Zootaxa 3745 (1): 035–048 (3 Dec. 2013)
Morphological variation and affinities of the poorly known snake Atractus caxiuana (Serpentes: Dipsadidae)
PAULO PASSOS, LUCIANA O. RAMOS, PEDRO H. PINNA & ANA L. C. PRUDENTE
Atractus caxiuana was recently described based on three specimens (two males and one female) from the Floresta Nacional de Caxiuanã, municipality of Melgaço, state of Pará, in the eastern portion of the Brazilian Amazon. Apart from the type series, no additional samples are known for the species. In this study, we report new specimens of A. caxiuana, providing new morphological data (meristic, morphometric, pholidosis, colour pattern, and hemipenis) and localities. We relate the variability displayed by the characters analyzed to sexual dimorphism, geographic variation, and ontogeny. Additionally, we provide
detailed comparisons with A. collaris and putative sister species, and propose a new species group to accommodate this distinct and possible monophyletic assemblage.
Zootaxa 3745 (1): 073–083 (3 Dec. 2013)
A new Philautus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from northern Laos allied to P. abditus Inger, Orlov & Darevsky, 1999
BRYAN L. STUART, somphouthone phimmachak, SENGVILAY SEATEUN & JENNIFER A. SHERIDAN
The small rhacophorid frog Philautus abditus is geographically restricted to central Vietnam and adjacent Cambodia. Our fieldwork in northern Laos resulted in the discovery of a Philautus species that very closely resembles P. abditus, but is at least 330 km from the nearest known locality of that species. The Laos population differs from P. abditus in mitochondrial DNA and coloration, and is described here as a new species. Philautus nianeae sp. nov. is distinguished from its congeners by having the combination of a hidden tympanum; no nuptial pads; smooth skin; large black spots on the hidden surfaces of the hind limbs; light venter with dark spotting; and a bronze iris. A second species of Philautus from northern Laos, P. petilus, is transferred on the basis of morphology to the genus Theloderma.
Sleeping site selection by savanna chimpanzees in Ugalla, Tanzania
Hideshi Ogawa, Midori Yoshikawa, Gen’ichi Idani
Primates December 2013
We examined sleeping site selection by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in the Ugalla savanna woodland area, western Tanzania, from 1994 to 2012. We established 488 km of line transects and recorded 379 chimpanzee beds within 30 m perpendicular to the transects. Comparisons between 60 × 60 m2 quadrats containing new and recent beds and the remaining quadrats without beds along the transects indicated that evergreen forests accounted for disproportionately more area in quadrats with beds than in those without beds during both the dry and rainy seasons. In Ugalla, chimpanzees coexist with lions (Panthera leo) and leopards (Panthera pardus). They may sleep in forests to reduce predation risk by these carnivores, as trees are dense and the canopy is high and closed. The angle of slope was steeper in quadrats containing beds than in those without beds during the dry season, whereas the angle was less steep in quadrats with beds than in those without beds during the rainy season. Additionally, fewer beds were found further from forests. The distance between beds and forests during the dry season was shorter than that during the rainy season. Chimpanzees may sleep in or near forests and on slopes because of water pools in the valley forests along the slopes during the dry season. Quadrats with beds were at slightly higher altitude than those without beds during the rainy season; however, the difference was not significant during the dry season. The number of beds found in or close to feeding trees was not related to the fruiting period. Sleeping site selection by chimpanzees may be affected by predation pressure and water availability in the savanna woodland area.
First parturition of tigers in a semi-arid habitat, western India
Randeep Singh, Paul R. Krausman, Puneet Pandey, Qamar Qureshi, Kalyanasundaram Sankar, Surendra Prakash Goyal, Anshuman Tripathi
European Journal of Wildlife Research December 2013
Long-term data of large felids is important to understand their reproductive biology and behavior for effective conservation planning. We used camera trap data and direct sightings from 2005 to 2013 to estimate the age of the first parturition of Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris) in a semi-arid habitat in India. We monitored 11 females in the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve (RTR) from when they were 2–6 months old. The mean age at first reproduction (impregnation leading to cubs) was 51.3 ± (SE) 4.5 months. The tiger population in RTR is an important source population and genetic pool in the western most distribution of tiger. Thus, continuous monitoring of tiger populations is important to develop an understanding of reproductive biology.
