Abstract View

Zootaxa 3716 (4): 583–591 (25 Sept. 2013)
A new and possibly critically endangered species of casque-headed tree frog Aparasphenodon Miranda-Ribeiro, 1920 (Anura, Hylidae) from southeastern Brazil

A new species of casque-headed tree frog of the genus Aparasphenodon is described from the municipality of Cataguases (21º20’S, 42º45’W; 288 m a.s.l.) in the Atlantic Rain Forest of Minas Gerais State, southeastern Brazil. Aparasphenodon pomba sp. nov. is characterized by medium size (males, snout-vent length, SVL 51.6–60.5 mm; females, SVL 58.7–62.1 mm); snout almost round in dorsal view; dorsum and limbs with cream-colored reticulation on dark-brown background; spots on ventral surface cream-colored; lips white; cream-colored dorsolateral stripe originating on the snout, crossing the upper eyelid and extending posteriorly to the axilla level; and red iris.

SOYUMERT, Anil; GÜRKAN, Behzat. Relative habitat use by the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Köprülü Canyon National Park, Southern Anatolia. Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy, [S.l.], v. 24, n. 2, sep. 2013. ISSN 1825-5272. Available at: <http://www.italian-journal-of-mammalogy.it/article/view/4652>. Date accessed: 25 Sep. 2013. doi:10.4404/hystrix-24.2-4652.
Large carnivore mammals are one of the indicators for healthy ecosystems. Therefore, it is important to gather scientific data about carnivores for comprehensive conservation plans. Red fox is one of the carnivore species with widest distribution in Anatolia. In the present study habitat use of red fox was investigated to contribute to reduce the insufficiency of knowledge about carnivores in Turkey. Scent-station method was used to reveal relative habitat use of red fox in Köprülü Canyon National Park in southern Anatolia, which is one of the largest protected areas in the Mediterranean region of Turkey and covers the important habitat types of Mediterranean ecosystem. Anatolian black pine habitat found to be the most used habitat type by red fox among four different habitat types studied in the National Park. However no significant relation could be detected between red fox visits and vegetation structure and elevation. Therefore, the results revealed that red fox behaves as a habitat generalist in Köprülü Canyon National Park.

Yolanda Melero, Santiago Palazón, Xavier Lambin
Invasive crayfish reduce food limitation of alien American mink and increase their resilience to control
Oecologia September 2013

Trophic relationships between invasive species in multiply invaded ecosystems may reduce food limitation relative to more pristine ecosystems and increase resilience to control. Here, we consider whether invasive predatory American mink Neovison vison are trophically subsidized by invasive crayfish. We collated data from the literature on density and home range size of mink populations in relation to the prevalence of crayfish in the diet of mink. We then tested the hypothesis that populations of an invasive predator reach higher densities and are more resilient to lethal control when they have access to super-abundant non-native prey, even in the absence of changes in density dependence, hence compensatory capacity. We found a strong positive relationship between the proportion of crayfish in mink diet and mink population density, and a negative relationship between the proportion of crayfish in mink diet and mink home range size, with crayfish contribution to mink diet reflecting their abundance in the ecosystem. We then explored the consequence of elevated mink density by simulating a hypothetical eradication program with a constant harvest in a Ricker model. We found that mink populations were more resilient to harvest in the presence of crayfish. As a result, the simulated number of mink harvested to achieve eradication increased by 500 % in the presence of abundant crayfish if carrying capacity increased by 630 %. This led to a threefold increase in time to eradication under a constant harvest and an approximately 20-fold increase in the cumulative management cost. Our results add to evidence of inter-specific positive interactions involving invasive species, and our simple model illustrates how this increases management cost.

Richter SC, Price SJ, Kross CS, Alexander JR, Dorcas ME. Upland Habitat Quality and Historic Landscape Composition Influence Genetic Variation of a Pond-Breeding Salamander. Diversity. 2013; 5(4):724-733.
Understanding the temporal and spatial scale at which habitat alteration impacts populations is important for conservation and management. Amphibians have declined more than other vertebrates, and pond-breeding species are particularly susceptible to habitat loss and fragmentation because they have terrestrial and aquatic life stages. One approach to management of pond-breeding species is protection of core upland habitat surrounding the breeding pond. We used genetic variation as an indicator of population status in a common amphibian species, spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum), to determine how amount of suitable upland habitat relates to population status in the greater Charlotte, North Carolina, USA metropolitan area. We developed candidate models to evaluate the relative influence of historical and contemporary forested habitat availability on population genetic variation at two spatial scales of upland area (164 m and 2000 m) at four time intervals over the past seven decades (1938, 1978, 1993, 2005). We found that historical land cover best predicted contemporary allelic richness. Inbreeding coefficient and observed heterozygosity were not effectively predicted by forest cover at either spatial or temporal scales. Allelic richness was best predicted at the smaller spatial scale in the 1993 time interval. Predicting and understanding how future landscape configuration affects genetic variation of common and rare species is imperative for the conservation of amphibian and other wildlife populations.

