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Behavior, Animal - Top 30 Publications

Broad and flexible stable isotope niches in invasive non-native Rattus spp. in anthropogenic and natural habitats of central eastern Madagascar.

Rodents of the genus Rattus are among the most pervasive and successful invasive species, causing major vicissitudes in native ecological communities. A broad and flexible generalist diet has been suggested as key to the invasion success of Rattus spp. Here, we use an indirect approach to better understand foraging niche width, plasticity, and overlap within and between introduced Rattus spp. in anthropogenic habitats and natural humid forests of Madagascar.

Geographical variation in sexual behavior and body traits in a sex role reversed wolf spider.

Mating partners need to recognize, assess each other, and exchange information through behavioral events that occur before, during, and after mating. Sexual signals, as well as life history traits, are influenced by selective pressures and environmental factors that can vary across distant geographical areas. Allocosa senex is a sand-dwelling wolf spider which constructs burrows along the sandy coasts of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Females are the mobile sex that searches for males and initiates courtship. They prefer males which construct longer burrows, and males prefer virgin females in good body condition. The objective of this study was to compare sexual behavior patterns, as well as body characteristics and burrow dimensions, between two geographically distant locations of A. senex, one in Uruguay (Uruguayan location) and the other from central Argentina (Argentinean location). We found differences in the number of male abdominal vibrations, male and female touches during mating, and number of erections of male leg spines, which all were higher in matings of Argentinean pairs. On the other hand, male body mass and female body condition were higher in Uruguayan individuals. The wide distribution of A. senex could be determining variations in the biotic and abiotic features that affect the species, generating differences in the strength of selective forces acting on individuals from the two studied locations.

Development, standardization and validation of molecular techniques for malaria vector species identification, trophic preferences, and detection of Plasmodium falciparum.

Knowledge on prevalence of malaria vector species of a certain area provides important information for implementation of appropriate control strategies. The present study describes a rapid method for screening of major Anopheline vector species and at the same time detection of Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite infection and blood meal preferences/trophic preferences.

Advancements in bait technology to control Glossina swynnertoni Austen, the species of limited distribution in Kenya and Tanzania border: A review.

Glossina swynnertoni is a savannah tsetse that is largely confined to the Serengeti-Mara [a very small part of East Africa covering northern Tanzania (Arusha and Manyara regions and parts of Shinyanga and Mara regions) extending Maasai Mara ecosystem in southwestern Kenya]. Nevertheless, it is of great concern to human and animal health and is one of the top target tsetse species for eradication. To achieve this eradication objective, it is important to know about its behaviour so that the appropriate tools/measures especially the right traps can be applied against it. In this paper G. swynnertoni is reviewed in terms of its behaviour, and development of traps for its survey and control. Glossina swynnertoni control is of paramount importance in Tanzania tourism industry and country's income. Since, G. swynnertoni is also distributed in national parks, control is vital as it might reduce tourists excursion/movement, by transmitting the African trypanosomiasis among travelers. Different literature search engines such as Google Scholar and PubMed were deployed for literature search. It was found that the behaviour of G. swynnertoni is relatively similar but unique from other tsetse flies. Its feeding cycle is 2½-3 days as opposed to 3-4 days observed in other tsetse species. The flight activity pattern varied between sex, with male having their peak at 1100-1200 hrs and females 1400-1600 hrs. The activity in both sexes decline rapidly towards the dusk (1700-1800 hrs). It was further that host odours, relatively smaller and vertically oriented devices, as well as host movement are the main attractive factors to this tsetse species, which can be exploited to design efficient artificial devices for control of G. swynnertoni . Therefore, due to its restricted distribution and threat it poses on tourism industry, deliberate efforts need to be made against G. swynnertoni as a next candidate to be eradicated using artificial bait technology.

HSP90 and pCREB alterations are linked to mancozeb-dependent behavioral and neurodegenerative effects in a marine teleost.

