Zootaxa 3737 (3): 261–279 (20 Nov. 2013)
Two new species of Tylototriton from Thailand (Amphibia: Urodela: Salamandridae)
KANTO NISHIKAWA, WICHASE KHONSUE, PORRAWEE POMCHOTE & MASAFUMI MATSUI
Three morphological groups are found in a salamandrid newt Tylototriton shanjing from Thailand. We describe two of them as new species, one from northern and the other from northeastern Thailand, based on molecular and morphological data, however we could not make a taxonomic decision on the remaining one group because of the lack of voucher specimens and sufficient genetic data. The northern species differs morphologically from all known congeners by having the combination of orange to reddish brown markings, narrow and sharply protruding dorsolateral bony ridges on head, weakly segmented vertebral ridge, and long and high tail. The northeastern species is characterized by having the combination of yellow, orange, or reddish brown markings, wide and moderately protruding dorsolateral bony ridges on head, smooth vertebral ridge, black limbs, and black tail except for edges. Validity of taxonomic subdivision of the genus Tylototriton is discussed.
Zootaxa 3737 (3): 280–288 (20 Nov. 2013)
Description of a new Tiger Snake (Colubridae, Telescopus ) from south-western Africa
WULF D. HAACKE
Telescopus finkeldeyi sp. nov. is described from western central to northern Namibia and south-western Angola. Its maximum size is less than that of the other three taxa occurring in southern Africa. It is further distinguished by its fairly variable colour pattern. Although the number of ventrals and the undevided anal scale are similar to that of T. beetzii, the presence of 19 scale rows around the middle differs from the 21 rows of T. beetzii.
Jessica L. Yorzinski, Michael L. Platt
Selective attention in peacocks during predator detection
Animal Cognition November 2013
Predation can exert strong selective pressure on the evolution of behavioral and morphological traits in birds. Because predator avoidance is key to survival and birds rely heavily on visual perception, predation may have shaped avian visual systems as well. To address this question, we examined the role of visual attention in antipredator behavior in peacocks (Pavo cristatus). Peacocks were exposed to a model predator while their gaze was continuously recorded with a telemetric eye-tracker. We found that peacocks spent more time looking at and made more fixations on the predator compared to the same spatial location before the predator was revealed. The duration of fixations they directed toward conspecifics and environmental features decreased after the predator was revealed, indicating that the peacocks were rapidly scanning their environment with their eyes. Maximum eye movement amplitudes and amplitudes of consecutive saccades were similar before and after the predator was revealed. In cases where conspecifics detected the predator first, peacocks appeared to learn that danger was present by observing conspecifics’ antipredator behavior. Peacocks were faster to detect the predator when they were fixating closer to the area where the predator would eventually appear. In addition, pupil size increased after predator exposure, consistent with increased physiological arousal. These findings demonstrate that peacocks selectively direct their attention toward predatory threats and suggest that predation has influenced the evolution of visual orienting systems.
Sandie Millot, Jonatan Nilsson, Jan Erik Fosseidengen, Marie-Laure Bégout, Anders Fernö, Victoria A. Braithwaite, Tore S. Kristiansen
Innovative behaviour in fish: Atlantic cod can learn to use an external tag to manipulate a self-feeder
Animal Cognition November 2013
This study describes how three individual fish, Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.), developed a novel behaviour and learnt to use a dorsally attached external tag to activate a self-feeder. This behaviour was repeated up to several hundred times, and over time these fish fine-tuned the behaviour and made a series of goal-directed coordinated movements needed to attach the feeder’s pull string to the tag and stretch the string until the feeder was activated. These observations demonstrate a capacity in cod to develop a novel behaviour utilizing an attached tag as a tool to achieve a goal. This may be seen as one of the very few observed examples of innovation and tool use in fish.
Adjustment of juvenile tuatara to a cooler, southern climate: operative temperatures, emergence behaviour and growth rate
RSR Mello, AA Besson, KM Hare, V Fay, E Smith, A Cree
New Zealand Journal of Zoology
Translocations for conservation often involve species limited to relict distributions. However, uncertainty can exist regarding the ability of source individuals to acclimatise following a shift to a distant location. We investigated the ability of captive-reared juvenile tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) of Cook Strait stock (41°S) to adjust to outdoor, predator-protected pens within Orokonui Ecosanctuary (45 °S). We examined potential basking and within burrow temperatures, the influence of temperature on emergence, and growth rates in comparison with other locations. Tuatara at Orokonui reached their preferred temperature when basking over summer, and burrows provided protection from freezing over winter. Emergence was temperature-dependent and essentially ceased during winter. Growth rates of Orokonui-held juveniles were within the range for four other captive-rearing facilities and faster than for wild juveniles from a Cook Strait population. As all Orokonui-held juveniles have survived and grown we conclude that the climate at this southern location is suitable to consider a free-release.