Grant M. Connette, Raymond D. Semlitsch, Context-dependent movement behavior of woodland salamanders (Plethodon) in two habitat types, Zoology, Available online 24 September 2013, ISSN 0944-2006, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.zool.2013.08.004.
Animal movement is critical to the maintenance of functional connectivity at the landscape scale and can play a key role in population persistence and metapopulation dynamics. The permeability of habitat to animal movement may vary as a result of either differential mortality, physical resistance, or simply the behavioral responses of organisms to perceived habitat quality. Understanding how and when animal movement behavior varies among habitat types is critical for identifying barriers to dispersal and predicting species distributions in relation to landscape features. We conducted an experimental translocation study and compared the movement success and behavioral strategies of plethodontid salamanders in both forest and open-canopy habitat. We found that individuals in closed-canopy forest oriented more strongly towards their home ranges and moved significantly farther on their release night. In spite of the clear differences in movement paths, the ultimate movement success of homing salamanders did not appear to vary with habitat type. Our study contributes to a growing body of literature suggesting the importance of recognizing the context dependence of animal movement behavior. Because the movement rates of displaced salamanders were significantly reduced in open-canopy, dispersal rates of plethodontid salamanders in open-canopy habitat are likely lower than in control forest. Further mechanistic studies focusing on habitat-specific movement behavior and survival costs will be valuable for effectively identifying and mitigating barriers to animal movement.

Jan F. Kamler, David W Macdonald, Social organization, survival, and dispersal of cape foxes (Vulpes chama) in South Africa, Mammalian Biology – Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, Available online 25 September 2013, ISSN 1616-5047, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2013.09.004.
We monitored 20 cape foxes (Vulpes chama) to determine the social organization, survival, and dispersal of this species on two sites in South Africa from 2005 to 2008. Cape foxes were socially monogamous and territorial, with annual home ranges of mated pairs (n=8) overlapping 80% on average, compared to a mean overlap of 3% between foxes in adjacent ranges. At least 2 pairs remained associated for >1 breeding season, and both sexes exhibited strong site fidelity, as home ranges in consecutive years overlapped 58-98%. Members of mated pairs never foraged together, however they used the same or nearby day rest locations 81% of the time when pups were 0-4 months of age, but only 28% of the time during other months of the year. Dispersal was male biased, as all juvenile males (n=6) dispersed when 9 to 11.5 months old, whereas 3 of 4 juvenile females remained philopatric as either breeders or non-breeding associates. At least 6 foxes bred as yearlings (3F, 3M), indicating cape foxes have high reproductive potential. Two adult females maintained their territories after their mates died, whereas two adult males dispersed soon after their mates died, indicating cape foxes likely have a female-based social organization. Annual survival was 0.64, and predation from larger carnivores, primarily black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas), was responsible for 71% of mortalities. Our results provided empirical support for previous hypotheses regarding the relationship between body size and life-history patterns in Canidae, as several ecological parameters of cape foxes were similar to that of other small canid species, especially Vulpes species inhabiting arid and semi-arid environments.

