Abstract View

The girdles of the oldest fossil turtle, Proterochersis robusta, and the age of the turtle crown
Joyce WG, Schoch RR, Lyson TR
BMC Evolutionary Biology 2013, 13:266 (6 December 2013)

Proterochersis robusta from the Late Triassic (Middle Norian) of Germany is the oldest known fossil turtle (i.e. amniote with a fully formed turtle shell), but little is known about its anatomy. A newly prepared, historic specimen provides novel insights into the morphology of the girdles and vertebral column of this taxon and the opportunity to reassess its phylogenetic position.
The anatomy of the pectoral girdle of P. robusta is similar to that of other primitive turtles, including the Late Triassic (Carnian) Proganochelys quenstedti, in having a vertically oriented scapula, a large coracoid foramen, a short acromion process, and bony ridges that connect the acromion process with the dorsal process, glenoid, and coracoid, and by being able to rotate along a vertical axis. The pelvic elements are expanded distally and suturally attached to the shell, but in contrast to modern pleurodiran turtles the pelvis is associated with the sacral ribs.
The primary homology of the character „sutured pelvis“ is unproblematic between P. robusta and extant pleurodires. However, integration of all new observations into the most complete phylogenetic analysis that support the pleurodiran nature of P. robusta reveals that this taxon is more parsimoniously placed along the phylogenetic stem of crown Testudines. All current phylogenetic hypotheses therefore support the basal placement of this taxon, imply that the sutured pelvis of this taxon developed independently from that of pleurodires, and conclude that the age of the turtle crown is Middle Jurassic.

Zootaxa 3745 (5): 501–523 (9 Dec. 2013)
Internal oral morphology in larvae of the genus Rhinella Fitzinger, 1826 (Amphibia, Anura, Bufonidae)
MARIANNA ISABELLA ROSA RODRIGUES DE OLIVEIRA, LUIZ NORBERTO WEBER; MARCELO FELGUEIRAS NAPOLI

From the 86 species allocated in the genus Rhinella, 25 have their tadpoles described and only R. arenarum, R. chrysophora, R. icterica, R. ornata, R. schneideri and R. spinulosa have aspects of the internal oral morphology evidenced. Herein, the internal oral morphology from 12 species of Rhinella distributed between the morphological groups of R. crucifer, R. granulosa, R. marina and R margaritifera is described and compared. The internal oral morphology of Rhinella is little variable in many aspects. Despite the many similarities found between the tadpoles of Rhinella, the study showed that there are characteristics that exhibit interspecific variation that can be used in the taxonomy of the genus. Important features to distinguish species were: number of infrarrostral projections; number and shape of the infralabial papillae; size, arrangement, shape and apex of the lingual papillae; shape of the buccal floor arena papillae; number of projections of the ventral velum; shape of the prenarial ridge; choanae arrangement; number and apex of the postnarial papillae; number and shape of the secondary branches on the lateral ridge papilla; buccal roof arena papillae arrangement.

Zootaxa 3745 (5): 596–600 (9 Dec. 2013)
Chriolepis bilix, a new species of goby (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from deep waters of the western Atlantic
PHILIP A. HASTINGS; LLOYD T. FINDLEY

A new species of seven-spined goby of the genus Chriolepis is described from four specimens from four widely separate western Atlantic localities (Little Bahama Bank; off southwestern Florida; Tobago Island; and northeastern Colombia) from depths ranging from 62 to 138 m. The species is distinct from all other western Atlantic species currently assigned to the genus Chriolepis in having a fully scaled body, the first two dorsal-fin spines greatly elongated in both sexes, especially so in females, and two anal-fin pterygiophores inserted anterior to the first haemal spine. It differs from members of the similar genus Varicus in having branched pelvic-fins rays, a longer fifth pelvic-fin ray and more numerous meristic elements. It closely resembles Chriolepis atrimelum, known from a similar depth at Isla del Coco in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Theodora Fuss, Horst Bleckmann, Vera Schluessel, Visual discrimination abilities in the gray bamboo shark (Chiloscyllium griseum), Zoology, Available online 9 December 2013, ISSN 0944-2006, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.zool.2013.10.009.
This study assessed visual discrimination abilities in bamboo sharks (Chiloscyllium griseum). In a visual discrimination task using two-dimensional (2D) geometric stimuli, sharks learned to distinguish between a square, being the positive (rewarded) stimulus, and several negative stimuli, such as two differently sized triangles, a circle, a rhomboid and a cross. Although the amount of sessions to reach the learning criterion and the average trial time needed to solve each new task did not vary significantly, the number of correct choices per session increased significantly with on-going experiments. The results indicate that the sharks did not simply remember the positive stimulus throughout the different training phases. Instead, individuals also seemed to learn each negative symbol and possibly had to “relearn” at least some aspects of the positive stimulus during each training phase. The sharks were able to distinguish between the 2D stimulus pairs at a learning rate corresponding to that found in teleosts. As expected, it took the sharks longer to learn a reversal task (with the positive stimulus now being the negative one) than to discriminate between the other stimulus pairs. Nevertheless, the present results suggest that bamboo sharks can learn visual discrimination tasks, succeed in a reversal task and probably retain (some) information about a previously learned task when progressing to a new one.

