International Journal of Zoology The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2016 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Comparative Study of Integrated Pest Management and Farmers Practices on Sustainable Environment in the Rice Ecosystem Thu, 07 Apr 2016 13:35:31 +0000 Integrated pest management (IPM) is an environmentally friendly technology. IPM is a multifaceted approach to pest management that seeks to minimize negative impacts on the environment. This technique is an important step towards providing healthy, viable food for a growing global population. The focus of this study was to examine the impact of integrated pest management in a rice agroecosystem. Currently, more than 80% of farmers rely on pesticides. IPM methods employed in our study had an impact on the number of healthy tillers and hills and grain weight. The lowest percentage of dead heart (1.03) and white head (2.00) was found in the IPM treated plots. These plots had an average yield of 7.4 tonne/ha. We found that there were significant differences between the treatment and the observed percentage of dead heart, grain weight, and yield. We conclude that IPM practices are an effective strategy for obtaining high rice yields while protecting the environment and creating a more sustainable agroecosystem. Furthermore, the need for ongoing research and training on IPM methods will be essential for creating a sustainable rice agroecosystem. Mohammad Zahangeer Alam, Md. Manjurul Haque, Md. Sirajul Islam, Emran Hossain, Sabiha Binta Hasan, Shahela Binte Hasan, and Md. Sakhawat Hossain Copyright © 2016 Mohammad Zahangeer Alam et al. All rights reserved. Species Composition of Tropical Understory Birds in Threatened East African Coastal Forests Based on Capture Data Sun, 03 Apr 2016 08:53:55 +0000 The East African coastal forests are subject of haphazard modification following anthropogenic pressures including tree cutting and clearing for agriculture. These activities, which are leading cause of habitat disturbance and species loss, are the major challenge in the management of sensitive wildlife species such as forest understory birds. This study investigated species composition of understory birds in the coastal forests of northeastern Tanzania to generate information for the management of the landscape and biodiversity in the area. Using mist nets, birds were trapped from core and edge habitats of representative forest patches. Trapped birds were classified to species level and categorized into bird guilds based on their levels of forest dependence. It was found out that species richness was influenced by forest patch size rather than level of habitat disturbance. Edge habitat was also found to be important in hosting higher number of forest understory birds, especially generalists—but this should be treated with caution because following habitat destruction that is ongoing in the study area, there is a danger of generalist wiping out specialist species due to competitive exclusion. Strict control measures to stop illegal tree cutting and agricultural activities near the forests were recommended for sustainable conservation of the understory birds in the forests. Robert B. Modest and Shombe N. Hassan Copyright © 2016 Robert B. Modest and Shombe N. Hassan. All rights reserved. Feeding Ecology of Taruca (Hippocamelus antisensis) Populations during the Rainy and Dry Seasons in Central Peru Mon, 15 Feb 2016 13:25:31 +0000 Tarucas (Hippocamelus antisensis) live in rocky areas in the Andes, from northern Peru to northern Argentina. Microhistological analyses on their feeding ecology during the rainy and dry seasons were done at a National Park and a Landscape Reserve. The diet was diverse and more than 50 species were identified from the feces. Grass species were most often detected as eaten by taruca during the rainy season comprising near 70% of the consumed fragments with 35 plant species identified as eaten then. In the dry season, around 50 species were identified as eaten by tarucas, mostly dicotyledonous. The main species consumed in both seasons were Werneria nubigena, Poa gymnantha, Senecio comosus, and Ephedra americana. The ecological density was an intermediate value compared to other observed values in Peru. This is the first study to find the importance of grasses for tarucas, selected when soft, during the rainy season. A possible overlap with domestic ungulates’ diets should be explored, helping the conservation of taruca and generating an adequate management of the species and the ecosystem. There is a change in the palatable offer of food items during the rainy season, when most of the Gramineae species are tender. Carla Gazzolo and Javier Barrio Copyright © 2016 Carla Gazzolo and Javier Barrio. All rights reserved. Phenotypic Variation in Freshwater Murrel, Channa punctatus (Bloch, 1793) from Northern and Eastern Regions of India Using Truss Analysis Mon, 15 Feb 2016 06:36:20 +0000 Morphometric variation study was carried out using truss analysis in freshwater murrel, Channa punctatus (Bloch, 1793), to explore different phenotypic stocks of C. punctatus. Significant variation in the morphometric analysis was observed using the truss network and multivariate analysis of the three subpopulations of freshwater murrel, C. punctatus, from the two different regions of India. Principal component analysis accounted for a total variation of 91.95% by the first