A site to transform Pubmed publications into these bibliographic reference formats: ADS, BibTeX, EndNote, ISI used by the Web of Knowledge, RIS, MEDLINE, Microsoft's Word 2007 XML.

Behavior, Animal - Top 30 Publications

Gastral drumming: a nest-based food-recruitment signal in a social wasp.

Many social insect species produce signals that either recruit foragers to a specific food source or simply activate more nestmates to become foragers. Both are means of enhancing resource exploitation by increasing the number of individuals devoted to gathering profitable resources. Gastral drumming (GD) has been documented in several species of yellowjackets and hornets (Vespidae: Vespinae). It has been hypothesized that it is a hunger signal, but there is little empirical evidence to support this claim. An alternative hypothesis is that GD recruits workers to forage for food. Here, we report the results of a test between the hunger-signal and food-recruitment hypotheses in the German yellowjacket wasp, Vespula germanica. We show that the rate of performance of GD decreased when colonies were deprived of food and increased when supplemental food was provided. Playback of GD caused increased rates of (1) movement in the nest, (2) trophallaxis, and (3) worker departures from the nest. Together, these results support the conclusion that GD is not a hunger signal as previously asserted but instead is a nest-based food-recruitment signal, the first to be reported for a social wasp.

Long term treadmill exercise performed to chronic social isolated rats regulate anxiety behavior without improving learning.

The type and duration of exposure to stress is an important influence on emotional and cognitive functions. Learning is the adaptive response of the central nervous system that occurs in hippocampus which affects from environmental factors like exercise. In this study, we investigated effects of long term treadmill exercise on learning and behavior on chronic social isolated rat.

The antioxidant and neurochemical activity of Apium graveolens L. and its ameliorative effect on MPTP-induced Parkinson-like symptoms in mice.

Apium graveolens L. is a traditional Chinese medicine prescribed as a treatment for hypertension, gout, and diabetes. This study aimed to determine the neuroprotective effects of A. graveolens extract against a Parkinson's disease (PD) model induced by 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) in C57BL/6 mice.

The Role of Brood in Eusocial Hymenoptera.

Study of social traits in offspring traditionally reflects on interactions in simple family groups, with famous examples including parent-offspring conflict and sibling rivalry in birds and mammals. In contrast, studies of complex social groups such as the societies of ants, bees, and wasps focus mainly on adults and, in particular, on traits and interests of queens and workers. The social role of developing individuals in complex societies remains poorly understood. We attempt to fill this gap by illustrating that development in social Hymenoptera constitutes a crucial life stage with important consequences for the individual as well as the colony. We begin by describing the complex social regulatory network that modulates development in Hymenoptera societies. By highlighting the inclusive fitness interests of developing individuals, we show that they may differ from those of other colony members. We then demonstrate that offspring have evolved specialized traits that allow them to play a functional, cooperative role within colonies and give them the potential power to act toward increasing their inclusive fitness. We conclude by providing testable predictions for investigating the role of brood in colony interactions and giving a general outlook on what can be learned from studying offspring traits in hymenopteran societies.

Does Eating Out Make Elderly People Depressed? Empirical Evidence from National Health and Nutrition Survey in Taiwan.