Margot A.B. Schwalbe, Jacqueline F. Webb, Sensory basis for detection of benthic prey in two Lake Malawi cichlids, Zoology, Available online 9 December 2013, ISSN 0944-2006, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.zool.2013.09.003.
The adaptive radiations of African cichlids resulted in a diversity of feeding morphologies and strategies, but the role of sensory biology in prey detection and feeding ecology remains largely unexplored. Two endemic Lake Malawi cichlid genera, Tramitichromis and Aulonocara, feed on benthic invertebrates, but differ in lateral line morphology (narrow and widened lateral line canals, respectively) and foraging strategy. The hypothesis that they use their lateral line systems differently was tested by looking at the relative contribution of the lateral line system and vision in prey detection by Tramitichromis sp. and comparing results to those from a complementary study using Aulonocara stuartgranti (Schwalbe et al., 2012). First, behavioral trials were used to assess the ability of Tramitichromis sp. to detect live (mobile) and dead (immobile) benthic prey under light and dark conditions. Second, trials were run before, immediately after, and several weeks after chemical ablation of the lateral line system to determine its role in feeding behavior. Results show that Tramitichromis is a visual predator that neither locates prey in the dark nor depends on lateral line input for prey detection and is thus distinct from A. stuartgranti, which uses its lateral line or a combination of vision and lateral line to detect prey depending on light condition. Investigating how functionally distinctive differences in sensory morphology are correlated with feeding behavior in the laboratory and determining the role of sensory systems in feeding ecology will provide insights into how sensory capabilities may contribute to trophic niche segregation.

Zootaxa 3746 (1): 123–142 (10 Dec. 2013)
A cryptic new species of Miniopterus from south-eastern Africa based on molecular and morphological characters
ARA MONADJEM, STEVEN M. GOODMAN, WILLIAM T. STANLEY & BELINDA APPLETON

Resolving species limits within the genus Miniopterus has traditionally been complicated by the presence of cryptic species with overlapping morphological features. We use molecular techniques, cranio-dental characters and tragus shape to describe a new species of Miniopterus from Mozambique, M. mossambicus. Miniopterus mossambicus shows > 12% divergence in cytochrome-b sequence from its nearest congeners (the Malagasy M. gleni and M. griveaudi) and > 15% divergence from the morphologically similar M. natalensis, M. fraterculus and M. minor (all of which occur in southern and eastern Africa). There is considerable overlap in cranio-dental characters of the southern African species, particularly M. natalensis and M. mossambicus. However, tragus shape and multivariate comparisons of skull measurements can be used
to separate these species. Based on morphological comparisons of museum specimens, this species may also be present in neighbouring Malawi and Zimbabwe, suggesting that it is probably distributed widely in south-central Africa.

Kopps, A. M., Krützen, M., Allen, S. J., Bacher, K. and Sherwin, W. B. (2013), Characterizing the socially transmitted foraging tactic “sponging” by bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in the western gulf of Shark Bay, Western Australia. Marine Mammal Science. doi: 10.1111/mms.12089
Individual foraging tactics are widespread in animals and have ecological and evolutionary implications. Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in Shark Bay, Western Australia, exhibit a foraging tactic involving tool use, called “sponging.” Sponging is vertically, socially transmitted through the matriline and, to date, has been described in detail in the eastern gulf of Shark Bay (ESB). Here, we characterize sponging in the western gulf of Shark Bay (WSB), in which a different matriline engages in the behavior. We identified 40 individual “spongers” in 9 mo of boat-based surveys over three field seasons. As is the case in ESB, the majority of WSB spongers was female and engaged in sponging in deep channel habitats. In contrast to ESB, however, there was no difference in the number of associates between spongers and nonspongers in WSB, and activity budgets differed between spongers and deep-water nonspongers; spongers foraged more frequently and rested less than nonspongers. Group sizes in deep channel habitat, where sponging was prevalent, were typically larger than those in shallow habitat, except for foraging, perhaps indicative of higher predator abundance and/or scattered prey distribution in deep-water habitat. This research improves our understanding of within-population foraging variations in bottlenose dolphins.

