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Jan Werner, Nikolaos Sfakianakis, Alan D Rendall, Eva Maria Griebeler
Ectothermic and endothermic vertebrates differ not only in their source of body temperature (environment vs. metabolism), but also in growth patterns, in timing of sexual maturation within life, and energy intake functions. Here, we present a mathematical model applicable to ectothermic and endothermic vertebrates. It is designed to test whether differences in the timing of sexual maturation within an animal's life (age at which sexual maturity is reached vs. longevity) together with its ontogenetic gain in body mass (growth curve) can predict the energy intake throughout the animal's life (food intake curve) and can explain differences in energy partitioning (between growth, reproduction, heat production and maintenance, with the latter subsuming any other additional task requiring energy) between ectothermic and endothermic vertebrates...
February 13, 2018: Journal of Theoretical Biology
Catherine A Dayger, Michael P LeMaster, Deborah I Lutterschmidt
When opportunities to feed and reproduce are limited, females are often unable to recover sufficient energy stores to reproduce in consecutive years. Body condition has been used as a proxy for recent reproductive history in such species. We previously found that glucocorticoid responses to capture stress vary with body condition in female red-sided garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis), a species with limited seasonal breeding opportunities. Because variation in glucocorticoid receptor (GR) protein in the brain could explain these differences, we first assessed GR protein content in females in different body conditions...
February 13, 2018: Hormones and Behavior
Matthew W Pennell, Judith E Mank, Catherine L Peichel
Despite the prevalence of sexual reproduction across eukaryotes, there is a remarkable diversity of sex determination mechanisms. The underlying causes of this diversity remain unclear, and it is unknown if there are convergent trends in the directionality of turnover in sex determination mechanisms. We used the recently assembled Tree of Sex database to assess patterns in the evolution of sex determination systems in the remarkably diverse vertebrate clades of teleost fish, squamate reptiles, and amphibians...
February 16, 2018: Molecular Ecology
Danae Moore, Adam Stow, Michael Ray Kearney
1.For ectotherms such as lizards, the importance of behavioral thermoregulation in avoiding thermal extremes is well established and is increasingly acknowledged in modern studies of climate warming and its impacts. Less appreciated and understood are the buffering roles of retreat sites and activity phase, in part because of logistical challenges of studying below-ground activity. Burrowing and nocturnal activity are key behavioral adaptations that have enabled a diverse range of reptiles to survive extreme environmental temperatures within hot desert regions...
February 15, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Ruikang Liu, Bernard Moss
Type I interferons (IFNs) induce expression of more than 300 cellular genes that provide protection against viruses and other pathogens. For survival, viruses evolved defenses to prevent the IFN response or counteract the IFN-induced antiviral state. However, because viruses and cells co-evolved, the dynamic relationship between virus and host is difficult to discern. In the present study, we demonstrated that vaccinia virus with a large deletion near the left end of the genome had a diminished ability to replicate in cells that had been pre-treated with IFNβ, suggesting that one or more of the missing 17 open reading frames (ORFs) encodes an antagonist of the IFN-induced antiviral state...
February 14, 2018: Journal of Virology
Chantel E Markle, Gillian Chow-Fraser, Patricia Chow-Fraser
Point Pelee National Park, located at the southern-most tip of Canada's mainland, historically supported a large number of herpetofauna species; however, despite nearly a century of protection, six snake and five amphibian species have disappeared, and remaining species-at-risk populations are thought to be in decline. We hypothesized that long-term changes in availability and distribution of critical habitat types may have contributed to the disappearance of herpetofauna. To track habitat changes we used aerial image data spanning 85 years (1931-2015) and manually digitized and classified image data using a standardized framework...
2018: PloS One
Adriana Santodomingo, Andrea Cotes-Perdomo, Janet Foley, Lyda R Castro
Although more reptiles are illegally traded in Colombia than any other group of animals, for both local and international markets, little is known about ticks associated with reptiles or pathogens associated with these ticks. In this study, ticks were collected from reptiles in Magdalena, Cesar and La Guajira regions in northern Colombia, and identified morphologically using taxonomic keys and molecularly by sequencing of the COI gene. In addition, Rickettsia spp. were detected by PCR amplifying the gltA, 16S rRNA, and sca1 genes...