OBJECTIVES: This study investigates the association between eating out and depressive symptoms among elderly people. Potential mediators that may link to elderly eating out and depressive symptoms are also discussed. METHODS: A unique dataset of 1,184 individuals aged 65 and older was drawn from the National Health and Nutrition Survey in 2008 in Taiwan. A bivariate probit model and an instrumental variable probit model were estimated to account for correlated, unmeasured factors that may be associated with both the decision and frequency of eating out and depressive symptoms in the elderly. An additional analysis is conducted to check whether the nutrient intakes and body weights can be seen as mediators that link the association between eating out and depressive symptoms of the elderly. RESULTS: Elderly people who eat out are 38 percent points more likely to have depressive symptoms than their counterparts who do not eat out, after controlling for socio-demographic characteristics and other factors. A positive association between the frequency of eating out and the likelihood of having depressive symptoms of the elderly is also found. It is evident that one additional meal away from home is associated with an increase of the likelihood of being depressed by 3.8 percentage points. With respect to the mediations, we find that nutrient intakes and body weight are likely to serve as mediators for the positive relationship between eating out and depressive symptoms in the elderly. CONCLUSION: Our results show that elderly who eat out have a higher chance of having depressive symptoms. To prevent depressive symptoms in the elderly, policy makers should be aware of the relationship among psychological status, physical health and nutritional health when assisting the elderly to better manage their food consumption away from home. LIMITATONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH: Our study have some caveats. First, the interpretation of our results on the causality issue calls for caution in that our analysis relies on a cross-sectional survey. Second, other measures to define elderly depression, such as the Center for Epidemiological Studies -Depression (CES-D) score, can be used to check the robustness of our findings. Finally, the availability of food outlets in the local area and family characteristics are possible associated with food away from home of the elderly. If data permit, the relationship between eating out and elderly depressive symptoms can be better identified after controlling for variables related to food facilities and family characteristics.

Body Odor and Sex: Do Cuticular Hydrocarbons Facilitate Sexual Attraction in the Small Hairy Maggot Blowfly?

Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) play an important role as contact pheromones in insects, particularly in flies. However, for many fly taxa our understanding of the importance of CHCs in sexual communication is limited. Within the family Calliphoridae (blowflies), sex-specific differences in CHCs have been reported for several species, but there is no evidence that CHCs facilitate sexual behavior. In order to elucidate the function of CHCs in Calliphoridae, studies combining behavioral and chemical analyses are required. The present study used gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, along with behavioral assays, to assess whether CHCs facilitate sexual attraction in the small hairy maggot blowfly, Chrysomya varipes. The specific aims were to: 1) determine if CHCs differ between the sexes and 2) assess whether flies exhibit positive chemotaxis to CHCs of the opposite sex. Fifty-two hydrocarbons common to both sexes were identified, and quantitative differences for numerous CHCs were observed between the sexes. However, behavioral assays provided no evidence that flies were attracted to CHCs of the opposite sex, challenging the hypothesis that CHCs facilitate sexual attraction in Ch. varipes. In contrast to other blowflies, Ch. varipes males invest heavily in courtship displays and ornamentation, so we speculate that visual communication in this species may have relaxed sexual selection for chemical communication. More broadly, our findings support suggestions that CHCs may not always facilitate insect sexual communication.

Stereotypy and variability of social calls among clustering female big-footed myotis (Myotis macrodactylus).

Echolocating bats have developed advanced auditory perception systems, predominantly using acoustic signaling to communicate with each other. They can emit a diverse range of social calls in complex behavioral contexts. This study examined the vocal repertoire of five pregnant big-footed myotis bats (Myotis macrodactylus). In the process of clustering, the last individual to return to the colony (LI) emitted social calls that correlated with behavior, as recorded on a PC-based digital recorder. These last individuals could emit 10 simple monosyllabic and 27 complex multisyllabic types of calls, constituting four types of syllables. The social calls were composed of highly stereotyped syllables, hierarchically organized by a common set of syllables. However, intra-specific variation was also found in the number of syllables, syllable order and patterns of syllable repetition across call renditions. Data were obtained to characterize the significant individual differences that existed in the maximum frequency and duration of calls. Time taken to return to the roost was negatively associated with the diversity of social calls. Our findings indicate that variability in social calls may be an effective strategy taken by individuals during reintegration into clusters of female M. macrodactylus.

Herbivorous turtle ants obtain essential nutrients from a conserved nitrogen-recycling gut microbiome.

Nitrogen acquisition is a major challenge for herbivorous animals, and the repeated origins of herbivory across the ants have raised expectations that nutritional symbionts have shaped their diversification. Direct evidence for N provisioning by internally housed symbionts is rare in animals; among the ants, it has been documented for just one lineage. In this study we dissect functional contributions by bacteria from a conserved, multi-partite gut symbiosis in herbivorous Cephalotes ants through in vivo experiments, metagenomics, and in vitro assays. Gut bacteria recycle urea, and likely uric acid, using recycled N to synthesize essential amino acids that are acquired by hosts in substantial quantities. Specialized core symbionts of 17 studied Cephalotes species encode the pathways directing these activities, and several recycle N in vitro. These findings point to a highly efficient N economy, and a nutritional mutualism preserved for millions of years through the derived behaviors and gut anatomy of Cephalotes ants.