Kinya G. Ota, Yasuhiro Oisi, Satoko Fujimoto, Shigeru Kuratani, The origin of developmental mechanisms underlying vertebral elements: implications from hagfish evo-devo, Zoology, Available online 11 December 2013, ISSN 0944-2006, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.zool.2013.10.010.
The origins of the vertebral elements and the underlying developmental mechanisms have so far remained unclear, largely due to the unusual axial skeletal morphology of hagfish, one of two extant jawless vertebrate clades. Hagfish axial supporting tissue is generally believed to consist of the notochord and cartilaginous fin rays only. However, careful investigations of whether vertebral elements are truly absent in hagfish are scarce, and it is also unclear whether the axial skeletal morphology of the hagfish is an ancestral or a derived condition. To address these questions, we re-examined the axial skeletal morphology of the Japanese inshore hagfish (Eptatretus burgeri). Based on a report published a century ago which implied the existence of vertebral elements in hagfish, we conducted anatomical and histological analyses of the hagfish axial skeletal systems and their development. Through this analysis, we demonstrate that hagfish possesses sclerotome-derived cartilaginous vertebral elements at the ventral aspect of the notochord. Based on (i) molecular phylogenetic evidence in support of the monophyly of cyclostomes (hagfish and lampreys) and jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes), and (ii) the morphology of the vertebral elements in extant gnathostomes and cyclostomes, we propose that the embryos of the common ancestor of all vertebrates would have possessed sclerotomal cells that formed the segmentally arranged vertebral elements attached to the notochord. We also conclude that the underlying developmental mechanisms are likely to have been conserved among extinct jawless vertebrates and modern gnathostomes.

Zootaxa 3746 (2): 201–239 (11 Dec. 2013)
A new dasyurid marsupial from Kroombit Tops, south-east Queensland, Australia: the Silver-headed Antechinus, Antechinus argentus sp. nov. (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae)
ANDREW M Baker, THOMAS Y Mutton & Harry B Hines

Antechinus argentus sp. nov. is currently only known from the plateau at the eastern escarpment of Kroombit Tops National Park, about 400km NNW of Brisbane and 60km SSW of Gladstone, south-east Queensland, Australia. Antechinus flavipes (Waterhouse) is also known from Kroombit Tops NP, 4.5km W of the nearest known population of A. argentus; A. mysticus Baker, Mutton and Van Dyck has yet to be found within Kroombit Tops, but is known from museum specimens taken at Bulburin NP, just 40km ESE, as well as extant populations about 400km to both the south-east and north-west of Kroombit NP. A. argentus can be easily distinguished in the field, having an overall silvery/grey appearance with much paler silver feet and drabber deep greyish-olive rump than A. flavipes, which has distinctive yellow-orange toned feet,
rump and tail-base; A. argentus fur is also less coarse than that of A. flavipes. A. argentus has a striking silver-grey head, neck and shoulders, with pale, slightly broken eye-rings, which distinguish it from A. mysticus which has a more subtle greyish-brown head, pale buff dabs of eyeliner and more colourful brownish-yellow rump. Features of the dentary can also be used for identification: A. argentus differs from A. flavipes in having smaller molar teeth, as well as a narrower and smaller skull and from A. mysticus in having on average a narrower snout, smaller skull and dentary lengths and smaller
posterior palatal vacuities in the skull. A. argentus is strongly divergent genetically (at mtDNA) from both A. flavipes (9.0–11.2%) and A. mysticus (7.2–7.5%), and forms a very strongly supported clade to the exclusion of all other antechinus species, in both mtDNA and combined (mtDNA and nDNA) phylogenies inferred here. We are yet to make detailed surveys in search of A. argentus from forested areas to the immediate east and north of Kroombit Tops. However, A. mysticus has only been found at these sites in low densities in decades past and not at all in several recent trapping expeditions conducted by the authors. With similar habitat types in close geographic proximity, it is plausible that A. argentus may be found outside Kroombit. Nevertheless, it is striking that from a range of surveys conducted at Kroombit Tops in the last 15 years and intensive surveys by the authors in the last 3 years, totalling more than 5 080 trap nights, just 13 A. argentus have been captured from two sites less than 6 km apart. If this is even close to the true geographic extent of the species, it would possess one of the smallest distributions of an Australian mammal species. With several threats identified, we tentatively
recommend that A. argentus be listed as Endangered, pending an exhaustive trapping survey of Kroombit and surrounds.

