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Behavior, Animal - Top 30 Publications

The Importance of Breakfast in Atherosclerosis Disease: Insights From the PESA Study.

Daily habits, including the number and quality of eating occasions, are potential targets for primary prevention strategies with large health impacts. Skipping breakfast is considered a frequent and unhealthy habit associated with an increased cardiovascular (CV) risk.

Bisphenol S Alters the Lactating Mammary Gland and Nursing Behaviors in Mice Exposed During Pregnancy and Lactation.

High doses of estrogenic pharmaceuticals were once prescribed to women to halt lactation. Yet, the effects of low-level xenoestrogens on lactation remain poorly studied. We investigated the effects of bisphenol S (BPS), an estrogen receptor (ER) agonist, on the lactating mammary gland; the arcuate nucleus, a region of the hypothalamus important for neuroendocrine control of lactational behaviors; and nursing behavior in CD-1 mice. Female mice were exposed to vehicle, 2 or 200 µg BPS/kg/d from pregnancy day 9 until lactational day (LD) 20, and tissues were collected on LD21. Tissues were also collected from a second group at LD2. BPS exposure significantly reduced the fraction of the mammary gland comprised of lobules, the milk-producing units, on LD21, but not LD2. BPS also altered expression of Esr1 and ERα in the mammary gland at LD21, consistent with early involution. In the arcuate nucleus, no changes were observed in expression of signal transducer and activator of transcription 5, a marker of prolactin signaling, or ERα, suggesting that BPS may act directly on the mammary gland. However, observations of nursing behavior collected during the lactational period revealed stage-specific effects on both pup and maternal nursing behaviors; BPS-treated dams spent significantly more time nursing later in the lactational period, and BPS-treated pups were less likely to initiate nursing. Pup growth and development were also stunted. These data indicate that low doses of BPS can alter lactational behaviors and the maternal mammary gland. Together, they support the hypothesis that pregnancy and lactation are sensitive to low-dose xenoestrogen exposures.

Changes in Diet Quality and Total and Cause-Specific Mortality.

Changes in Diet Quality and Total and Cause-Specific Mortality.

Chronic cerebral hypoperfusion: a key mechanism leading to vascular cognitive impairment and dementia. Closing the translational gap between rodent models and human vascular cognitive impairment and dementia.

Increasing evidence suggests that vascular risk factors contribute to neurodegeneration, cognitive impairment and dementia. While there is considerable overlap between features of vascular cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID) and Alzheimer's disease (AD), it appears that cerebral hypoperfusion is the common underlying pathophysiological mechanism which is a major contributor to cognitive decline and degenerative processes leading to dementia. Sustained cerebral hypoperfusion is suggested to be the cause of white matter attenuation, a key feature common to both AD and dementia associated with cerebral small vessel disease (SVD). White matter changes increase the risk for stroke, dementia and disability. A major gap has been the lack of mechanistic insights into the evolution and progress of VCID. However, this gap is closing with the recent refinement of rodent models which replicate chronic cerebral hypoperfusion. In this review, we discuss the relevance and advantages of these models in elucidating the pathogenesis of VCID and explore the interplay between hypoperfusion and the deposition of amyloid β (Aβ) protein, as it relates to AD. We use examples of our recent investigations to illustrate the utility of the model in preclinical testing of candidate drugs and lifestyle factors. We propose that the use of such models is necessary for tackling the urgently needed translational gap from preclinical models to clinical treatments.

Superb feeding behavior of Aedes albopictus transmitting Zika virus.

Disease-mediated mosquitoes have been receiving much attention, as the World Health Organization recently declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency. Mosquitoes transmit pathogens that cause various tropical diseases including malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever as well as Zika virus. The vector efficiency of mosquitoes depends on their blood-feeding characteristics and the mechanics of their blood-sucking pump system, but only a few studies have attempted to investigate these key issues. In this study, we demonstrate the rapid and gluttonous liquid-feeding characteristics of Ae. albopictus which transmits Zika virus can be explained by similar proportion of two blood-sucking pumps and accelerated liquid intake driven by fast expanding of pumps. Our results provide insight into the vector efficiency of Ae. albopictus in terms of feeding velocity, pumping frequency, liquid-intake rate, and wall shear stress.

