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Integrative Zoology

Wen-Qi Tang, Bo Zhao, Ye Chen, Wei-Guo Du
The response of embryos to unpredictable hypoxia is critical for successful embryonic development, yet there remain significant gaps in our understanding of such responses in reptiles with different types of eggshell. We experimentally generated external regional hypoxia by sealing either the upper- or bottom-half of the surface area of eggs in two species of reptiles [snake (Dinodon rufozonatum) with parchment eggshell and Chinese soft-shelled turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) with rigid eggshell], then monitored growth pattern of the opaque white patch in turtle eggs, embryonic heart rate, developmental rate, and hatchling traits in turtle and snake eggs in response to external regional hypoxia...
May 15, 2017: Integrative Zoology
Giovanni Amori, Alessandra Maria Bissattini, Spartaco Gippoliti, Leonardo Vignoli, Luigi Maiorano, Luca Luiselli
Mono-and bispecific genera are of special concern as they represent unique phylogenetic/evolutionary trajectories within larger clades. In addition, as phylogenetically older taxa are supposed to be exposed to higher rarity and extinction risk, mono- and bispecific genera may be intrinsically more prone to extinction risks than multispecies genera, although extinction risks also depend on the ecological and biological strategy of the species. Here, the distribution across biogeographical zones and the threatening levels of two speciose orders of mammals (mono- and bispecific genera of Rodentia and Soricomorpha) are investigated in order to highlight major patterns at the worldwide scale...
May 11, 2017: Integrative Zoology
Annamaria Nocita, Elena Tricarico, Sandro Bertolino
Inland waters are highly vulnerable to the introduction and spread of non-native species, due to heavy human use of aquatic ecosystems and the natural linkages among streams and lakes. This is particularly noticeable in freshwater fish communities. To better evaluate how these communities are affected by non-native species introductions, we conducted a fine scale analysis of the changes in Italian freshwater fish assemblages after species introduction. For this analysis, we collected information on fish species present in 44 basins...
May 11, 2017: Integrative Zoology
L Santini, A Benítez-López, G F Ficetola, M A J Huijbregts
Body mass is rarely recorded in amphibians, and other body measurements (e.g. Snout to vent length, SVL) are generally collected instead. However length measurements, when used as proxies of body mass in comparative analyses, are problematic if different taxa and morphotypes are included. We developed allometric relationships to derive body mass from SVL measurements. We fitted Phylogenetic Generalized Least Square models for frogs (Anura) and salamanders (Caudata) and for several families separately. We tested whether allometric relationships differed between species with different habitat preferences and between morphs in salamanders...
May 11, 2017: Integrative Zoology
Aleksandra Wróbel, Rafał Zwolak
The sizes of both seed dispersers and seeds are traits that are likely to interact to influence seed fate in many synzoochoric plant species. Here, we examined whether members of a granivorous rodent community consisting of species of different body size vary in their effectiveness as seed dispersers, and how this relationship may be altered by seed size. We marked Northern red oak (Quercus rubra Linnaeus, 1753) acorns with plastic tags and placed them in size-selective rodent exclosures. The exclosures allowed differential access of rodent groups based on different body size: (1) small (e...
May 10, 2017: Integrative Zoology
Kanchan Thapa, Marcella J Kelly
While there are numerous wildlife ecology studies in lowland areas of Nepal, there are no in-depth studies of the hilly Churia habitat even though it comprises 7642 km(2) of potential wildlife habitat across the Terai Arc. We investigated tiger, leopard and prey densities across this understudied habitat. Our camera trapping survey covered 536 km(2) of Churia and surrounding areas within Chitwan National Park (CNP). We used 161 trapping locations and accumulated 2097 trap-nights in a 60-day survey period during the winter season of 2010-2011...
May 2017: Integrative Zoology
Zuobing Zhang, Ruxin Song, Xiao Xing, Lan Wang, Cuijuan Niu
Chinese soft-shelled turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) is a commercially important species in Asian countries. Knowledge of its nutritional requirements and physiology is essential to its feed production. However, the lack of functional characterization of the intestine prevents well understanding of its absorption and utilization of nutritional materials. To solve this problem, this work utilized anatomical and histological method to characterize 9 segments sampled along the anterior-posterior axis of the intestine...
