Abstract View

Zootaxa 3721 (2): 172–182 (14 Oct. 2013)
Revalidation of Saguinus ursula Hoffmannsegg (Primates: Cebidae: Callitrichinae)

In this study, we review the taxonomy of Saguinus niger (É. Geoffroy) and revalidate Saguinus ursula Hoffmannsegg as a distinct species. The revalidation is based on pelage coloration, and the pattern of morphological divergence is corrob- orated by molecular data. Samples from the east bank of the Tocantins River (S. ursulus) were distinct from specimens of S. niger from the west bank in having mid-dorsal hair with an wide (5.0–55 mm) intermediary band of bright and golden buffy color; long (ca. 23–26 mm) dorsal hair at the inter-scapular region; and naked (not noticeably haired) face, hands and fingers. Saguinus ursulus and S. niger are allopatric, and Tocantins River is putatively acting as an effective barrier for gene flow. A lectotype to S. ursulus from syntypes was designated.

Zootaxa 3721 (4): 379–386 (16 Oct. 2013)
Crenicichla taikyra (Teleostei: Cichlidae), a new species of pike cichlid from the middle río Paraná, Argentina

Crenicichla taikyra, new species, is described from the middle río Paraná, Argentina. Crenicichla taikyra is distinguished from the other species of the genus by the following combination of characters: lower pharyngeal tooth plate stout, bearing molariform teeth, ascending arm of premaxilla longer than the dentigerous arm, posterior edge of preoperculum serrated, a well developed suborbital stripe, and absence of scattered dark dots on flanks. Molariform teeth on pharyngeal jaws is a derived character among Crenicichla species, however this character state has appeared several times in unrelated species.

Zootaxa 3721 (5): 455–474 (17 Oct. 2013)
A new giant Atractus (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) from Ecuador, with notes on some other large Amazonian congeners

We describe a new species of Atractus from Cordillera de los Guacamayos in the Andes of Ecuador. This new species is
the largest known species of Atractus, reaching almost 120 cm in total length with a robust habitus. We also use multivariate statistical analyses of morphometric data to look into the taxonomic confusion involving other large, banded/blotched, species of Atractus in Western Amazonia. We show that A. snethlageae has a widespread distribution in Amazonia and has been repeatedly confused with A. major in Ecuador owing to its color polymorphism. Our multivariate statistical analyses support previous suggestions to recognize A. snethlageae as a distinct species relative to A. flammigerus. Taxonomic accounts are provided for both A. major and A. snethlageae including detailed color pattern descriptions.

Fuller, J. L. (2013), The vocal repertoire of adult male blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis stulmanni): A quantitative analysis of acoustic structure. Am. J. Primatol.. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22223
Vocal signals are key elements in understanding species‘ behavior, sociality, and evolution. Quantified repertoires serve as foundations for investigating usage and function of particular signals, and also provide a basis for comparative analyses among individuals, populations, and taxa to explore how entire signal systems evolve. This study presents a descriptive catalogue of all vocal signals used by adult male blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis stuhlmanni). During 12 months in the Kakamega Forest, Kenya, I observed and digitally recorded vocal behavior of 32 adult males across a variety of socioecological contexts. From recordings, I measured 18 temporal-frequency parameters. Undirected ordination and hierarchical cluster analysis identified six distinct call types regularly used by males: ant, boom, ka, katrain, nasal scream, and pyow. Cross-validated discriminant function analysis supported the classifications. The repertoire is best described as discrete, though some gradation occurs between pyows and ants. Summary of acoustic structure and exemplar spectrograms are provided for each call type, along with preliminary examination of socioecological contexts in which they were produced. Discussion addresses repertoire structure, similarity to other taxa, and potential for functional inferences.

