News News

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
Average (0 Votes)

Latest News Latest News

Back

Avian eggshells coping with solar radiation

Avian eggshells coping with solar radiation

Solar radiation is an important driver of animal coloration, not only because of the effects of coloration on body temperature but also because coloration may protect from the deleterious effects of UV radiation. Indeed, dark coloration may protect from UV, but may increase the risk of overheating. In addition, the effect of coloration on thermoregulation should change with egg size, as smaller eggs have higher surface?volume ratios and greater convective coefficients than larger eggs, so that small eggs can dissipate heat quickly. To test whether the reflectance of eggshells, egg spottiness, and egg size of the ground?nesting Kentish plover Charadrius alexandrinus is affected by maximum ambient temperature and solar radiation at breeding sites, reflectance, both in the UV and human visible spectrum, spottiness, and egg size in photographs from a museum collection of plover eggshells were measured. Eggshells of lower reflectance (darker) were found at higher latitudes. However, in southern localities where solar radiation is very high, eggshells are also of dark coloration. Eggshell coloration had no significant relationship with ambient temperature. Spotiness was site?specific. Small eggs tended to be light?colored. Thermal constraints may drive the observed spatial variation in eggshell coloration, which may be lighter in lower latitudes to diminish the risk of overheating as a result of higher levels of solar radiation. However, in southern localities with very high levels of UV radiation, eggshells are of dark coloration likely to protect embryos from more intense UV radiation. Egg size exhibited variation in relation to coloration, likely through the effect of surface area?to?volume ratios on overheating and cooling rates of eggs. Therefore, differential effects of solar radiation on functions of coloration and size of eggshells may shape latitudinal variations in egg appearance in the Kentish plover. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Gómez et al (2018) Latitudinal variation in biophysical characteristics of avian eggshells to cope with differential effects of solar radiation. Ecol Evol Doi 10.1002/ece3.4335


https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ece3.4335