The pesticide mancozeb (mz) is recognized as a potent inducer of oxidative stress due to its ability to catalyze the production of reactive oxygen species plus inhibiting mitochondrial respiration thus becoming an environmental risk for neurodegenerative diseases. Despite numerous toxicological studies on mz have been directed to mammals, attention on marine fish is still lacking. Thus, it was our intention to evaluate neurobehavioral activities of ornate wrasses (Thalassoma pavo) exposed to 0.2mg/l of mz after a preliminary screening test (0.07-0.3mg/l). Treated fish exhibited an evident (p<0.001) latency to reach T-maze arms (>1000%) while exploratory attitudes (total arm entries) diminished (-50%; p<0.05) versus controls during spontaneous exploration tests. Moreover, they showed evident enhancements (+111%) of immobility in the cylinder test. Contextually, strong (-88%; p<0.01) reductions of permanence in light zone of the Light/Dark apparatus along with diminished crossings (-65%) were also detected. Conversely, wrasses displayed evident enhancements (160%) of risk assessment consisting of fast entries in the dark side of this apparatus. From a molecular point of view, a notable activation (p<0.005) of the brain transcription factor pCREB occurred during mz-exposure. Similarly, in situ hybridization supplied increased HSP90 mRNAs in most brain areas such as the lateral part of the dorsal telencephalon (Dl; +68%) and valvula of the cerebellum (VCe; +35%) that also revealed evident argyrophilic signals. Overall, these first indications suggest a possible protective role of the early biomarkers pCREB and HSP90 against fish toxicity.

A putative 12-oxophytodienoate reductase gene CsOPR3 from Camellia sinensis, is involved in wound and herbivore infestation responses.

12-Oxophytodienoate reductase (OPR) is a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of jasmonic acid (JA), which plays an important role in plant defense responses. Although multiple isoforms of OPRs have been identified in various annual herbaceous plants, genes encoding these enzymes in perennial woody plants have yet to be fully investigated. In the tea plant, Camellia sinensis (L.), no OPR genes have been isolated, and their possible roles in tea plant development and defense mechanism remain unknown. In this study, a putative OPR gene, designated as CsOPR3, was isolated from tea plants for the first time through the rapid amplification of cDNA ends. The open reading frame of CsOPR3 is 1197bp in length, and encodes a protein of 398 amino acids. Real-time qPCR analysis revealed that CsOPR3 was expressed in different organs. In particular, CsOPR3 was highly expressed in flowers, leaves and stems but was weakly expressed in roots and seeds. CsOPR3 expression could be rapidly induced by mechanical wounding, and increased JA levels were correlated with the wound-induced CsOPR3 expression. The infestation of the tea geometrid (TG) Ectropis obliqua Prout, regurgitant derived from TG and exogenous JA application could enhance the CsOPR3 expression. Our study is the first to report that CsOPR3 plays an important role in JA biosynthesis and tea plant defense against herbivorous insects.

Dairy consumption, systolic blood pressure, and risk of hypertension: Mendelian randomization study.

Objective To examine whether previous observed inverse associations of dairy intake with systolic blood pressure and risk of hypertension were causal.Design Mendelian randomization study using the single nucleotide polymorphism rs4988235 related to lactase persistence as an instrumental variable.Setting CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology) Consortium.Participants Data from 22 studies with 171 213 participants, and an additional 10 published prospective studies with 26 119 participants included in the observational analysis.Main outcome measures The instrumental variable estimation was conducted using the ratio of coefficients approach. Using meta-analysis, an additional eight published randomized clinical trials on the association of dairy consumption with systolic blood pressure were summarized.Results Compared with the CC genotype (CC is associated with complete lactase deficiency), the CT/TT genotype (TT is associated with lactose persistence, and CT is associated with certain lactase deficiency) of LCT-13910 (lactase persistence gene) rs4988235 was associated with higher dairy consumption (0.23 (about 55 g/day), 95% confidence interval 0.17 to 0.29) serving/day; P<0.001) and was not associated with systolic blood pressure (0.31, 95% confidence interval -0.05 to 0.68 mm Hg; P=0.09) or risk of hypertension (odds ratio 1.01, 95% confidence interval 0.97 to 1.05; P=0.27). Using LCT-13910 rs4988235 as the instrumental variable, genetically determined dairy consumption was not associated with systolic blood pressure (β=1.35, 95% confidence interval -0.28 to 2.97 mm Hg for each serving/day) or risk of hypertension (odds ratio 1.04, 0.88 to 1.24). Moreover, meta-analysis of the published clinical trials showed that higher dairy intake has no significant effect on change in systolic blood pressure for interventions over one month to 12 months (intervention compared with control groups: β=-0.21, 95% confidence interval -0.98 to 0.57 mm Hg). In observational analysis, each serving/day increase in dairy consumption was associated with -0.11 (95% confidence interval -0.20 to -0.02 mm Hg; P=0.02) lower systolic blood pressure but not risk of hypertension (odds ratio 0.98, 0.97 to 1.00; P=0.11).Conclusion The weak inverse association between dairy intake and systolic blood pressure in observational studies was not supported by a comprehensive instrumental variable analysis and systematic review of existing clinical trials.

