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Patricio D Carrera-Játiva, Eric R Morgan, Michelle Barrows, Torsten Wronski
Gastrointestinal parasites are commonly reported in wild birds, but transmission amongst avifauna in zoological settings, and between these captive birds and wild birds in surrounding areas, remains poorly understood. A survey was undertaken to investigate the occurrence of gastrointestinal parasites in captive and free-ranging birds at Bristol Zoo Gardens between May and July 2016. A total of 348 fecal samples from 32 avian species were examined using the Mini-FLOTAC flotation method. Parasites were detected in 31% (45/145) of samples from captive birds and in 65...
March 2018: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine: Official Publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
Anthony A Wright, Debbie M Kelly, Jeffrey S Katz
This article describes an approach for training a variety of species to learn the abstract concept of same/different, which in turn forms the basis for testing proactive interference and list memory. The stimulus set for concept-learning training was progressively doubled from 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 . . . to 1,024 different pictures with novel-stimulus transfer following learning. All species fully learned the same/different abstract concept: capuchin and rhesus monkeys learned more readily than pigeons; nutcrackers and magpies were at least equivalent to monkeys and transferred somewhat better following initial training sets...
February 28, 2018: Learning & Behavior
Mario B Pesendorfer, T Scott Sillett, Scott A Morrison
Scatter hoarding by corvids (crows, jays, magpies, and nutcrackers) provides seed dispersal for many large-seeded plants, including oaks and pines. When hoarding seeds, corvids often choose nonrandom locations throughout the landscape, resulting in differential survival of seeds. In the context of habitat restoration, such disproportional storing of seeds in areas suitable for germination and establishment can accelerate expansion and recovery of large-seeded tree populations and their associated ecosystems...
August 2017: Current Zoology
Benjamin J Ashton, Amanda R Ridley, Emily K Edwards, Alex Thornton
The social intelligence hypothesis states that the demands of social life drive cognitive evolution. This idea receives support from comparative studies that link variation in group size or mating systems with cognitive and neuroanatomical differences across species, but findings are contradictory and contentious. To understand the cognitive consequences of sociality, it is also important to investigate social variation within species. Here we show that in wild, cooperatively breeding Australian magpies, individuals that live in large groups show increased cognitive performance, which is linked to increased reproductive success...
February 7, 2018: Nature
Doekele G Stavenga, Hein L Leertouwer, Bodo D Wilts
The blue secondary and purple-to-green tail feathers of magpies are structurally coloured due to stacks of hollow, air-containing melanosomes embedded in the keratin matrix of the barbules. We investigated the feathers' spectral and spatial reflection characteristics by applying (micro)spectrophotometry and imaging scatterometry. To interpret the spectral data, we performed optical modelling, applying the Finite-Difference Time-Domain (FDTD) method as well as an effective media approach, treating the melanosome stacks as multilayers with effective refractive indices dependent on the component media...
December 28, 2017: Journal of Experimental Biology
Rachel Morrison, Diana Reiss
Mirror-self recognition (MSR) is a behavioral indicator of self-awareness in young children and only a few other species, including the great apes, dolphins, elephants and magpies. The emergence of self-awareness in children typically occurs during the second year and has been correlated with sensorimotor development and growing social and self-awareness. Comparative studies of MSR in chimpanzees report that the onset of this ability occurs between 2 years 4 months and 3 years 9 months of age. Studies of wild and captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) have reported precocious sensorimotor and social awareness during the first weeks of life, but no comparative MSR research has been conducted with this species...
2018: PloS One
Gordon G Gallup, James R Anderson
The recent attempt by Horowitz (2017) to develop an "olfactory mirror" test of self-recognition in domestic dogs raises some important questions about the kinds of data that are required to provide definitive evidence for self-recognition in dogs and other species. We conclude that the "olfactory mirror" constitutes a compelling analog to the mark test for mirror self-recognition in primates, but despite claims to the contrary neither dogs, elephants, dolphins, magpies, horses, manta rays, squid, nor ants have shown compelling, reproducible evidence for self-recognition in any modality...
