Breeding Performances of the European Blackbird (Turdus merula) in Morocco: Habitat Selection, Breeding Phenology, and Breeding SuccessRead the full article
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Species Composition, Relative Abundance, and Habitat Association of Avifauna in Zegie Peninsula Forest Patches and Associated Wetlands, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
Introduction. Ethiopia is one of the most avifauna rich countries in Africa. Avifaunal surveys are required to inform conservation decisions and enhance land management for biodiversity. Avifaunal surveys from Ethiopia are lacking. This study examines species composition, relative abundance, and habitat association of avian fauna in Zegie Peninsula forest patches and associated wetlands from surveys carried out from August 2018 to March 2019, covering both the wet and dry seasons. Data Collection. Forest, shrub, lakeshore, and wetland habitats were identified as ecologically relevant habitats in the study area for data collection. Data were collected using point count and line transect methods, for 24 days in total for both seasons in the morning and afternoon. Results. A total of 96 species of birds were identified during the whole study period. Out of the total, 40 species were observed during the wet season, 13 during dry and 43 species in both seasons. There was significant variation of species distribution among habitats. During the wet season, the highest species diversity was recorded in the wetland habitat followed by forest habitat. During the dry season, avian diversity was the highest in the lakeshore followed by wetlands. The highest evenness was observed in the shrubland during both the wet and dry seasons. During the wet season, the highest species similarity was recorded between wetland and lakeshore habitats, and during the dry season, the highest species similarity was recorded between forest and shrub habitats. Based on encounter rate data, 64 (66.66%) of the avian species were uncommon. Conclusions. Compared to previous studies conducted in the study area, species diversity was lower. This might be due to various anthropogenic activities such as deforestation of trees for timber and cutting trees for firewood. Therefore, awareness creation should be given to the local community to reduce habitat destruction due to various human-induced factors.
Breeding Biology, Chronology, and Reproductive Success of the European Serin (Serinus serinus) at Moulouya High Plain (Morocco)
The European serin (Serinus serinus) is one of the best examples of a species in the western Palaearctic that has expanded its distribution ranges in current periods. However, the breeding features of serin are not well known and were restricted for some localities, as well as there have not been any deep and comparable studies on its mortality and menacing factors. This study investigates breeding biology, including breeding chronology, nesting strategies, and reproductive success of the European serin in farmland and woodland habitats at Moulouya high plain (Morocco), during 2016. Results showed that, at high-altitude breeding habitats, the European serin started breeding activity lately by 25 April (construction of the first nest) and continued until 19 July (last fledging date). Moreover, most nests (96.42%) were found in farmlands, mainly in apple orchards. Two broods were recorded between April-May and June-July, and the clutch size was an average of 3.04 ± 0.13 eggs/nest. For reproductive success, among the 65 examined nests, 73.84% were active during the nest construction phase and 87.42% of eggs have succeeded during the incubation phase. Reproductive success was higher (93.83%) during fledging. Clutches were failed due to predation (15.9%), nest desertion (14.35%), and destruction of nests (8.88%). Finally, our study highlights that the European serin breeds in high-altitude zones with late and shorter breeding seasons, which might allow this bird to avoid high lands’ vigorous climate conditions and their eﬀect on breeding success.
Culex (Diptera: Culicidae) Mosquitoes in Jazan Region, Saudi Arabia, and Their Molecular Identification
Morphological characteristics have been the gold standard method to identify mosquito species. However, morphological identification has many limitations including lack of expertise and damaging of external characters due to improper specimen handling. Therefore, we used the polymerase chain reaction technique (PCR) as an integrated tool to identify Culex mosquito species to establish a more precise and reliable identification system related to their spatial distribution in Jazan region. We identified Culex mosquito species and subspecies using taxonomic keys, and then we used the polymerase chain reaction technique (PCR) as an integrated tool to confirm and refine the list of Culex mosquito species in the region. Phylogenetic trees were constructed for the identified species, and their distinctive clustering was compared with their reference’s species in the GenBank. We identified 7026 adult Culex mosquitoes belonging to 4 species. Culex tritaeniorhynchus was the predominant species (45%), followed by Cx. quinquefasciatus (32%), then Culex sitiens (20%), and Cx. pipiens (3%). The most infested areas by Culex in the region were Gizan and Sabya. The PCR achieved 100% success in identifying the four Culex mosquito species. We also report the molecular identification of Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. pipiens species for the first time in Jazan region while the molecular identification of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus and Cx. sitiens was reported for the first time in Jazan region and the whole Saudi Arabia. This study utilized for the first time PCR to identify Culex mosquito species in Jazan region. The PCR is a complementary and integrated taxonomy-based identification tool for mosquito species. This integration has the capacity to promote and enhance vector surveillance and control programs, as well as defining the genetic diversity of species in the region.