Daniela E. Winkler, Lars W. van den Hoek Ostende, Ellen Schulz, Ivan Calandra, Juan-Pablo Gailer, Christina Landwehr, Thomas M. Kaiser, Dietary divergence in space and time – Lessons from the dwarf-goat Myotragus balearicus (Pleisto-Holocene, Mallorca, Spain), Mammalian Biology – Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, Available online 25 September 2013, ISSN 1616-5047, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2013.08.003.
Newly colonised, isolated habitats, like islands, provide diverse niches to be filled and are prone to facilitate ecological separation which might lead to an adaptive radiation. Examples of such radiations can be found in the Mediterranean for the genera Candiacervus (Crete), Nesogoral (Sardinia) and Hoplitomeryx (Gargano). A different strategy to cope with limited resources on islands is generalism. We test whether populations of the endemic bovid Myotragus balearicus from two sites and Pleistocene as well as Holocene levels on Mallorca island displays ecological separation indicated by diet, or whether the species shifted its dietary trait towards generalism. We expect to find either: (1) dietary divergence in space and time (between sites and stratigraphic levels), which would indicate niche partitioning and/or a shift in dietary traits due to environmental influences; or (2) dietary congruence in a less specialised, generalistic dietary strategy in space and time which would indicate a flexible trait to cope with instable resource availability. We compare individuals from a fossil assemblage at a northern site and one assemblage from the eastern coast in terms of their dietary traits. Traits are reconstructed using dental dietary proxies, complementary in time scale and resolution. (1) 3D-dental topometry and (2) enamel surface texture analysis. Data suggest that individuals from both assemblages of M. balearicus behaved as variable browse dominated intermediate feeders. We thus conclude that the observed variability relates to a shift towards generalism as a subsistence strategy. We consider hypsodonty the pre-adaptation for this life style that enabled M. balearicus to exploit almost any food source in its energetically restricted island habitat.

Claire E. Bracebridge, Tim R. B. Davenport, Vicky F. Mbofu, Stuart J. Marsden
Is There a Role for Human-Dominated Landscapes in the Long-Term Conservation Management of the Critically Endangered Kipunji (Rungwecebus kipunji)?
International Journal of Primatology September 2013

As forest loss and degradation continues, the human-dominated landscape outside protected areas should become increasingly relevant to primate conservation. Here we consider the Tanzanian endemic kipunji, Rungwecebus kipunji, whose small extent of occurrence (42 km2) and population (1117 individuals) qualify it for Critically Endangered status on the IUCN Red List. Habitat models suggest there is limited potential for expansion within the kipunji’s current protected forest habitat. In 2010, we examined the potential conservation role of land surrounding the forests using ecological surveys and structured interviews. Land outside protected forest is dominated by subsistence agriculture interspersed with tiny forest patches (almost all

Zootaxa 3717 (1): 001–022 (26 Sept. 2013)
A new Brachyrhamdia (Siluriformes: Heptapteridae) from Rio Japurá basin, Brazil, with comments on its phylogenetic affinities, biogeography and mimicry in the genus

Brachyrhamdia thayeria is herein described as a new heptapterid species from Rio Japurá, a left margin tributary of the Rio Solimões, Amazonas basin, Brazil. The new species is diagnosed from all its congeners by having a putative autapomorphy: dark oblique stripe across the caudal peduncle, originating below the anterior half of adipose fin and ending at base of rays of ventral caudal-fin lobe. Brachyrhamdia thayeria is considered closely related to B. imitator and B. rambarrani with which it shares a low vertebral number and absence of lateral stripe along trunk. The new species shares exclusively with B. rambarrani the presence of a dark conspicuous bar along the dorsolateral region of trunk, a putative synapomorphy. Brachyrhamdia are distributed in lowland regions of northern South America where they inhabit small streams with running waters. The new species appears to have a mimetic association with the syntopic callichthyid Corydoras arcuatus. Herein, we argue in favor of the hypothesis that the interaction between species of Brachyrhamdia and Pimelodella or Corydoras is Müllerian mimicry.

Sarah M. Jones, John Pearson, Nicholas K. DeWind, David Paulsen, Ana-Maria Tenekedjieva, Elizabeth M. Brannon
Lemurs and macaques show similar numerical sensitivity
Animal Cognition September 2013

We investigated the precision of the approximate number system (ANS) in three lemur species (Lemur catta, Eulemur mongoz, and Eulemur macaco flavifrons), one Old World monkey species (Macaca mulatta) and humans (Homo sapiens). In Experiment 1, four individuals of each nonhuman primate species were trained to select the numerically larger of two visual arrays on a touchscreen. We estimated numerical acuity by modeling Weber fractions (w) and found quantitatively equivalent performance among all four nonhuman primate species. In Experiment 2, we tested adult humans in a similar procedure, and they outperformed the four nonhuman species but showed qualitatively similar performance. These results indicate that the ANS is conserved over the primate order.

