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Biology Letters

Olivier Bles, Thibault Boehly, Jean-Louis Deneubourg, Stamatios C Nicolis
In socials insects, exploration is fundamental for the discovery of food resources and determines decision-making. We investigated how the interplay between the physical characteristics of the paths leading to food sources and the way it impacts the behaviour of individual ants affects their collective decisions. Colonies of different sizes of Lasius niger had access to two equal food sources through two paths of equal length but of different geometries: one was straight between the nest and the food source, and the other involved an abrupt change of direction at the midway point (135°)...
March 2018: Biology Letters
Logan S James, Jennifer B Dai, Jon T Sakata
Many important behaviours are socially learned. For example, the acoustic structure of courtship songs in songbirds is learned by listening to and interacting with conspecifics during a sensitive period in development. Signallers modify the spectral and temporal structures of their vocalizations depending on the social context, but the degree to which this modulation requires imitative social learning remains unknown. We found that male zebra finches ( Taeniopygia guttata ) that were not exposed to context-dependent song modulations throughout development significantly modulated their song in ways that were typical of socially reared birds...
March 2018: Biology Letters
Adriana Suarez-Gonzalez, Christian Lexer, Quentin C B Cronk
Introgression is emerging as an important source of novel genetic variation, alongside standing variation and mutation. It is adaptive when such introgressed alleles are maintained by natural selection. Recently, there has been an explosion in the number of studies on adaptive introgression. In this review, we take a plant perspective centred on four lines of evidence: (i) introgression, (ii) selection, (iii) phenotype and (iv) fitness. While advances in genomics have contributed to our understanding of introgression and porous species boundaries (task 1), and the detection of signatures of selection in introgression (task 2), the investigation of adaptive introgression critically requires links to phenotypic variation and fitness (tasks 3 and 4)...
March 2018: Biology Letters
R W Battarbee
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
March 2018: Biology Letters
Saki Yanagihara, Wataru Suehiro, Yuki Mitaka, Kenji Matsuura
Who should take on risky tasks in an age-heterogeneous society? Life-history theory predicts that, in social insects, riskier tasks should be undertaken by sterile individuals with a shorter life expectancy. The loss of individuals with shorter life expectancy is less costly for colony reproductive success than the loss of individuals with longer life expectancy. Termite colonies have a sterile soldier caste, specialized defenders engaged in the most risky tasks. Here we show that termite soldiers exhibit age-dependent polyethism, as old soldiers are engaged in front-line defence more than young soldiers...
March 2018: Biology Letters
R I M Dunbar, Padraig MacCarron, Cole Robertson
Group-living offers both benefits (protection against predators, access to resources) and costs (increased ecological competition, the impact of group size on fertility). Here, we use cluster analysis to detect natural patternings in a comprehensive sample of baboon groups, and identify a geometric sequence with peaks at approximately 20, 40, 80 and 160. We suggest (i) that these form a set of demographic oscillators that set habitat-specific limits to group size and (ii) that the oscillator arises from a trade-off between female fertility and predation risk...
March 2018: Biology Letters
Weng Ngai Lam, Robyn Jing Ying Lim, Shi Hong Wong, Hugh Tiang Wah Tan
The fluids of Nepenthes pitcher plants are habitats to many specialized animals known as inquilines, which facilitate the conversion of prey protein into pitcher-absorbable nitrogen forms such as ammonium. Xenoplatyura beaveri (Diptera: Mycetophilidae) is a predatory dipteran inquiline that inhabits the pitchers of Nepenthes ampullaria Larvae of X. beaveri construct sticky webs over the fluid surface of N. ampullaria to ensnare emerging adult dipteran inquilines. However, the interaction between X. beaveri and its host has never been examined before, and it is not known if X...
March 2018: Biology Letters
Fabien L Condamine
Mountainous areas contain a substantial part of the world species richness, but the evolutionary origins and diversification of this biodiversity remain elusive. Diversification may result from differences in clade age (longer time to diversify), net diversification rates (faster speciation rate) or carrying capacities (number of niches). The likelihood of these macroevolutionary scenarios was assessed for six clades of Apollo swallowtails ( Parnassius ) that diversified mainly in the Himalayan-Tibetan region...
March 2018: Biology Letters
Emily J Bailes, Kaitlin R Deutsch, Judit Bagi, Lucila Rondissone, Mark J F Brown, Owen T Lewis
Global declines of insect pollinators jeopardize the delivery of pollination services in both agricultural and natural ecosystems. The importance of infectious diseases has been documented in honeybees, but there is little information on the extent to which these diseases are shared with other pollinator orders. Here, we establish for the first time the presence of three important bee viruses in hoverfly pollinators (Diptera: Syrphidae): black queen cell virus (BQCV), sacbrood virus (SBV) and deformed wing virus strain B (DWV-B)...