Collar, N. J. and Butchart, S. H. M. (2013), Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook. doi: 10.1111/izy.12039
Given the increasing rapprochement between aviculture and conservation organizations and the escalating global crisis in species conservation, we enumerate the avian taxa that are subject to, or might most appropriately be considered for, conservation-breeding programmes. Although the overall total, at 257, is only 2·6% of the extant global avifauna, the role for zoos remains crucial. Of this total, captive breeding is judged ‘Necessary’ or ‘Integral’ to conservation efforts for 45 spp (18%); for the great majority, it is regarded as ‘Precautionary’ or ‘Prudent’ [192 spp (75%)], and for the remainder it is recommended either as a showcase for in situ efforts [3 spp (1%) – although this proportion could be larger] or to deflect pressure from wild populations by the market-driven supply of captive-bred individuals [17 spp (7%)]. For the 8–21% of these species for which captive populations may not already exist, more detailed assessment is required prior to attempting to establish ex situ populations. Avicultural institutions preparing to rise to these challenges should recognize that: (1) the taking of birds into captivity should not provide an excuse to developers to continue unchecked with whatever activity threatens the species in question; species recovery programmes driven primarily by conservation-breeding interests may need a more holistic agenda that develops the in situ component; success has so far been elusive in several ‘Necessary’ cases (in which failure would lead almost certainly to extinction); a delicate balance is needed between leaving ex situ management too late and starting it too early; choice of species will depend not only on biological need but also on factors relating to the individual institution; our recommendations are simply to consider conservation breeding for the species listed here that are not already in programmes; speed of reaction is of the essence once the decision is clear; new priorities will constantly arise, in some cases deriving from taxonomic revisions.

Jiménez-Franco, M. V., Martínez, J. E. and Calvo, J. F. (2013), Patterns of nest reuse in forest raptors and their effects on reproductive output. Journal of Zoology. doi: 10.1111/jzo.12085
The presence of old nest structures can be an influential resource in reuse patterns and reproductive output for some birds. We used 15-year territorial occupancy data referring to the booted eagle Aquila pennata (a trans-Saharan migrant) and the common buzzard Buteo buteo (a sedentary species in southeastern Spain) to analyse old nest effects in territorial settlement patterns (new territories, new establishments in old territories and reoccupancies), to describe the patterns of nest building versus nest reuse and to test whether nest building is costly in terms of current reproductive output. The results indicated that the rates of reoccupancy and new establishments in old territories were higher than the rates of creating new territories for both booted eagles (74.13, 23.35 and 2.52%, respectively) and common buzzards (58.25, 38.84 and 2.91%, respectively). When breeding pairs settled in old territories, we observed a noticeably lower pattern of nest building than nest reuse both in booted eagles (10.03 vs. 89.97%) and common buzzards (8.00 vs. 92.00%). The nest-building rate by booted eagles was significantly lower in reoccupancies than in new establishments in old territories. Reproductive output for each species was not increased by nest reuse, although breeding success and productivity were significantly higher when newly established booted eagles constructed new nests than when reusing old nests. Our findings provides an interesting view on how forest raptors use old nests as important resources, probably taking them as location cues for nesting site selection and suggesting that unused nest sites should be left undisturbed since they could attract breeding raptor pairs in future years.

Natalia A. Rodriguez, Karine M. Legzim, Fayeza Aliou, Omar Ali S. Al-Naimi, Maryam Bamshad, Does mating prevent monogamous males from seeking other females? A study in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster), Behavioural Processes, Available online 16 October 2013, ISSN 0376-6357, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2013.10.002.
Male prairie voles form pair bonds under laboratory conditions, but show a variety of mating tactics in nature. We tested them in the laboratory to determine if their decision to reproduce with a single or multiple females is related to how they process sensory information from females. Three groups of mated males were tested for their attentiveness towards two females and their odors. Males given a choice to investigate a box holding their mate or a box holding a sexually receptive female spent more time with the box of the sexually receptive female than that of their mate. Similar results were found when females were removed and replaced by their odors. However, males did not attend preferentially to the sexually receptive female under all circumstances. When given a choice between a sexually unreceptive and a sexually receptive female, males did not display a difference in their attentiveness. Furthermore, males tested in presence of their mate were more attentive to the odor of the sexually receptive female than males tested in presence of a sexually unreceptive female. The data suggest that access to the mate’s sensory cues may influence male’s decision to seek females other than his mate.