Edward Kluen, Heli Siitari, Jon E. Brommer
Testing for between individual correlations of personality and physiological traits in a wild bird
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology September 2013

Recently, integration of personality traits into a ‘pace-of-life syndrome’ (POLS) context has been advocated. To be able to understand how an individual’s behavioural, physiological and life history traits may coevolve, we need to jointly quantify these traits in order to study their covariance. Few studies have established links between personality and immunity properties of an individual. We here examined covariation of a measure of skeletal size (tarsus length), three behavioural traits (activity, handling aggression and breath rate) and two immunological traits (IgG level and haematocrit), in 592 wild caught blue tits. Many individuals (201) were tested more than once, allowing quantification of individual consistency of all traits and partition of the covariances between the traits, using a multivariate mixed model, into between individual and residual covariances. We find individual consistency of all behavioural traits, indicating that these capture aspects of blue tit adult personality and also the physiological measures are repeatable. Contrary to the POLS expectation, we find no overall significant individual level correlation structure between these traits and a factor analytical approach confirmed that between individual correlations across traits were not due to a common (POLS) factor or driven by size (tarsus length). Based on a published power study, we conclude that there is no common syndrome of individual level covariance between personality and physiological traits in wild blue tits or that the effect sizes, such a syndrome generates, are too low (r < 0.3) to detect. Future field-based work should be designed to explore low effect sizes and strive to measure specific traits whose involvement is implicated to have large effect sizes as based on, e.g. laboratory findings.

Osvel Hinojosa-Huerta, Ricardo Guzmán-Olachea, Juan Butrón-Méndez, José Juan Butrón-Rodríguez, Alejandra Calvo-Fonseca, Status of marsh birds in the wetlands of the Colorado River delta, México, Ecological Engineering, Volume 59, October 2013, Pages 7-17, ISSN 0925-8574, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2013.04.058.
Populations of secretive marsh birds (Rallidae and Ardeidae) have declined in North America in the last decades. Despite drastic habitat changes, the Colorado River delta supports four species of protected marsh birds: California Black Rail, Virginia Rail, Least Bittern and Yuma Clapper Rail. Our goal was to assess the status (2010–2011) and detect population changes (1999–2011) of marsh birds in the Colorado River delta. This effort was focused on the Cienega de Santa Clara and the recent disturbance events that occurred in this wetland (changes in inflows, dredging and wildfires), but included other areas of the delta as well. The Cienega provides critical habitat for the four species, with estimated abundance of 405 California Black Rails, 7152 Virginia Rails, 8652 Least Bitterns and 8642 Yuma Clapper Rails. Populations of these species have remained stable since 1999, with no significant trend, although with some fluctuations in some years. Other wetlands in the delta also provide important habitat, especially El Doctor Wetlands for California Black Rails and Virginia Rails, the Hardy and Colorado rivers for Yuma Clapper Rails and Least Bitterns, and Laguna del Indio for Yuma Clapper Rails. The detections of marsh birds in 2011 were amongst the highest since the monitoring program began in 1999. This was probably linked to the disturbance regime that was recreated with a series of events in the Cienega, including the dredging of sediment, variations of inflows, and an extensive wildfire. Wetlands in the Colorado River delta support the majority of breeding Yuma clapper rails and important populations of other marsh birds. As these are shared species by México and the U.S., the conservation and restoration of the delta should be a shared responsibility.

G. Cozzi, F. Broekhuis, J. W. McNutt, B. Schmid
Density and habitat use of lions and spotted hyenas in northern Botswana and the influence of survey and ecological variables on call-in survey estimation
Biodiversity and Conservation September 2013

Top predators significantly impact ecosystem dynamics and act as important indicator species for ecosystem health. However, reliable density estimates for top predators, considered necessary for the development of management plans and ecosystem monitoring, are challenging to obtain. This study aims to establish baseline density estimates for two top predators, spotted hyena and lion, in the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana. Using calling stations, we surveyed free-ranging populations of the two species and investigated methodological variables that might influence results about distributions and densities, including habitat type, seasonality, and different types of playback sounds. Calling stations were distributed over a survey area of approximately 1,800 km2 characterized by three major habitat types: mopane woodland, floodplain and mixed acacia sandveld. Results indicate spotted hyenas were evenly distributed independent of habitat type and season throughout the survey area with an overall density estimate of 14.4 adults/100 km2. In contrast, lion distribution and density varied significantly with habitat and season. Lion density in the prey-poor mopane woodland was near zero, while in the comparatively prey-rich floodplains it was estimated at 23.1 individuals/100 km2 resulting in a weighted average density of 5.8 individuals/100 km2 across the entire study area. In testing the effect of varying playback sounds we found that both species were significantly more likely to respond to calls of conspecifics. Our results show how several methodological variables may influence density estimates and emphasize the importance of standardized calling-station survey methods to allow consistent replication of surveys and comparison of results that can be used for landscape-scale monitoring of large predator species.