Descriptive Study of Some Osteological Parts of Rosy Stone Lapper (Garra rossica) from Mashkid Basin of Iran
Since osteological structures of fishes provide important biological and ecological information, studying these structures is valuable. On the other hand, due to lack of data on the osteology of stone lappers, the present study was conducted to provide detailed descriptive osteology of Garra rossica from Mashkid basin, southeastern Iran, comparing it with those of G. typhlops from the Bagh-e Loveh cave, Iran, G. rossica from Nahang River, Mashkid Basin, and G. persica from Zahak River, Sistan basin. For this purpose, 15 specimens of G. rossica were captured from Ladiz River, Mashkid Basin, using an electrofishing device, and fixed in 10% buffered formalin. Then, the specimens were cleared and stained with alcian blue and alizarin red for osteological investigations. A detailed description of the osteological features of G. rossica was provided. Based on the results, several differences were observed between the four species. G. rossica can be distinguished from G. typhlops, G. persica, and G. rossica based on the shape of suspensorium and opercular series, pharyngobranchial bones, ventral and pectoral girdles, caudal, dorsal, and anal fins skeleton, and shape and number of infraorbital elements.
Gross Anatomy and Histological Features of Gymnarchus niloticus (Cuvier, 1829) from the River Niger at Agenebode in Edo State, Nigeria
This study was conducted to record the anatomy and histological features of the gastrointestinal tract of the trunk fish Gymnarchus niloticus captured at Agenebode in the Lower River Niger, Edo State. The gastrointestinal tract was segmented into the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, pyloric caeca, and intestine. The slender (taeniform) body that is fuller at the head tappers at its end. There are no spines on this fish, and the fins used for locomotion are the dorsal fins and not the typical pectoral fins as in other fish. The oesophagus, stomach, pyloric caeca, intestine, and cloaca (anterior, intermediate, posterior, and rectum) were analysed for histological examination. The stomach had significantly higher villi and thicker inner circular muscles compared to the intestine and oesophagus. The lamina propria was thickest in the stomach which is significantly higher when compared with the oesophagus, but not with the intestine. However, the intestine showed significantly thicker outer longitudinal muscle, while gastric glands were observed only in the stomach. The histological features were closely associated with the functions of the different segments of the gastrointestinal tract. In conclusion, the histological features of the gastrointestinal tract of G. niloticus are consistent with the feeding habit of a carnivorous fish. In conclusion, the GIT is a complex structure composed of organs that reveals that it is a higher vertebrate created for a hardy survival, consistent with the feeding habit of a carnivorous fish. The histology reveals a GIT formed by four conspicuous layers from the inside to the outside of the mucosa, submucosa, and an inner longitudinal layer of the muscularis and the outer circular of the muscularis typical of higher vertebrates.
Challenges and Opportunities on Estrus Synchronization and Mass Artificial Insemination in Dairy Cows for Smallholders in Ethiopia
In this paper, the potentials and constraints on estrus synchronization (ES) and artificial insemination (AI) practice for dairy cattle producers were overviewed. Compared to other African countries, Ethiopia has large numbers of dairy cattle population. However, the self-sufficiency in milk production is not yet attained due to the presence of a lot of limitations that hamper the success of ES and mass AI practice in many parts of the country such as improper selection of cows/heifers, inseminating a large number of cows/heifers in one day at a specific place (which creates stress for both AI technicians and female animals), absence of a data recording system, lack of clearly defined share of responsibilities among stakeholders, poor communication and collaboration among stakeholders, lack of motivations and skills of AI technicians, lack of support and readily available inputs, feed shortages, improper heat detection by smallholders and time of insemination, and lower reproductive performances of both indigenous and crossbred cows which consequently contributed to the unsuccessfulness of the technology.