Zootaxa 3746 (2): 383–392 (11 Dec. 2013)
New bioacoustic and distributional data on Bokermannohyla sapiranga Brandão et al., 2012 (Anura: Hylidae): revisiting its diagnosis in comparison with B. pseudopseudis (Miranda-Ribeiro, 1937)
THIAGO RIBEIRO DE CARVALHO, ARIOVALDO ANTONIO GIARETTA, BERNARDO FRANCO DA VEIGA TEIXEIRA & LUCAS BORGES MARTINS

In this paper, we provide new bioacoustic and distributional data on Bokermannohyla sapiranga, as well as additional comparative bioacoustic data on topotypes of B. pseudopseudis, and re-evaluate the differential diagnosis of the former species with respect to the latter. Head shapes (dorsal and lateral views) presented such variation that should not be used to differentially diagnose them as originally proposed. On the other hand, the presence of a dermal ridge along outer tarsi, and color patterns of the eyes and dorsal surface of hand/toe disks still represent diagnostic characters between both species.
We also found differences in temporal (call duration; notes per call), spectral (dominant frequency; harmonics), and structural (pulsed/non-pulsed note structure) traits of their calls. Distribution of B. sapiranga is extended eastward (Paracatu), which corresponds to the first record for the State of Minas Gerais, whereas B. pseudopseudis distribution seems to be restricted to rocky montane field environments of northern Goiás State.

Lara Cibulski, Claudia A.F. Wascher, Brigitte M. Weiß, Kurt Kotrschal, Familiarity with the experimenter influences the performance of Common ravens (Corvus corax) and Carrion crows (Corvus corone corone) in cognitive tasks, Behavioural Processes, Available online 12 December 2013, ISSN 0376-6357, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2013.11.013.
When humans and animals interact with one another over an extended time span they familiarise and may develop a relationship, which can exert an influence on both partners. For example, the behaviour of an animal in experiments may be affected by its relationship to the human experimenter. However, few studies have systematically examined the impact of human-animal relationships on experimental results. In the present study we investigated if familiarity with a human experimenter influences the performance of Common ravens (Corvus corax) and Carrion crows (Corvus corone corone) in interactive tasks. Birds were tested in two interactive cognitive tasks (exchange, object choice) by several experimenters representing different levels of familiarity (long and short-term). Our findings show that the birds participated more often in both tasks and were more successful in the exchange task when working with long-term experimenters than when working with short-term experimenters. Behavioural observations indicate that anxiety did not inhibit experimental performance but that the birds’ motivation to work differed between the two kinds of experimenters, familiar and less familiar. We conclude that human-animal relationships (i.e. familiarity) may affect the experimental performance of corvids in interactive cognitive tasks.

Zootaxa 3746 (3): 401–421 (12 Dec. 2013)
An integrative appraisal of the diagnosis and distribution of Allobates sumtuosus (Morales, 2002) (Anura, Aromobatidae)
PEDRO IVO SIMÕES, IGOR LUIS KAEFER, IZENI PIRES FARIAS & ALBERTINA PIMENTEL LIMA

We describe the advertisement calls and color in life of Allobates sumtuosus (Morales 2002) based on specimens recorded and collected at its type locality in Reserva Biológica do Rio Trombetas, Brazilian Amazonia. We also improve the species diagnosis by adding information on states of characters frequently used in current Allobates taxonomy. Finally, we analyze genetic distances and the evolutionary relationships between typical A. sumtuosus and other Allobates species distributed in Brazil and along the Guiana Shield region using a fragment of the 16S rDNA mitochondrial gene. Based on this integrative
analysis, we propose the synonym of Allobates spumaponens Kok & Ernst 2007 with A. sumtuosus and provide
an updated geographic distribution of the species.

