International Journal of Zoology The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2014 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . 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. Behavioral Responses of the Snail Lymnaea acuminata towards Photo and Chemo Attractants: A New Step in Control Program of Fasciolosis Tue, 17 Dec 2013 11:35:51 +0000 Fasciolosis is water and food borne disease, caused by Fasciola hepatica and F. gigantica. Snail Lymnaea acuminata is an intermediate host of these flukes. Snail control is one of the major methods to reduce the incidences of fasciolosis. Trapping of snails with the help of photo- and chemoattractants for treatment purposes will be a new tool in control program of fasciolosis. The present study shows that maximum numbers of snails were attracted (52 to 60%), when exposed to photo- and chemostimulant simultaneously, rather than when only chemo- (control) (18 to 24%) or photo- (control) (14 to 19%) stimulus was given. Maximum change in AChE activity in nervous tissue was observed when red monochromatic light was used (258.37% of white light control) as opposed to blue (243.44% of white light control) and orange (230.37% of white light control). The exposure of light directly stimulated the photoreceptors in eye which transmit the signals through nerves to the brain and snail response accordingly. In this signal transmission AChE is one of the important enzymes involved in this process. Anupam Pati Tripathi, V. K. Singh, and D. K. Singh Copyright © 2013 Anupam Pati Tripathi et al. All rights reserved. Noninvasive Method for a Statewide Survey of Eastern Hellbenders Cryptobranchus alleganiensis Using Environmental DNA Thu, 12 Dec 2013 14:59:05 +0000 Traditional survey methods of aquatic organisms may be difficult, lengthy, and destructive to the habitat. Some methods are invasive and can be harmful to the target species. The use of environmental DNA (eDNA) has proven to be effective at detecting low population density aquatic macroorganisms. This study refined the technique to support statewide surveys. Hellbender presence was identified by using hellbender specific primers (cytochrome b gene) to detect eDNA in water samples collected at rivers, streams and creeks in Ohio and Kentucky with historical accounts of the imperiled eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus a. alleganiensis). Two sampling protocols are described; both significantly reduced the amount of water required for collection from the previously described 6 L collection. Two-liter samples were adequate to detect hellbender presence in natural waterways where hellbenders have been previously surveyed in both Ohio and Kentucky—1 L samples were not reliable. DNA extracted from 3 L of water collected onto multiple filters (1 L/filter) could be combined and concentrated through ethanol precipitation, supporting amplification of hellbender DNA and dramatically reducing the filtration time. This method improves the efficiency and welfare implications of sampling methods for reclusive aquatic species of low population density for statewide surveys that involve collecting from multiple watersheds. Amy J. Santas, Tyler Persaud, Barbara A. Wolfe, and Jenise M. Bauman Copyright © 2013 Amy J. Santas et al. All rights reserved. Toxicity Assessment of Buprofezin, Lufenuron, and Triflumuron to the Earthworm Aporrectodea caliginosa Mon, 07 Oct 2013 12:45:41 +0000 Earthworms are particularly important soil macroinvertebrates and are often used in assessing the general impact of pesticide pollution in soil. The present study was conducted in order to investigate the toxicity of three insect growth regulators (IGRs) buprofezin, lufenuron, and triflumuron, at different application rates and exposure times toward mature earthworms Aporrectodea caliginosa. The effects of these pesticides on the growth rate in relation to the activities of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and glutathione S-transferase (GST) as biochemical indicators were evaluated to elucidate the mechanisms of action. Toxicity studies indicated that lufenuron was the most harmful pesticide to mature earthworms, followed in descending order by buprofezin and triflumuron. A reduction in growth rate in all pesticide-treated worms was dose-dependent over the 28-day exposure period, which was accompanied by a decrease in AChE and GST activities. Relationships between growth rate, AChE, and GST provided strong evidence for the involvement of pesticidal contamination in the biochemical changes in earthworms, which can be used as a bioindicator of soil contamination by pesticides. Mohamed E. I. Badawy, Anter Kenawy, and Ahmed F. El-Aswad Copyright © 2013 Mohamed E. I. Badawy et al. All rights reserved. Description of the Postlarval Stages of Dactylochelifer gracilis Beier, Pseudoscorpiones: Cheliferidae Sun, 22 Sep 2013 13:03:10 +0000 A study of the free-living developmental stages of