UMD significantly more when it contained the rubber ball, but the gelatine ball stimulated social play. The UMD is a safe and practical device for captive dolphins. It now requires further testing on other dolphins, particularly females, to in order to examine whether the sex differences we observed are a general phenomenon.
Prier, E. A., Gartrell, B. D., Potter, M. A., Lopez-Villalobos, N. and McLennan, J. (2013), Characterization of hatch-size and growth rates of captive and wild-reared brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) chicks. Zoo Biol.. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21088
Avian growth rate patterns represent a trade off between a tissue’s functional maturity and its capacity for growth. At the time of hatch, the brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) limb has a high level of maturity in order for the chick to be able to kick its way out of the shell and walk and forage independently from an early age. Growth curves of limb segments, bill length and bodyweight are presented for captive-reared, BNZ Operation Nest Egg™ chicks over a period of 3 months from the point of hatch. Some parameters were slightly larger in the females than in males at time of hatch, including the bill length. Growth in bodyweight began to slow earlier in males than in females. Regressions of limb and bill measurements over time showed linear patterns of growth instead of a sigmoidal curve as seen in other birds, probably due to the short period of observation. Bodyweight and bill length were then compared to these morphometrics in a wild population of kiwi. Captive-reared chicks were found to hatch with shorter bills and to increase in bodyweight at a faster rate than the wild birds. Rapid weight gain has been implicated in developmental limb deformities in other precocial and long-legged birds and should be avoided in captive kiwi.