March 8, 2017: Integrative Zoology
Andrés Muñoz-Pedreros, José Yáñez, Heraldo V Norambuena, Alfredo Zúñiga
The South American Grey Fox (Lycalopex griseus) is a canid widely distributed in southern South America, however some aspects of its biology are still poorly known. We studied the diet and density of L. griseus in the Lago Peñuelas Biosphere Reserve, in Central Chile. The trophic niche breadth was B = 6.16 (Bsta = 0.47) and prey diversity was H ' = 2.46 (Hmax' = 3.17, J' = 0.78). The highest proportions of prey consumed in the diet were Oryctolagus cuniculus (52.21%) and other mammals (32.78%). We compared these results with a latitudinal gradient of diet results for this species in Chile...
March 6, 2017: Integrative Zoology
Jing Wen, Song Tan, Qinggang Qiao, Lulu Shi, Yixin Huang, Zhijun Zhao
The life history of many animals includes periods of food shortage. Two behavioral strategies are involved in small mammals in response to food shortage: an increase in activity behavior, representing the increased foraging or migratory behavior, and a decrease in activity level, serving as a mechanism for conserving energy. However, it is uncertain whether animals adopt both strategies in response to food shortage, and whether hormone and neuroendocrine mechamisms are involved in both strategies. In the present study, the changes of behavior and metabolic rate were examined in food-deprived striped hamsters (Cricetulus barabensis)...
March 6, 2017: Integrative Zoology
Meresman Yonatan, Ben-Ari Matan, Inbar Moshe
When forced to drop from the plant, flightless arboreal insects can avoid reaching the risky ground by maneuvering their body through the air. When wingless pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum) are threatened by natural enemies, they often drop off their host plant while assuming a stereotypic posture that rotates them in mid-air, aligning them with their feet pointing downwards. This position may increase their chances to re-cling onto lower plant parts and avoid facing the dangers on the ground, though its effectiveness in realistic field conditions has not been tested...
March 6, 2017: Integrative Zoology
Leroy Soria-Díaz, Mike S Fowler, Octavio Monroy-Vilchis, Daniel Oro
The study of predator-prey interactions is commonly analyzed using functional responses to gain an understanding of predation patterns and the impact they have on prey populations. Despite this, little is known about predator-prey systems with multiple prey species in sites near the equator. Here we studied the functional response of cougars (Puma concolor) in Sierra Nanchititla Natural Reserve (Mexico), in relation to their main prey, armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), coati (Nasua narica) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)...
March 6, 2017: Integrative Zoology
Aleksandra A Panyutina, Alexander N Kuznetsov, Ilya A Volodin, Alexei V Abramov, Irina B Soldatova
The means of orientation is studied in the Vietnamese pygmy dormouse Typhlomys chapensis, a poorly known enigmatic semi-fossorial semi-arboreal rodent. Data on eye structure are presented, which prove that Typhlomys (translated as "the blind mouse") is incapable of object vision: the retina is folded and retains no more than 2500 ganglion cells in the focal plane, and the optic nerve is subject to gliosis. Hence, Typhlomys has no other means for rapid long-range orientation among tree branches other than echolocation...
March 2017: Integrative Zoology
Zimei Dong, Yanqing Yuwen, Yingxu Sima, Yanping Dong, Huina Zhan, Guangwen Chen, Dezeng Liu
Planarians provide the ideal model for studying eye development, with their simple eye structure and exceptionally rapid regeneration. Here, we observed the eye morphogenesis, photophobic behavior, spectral sensitivity and expression pattern of Djopsin in the freshwater planarian Dugesia japonica. The results showed that: (i) Djopsin encoding the putative protein belonged to the rhabdomeric opsins group and displayed high conservation during animal evolution; (ii) planarians displayed diverse photophobic response to different visible wavelengths and were more sensitive to light blue (495 nm) and yellow (635 nm); (iii) the morphogenesis and functional recovery of eyes were related to the expression pattern of Djopsin during head regeneration; and (iv) Djopsin gene plays a major role in functional recovery during eye regeneration and visual system maintenance in adult planarians...
