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S Des Roches, R Sollmann, K Calhoun, A Rothstein, E B Rosenblum
Measuring links among genotype, phenotype, and survival in the wild has long been a focus of studies of adaptation. We conducted a four-year capture-recapture study to measure survival by genotype and phenotype in the Southwestern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus cowlesi) at the White Sands ecotone (transition area between white sands and dark soil habitats). We report several unanticipated findings. First, in contrast with previous work showing that cryptic blanched colouration in S. cowlesi from the heart of the dunes is associated with mutations in the melanocortin-1 receptor gene (Mc1r), ecotonal S...
October 24, 2016: Molecular Ecology
Michail Rovatsos, Martina Johnson Pokorná, Marie Altmanová, Lukáš Kratochvíl
Geckos in general show extensive variability in sex determining systems, but only male heterogamety has been demonstrated in the members of their legless family Pygopodidae. In the pioneering study published more than 45 years ago, multiple sex chromosomes of the type X1X1X2X2/X1X2Y were described in Burton's legless lizard (Lialisburtonis) based on conventional cytogenetic techniques. We conducted cytogenetic analyses including comparative genomic hybridization and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with selected cytogenetic markers in this species and the previously cytogenetically unstudied Papua snake lizard (Lialis jicari) to better understand the nature of these sex chromosomes and their differentiation...
October 21, 2016: Cytogenetic and Genome Research
Daryl C Yang, Jennifer R Deuis, Daniel Dashevsky, James Dobson, Timothy N W Jackson, Andreas Brust, Bing Xie, Ivan Koludarov, Jordan Debono, Iwan Hendrikx, Wayne C Hodgson, Peter Josh, Amanda Nouwens, Gregory J Baillie, Timothy J C Bruxner, Paul F Alewood, Kelvin Kok Peng Lim, Nathaniel Frank, Irina Vetter, Bryan G Fry
Millions of years of evolution have fine-tuned the ability of venom peptides to rapidly incapacitate both prey and potential predators. Toxicofera reptiles are characterized by serous-secreting mandibular or maxillary glands with heightened levels of protein expression. These glands are the core anatomical components of the toxicoferan venom system, which exists in myriad points along an evolutionary continuum. Neofunctionalisation of toxins is facilitated by positive selection at functional hotspots on the ancestral protein and venom proteins have undergone dynamic diversification in helodermatid and varanid lizards as well as advanced snakes...
October 18, 2016: Toxins
Charles M Watson, Warren W Burggren
Three congeneric lizards from the southeastern United States (Plestiodon fasciatus, P. inexpectatus, and P. laticeps) exhibit a unique nested distribution. All three skink species inhabit the US Southeast, but two extend northward to central Ohio (P. fasciatus and P. laticeps) and P. fasciatus extends well into Canada. Distinct interspecific differences in microhabitat selection and behavior are associated with the cooler temperatures of the more Northern ranges. We hypothesized that interspecific differences in metabolic temperature sensitivity locally segregates them across their total range...
2016: PloS One
Allison T Neal, Max S Ross, Jos J Schall, Anne M Vardo-Zalik
BACKGROUND: The geographic scale and degree of genetic differentiation for arthropod vectors that transmit parasites play an important role in the distribution, prevalence and coevolution of pathogens of human and wildlife significance. We determined the genetic diversity and population structure of the sand fly Lutzomyia vexator over spatial scales from 0.56 to 3.79 km at a study region in northern California. The study was provoked by observations of differentiation at fine spatial scales of a lizard malaria parasite vectored by Lu...
October 18, 2016: Parasites & Vectors
Chris T McAllister, Donald W Duszynski, Christopher C Austin, Robert N Fisher
Between September and November 1991, 54 adult skinks from 15 species including 5 seaside skinks (Emoia atrocostata), 1 Pacific blue-tailed skink (Emoia caeroleocauda), 2 Fiji slender treeskinks (Emoia concolor), 15 white-bellied copper-striped skinks (Emoia cyanura), 1 Bulolo River forest skink (Emoia guttata), 6 dark-bellied copper-striped skinks (Emoia impar), 5 Papua five-striped skinks (Emoia jakati), 2 Papua slender treeskinks (Emoia kordoana), 3 Papua robust treeskinks (Emoia longicauda), 1 brown-backed forest skink (Emoia loveridgei), 3 Papua black-sided skinks (Emoia pallidiceps), 2 Papua white- spotted skinks (Emoia physicae), 2 Papua yellow-head skinks (Emoia popei), 1 Papua brown forest skink (Emoia submetallica), and 5 Fiji barred treeskinks (Emoia trossula) were collected by hand or blowpipe from several localities on Rarotonga, Cook Islands, Ovalau Island, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea (PNG) and their feces examined for coccidians...
