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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]ebd.csic.es: Álvarez et al (2020) Breeding consequences for a songbird nesting in Argentine ant' invaded land. Biol Invasions https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-020-02297-3


https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10530-020-02297-3
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Cophylogenetic analyses reveal extensive host-shift speciation in a highly specialized and host-specific symbiont system

Cophylogenetic analyses reveal extensive host-shift speciation in a highly specialized and host-specific symbiont system

Host-shift speciation and cospeciation are the two major processes driving symbiont macroevolutionary diversification. Cospeciation is expected to be frequent in vertically transmitted and host-specific symbionts, and leads to congruent host-symbiont phylogenies. However, the cophylogenetic dynamics of many groups of highly specialized host-specific symbionts is largely unstudied. Thus, the relevance of cospeciation vs. host-shift speciation remains largely unknown. Here, this question is investigated by performing the largest cophylogenetic study of feather mites to date, using both distance and event-based cophylogenetic methods. For these analyses, phylogenies were inferred based on all protein coding genes of the mitochondrial genome of Proctophyllodes and Trouessartia feather mite species living on European passerine birds. Results show high incongruence among bird and feather mite phylogenies, because of extensive host-switching. This leads to the conclusion that host-shift speciation, rather than cospeciation, may be the main driver of symbiont diversification even for highly specialized symbionts with low host-switching potential. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Doña et al (2017) Cophylogenetic analyses reveal extensive host-shift speciation in a highly specialized and host-specific symbiont system. Mol  Phylogenet Evol Doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.08.005


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1055790317303536