Tricks of the trade: Mechanism of brood theft in an ant.

Thievery is ubiquitous in the animal kingdom, social insects not being an exception. Brood is invaluable for the survival of social insect colonies and brood theft is well documented in ants. In many species the stolen brood act as slaves in the thief colony as they take up tasks related to foraging, defence and colony maintenance. Slave-making (dulotic) ants are at an advantage as they gain workforce without investing in rearing immature young, and several slave-making species have been recorded in temperate regions. In the current study we investigate brood theft in a primitively eusocial ponerine ant Diacamma indicum that inhabits the tropics. In the context of colony relocation we asked how thieves steal brood and what victim colonies do to prevent theft. While exposed nests increased colonies' vulnerability, the relocation process itself did not enhance the chances of theft. Various aggressive interactions, in particular immobilization of intruders helped in preventing theft. Thieves that acted quickly, stayed furtive and stole unguarded brood were found to be successful. This comprehensive study of behavioural mechanism of theft reveals that these are the 'tricks' adopted by thieves.

Evaluation of behavioral parameters, hematological markers, liver and kidney functions in rodents exposed to Deepwater Horizon crude oil and Corexit.

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill is the largest marine oil spill in US history. In the aftermath of the spill, the response efforts used a chemical dispersant, Corexit, to disperse the oil spill. The health impacts of crude oil and Corexit mixture to humans, mammals, fishes, and birds are mostly unknown. The purpose of this study is to investigate the in vivo effects of DWH oil, Corexit, and oil-Corexit mixture on the general behavior, hematological markers, and liver and kidney functions of rodents. C57 Bl6 mice were treated with DWH oil (80 mg/kg) and/or Corexit (95 mg/kg), and several hematological markers, lipid profile, liver and kidney functions were monitored. The results show that both DWH oil and Corexit altered the white blood cells and platelet counts. Moreover, they also impacted the lipid profile and induced toxic effects on the liver and kidney functions. The impacts were more pronounced when the mice were treated with a mixture of DWH-oil and Corexit. This study provides preliminary data to elucidate the potential toxicological effects of DWH oil, Corexit, and their mixtures on mammalian health. Residues from the DWH spill continue to remain trapped along various Gulf Coast beaches and therefore further studies are needed to fully understand their long-term impacts on coastal ecosystems.

Waterbirds targeted in Iran's wetlands.

Assessing the potential impacts of a changing climate on the distribution of a rabies virus vector.

Common vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) occur throughout much of South America to northern México. Vampire bats have not been documented in recent history in the United States, but have been documented within about 50 km of the U.S. state of Texas. Vampire bats feed regularly on the blood of mammals and can transmit rabies virus to native species and livestock, causing impacts on the health of prey. Thus cattle producers, wildlife management agencies, and other stakeholders have expressed concerns about whether vampire bats might spread into the southern United States. On the other hand, concerns about vampire-borne rabies can also result in wanton destruction at bat roosts in areas occupied by vampire bats, but also in areas not known to be occupied by this species. This can in turn negatively affect some bat roosts, populations, and species that are of conservation concern, including vampire bats. To better understand the current and possible future distribution of vampire bats in North America and help mitigate future cattle management problems, we used 7,094 vampire bat occurrence records from North America and species distribution modeling (SDM) to map the potential distribution of vampire bats in North America under current and future climate change scenarios. We analysed and mapped the potential distribution of this species using 5 approaches to species distribution modeling: logistic regression, multivariate adaptive regression splines, boosted regression trees, random forest, and maximum entropy. We then projected these models into 17 "worst-case" future climate scenarios for year 2070 to generate hypotheses about how the vampire bat distribution in North America might change in the future. Of the variables used in this analysis, minimum temperature of the coldest month had the highest variable importance using all 5 SDM approaches. These results suggest two potential near-future routes of vampire bat dispersal into the U.S., one via southern Texas, and a second into southern Florida. Some of our SDM models support the hypothesis that suitable habitat for vampire bats may currently exist in parts of the México-U.S. borderlands, including extreme southern portions of Texas, as well as in southern Florida. However, this analysis also suggests that extensive expansion into the south-eastern and south-western U.S. over the coming ~60 years appears unlikely.

