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Biology Letters

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https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28615353/discovery-of-the-fossil-otter-enhydritherium-terraenovae-carnivora-mammalia-in-mexico-reconciles-a-palaeozoogeographic-mystery
#1
Z Jack Tseng, Adolfo Pacheco-Castro, Oscar Carranza-Castañeda, José Jorge Aranda-Gómez, Xiaoming Wang, Hilda Troncoso
The North American fossil otter Enhydritherium terraenovae is thought to be partially convergent in ecological niche with the living sea otter Enhydra lutris, both having low-crowned crushing teeth and a close association with marine environments. Fossil records of Enhydritherium are found in mostly marginal marine deposits in California and Florida; despite presence of very rich records of fossil terrestrial mammals in contemporaneous localities inland, no Enhydritherium fossils are hitherto known in interior North America...
June 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28615352/preparatory-responses-to-socially-determined-mutually-exclusive-possibilities-in-chimpanzees-and-children
#2
Thomas Suddendorf, Jessica Crimston, Jonathan Redshaw
The capacity to imagine and prepare for alternative future possibilities is central to human cognition. Recent research suggests that between age 2 and 4 children gradually begin to demonstrate a capacity to prepare for two simple, mutually exclusive alternatives of an immediate future event. When children were given the opportunity to catch a target an experimenter dropped into an inverted Y-shaped tube, 2-year olds-as well as great apes-tended to cover only one of the exits, whereas 4-year-olds spontaneously and consistently prepared for both possible outcomes...
June 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28615351/body-shape-convergence-driven-by-small-size-optimum-in-marine-angelfishes
#3
Bruno Frédérich, Francesco Santini, Nicolai Konow, Joseph Schnitzler, David Lecchini, Michael E Alfaro
Convergent evolution of small body size occurs across many vertebrate clades and may reflect an evolutionary response to shared selective pressures. However it remains unclear if other aspects of phenotype undergo convergent evolution in miniaturized lineages. Here we present a comparative analysis of body size and shape evolution in marine angelfishes (Pomacanthidae), a reef fish family characterized by repeated transitions to small body size. We ask if lineages that evolve small sizes show convergent evolution in body shape...
June 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28615350/a-circannual-perspective-on-daily-and-total-flight-distances-in-a-long-distance-migratory-raptor-the-montagu-s-harrier-circus-pygargus
#4
Almut E Schlaich, Willem Bouten, Vincent Bretagnolle, Henning Heldbjerg, Raymond H G Klaassen, Iben H Sørensen, Alexandre Villers, Christiaan Both
Long-distance migrants are particularly recognized for the distances covered on migration, yet little is known about the distances they cover during the rest of the year. GPS-tracks of 29 Montagu's harriers from breeding areas in France, The Netherlands and Denmark showed that harriers fly between 35 653 and 88 049 km yr(-1), of which on average only 28.5% is on migration. Mean daily distances during migration were 296 km d(-1) in autumn and 252 km d(-1) in spring. Surprisingly, males' daily distances during breeding (217 km d(-1)) were close to those during migration, whereas breeding females moved significantly less (101 km d(-1)) than males...
June 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28592521/no-evidence-for-extrinsic-post-zygotic-isolation-in-a-wild-saccharomyces-yeast-system
#5
Guillaume Charron, Christian R Landry
Although microorganisms account for the largest fraction of Earth's biodiversity, we know little about how their reproductive barriers evolve. Sexual microorganisms such as Saccharomyces yeasts rapidly develop strong intrinsic post-zygotic isolation, but the role of extrinsic isolation in the early speciation process remains to be investigated. We measured the growth of F1 hybrids between two incipient species of Saccharomyces paradoxus to assess the presence of extrinsic post-zygotic isolation across 32 environments...
June 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28592520/tyrannosauroid-integument-reveals-conflicting-patterns-of-gigantism-and-feather-evolution
#6
Phil R Bell, Nicolás E Campione, W Scott Persons, Philip J Currie, Peter L Larson, Darren H Tanke, Robert T Bakker
Recent evidence for feathers in theropods has led to speculations that the largest tyrannosaurids, including Tyrannosaurus rex, were extensively feathered. We describe fossil integument from Tyrannosaurus and other tyrannosaurids (Albertosaurus, Daspletosaurus, Gorgosaurus and Tarbosaurus), confirming that these large-bodied forms possessed scaly, reptilian-like skin. Body size evolution in tyrannosauroids reveals two independent occurrences of gigantism; specifically, the large sizes in Yutyrannus and tyrannosaurids were independently derived...
