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Army ant invasion of leatherback nests in Gabon

Egg mortality is one of the main factors affecting life history and conservation of oviparous species. A massive and cryptic colonisation of many leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) eggs is presented in the most important rookery for the species in Gabon. A total of 163 nests were exhumed at Kingere beach, revealing that only 16.7% of eggs produced hatchlings. In the 59% of the nests, more than half of the eggs were dead and attacked by invertebrates and 94% had at least one egg affected by invertebrates. The rate of eggs and SAGs (yolkless eggs) affected by invertebrates within a clutch ranged from 0% to 100%, with an average proportion of 39% and 52%, respectively. The most common invertebrates interacting with the eggs were ghost crabs and insects that affected 51% and 82% of the nests, respectively. Crab and insect co-occurred in 33% of the affected nests. Ants, identified as Dorylus spininodis (Emery 1901) were found in 56% of the excavated nests. However, it was not possible to determine if the ants predated alive eggs or scavenged dead eggs. Very often, hundreds of ants were found drowned within dead eggs. Termites and other invertebrates were associated with the clutch environment and identified as opportunistic feeders, being this is the first record of interaction between termites and sea turtle eggs. An unusual ecological interaction within the leatherback clutches between termites and ants was found in 11% of the nests. The abrupt transition between the soil forest and the beach might be favouring a thriving microbial and invertebrate activity in the sand profile that colonises the nests. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Ikaran et al (2020) Cryptic massive nest colonisation by ants and termites in the world's largest leatherback turtle rookery Ethol Ecol Evol 2020. Doi 10.1080/03949370.2020.1715487


https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03949370.2020.1715487
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A novel system for ranking and comparing the impacts of introduced species

A novel system for ranking and comparing the impacts of introduced species

Many alien taxa are known to cause socio-economic impacts by affecting the different constituents of human well-being (security; material and immaterial assets; health; social, spiritual and cultural relations; freedom of choice and action). Attempts to quantify socio-economic impacts in monetary terms are unlikely to provide a useful basis for evaluating and comparing impacts of alien taxa because they are notoriously difficult to measure and important aspects of human well-being are excluded or ignored. A novel standardised method for classifying alien taxa in terms of the magnitude of their impacts on human well-being is proposed, based on the capability approach from welfare economics. The core characteristic of this approach is that it uses changes in people's activities as a common metric for evaluating impacts on well-being. Impacts are assigned to one of five levels, from Minimal Concern to Massive, according to semi-quantitative scenarios that describe the severity of the impacts. Taxa are then classified according to the highest level of deleterious impact that they have been recorded to cause on any constituent of human well-being. The scheme also includes categories for taxa that are Not Evaluated, have No Alien Population, or are Data Deficient, and a method for assigning uncertainty to all the classifications. To demonstrate the utility of the system, impacts of amphibians were globally classified. These showed a variety of impacts on human wellbeing, with the cane toad (Rhinella marina) scoring Major impacts. For most species, however, no studies reporting impacts on human well-being were found, i.e. these species were Data Deficient. The classification provides a consistent procedure for translating the broad range of measures and types of impact into ranked levels of socioeconomic impact, assigns alien taxa on the basis of the best available evidence of their documented deleterious impacts, and is applicable across taxa and at a range of spatial scales. The system was designed to align closely with the Environmental Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (EICAT) and the Red List, both of which have been adopted by the International Union of Nature Conservation (IUCN), and could therefore be readily integrated into international practices. Methods in Ecology and Evolution Doi 10.1111/2041-210X.12844


http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/2041-210X.12844/full