three principal components. PC 1 represented the variation due to size and PC 2 and PC 3 represented variations due to shape. The 95% confidence ellipses depicted the clear isolation between the samples in scatter graph of PC 1 on PC 2. The combined groups plot (DF 1 on DF 2) based on discriminant function analysis (DFA) also validated the existence of three different subpopulations. In group classification using DFA, 100 percent of all the samples were correctly classified into their original subpopulation. These results support the existence of multiracial composition of C. punctatus across the different geographical isolated sites and, thus, these findings indicate the presence of three different phenotypic stocks of C. punctatus. Ankur Kashyap, Madhu Awasthi, and Mohammad Serajuddin Copyright © 2016 Ankur Kashyap et al. All rights reserved. Descriptive Osteology of a Newly Described Stone Loach, Oxynoemacheilus chomanicus (Kamangar et al., 2014) (Cypriniformes, Nemacheilidae) Thu, 28 Jan 2016 10:38:59 +0000 Oxynoemacheilus chomanicus is a newly described species of the family Nemacheilidae from the Choman River drainage of the Tigris basin. This study was conducted to provide the detailed osteological characteristics of this species and comparing them with those of other endemic species of the genus Oxynoemacheilus from inland water basins of Iran, namely, kiabii, O. persa, O. brandtii, O. kermanshahensis, and O. bergianus. For this purpose, nine specimens of O. chomanicus were collected, cleaned, and stained for osteological examination. Then, a detailed description of their skeletal structure was provided. The results showed that O. chomanicus can be distinguished from other studied species of the genus Oxynoemacheilus due to possessing an orbital shelf, number of the vertebrae, number of the hypurals, number of the unbranched rays in anal fin, features of the hemal and neural spines, and connection pattern of the parietal and frontal. Parvin Mafakheri, Soheil Eagderi, and Amir Qadermarzi Copyright © 2016 Parvin Mafakheri et al. All rights reserved. Diversity and Dynamics of Sand Flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) of Two Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Foci in the Fes-Boulemane Region of Northern Morocco Thu, 24 Dec 2015 08:35:09 +0000 Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is an infectious disease caused by various species of Leishmania and transmitted by several species of sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae). In order to evaluate the risk of leishmaniasis transmission in Fes-Boulemane, an investigation was carried out in two localities, Aichoun and Bouasseme, during 2011. From January to December, 1120 specimens were collected in Aichoun comprising six species belonging to two genera: Phlebotomus sergenti (76.07%), Phlebotomus longicuspis (9.01%), Phlebotomus perniciosus (8.48%), Phlebotomus papatasi (4.82%), Sergentomyia minuta, and Sergentomyia fallax. For Bouasseme, seven species were identified with Phlebotomus sergenti (60.39%) dominating, followed by Phlebotomus perniciosus (20%) and Phlebotomus longicuspis (12.15%). The remaining species, Phlebotomus papatasi, Phlebotomus ariasi, Sergentomyia minuta, and Sergentomyia fallax, were less prevalent. The activity of sand flies in both localities is marked by the dominance of Ph. sergenti with two peaks occurring in June and September. In order to obtain a better understanding of sand fly diversity among their species, results were analyzed by the ecological indices determinant: specific richness, the relative abundance, and Shannon-Weiner index (H′). Further studies of sand fly diversity should employ statistical tests and molecular analyses. This study can be useful in the implementation of appropriate future control measures. Fatima Zahra Talbi, Chafika Faraj, Fouad EL-Akhal, Fatiha El Khayyat, Driss Chenfour, Abdellatif Janati Idrissi, and Abdelhakim El Ouali Lalami Copyright © 2015 Fatima Zahra Talbi et al. All rights reserved. The Male Reproductive Cycle of the Spotted Toad-Headed Agama, Phrynocephalus maculatus, in Iran Mon, 23 Nov 2015 11:08:20 +0000 The spotted toad-headed agama, Phrynocephalus maculatus, distributed in the central and southeastern arid regions of Iran, belongs to the Agamidae family. In this research, the male reproductive cycle of this species was studied from 5 April to 5 August, 2013. Totally, 40 adult males were collected at midday from southern deserts of Damghan County, located in Semnan Province of Iran. Testes were removed and processed for morphometric and histological studies. The spermatogenic cycle begins from early April, mating occurs in mid-May, and it ends in August. Maximum reproductive activity occurs in early June and reduces from early July and ends in August. The numbers of seminal vesicles were 33–127 and their diameter varied between 69.0 and 258.3 microns. The diameter of tunica albuginea varied between 3.0 and 8.1 microns. The diameter of germinal layer varied between 10.0 and 110.0 microns. There were significant differences in macroscopic and microscopic testicular characters between months. Also, there were no significant differences in the testicular and hemipenal characters between the left side and the right side of body. Since spermatogenesis occurs from April through August, P. maculatus follows an associated reproductive cycle typical for temperate species. Soheila