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Paul M Hime, Scott Hotaling, Richard E Grewelle, Eric M O'Neill, S Randal Voss, H Bradley Shaffer, David W Weisrock
Perhaps the most important recent advance in species delimitation has been the development of model-based approaches to objectively diagnose species diversity from genetic data. Additionally, the growing accessibility of next-generation sequence datasets provides powerful insights into genome-wide patterns of divergence during speciation. However, applying complex models to large datasets is time consuming and computationally costly, requiring careful consideration of the influence of both individual and population sampling, as well as the number and informativeness of loci on species delimitation conclusions...
October 17, 2016: Molecular Ecology
M J Madison-Villar, Cheng Sun, Nelson C Lau, Matthew L Settles, Rachel Lockridge Mueller
Most of the largest vertebrate genomes are found in salamanders, a clade of amphibians that includes 686 species. Salamander genomes range in size from 14 to 120 Gb, reflecting the accumulation of large numbers of transposable element (TE) sequences from all three TE classes. Although DNA loss rates are slow in salamanders relative to other vertebrates, high levels of TE insertion are also likely required to explain such high TE loads. Across the Tree of Life, novel TE insertions are suppressed by several pathways involving small RNA molecules...
October 14, 2016: Journal of Molecular Evolution
Freya E Rowland, Madelyn B Rawlings, Raymond D Semlitsch
Primary production can be controlled through bottom-up (e.g., resources) or top-down (e.g., predators) constraints. Two key bottom-up resources in small aquatic systems are light and nutrients, and forest canopy cover heavily influences these factors, whereas amphibian and invertebrate colonizers exert top-down pressure as grazers and predators. We designed our experiment to specifically manipulate two different top-down and bottom-up factors. We manipulated resources by altering light (low/high) and nutrient (low/high) availability; omnivores with the presence/absence of southern leopard frog tadpoles (Lithobates sphenocephalus); and predators with the presence/absence of spotted salamander larvae (Ambystoma maculatum) in a full-factorial experiment conducted over 14 weeks...
October 7, 2016: Oecologia
Hirotaka Sugawara, Tamotsu Kusano, Fumio Hayashi
Salamanders are expected to differentiate genetically among local populations due to their low dispersal ability, and are potentially susceptible to loss of genetic diversity if the population is isolated by habitat fragmentation. The salamander Hynobius tokyoensis is a lowland lentic breeder and endemic to a narrow area of central Japan. In this urban area, H. tokyoensis habitats are extensively fragmented and several populations are threatened with extinction, but information on genetic divergence and loss of genetic diversity is scarce...
October 2016: Zoological Science
Erik R Mohlhenrich, Rachel Lockridge Mueller
Salamanders have the largest nuclear genomes among tetrapods and, excepting lungfishes, among vertebrates as a whole. Lynch and Conery (2003) have proposed the mutational-hazard hypothesis to explain variation in genome size and complexity. Under this hypothesis, non-coding DNA imposes a selective cost by increasing the target for degenerative mutations, i.e. the mutational hazard. Expansion of non-coding DNA, and thus genome size, is driven by increased levels of genetic drift and/or decreased mutation rates; the former determines the efficiency with which purifying selection can remove excess DNA, while the latter determines the level of mutational hazard...
October 7, 2016: Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution
Joshua Curtis Parrott, Alexander Shepack, David Burkart, Brandon LaBumbard, Patrick Scimè, Ethan Baruch, Alessandro Catenazzi
Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) is a virulent fungal pathogen that infects salamanders. It is implicated in the recent collapse of several populations of fire salamanders in Europe. This pathogen seems much like that of its sister species, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the agent responsible for anuran extinctions and extirpations worldwide, and is considered to be an emerging global threat to salamander communities. Bsal thrives at temperatures found in many mountainous regions rich in salamander species; because of this, we have screened specimens of salamanders representing 17 species inhabiting mountain ranges in three continents: The Smoky Mountains, the Swiss Alps, and the Peruvian Andes...
October 5, 2016: EcoHealth
Henry C Astley
Anuran jumping is a model system for linking muscle physiology to organismal performance. However, anuran species display substantial diversity in their locomotion, with some species performing powerful leaps from riverbanks or tree branches, while other species move predominantly via swimming, short hops or even diagonal-sequence gaits. Furthermore, many anurans with similar locomotion and morphology are actually convergent (e.g. multiple independent evolutions of 'tree frogs'), while closely related species may differ drastically, as with the walking toad (Melanophryniscus stelzneri) and bullfrog-like river toad (Phrynoides aspera) compared with other Bufonid toads...