Policing Farm Animal Welfare in Federated Nations: The Problem of Dual Federalism in Canada and the USA. Animals. 2013; 3(4):1086-1122
In recent European animal welfare statutes, human actions injurious to animals are new “offences” articulated as an injury to societal norms in addition to property damage. A crime is foremost a violation of a community moral standard. Violating a societal norm puts society out of balance and justice is served when that balance is returned. Criminal law normally requires the presence of mens rea, or evil intent, a particular state of mind; however, dereliction of duties towards animals (or children) is usually described as being of varying levels of negligence but, rarely can be so egregious that it constitutes criminal societal injury. In instrumental justice, the “public goods” delivered by criminal law are commonly classified as retribution, incapacitation and general deterrence. Prevention is a small, if present, outcome of criminal justice. Quazi-criminal law intends to establish certain expected (moral) standards of human behavior where by statute, the obligations of one party to another are clearly articulated as strict liability. Although largely moral in nature, this class of laws focuses on achieving compliance, thereby resulting in prevention. For example, protecting the environment from degradation is a benefit to society; punishing non-compliance, as is the application of criminal law, will not prevent the injury. This paper will provide evidence that the integrated meat complex of Canada and the USA is not in a good position to make changes to implement a credible farm animal protection system.
Amy L. Whitehead, Philip O’B. Lyver, Christopher J. Jones, Peter J. Bellingham, Catriona J. MacLeod, Morgan Coleman, Brian J. Karl, Keven Drew, David Pairman, Andrew M. Gormley, Richard P. Duncan, Establishing accurate baseline estimates of breeding populations of a burrowing seabird, the grey-faced petrel (Pterodroma macroptera gouldi) in New Zealand, Biological Conservation, Volume 169, January 2014, Pages 109-116, ISSN 0006-3207, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2013.11.002.
Accurate estimates of breeding population size are essential for detecting change and guiding conservation management and sustainable use. In New Zealand, the grey-faced petrel (Pterodroma macroptera gouldi) now breeds predominantly on offshore islands, but is also subject to customary harvest of chicks by northern tribes of Māori (New Zealand’s indigenous peoples). We used island-wide surveys of 3186 breeding burrows, corrected for detection error, and associated habitat variables on two island systems (Ruamaahua Islands and Moutohorā), combined with data from geographic information systems, to build hierarchical Bayesian models to predict the distribution and abundance of breeding pairs. Burrow densities increased with elevation on all islands and, on Moutohorā, were lesser in gullies and on terraces. On the Ruamaahua Islands, burrow densities were associated positively with deeper soils and forests dominated by pōhutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa), and negatively with taller forest, denser canopy cover, and northern and western aspects. Predicted breeding-pair densities for each island group provided breeding-pair population estimates of 72,410 (95% credible interval 14,280–138,400) across the Ruamaahua Islands and 69,330 (10,590–128,300) on Moutohorā. Estimating burrow densities using habitat characteristics provided greater precision and accuracy than simpler models that extrapolate sampling data over larger areas. The methods used to estimate population size are applicable to other cryptic seabird species, especially those that live or breed in burrows. It is important to establish accurate baseline estimates of the populations of common seabird species against which to determine responses to perturbations and management interventions.
Robinson, S. A. and Copson, G. R. (2013), Eradication of cats (Felis catus) from subantarctic Macquarie Island. Ecological Management & Restoration. doi: 10.1111/emr.12073
The feral Cat (Felis catus) population on Macquarie Island was targeted for eradication between 1996 and 2002, with 761 cats captured during this period. After 22 years of cat control from 1974 integrated with control programmes for other pests, effort intensified for 2 years before a dedicated eradication programme began in 1998. The primary knock-down for the eradication used cage trapping and shooting, with most surviving cats captured with leg-hold traps. A total of 6298 field days and 216 574 trap nights were recorded in this operation. Factors contributing to the success of the programme included extensive planning, increased staff numbers at critical times, better access to remote areas of the island, introduction of leg-hold traps, sufficient operational funding and good collaboration between government agencies operating on the island. The programme would have benefited from earlier deployment of detector dogs and better posteradication monitoring of a broader range of native species impacted by cats. The successful eradication of cats from Macquarie Island, being the second largest achieved to date, provides valuable experience for cat eradication attempts on other large remote islands. This programme relied on ground-based techniques with minimal use of poisons and provides possible options for sites where broad-scale poisoning, or where aerial distribution of poisons, cannot be used.