Rahmani and Vida Hojati Copyright © 2015 Soheila Rahmani and Vida Hojati. All rights reserved. Seeing Is Feeding for the Frugivorous Bird Brown-Eared Bulbul (Microscelis amaurotis) Tue, 03 Nov 2015 11:07:15 +0000 We examined feeding behavior by visually blocking fruit to establish a new theory of bird damage management for agricultural practices. Partly or fully invisible clusters of grapes were fixed on a perch. The birds selectively pecked the clearly visible part of the half-visible bag at a pecking count rate of 0.94–1.00 (95% CI). Half-visible bags allowed the birds to look inside like a skirt and detect the initially hidden portions of grapes, which were covered with opaque white bags. However, very few birds pecked at the white bags that were partially covering the grapes. That is, very few birds attempted to eat covered but easily detectable fruits. Only five birds gravitated toward the grapes in the completely covered nontranslucent bags, but they never pecked at them. Our results show that visual blocking could be a promising new technique to prevent bird damage. Takeshi Honda, Jun-ichi Tsuboi, and Hiroshi Kuwata Copyright © 2015 Takeshi Honda et al. All rights reserved. Exploiting Scanning Behavior for Predators Can Reduce Rice Damage Caused by Birds Mon, 07 Sep 2015 10:58:59 +0000 Rice is often damaged by birds, especially sparrows, in Asia. Bird nets are sometimes used as countermeasures; however this approach is expensive and labor intensive. For this reason, farmers generally eschew bird nets, even though no alternative countermeasures are available. This study focused on exploiting the bird behavior of scanning for predators to reduce crop damage. When birds forage for seeds on the ground they often stop pecking and briefly raise their heads, apparently to scan for predators. Low visibility habitats increase scanning behavior and increased scanning behavior reduces habitat quality from the bird’s perspective; therefore, this study tested the relationship between rice damage rate and visibility at the periphery of rice fields, where tree sparrows rest after feeding. Overall, low visibility reduced damage to rice. Because visibility was mainly affected by weeds, weed management techniques contribute to crop damage management. To reduce damage, weeding can be decreased; therefore, this technique is cost- and labor-efficient. Takeshi Honda Copyright © 2015 Takeshi Honda. All rights reserved. Ecological Niche Modeling of Seventeen Sandflies Species (Diptera, Psychodidae, Phlebotominae) from Venezuela Sun, 08 Feb 2015 10:17:15 +0000 The purpose of this study is to create distribution models of seventeen Lutzomyia species in Venezuela. Presence records were obtained from field collections over 30 years by several research teams. We used maximum entropy method for model construction based on 30 arc-second resolution environmental layers: 19 bioclimatic variables, elevation, and land cover. Three species were distributed throughout north-central Venezuelan, two restricted to northern Venezuelan coast, and three throughout the west; five were restricted mainly to the Andean and finally two species within sparse pattern. The most important variables that contributed were related to precipitation. The environmental niche model of sandflies might be a useful tool to contribute to the understanding of the ecoepidemiological complexity of the transmission dynamics of the leishmaniases. Iomar Sanchez, Jonathan Liria, and María Dora Feliciangeli Copyright © 2015 Iomar Sanchez et al. All rights reserved. Larval Development of the European Lobster and How Small Heterochronic Shifts Lead to a More Pronounced Metamorphosis Mon, 12 Jan 2015 14:26:48 +0000 We redescribe the larval stages of the European lobster, Homarus gammarus, based on autofluorescence composite imaging. We focus on larval stages (II) to (IV). Compared to the American lobster, Homarus americanus, differences are most apparent in stage (III). This stage appears more mature in H. gammarus; for example, the rostrum is already curved and bears spines, and the appendages are better developed and longer and more differentiated. In H. americanus stage (III) shows a stronger resemblance to stage (II). As a result of the morphology of stage (III), the “metamorphic” moult between stage (III) and stage (IV) in H. gammarus is less drastic than in H. americanus. Metamorphosis is characterised by two criteria. It involves (1) a drastic change in morphology in (2) a short amount of time. It has hence been suggested that a more pronounced metamorphosis evolves by two factors affecting these criteria, namely, (1) the evolution of specialised larval features, which increase the morphological disparity between larva and adult that makes the change of morphology more drastic, and (2) the skipping of entire stages. This means larval forms ancestrally moult over several intermediate forms into the definite adult morphology. Yet, in more derived forms the stages with intermediate morphologies are no longer expressed; highly specialized larvae moult into the adult within a single moult (in the most extreme case) hence bridging the morphologies of larvae and adult in a shorter amount of time. The example of the two Homarus species demonstrates that this explanation is not the only possible one. Additionally, differences of a single larval stage (in this case larval stage (III)) can lead to a more or less