February 8, 2018: Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases
Juliane Schneider, Tilo Heydel, Linus Klasen, Michael Pees, Wieland Schrödl, Volker Schmidt
Fungal infections in captive as well as in free-living reptiles caused by emerging obligate pathogenic fungi appear with increasing frequency and give occasion to establish new and fast methods for routine diagnostics. The so-called yellow fungus disease is one of the most important and common fungal dermatomycoses in central bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) and green iguanas (Iguana iguana) and is caused by Nannizziopsis guarroi. The aim of this study was to prove reliability in identification of N. guarroi with Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) in comparison to molecular biological analysis of ribosomal DNA genes...
October 9, 2017: Medical Mycology: Official Publication of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology
Noeline Subramaniam, James J Petrik, Matthew K Vickaryous
The skin is a bilayered organ that serves as a key barrier between an organism and its environment. In addition to protecting against microbial invasion, physical trauma and environmental damage, skin participates in maintaining homeostasis. Skin is also capable of spontaneous self-repair following injury. These functions are mediated by numerous pleiotrophic growth factors, including members of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) families...
February 8, 2018: Journal of Anatomy
Prakash Kumar Paudel, Jan Sipos, Jedediah F Brodie
BACKGROUND: A crucial step in conserving biodiversity is to identify the distributions of threatened species and the factors associated with species threat status. In the biodiversity hotspot of the Himalaya, very little is known about which locations harbour the highest diversity of threatened species and whether diversity of such species is related to area, mid-domain effects (MDE), range size, or human density. In this study, we assessed the drivers of variation in richness of threatened birds, mammals, reptiles, actinopterygii, and amphibians along an elevational gradient in Nepal Himalaya...
February 7, 2018: BMC Ecology
Salvador Carranza, Meritxell Xipell, Pedro Tarroso, Andrew Gardner, Edwin Nicholas Arnold, Michael D Robinson, Marc Simó-Riudalbas, Raquel Vasconcelos, Philip de Pous, Fèlix Amat, Jiří Šmíd, Roberto Sindaco, Margarita Metallinou, Johannes Els, Juan Manuel Pleguezuelos, Luis Machado, David Donaire, Gabriel Martínez, Joan Garcia-Porta, Tomáš Mazuch, Thomas Wilms, Jürgen Gebhart, Javier Aznar, Javier Gallego, Bernd-Michael Zwanzig, Daniel Fernández-Guiberteau, Theodore Papenfuss, Saleh Al Saadi, Ali Alghafri, Sultan Khalifa, Hamed Al Farqani, Salim Bait Bilal, Iman Sulaiman Alazri, Aziza Saud Al Adhoobi, Zeyana Salim Al Omairi, Mohammed Al Shariani, Ali Al Kiyumi, Thuraya Al Sariri, Ahmed Said Al Shukaili, Suleiman Nasser Al Akhzami
In the present work, we use an exceptional database including 5,359 records of 101 species of Oman's terrestrial reptiles together with spatial tools to infer the spatial patterns of species richness and endemicity, to infer the habitat preference of each species and to better define conservation priorities, with especial focus on the effectiveness of the protected areas in preserving this unique arid fauna. Our results indicate that the sampling effort is not only remarkable from a taxonomic point of view, with multiple observations for most species, but also for the spatial coverage achieved...
2018: PloS One
Sarah A Smiley-Walters, Terence M Farrell, H Lisle Gibbs
Venom toxicity assessments are often based upon non-native surrogate prey species that are not consumed in the wild by the venomous predator. This raises questions about the relevance of toxicity results on these "model" prey in addressing ecological or evolutionary questions about venom effects on native prey. We explore this issue by comparing the toxicity of venom from pygmy rattlesnakes (Sistrurus miliarius) on taxonomically-diverse sets of model (non-native) and native prey. Specifically, we compared rattlesnake venom toxicity for nine species from three broad taxonomic groups of prey (reptiles, mammals, and amphibians) to determine whether estimates of venom toxicity for the non-native model species of each group was representative of species which were native prey...
February 1, 2018: Toxicon: Official Journal of the International Society on Toxinology
Hiral Murawala, Isha Ranadive, Sonam Patel, Isha Desai, Suresh Balakrishnan
Epimorphic regeneration is a process allowing the animal to regain its lost structure which depends on the resident pluripotent stem cells as well as de-differentiation of existing cells to form multi-potent stem cells. Many studies have been done to understand the appendage regeneration mechanism. The animal model used since decades is an urodele amphibian the axolotl. However, this ability is also seen in some members of reptiles, mainly lizards which on autotomy of tail regain the same by forming a replica of its lost tail...
