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Tereza Jezkova, John J Wiens
Climate may play important roles in speciation, such as causing the range fragmentation that underlies allopatric speciation (through niche conservatism) or driving divergence of parapatric populations along climatic gradients (through niche divergence). Here, we developed new methods to test the frequency of climate niche conservatism and divergence in speciation, and applied it to species pairs of squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes). We used a large-scale phylogeny to identify 242 sister-species pairs for analysis...
May 19, 2018: Molecular Ecology
Thomas V Hancock, Michael S Hedrick
Vagility is defined as the relative capacity for movement. We developed previously a quantitative metric in vertebrates for physiological vagility (PV), the speed at which an animal can move sustainably, incorporating aerobic capacity, body size, body temperature, and transport costs, allowing quantitative tests of whether PV can explain variation in interclass population genetic structure and behaviors involved in dispersal. We found that PV increased with body mass, correlated with maximal dispersal distances, and was inversely related to genetic structure in multiple vertebrate groups...
May 17, 2018: Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
(no author information available yet)
Tariq Abou-Zahr is an exotics resident at Great Western Exotics, Swindon - a centre of excellence for avian and exotic pets. Having kept birds and reptiles since he was a child, he has a keen interest in unusual species.
May 19, 2018: Veterinary Record
Naif S Sannan, Xianghong Shan, Kevin Gregory-Evans, Kenro Kusumi, Cheryl Y Gregory-Evans
The fovea is an anatomical specialization of the central retina containing closely packed cone-photoreceptors providing an area of high acuity vision in humans and primates. Despite its key role in the clarity of vision, little is known about the molecular and cellular basis of foveal development, due to the absence of a foveal structure in commonly used laboratory animal models. Of the amniotes the retina in birds of prey and some reptiles do exhibit a typical foveal structure, but they have not been studied in the context of foveal development due to lack of availability of embryonic tissue, lack of captive breeding programs, and limited genomic information...
May 15, 2018: Experimental Eye Research
Charlie A Navarro, Elizabeth Martin-Silverstone, Thomas L Stubbs
Pterosaurs were a successful group of Mesozoic flying reptiles. They were the first vertebrate group to achieve powered flight and varied enormously in morphology and ecology, occupying a variety of niches and developing specialized feeding strategies. Ecomorphological principles suggest this variation should be reflected by great morphological diversity in the lower jaw, given that the mandible served as the primary apparatus for prey acquisition. Here we present the first study of mandibular shape disparity in pterosaurs and aim to characterize major aspects of variation...
April 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Silke Agte, Alexey Savvinov, Anett Karl, Astrid Zayas-Santiago, Elke Ulbricht, Vladimir I Makarov, Andreas Reichenbach, Andreas Bringmann, Serguei N Skatchkov
In this study, we show the capability of Müller glial cells to transport light through the inverted retina of reptiles, specifically the retina of the spectacled caimans. Thus, confirming that Müller cells of lower vertebrates also improve retinal light transmission. Confocal imaging of freshly isolated retinal wholemounts, that preserved the refractive index landscape of the tissue, indicated that the retina of the spectacled caiman is adapted for vision under dim light conditions. For light transmission experiments, we used a setup with two axially aligned objectives imaging the retina from both sides to project the light onto the inner (vitreal) surface and to detect the transmitted light behind the retina at the receptor layer...