metamorphic-appearing ontogenetic sequence. Marie A. I. N. Rötzer and Joachim T. Haug Copyright © 2015 Marie A. I. N. Rötzer and Joachim T. Haug. All rights reserved. Efficacy of 2-Phenoxyethanol as an Anaesthetic for Adult Redline Torpedo Fish, Sahyadria denisonii (Day 1865) Mon, 08 Dec 2014 13:19:45 +0000 Efficacy of 2-phenoxyethanol for redline torpedo fish exposed to five concentrations (200, 300, 400, 500, and 600 μlL−1) was evaluated. The time periods necessary for each characteristic stage of induction and recovery were recorded. Results indicated that the induction time of the fish exposed to five anaesthetic concentrations significantly decreased with increasing concentration but recovery time was independent of concentration. Concentration of 500 μlL−1 (induction time: 173 ± 7 and recovery time: 129 ± 41 seconds) was determined as the minimum effective concentration that induces anaesthesia in less than 3 minutes. Anna Mercy Thoranam Varkey and Sajan Sajeevan Copyright © 2014 Anna Mercy Thoranam Varkey and Sajan Sajeevan. All rights reserved. Spermatogenic Waves and Expression of AR and ERs in Germ Cells of Podarcis sicula Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Androgens are considered the main hormones that regulate spermatogenesis, but a lot of evidence confers to estrogen a key role in this process. In the testis of the seasonal breeder lizard Podarcis sicula we analyzed by means of in situ hybridization the expression of the androgen receptor (AR) and of the two types, α and β, of the estrogen receptors (ERs) throughout the three periods of the annual cycle: mating (spring-early summer), postmating-refractory (late summer), and autumnal recrudescence. The results show that during the mating period AR and ERs are expressed in all germ cells present in the tubules from spermatogonia to spermatozoa. During the postmating-refractory period, when only spermatogonia are present in the tubules, almost all express ERs and very few AR mRNA. During the autumnal recrudescence the localization of AR and ERs is the same of the mating period except for the population of the primary spermatocytes. The expression of the investigated receptors is peculiar in these cells that are positive in the middle-late pachytene stage of the meiotic prophase and negative in preleptotene. A possible functional role of the observed differences during spermatogenesis and in the spermatozoa is also discussed. Mariailaria Verderame, Francesco Angelini, and Ermelinda Limatola Copyright © 2014 Mariailaria Verderame et al. All rights reserved. Behavioural Descriptions of Indian Pangolins (Manis crassicaudata) in Captivity Wed, 19 Nov 2014 07:10:02 +0000 Conservation breeding programmes as an essential tool for conservation of endangered species require a sound knowledge on behaviour of the species. At present time, knowledge of behaviour and biology of Indian pangolins is inadequate and inconsistent. During the present study, an ethogram was developed based on the behavioural observations of seven Indian pangolins (Manis crassicaudata) at Pangolin Conservation Breeding Centre, Nandankanan Zoological Park, Odisha, India, between February 2012 and January 2013. A total of 27 behaviours of seven distinct behavioural categories (stationary body positions, locomotory patterns, maintenance behaviours, explorative behaviours, defensive behaviours, reproductive/social behaviours, and others) were described and illustrated. The results offer a consistent frame of reference for further studies on behavioural patterns of Indian pangolins. Besides, these preliminary observations could be useful in management and breeding of the species in captivity. Rajesh Kumar Mohapatra and Sudarsan Panda Copyright © 2014 Rajesh Kumar Mohapatra and Sudarsan Panda. All rights reserved. The Female Reproductive Cycle of the Bedriaga Plate-Tailed Gecko, Teratoscincus bedriagai (Sauria: Gekkonidae) in Iran Sun, 16 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0000 The Bedriaga Plate-tailed Gecko, Teratoscincus bedriagai Nikolsky, 1900, is distributed in the northern and eastern desert basins of the Central Plateau of Iran, Sistan, and the desert regions of southern Afghanistan. Iranian specimens are believed to be rare in collections. In this study, the reproductive cycle of this species has been investigated through focusing on oogenesis from 5 April to 5 August, 2013. Generally, 15 adult females were collected by hand at midnight from southern parts of Damghan County, situated in Semnan Province of Iran. Ovaries were removed and processed for the purpose of histological and morphometric studies. The results revealed that oocyte growth starts in early April and terminates in late July. Moreover, mating commences in spring, especially at the beginning of May, with oviposition occurring from late May to late July. Approximately, 1 to 2 eggs are laid by females per clutch with the possibility of producing a secondary clutch later in the season. The maximum reproductive activity takes place in May and continues with a decreasing trend in June and more reduction in July and finally ends in August. No significant difference was observed between right and left side of reproductive system. Therefore, oogenesis occurs from April to July, while T. bedriagai follows an oogenic cycle typical for temperate species. Fatemeh Mojibi and Vida Hojati Copyright © 2014 Fatemeh Mojibi and Vida Hojati. All rights