Insights into the role of age and social interactions on the sexual attractiveness of queens in an eusocial bee, Melipona flavolineata (Apidae, Meliponini).

The attraction of sexual partners is a vital necessity among insects, and it involves conflict of interests and complex communication systems among male and female. In this study, we investigated the developing of sexual attractiveness in virgin queens (i.e., gynes) of Melipona flavolineata, an eusocial stingless bee. We followed the development of sexual attractiveness in 64 gynes, belonging to seven age classes (0, 3, 6, 9, 15, 18 days post-emergence), and we also evaluated the effect of different social interactions (such as competition between queens and interactions with workers) on the development of attractiveness in other 60 gynes. We used the number of males that tried to mate with a focal gyne as a representative variable of its sexual attractiveness. During the essays, each gyne was individually presented to 10 sexually mature males, and during 3 min, we counted the number of males that everted their genitalia in response to the presence of a gyne. Here, we show that M. flavolineata gynes are capable to (i) maintain their sexual attractiveness for long periods through adult life, (ii) they need a minimum social interaction to trigger the development of sexual attractiveness, and (iii) that gynes express this trait only within a social context. We conclude that the effective occurrence of matings is conditional on potential social interactions that gynes experienced before taking the nuptial flight, when they are still in the nest. These findings bring insights into the factors determining reproductive success in social insects.

An estimated 400-800 million tons of prey are annually killed by the global spider community.

Spiders have been suspected to be one of the most important groups of natural enemies of insects worldwide. To document the impact of the global spider community as insect predators, we present estimates of the biomass of annually killed insect prey. Our estimates assessed with two different methods suggest that the annual prey kill of the global spider community is in the range of 400-800 million metric tons (fresh weight), with insects and collembolans composing >90% of the captured prey. This equals approximately 1‰ of the global terrestrial net primary production. Spiders associated with forests and grasslands account for >95% of the annual prey kill of the global spider community, whereas spiders in other habitats are rather insignificant contributors over a full year. The spider communities associated with annual crops contribute less than 2% to the global annual prey kill. This, however, can be partly explained by the fact that annual crop fields are "disturbed habitats" with a low buildup of spider biomass and that agrobiont spiders often only kill prey over short time periods in a year. Our estimates are supported by the published results of exclusion experiments, showing that the number of herbivorous/detritivorous insects and collembolans increased significantly after spider removal from experimental plots. The presented estimates of the global annual prey kill and the relative contribution of spider predation in different biomes improve the general understanding of spider ecology and provide a first assessment of the global impact of this very important predator group.

Temporal variation in size-assortative mating and male mate choice in a spider with amphisexual care.

Males should be more selective when they have a high investment in reproduction, especially in species with biparental or paternal care. In this context, male mate choice can promote size-assortative mating (SAM) when (1) large males win intrasexual disputes, (2) large females are more fecund, and (3) males prefer larger females to smaller ones. In the spider Manogea porracea, males exhibit high reproductive investment by building their webs above those of females and exhibiting extended care of offspring in the absence of females. Under these circumstances, we expect the occurrence of SAM and male preference for large females. Herein, we performed observations and experiments in the field to evaluate the hypotheses that (1) M. porracea mates assortatively by size and (2) SAM is influenced by male mate choice. Furthermore, we measured variables that could affect mating patterns, the sex ratios, and densities of both sexes. Pairing in M. porracea was positively size-assortative in 2012, but not in 2013. Large males won most disputes for mates and preferred larger females, which produced more eggs. The inconsistency in detection of SAM was due to population dynamics, namely variations in sex ratio and population density across the breeding season. Furthermore, we found that the significance of male mate choice on sexual selection of body size in M. porracea strongly depends on the competition intensity for mating opportunities. The traditional sexual selection hypothesis of SAM needs to be reviewed and must include measures of competition intensity.

Firewalls in bee nests-survival value of propolis walls of wild Cape honeybee (Apis mellifera capensis).