October 18, 2016: Journal of Parasitology
Atchara Phumee, Apiwat Tawatsin, Usavadee Thavara, Theerakamol Pengsakul, Suwich Thammapalo, Jérôme Depaquit, Frédérick Gay, Padet Siriyasatien
Although female sand flies are best known as the vectors of Leishmania parasites and viruses, several previous reports have demonstrated that these insects can also act as vectors for the trypanosomes of bats, lizards, and snakes. In this report, we created an inventory of Phlebotomine sand flies from southern Thailand. A novel trypanosome was found in a specimen of Phlebotomus stantoni, and two sand fly species newly recorded in the country, Sergentomyia khawi and Sergentomyia hivernus, were described. PCR primer pairs specific for the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) and the small subunit ribosomal DNA (SSU rDNA) gene of trypanosomatids were used to demonstrate the presence of the parasite in the sand fly...
October 15, 2016: Journal of Medical Entomology
Olena Kudlai, Thomas H Cribb, Scott C Cutmore
A new species of microphallid, Longiductotrema tethepae n. sp., is reported from a muraenid eel Gymnothorax pseudothyrsoideus (Bleeker) on the northern Great Barrier Reef. The new species is described based on adults from Gy. pseudothyrsoideus and metacercariae from a grapsid crab, Grapsus albolineatus Latreille in Milbert, collected from off Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia. The new species is assigned to Longiductotrema Deblock & Heard, 1969 based on morphological characters (presence of a cirrus-sac; a long metraterm, intensively ensheathed by gland-cells; an entirely postcaecal uterus; vitellarium composed of two lateral clusters each of about ten follicles, situated in the testicular and post-testicular areas)...
November 2016: Systematic Parasitology
Russell Q-Y Yong, Scott C Cutmore, Terrence L Miller, Nicholas Q-X Wee, Thomas H Cribb
Two new species of Cardicola Short, 1953 are described from the milkfish, Chanos chanos Forsskål (Gonorynchiformes: Chanidae), obtained from off Lizard Island on the northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and North Stradbroke Island in southeast Queensland. These are the first known blood flukes from this order of fishes. Cardicola suni n. sp. differs from all other Cardicola spp. by a combination of a large ovoid oral sucker surrounding a subterminal mouth, recurved tegumental spines up to 16 μm long, anterior caeca occupying 25...
November 2016: Systematic Parasitology
Hong Li, Melanie Elphick, Richard Shine
Viviparity (live-bearing) has evolved from oviparity (egg-laying) in more than 100 lineages of squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes). This transition generally has occurred in cool climates, where thermal differentials between eggs in the (cool) nest versus the (warm) maternal oviduct influence embryonic development, in ways that may enhance offspring fitness. To identify specific traits potentially under selection, we incubated eggs of a montane scincid lizard at conditions simulating natural nests, maternal body temperatures, and an intermediate stage (2-week uterine retention of eggs prior to laying)...
October 14, 2016: Oecologia
Tainã Rapp Py-Daniel, Anderson Kennedy Soares De-Lima, Fabiano Campos Lima, Aline Pic-Taylor, Osmindo Rodrigues Pires Junior, Antonio Sebben
The mouse, chicken, African clawed frog and zebrafish are considered "model organisms" due to their extensive embryological and genetic characterization. However they are far from representative of known diversity, impairing phylogenetic analyses of developmental patterns. Since squamates have historically received limited attention in developmental studies, we here describe the developmental sequence for Tropidurus torquatus, and provide the first post-ovipositional developmental series for the lizard family Tropiduridae...
October 14, 2016: Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology
Catherine E Carr, Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard, Hilary Bierman
Lizard ears are coupled across the pharynx, and are very directional. In consequence all auditory responses should be directional, without a requirement for computation of sound source location. Crocodilian ears are connected through sinuses, and thus less tightly coupled. Coupling may improve the processing of low-frequency directional signals, while higher frequency signals appear to be progressively uncoupled. In both lizards and crocodilians, the increased directionality of the coupled ears leads to an effectively larger head and larger physiological range of ITDs...
October 12, 2016: Biological Cybernetics
Nathalie Feiner
Transposable elements (TEs) are DNA sequences that can insert elsewhere in the genome and modify genome structure and gene regulation. The role of TEs in evolution is contentious. One hypothesis posits that TE activity generates genomic incompatibilities that can cause reproductive isolation between incipient species. This predicts that TEs will accumulate during speciation events. Here, I tested the prediction that extant lineages with a relatively high rate of speciation have a high number of TEs in their genomes...