reserved. Environmental Determinants Influencing Seasonal Variations of Bird Diversity and Abundance in Wetlands, Northern Region (Ghana) Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:38:53 +0000 The study assessed major environmental determinants influencing bird community in six wetlands over a 2-year period. A combination of visual and bird sounding techniques was used to determine the seasonal variations in bird abundance, while ordination techniques were performed to determine the influence of environmental factors on bird assemblage. A total of 1,169 birds from 25 species and 885 individuals from 23 species were identified in the wet and dry season, respectively. The shallow close marshes supported the greatest number of birds () compared to the riparian wetlands. Bird diversity was significantly higher in the wet season than in the dry season (). Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) and marsh warbler (Acrocephalus palustris) were the most abundant. Using the IUCN “Red List” database guide, we noted that 96.2% of birds identified were least concern (LC). The yellow weaver bird (Ploceous megarhrynchus) was the only vulnerable species (VU) and represented 3.8%. From the three variables tested, bushfire and farming practices were the major threats and cumulatively explained 15.93% (wet season) and 14.06% (dry season) variations in bird diversity and abundance. These findings will help wetland managers design conservation measures to check current threats on birds from becoming vulnerable in the future. Collins Ayine Nsor and Edward Adzesiwor Obodai Copyright © 2014 Collins Ayine Nsor and Edward Adzesiwor Obodai. All rights reserved. Erratum to “Foraging Habitat Distributions Affect Territory Size and Shape in the Tuamotu Kingfisher” Wed, 29 Oct 2014 06:15:08 +0000 Dylan C. Kesler Copyright © 2014 Dylan C. Kesler. All rights reserved. Effects of Quinizarin and Five Synthesized Derivatives on Fifth Larval Instar Midgut Ecdysone 20-Monooxygenase Activity of the Tobacco Hornworm Manduca sexta Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:36:38 +0000 The plant allelochemical, quinizarin (1,4-dihydroxy-9,10-anthraquinone), and five anthraquinones that were synthesized from quinizarin, namely, 1,4-anthraquinone; 2-hydroxy-1,4-anthraquinone; 2-methoxy-1,4-anthraquinone; 9-hydroxy-1,4-anthraquinone; and 9-methoxy-1,4-anthraquinone, were assessed as to their effects on the essential, P450-dependent ecdysone 20-monooxygenase system of the insect model Manduca sexta (tobacco hornworm). This steroid hydroxylase converts the arthropod molting hormone, ecdysone, to the physiologically required 20-hydroxyecdysone form. M. sexta fifth larval instar midgut homogenates were incubated with increasing concentrations (10−8 to 10−3 M) of each of the six anthraquinones followed by ecdysone 20-monooxygenase assessments using a radioenzymological assay. Four of the five anthraquinones exhibited ’s of about to  M. The most effective inhibitors were 2-methoxy-1,4-anthraquinone and 1,4-anthraquinone followed by 9-hydroxy-1,4 anthraquinone and 9-methoxy-1,4-anthraquinone. At lower concentrations the latter anthraquinone stimulated E20M activity. Quinizarin was less inhibitory and 2-hydroxy-1,4-anthraquinone was essentially without effect. Significantly, these studies make evident for the first time that anthraquinones can affect insect E20M activity, and thus insect endocrine regulation and development, and that a relationship between anthraquinone structure and effectiveness is apparent. These studies represent the first demonstrations of anthraquinones affecting any steroid hydroxylase system. Christopher A. Drummond, Maria Teresa Molina, Sandra Taliansky, Carl R. Breidenbach, and Carmen F. Fioravanti Copyright © 2014 Christopher A. Drummond et al. All rights reserved. Benthic Macroinvertebrates along the Haraz Downstream in Southern Caspian Sea Basin: In Gradient of the Physicochemical Parameters Wed, 08 Oct 2014 10:03:16 +0000 The Haraz River is one of the most important rivers in the Caspian Sea basin. In order to investigate changes in the taxa abundance composition and feeding groups of the benthic macroinvertebrates, twelve-time sampling was carried out at nine stations along three different sites: (1) before, (2) into, and (3) after Amol City. Results showed impacts of anthropogenic activities caused by the urbanization and development on the occurrence of benthic macroinvertebrates taxa. Families, Hydropsychidae and Heptageniidae at site 1 and Tipulidae at sites 2 and 3, were significantly dominant. The feeding groups of gathering collectors and predators increased from site 1 to site 3, while the filtering collectors and scrapers decreased. Consequently, our data supported the use of the bioindicator concept for Haraz River. Some sensitive (Hydropsychidae, Heptageniidae, Baetidae, and Leuctridae) and tolerant families (Tipulidae and Naididae/Tubificidae) are introduced as potential bioindicators of clean and disturbed river’s area, respectively. Amir Faraz Ghasemi and Morteza Kamali Copyright © 2014 Amir Faraz Ghasemi and Morteza Kamali. All rights reserved. Studies on the Vertical Distribution of Ticks of Domestic Animals and Their Public Health Importance in Nilgiri Hills and Adjoining Areas of Tamil Nadu State (India) Wed, 10 Sep 2014 06:27:16 +0000 The Nilgiri hills and adjoining downhill areas provide favourable ecological conditions for