Zootaxa 3746 (3): 439–453 (12 Dec. 2013)
The „Rhampholeon uluguruensis complex“ (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae) and the taxonomic status of the pygmy chameleons in Tanzania
MAKDA FISSEHA, JEAN MARIAUX; MICHELE MENEGON

The specific status of several pygmy chameleons endemic to mountain massifs in the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania has long been controversial due to their lack of distinctive morphological characters. In this work we extend our previous sampling of Rieppeleon and Rhampholeon species, especially from the Rhampoleon moyeri/Rhampholeon uluguruensis complex, and add data from a new mitochondrial marker to address this problem. Our results show that there is geographical
structure between populations of pygmy chameleons from different mountains. This structure is especially well defined for Rhampholeon (Rhinodigitum). Phylogenetic analyses confirm that both Rh. uluguruensis Tilbury and Emmrich, 1995 and Rh. moyeri Menegon, Salvidio and Tilbury, 2002 are distinct lineages, the former from the Uluguru Mountains and the latter from the Udzungwa Mountains. However, the paratype material used to erect Rh. moyeri belongs to a separate lineage from the holotype. Similarly, a number of additional lineages within the Rh. moyeri/Rh. uluguruensis complex recovered in the analysis may deserve specific status. At present, there is a lack of morphological characters that can
be used to distinguish these lineages, suggesting that there are multiple cryptic taxa in this complex.

Zootaxa 3746 (3): 463–472 (12 Dec. 2013)
A new species of karst-adapted Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from a threatened karst region in Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia
L. LEE GRISMER, PERRY L. WOOD, JR., MAKETAB MOHAMED, KIN ONN CHAN, HEATHER M. HEINZ, ALEX S-I. SUMARLI, JACOB A. CHAN & ARIEL I. LOREDO

A new species of karst-adapted gekkonid lizard of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch is described from Gua Gunting and Gua Goyang in a karst region of Merapoh, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia whose unique limestone formations are in immediate danger of being quarried. The new species differs from all other species of Cnemaspis based on its unique suite of morphological and color pattern characters. Its discovery underscores the unique biodiversity endemic to karst regions and adds to a growing list of karst-adapted reptiles from Peninsular Malaysia. We posit that new karst-adapted species endemic to limestone forests will continue to be discovered and these regions will harbor a significant percentage of Peninsular Malaysia’s biodiversity and thusly should be conserved rather than quarried.

Williams, D., Pettorelli, N., Henschel, J., Cowlishaw, G. and Douglas, C. M. S. (2013), Impact of alien trees on mammal distributions along an ephemeral river in the Namib Desert. African Journal of Ecology. doi: 10.1111/aje.12134
Ephemeral rivers and the vegetation they support have numerous ecological and economic values to the mammals and people who rely on these systems. Yet, these crucial environments are believed to be threatened by exotic plant invasion. In Africa, invasive trees of the genus Prosopis have detrimental effects on native vegetation, bird and dung beetle communities; however, to date, there is no evidence that Prosopis establishment has affected indigenous wild mammalian distribution and ecology in its introduced range. Using a combination of camera traps and vegetation surveys, we tested the hypothesis that Prosopis invasion has a negative impact on the mammals of the ephemeral Swakop River in Namibia by reducing mammal species richness and species occupancies. Prosopis was found to have no negative impact on species richness; however, evidence for species-specific responses to Prosopis abundance was found. This is the first study to confirm an impact of Prosopis on sub-Saharan African mammals, providing a foundation for future research and the development of appropriate management policy.

Hossein Mostafavi, Florian Pletterbauer, Brian W. Coad, Abdolrassoul Salman Mahini, Rafaela Schinegger, Günther Unfer, Clemens Trautwein, Stefan Schmutz, Predicting Presence and Absence of Trout (Salmo trutta) in Iran, Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters, Available online 12 December 2013, ISSN 0075-9511, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.limno.2013.12.001.
Species distribution modelling, as a central issue in freshwater ecology, is an important tool for conservation and management of aquatic ecosystems. The brown trout (Salmo trutta) is a sensitive species which reacts to habitat changes induced by human impacts. Therefore, the identification of suitable habitats is essential. This study explores the potential distribution of brown trout by a species distribution modelling approach for Iran. Furthermore, modelling results are compared to the distribution described in the literature. Areas outside the known distribution which may offer potential habitats for brown trout are identified. The species distribution modelling was based on five different modelling techniques: Generalised Linear Model, Generalised Additive Model, Generalised Boosting Model, Classification Tree Analysis and Random Forests, which are finally summarised in an ensemble forecasting approach. We considered four environmental descriptors at the local scale (slope, bankfull width, wetted width, and elevation) and three climatic parameters (mean air temperature, range of air temperature and annual precipitation) which were extracted on three different extents (1/5/10 km). The performance of all models was excellent (≥0.8) according to the TSS (True Skill Statistic) criterion. Slope, mean and range of air temperature were the most important variables in predicting brown trout occurrence. Presented results deepen the knowledge about distribution patterns of brown trout in Iran. Moreover, this study gives a basic background for the future development of assessment methods for riverine ecosystems in Iran.