Nicholas J. Mulcahy, Michèle N. Schubiger
Can orangutans (Pongo abelii) infer tool functionality?
Animal Cognition October 2013

It is debatable whether apes can reason about the unobservable properties of tools. We tested orangutans for this ability with a range of tool tasks that they could solve by using observational cues to infer tool functionality. In experiment 1, subjects successfully chose an unbroken tool over a broken one when each tool’s middle section was hidden. This prevented seeing which tool was functional but it could be inferred by noting the tools’ visible ends that were either disjointed (broken tool) or aligned (unbroken tool). We investigated whether success in experiment 1 was best explained by inferential reasoning or by having a preference per se for a hidden tool with an aligned configuration. We conducted a similar task to experiment 1 and included a functional bent tool that could be arranged to have the same disjointed configuration as the broken tool. The results suggested that subjects had a preference per se for the aligned tool by choosing it regardless of whether it was paired with the broken tool or the functional bent tool. However, further experiments with the bent tool task suggested this preference was a result of additional demands of having to attend to and remember the properties of the tools from the beginning of the task. In our last experiment, we removed these task demands and found evidence that subjects could infer the functionality of a broken tool and an unbroken tool that both looked identical at the time of choice.

Charlène A. Ruppli, Amélie N. Dreiss, Alexandre Roulin
Nestling barn owls assess short-term variation in the amount of vocally competing siblings
Animal Cognition November 2013, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 993-1000

Assessing the amount of rivals is crucial to optimally adjust investment into a contest. If laboratory animals show numerical abilities, little is known about the ecological implications particularly in young animals. The two to nine barn owl (Tyto alba) siblings vocally compete for priority of access to food resources before parents actually deliver them. In dyads, the individual that vocalizes at the highest rate in the absence of parents deters its siblings from competing for next delivered prey. We tested the novel hypothesis that to optimally adjust vocal investment, barn owl nestlings assess how many of their siblings are currently competing. To singleton owlets, we broadcasted a fixed global number of calls emitted by one, two or four pre-recorded unfamiliar nestlings. We could thus distinguish the independent effect on singletons’ vocal behavior of the global number of calls produced by a brood from the number of competitors that produced these calls. Overall, nestlings retreated more from vocal contest when facing more competitors. However, in front of one highly motivated competitor, nestlings refrained from vocalizing to a larger extent than when competing against more but less motivated individuals. Therefore, young animals assess variation in the number of currently competing siblings based on individual-specific vocal cues.

A. Descovich Kristin, T. Lisle Allan, Johnston Stephen, J.C. Phillips Clive, The effect of group size on vigilance in a semi-solitary, fossorial marsupial (Lasiorhinus latifrons), Behavioural Processes, Available online 17 October 2013, ISSN 0376-6357, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2013.09.015.
Prey species that congregate gain protection against predatory attacks and this advantage is often reflected by a reduction in vigilance behaviour by individuals in larger groups. Comparatively few studies have investigated vigilance in solitary animals, but those that have, found that vigilance increases as group size increases because of the threat posed by conspecifics and/or competition for resources. The southern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) is a large fossorial, nocturnal marsupial that is neither strictly solitary nor gregarious, sharing warren systems with multiple conspecifics. We investigated the effects of conspecific presence on vigilance behaviour in this semi-solitary species. We observed wild-born, adult L. latifrons wombats in three group sizes, (Large (1♂, 3♀), Medium (1♂, 2♀) and Small (1♂, 1♀)) in a captive, naturalistic environment that allowed above-ground and den behaviour monitoring. Vigilance behaviours were performed less frequently by wombats in large groups (e.g. scanning, counts/day, Large: 55, Medium: 69, Small: 115, P=0.002) and more frequently as the distance from their nearest conspecific increased (r 8698 =0.27). Vigilance within burrows was also affected by social influences, with solitary wombats significantly more vigilant than those denning with a conspecific. It is concluded that the presence of conspecifics reduces vigilance in L. latifrons wombats, even within burrows, and this may partially explain the occurrence of warren sharing in the wild.

