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Rafael Gutiérrez-López, Josué Martínez-de la Puente, Laura Gangoso, Ramón Soriguer, Jordi Figuerola
BACKGROUND: The transmission of mosquito-borne pathogens is strongly influenced by the contact rates between mosquitoes and susceptible hosts. The biting rates of mosquitoes depend on different factors including the mosquito species and host-related traits (i.e. odour, heat and behaviour). However, host characteristics potentially affecting intraspecific differences in the biting rate of mosquitoes are poorly known. Here, we assessed the impact of three host-related traits on the biting rate of two mosquito species with different feeding preferences: the ornithophilic Culex pipiens and the mammophilic Ochlerotatus (Aedes) caspius...
March 12, 2019: Parasites & Vectors
Florian Uhl, Max Ringler, Rachael Miller, Sarah A Deventer, Thomas Bugnyar, Christine Schwab
Social complexity arises from the formation of social relationships like social bonds and dominance hierarchies. In turn, these aspects may be affected by the degree of fission-fusion dynamics, i.e., changes in group size and composition over time. Whilst fission-fusion dynamics has been studied in mammals, birds have received comparably little attention, despite some species having equally complex social lives. Here, we investigated the influence of environmental factors on aspects of fission-fusion dynamics in a free-ranging population of carrion and hooded crows ( Corvus corone ssp ...
January 2019: Behavioral Ecology: Official Journal of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology
Christina Bauch, Jelle J Boonekamp, Peter Korsten, Ellis Mulder, Simon Verhulst
Telomere length (TL) predicts health and survival across taxa. Variation in TL between individuals is thought to be largely of genetic origin, but telomere inheritance is unusual, because zygotes already express a TL phenotype, the TL of the parental gametes. Offspring TL changes with paternal age in many species including humans, presumably through age-related TL changes in sperm, suggesting an epigenetic inheritance mechanism. However, present evidence is based on cross-sectional analyses, and age at reproduction is confounded with between-father variation in TL...
February 2019: PLoS Genetics
Ali Asghari, Javid Sadraei, Majid Pirestani, Iraj Mohammadpour
Blastocystis is a common intestinal parasite among humans and animals such as non-human primates, pigs, cattle, birds, amphibians, and less frequently, rats, reptiles and insects. Since Blastocystis is a widely transmissible parasite between humans and mammals or birds, it is prominent to determine whether newly secluded non-human isolates are zoonotic. There are no comprehensive studies in Iran assessing the prevalence and molecular identification of Blastocystis infection in birds, especially in pigeons and crows...
February 2019: Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Jakub Gryz, Dagny Krauze-Gryz
Carrion plays a crucial role in the raven's diet. In the past, domestic pig carrion was widely available in Poland. This changed with an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak and the introduction of strict procedures aimed at stopping the virus from spreading. We compared data from Central Poland (field and forest mosaic, study area of 105 km²) for two periods, i.e., before (2011⁻2014) and after the ASF outbreak (2015⁻2018). In breeding seasons, nests of ravens were found, juveniles were counted, and the time when juveniles left their nests was recorded...
January 30, 2019: Animals: An Open Access Journal From MDPI
Shankhamala Sen, Pooja Parishar, Arvind Singh Pundir, Anton Reiner, Soumya Iyengar
Birds of the family Corvidae which includes diverse species such as crows, rooks, ravens, magpies, jays and jackdaws are known for their amazing abilities at problem-solving. Since the catecholaminergic system, especially the neurotransmitter dopamine, plays a role in cognition, we decided to study the distribution of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of catecholamines in the brain of house crows (Corvus splendens). We also studied the expression of DARPP-32 (dopamine and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein), which is expressed in dopaminoceptive neurons...
January 29, 2019: Journal of Comparative Neurology
Jinming Luo, Yongjie Wang, Zhiliang Wang, Zhongyan Gao
The increasing anthropogenic inputs of Pb and Cd into China's Nen River (Qiqihar section) owing to rapid urbanization in the past 50 years may pose ecological risks to the river's aquatic system. To confirm this hypothesis, we determined the Pb and Cd concentrations in the sediments of the Nen River flowing across Qiqihar City by comparing the control group (samplings in the Nen River branch bypassing the city) and bioaccumulation along the food chain. We found significantly higher Pb concentrations in the sediments than in the control group (39...