June 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28566543/climate-and-sex-ratio-variation-in-a-viviparous-lizard
#7
George D Cunningham, Geoffrey M While, Erik Wapstra
The extent to which key biological processes, such as sex determination, respond to environmental fluctuations is fundamental for assessing species' susceptibility to ongoing climate change. Few studies, however, address how climate affects offspring sex in the wild. We monitored two climatically distinct populations of the viviparous skink Niveoscincus ocellatus for 16 years, recording environmental temperatures, offspring sex and date of birth. We found strong population-specific effects of temperature on offspring sex, with female offspring more common in warm years at the lowland site but no effect at the highland site...
May 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28566542/wolbachia-induced-meiotic-drive-and-feminization-is-associated-with-an-independent-occurrence-of-selective-mitochondrial-sweep-in-a-butterfly
#8
Mai Miyata, Tatsuro Konagaya, Kenji Yukuhiro, Masashi Nomura, Daisuke Kageyama
Maternally inherited Wolbachia endosymbionts manipulate arthropod reproduction in various ways. In the butterfly Eurema mandarina, a cytoplasmic incompatibility-inducing Wolbachia strain wCI and the associated mtDNA haplotypes are known to originate from the sister species Eurema hecabe, which offered a good case study for microbe-mediated hybrid introgression. Besides wCI, some females with the Z0 karyotype harbour a distinct Wolbachia strain wFem, which causes all-female production by meiotic drive and feminization...
May 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28566541/establishment-and-maintenance-of-aphid-endosymbionts-after-horizontal-transfer-is-dependent-on-host-genotype
#9
Benjamin J Parker, Ailsa H C McLean, Jan Hrček, Nicole M Gerardo, H Charles J Godfray
Animal-associated microbial communities have important effects on host phenotypes. Individuals within and among species differ in the strains and species of microbes that they harbour, but how natural selection shapes the distribution and abundance of symbionts in natural populations is not well understood. Symbionts can be beneficial in certain environments but also impose costs on their hosts. Consequently, individuals that can or cannot associate with symbionts will be favoured under different ecological circumstances...
May 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28539462/horizontal-and-vertical-species-turnover-in-tropical-birds-in-habitats-with-differing-land-use
#10
Rachakonda Sreekar, Richard T Corlett, Salindra Dayananda, Uromi Manage Goodale, Adam Kilpatrick, Sarath W Kotagama, Lian Pin Koh, Eben Goodale
Large tracts of tropical rainforests are being converted into intensive agricultural lands. Such anthropogenic disturbances are known to reduce species turnover across horizontal distances. But it is not known if they can also reduce species turnover across vertical distances (elevation), which have steeper climatic differences. We measured turnover in birds across horizontal and vertical sampling transects in three land-use types of Sri Lanka: protected forest, reserve buffer and intensive-agriculture, from 90 to 2100 m a...
May 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28539461/contrasting-effects-of-aquatic-subsidies-on-a-terrestrial-trophic-cascade
#11
Nadin Graf, Roman Bucher, Ralf B Schäfer, Martin H Entling
Subsidies from adjacent ecosystems can alter recipient food webs and ecosystem functions, such as herbivory. Emerging aquatic insects from streams can be an important prey in the riparian zone. Such aquatic subsidies can enhance predator abundances or cause predators to switch prey, depending on the herbivores. This can lead to an increase or decrease of in situ herbivores and herbivory. We examined the effects of aquatic subsidies on a simplified terrestrial food web consisting of two types of herbivores, plants and predators (spiders)...
May 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28539460/brain-size-hunting-and-the-risk-of-getting-shot-a-reply-to-zink-stuber-2017
#12
Anders Pape Møller, Johannes Erritzøe
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
May 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28539459/social-bet-hedging-in-vampire-bats
#13
Gerald G Carter, Damien R Farine, Gerald S Wilkinson
Helping kin or nonkin can provide direct fitness benefits, but helping kin also benefits indirect fitness. Why then should organisms invest in cooperative partnerships with nonkin, if kin relationships are available and more beneficial? One explanation is that a kin-limited support network is too small and risky. Even if additional weaker partnerships reduce immediate net cooperative returns, individuals extending cooperation to nonkin can maintain a larger social network which reduces the potential costs associated with losing a primary cooperation partner...