Use of rhodamine B to mark the body and seminal fluid of male Aedes aegypti for mark-release-recapture experiments and estimating efficacy of sterile male releases.

Recent interest in male-based sterile insect technique (SIT) and incompatible insect technique (IIT) to control Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus populations has revealed the need for an economical, rapid diagnostic tool for determining dispersion and mating success of sterilized males in the wild. Previous reports from other insects indicated rhodamine B, a thiol-reactive fluorescent dye, administered via sugar-feeding can be used to stain the body tissue and seminal fluid of insects. Here, we report on the adaptation of this technique for male Ae. aegypti to allow for rapid assessment of competitiveness (mating success) during field releases.

Changes in Diet Quality and Total and Cause-Specific Mortality.

Changes in Diet Quality and Total and Cause-Specific Mortality.

Development of rat female genital cortex and control of female puberty by sexual touch.

Rat somatosensory cortex contains a large sexually monomorphic genital representation. Genital cortex undergoes an unusual 2-fold expansion during puberty. Here, we investigate genital cortex development and female rat sexual maturation. Ovariectomies and estradiol injections suggested sex hormones cause the pubertal genital cortex expansion but not its maintenance at adult size. Genital cortex expanded by thalamic afferents invading surrounding dysgranular cortex. Genital touch was a dominant factor driving female sexual maturation. Raising female rats in contact with adult males promoted genital cortex expansion, whereas contact to adult females or nontactile (audio-visual-olfactory) male cues did not. Genital touch imposed by human experimenters powerfully advanced female genital cortex development and sexual maturation. Long-term blocking of genital cortex by tetrodotoxin in pubescent females housed with males prevented genital cortex expansion and decelerated vaginal opening. Sex hormones, sexual experience, and neural activity shape genital cortex, which contributes to the puberty promoting effects of sexual touch.

Factors affecting breastfeeding adherence among Chinese mothers: A multicenter study.

Breastfeeding is beneficial for both infant and mother, but discontinuation of breastfeeding is very common.To investigate maternal breastfeeding intention and the rate of breastfeeding based on the theory of reasoned action, and analyze the predominant factors associated with breastfeeding and breastfeeding problems.This observational study was conducted in 3 hospitals. Three researchers recruited women at 3 time points in the hospitals: initial documentation of pregnancy at the outpatient department, prenatal admission, and postpartum discharge. SPSS version 21 was used for statistical analyses. Significance was set at P < .05. In the multivariate analysis, binary logistic regression was used and odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated.We recruited 1260 women, with 420 pregnant women at each time point. 55.1% of the infants were exclusively breastfed, 40.6% were mixed fed, and 4.3% were formula fed when discharged from hospital. A total of 53.8% of the mothers declared having breastfeeding problems. The multivariate analysis showed that nonsuccessful breastfeeding was associated with neonatal birth length, food intake before breastfeeding, infrequent sucking, the intention of breastfeeding, understanding level of the benefits of breastfeeding and that breastfeeding problems were related with the understanding level of the benefits of breastfeeding, neonatal birth length, normal vaginal delivery, breast size, the experience of breastfeeding, use of pacifier and the needs of family member's support in breastfeeding.Most mothers who intended to practice exclusive breastfeeding initially chose to add formula and had breastfeeding problems when discharged from hospital. Successful breastfeeding depends on antenatal and postnatal breastfeeding education and on support provided by healthcare professionals.

Is It Me or My Hormones? Neuroendocrine Activation Profiles to Visual Food Stimuli Across the Menstrual Cycle.