The Cape bee is endemic to the winter rainfall region of South Africa where fires are an integral part of the ecology of the fynbos (heathland) vegetation. Of the 37 wild nests in pristine Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos in the Cape Point section of Table Mountain National Park that have been analyzed so far, only 22 could be accessed sufficiently to determine the existence of a propolis wall of which 68% had propolis walls which entirely enclosed their openings. The analysis of the 37 wild nests revealed that 78% occurred under boulders or in clefts within rocks, 11% in the ground, 8% in tree cavities, and 3% within shrubs. The analysis of 17 of these nests following a fire within the park revealed that the propolis walls materially protected the nests and retarded the fire with all the colonies surviving. The bees responded to the smoke by imbibing honey and retreating to the furthest recess of their nest cavity. The bees were required to utilize this honey for about 3 weeks after which fire-loving plants appeared and began flowering. Considerable resources were utilized in the construction of the propolis walls, which ranged in thickness from 1.5 to 40 mm (mean 5 mm). Its physical environment determines the nesting behavior of the Cape bee. The prolific use of propolis serves to insulate the nest from extremes of temperature and humidity, restricts entry, camouflages the nest, and acts as an effective fire barrier protecting nests established mostly under rocks in vegetation subjected to periodic fires.

The first direct evidence of a Late Devonian coelacanth fish feeding on conodont animals.

We describe the first known occurrence of a Devonian coelacanth specimen from the lower Famennian of the Holy Cross Mountains, Poland, with a conodont element preserved in its digestive tract. A small spiral and phosphatic coprolite (fossil excrement) containing numerous conodont elements and other unrecognized remains was also found in the same deposits. The coprolite is tentatively attributed to the coelacanth. Although it is unclear whether the Late Devonian coelacanth from Poland was an active predator or a scavenger, these finds provide the first direct evidence of feeding on conodont animals by early coelacanth fish, and one of the few evidences of feeding on these animals known to date. It also expands our knowledge about the diet and trophic relations between the Paleozoic marine animals in general.

Intracerebroventricular administration of the (1→6)-β-d-glucan (lasiodiplodan) in male rats prevents d-penicillamine-induced behavioral alterations and lipoperoxidation in the cortex.

Lasiodiplodan, an exocellular (1→6)-β-d-glucan of molecular weight >1.4 × 10(6) Da produced by MMPI strain of Lasiodiplodia theobromae (Pat.) Griffon & Maubl. (Brotyosphaeriaceae) is known to exhibit anti-proliferative activity on breast cancer cells (MCF-7), anticoagulant activity when sulfonylated, and reduction in transaminase activity when administered in rats.

Awareness of food nutritive value and eating practices among Nigerian bank workers: Implications for nutritional counseling and education.

Adequate nutrition is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle for all individuals, including bank staff. The objective of this study was to investigate the awareness of food nutritive value and eating practices among bank workers in Lagos State, Nigeria.The study adopted a cross-sectional descriptive survey design. A purposive sample of 250 bank workers took part in the study. Means and Student t tests were employed for data analysis.Results showed that bank workers were aware of the nutritive value of foods, and that eating practices commonly adopted included skipping breakfast, eating breakfast at work, buying food at work from the bank canteen, eating in between meals, buying snacks as lunch, and consuming soft drinks daily, among others. There were no significant differences between male and female bank workers in mean responses on food nutritive value or in eating practices adopted.Good eating habits will help bank workers not only to improve their nutritional well-being, but also to prevent nutrition-related diseases. The implications for nutritional counseling and education are discussed in the context of these findings.

The choosing of sleeping position in the overnight aggregation by the solitary bees Amegilla florea urens in Iriomote Island of Japan.

In addition to the process of joining the sleeping aggregation, the choice of sleeping position is an important night-time behaviour of small diurnal insects because of the increased risk for predator attacks as well as bad weather. The aggregation behaviour of the solitary bee Amegilla florea urens was investigated to elucidate the choice of sleeping position on substrates. Male and female constructed single-sex aggregations on hanging leaves during May and June, respectively. Most individuals tended to form aggregations with other individuals while few individuals slept alone. During the aggregation forming, both the number of individuals that tried to join the aggregation and the completion time of aggregation increased with the number of sleeping individuals, whereas the success rate of joining was unaffected. The sleeping positions of subsequent arrivals on the substrates were higher than those of the first arrivals in female aggregations. Therefore, the first female to arrive tended to be located near the bottom of a hanging substrate. Dissecting sleeping females showed that they contained mature oocytes, indicating that sexually mature individuals formed aggregations. In male aggregations, however, we could not find a clear relationship between the position on substrates and the arrival sequence. We suggest that the purpose for sleeping in aggregations might be a dilution effect for nocturnal predation and that the females that finished both nesting and foraging quickly could choose the optimal positions in the aggregation when they arrived on the sleeping substrates.

Association Between Dietary Factors and Mortality From Heart Disease, Stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes in the United States.

In the United States, national associations of individual dietary factors with specific cardiometabolic diseases are not well established.

Attributing Death to Diet: Precision Counts.