Description of the hemipenial morphology of Tupinambis quadrilineatus Manzani and Abe, 1997 (Squamata, Teiidae) and new records from Piauí, Brazil
Marcelia da Silva, Geraldo Filho, Áurea Cronemberger, Leonardo Carvalho, Paulo Manzani, Jânia Vieira
ZooKeys 361 (2013): 61-72
doi: 10.3897/zookeys.361.5738

Few data are available on the morphology of the hemipenis of teiid lizards, especially those of the recently-defined genus Tupinambis, a widely-distributed group of large-bodied lizards. This study provides an illustrated description of the hemipenis of Tupinambis quadrilineatus, which is similar to that of other representatives of the Tupinambinae subfamily. New records of the species from the state of Piauí, in northeastern Brazil, are also presented.

Hawes, J. E. and Peres, C. A. (2013), Ecological correlates of trophic status and frugivory in neotropical primates. Oikos. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00745.x
Primates are among the most observable and best studied vertebrate order in tropical forest regions, with widespread attention dedicated to the feeding ecology of wild populations. In particular, primates play a key role as frugivores and seed-dispersal agents for a myriad of tropical plants. Sampling effort by primatologists, however, has been unequally distributed, hampering quantitative comparisons of primate diets. We provide the first systematic review of primate diets, with an emphasis on frugivory, using a comprehensive compilation of 290 unique primate dietary studies from 164 localities in 17 countries across the entire Neotropical realm. We account for sampling effort (standardised as hours) in comparing the richness of fruiting plants recorded in primate diets, and the relative contribution of frugivory to the overall diet in relation to key life-history traits, such as body mass. We find strong support for the long-held hypothesis, based on Kay’s Threshold, that body size imposes an upper limit on insectivory and a lower limit on folivory, and therefore that frugivory is most important at intermediate body sizes. However, the upper body mass limit of extant neotropical primates, truncated by the post-Pleistocene megafaunal overkill, has implications for the extent of the frugivory–folivory continuum in extinct lineages. Contemporary threats faced by the largest primates serve as a further warning that the feeding ecology and diet of all neotropical primates remain severely undersampled with regard to the composition and richness of fruits consumed. Indeed, frugivorous primates expected to have the most species-rich plant diets are amongst those most poorly sampled, exposing implications for our current understanding of primate–plant interaction networks.

Zootaxa 3746 (4): 552–566 (13 Dec. 2013)
Taxonomic study of Bathygadidae fishes (Gadiformes) from Atlantic Spanish waters combining morphological and molecular approaches
RAFAEL BAÑÓN, JUAN CARLOS ARRONTE, DAVID BARROS-GARCÍA, SANDRA VÁZQUEZ-DORADO & ALEJANDRO DE CARLOS

From 2009 to 2011 eleven specimens belonging to four bathygadid species of the family Bathygadidae were captured in two different locations in the northern waters of Spain. The morphometric measurements and meristic characters of these specimens are given. The specimens were identified as belonging to the genera Gadomus Regan, 1903, and Bathygadus Günther, 1878, including the following species: Gadomus dispar (Vaillant, 1888), Gadomus longifilis (Goode & Bean, 1885), Gadomus arcuatus (Goode & Bean, 1886) and Bathygadus melanobranchus Vaillant, 1888. As a result, a new northern limit of distribution of G. arcuatus from the northeastern Atlantic is reported. The first molecular identification and genetic interrelationships of Bathygadidae species, based on the mitochondrial COI nucleotide sequences -DNA barcodes- is reported. Sequences corresponding to specimens from the same species were identical and the overall mean genetic diversity (uncorrected p-distance) was 0.096 ± 0.008. Based on a morphological and meristic examination of the specimens, as well as on the available literature, an updated key of the members of the family Bathygadidae from the north-eastern Atlantic Ocean is provided.

Zootaxa 3746 (4): 567–579 (13 Dec. 2013)
A new species of Murina (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from peninsular Thailand
PIPAT SOISOOK, SUNATE KARAPAN, CHUTAMAS SATASOOK & PAUL J. J. BATES

A new species of Murina belonging to ‘suilla-group’ is described based on two specimens collected with harp traps in lowland evergreen forest in the southernmost part of peninsular Thailand. Morphology and molecular (mitochondrial COI) data suggest that the new species is most closely related to M. eleryi, which is currently known from Indochina. The new species, however, can be distinguished by the size and shape of the upper canine, the shape of the upper and lower premolars, and the colour of the ventral pelage. Additional data on bacular morphology, echolocation, ecology, and distribution are included.