Sohrab Ashrafi, Marianne Rutishauser, Klaus Ecker, Martin K. Obrist, Raphaël Arlettaz, Fabio Bontadina
Habitat selection of three cryptic Plecotus bat species in the European Alps reveals contrasting implications for conservation
Biodiversity and Conservation September 2013

Assessing the ecological requirements of species coexisting within a community is an essential requisite for developing sound conservation action. A particularly interesting question is what mechanisms govern the stable coexistence of cryptic species within a community, i.e. species that are almost impossible to distinguish. Resource partitioning theory predicts that cryptic species, like other sympatric taxa, will occupy distinct ecological niches. This prediction is widely inferred from eco-morphological studies. A new cryptic long-eared bat species, Plecotus macrobullaris, has been recently discovered in the complex of two other species present in the European Alps, with even evidence for a few mixed colonies. This discovery poses challenges to bat ecologists concerned with planning conservation measures beyond roost protection. We therefore tested whether foraging habitat segregation occurred among the three cryptic Plecotus bat species in Switzerland by radiotracking 24 breeding female bats (8 of each species). We compared habitat features at locations visited by a bat versus random locations within individual home ranges, applying mixed effects logistic regression. Distinct, species-specific habitat preferences were revealed. P. auritus foraged mostly within traditional orchards in roost vicinity, with a marked preference for habitat heterogeneity. P. austriacus foraged up to 4.7 km from the roost, selecting mostly fruit tree plantations, hedges and tree lines. P. macrobullaris preferred patchy deciduous and mixed forests with high vertical heterogeneity in a grassland dominated-matrix. These species-specific habitat preferences should inform future conservation programmes. They highlight the possible need of distinct conservation measures for species that look very much alike.

Zootaxa 3717 (2): 179–194 (27 Sept. 2013)
Two new species of Cabillus (Perciformes: Gobiidae) and the first record of Cabillus macrophthalmus from the Western Indian Ocean

Two new species of the gobiid genus Cabillus, C. nigromarginatus sp. nov. and Cabillus nigrostigmus sp. nov. are described. Cabillus nigromarginatus (from Rodrigues, Western Indian Ocean) is distinguished from congeners by having 18–20 pectoral-fin rays; predorsal area naked; two scales with enlarged ctenii ventrally and dorsally at the caudal-fin base; head with anterior and posterior oculoscapular, and preopercular canals, with pores σ, λ, κ, ω, α, β, ρ, ρ1, ρ2, and γ, δ, ε respectively; the body with four midline lateral blotches, with two or three of them expanding upwards in dorsal saddles;
a dark triangular blotch at caudal-fin base; and predorsal with pigmentation at lateral edges forming a rectangle. Cabillus nigrostigmus (from the Red Sea) is distinguished from its congeners by having 19 pectoral-fin rays; transverse scale series 7; nape scaled, median predorsal scales 7; body depth 5.8–6.0 in SL; snout length 1.5–1.9 in eye diameter; caudalpeduncle depth in its length 2.4–2.5; a broad dark brown bar below first dorsal fin beginning anteriorly at the level of fourth spine of the first dorsal fin; elongate black blotch along posterior half of first dorsal fin extending into the sixth
spine and adjacent membranes; and midlateral black spot at the end of caudal peduncle followed by S-shaped dark bar. Cabillus macrophthalmus is recorded for the first time in the Western Indian Ocean (Red Sea and Seychelles) and redescribed.

Jacques Blondel, Benjamin Hoffmann, Franck
The end of Invasion Biology: intellectual debate does not equate to nonsensical science
CourchampBiological Invasions September 2013

Valéry et al. recently proposed to end the field of Invasion Biology on the grounds that it is based on an inadequate definition of the concept of biological invasion and that, as exotic species, native species should also be called invasive whenever they outbreak. We argue, on the contrary, that the sudden demographic dominance of native species cannot be termed invasion. Moreover, we claim that the suggestion of ending a fruitful and useful discipline because it does not conform to a subjective definition or because it still encompasses some debatable ideas and unresolved questions is both irrelevant and excessive. We believe that the thousands of researchers working in this discipline do not perform nonsensical science, and that their efforts to understand and limit biological invasions are compatible with debating on the key concept of that field.

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