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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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BMS Spain: Annual Report 2017

BMS Spain: Annual Report 2017

BMS Spain is a butterfly monitoring program created in 2014 with the aim of creating a tool for studying the butterfly populations and their habitats of in Spain. Through monitoring, among others, population trends, phenological changes and the conservation status of species can be known. The large scale infrastructure of EBD-CSIC (ICTS-RBD) supports this initiative through its data platform. In 2017 the participants of this program, mostly volunteers, have been recording the presence of butterflies in a total of 76 transects during 12 visits to each one, on average. In total, 55,927 butterflies belonging to 176 species were counted in 12,506 sightings. The most abundant species was Melanargia lachesis with 2,697 individuals, while the highest number of individuals was registered in Garganta la Olla (Cáceres), being 4,238. Castelfrío (Teruel) was, as in 2016, most diverse area with 79 species. The average abundance, species richness, visits and average diversity were higher in 2017. informacion[at] Cancela et al (2018) Butterfly Monitoring Scheme España. Informe anual de 2017