Diller, L. V., Dumbacher, J. P., Bosch, R. P., Bown, R. R. and Gutiérrez, R.J. (2013), Removing barred owls from local areas: Techniques and feasibility. Wildlife Society Bulletin. doi: 10.1002/wsb.381
The barred owl (Strix varia) has invaded the range of the northern spotted owl (S. occidentalis caurina) over the past century. The Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Plan recommended removal experiments to assess both the effect of barred owls on spotted owls and the feasibility of initiating some form of barred owl control to enhance recovery of the northern spotted owl. Concern has been raised that such experiments will be neither feasible nor cost-effective. To assess these and other concerns, we conducted lethal removal of barred owls within 3 areas totaling 85,205 ha in northern California, USA. We collected 73 of 81 territorial barred owls detected from 2009 to 2012 during 122 field visits. It took an average of 2 hr 23 min to collect each barred owl from the time of arrival at a site to the time a collected bird was completely processed for field data. Most barred owls were collected within one-half hour of arrival at a site. Lethal removal of barred owls was rapid, technically feasible, and cost-effective. We provide recommendations for techniques we found to be effective.

Kristy L. Lindemann-Biolsi, Colleen Reichmuth
Cross-modal transitivity in a California sea lion (Zalophus californianus)
Animal Cognition December 2013

The ability of an experimentally experienced female California sea lion to form transitive relations across sensory modalities was tested using a matching-to-sample procedure. The subject was trained by trial-and-error, using differential reinforcement, to relate an acoustic sample stimulus to one member from each of two previously established visual classes. Once the two auditory–visual relations were formed, she was tested to determine whether untrained transitive relations would emerge between each of the acoustic stimuli and the remaining stimuli of each 10-member visual class. During testing, the sea lion demonstrated immediate transfer by responding correctly on 89 % of the 18 novel transfer trials compared to 88 % on familiar baseline trials. We then repeated this training and transfer procedure twice more with new auditory–visual pairings with similar positive results. Finally, the six explicitly trained auditory–visual relations and the 56 derived auditory–visual relations were intermixed in a single session, and the subject’s performance remained stable at high levels. This sea lion’s transfer performance indicates that a nonhuman animal is capable of forming new associations through cross-modal transitivity.

Bruce Rawlings, Marina Davila-Ross, Sarah T. Boysen
Semi-wild chimpanzees open hard-shelled fruits differently across communities
Animal Cognition December 2013

Researchers investigating the evolutionary roots of human culture have turned to comparing behaviours across nonhuman primate communities, with tool-based foraging in particular receiving much attention. This study examined whether natural extractive foraging behaviours other than tool selection differed across nonhuman primate colonies that had the same foods available. Specifically, the behaviours applied to open the hard-shelled fruits of Strychnos spp. were examined in three socially separate, semi-wild colonies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) that lived under shared ecological conditions at Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage, and were comparable in their genetic makeup. The chimpanzees (N = 56) consistently applied six techniques to open these fruits. GLMM results revealed differences in the number of combined technique types to open fruits across the colonies. They also showed colony differences in the application of three specific techniques. Two techniques (full biting and fruit cracking) were entirely absent in some colonies. This study provides empirical evidence that natural hard-shelled fruit-opening behaviours are distinct across chimpanzee colonies, differences that most likely have not resulted from ecological and genetic reasons.

Cissy Ballen, Richard Shine, Mats Olsson, Effects of early social isolation on the behaviour and performance of juvenile lizards, Chamaeleo calyptratus, Animal Behaviour, Volume 88, February 2014, Pages 1-6, ISSN 0003-3472, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.11.010.
Although reptiles have traditionally been viewed as asocial, the recent discovery of complex social systems in lizards suggests that an animal’s social behaviour may be shaped by its interactions with conspecifics early in life, as occurs in endothermic vertebrates. We reared hatchling veiled chameleons, Chamaeleo calyptratus, either in isolation or in groups of four, using a split-clutch design. Social interactions during the first 2 months of life substantially affected a chameleon’s subsequent responses to newly encountered conspecifics in standardized trials: animals reared in isolation were more submissive, and adopted darker and duller colours. Isolation-reared lizards also performed less well in a foraging task. Thus, social isolation early in life can impair the development of squamate reptiles, as it does in mammals and birds.