Dactylochelifer gracilis Beier, 1951, is presented based on 68 specimens of all nymphal and adult stages, collected from two locations in Iran. Basic differences of all stages are characterized by size, pedipalpal ratios, and the addition of trichobothria and setae during development. Mahrad Nassirkhani and Mark S. Harvey Copyright © 2013 Mahrad Nassirkhani and Mark S. Harvey. All rights reserved. Blood Cell Profile of the Developing Tadpoles and Adults of the Ornate Frog, Microhyla ornata (Anura: Microhylidae) Sun, 15 Sep 2013 15:46:18 +0000 Metamorphosis happens to be an important event in the lifetime of amphibians. Our study offers a record of blood cell profile of laboratory reared tadpoles during development and metamorphosis (Gosner stage 26 to 46) and adults of Microhyla ornata. The larval erythrocytes were observed to be circular, oval, and elliptical in shape. However, other variations were distinct during the prometamorphic and metamorphic stages. Crenulated erythrocytes showed a pattern of appearance, and the crenulations varied from minute serrations to highly spiked projections. Correlations between the morphometric values of erythrocytes during the larval development were also determined. The leukocyte profile of the tadpoles showed a high percentage of lymphocytes during larval development while the percentage of monocytes, eosinophils, and neutrophils remained high during metamorphosis and were positively correlated with the developing stages. Blood thrombocytes of the tadpoles were small and were found in clusters. Elliptical erythrocytes were the most common in the adult frogs. However, few erythrocytes were also circular in shape. In adults, the percentage of lymphocytes was found to be more in comparison with the other leucocytes, and neutrophils showed various polymorphic forms. Thrombocytes were nucleated and spindle shaped. Jutshina Hota, Madhusmita Das, and Pravati Kumari Mahapatra Copyright © 2013 Jutshina Hota et al. All rights reserved. Distribution and Structure of Purkinje Fibers in the Heart of Ostrich (Struthio camelus) with the Special References on the Ultrastructure Tue, 27 Aug 2013 15:52:37 +0000 Purkinje fibers or Purkinje cardiomyocytes are part of the whole complex of the cardiac conduction system, which is today classified as specific heart muscle tissue responsible for the generation of the heart impulses. From the point of view of their distribution, structure and ultrastructural composition of the cardiac conduction system in the ostrich heart were studied by light and electron microscopy. These cells were distributed in cardiac conducting system including SA node, AV node, His bundle and branches as well as endocardium, pericardium, myocardium around the coronary arteries, moderator bands, white fibrous sheet in right atrium, and left septal attachment of AV valve. The great part of the Purkinje fiber is composed of clear, structure less sarcoplasm, and the myofibrils tend to be confined to a thin ring around the periphery of the cells. They have one or more large nuclei centrally located within the fiber. Ultrastructurally, they are easily distinguished. The main distinction feature is the lack of electron density and having a light appearance, due to the absence of organized myofibrils. P-cells usually have two nuclei with a mass of short, delicate microfilaments scattered randomly in the cytoplasm; they contain short sarcomeres and myofibrillar insertion plaque. They do not have T-tubules. Paria Parto, Mina Tadjalli, S. Reza Ghazi, and Mohammad Ali Salamat Copyright © 2013 Paria Parto et al. All rights reserved. Temporal Change in Fur Color in Museum Specimens of Mammals: Reddish-Brown Species Get Redder with Storage Time Thu, 30 May 2013 15:33:46 +0000 Museum collections have great value for zoological research, but despite careful preservation, over time specimens can show subtle changes in color. We examined the effect of storage time on fur color of two reddish-brown species, golden mice (Ochrotomys nuttalli) and eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus). Using image analysis, we obtained color data (hue, saturation, and density) on 91 golden mice and 49 chipmunks from Georgia, USA. Analyses that considered body size, gender, and collection year showed significant effects of year on fur color of golden mice (hue and saturation) and of agouti color of chipmunks. Older specimens tended to be redder in color than newer specimens, consistent with a prior study of red bats (Lasiurus borealis). Hair samples showed reddening of fine body hairs, but not in thicker guard hairs. There was no temporal change in black or white stripe color in chipmunks, indicating that this temporal effect would be limited to species with reddish-brown fur. This effect may be caused by breakdown of eumelanin pigments (which make dark colors) over time, leaving a greater proportion of pheomelanin pigments (which make red colors). These results show that