Effect of Insulin on Visuo-Spatial Memory and Histology of Cerebral Cortex in the Presence or Absence of Nitric Oxide Inhibition.

Insulin has emerged from its traditional 'peripheral' glucose-lowering function to become increasingly regarded as a brain hormone that controls a wide range of functions including learning and memory. Insulin action on learning and memory is linked to nitric oxide (NO) signalling, but its effects on memory and histology of cerebral cortex in conditions of varied NO availability is unclear. This research sought to determine the effect of insulin on visuo-spatial learning, memory and histology of cerebral cortex during NO deficiency. Twenty-four mice weighing 21-23 g, were divided into four groups (n = 6) and treated daily for seven days with 0.2 ml distilled water subcutaneously (s.c.) (control), 10 I.U/kg insulin s.c., 10 I.U/kg insulin + 50 mg/kg L-NAME intraperitoneally (i.p.), and 50 mg/kg i.p. L-NAME s.c., respectively. The 3-day MWM paradigm was used to assess memory. Brain tissue was examined for histological changes. There was no significant difference between day 1 and day 2 latencies for all the groups. The mice in all (but L-NAME) groups spent more time in the target quadrant, and the difference was significant within but not between groups. There was significant reduction in number of platform site crossings (4.83 ± 0.5, 0.67 ± 0.3, 0.50 ± 0.3 and 0.50 ± 0.3 for control, insulin, insulin+L-NAME and L-NAME groups, respectively) in all the groups compared to control. Normal histology of the cortex and absence of histological lesions were observed in brain slides of control and treatment groups. It was concluded that insulin administration impairs visuo-spatial memory to a greater extent in the presence of NO block, and to a lesser extent in the absence of NO block. Nitric oxide has a role in insulin-induced memory impairment. Insulin administration in the presence or absence of NO block had no effect on histology of cortex.

Effect of Low Dose Lead (Pb) Administration on Tail Immersion Test and Formalin-induced Pain in Wistar Rats: Possible Modulatory Role of Cobalt (II) Chloride.

Lead (Pb) is cheap and there is a long tradition of its use, but its toxic effects have also been recognized. There is increased public health concern regarding the hazards of low dose Pb exposure to adults and children. Studies have shown the risks for hypertension, decrements in renal function, subtle decline in cognitive function, and adverse reproductive outcome at low blood Pb level. In this study, the possible modulatory role of cobalt (II) chloride (CoCl2) on low level Pb exposure on tail immersion test and formalin induced pain was investigated. Twenty adult Wistar rats of both sexes (weight 150g to 200g) were used. The animals were divided into four groups (n = 5) and administered Pb (5mg/kg), Pb (5mg/kg) + CoCl2 (50mg/kg) and CoCl2 (50mg/kg) orally for twenty-eight days. The last group served as control and were given distilled water only. In the tail immersion test, there was no significant change in reaction time for all three groups when compared to the control. In the formalin-induced pain, pain score after five and forty-five minutes also do not show significant change for all the three groups when compared to control. This work suggested that exposure to 5mg/kg Pb for twenty-eight days do not significantly impair reaction time in tail immersion test and pain score in formalin induced pain in Wistar rats. Also, administration of 50mg/kg CoCl2 do not improve performance of the animals in the experiments.

Repeated Acute Oral Exposure to Cannabis sativa Impaired Neurocognitive Behaviours and Cortico-hippocampal Architectonics in Wistar Rats.

The most abused illicit drug in both the developing and the developed world is Cannabis disposing users to varying forms of personality disorders. However, the effects of cannabis on cortico-hippocampal architecture and cognitive behaviours still remain elusive.  The present study investigated the neuro-cognitive implications of oral cannabis use in rats. Eighteen adult Wistar rats were randomly grouped to three. Saline was administered to the control rats, cannabis (20 mg/kg) to the experimental group I, while Scopolamine (1 mg/kg. ip) was administered to the last group as a standard measure for the cannabis induced cognitive impairment. All treatments lasted for seven consecutive days. Open Field Test (OFT) was used to assess locomotor activities, Elevated Plus Maze (EPM) for anxiety-like behaviour, and Y maze paradigm for spatial memory and data subjected to ANOVA and T test respectively. Thereafter, rats were sacrificed and brains removed for histopathological studies. Cannabis significantly reduced rearing frequencies in the OFT and EPM, and increased freezing period in the OFT. It also reduced percentage alternation similar to scopolamine in the Y maze, and these effects were coupled with alterations in the cortico-hippocampal neuronal architectures. These results point to the detrimental impacts of cannabis on cortico-hippocampal neuronal architecture and morphology, and consequently cognitive deficits.