A preliminary method for estimating the age of brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) embryos
EA Prier, BD Gartrell, MA Potter, S Bassett
New Zealand Journal of Zoology
Morphological features of a collection of unknown-age wild kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) embryos from early development to point of hatch are described. Using these features, we assign developmental stages to each embryo and compare the progress of development to similar-staged ostrich (Struthio camelus) and chicken (Gallus gallus) embryos. Two ageing schemes for the kiwi embryos are developed by comparing measurements of their hindlimb segments, bills and crown–rump lengths with those of ostrich and chicken embryos at various stages of development. One of the 20 kiwi embryos was of known age. Both the ostrich model and the chicken model gave identical predictions for the marker and four other embryos. Developmental timing of some features differed between all three species, most markedly in the bill, with growth in the kiwi bill being relatively faster to achieve its larger relative and absolute size at hatch.
Gero, S., Milligan, M., Rinaldi, C., Francis, P., Gordon, J., Carlson, C., Steffen, A., Tyack, P., Evans, P. and Whitehead, H. (2013), Behavior and social structure of the sperm whales of Dominica, West Indies. Marine Mammal Science. doi: 10.1111/mms.12086
There is substantial geographic variation in the behavior and social structure of sperm whales worldwide. The population in the Eastern Caribbean is thought to be isolated from other areas in the North Atlantic. We describe the behavior and social structure of the sperm whales identified off Dominica during an eight year study (2005–2012; 92% of photographic identifications) with supplementary data collected from seven other organizations dating as far back as 1981. A total of 419 individuals were identified. Resighting rates (42% of individuals between years) and encounter rates with sperm whale groups (mean = 80.4% of days at sea) among this population were both comparatively high. Group sizes were small (7–9 individuals) and were comprised of just one social unit (mean = 6.76 individuals, SD = 2.80). We described 17 units which have been reidentified off Dominica across 2–27 yr. Mature males are seen regularly off Dominica, but residency in the area lasts only a few days to a few weeks. Males were reidentified across years spanning up to a decade. Management of this population within the multinational Wider Caribbean Region will require governments to work towards international agreements governing sperm whales as a cross-border species of concern.
Emerging issues and challenges in conservation of biodiversity in the rangelands of Tanzania
Jafari Kideghesho, Alfan Rija, Kuruthumu Mwamende, Ismail Selemani
Nature Conservation 6 (2013): 1-29
Tanzania rangelands are a stronghold for biodiversity harbouring a variety of animal and plant species of economic, ecological and socio-cultural importance. Efforts to protect these resources against destruction and loss have involved, among other things, setting aside some tracks of land as protected areas in the form of national parks, nature reserves, game reserves, game controlled and wildlife management areas. However, these areas and adjacent lands have long been subjected to a number of emerging issues and challenges, which complicate their management, thus putting the resources at risk of over exploitation and extinction. These issues and challenges include, among other things, government policies, failure of conservation (as a form of land use) to compete effectively with alternative land uses, habitat degradation and blockage of wildlife corridors, overexploitation and illegal resource extraction, wildfires, human population growth, poverty, HIV/AIDS pandemic and human-wildlife conflicts. In this paper, we review the emerging issues and challenges in biodiversity conservation by drawing experience from different parts of Tanzania. The paper is based on the premise that, understanding of the issues and challenges underpinning the rangelands is a crucial step towards setting up of plausible objectives, strategies and plans that will improve and lead to effective management of these areas. We conclude by recommending some proactive measures that may enhance the sustainability of the rangeland resources for the benefit of the current and future generations.
A catalog of bird specimens associated with Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied and potential type material in the natural history collection in Wiesbaden
Dorothee Hoffmann, Fritz Geller-Grimm
ZooKeys 353 (2013): 81-93
Bird specimens collected by 19th century explorer and ornithologist Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied form one of the foundation collections of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. However, parts of his collection remained in Germany and came to the Museum Wiesbaden. Since Wied described numerous new species without designating types, some of these specimens might be type material. Here we present a catalog of the 30 Wiesbaden specimens associated with him and discuss their potential type status. We conclude that 17 individuals in 11 species are potential type specimens that should be considered in future taxonomic work.
Zootaxa 3737 (4): 399–414 (21 Nov. 2013)
Phylogeny of the Cyrtodactylus irregularis species complex (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Vietnam with the description of two new species
SANG NGOC NGUYEN, THANH-NGAN THI LE, THI ANH DAO TRAN, NIKOLAI L. ORLOV, AMY LATHROP, ROSS D. MACCULLOCH, THUY-DUONG THI LE, JIE-QIONG JIN, LUAN THANH NGUYEN, TAO THIEN NGUYEN, DAT DUC HOANG, JING CHE, ROBERT W. MURPHY & YA-PING ZHANG
The number of described species of bent-toed geckos of the Cyrtodactylus irregularis species complex in Vietnam has increased from one to eight in the last six years. We combined morphological and molecular analyses to explore phylogenetic relationships among all described species in the group. The phylogeny required the description of two new species, Cyrtodactylus phuocbinhensis sp. nov. and Cyrtodactylus taynguyenensis sp. nov. Further, the tree resolved two additional undescribed clades that may also be new species. The species C. bugiamapensis and C. ziegleri were found to require redefinition. Cyrtodactylus phuocbinhensis sp. nov. is characterized by a series of enlarged femoral scales separated from preanal scales while Cyrtodactylus taynguyenensis sp. nov. does not possess enlarged femoral scales. Both new species are distinguished from other congeners by a combination of the following characters: small subcaudal scales, not transversely enlarged; presence (C. phuocbinhensis sp. nov.) or absence (C. taynguyenensis sp. nov.) of enlarged femoral scales; number of preanal pores; and dorsal pattern. Genetic distances between described species and new species were 16.5% and 2.0% in COI
and RPL35, respectively, for C. phuocbinhensis sp. nov., and these distances were 18.8% and 2.2% for C. taynguyenensis sp. nov., respectively.