storage time needs to be considered in research projects where fur color is of importance. Andrew K. Davis, Natalie Woodall, Jake P. Moskowitz, Nikole Castleberry, and Byron J. Freeman Copyright © 2013 Andrew K. Davis et al. All rights reserved. Cockroach Infestation and Factors Affecting the Estimation of Cockroach Population in Urban Communities Sun, 26 May 2013 14:33:12 +0000 Cockroach is one of the most important pests in urban communities. This study was conducted to determine the situation of cockroach infestation and effective factors on cockroach trap count in urban communities of Yasuj City in southwestern Iran. In this study cockroach population in 573 sampling units (residential units, official places, and hospitals) was monitored using sticky traps over a five-week trapping period. Occupants of 348 residential units were also questioned (by means of questionnaire) for cockroach infestation in their respective residence. The study shows almost 39% of sampling units were infested by cockroach. Five species from two families had been identified: Blattidae (comprising Blatta orientalis, B. lateralis, and Periplaneta americana) and Blattellidae (comprising Blattella germanica and Supella longipalpa). German cockroach, B. germanica, with widespreaddistribution (80% of infested sampling units) showed the highest frequency (96.7%) of trap counts. The expression of the distribution of German cockroach populations and some factors could affect trapping, and population monitoring in an urban community was surveyed. Additionally, affecting some exclusion factors on cockroach infestation was pointed. Rates and source of cockroach infestation were discussed from the viewpoints of the residents. Gholam Hossein Shahraki, Saadat Parhizkar, and Alireza Raygan Shirazi Nejad Copyright © 2013 Gholam Hossein Shahraki et al. All rights reserved. Sensory Systems and Environmental Change on Behavior during Social Interactions Mon, 29 Apr 2013 16:08:01 +0000 The impact of environmental conditions for transmitting sensory cues and the ability of crayfish to utilize olfaction and vision were examined in regards to social interactive behavior. The duration and intensity of interactions were examined for conspecific crayfish with different sensory abilities. Normally, vision and chemosensory have roles in agonistic communication of Procambarus clarkii; however, for the blind cave crayfish (Orconectes australis packardi), that lack visual capabilities, olfaction is assumed to be the primary sensory modality. To test this, we paired conspecifics in water and out of water in the presence and absence of white light to examine interactive behaviors when these various sensory modalities are altered. For sighted crayfish, in white light, interactions occurred and escalated; however, when the water was removed, interactions and aggressiveness decreased, but, there was an increase in visual displays out of the water. The loss of olfaction abilities for blind cave and sighted crayfish produced fewer social interactions. The importance of environmental conditions is illustrated for social interactions among sighted and blind crayfish. Importantly, this study shows the relevance in the ecological arena in nature for species survival and how environmental changes disrupt innate behaviors. S. M. Bierbower, J. Nadolski, and R. L. Cooper Copyright © 2013 S. M. Bierbower et al. All rights reserved. Reproductive Strategy of Labeobarbus batesii (Boulenger, 1903) (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) in the Mbô Floodplain Rivers of Cameroon Thu, 04 Apr 2013 16:12:20 +0000 Aspects of the reproductive strategy of African carp, Labeobarbus batesii, were investigated from May 2008 to October 2009 in the Mbô Floodplain of Cameroon. Samples were collected monthly from artisanal fishermen. The total length and total body mass of each specimen were measured to the nearest mm and 0.01 g, respectively. Sex was determined by macroscopic examination of the gonads after dissection. The sex ratio was female skewed (overall sex ratio: 1 : 1.42). Females reach sexual maturity at a larger size (213 mm) than the males (203 mm). The mean gonadosomatic index ranges from % to %, whereas the mean K factor ranges from to . These two parameters are negatively correlated. The reproduction cycle begins in mid-September and ends in July of the next year, and they are reproductively quiescent for the rest of the year. Labeobarbus batesii is a group-synchronous spawner with pulses of synchronised reproduction spread over a long period. The mean absolute, potential, and relative fecundities are oocytes, oocytes, and oocytes/kg, respectively. The fecundity is higher and positively correlated with the gonad mass than with body size. Its reproductive biology suggests that L. batesii is suitable for pond culture. Claudine Tekounegning Tiogué, Minette Tabi Eyango Tomedi, and Joseph Tchoumboué Copyright © 2013 Claudine Tekounegning Tiogué et