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Die Naturwissenschaften

Tomer J Czaczkes, Ana María Bastidas-Urrutia, Paolo Ghislandi, Cristina Tuni
Increased urbanisation is leading to a rise in light pollution. Light pollution can disrupt the behaviour and physiology of animals resulting in increased mortality. However, animals may also benefit from artificial light sources, as these may aggregate prey or signal suitable environments. For example, spiders are commonly seen congregating around artificial light sources. Changes in selective pressures engendered by urban environments are driving changes in urban organisms, driving better adaptation to these environments...
October 30, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Cleia Detry, João Luís Cardoso, Javier Heras Mora, Macarena Bustamante-Álvarez, Ana Maria Silva, João Pimenta, Isabel Fernandes, Carlos Fernandes
New finds of bones of the Egyptian Mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon), one from Portugal and one from Spain, were directly 14 C dated to the first century AD. While the Portuguese specimen was found without connection to the Chalcolithic occupation of the Pedra Furada cave where it was recovered, the Spanish find, collected in the city of Mérida, comes from a ritual pit that also contained three human and 40 dog burials. The finds reported here show that the Egyptian mongoose, contrary to the traditional and predominant view, did not first arrive in the Iberian Peninsula during the Muslim occupation of Iberia...
October 11, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Nian Xu, Bin Zhu, Fang Shi, Ke Shao, Yanfu Que, Weitao Li, Wei Li, Wenjing Jiao, Hua Tian, Dongmei Xu, Jianbo Chang
Monitoring dynamic distribution is crucial to conservation management of anadromous sturgeons, but traditional survey methods are less efficient for low-density populations in a large river. Natural propagation of Chinese sturgeon has been monitored annually mainly at the spawning ground using netting for eggs and hydroacoustics for broodstock. However, absence of spawning was observed sporadically in recent years, indicating further crises for the declining population. We analyzed eDNA of water samples collected from 24 sites across 1360 km of the migratory route of anadromous Chinese sturgeon in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River...
October 10, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Romain Vullo, Jean-Claude Rage
Borioteiioidea are an enigmatic group of Cretaceous lizards widely distributed in northern continents (Laurasia). Here, we describe the first borioteiioid lizard from Gondwana, represented by a new species of the polyglyphanodontine genus Bicuspidon, B. hogreli sp. nov., from the Cenomanian Kem Kem beds of Morocco. The discovery of Bicuspidon hogreli sp. nov., which is one of the oldest known member of Polyglyphanodontini, challenges previous assumptions on the center of origin and dispersal of the group. In addition, the known distribution of Bicuspidon (Cenomanian of Utah and Morocco, and Santonian-Maastrichtian of eastern Europe) suggests a complex palaeobiogeographical history for the genus...
October 5, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Mei Jin, Ming Cao, Qian Cao, Jun Piao, Fengqin Zhao, Jing'ai Piao
Cashmere produced from Liaoning cashmere goat is highly valuable. Melatonin is an important factor affecting cashmere growth and can regulate the growth cycle via effects on gene expression. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) regulate gene expression, but detailed studies of their effect on hair growth are lacking. To explore how lncRNA mediates the effects of melatonin on cashmere growth, we used RNA-Seq including a control condition (C) and three melatonin treatments (1.0 g/L 24 h (M1_24H), 0.2 g/L 24 h (M2_24H), 0...
September 26, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Sylvain Giroud, Alina L Evans, Isabelle Chery, Fabrice Bertile, Georg Tascher, Justine Bertrand-Michel, Guillemette Gauquelin-Koch, Jon M Arnemo, Jon E Swenson, Etienne Lefai, Stéphane Blanc, Chantal Simon
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) exert several important functions across organ systems. During winter, hibernators divert PUFAs from oxidation, retaining them in their tissues and membranes, to ensure proper body functions at low body temperature. PUFAs are also precursors of eicosanoids with pro- and anti-inflammatory properties. This study investigated seasonal changes in eicosanoid metabolism of free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos). By using a lipidomic approach, we assessed (1) levels of specific omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids involved in the eicosanoid cascade and (2) concentrations of eicosanoids in skeletal muscle and blood plasma of winter hibernating and summer active bears...
