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Argentine ants harm nestlings of the blue tit

The consequences of ant invasions on ecosystems may only become apparent after long periods. In addition, predicting how sensitive native fauna will respond is only possible if the underlying proximate mechanisms of their impact are identified. The attraction of the native and invasive ant community to artificial bird nests was studied, together with reproduction of a wild native songbird over five consecutive breeding seasons in relation to the presence of an invasive ant species. Biometric, reproductive and individual blood parameters of great tits Parus major breeding in invaded as compared to uninvaded sites by Argentine ants Linepithema humile were analysed. Great tits bred preferably in uninvaded territories by the Argentine ant. Moreover, Argentine ants were more abundant at nests in invaded sites, than any native ant species were at uninvaded sites. Further, Argentine ants recruited at the artificial nests more intensively and responded to a larger variety of nest (intact eggs, cracked eggs, faeces, and cracked eggs plus faeces) contents than native species. Although breeding success and adult condition did not vary in relation to invasion status, offspring quality was negatively affected by the presence of Argentine ants. Nestlings reared in invaded sites were lighter, with lower wing/tarsus length ratio and had a reduced nutritional condition and altered oxidative stress balance as measured from several blood parameters. The interspersed distribution and small distance between invaded versus uninvaded territories suggest that ant presence affects nestling condition through direct interference at the nest. These results highlight the importance of evaluating the proximate effects like physiological parameters of the native fauna, when studying invasive ant-native bird interactions. informacion[at] Álvarez et al (2020) Breeding consequences for a songbird nesting in Argentine ant' invaded land. Biol Invasions
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Aedes vittatus in Spain: current distribution, barcoding characterization and potential role as a vector of human diseases

Aedes vittatus in Spain: current distribution, barcoding characterization and potential role as a vector of human diseases

Aedes vittatus is currently found in Africa, Asia and Europe, where it acts as a vector of pathogens causing animal and human diseases. Like other Aedes species, Ae. vittatus is able to breed in artificial containers. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has recently highlighted the need for molecular tools (i.e. barcoding characterization) that enable Aedes species to be identified in entomological surveys. Mosquito larvae and adults were sampled in southern Spain using molecular approach to amplify and sequence a fragment of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene (barcoding region) of the mosquitoes. The blast comparison of the mosquito sequences isolated from Spain with those deposited in public databases provided a ? 99% similarity with sequences for two Aedes mosquitoes, Ae. vittatus and Ae. cogilli, while similarities with other Aedes species were ? 94%. Aedes cogilli is only present in India and there are no records of this species from Europe. Due to the low genetic differences between Ae. vittatus and Ae. cogilli, the barcoding region should not be used as the only method for identifying Ae. vittatus, especially in areas where both of these Aedes species are present. This type of analysis should thus be combined with morphological identification using available keys and/or the characterization of other molecular markers. In addition, further entomological surveys should be conducted in order to identify the fine-scale distribution of this mosquito species in Europe. informacion[at] Alazne Díez-Fernández et al (2018) Aedes vittatus in Spain: current distribution, barcoding characterization and potential role as a vector of human diseases. Parasites Vector DOI: 10.1186/s13071-018-2879-4