October 12, 2016: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Guilad Friedemann, Yossi Leshem, Lior Kerem, Boaz Shacham, Avi Bar-Massada, Krystaal M McClain, Gil Bohrer, Ido Izhaki
Ecologically-similar species were found to develop specific strategies to partition their resources, leading to niche differentiation and divergence, in order to avoid interspecific competition. Our study determines multi-dimensional differentiation of two sympatric top-predators, long-legged buzzards (LLB) and short-toed eagles (STE), which recently became sympatric during their breeding season in the Judean Foothills, Israel. By combining information from comprehensive diet and movement analyses we found four dimensions of differentiation: (1) Geographic foraging area: LLB tended to forage relatively close to their nests (2...
October 11, 2016: Scientific Reports
Jake A Pruett, J Jaime Zúñiga-Vega, Stephanie M Campos, Helena A Soini, Milos V Novotny, Cuauhcihuatl Vital-García, Emília P Martins, Diana K Hews
Animals rely on multimodal signals to obtain information from conspecifics through alternative sensory systems, and the evolutionary loss of a signal in one modality may lead to compensation through increased use of signals in an alternative modality. We investigated associations between chemical signaling and evolutionary loss of abdominal color patches in males of four species (two plain-bellied and two colorful-bellied) of Sceloporus lizards. We conducted field trials to compare behavioral responses of male lizards to swabs with femoral gland (FG) secretions from conspecific males and control swabs (clean paper)...
October 8, 2016: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Camilla M Whittington, Kevin Danastas, Georges E Grau, Christopher R Murphy, Michael B Thompson
Vascular endothelial growth factor A is a major mediator of angiogenesis, a critically important process in vertebrate growth and development as well as pregnancy. Here we report for the first time the expression of a rare and unusually potent splice variant, VEGF 111 , in vivo in mammals. This variant has previously only been found in mammals in cultured human cells exposed to genotoxic agents. Our discovery of VEGF 111 in the uterus of both a eutherian (rat) and a marsupial (fat-tailed dunnart) suggests that the splice variant may be common to all mammals...
October 8, 2016: Journal of Comparative Physiology. B, Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Adrián Nieto-Montes de Oca, Anthony J Barley, Rubi N Meza-Lázaro, Uri O García-Vázquez, Joan G Zamora-Abrego, Robert C Thomson, Adam D Leaché
Middle American knob-scaled lizards of the genus Xenosaurus are a unique radiation of viviparous species that are generally characterized by a flattened body shape and a crevice-dwelling ecology. Only eight species of Xenosaurus, one of them with five subspecies (X. grandis), have been formally described. However, species limits within Xenosaurus have never been examined using molecular data, and no complete phylogeny of the genus has been published. Here, we used ddRADseq data from all of the described and potentially undescribed taxa of Xenosaurus to investigate species limits, and to obtain a phylogenetic hypothesis for the genus...
October 5, 2016: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Stefania Tammaro, Palma Simoniello, Filomena Ristoratore, Ugo Coppola, Rosaria Scudiero, Chiara Maria Motta
In this study, our aim was to determine whether caspase 3 plays a role, during previtellogenesis, in the ovarian follicular epithelium of the lizard Podarcis sicula. We investigated the presence and localization of proform and active caspase 3 by enzyme assay, Western blotting and immunocytochemistry. In parallel, a fragment of caspase 3 was cloned for the first time in this species, sequenced and used for in situ hybridization to localize messengers and analysed by a phylogenetic survey to shed light on its homology with reptilian caspases...
October 7, 2016: Cell and Tissue Research
Danish Shaikh, John Hallam, Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard
The peripheral auditory system of lizards has been extensively studied, because of its remarkable directionality. In this paper, we review the research that has been performed on this system using a biorobotic approach. The various robotic implementations developed to date, both wheeled and legged, of the auditory model exhibit strong phonotactic performance for two types of steering mechanisms-a simple threshold decision model and Braitenberg sensorimotor cross-couplings. The Braitenberg approach removed the need for a decision model, but produced relatively inefficient robot trajectories...
October 7, 2016: Biological Cybernetics
Panayiotis Pafilis, Petros Lymberakis, Kostas Sagonas, Efstratios Valakos
Environmental temperatures considerably affect the reptilian ability for thermoregulation and harsh climatic conditions may impose a highly effective body temperature regulation to lizards. Such demanding conditions are more common to extreme mainland habitats (e.g. deserts or mountains). To the contrary, islands have more benign climate conditions thanks to the thermal buffering effect of the surrounding sea. However, this favorable effect may be eliminated in small size islets where the scarcity of thermal shelters and exposure to high winds create challenging conditions...
October 2016: Journal of Thermal Biology
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