September 17, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Youn Henry, Hervé Colinet
It is now acknowledged that bacteria from gut microbiota deeply interact with their host by altering many physiological traits. Such interplay is likely to consequently affect stress tolerance. Here, we compared cold and heat tolerance of Drosophila melanogaster flies with undisrupted (control (Co)) versus disrupted gut microbiota (dechorionated eggs (De)). The disrupting treatment strongly reduced bacterial load in flies' guts, though 16S sequencing analysis did not evidence strong diversity changes in the remaining bacterial community...
September 17, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Mathilde Stomp, Maël Leroux, Marjorie Cellier, Séverine Henry, Martine Hausberger, Alban Lemasson
While the vocal coding of human and animal internal states has been widely studied, the possible acoustic expression of "positive" emotions remains poorly known. Recent studies suggest that snorts (non-vocal sounds produced by the air expiration through the nostrils) appear to be reliable indicators of positive internal states in several ungulate species. Here, we hypothesised in horses that the acoustic structure of the snort could vary with the subjects' current emotional state. Indeed, a preliminary sound analysis of snorts let us suggest structure variations related to the presence of pulsations...
September 12, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Tim Lüddecke, Stefan Schulz, Sebastian Steinfartz, Miguel Vences
Terrestrial salamanders of the genus Salamandra represent one of the most prominent groups of amphibians. They are mainly distributed across Europe but also reach Northern Africa and the Near East. Members of the six currently accepted species have long been known to be poisonous; however, work on their toxins was mostly published in German language, and therefore, many nuances of these studies have remained hidden from the majority of herpetologists and toxinologists. Several Salamandra species are called fire salamanders due to their highly contrasted, black-yellow colouration which probably serves to deter predators, although thorough evidence for aposematism in Salamandra is still lacking...
September 4, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Tatiane Becker, Pedro Aurélio Costa Lima Pequeno, Gislene Almeida Carvalho-Zilse
Temperature is a major driver of biological phenomena, from metabolism to ecological interactions and rates of evolutionary diversification. However, species vary greatly in their thermal tolerance, as well as the temperature under which they perform best. This study aimed to investigate the effect of experimental manipulation of environmental temperatures on the individual mortality and phenotypic composition of colonies of Melipona interrupta. To fulfill these objectives, 30 colonies in equivalent developmental conditions were artificially subjected to different temperatures...
September 3, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Ana M Martín González, Juan Francisco Ornelas, Bo Dalsgaard, Ubaldo Márquez-Luna, Carlos Lara
Recent studies on ecological networks have quantified the contribution of ecological, historical, and evolutionary factors on the structure of local communities of interacting species. However, the influence of species' biogeographical traits, such as migratory habits or phylogeographical history, on ecological networks is poorly understood. Meta-networks, i.e., networks that cover large spatial extensions and include species not co-occurring locally, enable us to investigate mechanisms that operate at larger spatial scales such as migratory patterns or phylogeographical distributions, as well as indirect relationships among species through shared partners...
August 31, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Tatsuya Inagaki, Kenji Matsuura
All higher eukaryotes have established symbiotic relationships with diverse microorganisms. One of the most well-characterized symbiotic systems is that of termites and their intestinal microorganisms, which digest cellulose. Recently, diverse types of symbioses between gut microbes and host organisms including humans have received growing attention for various features of their complex interactions beyond nutrition. In termites, researchers are beginning to explore such function of gut symbionts, but only the contribution to internal immunity against entomopathogen is known in a few species...
August 30, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Jennifer L Kelley, Jonathan P Evans
Phenotypic variation plays a critical role in determining the structural organisation and ecological function of wild populations. Animal groups are often structured according to factors such as species, sex, body size and parasite load, but it is unclear whether body shape also influences patterns of social organisation, and thus contributes to population phenotypic structure. Here, we use geometric morphometric analyses to determine whether wild-caught shoals of a freshwater fish, the western rainbowfish (Melanotaenia australis), are structured according to body size and shape...