May 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28539458/how-does-environment-influence-fighting-the-effects-of-tidal-flow-on-resource-value-and-fighting-costs-in-sea-anemones
#14
Alexandre V Palaoro, Mariana Velasque, Sandro Santos, Mark Briffa
An animal's decision to enter into a fight depends on the interaction between perceived resource value (V) and fighting costs (C). Both could be altered by predictable environmental fluctuations. For intertidal marine animals, such as the sea anemone Actinia equina, exposure to high flow during the tidal cycle may increase V by bringing more food. It may also increase C via energy expenditure needed to attach to the substrate. We asked whether simulated tidal cycles would alter decisions in fighting A. equina We exposed some individuals to still water and others to simulated tidal cycles...
May 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28539457/mechanical-evidence-that-flamingos-can-support-their-body-on-one-leg-with-little-active-muscular-force
#15
Young-Hui Chang, Lena H Ting
Flamingos (Phoenicopteridae) often stand and sleep on one leg for long periods, but it is unknown how much active muscle contractile force they use for the mechanical demands of standing on one leg: body weight support and maintaining balance. First, we demonstrated that flamingo cadavers could passively support body weight on one leg without any muscle activity while adopting a stable, unchanging, joint posture resembling that seen in live flamingos. By contrast, the cadaveric flamingo could not be stably held in a two-legged pose, suggesting a greater necessity for active muscle force to stabilize two-legged versus one-legged postures...
May 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28539456/no-relationship-between-brain-size-and-risk-of-being-shot-in-hunted-birds-a-comment-on-m%C3%A3-ller-erritz%C3%A3-e-2016
#16
Robert M Zink, Erica F Stuber
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
May 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28515332/the-unusual-tracheal-system-within-the-wing-membrane-of-a-dragonfly
#17
Rhainer Guillermo-Ferreira, Esther Appel, Paulina Urban, Pitágoras C Bispo, Stanislav N Gorb
Some consider that the first winged insects had living tissue inside the wing membrane, resembling larval gills or developing wing pads. However, throughout the developmental process of the wing membrane of modern insects, cells and tracheoles in the lumen between dorsal and ventral cuticle disappear and both cuticles become fused. This process results in the rather thin rigid stable structure of the membrane. The herewith described remarkable case of the dragonfly Zenithoptera lanei shows that in some highly specialized wings, the membrane can still be supplemented by tracheae...
May 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28515331/cannibalism-by-damselflies-increases-with-rising-temperature
#18
Denon Start, Devin Kirk, Dylan Shea, Benjamin Gilbert
Trophic interactions are likely to change under climate warming. These interactions can be altered directly by changing consumption rates, or indirectly by altering growth rates and size asymmetries among individuals that in turn affect feeding. Understanding these processes is particularly important for intraspecific interactions, as direct and indirect changes may exacerbate antagonistic interactions. We examined the effect of temperature on activity rate, growth and intraspecific size asymmetries, and how these temperature dependencies affected cannibalism in Lestes congener, a damselfly with marked intraspecific variation in size...
May 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28515330/post-fire-recovery-of-torpor-and-activity-patterns-of-a-small-mammal
#19
Clare Stawski, Taylor Hume, Gerhard Körtner, Shannon E Currie, Julia Nowack, Fritz Geiser
To cope with the post-fire challenges of decreased availability of food and shelter, brown antechinus (Antechinus stuartii), a small marsupial mammal, increase the use of energy-conserving torpor and reduce activity. However, it is not known how long it takes for animals to resume pre-fire torpor and activity patterns during the recovery of burnt habitat. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that antechinus will adjust torpor use and activity after a fire depending on vegetation recovery. We simultaneously quantified torpor and activity patterns for female antechinus from three adjacent areas: (i) the area of a management burn 1 year post-fire, (ii) an area that was burned 2 years prior, and (iii) a control area...
May 2017: Biology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28515329/inference-of-facultative-mobility-in-the-enigmatic-ediacaran-organism-parvancorina
#20
Simon A F Darroch, Imran A Rahman, Brandt Gibson, Rachel A Racicot, Marc Laflamme
Establishing how Ediacaran organisms moved and fed is critical to deciphering their ecological and evolutionary significance, but has long been confounded by their non-analogue body plans. Here, we use computational fluid dynamics to quantitatively analyse water flow around the Ediacaran taxon Parvancorina, thereby testing between competing models for feeding mode and mobility. The results show that flow was not distributed evenly across the organism, but was directed towards localized areas; this allows us to reject osmotrophy, and instead supports either suspension feeding or detritivory...
May 2017: Biology Letters
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