December 21, 2017: Behavioural Processes
Christoph Baldow, Sebastian Salentin, Michael Schroeder, Ingo Roeder, Ingmar Glauche
Over the past decades, quantitative methods linking theory and observation became increasingly important in many areas of life science. Subsequently, a large number of mathematical and computational models has been developed. The BioModels database alone lists more than 140,000 Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML) models. However, while the exchange within specific models classes has been supported by standardisation and database efforts, the generic application and especially the re-use of models is still limited by practical issues such as easy and straight forward model execution...
December 15, 2017: PLoS Computational Biology
Rob Found
While a growing body of literature explores the ecological implications of consistent individual variation in the behaviour of wildlife, few studies have looked at the reciprocal influences of personality within interspecific interactions, despite the potentially significant impacts on biodiversity. Here I used two species involved in cleaner-bird behaviour-black-billed magpies ( Pica pica ) and Rocky mountain elk ( Cervus canadensis )-to show that the exhibition of mutualistic behaviour can depend on the personality of the individual involved...
November 2017: Biology Letters
Fen Yang, Shaowen Xie, Jinxin Liu, Chaoyang Wei, Hongzhi Zhang, Tao Chen, Jing Zhang
Birds are at a higher level in the food chain; however, the potential bioaccumulation and biotransformation of arsenic (As) in birds in As mines has rarely been studied. In this study, four passerine bird species (tree sparrow [Passer montanus], light-vented bulbul [Pycnonotus sinensis], Garrulax canorus [Leucodioptron canorus], and magpie [Pica pica]) were collected from an abandoned As mine in China. The highest recorded As concentrations were 4.95 mg/kg and 51.65 mg/kg in muscles and feathers, respectively...
February 2018: Chemosphere
Samuel D Hill, Achyut Aryal, Matthew D M Pawley, Weihong Ji
Song plays a fundamental role in intraspecific communication in songbirds. The temporal and structural components of songs can vary in different habitats. These include urban habitats where anthropogenic sounds and alteration of habitat structure can significantly affect songbird vocal behavior. Urban-rural variations in song complexity, song length and syllable rate are not fully understood. In this study, using the oriental magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis) as a model, we investigated urban-rural variation in song complexity, song length, syllable rate, syllable length and inter-syllable interval...
October 27, 2017: Integrative Zoology
Paweł Ręk, Robert D Magrath
Many group-living animals cooperatively signal to defend resources, but what stops deceptive signalling to competitors about coalition strength? Cooperative-signalling species include mated pairs of birds that sing duets to defend their territory. Individuals of these species sometimes sing 'pseudo-duets' by mimicking their partner's contribution, but it is unknown if these songs are deceptive, or why duets are normally reliable. We studied pseudo-duets in Australian magpie-larks, Grallina cyanoleuca, and tested whether multimodal signalling constrains deception...
October 11, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Sang-Im Lee, Hyunna Lee, Piotr G Jablonski, Jae Chun Choe, Magne Husby
Urban environments present novel and challenging habitats to wildlife. In addition to well-known difference in abiotic factors between rural and urban environments, the biotic environment, including microbial fauna, may also differ significantly. In this study, we aimed to compare the change in microbial abundance on eggshells during incubation between urban and rural populations of a passerine bird, the Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica), and examine the consequences of any differences in microbial abundances in terms of hatching success and nestling survival...
2017: PloS One
Daniela Canestrari, Diana Bolopo, Ted C J Turlings, Gregory Röder, José M Marcos, Vittorio Baglione
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2017: PloS One
Sandrine Schmid, Katrin Fachet, Anke Dinkel, Ute Mackenstedt, Friederike Woog
BACKGROUND: Avian malaria parasites (Plasmodium spp.) and other Haemosporida (Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon spp.) form a diverse group of vector-transmitted blood parasites that are abundant in many bird families. Recent studies have suggested that corvids may be an important host for Plasmodium spp. and Leucocytozoon spp. METHODS: To investigate the diversity of Haemosporida of resident carrion crows (Corvus corone) and Eurasian Magpies (Pica pica) in southwest Germany, 100 liver samples of corvids were examined using a nested PCR method to amplify a 1063 bp fragment of the haemosporidian mitochondrial cytochrome b gene...