the propagation of haematophagous arthropods owing to richness in vegetation and animal activities. A study has been undertaken during 2008–2010 on the distribution and abundance of ticks of domestic animals in seven different biotopes. A total of 3,008 domestic animals were examined in areas ranging from an altitude of 300 to 2200 meters above mean sea level (MSL) of which 1,335 (44.5%) animals were having tick infestation. A total of 6,012 adult and immature ticks belonging to 12 species (11 ixodid and one argasid) were collected. Eleven tick species were collected from Kallar area situated downhill eastern slopes of the Nilgiris followed by Burliar area (7 species) located at higher altitudes. From Masinagudi area near to dense forests and scrub jungles, five species were recorded. However, at higher elevations on the hills, Udhagamandalam area, only one species was recorded. Among various tick species recorded in the study, Boophilus microplus was distributed in almost all areas surveyed followed by Haemaphysalis spinigera and Rhipicephalus sanguineus. The factors governing their distribution and epidemiological significance in the transmission of various tick-borne diseases of public health importance are discussed. Kaushal Kumar, N. Balakrishnan, and Abhay Kumar Sharma Copyright © 2014 Kaushal Kumar et al. All rights reserved. The Diet and Sexual Differences of the Caspian Bent-Toed Gecko, Tenuidactylus caspius (Squamata: Gekkonidae), in Northern Iran Mon, 08 Sep 2014 10:49:14 +0000 The Caspian bent-toed gecko, Tenuidactylus caspius, is one of the most common nocturnal lizards of Iran with widespread distribution especially in the northern provinces. This research was done in order to study the diet and sexual dimorphism of this species in Sari County from 5 May to 20 October. During this research, 40 specimens of them including 20 males and 20 females were studied for diet and 140 specimens including 70 adult males and 70 adult females were studied for sexual dimorphism. Prey items identified were insects that belong to 15 species of 8 families and 6 orders. The most common prey items were Culex pipiens and Musca domestica. There is no significant difference between diets of males and females. Results show that the adult males in addition of having the apparent femoral and preanal pores are heavier than females and have larger body, head, and tail length. Vida Hojati and Reza Babaei Savasari Copyright © 2014 Vida Hojati and Reza Babaei Savasari. All rights reserved. Life Cycle and Secondary Production of Four Species from Functional Feeding Groups in a Tropical Stream of South India Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:56:46 +0000 This study focused on life strategies of species from functional feeding groups (FFGs) found in a tropical stream of the Sirumalai hills, South India. We examined the life cycle and secondary production of species of shredders (Lepidostoma nuburagangai), scrapers (Baetis sp.), collectors (Choroterpes alagarensis), and predators (Neoperla biseriata). In addition, we studied the assemblage structure of functional feeding groups. We found the collectors occupied the highest percentage, followed in turn by scrapers, predators, and shredders. The diversity of FFGs was higher at riffle areas and assemblage with stream substrates differing in each functional group. An asynchronous life cycle was observed for Baetis, C. alagarensis, and N. biseriata, while L. nuburagangai was found in four to five generations per year. We acquired data on secondary production of scraper species of Baetis, which reached the highest values among all investigated species. This observation stresses the importance of scrapers as playing a key role in converting coarse particulate organic matter to fine particulate organic matter with low or high abundances of shredder population and maintaining the food chain in tropical streams. Sankarappan Anbalagan, Sundaram Dinakaran, and Muthukalingan Krishnan Copyright © 2014 Sankarappan Anbalagan et al. All rights reserved. Glycolipids as Potential Energy Molecules during Starvation in Climbing Perch, Anabas testudineus (Bloch) Sun, 20 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Glycolipids are membrane lipids which act as cellular markers and also provide energy for the cells. The present study is an attempt to understand whether glycolipids can act as energy sources during fasting. To achieve this, we selected and subjected Anabas testudineus to short-term (15 days) and long-term (60 days) laboratory starvation. We estimated glycolipids biochemically using a standard protocol in six different tissues. Results showed a selective decline in glycolipid concentration in certain tissues, and also an increase was observed in some tissues. Short-term fasting led to a decline in glycolipids in tissues such as brain (), accessory respiratory organ (), pectoral and lateral line muscle. Liver and kidney () reported an increase. Long term starvation also resulted in a decline in tissues such as liver (), kidney (), brain, and accessory respiratory organ. Muscle tissue, that is, both the pectoral () and lateral line muscle (), showed an increase in the glycolipid fraction. This selective decline in glycolipid content of certain tissues suggests a possible utilization of these lipids during starvation and the significant upsurge observed in certain tissues suggests a simultaneous synthesis occurring