Homeostatic energy balance is controlled via the hypothalamus, whereas regions controlling reward and cognitive decision-making are critical for hedonic eating. Eating varies across the menstrual cycle peaking at the midluteal phase.

Whole-Cell Recording of Neuronal Membrane Potential during Behavior.

Neuronal membrane potential is of fundamental importance for the mechanistic understanding of brain function. This review discusses progress in whole-cell patch-clamp recordings for low-noise measurement of neuronal membrane potential in awake behaving animals. Whole-cell recordings can be combined with two-photon microscopy to target fluorescently labeled neurons, revealing cell-type-specific membrane potential dynamics of retrogradely or genetically labeled neurons. Dual whole-cell recordings reveal behavioral modulation of membrane potential synchrony and properties of synaptic transmission in vivo. Optogenetic manipulations are also readily integrated with whole-cell recordings, providing detailed information about the effect of specific perturbations on the membrane potential of diverse types of neurons. Exciting developments for future behavioral experiments include dendritic whole-cell recordings and imaging, and use of the whole-cell recording pipette for single-cell delivery of drugs and DNA, as well as RNA expression profiling. Whole-cell recordings therefore offer unique opportunities for investigating the neuronal circuits and synaptic mechanisms driving membrane potential dynamics during behavior.

Lateralized behaviour as indicator of affective state in dairy cows.

In humans, there is evidence that sensory processing of novel or threatening stimuli is right hemisphere dominated, especially in people experiencing negative affective states. There is also evidence for similar lateralization in a number of non-human animal species. Here we investigate whether this is also the case in domestic cattle that may experience long-term negative states due to commonly occurring conditions such as lameness. Health and welfare implications associated with pain in lame cows are a major concern in dairy farming. Behavioural tests combining animal behaviour and cognition could make a meaningful contribution to our understanding of disease-related changes in sensory processing in animals, and consequently enhance their welfare. We presented 216 lactating Holstein-Friesian cows with three different unfamiliar objects which were placed either bilaterally (e.g. two yellow party balloons, two black/white checkerboards) or hung centrally (a Kong™) within a familiar area. Cows were individually exposed to the objects on three consecutive days, and their viewing preference/eye use, exploration behaviour/nostril use, and stop position during approach was assessed. Mobility (lameness) was repeatedly scored during the testing period. Overall, a bias to view the right rather than the left object was found at initial presentation of the bilateral objects. More cows also explored the right object rather than the left object with their nose. There was a trend for cows appearing hesitant in approaching the objects by stopping at a distance to them, to then explore the left object rather than the right. In contrast, cows that approached the objects directly had a greater tendency to contact the right object. No significant preference in right or left eye/nostril use was found when cows explored the centrally-located object. We found no relationship between lameness and lateralized behaviour. Nevertheless, observed trends suggesting that lateralized behaviour in response to bilaterally located unfamiliar objects may reflect an immediate affective response are discussed. Further study is needed to understand the impact of long-term affective states on hemispheric dominance and lateralized behaviour.

Linking extreme interannual changes in prey availability to foraging behaviour and breeding investment in a marine predator, the macaroni penguin.

Understanding the mechanisms that link prey availability to predator behaviour and population change is central to projecting how a species may respond to future environmental pressures. We documented the behavioural responses and breeding investment of macaroni penguins Eudyptes chrysolophus across five breeding seasons where local prey density changed by five-fold; from very low to highly abundant. When prey availability was low, foraging trips were significantly longer and extended overnight. Birds also foraged farther from the colony, potentially in order to reach more distant foraging grounds and allow for increased search times. These extended foraging trips were also linked to a marked decrease in fledgling weights, most likely associated with reduced rates of provisioning. Furthermore, by comparing our results with previous work on this population, it appears that lowered first-year survival rates associated, at least partially, with fledging masses were also evident for this cohort. This study integrates a unique set of prey density, predator behaviour and predator breeding investment data to highlight a possible behavioural mechanism linking perturbations in prey availability to population demography.