March 2017: Integrative Zoology
Maria Petelo, Lindsey Swierk
Whether or not sexually selected traits consistently exhibit positive allometry (i.e. are disproportionately large in larger individuals) is an ongoing debate. Multiple models and exceptions to this rule suggest that the underlying drivers of sexual trait allometry are nuanced. Here, we compare allometries of sexual and non-sexual traits of a species (Anolis aquaticus) within a well-studied lizard genus to test the competing hypotheses that sexual traits are, or are not, defined by positive allometry. We further consider the relationships of trait functions, which are relatively well understood in the genus Anolis, and allometry to identify potential drivers of allometric patterns...
March 2017: Integrative Zoology
Jimena B Fernández, Marlin Medina, Erika L Kubisch, José A Scolaro, Nora R Ibargüengoytía
Reproductive and life history patterns in reptiles are tightly related to the environmental conditions, so male reproductive cycles have been historically characterized as continuous, for tropical lizards, or seasonal, for temperate lizards. However, males of Liolaemus and Phymaturus lizards (Liolaemidae), from cold temperate climates of high altitudes or latitudes in Argentina and Chile, have developed a variety of reproductive cycles to coordinate with the short female reproductive season and to deal with the low frequency of reproductive females in the population...
March 2017: Integrative Zoology
Georgia Ward-Fear, Jai Thomas, Jonathan K Webb, David J Pearson, Richard Shine
Conditioned taste aversion (CTA) is an adaptive learning mechanism whereby a consumer associates the taste of a certain food with symptoms caused by a toxic substance, and thereafter avoids eating that type of food. Recently, wildlife researchers have employed CTA to discourage native fauna from ingesting toxic cane toads (Rhinella marina), a species that is invading tropical Australia. In this paper, we compare the results of 2 sets of CTA trials on large varanid lizards ("goannas," Varanus panoptes). One set of trials (described in this paper) exposed recently-captured lizards to sausages made from cane toad flesh, laced with a nausea-inducing chemical (lithium chloride) to reinforce the aversion response...
March 2017: Integrative Zoology
David A Penning
Across the diversity of vertebrates, bite force has been studied and suggested to have important ecological and evolutionary consequences. However, there is a notable lineage of vertebrates that use this performance trait yet are missing from the bite-force literature: the snakes. Snakes often rely on biting during prey subjugation and handling. Many snakes bite and hold prey while a constriction coil is formed or while venom is being delivered, or both. Others use biting exclusively without employing any additional prey-handling behaviors...
March 2017: Integrative Zoology
Gerardo A Cordero, Matthew L Karnatz, Jon C Svendsen, Eric J Gangloff
Low-oxygen conditions (hypoxia; <21% O2 ) are considered unfavorable for growth; yet, embryos of many vertebrate taxa develop successfully in hypoxic subterranean environments. Although enhanced tolerance to hypoxia has been demonstrated in adult reptiles, such as in the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta), its effects on sensitive embryo life stages warrant attention. We tested the hypothesis that short-term hypoxia negatively affects growth during day 40 of development in C. picta, when O2 demands are highest in embryos...
March 2017: Integrative Zoology
Youhua Chen
In this brief report, time-varying (including both gradual and abrupt change) and time-constant diversification models are fitted on a phylogeny of endemic birds of mainland China to test the diversification patterns of endemic birds in the region. The results show that phylogeny of endemic birds is best quantified by a constant-rate diversification model through model comparison. Limitations of the study are discussed. In particular, ignorance of non-endemic taxa and the limited sampling of endemic taxa could influence the conclusions of the study...
March 2017: Integrative Zoology
Saúl López-Alcaide, Miguel Nakamura, Eric N Smith, Enrique Martínez-Meyer
Sceloporus lizards depend on external heat to achieve their preferred temperature (Tse1 ) for performing physiological processes. Evidence both in the field and laboratory indicates that pregnant females of this genus select body temperatures (Tb ) lower than 34°C as higher temperatures may be lethal to embryos. Therefore, thermoregulation is crucial for successful embryo development. Given the increase in global air temperature, it is expected that the first compensatory response of species that inhabit tropical climates will be behavioral thermoregulation...
January 5, 2017: Integrative Zoology
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