Å. Ø. Pedersen, E. M. Soininen, S. Unander, M. H. Willebrand, E. Fuglei
Experimental harvest reveals the importance of territoriality in limiting the breeding population of Svalbard rock ptarmigan
European Journal of Wildlife Research October 2013

The Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea) is an endemic subspecies of rock ptarmigan inhabiting the high Arctic archipelagos of Svalbard and Franz Josefs Land. This ptarmigan species exists at low population densities, with little interannual variations in population numbers, and limited habitat for breeding with less than 5 % of the land area in Svalbard constituting medium to high quality breeding habitat. Unander and Steen (1985) hypothesized, based on a descriptive study, that territories sufficiently attractive for breeding could be a limiting factor of the Svalbard rock ptarmigan population. Here, we use experimental data from a 3-year removal experiment (1984–1986) to test their hypothesis by comparing breeding density, demography (sex and age ratios) and body mass of birds between experimental removal plots and control locations. We found evidence of surplus birds by showing that both sexes of Svalbard rock ptarmigan replaced quickly in vacant territories after removal of the resident birds, and that breeding densities were similar for the experimental and control populations. Replaced males in the breeding population weighed less than males in the initial breeding population and tended to be younger. Experimental harvest during the preceding spring had no effect on male body mass, population sex ratio or the proportion of juvenile males in the pre-breeding population the following spring. The documented surplus of male and female Svalbard rock ptarmigan and a lack of impact on breeding densities from removal of birds leave a proportion available for harvest.

Stanislav Grill, Jan Riegert
Population densities and habitat use of the golden jackal (Canis aureus) in farmlands across the Balkan Peninsula
Martin Šálek, Jaroslav Červinka, Ovidiu C. Banea, Miha Krofel, Duško Ćirović, Ivana Selanec, Aleksandra Penezić European Journal of Wildlife Research October 2013

The main objective of this study was to analyze the habitat use and population densities of the golden jackal in four countries across lowland regions of the Balkan Peninsula, known as the core area of the species‘ distribution in Europe. Using indirect (acoustic) method for detecting territorial golden jackals, we surveyed jackal presence and densities on 331 monitoring sites in four countries, covering area an of 4,296 km2 in total during April and May 2007–2012. We used GIS to assess landscape and environmental characteristics in a 2-km circular buffer (12.6 km2) around calling stations. Average population density of golden jackals in the study areas ranged between 0.6 and 1.1 territorial groups/10 km2 (mean ± SE, 0.6 ± 0.06 groups/10 km2), with several high-density areas with up to 4.8 territorial groups/10 km2. Analysis of habitat use showed that for both jackal occurrence and number of jackal groups, the only significant parameter was the interaction between country and intensity of agriculture, indicating that jackals adapt their habitat selection patterns in relation to the habitat availability. We observed that selection of the more suitable habitats (shrub–herbaceous vegetation/heterogeneous agricultural vegetation) increased with lower proportion of these habitat types in the study area. Our study confirms high habitat plasticity of the golden jackal and offers explanation for its recent range expansion, which might be connected with the land use changes during the last decades in the Balkan Peninsula.

Jens Malmkvist, Rupert Palme, Pernille M. Svendsen, Steffen W. Hansen, Additional foraging elements reduce abnormal behaviour–fur-chewing and stereotypic behaviour–in farmed mink (Neovison vison), Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Available online 14 October 2013, ISSN 0168-1591, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2013.10.001.
We investigated whether provision of additional appetitive and consummatory elements of foraging reduces baseline stress and abnormal behaviour–in terms of fur-chewing and stereotypic behaviour–in farmed mink. We studied 200 juveniles (n=100 females and 100 males) during the 5-month growth period with plenty of feed, and subsequently the females as adults during the 2-month feed restriction period before mating. The mink were distributed in four equally sized groups: (i) FARM, conventional finely ground feed without additional foraging elements, (ii) ROPE, access to biting ropes; (iii) CONS, chunky feed (parts up to 42mm), replacing conventional feed; (iv) BOTH, access to both biting ropes and chunky feed. In growing mink, biting ropes reduced fur-chewing (P =0.044) and chunky feed reduced stereotypic behaviour (P =0.038) and fur-chewing in female mink (P =0.019). During the season of feed restriction, the wear/tear of biting ropes increased. Females on the chunky diet had a higher concentration of faecal cortisol metabolites (P =0.033), probably due to a more severe slimming resulting in a 6.2% lower body weight (P =0.006) than the mink on the finely ground diet; still the chunky diet reduced time spent in pre-feeding stereotypies (P =0.001). In the restrictively fed females, fur-chewing was reduced both by access to biting ropes (P =0.005) and chunky feed (P =0.007). Consequently, 54% of group FARM mink displayed fur-chewing compared to 21% in group BOTH. In conclusion, stereotypic behaviour was reduced by provision of chunky feed, increasing the consummatory element in daily foraging. Fur-chewing was reduced upon access to either biting ropes or chunky feed in female mink throughout the study. Our findings support frustrated foraging, mainly consummatory, behind abnormal behaviour.