May 12, 2018: Experimental Eye Research
Wenya Zhang, Na Li, Xiaolong Tang, Naifa Liu, Wei Zhao
High altitude is an important driving force in animal evolution. However, the effect of altitude on gut microbial communities in reptiles has not been examined in detail. Here, we investigated the intestinal microbiota of three populations of the lizard Phrynocephalus vlangalii living at different altitudes using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Proteobacteria were the most abundant phyla. Bacteroides , Odoribacter , and Parabacteroides were the most abundant genera. Significant differences in the intestinal microbiota composition were found among the three populations from different altitudes...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Xiaomei Wei, Linmiao Yan, Chengjian Zhao, Yueyun Zhang, Yongli Xu, Bo Cai, Ni Jiang, Yong Huang
Patterns of geographic variation in body size are predicted to evolve as adaptations to local environmental gradients. However, many of these clinal patterns in body size, such as Bergmann's rule, are controversial and require further investigation into ectotherms such as reptiles on a regional scale. To examine the environmental variables (temperature, precipitation, topography and primary productivity) that shaped patterns of geographic variation in body size in the reptile Calotes versicolor , we sampled 180 adult specimens (91 males and 89 females) at 40 locations across the species range in China...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Francesco Cavraro, Giulia Gheno, Renzo Ganzerla, Matteo Zucchetta, Piero Franzoi, Stefano Malavasi
Display of bright and striking color patterns is a widespread way of communication in many animal species. Carotenoid-based coloration accounts for most of the bright yellow, orange, and red displays in invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds, being widely considered a signal of individual health. This type of coloration is under the influence of several factors, such as sexual selection, predator pressure, pigment availability, and light transmission. Fish offer numerous examples of visual communication by means of color patterns...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Tao Zhou, Ning Li, Yulin Jin, Qifan Zeng, Wendy Prabowo, Yang Liu, Changxu Tian, Lisui Bao, Shikai Liu, Zihao Yuan, Qiang Fu, Sen Gao, Dongya Gao, Rex Dunham, Neil H Shubin, Zhanjiang Liu
Barbels are important sensory organs in teleosts, reptiles, and amphibians. The majority of ∼4,000 catfish species, such as the channel catfish ( Ictalurus punctatus ), possess abundant whisker-like barbels. However, barbel-less catfish, such as the bottlenose catfish ( Ageneiosus marmoratus ), do exist. Barbeled catfish and barbel-less catfish are ideal natural models for determination of the genomic basis for barbel development. In this work, we generated and annotated the genome sequences of the bottlenose catfish, conducted comparative and subtractive analyses using genome and transcriptome datasets, and identified differentially expressed genes during barbel regeneration...
May 14, 2018: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Shayer Mahmood Ibney Alam, Stephen D Sarre, Dianne Gleeson, Arthur Georges, Tariq Ezaz
Reptiles show remarkable diversity in modes of reproduction and sex determination, including high variation in the morphology of sex chromosomes, ranging from homomorphic to highly heteromorphic. Additionally, the co-existence of genotypic sex determination (GSD) and temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) within and among sister clades makes this group an attractive model to study and understand the evolution of sex chromosomes. This is particularly so with Lizards (Order Squamata) which, among reptiles, show extraordinary morphological diversity...
May 3, 2018: Genes
Kim F Bornhöfft, Tom Goldammer, Alexander Rebl, Sebastian P Galuska
Siglecs (sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-type lectins) are a family of immune regulatory receptors predominantly found on the cells of the hematopoietic system. A V-set Ig-like domain mediates the recognition of different sialylated glycoconjugates, which can lead to the activation or inhibition of the immune response, depending on the involved Siglecs. Siglecs are categorized into two subgroups: one including all CD33-related Siglecs and the other consisting of Siglec-1 (Sialoadhesin), Siglec-2 (CD22), Siglec-4 (myelin-associated glycoprotein, MAG) and Siglec-15...
May 8, 2018: Developmental and Comparative Immunology
Chutian Ge, Jian Ye, Ceri Weber, Wei Sun, Haiyan Zhang, Yingjie Zhou, Cheng Cai, Guoying Qian, Blanche Capel
Temperature-dependent sex determination is a notable model of phenotypic plasticity. In many reptiles, including the red-eared slider turtle Trachemys scripta elegans ( T. scripta ), the individual's sex is determined by the ambient temperature during egg incubation. In this study, we show that the histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27) demethylase KDM6B exhibits temperature-dependent sexually dimorphic expression in early T. scripta embryos before the gonad is distinct. Knockdown of Kdm6b at 26°C (a temperature at which all offspring develop into males) triggers male-to-female sex reversal in >80% of surviving embryos...
May 11, 2018: Science
Joan Marull, Enric Tello, Guillem Bagaria, Xavier Font, Claudio Cattaneo, Joan Pino
The debate about the relative merits of the 'land-sparing' and 'land-sharing' approaches to biodiversity conservation is usually addressed at local scale. Here, however, we undertake a regional-scale approach to this issue by exploring the association between the Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production (HANPP) and biodiversity components (plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) across a gradient of human-transformed landscapes in Catalonia, Spain. We propose an Intermediate Disturbance Complexity (IDC) model to assess how human disturbance of the photosynthetic capacity affects the landscape patterns and processes that host biodiversity...