Mating and aggregative behaviors among basal hexapods in the Early Cretaceous.

Among the many challenges in paleobiology is the inference and reconstruction of behaviors that rarely, if ever, leave a physical trace on the environment that is suitable for fossilization. Of particular significance are those behaviors tied to mating and courtship, individual interactions critical for species integrity and continuance, as well as those for dispersal, permitting the taxon to expand its distribution as well as access new habitats in the face of local or long-term environmental change. In this context, two recently discovered fossils from the Early Cretaceous amber of Spain (ca. 105 mya) give a detailed view of otherwise fleeting ethologies in Collembola. These occurrences are phylogenetically spaced across the class, and from species representing the two major clades of springtails-Symphypleona and Entomobryomorpha. Specifically, we report unique evidence from a symphypleonan male (Pseudosminthurides stoechus Sánchez-García & Engel, 2016) with modified antennae that may have functioned as a clasping organ for securing females during mating on water's surface, and from an aggregation of entomobryomorphan individuals (Proisotoma communis Sánchez-García & Engel, 2016) purportedly representing a swarming episode on the forest floor. We demonstrate that the mating behavioral repertoire in P. stoechus, which is associated with considerable morphological adaptations, likely implied elaborate courtship and maneuvering for guarantee sperm transfer in an epineustic species. These discoveries reveal significant behaviors consistent with modern counterparts and a generalized stasis for some ancient hexapod ethologies associated with complex mating and courtship and social or pre-social aggregations, so critical to specific constancy and dispersal.

Effects of resource-dependent cannibalism on population size distribution and individual life history in a case-bearing caddisfly.

Resource availability often determines the intensity of cannibalism, which has a considerable effect on population size distribution and individual life history. Larvae of the caddisfly Psilotreta kisoensis build portable cases from sedimentary sands and often display cannibalism. For this species, the availability of preferable case material is a critical factor that affects larval fitness, and material is locally variable depending on the underlying geology. In this study, we investigated how sand quality as a case material determines cannibalism frequency among larvae and, in turn, how the differential cannibalism frequency affects the body-size distribution and voltinism. Rearing experiments within a cohort revealed that a bimodal size distribution developed regardless of material quality. However, as the preferable material became abundant, the proportion of larger to smaller individuals increased. Consecutive experiments suggested that smaller larvae were more frequently cannibalized by larger ones and excluded from the population when preferable smooth material was abundant. This frequent cannibalism resulted in a bimodal size distribution with a significantly higher proportion of larger compared to smaller individuals. The size-dependent cannibalism was significantly suppressed when the larvae were raised in an environment with a scarcity of the preferable case material. This is probably because larvae cannot enjoy the benefit of rapid growth by cannibalism due to the difficulties in enlarging their case. At low cannibalism the growth of smaller individuals was stunted, and this was probably due to risk of cannibalism by larger individuals. This growth reduction in small individuals led to a bimodal size-distribution but with a lower proportion of larger to smaller individuals compared to at high cannibalism. A field study in two streams showed a similar size distribution of larvae as was found in the rearing experiment. The bimodal ratio has consequences for life history, since a size-bimodal population causes a cohort splitting: only larvae that were fully grown at 1 year had a univoltine life cycle, whereas larvae with a stunted growth continued their larval life for another year (semivoltine). This study suggests that availability of preferable case building material is an important factor that affects cannibalism, which in turn affects larval population size structure and cohort splitting.

Evaluating the use of stable isotope analysis to infer the feeding ecology of a growing US gray seal (Halichoerus grypus) population.