January 6, 2019: Environmental Science and Pollution Research International
Eun-Young Kim, Naomi Inoue, Dong-Hee Koh, Hisato Iwata
To understand the role of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) isoforms in avian species, we investigated the functional characteristics of two AHR isoforms (designated as jcAHR1 and jcAHR2) of the jungle crow (Corvus macrorhynchos). Two amino acid residues corresponding to Ile324 and Ser380 (high sensitive type) in chicken AHR1 that are known to determine dioxin sensitivity were Ile325 and Ala381 (moderate sensitive type) in jcAHR1 and Val306 and Ala362 (low sensitive type) in jcAHR2. The quantitative comparison of the two jcAHR mRNA expression levels in a Tokyo jungle crow population showed that jcAHR2 accounted for 92...
December 28, 2018: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Barbara C Klump, Bryce M Masuda, James J H St Clair, Christian Rutz
Very few animal species habitually make and use foraging tools. We recently discovered that the Hawaiian crow is a highly skilled, natural tool user. Most captive adults in our experiment spontaneously used sticks to access out-of-reach food from a range of extraction tasks, exhibiting a surprising degree of dexterity. Moreover, many birds modified tools before or during deployment, and some even manufactured tools from raw materials. In this invited addendum article, we describe and discuss these observations in more detail...
2018: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Calum X Cunningham, Christopher N Johnson, Leon A Barmuta, Tracey Hollings, Eric J Woehler, Menna E Jones
Top carnivores have suffered widespread global declines, with well-documented effects on mesopredators and herbivores. We know less about how carnivores affect ecosystems through scavenging. Tasmania's top carnivore, the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) , has suffered severe disease-induced population declines, providing a natural experiment on the role of scavenging in structuring communities. Using remote cameras and experimentally placed carcasses, we show that mesopredators consume more carrion in areas where devils have declined...
November 28, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Alison L Greggor, Guillam E McIvor, Nicola S Clayton, Alex Thornton
Nature is composed of self-propelled, animate agents and inanimate objects. Laboratory studies have shown that human infants and a few species discriminate between animate and inanimate objects. This ability is assumed to have evolved to support social cognition and filial imprinting, but its ecological role for wild animals has never been examined. An alternative, functional explanation is that discriminating stimuli based on their potential for animacy helps animals distinguish between harmless and threatening stimuli...
October 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Beneharo Rodríguez, Airam Rodríguez, Felipe Siverio, Manuel Siverio
The specific spatial distribution and habitat association-strongly influenced by environmental factors or competitive interactions-are major issues in ecology and conservation. We located and georeferenced nesting sites of five cliff-nesting raptors (Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus [a locally extinct species], common buzzard Buteo buteo , osprey Pandion haliaetus , common kestrel Falco tinnunculus , Barbary falcon Falco peregrinus pelegrinoides ), and common raven Corvus corax on one of the most biodiverse hotspot within the Canary Islands (Teno, Tenerife)...
April 2018: Current Zoology
Takeshi Yamasaki, Sou Aoki, Masayoshi Tokita
A recent geometric morphometric study on certain landbird lineages revealed that a major part of the variation in beak shape is accounted for by skull size and cranial shape. The study interpreted this result as evidence for the presence of strong evolutionary constraints that severely prevented beak shape from evolving substantially away from predictions of allometry and morphological integration. However, there is another overlooked but similarly plausible explanation for this result: The reason why beak shape does not depart much from predictions might simply be that selection pressures favoring such changes in shape are themselves rare...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
A M P von Bayern, S Danel, A M I Auersperg, B Mioduszewska, A Kacelnik
The construction of novel compound tools through assemblage of otherwise non-functional elements involves anticipation of the affordances of the tools to be built. Except for few observations in captive great apes, compound tool construction is unknown outside humans, and tool innovation appears late in human ontogeny. We report that habitually tool-using New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides) can combine objects to construct novel compound tools. We presented 8 naïve crows with combinable elements too short to retrieve food targets...