Sex differences in the herding styles of working sheepdogs and their handlers.

Working sheepdog trials test the attributes of dogs as well as the dogmanship and stockmanship skills of handlers. They generally include standard elements such as outrun, lift, fetch, drive, shed, pen and single to test all facets of the work that dogs perform on a farm. While both male and female handlers participate, these trials are traditionally dominated by male handlers. Both male and female dogs compete on equal terms within the same events. Drawing data from files (n = 60) downloaded from YouTube, the current study explores whether behaviours of dogs and their handlers during sheepdog trials differ between handler gender and dog sex at different levels of competition. It compared the stalking, crouching, chasing and stationary behaviours of dogs in open (n = 28 dogs: 10 females, 18 males) and not-open trials (n = 32 dogs: 20 females, 12 males). The dogs in this study had male (n = 38) and female (n = 22) handlers, whose movement and use of vocal cues and arm elevations were also compared. However, the small sample size and limitations of these videos as a data source should be noted before the results are generalised to the broader field of working-dog behaviour. The results of an REstricted Maximum Likelihood test showed that male handlers spent, on average, significantly more time in the fetch and drive elements than female handlers, but this difference between sexes was present only in not-open events (mean time to Fetch, female handler = 44.07s, male handler = 124.00s, P<0.001, mean time to Drive, female handler = 95.8s, male handler = 152.4, P = 0.010). This may suggest that female handlers of less experienced dogs are better at the early training of these elements. The results showed that male dogs spent more time stationary than female dogs, but only in open competition (male dog predicted mean 6.17s, P = 0.014). Revealing differences between men/women, and between dogs/bitches in this context may identify pairings that complement each other and improve selection, training and handling of working dogs. It is also hoped that ultimately, it will lead to improved welfare for dogs and the livestock with which they interact.

Social interactions promote adaptive resource defense in ants.

Social insects vigorously defend their nests against con- and heterospecific competitors. Collective defense is also seen at highly profitable food sources. Aggressive responses are elicited or promoted by several means of communication, e.g. alarm pheromones and other chemical markings. In this study, we demonstrate that the social environment and interactions among colony members (nestmates) modulates the propensity to engage in aggressive behavior and therefore plays an important role in allocating workers to a defense task. We kept Formica rufa workers in groups or isolated for different time spans and then tested their aggressiveness in one-on-one encounters with other ants. In groups of more than 20 workers that are freely interacting, individuals are aggressive in one-on-one encounters with non-nestmates, whereas aggressiveness of isolated workers decreases with increasing isolation time. We conclude that ants foraging collectively and interacting frequently, e.g. along foraging trails and at profitable food sources, remain in a social context and thereby maintain high aggressiveness against potential competitors. Our results suggest that the nestmate recognition system can be utilized at remote sites for an adaptive and flexible tuning of the response against competitors.

Chronic social defeat induces long-term behavioral depression of aggressive motivation in an invertebrate model system.

Losing a fight against a conspecific male (social defeat) induces a period of suppressed aggressiveness and general behaviour, often with symptoms common to human psychiatric disorders. Agonistic experience is also discussed as a potential cause of consistent, behavioral differences between individuals (animal "personality"). In non-mammals, however, the impact of single agonistic encounters typically last only hours, but then again studies of repeated intermittent defeat (chronic social defeat) are seldom. We report the effect of chronic social defeat in adult male crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus), for which all known behavioral effects of defeat last only 3 h. Firstly, after 48 h social isolation, crickets that experienced 5 defeats at 24 h intervals against the same, weight-matched opponent exhibited suppressed aggressiveness lasting >24 h, which was still evident when the animals were matched against an unfamiliar opponent at the last trial. Secondly, this longer-term depression of aggression also occurred in 48 h isolated crickets that lost 6 fights at 1 h intervals against unfamiliar opponents at each trial. Thirdly, crickets isolated as larvae until adult maturity (>16 days) were significantly more aggressive, and less variable in their aggressiveness at their very first fight than 48 h isolates, and also significantly more resilient to the effects of chronic social defeat. We conclude that losing an aggressive encounter in crickets has a residual effect, lasting at least 24 h, that accumulates when repeated defeats are experienced, and leads to a prolonged depression of aggressive motivation in subordinates. Furthermore, our data indicate that social interactions between young adults and possibly larvae can have even longer, possibly lifelong influences on subsequent behavior. Social subjugation is thus likely to be a prime determinant of inter-individual behavioral differences in crickets. Our work also opens new avenues for investigating proximate mechanisms underlying depression-like phenomena.