along the degradation, probably reducing the oxidative stress created by ROS (reactive oxygen species). Padmavathi Godavarthy and Y. Sunila Kumari Copyright © 2014 Padmavathi Godavarthy and Y. Sunila Kumari. All rights reserved. Climate-Related Variation in Body Dimensions within Four Lacertid Species Mon, 19 May 2014 09:30:17 +0000 A close relationship between habitat and external morphology is widespread among many animals, including reptiles. Here, I studied the relationship between abiotic environmental conditions and body size of four lacertid species (Phoenicolacerta laevis, Ophisops elegans, Acanthodactylus boskianus, and Mesalina guttulata) occurring in Israel. I examined the effect of average annual temperature and average annual precipitation on body and limb dimensions, using linear statistical models. Temperature- and precipitation-related geographic clines in body size showed the same trend among all species. Females displayed stronger phenotypic response to temperature gradient than conspecific males, suggesting a sex-specific effect of natural selection. Snout-vent length (SVL) was negatively correlated with temperature, supporting Bergmann’s rule in O. elegans and in female P. laevis and A. boskianus, but not in M. guttulata. Precipitation was positively related to SVL in O. elegans and M. guttulata, and in female P. laevis and A. boskianus. The relative extremity lengths, especially hind limb segments, generally increase towards hot and dry locations, following Allen’s rule. Among the Mediterranean region species (P. laevis, O. elegans) the morphological-environmental link with temperature was stronger than in desert dwellers (A. boskianus, M. guttulata), for which precipitation was the major determinant of spatial variation. Stanislav Volynchik Copyright © 2014 Stanislav Volynchik. All rights reserved. Expression Pattern of Myogenic Regulatory Transcription Factor mRNAs in the Embryo and Adult Labeo rohita (Hamilton, 1822) Thu, 10 Apr 2014 17:26:15 +0000 Understanding the regulation of skeletal muscle development is important to meet the increasing demand of Indian major carp Labeo rohita. Myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs) along with myocyte specific enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) play the pivotal role in the determination and differentiation of skeletal muscle. The majority of skeletal muscle genes require both MRFs and MEF2 family members to activate their transcription. In this study, the expression pattern of MyoD, myf-5, myogenin, and MEF2A was observed from 6 h after fertilization to 12 months of age using semiquantitative RT-PCR as well as real-time PCR method. MyoD and myf-5 mRNAs were expressed at high level at the early embryonic stages. Myogenin and MEF2A were expressed after MyoD and myf-5 and remained active up to adult stage. Expression of MyoD was lower than that of Myf-5 after the 5th month. Partial sequencing of MyoD, myf-5, and MEF2A was done to draw phylogeny. In phylogenetic study, Labeo MyoD, MEF2A and myf-5 were found to be closely related to those of common carp. The present investigation suggests that the four transcription factors play pivotal role in the regulation of muscle growth of Labeo rohita in an overlapping and interconnected way. Archya Sengupta, Sandip Mukherjee, Shelley Bhattacharya, Samar Kumar Saha, and Ansuman Chattopadhyay Copyright © 2014 Archya Sengupta et al. All rights reserved. High Sequence Variations in Mitochondrial DNA Control Region among Worldwide Populations of Flathead Mullet Mugil cephalus Wed, 02 Apr 2014 11:58:15 +0000 The sequence and structure of the complete mtDNA control region (CR) of M. cephalus from African, Pacific, and Atlantic populations are presented in this study to assess its usefulness in phylogeographic studies of this species. The mtDNA CR sequence variations among M. cephalus populations largely exceeded intraspecific polymorphisms that are generally observed in other vertebrates. The length of CR sequence varied among M. cephalus populations due to the presence of indels and variable number of tandem repeats at the hypervariable domain. The high evolutionary rate of the CR in this species probably originated from these mutations. However, no excessive homoplasic mutations were noticed. Finally, the star shaped tree inferred from the CR polymorphism stresses a rapid radiation worldwide, in this species. The CR still appears as a good marker for phylogeographic investigations and additional worldwide samples are warranted to further investigate the genetic structure and evolution in M. cephalus. Brian Wade Jamandre, Jean-Dominique Durand, and Wann-Nian Tzeng Copyright © 2014 Brian Wade Jamandre et al. All rights reserved. Seasonality of Freeze Tolerance in a Subarctic Population of the Wood Frog, Rana sylvatica Mon, 24 Mar 2014 12:00:52 +0000 We compared physiological characteristics and responses to experimental freezing and thawing in winter and spring samples of the wood frog, Rana sylvatica, indigenous to Interior Alaska, USA. Whereas winter frogs can survive freezing at temperatures at least as low as −16°C, the lower limit of tolerance for spring frogs was between −2.5°C and −5°C. Spring frogs had comparatively low levels of the urea in blood plasma, liver, heart, brain, and skeletal muscle, as well as a smaller hepatic reserve of glycogen, which is converted to glucose after freezing begins. Consequently, following