Gray seals (Halichoerus grypus) have been rapidly recolonizing the Northeast US coast, eliciting concern from the fishing industry. However, the ecological effect of this recovery is still unknown and as such, research is needed to better understand how the diet composition of gray seals in US waters will contribute to the ecological impact. While previous research on seal diets has focused on the analysis of hard prey remains, stable isotope analysis presents an alternative method that can be used to describe marine mammal diets when direct observation is impossible. To address this issue, we used stable isotope analysis of gray seal pup vibrissae and lanugo from Monomoy Island, Cape Cod, MA during the 2015/2016 winter breeding season to estimate adult female diet composition during pregnancy. Stable isotope mixing models (SIMM) suggested adult female gray seals were consuming greater amounts of cephalopod prey and less sand lance than previously indicated from analysis of hard prey remains. However, using SIMMs to estimate the diet composition of gray seals remains difficult due to the large number of isotopically similar prey species and uncertainty in tissue-specific, stable isotope trophic enrichment factors. Even so, by combining prey sources into ecologically informative groups and integrating prior information into SIMMs it is possible to obtain additional insights into the diet of this generalist predator.

Salton Sea: Ecosystem in transition.

Egg turning behavior and incubation temperature in Forster's terns in relation to mercury contamination.

Egg turning behavior is an important determinant of egg hatchability, but it remains relatively understudied. Here, we examined egg turning rates and egg temperatures in Forster's terns (Sterna forsteri). We used artificial eggs containing a data logger with a 3-D accelerometer, a magnetometer, and a temperature thermistor to monitor parental incubation behavior of 131 tern nests. Overall, adults turned their eggs an average (±SD) of 3.8 ± 0.8 turns h-1, which is nearly two times higher than that of other seabirds. Egg turning rates increased with nest initiation date. We also examined egg turning rates and egg temperatures in relation to egg mercury contamination. Mercury contamination has been shown to be associated with reduced egg hatchability, and we hypothesized that mercury may decrease egg hatchability via altered egg turning behavior by parents. Despite the high variability in egg turning rates among individuals, the rate of egg turning was not related to mercury concentrations in sibling eggs. These findings highlight the need for further study concerning the potential determinants of egg turning behavior.

Less of a bird's song than a hard rock ensemble.

Corbey et al. (2016) propose that the Acheulean handaxe was, at least in part, under genetic control. An alternative perspective is offered here, focusing on the nature of the Acheulean handaxe and the archaeological record, and re-emphasizing their status as cultural artefacts. This is based on four main arguments challenging the proposals of Corbey et al. Firstly, handaxes do not have to track environmental variation to be a cultural artefact, given their role as a hand-held butchery knife or multi-purpose tool. Secondly, while handaxe shapes do cluster around a basic bauplan, there is also significant variability in the Acheulean handaxe record, characterized by site-specific modal forms and locally expressed, short-lived, idiosyncratic traits. Critically, this variability occurs in both time and space, is multi-scalar, and does not appear to be under genetic control. Thirdly, handaxes were produced in social contexts, within which their makers grew up exposed to the sights and sounds of artefact manufacture. Finally, the localized absences of handaxes at different times and places in the Lower Paleolithic world is suggestive of active behavioral choices and population dynamics rather than genetic controls.

The handaxe reconsidered.

The Acheulean handaxe is one of the longest-known and longest-surviving artifacts of the Palaeolithic and, despite its experimentally tested functionality, is often regarded as puzzling. It is unnecessary to invoke a unique-for-mammals genetic mechanism to explain the handaxe phenomenon. Instead, we propose that two nongenetic processes are sufficient. The first is a set of ergonomic design principles linked to the production of sturdy, hand-held cutting tools in the context of a knapped-stone technology that lacked hafting. The second is an esthetic preference for regular forms with gradual curves and pleasing proportions. Neither process is a cultural meme but, operating together in a cultural context, they can account for all of the supposedly puzzling time-space patterns presented by handaxes.

The origins and early elaboration of projectile technology.