October 1, 2016: Journal of Experimental Biology
Mi-Sook Min, Hae-Jun Baek, Jae-Young Song, Min Ho Chang, Nikolay A Jr Poyarkov
We describe a new species of lentic-breeding Hynobius salamander from the Naro Islands, near the village of Bongrae-myeon, Goheung-gun, Jeollanam-do, South Korea, on the basis of results of morphological, ecological and genetic analyses. Hynobius unisacculus sp. nov. is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of the following morphological attributes: (1) comparatively small size (adult SVL up to 61 mm; range 38.3-60.3 mm in males and 37.5-59.9 mm in females); (2) relatively slender short limbs; tips of fore- and hindlimbs adpressed on body never meeting, but separated by a large gap (gap of -3...
September 21, 2016: Zootaxa
Sean Brady, Anne Burgdorf-Moisuk, Philip H Kass, Jacqueline Brady, Raymund F Wack
Hematology and plasma biochemistry parameters were determined for 34 captive-born California tiger salamanders ( Ambystoma californiense ). The animals were manually restrained for general examination and venipuncture. This is the first comprehensive report of hematology and plasma biochemistry parameters in apparently healthy California tiger salamanders and may serve as a reference for clinical assessment and future study of this species.
September 2016: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine: Official Publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
Nikolay Natchev, Stephan Handschuh, Simeon Lukanov, Nikolay Tzankov, Borislav Naumov, Ingmar Werneburg
A strongly ossified and rigid skull roof, which prevents parietal kinesis, has been reported for the adults of all amphibian clades. Our μ-CT investigations revealed that the Buresch's newt (Triturus ivanbureschi) possess a peculiar cranial construction. In addition to the typical amphibian pleurokinetic articulation between skull roof and palatoquadrate associated structures, we found flexible connections between nasals and frontals (prokinesis), vomer and parasphenoid (palatokinesis), and between frontals and parietals (mesokinesis)...
2016: PeerJ
Noboru Katayama, Kobayashi Makoto, Osamu Kishida
Conventional food-web theory assumes that nutrients from dissolved organic matter are transferred to aquatic vertebrates via long nutrient pathways involving multiple eukaryotic species as intermediary nutrient transporters. Here, using larvae of the salamander Hynobius retardatus as a model system, we provide experimental evidence of a shortcut nutrient pathway by showing that H. retardatus larvae can use dissolved amino acids for their growth without eukaryotic mediation. First, to explore which amino acids can promote larval growth, we kept individual salamander larvae in one of eight different high-concentration amino acid solutions, or in control water from which all other eukaryotic organisms had been removed...
September 28, 2016: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Eugenia Sanchez, Molly C Bletz, Laura Duntsch, Sabin Bhuju, Robert Geffers, Michael Jarek, Anja B Dohrmann, Christoph C Tebbe, Sebastian Steinfartz, Miguel Vences
Amphibian skin provides a habitat for bacterial communities in its mucus. Understanding the structure and function of this "mucosome" in the European fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) is critical in the context of novel emerging pathogenic diseases. We compare the cutaneous bacterial communities of this species using amplicon-based sequencing of the 16S rRNA V4 region. Across 290 samples, over 4000 OTUs were identified, four of them consistently present in all samples. Larvae and post-metamorphs exhibited distinct cutaneous microbial communities...
September 27, 2016: Microbial Ecology
Obed Hernández-Gómez, Steven J A Kimble, Jeffrey T Briggler, Rod N Williams
Pathogens currently threaten the existence of many amphibian species. In efforts to combat global declines, researchers have characterized the amphibian cutaneous microbiome as a resource for disease management. Characterization of microbial communities has become useful in studying the links between organismal health and the host microbiome. Hellbender salamanders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) provide an ideal system to explore the cutaneous microbiome as this species requires extensive conservation management across its range...