freezing (−2.5°C, 48 h) tissue concentrations of these cryoprotective osmolytes were 44–88% lower than those measured in winter frogs. Spring frogs formed much more ice and incurred extensive cryohemolysis and lactate accrual, indicating that they had suffered marked cell damage and hypoxic stress during freezing. Multiple, interactive stresses, in addition to diminished cryoprotectant levels, contribute to the reduced capacity for freeze tolerance in posthibernal frogs. Jon P. Costanzo, M. Clara F. do Amaral, Andrew J. Rosendale, and Richard E. Lee Copyright © 2014 Jon P. Costanzo et al. All rights reserved. The Involvement of the Androgen Receptor in the Secretion of the Epididymal corpus in the Lizard Podarcis sicula Wed, 29 Jan 2014 08:46:21 +0000 A crucial role in the maintenance of male reproductive functions is carried out by the androgen through its receptor in balance with the estrogen receptors (ERs). The distribution of the androgen receptor (AR) is well documented in the testis and in the reproductive tissues of mammals but the findings about the AR in nonmammalian vertebrates and in particular in reptiles are very scarce. Here by means of in situ hybridization (ISH) we investigated the AR expression along the epididymal channel (efferent ductules, corpus, and cauda) of Podarcis sicula during the mating and nonmating period. The results show that in this seasonal breeding species the AR expression pattern is always constant throughout the epididymis. The administration of estradiol-17β in the mating period does not affect the AR expression but inhibits the secretory activity of the epididymal corpus. To verify the expression pattern of ERs, we also conducted ISH investigations on adjacent sections with ERs probes. The findings suggest that AR induces the secretory activity in the epithelial cells of the epididymal corpus and confirm our previous results that showed the role of ERalpha (ERα) as switch off for the secretion of this compartment. Mariailaria Verderame Copyright © 2014 Mariailaria Verderame. All rights reserved. Behavioural Study of Captive Sloth Bears Using Environmental Enrichment Tools Thu, 19 Dec 2013 13:00:32 +0000 Effects of environmental enrichment on behavioural changes were studied in five captive sloth bears kept in confined enclosure at Zoological Park, Chennai, India. Behavioural categories like active, passive, and abnormal behaviours were taken for the study. The activity budget was recorded as a single animal scan. The detailed baseline data of 150 hours, over a period of 30 days, were collected. At baseline, bears exhibited passive and more abnormal behaviours. Similarly, after application of the environmental tools like honey-log, underground food pipes, and wobbling box in the enclosure, the data were collected for 150 hours (30 days). Increased active behaviours and decreased abnormal behaviours were observed and showed highly significant changes in the abnormal behaviour as a whole when compared to the baseline level. During the postenrichment period, the data that were collected for 150 hours (30 days) showed no significant differences statistically between the behavioural categories. But certain level of difference was evident from the percentage of abnormal behaviours exhibited by individual bears. Among the enrichment devices, honey-log was the most preferred enrichment tool as revealed by the percentage of time spent by individual animal. The results show that application of enrichment tool continuously may bring long term effect in stereotypic behaviour. M. Veeraselvam, R. Sridhar, M. G. Jayathangaraj, and P. Perumal Copyright © 2013 M. Veeraselvam et al. All rights reserved. Effect of Addition of Melatonin on the Liquid Storage (5°C) of Mithun (Bos frontalis) Semen Wed, 18 Dec 2013 09:13:12 +0000 The present study was undertaken to assess the effect of melatonin (MT) on sperm motility, viability, total sperm abnormality, acrosomal and plasma membrane integrity, DNA abnormality, antioxidant profiles such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione (GSH) and total antioxidant capacity (TAC), enzymatic profiles such as aspartate amino transaminase (AST), alanine amino transaminase (ALT), and biochemical profiles such as malonaldehyde (MDA) production and cholesterol efflux. Total numbers of 30 ejaculates were collected twice a week from eight mithun bulls and semen was split into five equal aliquots, diluted with the TEYC extender. Group 1 has semen without additives (control) and group 2 to group 5 have semen that was diluted with 1 mM, 2 mM, 3 mM, and 4 mM of melatonin, respectively. These seminal parameters, antioxidant, enzymatic, and biochemical profiles were assessed at 5°C for 0, 6, 12, 24, and 30 h of incubation. Inclusion of melatonin into diluent resulted in significant () decrease in percentages of dead spermatozoa, abnormal spermatozoa, and acrosomal abnormalities at different hours of storage periods as compared with control group. Additionally, melatonin at 3 mM has significant improvement in quality of mithun semen than melatonin at 1 mM, 2 mM or 4 mM stored in in vitro for up to 30 h. It was concluded that the possible protective effects of melatonin on sperm parameters are it prevents MDA production and preserve the antioxidants and intracellular enzymes during preservation. P. Perumal, Kezhavituo Vupru, and K. Khate Copyright © 2013 P. Perumal et al. All rights reserved.