The ability of Homo sapiens to kill prey at a distance is arguably one of the catalysts for our current ecological dominance. Many researchers have suggested its origins lie in the African Middle Stone Age or the European Middle Palaeolithic (∼300-30 thousand years ago), but the perishable components of armatures rarely preserve. Most research on this subject therefore emphasises analysis of armature tip size, shape, and diagnostic impacts or residues. Other lines of evidence have included human skeletal anatomy or analyses of the species composition of faunal assemblages. Projectile Impact Marks (PIMs) on archaeofaunal remains offer an ideal complement to this work, but their potential has been restricted mainly to the later Eurasian zooarchaeological record. A review of current evidence and approaches shows that systematic PIM research could add much to our understanding of early projectile technology, especially in Africa.

Associations between owner personality and psychological status and the prevalence of canine behavior problems.

Behavioral problems are a major source of poor welfare and premature mortality in companion dogs. Previous studies have demonstrated associations between owners' personality and psychological status and the prevalence and/or severity of their dogs' behavior problems. However, the mechanisms responsible for these associations are currently unknown. Other studies have detected links between the tendency of dogs to display behavior problems and their owners' use of aversive or confrontational training methods. This raises the possibility that the effects of owner personality and psychological status on dog behavior are mediated via their influence on the owner's choice of training methods. We investigated this hypothesis in a self-selected, convenience sample of 1564 current dog owners using an online battery of questionnaires designed to measure, respectively, owner personality, depression, emotion regulation, use of aversive/confrontational training methods, and owner-reported dog behavior. Multivariate linear and logistic regression analyses identified modest, positive associations between owners' use of aversive/confrontational training methods and the prevalence/severity of the following dog behavior problems: owner-directed aggression, stranger-directed aggression, separation problems, chasing, persistent barking, and house-soiling (urination and defecation when left alone). The regression models also detected modest associations between owners' low scores on four of the 'Big Five' personality dimensions (Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, Extraversion & Conscientiousness) and their dogs' tendency to display higher rates of owner-directed aggression, stranger-directed fear, and/or urination when left alone. The study found only weak evidence to support the hypothesis that these relationships between owner personality and dog behavior were mediated via the owners' use of punitive training methods, but it did detect a more than five-fold increase in the use of aversive/confrontational training techniques among men with moderate depression. Further research is needed to clarify the causal relationship between owner personality and psychological status and the behavioral problems of companion dogs.

Sociability between invasive guppies and native topminnows.

The role of interspecific social interactions during species invasions may be more decisive than previously thought. Research has revealed that invasive fish improve their foraging success by shoaling with native Mexican species, and potentially increase the chances of invasion success. However, do native individuals tend to associate with invaders as well? We tested the hypothesis that the twoline skiffia (Neotoca bilineata) and the Lerma livebearer (Poeciliopsis infans), both native endemic Mexican topminnows, will associate with guppies, a notorious invasive species present in Mexico. Our investigation shows that guppies, twoline skiffias and Lerma livebearers have a mutual tendency to associate with each other. Although there is a marked tendency to shoal with heterospecifics in this system, shoaling partners do not necessarily benefit equally from the association. Further research on invasive-native social interactions is needed to promote our understanding of potential facilitation by natives.

Parallel behavioral and morphological divergence in fence lizards on two college campuses.

The spread of urban development has dramatically altered natural habitats, modifying community relationships, abiotic factors, and structural features. Animal populations living in these areas must perish, emigrate, or find ways to adjust to a suite of new selective pressures. Those that successfully inhabit the urban environment may make behavioral, physiological, and/or morphological adjustments that represent either evolutionary change and/or phenotypic plasticity. We tested for effects of urbanization on antipredator behavior and associated morphology across an urban-wild gradient in the western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) in two California counties, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. We compared college campuses in both counties with adjacent rural habitats, conducting field trials that allowed us to characterize antipredator behavior in response to the acute stress of capture. We found notable divergence between campus and rural behavior, with campus lizards more frequently exhibiting diminished escape behavior, including tonic immobility, and lower sprint speeds. Furthermore, campus females had significantly shorter limbs, and while this did not explain variation in sprint speed, those with shorter limbs were more likely to show tonic immobility. We hypothesize that these parallel behavioral and morphological changes on both campuses reflect adjustment to a novel environment involving changes in predation and human presence.