Zootaxa 3737 (4): 415–428 (21 Nov. 2013)
A new species of Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from the highest mountain in Indochina
JODI J. L. ROWLEY, VINH QUANG DAU & TAO THIEN NGUYEN
We describe a new species of Leptolalax from northern Vietnam. Leptolalax botsfordi sp. nov. is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of (1) supra-axillary and ventrolateral glands present; (2) dark brownish red ventral surface with white speckling; (3) medium body size for the genus (29.1–32.6 mm in 7 adult males, 30.0–31.8 mm in 2 females); (4) black markings on the flanks absent; (5) toes with rudimentary webbing and weak lateral fringing; (6) large pectoral glands (1.1–1.9 mm; 4–6% SVL) and femoral glands (2.4–4.3 mm; 7–14% SVL); and (7) an advertisement call with a dominant frequency of 2.6–3.2 kHz (at 14.0º C). At present, the new species is known only from upper montane forest between 2,795–2,815 m elevation on Mount Fansipan, Hoang Lien National Park. To our knowledge, Leptolalax botsfordi sp. nov. occurs at higher elevations than any other species in the genus. If L. botsfordi sp. nov. is truly restricted to a narrow, high-elevation band, it is likely to be particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The new species also faces the immediate threat of habitat
degradation and pollution due to tourist activity.
Sarie Van Belle, Alejandro Estrada, Paul A. Garber
Spatial and Diurnal Distribution of Loud Calling in Black Howlers (Alouatta pigra)
International Journal of Primatology November 2013
Loud calling, i.e., howling, is the single most distinctive behavioral attribute of the social system of howler monkeys (Alouatta spp.), yet no general consensus has been established regarding its function. During a 16-mo study, we investigated the degree to which howling bouts varied in duration and spatial and temporal patterns across different social contexts in three groups of black howlers (Alouatta pigra) at Palenque National Park, Mexico, to assess how howling functions in intergroup spacing. We recorded 359 howling bouts, of which 42% were spontaneous with no apparent cause, 28% followed nearby howling without visual contact with the caller(s), 25% were during intergroup encounters, and 5% were during encounters with solitary individuals. The mean duration of howling bouts was 14.8 ± SE 0.6 min. During encounters with neighboring groups or solitary individuals howling bouts lasted significantly longer than spontaneous and reply calls. Spontaneous and reply howling showed a bimodal pattern with a marked concentration around dawn and a second increase of howling in the afternoon. In contrast, howling during encounters with neighboring groups or solitary individuals occurred randomly throughout the day. In addition, howling, irrespective of the context in which it was given, occurred throughout the groups’ home ranges without concentrations in the heavily used core areas or borders of the home ranges. Our findings suggest that loud calling in black howlers functions principally in regularly announcing the occupancy of an area, and is concentrated in the morning when sound propagation is optimal.
Iris Dröscher, Peter M. Kappeler
Defining the Low End of Primate Social Complexity: The Social Organization of the Nocturnal White-Footed Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur leucopus)
International Journal of Primatology November 2013
Whereas other species of sportive lemurs (genus Lepilemur) have been described as living in dispersed pairs, which are characterized by spatial overlap but a lack of affinity or affiliation between one adult male and female, existing reports on the social organization of the white-footed sportive lemur (Lepilemur leucopus) are conflicting, describing them as either living in dispersed one-male multifemale systems or pairs. We conducted this study in the spiny forest of Berenty Reserve, southern Madagascar, to clarify the social organization and to characterize the level of social complexity of this species. We combined 1530 h of radio-telemetry and behavioral observations over a period of 1 yr to describe the spatiotemporal stability, size, and interindividual overlap of individual home ranges as well as interindividual cohesiveness. Results revealed low intra- and high intersexual home range overlap. Although most of the social units identified consisted of dispersed pairs (N = 5), males were associated with two adult females in two cases. Furthermore, members of a social unit were never observed to groom each other or to share a daytime sleeping site, and Hutchinson’s and Doncaster’s dynamic interaction tests indicated active avoidance between pair partners. Low cohesiveness together with extremely low rates of social interactions therefore arguably places Lepilemur leucopus at the low end of primate social complexity.