Nirmal K. Bhagabati, Taylor Ricketts, Thomas Barano Siswa Sulistyawan, Marc Conte, Driss Ennaanay, Oki Hadian, Emily McKenzie, Nasser Olwero, Amy Rosenthal, Heather Tallis, Stacie Wolny, Ecosystem services reinforce Sumatran tiger conservation in land use plans, Biological Conservation, Volume 169, January 2014, Pages 147-156, ISSN 0006-3207, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2013.11.010.
Ecosystem services have clear promise to help identify and protect priority areas for biodiversity. To leverage them effectively, practitioners must conduct timely analyses at appropriate scales, often with limited data. Here we use simple spatial analyses on readily available datasets to compare the distribution of five ecosystem services with tiger habitat in central Sumatra. We assessed services and habitat in 2008 and the changes in these variables under two future scenarios: a conservation-friendly Green Vision, and a Spatial Plan developed by the Indonesian government. In 2008, the range of tiger habitat overlapped substantially with areas of high carbon storage and sediment retention, but less with areas of high water yield and nutrient retention. Depending on service, location and spatial grain of analysis, there were both gains and losses from 2008 to each scenario; however, aggregate provision of each ecosystem service (except water yield) and total area of tiger habitat were higher in the Vision than the Plan, likely driven by an increase in forest cover in the Vision. Sub-watersheds with high levels of several ecosystem services contained substantially more tiger habitat than random subsets of sub-watersheds, suggesting that prioritizing ecosystem services could benefit tiger conservation. Our analyses provided input to government-led spatial planning and strategic environmental assessments in the study area, indicating that even under time and data constraints, policy-relevant assessments of multiple ecosystem services are feasible.
Natal dispersal based on past and present environmental phenology in the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)
J. Hušek, H. M. Lampe, T. Slagsvold
Oecologia December 2013
Natal dispersal allows individuals to reach suitable breeding sites. The effect of present plant phenology as a cue for dispersal into areas with favourable stages of development has been well established across avian and mammalian taxa. However, the effect of past experience is less understood. We studied the effect of past and present phenology of the environment on the direction and distance of natal dispersal in a passerine bird, the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca). We monitored spring settlement of local recruits in six nest box plots along a 10-km stretch of a south-north gradient of plant and caterpillar food development. We found that males used both past experience of caterpillar phenology from early life and actual plant phenology during the recruitment season as independent cues for breeding settlement. Males that had experienced a mismatch with the caterpillar food peak as a nestling, and/or those that arrived late in the spring in the recruitment year, moved north of their natal site, whereas males that had experienced a better match with the caterpillars as a nestling, and/or those that migrated earlier in the spring, settled at a similar site or more to the south. In females, no such effects were found, suggesting that the usage of phenological cues is sex specific. In summary, tracking environmental phenology by natal dispersal may represent an effective mechanism for settling in new favourable areas, and may thus potentially cause rapid change of a species’ geographical breeding range in response to climate change.
Zootaxa 3745 (2): 263–295 (4 Dec. 2013)
Two new endemic species of Ameiva (Squamata: Teiidae) from the dry forest of northwestern Peru and additional information on Ameiva concolor Ruthven, 1924
CLAUDIA KOCH, PABLO J. VENEGAS, DENNIS RÖDDER, MORRIS FLECKS & WOLFGANG BÖHME
We describe two new species of Ameiva Meyer, 1795 from the dry forest of the Northern Peruvian Andes. The new species Ameiva nodam sp. nov. and Ameiva aggerecusans sp. nov. share a divided frontal plate and are differentiated from each other and from their congeners based on genetic (12S and 16S rRNA genes) and morphological characteristics. A. nodam sp. nov. has dilated postbrachials, a maximum known snout-vent length of 101 mm, 10 longitudinal rows of ventral plates, 86–113 midbody granules, 25–35 lamellae under the fourth toe, and a color pattern with 5 longitudinal yellow stripes on the dorsum. Ameiva aggerecusans sp. nov. has not or only hardly dilated postbrachials, a maximum known snout-vent length of 99.3 mm, 10–12 longitudinal rows of ventral plates, 73–92 midbody granules, 31–39 lamellae under the fourth toe, and the females and juveniles of the species normally exhibit a cream-colored vertebral stripe on a dark dorsum ground color. We provide information on the intraspecific variation and distribution of A. concolor. Furthermore, we provide information on the environmental niches of the taxa and test for niche conservatism.