al. All rights reserved. Studies on the Pinctada fucata BMP-2 Gene: Structural Similarity and Functional Conservation of Its Osteogenic Potential within the Animal Kingdom Wed, 03 Apr 2013 18:20:13 +0000 Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2 plays an important role in morphogenesis in both vertebrates and invertebrates. BMP-2 is one of the most powerful bioactive substances known to induce the osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal cells. We examined the structural and functional conservation of Pinctada fucata BMP-2 in inducing osteogenesis in the murine mesenchymal stem cells, C3H10T1/2. Exposure of C3H10T1/2 cells to the recombinant mature fragment of Pinctada fucata BMP-2 resulted in osteoblastic differentiation. The sequence, SVPKPCCVPTELSSL, within the C-terminal portion of Pinctada fucata BMP-2, is homologous to the knuckle epitope of human BMP-2. This synthetic polypeptide was able to induce differentiation of C3H10T1/2 along the osteoblastic lineage, as confirmed by an increase in alkaline phosphatase activity, and the accumulation of calcium, as determined by von Kossa staining. Furthermore, using immunohistochemical staining, we observed an increased expression of collagen type I, osteopontin, and osteocalcin, which are known markers of osteogenesis. These results show that BMP-2 is conserved, not only in terms of its homology at the amino acid sequence, but also in terms of driving the formation of hard tissues in vertebrates and invertebrates. Akiko Takami, Hirotaka Kato, Ryousuke Takagi, and Tomoyuki Miyashita Copyright © 2013 Akiko Takami et al. All rights reserved. Colony Development and Density-Dependent Processes in Breeding Grey Herons Wed, 13 Feb 2013 16:14:35 +0000 The density-dependent processes that limit the colony size of colonially breeding birds such as herons and egrets remain unclear, because it is difficult to monitor colonies from the first year of their establishment, and the most previous studies have considered mixed-species colonies. In the present study, single-species colonies of the Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) were observed from the first year of their establishment for 16 years in suburban Tokyo. Colony size increased after establishment, illustrating a saturation curve. The breeding duration (days from nest building to fledging by a pair) increased, but the number of fledglings per nest decreased, with colony size. The reproductive season in each year began earlier, and there was greater variation in the timing of individual breeding when the colony size was larger. The prolonged duration until nestling feeding by early breeders of the colony suggests that herons at the beginning of the new breeding season exist in an unsteady state with one another, likely owing to interactions with immigrant individuals. Such density-dependent interference may affect reproductive success and limit the colony size of Grey Herons. Takeshi Shirai Copyright © 2013 Takeshi Shirai. All rights reserved. Influences of Movement Behavior on Animal Distributions at Edges of Homogeneous Patches Tue, 15 Jan 2013 11:01:45 +0000 We propose that changes in movement behavior may be a proximate mechanism that influences the accumulation of animals at habitat edges. We tested this idea with a combination of empirical and simulation experiments in a resource-free landscape. The movements of individual flour beetles, Tribolium confusum, were tracked across a paper arena edged with invisible tape until beetles crossed the edge. Movement behavior (step lengths and turn angles) and cumulative occupancy were analyzed according to distance from the edge. We found that beetles took smaller steps with larger turn angles near edges than in the center of the arena and that beetle distribution was highly biased towards the edge of the arena. We then tested two agent-based simulation models for each beetle: an edge-independent model and an edge-dependent model. Both models predicted less time spent at the edge than was observed. The proportion of time spent at edges depended on the propensity to cross the edge, which could not be explained by beetle body size or energetic condition. The distribution of animals with respect to habitat edges depends on many factors, but we suggest that proximate mechanisms such as movement behavior should be explicitly considered when interpreting animal distributions. Hilary C. Young, Tyler G. Reid, Lea A. Randall, Leanna E. Lachowsky, Danusha J. Foster, Chris J. Pengelly, Tanya Latty, and Mary L. Reid Copyright © 2013 Hilary C. Young et al. All rights reserved. Effects of Surface Roughness on the Locomotion of a Long-Tailed Lizard, Colobodactylus taunayi Amaral, 1933 (Gymnophthalmidae: Heterodactylini) Sun, 30 Dec 2012 15:46:48 +0000 We analyzed the locomotor behavior of a long-tailed, forest floor, and leaf litter lizard, Colobodactylus taunayi, a species that retains the generalized Gymnophthalmidae