Karina Karenina, Andrey Giljov, Tatiana Ivkovich, Alexandr Burdin, Yegor Malashichev, Lateralization of spatial relationships between wild mother and infant orcas, Orcinus orca, Animal Behaviour, Available online 15 October 2013, ISSN 0003-3472, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.09.025.
Cooperative interactions have been argued to be a powerful factor mediating the evolution of lateralization in animals. Mother−infant asymmetric spatial relationships represent a case of social coordination among organisms. Although lateralized interactions between mothers and infants have been found in beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas, whether this is the case in other cetaceans remains unknown. In the current study, we investigated mother–infant spatial laterality, more specifically, the lateral biases in an infant’s position near its mother in wild orcas, Orcinus orca. Distances between the research boat and whales were categorized into three groups to test the influence of a potential threat on laterality expression. Observations on travelling individually identified mother–infant pairs showed group-level preference for the infant to be on the mother’s right side when far from the boat. This bias reversed at close distance. At an intermediate distance, no significant side bias was found; however, when we considered only cases of apparent mother−calf pair avoidance of the boat for analysis, the left-sided bias was again observed. In contrast, when infants were socializing near mothers or when they followed older calves, the infants preferred the right side. We argue that these preferences are associated with right-hemispheric advantage in social responses, while the shift from right-sided to left-sided bias in potentially threatening situations is caused by role reversal between mother and infant in determining their relative position in the dyad. Cetaceans seem to share with primates the pronounced lateralization of parent−offspring relationships.

Alexandre Anctil, Alastair Franke, Joël Bêty
Heavy rainfall increases nestling mortality of an arctic top predator: experimental evidence and long-term trend in peregrine falcons
Oecologia October 2013

Although animal population dynamics have often been correlated with fluctuations in precipitation, causal relationships have rarely been demonstrated in wild birds. We combined nest observations with a field experiment to investigate the direct effect of rainfall on survival of peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) nestlings in the Canadian Arctic. We then used historical data to evaluate if recent changes in the precipitation regime could explain the long-term decline of falcon annual productivity. Rainfall directly caused more than one-third of the recorded nestling mortalities. Juveniles were especially affected by heavy rainstorms (≥8 mm/day). Nestlings sheltered from rainfall by a nest box had significantly higher survival rates. We found that the increase in the frequency of heavy rain over the last three decades is likely an important factor explaining the recent decline in falcon nestling survival rates, and hence the decrease in annual breeding productivity of the population. Our study is among the first experimental demonstrations of the direct link between rainfall and survival in wild birds, and clearly indicates that top arctic predators can be significantly impacted by changes in precipitation regime.

Clarita Rodríguez-Soto, Octavio Monroy-Vilchis, Martha M. Zarco-González, Corridors for jaguar (Panthera onca) in Mexico: Conservation strategies, Journal for Nature Conservation, Available online 17 October 2013, ISSN 1617-1381, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2013.07.002.
Several species of carnivores, as jaguar, live in low densities and require extent habitat areas for survive. One of their main threats is fragmentation and demographic isolation. Identifying the habitat corridors, we can help the conservation of these species. We identified the viable and potential corridors between jaguar management and conservation areas for Panthera onca in Mexico. We considerate an ensemble model of the potential distribution of P. onca in Mexico, from which were identified jaguar management and conservation areas (JCMA). According to these attributes, we identified the possible habitat corridors between the JCMA with Corridor Designer. Thirteen habitat corridors were between all JCMA. However only seven were viable corridors and six were potential corridors. Also, in two areas of potential corridors were identified Stepping Stones that can help the jaguar movement between large fragments. In the thirteen habitat corridors, the main threats for jaguars are habitat fragmentation, roads, highway and possible conflict human-wildlife (livestock predation). The results from this work can provide the bases to take actions on the protection of connecting zones and alleviate the mortality of wildlife in these areas.

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