Zootaxa 3745 (3): 365–378 (5 Dec. 2013)
Loricaria luciae, a new species of whiptail catfish (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from the Paraguay and lower Paraná River basins of southeastern South America
MATTHEW R. THOMAS, MÓNICA S. RODRIGUEZ, MARCEL R. CAVALLARO, OTÁVIO FROEHLICH & RICARDO MACEDO CORRÊA E CASTRO
Loricaria luciae, new species, is described from the the rio Paraguay basin of Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay, south to its confluence with the rio Paraná in Argentina. It is distinguished from all congeners by the following combination of characteristics: pectoral girdle entirely naked or with small isolated plates near base of pectoral fin, post-ural plate at base of caudal fin large (plate length 17.0–20.3% HL), and total lateral plates 32–33 (modally 32). The new species occurs in a
variety of habitats ranging from small, seasonally intermittent streams with clear water to large, turbid rivers over sand and mud substrates. It is sympatric with at least three other species of Loricaria in the Paraguay and lower Paraná drainages, including L. apeltogaster Boulenger 1895, L. coximensis Rodriguez et al. 2012, and L. simillima Regan 1904.
On the Record of a Spot-Fin Porcupine Fish, Diodon hystrix (Linnaeus, 1758) from Mandarmani, Bay of Bengal Coast of West Bengal, India
Soma Aditya Bandyopadhyay
Proceedings of the Zoological Society December 2013
A dead specimen of a spot-fin porcupine fish Diodon hystrix was observed on the sea shore in Mandarmani, West Bengal, India. The fish weighed 2.7 kg, 76.5 cm in length and 2.54 cm in eye diameter. Although distributed circumtropically and recorded from Indian coastal waters, D. hystrix is not harvested at present, as a part of commercial capture fishery. Scars and symptoms ensuring trawler net trap caused death of the specimen. This incident warrants for a strict vigil on fishing gear used in this part of Bay of Bengal so as to ensure death escape of non-target marine resources.
Tokuda, M., Boubli, J. P., Mourthé, Í., Izar, P., Possamai, C. B. and Strier, K. B. (2013), Males follow females during fissioning of a group of northern muriquis. Am. J. Primatol.. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22244
Although well documented in matrilocal primate species, group fission is still a poorly known phenomenon among patrilocal primates. In this paper we describe in detail a group fission event in the population of northern muriquis at the Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural-Feliciano Miguel Abdala in Caratinga, Minas Gerais, Brazil, using Social Network Analyses (SNA). Data on association patterns were collected during systematic observations from May 2002 to September 2005, and analyzed for dry (from May to October) and rainy seasons (from November to April). The fission process started with subgroup formation in the rainy season 2002–2003, and was completed by the dry season of 2003. By the dry season 2003, the parent group (Jaó) had fissioned to form a second mixed-sex group (Nadir) while a subgroup of males (MU) moved between the parent group and the newly established group. Before the Jaó group fission started (dry season 2002) and during its initial phases (rainy season 2002–2003), females that ultimately composed the daughter group (Nadir) were the most peripheral in the association network. In the rainy season 2002–2003, the median monthly (N = 6) operational sex ratio (OSR) of Jaó group was 2.81. However, once Jaó females initiated the fissioning process to establish the Nadir group, the OSR was more favorable to males in the Nadir group than in the Jaó group. Our results suggest that males followed the females to escape an unfavorable OSR in their natal group.