Manuel Soler, Liesbeth de Neve, Gianluca Roncalli, Elena Macías-Sánchez, Juan Diego Ibáñez-Álamo, Tomás Pérez-Contreras
Great spotted cuckoo fledglings are disadvantaged by magpie host parents when reared together with magpie nestlings
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology December 2013

The post-fledging period is a critical phase for juvenile survival, and parental care provided during this period is a key component of avian reproductive performance. Very little is known about the relationships between foster parents and fledglings of brood parasites. Here, we present the results of a 5-year study about the relationships between fledglings of the non-evictor brood parasitic great spotted cuckoo (Clamator glandarius) and its magpie (Pica pica) foster parents. Sometimes, great spotted cuckoo and magpie nestlings from the same nest can fledge successfully, but most often parasitic nestlings outcompete host nestlings and only cuckoos leave the nest. We have studied several aspects of cuckoo post-fledging performance (i.e. feeding behaviour, parental defence and fledgling survival) in experimental nests in which only cuckoos or both magpie and cuckoo nestlings survived until leaving the nest. The results indicate that great spotted cuckoo fledglings reared in mixed broods together with magpie nestlings were disadvantaged by magpie adults with respect to feeding patterns. Fledgling cuckoos reared in mixed broods were fed less frequently than those reared in only cuckoo broods, and magpie adults approached less frequently to feed cuckoos from mixed broods than cuckoos from only cuckoo broods. These results imply that the presence of host’s own nestlings for comparison may be a crucial clue favouring the evolution of fledgling discrimination; and furthermore, that the risk of discrimination at the fledgling stage probably is an important selection pressure driving the evolution of the arms race between brood parasites and their hosts.

Félix M. Medina, Elsa Bonnaud, Eric Vidal, Manuel Nogales
Underlying impacts of invasive cats on islands: not only a question of predation
Biodiversity and Conservation December 2013

The domestic cat has been introduced on most islands worldwide, where it has established feral populations and is currently known to be one of the worst invasive mammalian predators. Predation is the strongest deleterious effect of cats on wildlife, inducing a direct negative impact on population size and dynamics, breeding success and changes in species assemblages. Direct predation is not the only damaging impact on native wildlife, since cats can be responsible for other poorly-documented underlying ecological impacts, like competition, hybridization, disease transmission, ecological process alteration, and behavioral change. Here, we pinpoint relevant examples of these ecological impacts, by searching for accurate data from published literature. We used electronic databases covering most of the world islands where the effects of cats were documented. Knowledge of these impacts can be of great importance to preserve insular ecosystem functions and persistence of endangered native species. We emphasize that direct predation processes should not be the only factor considered in the management of invasive cats on islands.

R. Lefébure, S. Larsson, P. Byström, Temperature and size-dependent attack rates of the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus); are sticklebacks in the Baltic Sea resource-limited?, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Volume 451, February 2014, Pages 82-90, ISSN 0022-0981, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2013.11.008.
The three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus is a small omnivorous fish, widely distributed in the northern hemisphere. In the Baltic Sea, recently observed increases in their population densities have been attributed to declines of piscivorous predators. Concurrent with this predator release, an alternative hypothesis is that past and present consumption rates and resource limitation thresholds may have contributed to the recent increases in stickleback abundance. To evaluate this hypothesis, we estimated the size- and temperature-dependent attack rate and the critical resource density (CRD) of three-spined sticklebacks. We incorporated laboratory results with time series of zooplankton abundance to estimate historical trends in degrees of resource limitation in sticklebacks and evaluate if increases in individual consumption rates could be a plausible mechanism facilitating the suggested population increase. Attack rates increased with body size and temperature in laboratory experiments. Estimated CRD increased with size but decreased with temperature, suggesting that stickleback scope for individual and population growth might increase at temperatures above 15 °C. Our results further suggest that sticklebacks have been living closer to maximum consumption capacity in the coastal areas of the Bothnian Sea (BS) and Bothnian Bay (BB). Moreover, decreasing levels of resource limitation in the corresponding off-shore zones may have facilitated increases in stickleback densities for these areas. However, in the coastal zones of the Baltic proper (BP), resource levels have declined and are approaching the CRD, suggesting that stickleback populations in BP may not increase further. The decrease in CRD with temperature implies that increasing summer temperatures will increase the scope of individual and population growth in the three-spined stickleback and may favor the three-spined stickleback’s competitive ability over other species under a warmer climate.

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