Neurobehavioral Deficits in Progressive Experimental Hydrocephalus in Neonatal Rats.

Hydrocephalus is usually associated with functional deficits which can be assessed by neurobehavioral tests. This study characterizes the neurobehavioral deficits occurring with increasing duration and severity of ventriculomegaly in an experimental neonatal hydrocephalic rat model. Hydrocephalus was induced in three weeks old albino rats by intracisternal injection of kaolin while controls received sterile water injection. They were sacrificed in batches at one, four and eight weeks post-injection after neurobehavioral tests (forelimb grip strength, open field and Morris water maze tests) were performed. The hydrocephalic rats were also categorized into mild, moderate and severe hydrocephalus based on ventricular size. The indices of muscular strength and vertical movements in severely hydrocephalic rats were 28.05 ± 5.19 seconds and 7.29 ± 2.71 rearings respectively, compared to controls (75.68 ± 8.58 seconds and 17.09 ± 1.25 rearings respectively). At eight weeks, vertical movements were significantly reduced in hydrocephalic rats compared to controls (3.14 ± 1.3 vs 13 ± 4.11 rearings). At one week, indices of learning and memory were significantly reduced in hydrocephalic rats, compared to controls (0.89±0.31 vs 3.88±1.01 crossings), but at 8 weeks, the indices were similar (2.56 ± 0.41 vs 3.33 ± 0.71 crossings). Untreated hydrocephalus is accompanied by decline in motor functions which increase with duration and severity of ventriculomegaly. However, cognitive deficits appear to partially recover.

Characterization of 6-methoxyflavanone as a novel anxiolytic agent: A behavioral and pharmacokinetic approach.

Benzodiazepines are regularly prescribed for treatment of anxiety though there are side effects. Flavonoids have selective affinity for GABAA receptors implicated in anxiolytic-like activity in rodents, but are devoid of the unwanted side effects of benzodiazepines. In this study, 6-methoxyflavanone (6-MeOF), a positive allosteric modulator of γ-amino butyric acid (GABA) responses at human recombinant GABAA receptors, was evaluated for its behavioral profile in the elevated plus-maze as well as the staircase- plus and open-field tests in mice. In addition, the distribution of 6-MeOF in selected brain areas involved in anxiety (amygdala and cerebral cortex) was also examined using a validated high performance liquid chromatography ultraviolet detection (HPLC/UV) method. 6-MeOF (10, 30 and 50mg/kg) exerted an anxiolytic-like effect, increasing entries and time spent in the open arm and the central platform, as well as head-dipping frequency in the mouse elevated plus-maze assay. It also decreased rearing incidence without suppressing the number of steps ascended in the staircase test. Whereas, in the open-field anxiety test, 6-MeOF had no effect on locomotor activity at lower doses, a decrease was observed at the highest dose (100mg/kg). 6-MeOF additionally produced an anxiolytic-like increase in the time spent at the center of the open-field apparatus. These effects were preferentially antagonized by pentylenetetrazole (15mg/kg). Furthermore, pharmacokinetic studies disclosed a rapid appearance of 6-MeOF in the plasma and discrete brain areas. Taken together, our findings suggest that 6-MeOF readily crosses the blood brain barrier (BBB) generating anxiolytic activity, mediated through the GABAergic system.

The Role of the Melatoninergic System in Light-Entrained Behavior of Mice.

The role of endogenous melatonin for the control of the circadian system under entrained conditions and for the determination of the chronotype is still poorly understood. Mice with deletions in the melatoninergic system (melatonin deficiency or the lack of melatonin receptors, respectively) do not display any obvious defects in either their spontaneous (circadian) or entrained (diurnal) rhythmic behavior. However, there are effects that can be detected by analyzing the periodicity of the locomotor behaviors in some detail. We found that melatonin-deficient mice (C57Bl), as well as melatonin-proficient C3H mice that lack the melatonin receptors (MT) 1 and 2 (C3H MT1,2 KO), reproduce their diurnal locomotor rhythms with significantly less accuracy than mice with an intact melatoninergic system. However, their respective chronotypes remained unaltered. These results show that one function of the endogenous melatoninergic system might be to stabilize internal rhythms under conditions of a steady entrainment, while it has no effects on the chronotype.

Spontaneous magnetic alignment behaviour in free-living lizards.