Ferrari, S. F. and Hilário, R. R. (2013), Seasonal variation in the length of the daily activity period in buffy-headed marmosets (Callithrix flaviceps): An important consideration for the analysis of foraging strategies in observational field studies of primates. Am. J. Primatol.. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22242
Activity budgets are widely used in primate behavioral studies for the analysis of ecological strategies. In some cases, there is considerable seasonal variation in the length of the daily activity period. Here, activity budgets from two field studies of Callithrix flaviceps were compiled first by the traditional approach (proportion of scan sample records) and then by considering the proportion of time dedicated to each activity over the 24-hr cycle (adjusted budget). Both groups were almost invariably active for at least 1–2 hr less than the daylight period, with significantly shorter activity periods during the austral winter, when the daylight period was up to 2:35 hr shorter than in the summer. The adjustment of activity budgets provided a completely different perspective on foraging strategies. Whereas the basic budgets indicated a significant increase in foraging and moving during the resource-poor dry season (winter) months, the time-adjusted data revealed that the primary strategy was a time-minimizing one, with the animals simply spending more time at rest during the longer activity periods of summer days. While both groups followed the same pattern of relatively short activity periods, there were considerable differences between sites in the mean duration of the period in a given month, and in behavior patterns, although the analysis of the determining factors was beyond the scope of the present study. Overall, the results of the study indicate that the manipulation of the duration of the daily activity period may be an integral component of primate behavioral strategies, and that this parameter should be taken into account systematically when evaluating activity patterns, especially at sites at relatively high latitudes where day length may vary considerably over the course of the year.
Gholami, Z., Esmaeili, H. R., Erpenbeck, D. and Reichenbacher, B. (2013), Phylogenetic analysis of Aphanius from the endorheic Kor River Basin in the Zagros Mountains, South-western Iran (Teleostei: Cyprinodontiformes: Cyprinodontidae). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. doi: 10.1111/jzs.12052
Morphologically similar populations of Aphanius that are currently considered as A. sophiae inhabit the endorheic Kor River Basin in the Zagros Mountains. Using genetic analysis based on mtDNA (cytochrome b), combined with examination of morphology (morphometry, meristics, otoliths), we discovered that what is thought to be A. sophiae is actually two distinct species, one of which is described as A. shirini sp. n. The males of the new species can be distinguished from those of all other Iranian inland Aphanius species by having only 7–10 clearly defined white flank bars, which is the lowest number of flank bars among the Iranian inland Aphanius species. Both males and females differ from all other Iranian inland Aphanius species by having a significantly longer caudal peduncle and a smaller dorsal fin depth. Based on the PhyML and Bayesian likelihood trees, A. shirini is sister to A. vladykovi from the Karoun Basin in the Zagros Mountains. Our results indicate that an ancient exorheic Kor River Basin existed in the Late Miocene and Pliocene. The close phylogenetic relationship between A. shirini and A. vladykovi suggests that the pre-Pliocene drainage in the ancient Kor River Basin was directed to the north-west (to the Karoun Basin), and not to the south-east as in the present-day Kor Basin. Both A. shirini and A. vladykovi represent the highest altitude records for Aphanius. We conclude that the splits of A. shirini and A. vladykovi can be linked to tectonic events in the Middle to Late Miocene, which created the highest altitudes (>3000 m) in the Zagros Mountains, and led to isolation of populations. The present-day endorheic Kor Basin is known to have formed in the Late Pleistocene or Early Holocene, and the ‘young’ age of A. sophiae is clearly related to this history. Our results contribute to elucidate the link between geological history and the present-day species diversity in the tectonically still active Zagros Mountains of Iran.
Zootaxa 3745 (4): 449–468 (6 Dec. 2013)
New species of Stenodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Sharqiyah Sands in northeastern Oman
MARGARITA METALLINOU & SALVADOR CARRANZA
A new species of gecko of the genus Stenodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) is described from the dune desert of Al Sharqiyah Sands in northeastern Oman. Stenodactylus sharqiyahensis sp. nov. is characterized morphologically by its small size, snout shape, webbing between fingers not very extended, relatively short limbs, and scalation. It is genetically distinct in the mitochondrial DNA and the nuclear MC1R gene from Stenodactylus arabicus to which it has previously been referred. The new species seems to have a restricted distribution confined to the Sharqiyah Sands, which remain isolated from other sand deserts in Arabia. In addition, the data presented herein confirm new locality records for Stenodactylus arabicus in the easternmost limit of its distribution range in western central Oman.
Erich K. Ritter, Raid Amin
Are Caribbean reef sharks, Carcharhinus perezi, able to perceive human body orientation?
Animal Cognition December 2013
The present study examines the potential capability of Caribbean reef sharks to perceive human body orientation, as well as discussing the sharks’ swimming patterns in a person’s vicinity. A standardized video method was used to record the scenario of single SCUBA divers kneeling in the sand and the approach patterns of sharks, combined with a control group of two divers kneeling back-to-back. When approaching a single test-subject, significantly more sharks preferred to swim outside the person’s field of vision. The results suggest that these sharks are able to identify human body orientation, but the mechanisms used and factors affecting nearest distance of approach remain unclear.