Super-ranging. A new ranging strategy in European badgers.

We monitored the ranging of a wild European badger (Meles meles) population over 7 years using GPS tracking collars. Badger range sizes varied seasonally and reached their maximum in June, July and August. We analysed the summer ranging behaviour, using 83 home range estimates from 48 individuals over 6974 collar-nights. We found that while most adult badgers (males and females) remained within their own traditional social group boundaries, several male badgers (on average 22%) regularly ranged beyond these traditional boundaries. These adult males frequently ranged throughout two (or more) social group's traditional territories and had extremely large home ranges. We therefore refer to them as super-rangers. While ranging across traditional boundaries has been recorded over short periods of time for extraterritorial mating and foraging forays, or for pre-dispersal exploration, the animals in this study maintained their super-ranges from 2 to 36 months. This study represents the first time such long-term extra-territorial ranging has been described for European badgers. Holding a super-range may confer an advantage in access to breeding females, but could also affect local interaction networks. In Ireland & the UK, badgers act as a wildlife reservoir for bovine tuberculosis (TB). Super-ranging may facilitate the spread of disease by increasing both direct interactions between conspecifics, particularly across social groups, and indirect interactions with cattle in their shared environment. Understanding super-ranging behaviour may both improve our understanding of tuberculosis epidemiology and inform future control strategies.

Fragmentation of nest and foraging habitat affects time budgets of solitary bees, their fitness and pollination services, depending on traits: Results from an individual-based model.

Solitary bees are important but declining wild pollinators. During daily foraging in agricultural landscapes, they encounter a mosaic of patches with nest and foraging habitat and unsuitable matrix. It is insufficiently clear how spatial allocation of nesting and foraging resources and foraging traits of bees affect their daily foraging performance. We investigated potential brood cell construction (as proxy of fitness), number of visited flowers, foraging habitat visitation and foraging distance (pollination proxies) with the model SOLBEE (simulating pollen transport by solitary bees, tested and validated in an earlier study), for landscapes varying in landscape fragmentation and spatial allocation of nesting and foraging resources. Simulated bees varied in body size and nesting preference. We aimed to understand effects of landscape fragmentation and bee traits on bee fitness and the pollination services bees provide, as well as interactions between them, and the general consequences it has to our understanding of the system. This broad scope gives multiple key results. 1) Body size determines fitness more than landscape fragmentation, with large bees building fewer brood cells. High pollen requirements for large bees and the related high time budgets for visiting many flowers may not compensate for faster flight speeds and short handling times on flowers, giving them overall a disadvantage compared to small bees. 2) Nest preference does affect distribution of bees over the landscape, with cavity-nesting bees being restricted to nesting along field edges, which inevitably leads to performance reductions. Fragmentation mitigates this for cavity-nesting bees through increased edge habitat. 3) Landscape fragmentation alone had a relatively small effect on all responses. Instead, the local ratio of nest to foraging habitat affected bee fitness positively through reduced local competition. The spatial coverage of pollination increases steeply in response to this ratio for all bee sizes. The nest to foraging habitat ratio, a strong habitat proxy incorporating fragmentation could be a promising and practical measure for comparing landscape suitability for pollinators. 4) The number of flower visits was hardly affected by resource allocation, but predominantly by bee size. 5) In landscapes with the highest visitation coverage, bees flew least far, suggesting that these pollination proxies are subject to a trade-off between either longer pollen transport distances or a better pollination coverage, linked to how nests are distributed over the landscape rather than being affected by bee size.

Exploiting a readily available but hard to digest resource: A review of exudativorous mammals identified thus far and how they cope in captivity.