Bauplan whilst presenting the discrete toe reduction associated with the Bachia-like pattern of limb reduction. We videotaped individuals moving on four substrates with increasing degrees of roughness: plastic, wooden board, glued sand, and glued gravel. Significantly higher speeds occurred on the last two substrates. As with most other limbed animals, increased speed was significantly correlated with simultaneous increases in both stride length and stride frequency. Independently of the kind of substrate, C. taunayi used rather slow lateral sequence walking trots. In contrast to other ectothermic tetrapods, and especially other Gymnophthalmidae, this species lacked perceptible lateral flexion of either the trunk or the tail to effectuate these slow gaits. Elizabeth Höfling, Sabine Renous, Felipe Franco Curcio, André Eterovic, and Pérsio de Souza Santos Filho Copyright © 2012 Elizabeth Höfling et al. All rights reserved. Appennino: A GIS Tool for Analyzing Wildlife Habitat Use Tue, 25 Dec 2012 08:27:38 +0000 The aim of the study was to test Appennino, a tool used to evaluate the habitats of animals through compositional analysis. This free tool calculates an animal’s habitat use within the GIS platform for ArcGIS and saves and exports the results of the comparative land uses to other statistical software. Visual Basic for Application programming language was employed to prepare the ESRI ArcGIS 9.x utility. The tool was tested on a dataset of 546 pheasant positions obtained from a study carried out in Tuscany (Italy). The tool automatically gave the same results as the results obtained by calculating the surfaces in ESRI ArcGIS, exporting the data from the ArcGIS, then using a commercial spreadsheet and/or statistical software to calculate the animal’s habitat use with a considerable reduction in time. Marco Ferretti, Marco Foi, Gisella Paci, Walter Tosi, and Marco Bagliacca Copyright © 2012 Marco Ferretti et al. All rights reserved. The Behaviour of Stallions in a Semiferal Herd in Iceland: Time Budgets, Home Ranges, and Interactions Tue, 11 Dec 2012 09:24:14 +0000 A permanent herd of Icelandic horses with four stallions and their harems was studied for a total of 316 hours in a large pasture (215 ha) in May 2007 in Iceland. Interactions between stallions of different harems and other aspects of the horses' behaviour were studied. One stallion and nine horses were introduced into the pasture prior to the study to examine the reactions of the resident stallions to a newcomer. The stallions spent significantly less time grazing than other horses and were more vigilant. Home ranges overlapped, but harems never mixed. The stallions prevented interactions between members of different harems indirectly by herding. Generally, interactions between resident stallions were nonviolent. However, encounters with the introduced stallion were more aggressive and more frequent than between the other stallions. Here, we show that four harems can share the same enclosure peacefully. The social network seems to keep aggression at a low level both within the harems and the herd as a whole. We encourage horse owners to consider the feasibility of keeping their horses in large groups because of low aggression and because such a strategy gives the young horses good opportunities to develop normally, both physically and socially. Hrefna Sigurjonsdottir, Anna G. Thorhallsdottir, Helga M. Hafthorsdottir, and Sandra M. Granquist Copyright © 2012 Hrefna Sigurjonsdottir et al. All rights reserved. Influence of Local Wind Conditions on the Flight Speed of the Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo Mon, 10 Dec 2012 16:06:37 +0000 In seabirds, the relationship between flight speed and wind direction/speed is thought to be particularly important for studying energy-saving strategy and foraging habitat selection. In this study, we examined whether the ground and calculated air speeds of four great cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) were affected by wind conditions using high-resolution GPS data loggers. The birds increased their ground flight speed in tailwinds, decreased it in headwinds, and changed their air speed in relation to wind components. However, they did not change their foraging sites according to the wind conditions. They were likely to respond to moderate wind conditions by adjusting their air speed without changing their foraging sites. Ken Yoda, Tadashi Tajima, Sachiho Sasaki, Katsufumi Sato, and Yasuaki Niizuma Copyright © 2012 Ken Yoda et al. All rights reserved. The Role of Citizen Science and Volunteer Data Collection in Zoological Research Tue, 27 Nov 2012 10:39:12 +0000 Adam Hart, Richard Stafford, Anne Goodenough, and Simon Morgan Copyright © 2012 Adam Hart et al. All rights reserved. Experimental Evaluation of Koala Scat Persistence and Detectability with Implications for Pellet-Based Fauna Census Mon, 22 Oct 2012 08:15:56 +0000 Establishing species distribution