Several species of vertebrates exhibit spontaneous longitudinal body axis alignment relative to the Earth's magnetic field (i.e., magnetic alignment) while they are performing different behavioural tasks. Since magnetoreception is still not fully understood, studying magnetic alignment provides evidence for magnetoreception and broadens current knowledge of magnetic sense in animals. Furthermore, magnetic alignment widens the roles of magnetic sensitivity in animals and may contribute to shed new light on magnetoreception. In this context, spontaneous alignment in two species of lacertid lizards (Podarcis muralis and Podarcis lilfordi) during basking periods was monitored. Alignments in 255 P. muralis and 456 P. lilfordi were measured over a 5-year period. The possible influence of the sun's position (i.e., altitude and azimuth) and geomagnetic field values corresponding to the moment in which a particular lizard was observed on lizards' body axis orientation was evaluated. Both species exhibited a highly significant bimodal orientation along the north-northeast and south-southwest magnetic axis. The evidence from this study suggests that free-living lacertid lizards exhibit magnetic alignment behaviour, since their body alignments cannot be explained by an effect of the sun's position. On the contrary, lizard orientations were significantly correlated with geomagnetic field values at the time of each observation. We suggest that this behaviour might provide lizards with a constant directional reference while they are sun basking. This directional reference might improve their mental map of space to accomplish efficient escape behaviour. This study is the first to provide spontaneous magnetic alignment behaviour in free-living reptiles.

A test of the nest sanitation hypothesis for the evolution of foreign egg rejection in an avian brood parasite rejecter host species.

Hosts of avian brood parasites have evolved diverse defenses to avoid the costs associated with raising brood parasite nestlings. In egg ejection, the host recognizes and removes foreign eggs laid in its nest. Nest sanitation, a behavior similar in motor pattern to egg ejection, has been proposed repeatedly as a potential pre-adaptation to egg ejection. Here, we separately placed blue 3D-printed, brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) eggs known to elicit interindividual variation in ejection responses and semi-natural leaves into American robins' (Turdus migratorius) nests to test proximate predictions that (1) rejecter hosts should sanitize debris from nests more frequently and consistently than accepter hosts and (2) hosts that sanitize their nests of debris prior to the presentation of a foreign egg will be more likely to eject the foreign egg. Egg ejection responses were highly repeatable within individuals yet variable between them, but were not influenced by prior exposure to debris, nor related to sanitation tendencies as a whole, because nearly all individuals sanitized their nests. Additionally, we collected published data for eight different host species to test for a potential positive correlation between sanitation and egg ejection. We found no significant correlation between nest sanitation and egg ejection rates; however, our comparative analysis was limited to a sample size of 8, and we advise that more data from additional species are necessary to properly address interspecific tests of the pre-adaptation hypothesis. In lack of support for the nest sanitation hypothesis, our study suggests that, within individuals, foreign egg ejection is distinct from nest sanitation tendencies, and sanitation and foreign egg ejection may not correlate across species.

Cashew Nut Positioning during Stone Tool Use by Wild Bearded Capuchin Monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus).

Wild capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) at Serra da Capivara National Park, Brazil, regularly use stone tools to break open cashew nuts (Anacardium spp.). Here we examine 2 approaches used by the capuchins to position the kidney-shaped cashew nuts on an anvil before striking with a stone tool. Lateral positioning involves placing the nut on its flatter, more stable side, therefore requiring less attention from the monkey during placement. However, the less stable and never previously described arched position, in which the nut is balanced with its curved side uppermost, requires less force to crack the outer shell. We observed cashew nut cracking in a field experimental setting. Only 6 of 20 adults, of both sexes, were observed to deliberately place cashew nuts in an arched position, which may indicate that the technique requires time and experience to learn. We also found that use of the arched position with dry nuts, but not fresh, required, in 63% of the time, an initial processing to remove one of the cashew nut lobes, creating a more stable base for the arch. This relatively rare behaviour appears to have a complex ontogeny, but further studies are required to establish the extent to which social learning is involved.

Remarkable vocal identity in wild-living mother and neonate saiga antelopes: a specialization for breeding in huge aggregations?