Geostatistical Characterization of Cereal Leaf Beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) Distributions in Wheat.

A 3-yr study was conducted in wheat, Triticum aestivum L., in South Carolina to characterize the spatial distribution of Oulema melanopus (L.) adults, eggs, and larvae using semivariograms, which provides a measure of spatial dependence among sampling data. Moran's I coefficients for peak densities of each life stage indicated significant positive autocorrelation for seven (two for eggs, one for larvae, and four for adults) of the 16 datasets. Aggregation was detected in 13 of these 16 datasets when analyzed by semivariogram modeling, with spherical, Gaussian, and exponential models best fitting for eight, four, and one dataset, respectively, and with models for two datasets having only one parameter (nugget) significantly different from zero. The nugget-to-sill ratios ranged from 0.043 to 0.774, and indicated strong spatial dependence in six models (three for adults, two for eggs, and one for larvae), moderate spatial dependence in six models (three for adults and six for eggs), and weak spatial dependence in one model (adults). Range values varied from 39.1 m to 234.1 m, with an average of 120.1 ± 14.0 m. Average range values were 104.9, 135.2, and 161.2 m for adults, eggs, and larvae, respectively. Because the majority of semivariogram models in our study indicated aggregated distributions, spatial sampling will provide more information than nonspatial random sampling. Developing our understanding of spatial dependence of crop pests is needed to optimize sampling plans and can provide a basis for exploring site-specific management tactics.

Calling Behavior, Copulation Time, and Reproductive Compatibility of Corn-Strain Fall Armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) From Populations in Mexico.

The calling behavior, mating time, and the reproductive compatibility of virgin adults of fall armyworms, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith), were studied in this work. Larvae were collected on maize (Zea mays L.) from six states located on the Pacific coast (Chiapas, Michoacán, and Sinaloa), on the Gulf of Mexico (Veracruz and Yucatan), and in central Mexico (Morelos). Before the experiments, insects were reared under laboratory conditions for one generation. We recorded the age at which females called for the first time, the onset time of calling, the duration of calling, the onset time of copulation, and the duration of copulation. The calling rhythms of the six populations were dissimilar. Females from all populations began to call in the second or third scotophase. The time for onset of calling and the duration of calling were significantly different among the S. frugiperda populations studied. Spodoptera frugiperda pairs from Sinaloa, Veracruz, Yucatan, and Morelos started to copulate earlier than the pairs from Chiapas and Michoacán. Pairs from Veracruz and Yucatan copulated longer than those from Michoacán, Morelos, Chiapas, and Sinaloa. Our crossing experiment using females and males from the six populations showed that individuals from different populations could copulate and produce fertile offspring. Thus, although the S. frugiperda populations showed variability in the timing of reproduction, the populations were not reproductively incompatible, which indicated that geographic distance has not led to reproductive isolation in corn-strain populations of S. frugiperda in Mexico.

Within-Plant Distribution and Susceptibility of Hazelnut Cultivars to Mikomya coryli (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae).