August 30, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Adriana María Albino, Bruce Rothschild, Jorge D Carrillo-Briceño, James M Neenan
Inflammatory arthritis is documented for the first time in snakes. Ossification of the intervertebral capsule and zygapophyseal joints resulting in segmental vertebral fusion was observed in the aquatic Cretaceous snake Lunaophis aquaticus. Such pathologic alterations are pathognomonic for the spondyloarthropathy form of inflammatory arthritis. A survey of 2144 snakes in recent collections, performed to identify Holocene prevalence, revealed only two occurrences in extant snakes. The findings in Bitis gabonica and Elaphe taeniura were indistinguishable from those noted in Lunaophis aquaticus and identical to those previously recognized in modern varanids...
August 14, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Oliver Hawlitschek, Mark D Scherz, Bernhard Ruthensteiner, Angelica Crottini, Frank Glaw
Cryptic species have been detected in many groups of organisms and must be assumed to make up a significant portion of global biodiversity. We study geckos of the Ebenavia inunguis complex from Madagascar and surrounding islands and use species delimitation algorithms (GMYC, BOLD, BPP), COI barcode divergence, diagnostic codon indels in the nuclear marker PRLR, diagnostic categorical morphological characters, and significant differences in continuous morphological characters for its taxonomic revision. BPP yielded ≥ 10 operational taxonomic units, whereas GMYC (≥ 27) and BOLD (26) suggested substantial oversplitting...
July 20, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Lenka Sentenská, Stano Pekár, Gabriele Uhl
In order to avoid sperm competition, males of many taxa apply physical barriers, so-called mating plugs, into female genitalia. Females may control which males deposit a plug through pre-copulatory mate choice or by influencing plug efficacy to avoid costs imposed by plugging. However, subsequent suitors might remove the plugs. We investigated behavioural and morphological aspects of plug deposition and removal in a promiscuous spider, Philodromus cespitum (Philodromidae). We performed mating trials to investigate factors affecting plugging...
July 20, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Samira Veiga Ravaiano, Wagner Faria Barbosa, Lúcio Antônio Campos, Gustavo Ferreira Martins
The insect immune system faces various challenges; particularly in social bees, caste system and age polyethism expose individuals to numerous environmental and working conditions. However, little is known about how cellular defenses in social bees may be organized to respond to a variety of immune challenges. Here, we describe the morphological features and the total and differential counts of hemocytes in different female classes (newly emerged workers, nurses, foragers, and virgin queens) of the eusocial stingless bee Melipona quadrifasciata...
July 19, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Martin Nyffeler, Çağan H Şekercioğlu, Christopher J Whelan
In this paper, we present an estimate of the predation impact of the global population of insectivorous birds based on 103 (for the most part) published studies of prey consumption (kg ha-1  season-1 ) of insectivorous birds in seven biome types. By extrapolation-taking into account the global land cover of the various biomes-an estimate of the annual prey consumption of the world's insectivorous birds was obtained. We estimate the prey biomass consumed by the world's insectivorous birds to be somewhere between 400 and 500 million metric tons year-1 , but most likely at the lower end of this range (corresponding to an energy consumption of ≈ 2...
July 9, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Brehna Teixeira de Melo, Theo Mota, Clemens Schlindwein, Yasmine Antonini, Reisla Oliveira
Pollinators search for multiple flora resources throughout their life cycle. Most studies, however, only assess how bees discriminate floral cues in the context of nectar foraging. In the present study, we sought to elucidate whether oil-collecting bees discriminate flowers of Byrsonima variabilis (Malpighiaceae) with petals of different colours when foraging for pollen or oil. As the colour of the standard petal changes during anthesis, we characterised the spectral reflectance patterns of flowers throughout anthesis and modelled chromatic perceptual space to determine how these colour patterns are perceived by bees...
July 5, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Alejandro Cantarero, Jesús Carrasco Naranjo, Fabián Casas, Francois Mougeot, Javier Viñuela, Carlos Alonso-Alvarez
Complex body designs, such as plumage ornaments in birds, can be described by fractal geometry. These complex patterns could have a role as visual signals during courtship and social interactions, but an empirical validation in the wild is currently lacking. Here, we investigated whether the fractal dimension (FD) of a complex plumage pattern displayed by red-legged partridges Alectoris rufa could function as a potential sexual signal. We captured wild birds early in the breeding season and tested if mated and unmated birds differed in the FD of their conspicuous melanin-based black bib...
June 29, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
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