Gum is a widely available carbohydrate, composed mainly of non-digestible structural carbohydrates. No mammalian enzymes can digest gum; therefore, a mammal ingesting gum must rely on microbial fermentation to access the energy it possesses. Gums are relatively nutrient poor. Despite this, some mammals have evolved to exploit this food resource. We aim to review the literature for all mammal species which have been recorded to ingest gum, whether quantified or not, and discuss this in the context of their evolutionary adaptations. We also investigated the recommended captive diets for these species to look at whether gum is recommended. We conducted a literature search on ISI Web of Knowledge to tabulate all mammal species observed ingesting gum and classified them as obligate, facultative or opportunistic feeders. We encountered 94 mammal species that eat gum in the wild (27 obligate feeders, 34 facultative feeders and 33 opportunistic feeders). Obligate feeders have entirely evolved to exploit this resource but were found to not be given gum in captivity, which may explain why they are failing to thrive, as opposed to facultative feeders, which have fewer issues. Gum may be necessary for the health of obligate feeders in captivity. Future research should focus on the physiological effects that gum ingestion poses on different digestive systems.

Advancing behavioural genomics by considering timescale.

Animal behavioural traits often covary with gene expression, pointing towards a genomic constraint on organismal responses to environmental cues. This pattern highlights a gap in our understanding of the time course of environmentally responsive gene expression, and moreover, how these dynamics are regulated. Advances in behavioural genomics explore how gene expression dynamics are correlated with behavioural traits that range from stable to highly labile. We consider the idea that certain genomic regulatory mechanisms may predict the timescale of an environmental effect on behaviour. This temporally minded approach could inform both organismal and evolutionary questions ranging from the remediation of early life social trauma to understanding the evolution of trait plasticity.

Interspecific Cross-Attraction between the South American Cerambycid Beetles Cotyclytus curvatus and Megacyllene acuta is Averted by Minor Pheromone Components.

During field screening trials conducted in Brazil in 2015, adults of both sexes of the cerambycid beetles Cotyclytus curvatus (Germar) and Megacyllene acuta (Germar) (subfamily Cerambycinae, tribe Clytini) were significantly attracted to racemic 3-hydroxyhexan-2-one and racemic 2-methylbutan-1-ol, chemicals which previously have been identified as male-produced aggregation-sex pheromones of a number of cerambycid species endemic to other continents. Subsequent analyses of samples of beetle-produced volatiles revealed that males of C. curvatus sex-specifically produce only (R)-3-hydroxyhexan-2-one, whereas males of M. acuta produce the same compound along with lesser amounts of (2S,3S)-2,3-hexanediol and (S)-2-methylbutan-1-ol. Follow-up field trials showed that both sexes of both species were attracted to synthetic reconstructions of their respective pheromones, confirming that males produce aggregation-sex pheromones. The minor pheromone components of M. acuta, (S)-2-methylbutan-1-ol and (2S,3S)-2,3-hexanediol, synergized attraction of that species, but antagonized attraction of C. curvatus to (R)-3-hydroxyhexan-2-one. Beetles of other cerambycine species also were attracted in significant numbers, including Chrysoprasis linearis Bates, Cotyclytus dorsalis (Laporte & Gory), and Megacyllene falsa (Chevrolat). Our results provide further evidence that 3-hydroxyhexan-2-one is a major component of attractant pheromones of numerous cerambycine species world-wide. Our results also highlight our increasing understanding of the crucial role of minor pheromone components in imparting species specificity to cerambycid pheromone blends, as is known to occur in numerous species in other insect families.

Maternal high fructose diet and neonatal immune challenge alter offspring anxiety-like behavior and inflammation across the lifespan.

This study examined the interaction between maternal high fructose diet and neonatal inflammation in neonates (P7), juveniles (P26-34) and adults on measures of anxiety-like behavior and cognition. The study aimed to assess the potential synergistic effects of these two forms of early-life inflammation.

Does postnatal care have a role in improving newborn feeding? A study in 15 sub-Saharan African countries.

Breastfeeding is known as a key intervention to improve newborn health and survival while prelacteal feeds (liquids other than breastmilk within 3 days of birth) represents a departure from optimal feeding practices. Recent programmatic guidelines from the WHO and UNICEF outline the need to improve newborn feeding and points to postnatal care (PNC) as a potential mechanism to do so. This study examines if PNC and type of PNC provider are associated with key newborn feeding practices: breastfeeding within 1 day and prelacteal feeds.