The Mikomya coryli (Kieffer) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) is widespread in Europe and the most important cecidomyiid pest of hazelnut. Within-plant distribution, susceptibility of 18 Turkish hazelnut cultivars ('Acı,' 'Allahverdi,' 'Çakıldak,' 'Cavcava,' 'Foşa,' 'İncekara,' 'Kalınkara,' 'Kan,' 'Karafindık,' 'Kargalak,' 'Kuş,' 'Mincane,' 'Palaz,' 'Sivri,' 'Tombul,' 'Uzunmusa,' 'Yassı Badem,' and 'Yuvarlak Badem'), and the phenology of larvae of this pest in hazelnut leaves and involucres were assessed in 2014 and 2015 in Giresun (Turkey). Mikomya coryli distribution differed significantly within different parts of the hazelnut plant. The highest gall numbers of M. coryli were found in the middle part (0.70-1.40 m) of the plant in both years. Total gall numbers varied between years: 1,779 and 2,588 galls were counted in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Susceptibility to M. coryli damage varied significantly among the cultivars. The highest leaf gall densities and total numbers of galls were found on leaves and involucres of Allahverdi, Yuvaklak Badem, and Yassı Badem cultivars in both years. Mikomya coryli larvae were detected between April and June in the leaf galls. The number of larvae in the involucres changed between April and mid-June. Results of the within-plant distribution, M. coryli larval phenology, and cultivar pest-susceptibility analyses are presented to enable effective control of the pest as a part of hazelnut integrated pest management.

Susceptibility, Oviposition Preference, and Biology of Grapholita molesta (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) in Prunus Spp. Rootstock Genotypes.

Studying the susceptibility of peach trees to Grapholita molesta (Busck) is one of the major steps in the development of pest-resistant peach varieties. This work evaluated the susceptibility of 55 genotypes of the "Prunus Rootstock Collection" ("Coleção Porta-enxerto de Prunus") of Embrapa Temperate Climate (Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) to the natural infestation of G. molesta, assessed the oviposition preference of G. molesta in choice and no-choice bioassays, and estimated the biological parameters and the fertility life table on different Prunus spp. genotypes in the laboratory. Genotypes Prunus kansuensis (Rehder), I-67-52-9, and I-67-52-4 were the most susceptible to G. molesta infestation in the field (>60% of branches infested), while 'Sharpe' (Prunus angustifolia x Prunus spp.) and Prunus sellowii (Koehne) were the least infested (0% of branches infested). In choice and no-choice bioassays, G. molesta preferred to oviposit on P. kansuensis when compared with Sharpe. The Sharpe genotype also showed an antibiosis effect, resulting in negative effects on the fertility life table parameters when compared with the genotypes P. kansuensis and 'Capdeboscq.' The results found in the present study can provide information to initiate a long-term breeding program moving desired G. molesta resistance traits from the rootstock into the Prunus spp. cultivars.

The prolyl 4-hydroxylase inhibitor GSK360A decreases post-stroke brain injury and sensory, motor, and cognitive behavioral deficits.

There is interest in pharmacologic preconditioning for end-organ protection by targeting the HIF system. This can be accomplished by inhibition of prolyl 4-hydroxylase (PHD). GSK360A is an orally active PHD inhibitor that has been previously shown to protect the failing heart. We hypothesized that PHD inhibition can also protect the brain from injuries and resulting behavioral deficits that can occur as a result of surgery. Thus, our goal was to investigate the effect of pre-stroke surgery brain protection using a verified GSK360A PHD inhibition paradigm on post-stroke surgery outcomes. Vehicle or an established protective dose (30 mg/kg, p.o.) of GSK360A was administered to male Sprague-Dawley rats. Initially, GSK360A pharmacokinetics and organ distribution were determined, and then PHD-HIF pharmacodynamic markers were measured (i.e., to validate the pharmacological effects of the GSK360A administration regimen). Results obtained using this validated PHD dose-regimen indicated significant improvement by GSK360A (30mg/kg); administered at 18 and 5 hours prior to transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (stroke). GSK360A exposure and plasma, kidney and brain HIF-PHD pharmacodynamics endpoints (e.g., erythropoietin; EPO and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor; VEGF) were measured. GSK360A provided rapid exposure in plasma (7734 ng/ml), kidney (45-52% of plasma level) and brain (1-4% of plasma level), and increased kidney EPO mRNA (80-fold) and brain VEGF mRNA (2-fold). We also observed that GSK360A increased plasma EPO (300-fold) and VEGF (2-fold). Further assessments indicated that GSK360A reduced post-stroke surgery neurological deficits (47-64%), cognitive dysfunction (60-75%) and brain infarction (30%) 4 weeks later. Thus, PHD inhibition using GSK360A pretreatment produced long-term post-stroke brain protection and improved behavioral functioning. These data support PHD inhibition, specifically by GSK360A, as a potential strategy for pre-surgical use to reduce brain injury and functional decline due to surgery-related cerebral injury.