October 24, 2018: Scientific Reports
Hangjian Ling, Guillam E Mclvor, Geoff Nagy, Sepehr MohaimenianPour, Richard T Vaughan, Alex Thornton, Nicholas T Ouellette
Tracking the movements of birds in three dimensions is integral to a wide range of problems in animal ecology, behaviour and cognition. Multi-camera stereo-imaging has been used to track the three-dimensional (3D) motion of birds in dense flocks, but precise localization of birds remains a challenge due to imaging resolution in the depth direction and optical occlusion. This paper introduces a portable stereo-imaging system with improved accuracy and a simple stereo-matching algorithm that can resolve optical occlusion...
October 24, 2018: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Sheikh Tahajjul Taufique, Abhilash Prabhat, Vinod Kumar
Our previous studies have shown that light at night (LAN) impaired cognitive performance and affected neurogenesis and neurochemistry in the cognition-associated brain regions, particularly the hippocampus (HP) and lateral caudal nidopallium (NCL) of Indian house crows (Corvus splendens). Here, we examined the cytoarchitecture and mapped out the morphology of neurons and glia-neuron density in HP and NCL regions of crows that were first entrained to 12-hr light (LL): 12-hr darkness (LD) and then exposed to the light regime in which 12-hr darkness was either replaced by daytime light (i...
October 4, 2018: Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part A, Ecological and Integrative Physiology
Andrea K Townsend, Sarah S Wheeler, David Freund, Ravinder N M Sehgal, Walter M Boyce
Many studies have used the avian hemosporidians ( Leucocytozoon , Plasmodium , and Hemoproteus ) to test hypotheses of host-parasite co-evolution, yet documented health and survival consequences of these blood parasites vary among studies and generalizations about their pathogenicity are debatable. In general, the negative effects of the hemosporidians are likely to be greatest during acute infections of young birds, yet most previous studies in wild passerines have examined chronic effects in adults. Here, we evaluated responses of nestling American crows ( Corvus brachyrhynchos ) to acute infection (prevalence and burden), as well as its short- and long-term survival consequences...
September 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Kathrin Ganz, Lukas Jenni, Milena M Madry, Thomas Kraemer, Hannes Jenny, David Jenny
Despite irrefutable evidence of its negative impact on animal behaviour and physiology, lethal and sublethal lead poisoning of wildlife is still persistent and widespread. For scavenging birds, ingestion of ammunition, or fragments thereof, is the major exposure route. In this study, we examined the occurrence of lead in four avian scavengers of Switzerland and how it differs between species, regions, and age of the bird. We measured lead concentration in liver and bone of the two main alpine avian scavengers (golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos and bearded vulture Gypaetus barbatus) over the entire area of the Swiss Alps and two of the main avian scavengers occurring in the lowlands of Switzerland (red kite Milvus milvus and common raven Corvus corax)...
November 2018: Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Andrea K Townsend, Conor C Taff, Melissa L Jones, Katherine H Getman, Sarah S Wheeler, Mitch G Hinton, Ryane M Logsdon
Although matings between relatives can have negative effects on offspring fitness, apparent inbreeding preference has been reported in a growing number of systems, including those with documented inbreeding depression. Here, we examined evidence for inbreeding depression and inbreeding preference in two populations (Clinton, New York and Davis, California, USA) of the cooperatively breeding American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos). We then compared observed inbreeding strategies with theoretical expectations for optimal, adaptive levels of inbreeding, given the inclusive fitness benefits and population-specific magnitude of inbreeding depression...
September 17, 2018: Molecular Ecology
Garth Herring, Collin A Eagles-Smith, Daniel E Varland
Mercury (Hg) and lead (Pb) are widespread contaminants that pose risks to avian scavengers. In fact, Pb exposure is the primary factor limiting population recovery in the endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) and Hg can impair avian reproduction at environmentally relevant exposures. The Pacific Northwest region of the US was historically part of the condor's native range, and efforts are underway to expand recovery into this area. To identify potential threats to reintroduced condors we assessed foraging habitats, Hg and Pb exposure, and physiological responses in two surrogate avian scavenger species (common ravens [Corvus corax] and turkey vultures [Cathartes aura] across the region between 2012 and 2016...
December 2018: Environmental Pollution
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