February 2018: Biology Letters
Amanda Deakin, Michael Mendl, William J Browne, Elizabeth S Paul, James J L Hodge
Affective states influence decision-making under ambiguity in humans and other animals. Individuals in a negative state tend to interpret ambiguous cues more negatively than individuals in a positive state. We demonstrate that the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster , also exhibits state-dependent changes in cue interpretation. Drosophila were trained on a Go/Go task to approach a positive (P) odour associated with a sugar reward and actively avoid a negative (N) odour associated with shock. Trained flies were then either shaken to induce a purported negative state or left undisturbed (control), and given a choice between: air or P; air or N; air or ambiguous odour (1 : 1 blend of P : N)...
February 2018: Biology Letters
Gustav van Niekerk, Megan Mitchell, Anna-Mart Engelbrecht
Activation of the immune system is associated with an increase in the breakdown of various peripheral tissues, including bone. Despite the widely appreciated role of inflammatory mediators in promoting bone resorption, the functional value behind this process is not completely understood. Recent advances in the field of immunometabolism have highlighted the metabolic reprogramming that takes place in activated immune cells. It is now believed that the breakdown of peripheral tissue provides metabolic substrates to fuel metabolic anabolism in activated immune cells...
February 2018: Biology Letters
Federico Riva, John H Acorn, Scott E Nielsen
Ecological and anthropogenic corridors are becoming more common worldwide, but little is known about how corridor size (width) affects species' movements, and thus their effects. Here we investigated whether 4- and 8-m wide anthropogenic corridors (seismic lines) cleared for petroleum (oil sands) exploration in boreal forests in Alberta, Canada, act on altering the behaviour of a habitat generalist butterfly, the Arctic fritillary ( Boloria chariclea ). Specifically, we captured 539 Arctic fritillaries and released them in seismic line corridor or control sites with no structural directionality (i...
February 2018: Biology Letters
Fritz Trillmich, Thorben Müller, Caroline Müller
Research on animal personality explains the coexistence of distinct behavioural phenotypes within a species and demonstrates limits to individual plasticity. However, the mechanisms guiding the lifelong development of personality should receive more attention, because many elements of personality are emergent properties of interactions between the environment and an individual's genetic background. In these interactions, mechanisms (e.g. genetic regulatory networks, epigenetic processes and neuroendocrine regulation) influencing personality may be modified...
February 2018: Biology Letters
N Hemmings, C Bennison, T R Birkhead
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 2018: Biology Letters
Kevin D Lafferty, John P McLaughlin, Daniel S Gruner, Taylor A Bogar, An Bui, Jasmine N Childress, Magaly Espinoza, Elizabeth S Forbes, Cora A Johnston, Maggie Klope, Ana Miller-Ter Kuile, Michelle Lee, Katherine A Plummer, David A Weber, Ronald T Young, Hillary S Young
The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, appears to have been extirpated from Palmyra Atoll following rat eradication. Anecdotal biting reports, collection records, and regular captures in black-light traps showed the species was present before rat eradication. Since then, there have been no biting reports and no captures over 2 years of extensive trapping (black-light and scent traps). By contrast, the southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, was abundant before and after rat eradication. We hypothesize that mammals were a substantial and preferred blood meal for Aedes , whereas Culex feeds mostly on seabirds...
February 2018: Biology Letters
Gabrielle A Gurule-Small, Robin M Tinghitella
Phenotypic plasticity facilitates survival and reproduction in rapidly changing and novel environments. Traffic noise spectrally overlaps with (i.e. masks) the sounds used by many acoustically signalling organisms to locate and secure mates. To determine if pre-reproductive exposure to noise improves adult performance in noisy environments, we reared field crickets ( Teleogryllus oceanicus ) in one of three noise environments: masking traffic noise, traffic noise from which frequencies that spectrally overlap with the crickets' song were removed (non-masking), or silence...
February 2018: Biology Letters
M Dyble
The ability to develop cultural adaptations to local environments is critical to the biological success of humans. Although overall population size and connectedness are thought to play an important role in increasing the rate of cumulative cultural evolution, the independent effect of dispersal rules on rates of cultural evolution has not been examined. Here, a computational model is used to explore the effect of dispersal on the rate of cultural evolution in traits transmitted patrilineally (from father to son), matrilineally (mother to daughter) and bilineally (through both sexes)...
February 2018: Biology Letters
Alexandre Kuhn, Hugo Darras, Serge Aron
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 2018: Biology Letters
Miquel Torrents-Ticó, Nigel C Bennett, Jennifer U M Jarvis, Markus Zöttl
In naked mole-rats ( Heterocephalus glaber ), some non-breeding males show faster growth and are more likely to disperse than others. These differences have been suggested to be the result of a specialized developmental strategy leading to shorter philopatry and independent breeding, as opposed to extended philopatry as non-reproductive helpers. However, it is unclear whether fast-growing males disperse sooner than slow-growing males. An alternative explanation is that variation in quality between individuals causes high-quality individuals to grow quickly and maximize dispersal success without reducing philopatry...
February 2018: Biology Letters
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 2018: Biology Letters
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