Lázaro Wender Oliveira de Jesus, Chayrra Chehade, Fabiano Gonçalves Costa, Maria Inês Borella
Pituitary gland morphogenesis and ontogeny of adenohypophyseal cells of Salminus brasiliensis (Teleostei, Characiformes)
Fish Physiology and Biochemistry December 2013
In this study, we describe for the first time the details of the pituitary gland morphogenesis and the ontogeny of adenohypophyseal cells of a South American Characiform species with great importance for Brazilian Aquaculture, Salminus brasiliensis (Characiformes, Characidae), from hatching to 25 days after hatching (dah), by histochemical and immunocytochemical methods. The pituitary placode was first detected at hatching (0 dah), and the pituitary anlage became more defined at 0.5 dah. The neurohypophysis (NH) development started at 3 dah, and the early formation of its stalk at 12.5 dah. An increase in adenohypophyseal and NH tissues was also observed, and in juveniles at 25 dah, the pituitary displayed similar morphology to that found in adults of this species, displaying the main features of the teleost pituitary. PRL cells were detected at 0.5 dah, together with ACTH and α-MSH cells, followed by GH and SL cells at 1.5 dah. β-FSH cells were detected at 25 dah, while β-LH cells at 5 dah. The pituitary development in this species comprises a dynamic process similar to other teleosts. Our findings in S. brasiliensis corroborate the heterogeneity in the ontogeny of adenohypophyseal cells in teleosts and suggest a role for adenohypophyseal hormones in the early development of this species.
SUZUKI, Kei; SAGAWA, Mayu; YANAGAWA, Hisashi. Nest cavity selection by the Siberian flying squirrel Pteromys volans. Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy, [S.l.], v. 24, n. 2, dec. 2013. ISSN 1825-5272. Available at:
Populations of the Siberian flying squirrel Pteromys volans are declining as a result of insensitive forestry that has removed cavity trees. To conserve the cavities preferred by squirrels, we investigated the characteristics of the cavities they used as nests. We located 100 cavities with >3.0 cm entrance size (which they are able to enter), and investigated their use by the squirrels. We also recorded the entrance heights and entrance sizes of the cavities and the health and heights of cavity trees. The squirrels used 29 of 100 cavities. Entrance size and tree health strongly influenced cavity use, and entrance height had a weaker influence. Tree height was not correlated with cavity use. Squirrels preferred higher cavities with smaller entrances and on live trees. The entrance size of the cavities used was limited to ≤5.0 cm. Squirrels used 38% of live trees but only 14% of dead trees. In addition, the squirrels avoided cavities at low heights. They never used cavities <1.0 m above the ground. Therefore, cavities at >1.0 m height and with entrance sizes of 3.0 to ≤5.0 cm on live trees were preferred. We suggest that cavities with these characteristics should be conserved to protect the habitats of Siberian flying squirrels.
Granados-González G., Rheubert J.L., Villagrán-SantaCruz M., González-Herrera M.E., Dávila-Cedillo J.V., Gribbins K.M. and Hernández-Gallegos O. 2013. Male reproductive cycle in Aspidoscelis costata costata (Squamata: Teiidae) from Tonatico, Estado de México, México. —Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 00: 000–000.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the reproductive cycle of a high-elevation population of Aspidoscelis costata costata (1500–1600 m) and compare its reproductive cycle with that of other populations, species, and closely related genera. Adult male A. costata costata lizards were collected, and the reproductive tracts were removed and subjected to histological analyses. Testicular activity commences in March with maximum testicular activity and highest sperm abundance (in the epididymides) occurring between May and July. The testis remains at peak activity until September when a late regression/early quiescent phase is observed. Leydig cells follow this same pattern except these hormone-producing cells remain at maximum secretory level through September. Sperm are present in the epididymides in April–September. This pattern is consistent with the spring recrudescence found in a multitude of male lizard taxa. However, this differs from the continuous cycle observed in some tropical Teiid species and other lizard taxa at high elevation. This study indicates that our knowledge about lizard spermatogenic cycles remains incomplete, and additional studies are required to fully understand the interactions between phenotype, evolution, phylogenetics and environment.