Maternal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response to foraging uncertainty: A model of individual vs. social allostasis and the "Superorganism Hypothesis".

Food insecurity is a major global contributor to developmental origins of adult disease. The allostatic load of maternal food uncertainty from variable foraging demand (VFD) activates corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) without eliciting hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activation measured on a group level. Individual homeostatic adaptations of the HPA axis may subserve second-order homeostasis, a process we provisionally term "social allostasis." We postulate that maternal food insecurity induces a "superorganism" state through coordination of individual HPA axis response.

Aphid secondary symbionts do not affect prey attractiveness to two species of predatory lady beetles.

Heritable symbionts have been found to mediate interactions between host species and their natural enemies in a variety of organisms. Aphids, their facultative symbionts, and their potential fitness effects have been particularly well-studied. For example, the aphid facultative symbiont Regiella can protect its host from infection from a fungal pathogen, and aphids with Hamiltonella are less likely to be parasitized by parasitic wasps. Recent work has also found there to be negative fitness effects for the larvae of two species of aphidophagous lady beetles that consumed aphids with facultative symbionts. In both species, larvae that consumed aphids with secondary symbionts were significantly less likely to survive to adulthood. In this study we tested whether adult Harmonia axyridis and Hippodamia convergens lady beetles avoided aphids with symbionts in a series of choice experiments. Adults of both lady beetle species were as likely to choose aphids with symbionts as those without, despite the potential negative fitness effects associated with consuming aphids with facultative symbionts. This may suggest that under natural conditions aphid secondary symbionts are not a significant source of selection for predatory lady beetles.

Cuckoo call adds another layer of deception.

Acoustic differentiation and behavioral response reveals cryptic species within Buergeria treefrogs (Anura, Rhacophoridae) from Taiwan.

Buergeria japonica is a widely distributed treefrog occurring from Ryukyu Archipelago to Taiwan. Across this wide distributional range, we combined molecular, acoustic, morphological, and behavioral characters to clarify the taxonomic status among these insular populations. Genetic differentiation in mitochondrial sequences indicated an over 16% divergence among two deeply divergent clades: Japanese clade distributes in Ryukyu Archipelago and northwestern drainages of Taiwan, while Taiwanese clade distributes in the remaining drainages on Taiwan. The Taiwanese clade can be distinguished from the nominative species not only by molecular and morphological differences, but also distinguishable by considerable acoustic differentiation, which is extraordinarily noticeable for an additional type of long call that never recorded from Japanese clade. The two clades form a parapatric distribution pattern with narrow contact zones both in western and eastern Taiwan. Playback experiments indicated that male frogs show significantly stronger defensiveness against conspecific calls rather than heterospecific calls, indicating that these signals play a crucial role in species recognition. Here we describe the Taiwanese clade as a new species; the behavioral response and the magnitude of gene flow across their contact zones are especially worth for detailed studies.

Automated recording of home cage activity and temperature of individual rats housed in social groups: The Rodent Big Brother project.