Saiga antelopes Saiga tatarica tatarica give birth in large aggregations, and offspring follow the herd soon after birth. Herding is advantageous as anti-predator strategy; however, communication between mothers and neonates is strongly complicated in large aggregations. Individual series of nasal and oral contact calls of mother and neonate saiga antelopes were selected from recordings made with automated recording systems placed near the hiding neonates on the saiga breeding grounds in Northern Kazakhstan during synchronized parturitions of 30,000 calving females. We used for comparison of the acoustic structure of nasal and oral contact calls 168 nasal calls of 18 mothers, 192 oral calls of 21 mothers, 78 nasal calls of 16 neonates, and 197 oral calls of 22 neonates. In the oral calls of either mothers or neonates, formant frequencies were higher and the duration was longer than in the nasal calls, whereas fundamental frequencies did not differ between oral and nasal calls. Discriminant function analysis (DFA) based on six acoustic variables, accurately classified individual identity for 99.4% of oral calls of 18 mothers, for 89.3% of nasal calls of 18 mothers, and for 94.4% of oral calls of 18 neonates. The average value of correct classification to individual was higher in mother oral than in mother nasal calls and in mother oral calls than in neonate oral calls; no significant difference was observed between mother nasal and neonate oral calls. Variables mainly responsible for vocal identity were the fundamental frequency and the second and third formants in either mothers or neonates, and in either nasal or oral calls. The high vocal identity of mothers and neonates suggests a powerful potential for the mutual mother-offspring recognition in dense aggregations of saiga antelopes as an important component of their survival strategy.

Age and Environment Influences on Mouse Prion Disease Progression: Behavioral Changes and Morphometry and Stereology of Hippocampal Astrocytes.

Because enriched environment (EE) and exercise increase and aging decreases immune response, we hypothesized that environmental enrichment and aging will, respectively, delay and increase prion disease progression. Mice dorsal striatum received bilateral stereotaxic intracerebral injections of normal or ME7 prion infected mouse brain homogenates. After behavior analysis, animals were euthanized and their brains processed for astrocyte GFAP immunolabeling. Our analysis related to the environmental influence are limited to young adult mice, whereas age influence refers to aged mice raised on standard cages. Burrowing activity began to reduce in ME7-SE two weeks before ME7-EE, while no changes were apparent in ME7 aged mice (ME7-A). Object placement recognition was impaired in ME7-SE, NBH-A, and ME7-A but normal in all other groups. Object identity recognition was impaired in ME7-A. Cluster analysis revealed two morphological families of astrocytes in NBH-SE animals, three in NBH-A and ME7-A, and four in NBH-EE, ME7-SE, and ME7-EE. As compared with control groups, astrocytes from DG and CA3 prion-diseased animals show significant numerical and morphological differences and environmental enrichment did not reverse these changes but induced different morphological changes in GFAP+ hippocampal astroglia. We suggest that environmental enrichment and aging delayed hippocampal-dependent behavioral and neuropathological signs of disease progression.

Evidence of Placentophagia and Mother-Infant Cannibalism in Free-Ranging Macaca mulatta tcheliensis in Mount Taihangshan, Jiyuan, China.

Placentophagia or the consumption of the afterbirth is reported in many primate species, whereas cannibalism is a relatively rare event. Based on our field observations over the course of 3 years, we present evidence of placentophagia and mother-infant cannibalism in a free-ranging population of the Taihangshan macaque, Macaca mulatta tcheliensis, in the Mt. Taihangshan area, Jiyuan, Henan, China. We documented 1 case in which a mother consumed the afterbirth of her infant. In a second instance, we observed a fresh placenta discarded on the ground by an unknown individual. We also present a description of the first documented instance of mother-infant cannibalism in the same group of free-ranging rhesus macaques.

Repeatability and consistency of individual behaviour in juvenile and adult Eurasian harvest mice.

Knowledge on animal personality has provided new insights into evolutionary biology and animal ecology, as behavioural types have been shown to affect fitness. Animal personality is characterized by repeatable and consistent between-individual behavioural differences throughout time and across different situations. Behavioural repeatability within life history stages and consistency between life history stages should be checked for the independence of sex and age, as recent data have shown that males and females in some species may differ in the repeatability of behavioural traits, as well as in their consistency. We measured the repeatability and consistency of three behavioural and one cognitive traits in juvenile and adult Eurasian harvest mice (Micromys minutus). We found that exploration, activity and boldness were repeatable in juveniles and adults. Spatial recognition measured in a Y Maze was only repeatable in adult mice. Exploration, activity and boldness were consistent before and after maturation, as well as before and after first sexual contact. Data on spatial recognition provided little evidence for consistency. Further, we found some evidence for a litter effect on behaviours by comparing different linear mixed models. We concluded that harvest mice express animal personality traits as behaviours were repeatable across sexes and consistent across life history stages. The tested cognitive trait showed low repeatability and was less consistent across life history stages. Given the rising interest in individual variation in cognitive performance, and in its relationship to animal personality, we suggest that it is important to gather more data on the repeatability and consistency of cognitive traits.