Carlo Meloro, Nilton Cáceres, Francesco Carotenuto, Federico Passaro, Jonas Sponchiado, Geruza Leal Melo, Pasquale Raia, Ecogeographical variation in skull morphometry of howler monkeys (Primates: Atelidae), Zoologischer Anzeiger – A Journal of Comparative Zoology, Available online 5 December 2013, ISSN 0044-5231, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcz.2013.11.002.
Our aim is to identify ecomorphological adaptations in the skull shape of the South American howler monkeys (species of the genus Alouatta, Lacépède, 1799, Primates, Atelidae). Since Alouatta is relatively homogenous in feeding ecology, we expect skull shape variation to be relatively conservative across species. We used geometric morphometrics to quantify craniodental morphology in six species of Alouatta. Multivariate regression, two-block Partial Least Squares, and variation partitioning were used to test for the impact of taxonomy, sexual dimorphism, allometry, geography and climate on skull shape. We found morphological overlap among species and sexes, although some discrimination occurs between species living in seasonal environments as opposed to rain forest species. There was a negative latitudinal gradient in skull size across species, with size explaining 34% of total shape variance. Latitude and climate, though important, were secondary in explaining shape variance. Amazonian Alouatta are larger, have thinner molars, wide incisors, and proportionally larger neurocranium. Overall, the shape of southern species seem well adapted to cope with proportionally tougher food items, whereas Amazonian species seem better equipped to deal with a diet richer in fruits, as confirmed by independent field observations. The small size of Alouatta in the South is possibly linked to the effect of competition with the larger folivorous atelid Brachyteles.
Belk, M. C., Habit, E., Ortiz-Sandoval, J. J., Sobenes, C. and Combs, E. A. (2013), Ecology of Galaxias platei in a depauperate lake. Ecology of Freshwater Fish. doi: 10.1111/eff.12114
Galaxias platei is widespread and common in southern South America, but its ecology is poorly documented relative to other native species, especially those of commercial importance. Galaxias platei occurs across a large range of environmental conditions, including hydrologically isolated, high-elevation lakes. Consequently, there were several lakes in the Patagonian region where it was the only native fish species. Introduction of salmonids into almost all lakes in Patagonia where G. platei occurs has potentially resulted in changes in its ecology and behaviour. Thompson Lake is a small, high-elevation lake located in the Aysen River basin (Chile) where G. platei still occurs essentially in isolation. We collected G. platei from this lake to characterise the ecology of the species in the absence of other native and introduced fishes. We documented age and growth patterns from otolith analysis and characterised size- and age-specific habitat use, diet and trophic niche. In Thompson Lake, G. platei is long-lived and grows to comparatively large size (max. age = 18 years; max. TL = 348 mm). As it grows, it exhibits an ontogenetic niche shift in habitat use, diet and trophic niche. Large adults are piscivorous, and they occupy deep benthic habitats. Preservation of the last few remaining lakes where G. platei is found in isolation is an important priority for maintaining the full expression of ontogenetic niche variation in this species.
Olson, K. A., Larsen, E. A., Mueller, T., Leimgruber, P., Fuller, T. K., Schaller, G. B. and Fagan, W. F. (2013), Survival probabilities of adult Mongolian gazelles. The Journal of Wildlife Management. doi: 10.1002/jwmg.640
Mongolian gazelles are Central Asia’s most abundant plains ungulate and an iconic symbol of large unfragmented grasslands. Despite a long history of commercial harvesting and subsistence hunting by herding households, adult gazelle demographic data is almost non-existent. We calculated cause-specific mortality rates for 49 adult gazelles collared with a global positioning system. Exponential models provided better fits to survival distributions from collared gazelles than did either Weibull or Gompertz models, and yielded an overall estimated annual mortality risk of 36%. The estimated daily hazard rate from human-caused mortality was 30% greater than the hazard rate due to natural mortality alone. Estimated median lifespan of adult gazelles was just 4 years, which concurred with age data taken from incisor cementum annuli obtained from harvested animals and from a natural mass mortality. For gazelles that have already reached adulthood, in the absence of hunting mortality, the estimated median lifespan of collared gazelles increased from 4 years to 8 years. Survivorship estimates from the complete telemetry dataset (including both natural and human-caused mortality sources) yielded lifespan estimates in line with greatly shortened lifespans evident during periods of heightened mortality, whether from a mass-mortality event or commercial hunting. When compared to earlier population models for the species, our results suggest current survival rates based on measures of natural and human-caused mortality will not support a stable population.