February 1, 2018: Mechanisms of Development
Tereza Schořálková, Lukáš Kratochvíl, Lukáš Kubička
The nature and hormonal control of cues used for recognition of sex and reproductive status of conspecifics remain largely unstudied in reptiles. It has been proposed that production of a female attractiveness pheromone controlled by female ovarian hormones (and which is suppressed by male gonadal androgens) is necessary to elicit courtship in males. In the case of leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius), it has been suggested that an individual is recognized as a male and attacked unless it produces female-specific stimuli in its skin and that females are attacked, not courted, while shedding...
February 1, 2018: Hormones and Behavior
Roozbeh Behrooz, Mohammad Kaboli, Véronique Arnal, Masoud Nazarizadeh, Atefeh Asadi, Amin Salmanian, Mohsen Ahmadi, Claudine Montgelard
Northern and western mountains of Iran are among the most important biodiversity and endemism hot spots for reptiles in the Middle East. Among herpetofauna, the montivipers represent an emblematic and fragmented endemic group for which estimating their level of genetic differentiation and defining conservation priorities is urgently needed. Here, we present the most comprehensive phylogenetic study on the Montivipera raddei species group comprising all five known taxa, among which three are endemic to Iran...
February 1, 2018: Journal of Heredity
Elena Koudouna, Moritz Winkler, Eric Mikula, Tibor Juhasz, Donald J Brown, James V Jester
Although the cornea is the major refractive element of the eye, the mechanisms controlling corneal shape and hence visual acuity remain unknown. To begin to address this question we have used multiphoton, non-linear optical microscopy to image second harmonic generated signals (SHG) from collagen to characterize the evolutionary and structural changes that occur in the collagen architecture of the corneal stroma. Our studies show that there is a progression in complexity of the stromal collagen organization from lower (fish and amphibians) to higher (birds and mammals) vertebrates, leading to increasing tissue stiffness that may control shape...
February 1, 2018: Progress in Retinal and Eye Research
Robert K Needleman, Isabelle P Neylan, Timothy Erickson
INTRODUCTION: Climate change has been scientifically documented, and its effects on wildlife have been prognosticated. We sought to predict the overall impact of climate change on venomous terrestrial species. We hypothesize that given the close relationship between terrestrial venomous species and climate, a changing global environment may result in increased species migration, geographical redistribution, and longer seasons for envenomation, which would have repercussions on human health...
January 29, 2018: Wilderness & Environmental Medicine
Nicolas Rodrigues, Tania Studer, Christophe Dufresnes, Nicolas Perrin
According to the canonical model of sex-chromosome evolution, the degeneration of Y or W chromosomes (as observed in mammals and birds respectively) results from an arrest of recombination in the heterogametic sex, driven by the fixation of sexually antagonistic mutations. However, sex chromosomes have remained homomorphic in many lineages of fishes, amphibians, and non-avian reptiles. According to the 'fountain-of-youth' model, this homomorphy results from occasional events of sex reversal. If recombination arrest in males is controlled by maleness per se (and not by genotype), then Y chromosomes are expected to recombine in XY females, preventing their long-term degeneration...
January 30, 2018: Molecular Biology and Evolution
Reza Zolfaghari Emameh, Sami Purmonen, Antti Sukura, Seppo Parkkila
Foodborne parasites are a source of human parasitic infection. Zoonotic infections of humans arise from a variety of domestic and wild animals, including sheep, goats, cattle, camels, horses, pigs, boars, bears, felines, canids, amphibians, reptiles, poultry, and aquatic animals such as fishes and shrimp. Therefore, the implementation of efficient, accessible, and controllable inspection policies for livestock, fisheries, slaughterhouses, and meat processing and packaging companies is highly recommended. In addition, more attention should be paid to the education of auditors from the quality control (QC) and assurance sectors, livestock breeders, the fishery sector, and meat inspection veterinarians in developing countries with high incidence of zoonotic parasitic infections...
January 2018: Food Science & Nutrition
Kamel Jabbari, Peter Heger, Ranu Sharma, Thomas Wiehe
The CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) is multi-functional, ubiquitously expressed, and highly conserved from Drosophila to human. It has important roles in transcriptional insulation and the formation of a high-dimensional chromatin structure. CTCF has a paralog called "Brother of Regulator of Imprinted Sites" (BORIS) or "CTCF-like" (CTCFL). It binds DNA at sites similar to those of CTCF. However, the expression profiles of the two proteins are quite different. We investigated the evolutionary trajectories of the two proteins after the duplication event using a phylogenomic and interactomic approach...
January 30, 2018: Life
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