and population trends are basic requirements in conservation biology, yet acquiring this fundamental information is often difficult. Indirect survey methods that rely on fecal pellets (scats) can overcome some difficulties but present their own challenges. In particular, variation in scat detectability and decay rate can introduce biases. We studied how vegetation communities affect the detectability and decay rate of scats as exemplified by koalas Phascolarctos cinereus: scat detectability was highly and consistently dependent on ground layer complexity (introducing up to 16% non-detection bias); scat decay rates were highly heterogeneous within vegetation communities; exposure of scats to surface water and rain strongly accelerated scat decay rate and finally, invertebrates were found to accelerate scat decay rate markedly, but unpredictably. This last phenomenon may explain the high variability of scat decay rate within a single vegetation community. Methods to decrease biases should be evaluated when planning scat surveys, as the most appropriate method(s) will vary depending on species, scale of survey and landscape characteristics. Detectability and decay biases are both stronger in certain vegetation communities, thus their combined effect is likely to introduce substantial errors in scat surveys and this could result in inappropriate and counterproductive management decisions. Romane H. Cristescu, Klara Goethals, Peter B. Banks, Frank N. Carrick, and Céline Frère Copyright © 2012 Romane H. Cristescu et al. All rights reserved. Foraging Habitat Distributions Affect Territory Size and Shape in the Tuamotu Kingfisher Mon, 15 Oct 2012 14:12:51 +0000 I studied factors influencing territory configuration in the Tuamotu kingfisher (Todiramphus gambieri). Radiotelemetry data were used to define territory boundaries, and I tested for effects on territory size and shape of landscape habitat composition and foraging patch configuration. Tuamotu kingfisher territories were larger in areas with reduced densities of coconut plantation foraging habitat, and territories were less circular in the study site that had a single slender patch of foraging habitat. Maximum territory length did not differ between study sites, however, which suggested that the size of Tuamotu kingfisher territories might be bounded by the combined influence of maximum travel distances and habitat configurations. Results also suggested that birds enlarge territories as they age. Together, results supported previous work indicating that territory configurations represent a balance between the costs of defending a territory and gains from territory ownership. Dylan C. Kesler Copyright © 2012 Dylan C. Kesler. All rights reserved. Pathogens Associated with Sugarcane Borers, Diatraea spp. (Lepidoptera: Crambidae): A Review Sat, 29 Sep 2012 02:41:01 +0000 The objective of this paper was to analyze information related to entomopathogenic-associated Diatraea spp. Gaining a better understanding of the effects of these microorganisms will help in the development of successful microbial control strategies against stem borers that attack sugarcane plants. Víctor M. Hernández-Velázquez, Laura P. Lina-García, Verónica Obregón-Barboza, Adriana G. Trejo-Loyo, and Guadalupe Peña-Chora Copyright © 2012 Víctor M. Hernández-Velázquez et al. All rights reserved. The Citizen Science Landscape: From Volunteers to Citizen Sensors and Beyond Wed, 19 Sep 2012 11:41:12 +0000 Within conservation and ecology, volunteer participation has always been an important component of research. Within the past two decades, this use of volunteers in research has proliferated and evolved into “citizen science.” Technologies are evolving rapidly. Mobile phone technologies and the emergence and uptake of high-speed Web-capable smart phones with GPS and data upload capabilities can allow instant collection and transmission of data. This is frequently used within everyday life particularly on social networking sites. Embedded sensors allow researchers to validate GPS and image data and are now affordable and regularly used by citizens. With the “perfect storm” of technology, data upload, and social networks, citizen science represents a powerful tool. This paper establishes the current state of citizen science within scientific literature, examines underlying themes, explores further possibilities for utilising citizen science within ecology, biodiversity, and biology, and identifies possible directions for further research. The paper highlights (1) lack of trust in the scientific community about the reliability of citizen science data, (2) the move from standardised data collection methods to data mining available datasets, and (3) the blurring of the line between citizen science and citizen sensors and the need to further explore online social networks for data collection. Christina L. Catlin-Groves Copyright © 2012 Christina L. Catlin-Groves. All rights reserved.