Polfus, J. L., Heinemeyer, K., Hebblewhite, M. and Taku River Tlingit First Nation (2013), Comparing traditional ecological knowledge and western science woodland caribou habitat models. The Journal of Wildlife Management. doi: 10.1002/jwmg.643
Negotiating the complexities of wildlife management increasingly requires new approaches, especially where data may be limited. A robust combination of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and western science has the potential to improve management decisions and enhance the validity of ecological inferences. We examined the strengths and weaknesses of predicting woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) habitat selection with resource selection functions (RSF) based on western science and TEK-based models within the territory of the Taku River Tlingit First Nation of northern British Columbia. We developed seasonal RSF models with data from 10 global positioning system collared caribou. We generated TEK-based habitat suitability index models from interviews with Taku River Tlingit members. We tested the ability of both habitat models to spatially predict the occurrence of collared caribou locations. To portray differences between the models, we statistically and visually compared the spatial predictions of TEK and RSF modeling approaches using Kappa statistics and k-fold cross validation. Kappa statistics of habitat ranks from the models showed substantial agreement during summer (K = 0.649) and fair agreement during winter (K = 0.337). We found that both TEK and RSF models predicted independent caribou locations (Spearman’s rank correlations from k-fold cross-validation ranged from 0.612 to 0.997). Differences in model performance were a result of RSF models predicting more relatively high quality habitat than TEK models. Given the widespread declines of woodland caribou across the boreal forest of Canada, and the requirement of the Canadian Species at Risk Act to incorporate both traditional and western science approaches into recovery planning, our results demonstrate that TEK-based habitat models can effectively inform recovery planning for this imperiled species.
Festa-Bianchet, M., Pelletier, F., Jorgenson, J. T., Feder, C. and Hubbs, A. (2013), Decrease in horn size and increase in age of trophy sheep in Alberta over 37 years. The Journal of Wildlife Management. doi: 10.1002/jwmg.644
Long-term data (1974–2011) from harvested bighorn rams (Ovis canadensis) in Alberta, Canada, suggested a reduction in horn size and in the proportion of trophy rams in the provincial population over time. Age at harvest increased over time, suggesting slower horn growth. Rams that experienced favorable environmental conditions early in life had rapid horn growth and were harvested at a younger age than rams with slower horn growth. Guided nonresident hunters did not harvest larger rams than residents, suggesting that few large rams were available. Resident hunter success declined in recent years. Despite an apparently stable population, successive cohorts produced a decreasing harvest of trophy rams. We suggest that unrestricted harvest based on a threshold horn size led to a decline in the availability of trophy rams. That decline is partly an inevitable consequence of selective hunting that removes larger rams. Although our analysis does not establish that evolution of smaller horns caused the observed decline in both horn size and harvest of trophy rams, we suggest that intensive trophy hunting may have artificially selected for a decrease in horn growth rate.
Garrettson, P. R., Raftovich, R. V., Hines, J. E. and Zimmerman, G. S. (2013), Band reporting probabilities of mallards, American black ducks, and wood ducks in eastern North America. The Journal of Wildlife Management. doi: 10.1002/jwmg.647
Estimates of band reporting probabilities are used for managing North American waterfowl to convert band recovery probabilities into harvest probabilities, which are used to set harvest regulations. Band reporting probability is the probability that someone who has shot and retrieved a banded bird will report the band. This probability can vary relative to a number of factors, particularly the inscription on the band and the ease with which it can be reported. Other factors, such as geographic reporting region, and species and sex of the bird may also play a role. We tested whether reporting probabilities of wood ducks (Aix sponsa) and American black ducks (black ducks; Anas rubripes) differed from those of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and whether band reporting varied geographically or by the sex of the banded bird. In the analysis of spatially comparable wood duck and mallard data, a band reporting probability of 0.73 (95% CI = 0.67–0.78) was appropriate for use across species, sex, and reporting region within the United States. In the black duck–mallard comparison, the band reporting probability of black ducks in Eastern Canada (0.50, 95% CI = 0.44–0.57) was lower than in the Eastern United States (0.73, 95% CI = 0.62–0.83). These estimates reflected an increase in overall band reporting probability following the addition of a toll-free telephone number to band inscriptions. Lower reporting in Eastern Canada may be because of cultural, linguistic, or logistical barriers.