September 12, 2017: Malaria Journal
Fanny-Linn Kraft, Tereza Forštová, A Utku Urhan, Alice Exnerová, Anders Brodin
Self-recognition is a trait presumed to be associated with high levels of cognition and something previously considered to be exclusive to humans and possibly apes. The most common test of self-recognition is the mark/mirror test of whether an animal can understand that it sees its own reflection in a mirror. The usual design is that an animal is marked with a colour spot somewhere on the body where the spot can only be seen by the animal by using a mirror. Very few species have passed this test, and among birds, only magpies have been affirmatively demonstrated to pass it...
November 2017: Animal Cognition
Marco Tamba, Antonino Caminiti, Alice Prosperi, Philippe Desprès, Davide Lelli, Giorgio Galletti, Ana Moreno, Giulia Paternoster, Annalisa Santi, Elio Licata, Sylvie Lecollinet, Luca Gelmini, Gianluca Rugna, Anna Procopio, Antonio Lavazza
West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV), genus Flavivirus, are members of the Japanese encephalitis virus antigenic complex, and are maintained primarily in an enzootic cycle between mosquitoes and birds. WNV is zoonotic, and poses a threat to public health, especially in relation to blood transfusion. Serosurveillance of wild birds is suitable for early detection of WNV circulation, although concerns remain to be addressed as regards i) the type of test used, whether ELISA, virus neutralization test (VNT), plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT), ii) the reagents (antigens, revealing antibodies), iii) the different bird species involved, and iv) potential cross-reactions with other Flaviviruses, such as USUV...
October 2017: Journal of Virological Methods
Richard Inger, Daniel T C Cox, Esra Per, Briony A Norton, Kevin J Gaston
Recent research has demonstrated how scavenging, the act of consuming dead animals, plays a key role in ecosystem structure, functioning, and stability. A growing number of studies suggest that vertebrate scavengers also provide key ecosystem services, the benefits humans gain from the natural world, particularly in the removal of carcasses from the environment. An increasing proportion of the human population is now residing in cities and towns, many of which, despite being highly altered environments, contain significant wildlife populations, and so animal carcasses...
October 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Shimin Gao, Yinfeng Kang, Runyu Yuan, Haili Ma, Bin Xiang, Zhaoxiong Wang, Xu Dai, Fumin Wang, Jiajie Xiao, Ming Liao, Tao Ren
Since April 2014, new infections of H5N6 avian influenza virus (AIV) in humans and domestic poultry have caused considerable economic losses in the poultry industry and posed an enormous threat to human health worldwide. In previous research using gene sequence and phylogenetic analysis, we reported that H5N6 AIV isolated in February 2015 (ZH283) in Pallas's sandgrouse was highly similar to that isolated in a human in December 2015 (A/Guangdong/ZQ874/2015), whereas a virus (i.e., SW8) isolated in oriental magpie-robin in 2014 was highly similar to that of A/chicken/Dongguan/2690/2013 (H5N6)...
2017: Frontiers in Microbiology
Mónica Expósito-Granados, Deseada Parejo, Juan Gabriel Martínez, Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar, Marta Precioso, Mercedes Molina-Morales, Jesús M Avilés
Hosts can counteract parasites through defences based on resistance and/or tolerance. The mechanistic basis of tolerance, which involve defensive mechanisms minimizing parasite damage after a successful parasitic attack, remains poorly explored in the study of cuckoo-host interactions. Here, we experimentally explore the possibility that the risk of great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius parasitism may induce tolerance defences in magpie Pica pica hosts through plasticity in life-history traits. We predict that magpies exposed to auditory cues indicating high parasitism risk will more likely exhibit resistance and/or modify their life-history traits to minimize parasitism costs (i...
2017: PloS One
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