Measuring the activity and temperature of rats is commonly required in biomedical research. Conventional approaches necessitate single housing, which affects their behavior and wellbeing. We have used a subcutaneous radiofrequency identification (RFID) transponder to measure ambulatory activity and temperature of individual rats when group-housed in conventional, rack-mounted home cages. The transponder location and temperature is detected by a matrix of antennae in a baseplate under the cage. An infrared high-definition camera acquires side-view video of the cage and also enables automated detection of vertical activity. Validation studies showed that baseplate-derived ambulatory activity correlated well with manual tracking and with side-view whole-cage video pixel movement. This technology enables individual behavioral and temperature data to be acquired continuously from group-housed rats in their familiar, home cage environment. We demonstrate its ability to reliably detect naturally occurring behavioral effects, extending beyond the capabilities of routine observational tests and conventional monitoring equipment. It has numerous potential applications including safety pharmacology, toxicology, circadian biology, disease models and drug discovery.

Potential of pest regulation by insectivorous birds in Mediterranean woody crops.

Regulation of agricultural pests managing their natural enemies represents an alternative to chemical pesticides. We assessed the potential of insectivorous birds as pest regulators in woody crops located in central Spain. A total of 417 nest boxes installed in five field study sites (one vineyard, two fruit orchards, and two olive groves) were monitored for use and breeding of insectivorous birds and other species for four consecutive years (2013-2016). At all field sites except the two olive groves, where birds never occupied the nest boxes, predation experiments were conducted with Greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella) sentinel caterpillars, and food consumption by birds was estimated. Nesting of insectivorous birds, chiefly Great tit (Parus major), and sparrows (Passer domesticus and P. montanus) increased over time, averaging 60% per field site in the vineyard and fruit orchards by the fourth year. Use of nest boxes by sparrows and by Garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) was high at the fruit orchards (70%) and the vineyard (30%), respectively. Micro-habitat characteristics (nest box level) and meso-habitat characteristics (patch level) strongly affected use of nest boxes and bird breeding (i.e. number of laid eggs and produced chicks) in different years. Distance to natural or semi-natural vegetation did not consistently affect bird breeding, nor did we see consistent evidence of competition between adjacent breeding birds. Predation rates of sentinel caterpillars were approximately one-third higher near boxes with nesting birds (31.51 ± 43.13%) than at paired distant areas without nest boxes (22.45% ± 38.58%). Food consumption by insectivorous birds per ha and breeding season were conservatively estimated to range from 0.02 kg in one fruit orchard to 0.15 kg in the vineyard. We conclude that installation of nest boxes in Mediterranean woody crops enhances populations of insectivorous birds that regulate pests, but that the effects are moderate and highly context-dependent.

Red meat intake is positively associated with non-fatal acute myocardial infarction in the Costa Rica Heart Study.

The adverse effect of red meat consumption on the risk for CVD is a major population health concern, especially in developing Hispanic/Latino countries in which there are clear trends towards increased consumption. This population-based case-control study examined the associations between total, processed and unprocessed red meat intakes and non-fatal acute myocardial infarction (MI) in Costa Rica. The study included 2131 survivors of a first non-fatal acute MI and 2131 controls individually matched by age, sex and area of residence. Dietary intake was assessed with a FFQ. OR were estimated by using conditional logistic regression. Higher intakes of total and processed red meat were associated with increased odds of acute MI. The OR were 1·31 (95 % CI 1·04, 1·65) and 1·29 (95 % CI 1·01, 1·65) for the highest quintiles of total red meat (median: 110·8 g or 1 serving/d) and processed red meat intake (median: 36·1 g or 5 servings/week), respectively. There were increasing trends in the odds of acute MI with higher total (P trend=0·01) and processed (P trend=0·02) red meat intakes. Unprocessed red meat intake was not associated with increased odds of acute MI. Substitutions of 50 g of alternative foods (fish, milk, chicken without skin and chicken without fat) for 50 g of total, processed and unprocessed red meat were associated with lower odds of acute MI. The positive association between red meat intake and acute MI in Costa Rica highlights the importance of reducing red meat consumption in middle-income Hispanic/Latino populations.