September 27, 2016: Microbial Ecology
Xiaoyuan Zhou, Xinglang Zhang, Qiuhong Jia, Yahui Han, Hongwei Gao
Objective To express the fusion protein of major antigenic epitope region of major capsid protein (MCP) of Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) iridovirus (CGSIV) and prepare the rabbit antiserum. Methods Using the genomic DNA of CGSIV Lueyang strain (CGSIV-LY) as a template, the gene fragment of major antigenic epitope region of MCP was amplified by PCR and cloned into the prokaryotic vector pET-21a(+) to construct the prokaryotic expression recombinant plasmid pET-21a-MCP. The recombinant plasmid was transformed into Escherichia coli BL21(DE3)...
October 2016: Xi Bao Yu Fen Zi Mian Yi Xue za Zhi, Chinese Journal of Cellular and Molecular Immunology
Qiaomu Hu, Haifeng Tian, Yan Meng, Hanbing Xiao
Lhx9 is an LIM (named for the first three proteins in which the domain was found, Lin-11, Isl1 and Mec-3) homeodomain protein involved in development and differentiation of the gonad. In this study, we isolated the full-length Lhx9 and Lhx9α from Andrias davidianus, detected the tissue distribution and analysed the methylation of the promoters. We identified Lhx9 of 1411 bp and Lhx9α of 1153-bp length, differing in the 3'-flanking region, encoding 399 and 330 amino acids, respectively. The Lhx9 gene was detected primarily in liver, ovary and heart with moderate expression in brain, pituitary, intestine and spleen, and low expression in the remaining examined tissues, while Lhx9α expression was high in heart, pituitary and liver, and low in spleen and stomach...
September 2016: Journal of Genetics
Hui Zhang, Pengcheng Yu, Shengwei Zhong, Tingting Ge, Shasha Peng, Xiaoquan Guo, Zuohong Zhou
Telocytes (TCs), novel interstitial cells, have been identified in various organs of many mammals. However, information about TCs of lower animals remains rare. Herein, pancreatic TCs of the Chinese giant salamanders (Andrias davidianus) were identified by CD34 immunohistochemistry (IHC) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The IHC micrographs revealed CD34(+) TCs with long telopodes (Tps) that were located in the interstitium of the pancreas. CD34(+) TCs/Tps were frequently observed between exocrine acinar cells and were close to blood vessels...
September 20, 2016: Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Hilary A Edgington, Colleen M Ingram, Douglas R Taylor
Our understanding of the evolutionary history and ecology of cave-associated species has been driven historically by studies of morphologically adapted cave-restricted species. Our understanding of the evolutionary history and ecology of nonrestricted cave species, troglophiles, is limited to a few studies, which present differing accounts of troglophiles' relationship with the cave habitat, and its impact on population dynamics. Here, we used phylogenetics, demographic statistics, and population genetic methods to study lineage divergence, dates of divergence, and population structure in the Cave Salamander, Eurycea lucifuga, across its range...
September 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Hui Zhang, Shengwei Zhong, Pengcheng Yu, Tingting Ge, Shasha Peng, Xiaoquan Guo, Zuohong Zhou
In this study, we attempt to identify gastric telocytes (TCs) of the Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus, by light microscopy, immunohistochemistry and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) methods. Toluidine blue staining showed TCs with one to two very thin and long telopodes (Tps) that were located in gastric lamina propria. Tps had characteristic structures, including podoms, podomers and dichotomous branching. Immunohistochemistry showed the existence of CD34(+)/PDGFRα(+) TCs with moniliform Tps in stroma and were close to gastric glands and blood vessels...
2016: Scientific Reports
Hon S Ip, Jeffrey M Lorch, David S Blehert
Global translocation of plants and animals is a well-recognized mechanism for introduction of pathogens into new regions. To mitigate this risk, various tools such as preshipment health certificates, quarantines, screening for specific disease agents and outright bans have been implemented. However, such measures only target known infectious agents and their hosts and may fail to prevent translocation of even well-recognized pathogens if they are carried by novel host species. In a recent example, we screened an imported shipment of Chinese firebelly newts (Cynops orientalis) for Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, an emergent fungal pathogen of salamanders...
2016: Emerging Microbes & Infections
Christophe Gardella, Olivier Marre, Thierry Mora
Neurons within a population are strongly correlated, but how to simply capture these correlations is still a matter of debate. Recent studies have shown that the activity of each cell is influenced by the population rate, defined as the summed activity of all neurons in the population. However, an explicit, tractable model for these interactions is still lacking. Here we build a probabilistic model of population activity that reproduces the firing rate of each cell, the distribution of the population rate, and the linear coupling between them...
July 2016: ENeuro
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