April 1, 2018: Science of the Total Environment
James U Van Dyke, Oliver W Griffith
Developmental plasticity in offspring phenotype occurs as a result of the environmental conditions embryos experience during development. The nutritional environment provided to a fetus is an important source of developmental plasticity. Reptiles are a particularly interesting system to study this plasticity because of their varied routes of maternal nutrient allocation to reproduction. Most reptiles provide their offspring with all or most of the nutrients they require in egg yolk (lecithotrophy) while viviparous reptiles also provide their offspring with nutrients via a placenta (placentotrophy)...
May 7, 2018: Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part A, Ecological and Integrative Physiology
Natalie K Stilwell, Richard J Whittington, Paul M Hick, Joy A Becker, Ellen Ariel, Steven van Beurden, Niccolò Vendramin, Niels J Olesen, Thomas B Waltzek
Ranaviruses are globally emerging pathogens negatively impacting wild and cultured fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Although conventional and diagnostic real-time PCR (qPCR) assays have been developed to detect ranaviruses, these assays often have not been tested against the known diversity of ranaviruses. Here we report the development and partial validation of a TaqMan real-time qPCR assay. The primers and TaqMan probe targeted a conserved region of the major capsid protein (MCP) gene. A series of experiments using a 10-fold dilution series of Frog virus 3 (FV3) MCP plasmid DNA revealed linearity over a range of 7 orders of magnitude (107-101), a mean correlation coefficient (R2) of >0...
May 7, 2018: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
Julio A Lemos-Espinal, Geoffrey R Smith, Guillermo A Woolrich-Piña
A summary of the species of amphibians and reptiles of the state has been compiled, including their geographic distributions, habitats, and conservation statuses. The herpetofauna of San Luis Potosí consists of 41 species of amphibians and 141 species of reptiles. San Luis Potosí shares the highest number of species with Hidalgo and Tamaulipas, and the least number of species with Nuevo León. In San Luis Potosí, there are several taxa of particular conservation concern including salamanders, emydid and trionychid turtles, anguid and xenosaurid lizards, and natricid and colubrid snakes...
2018: ZooKeys
Silvia Casini, Ilaria Caliani, Matteo Giannetti, Letizia Marsili, Silvia Maltese, Daniele Coppola, Nicola Bianchi, Tommaso Campani, Stefania Ancora, Chiara Caruso, Giovanni Furii, Mariluz Parga, Antonella D'Agostino, Maria Cristina Fossi
The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) is a long-lived carnivorous reptile included in the IUCN Red List. The IUCN assessment for this species underlines the lack of information regarding pollution and pathogens and indicates as a priority effort to investigate and reduce the impacts of these threats. In this contest, the aim of our study was to conduct the first ecotoxicological assessment of this species in the Mediterranean Sea using a nondestructive integrated methodology. We set up and applied a monitoring protocol which includes endpoints, such as CYP1A, LPO, ENA assay, B esterases, never investigated before in this species...
August 1, 2018: Science of the Total Environment
Maria Antonietta Tosches, Tracy M Yamawaki, Robert K Naumann, Ariel A Jacobi, Georgi Tushev, Gilles Laurent
Computations in the mammalian cortex are carried out by glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons forming specialized circuits and areas. Here we asked how these neurons and areas evolved in amniotes. We built a gene expression atlas of the pallium of two reptilian species using large-scale single-cell mRNA sequencing. The transcriptomic signature of glutamatergic neurons in reptilian cortex suggests that mammalian neocortical layers are made of new cell types generated by diversification of ancestral gene regulatory programs...
May 3, 2018: Science
Jenna van Berkel, Susana Clusella-Trullas
The precision and the extent of behavioral thermoregulation are likely to provide fitness benefits to ectotherms. Yet the factors driving variation in selected or preferred body temperature (Tset ) and its usefulness as a proxy for optimal physiological temperature (Topt ) are still debated. Although Tset is often conserved among closely related species, substantial variation at the individual, population, and species level has also been reported but repeatability (sensu the intra-class correlation coefficient, ICC) of Tset is generally low...
May 3, 2018: Integrative Zoology
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