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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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Lifelong effects of trapping experience

Lifelong effects of trapping experience

Long-term monitoring of individually marked animals is usually required for reliable estimation of numerous life history parameters. However, capture, marking and manipulation can dramatically alter the animals' behaviour after capture, and thus affect subsequent recapture success. Here, a pied flycatcher population was used as an example to illustrate the sampling bias resulting from the repeated capture of free-ranging individuals. By using repeated measures of the same individuals obtained during our long-term survey, the interannual response of breeding adults to capture-related stress was specifically evaluated, measured as latency to enter nestboxes equipped with a swing-trap. Moreover, the changes in the mean and variance of bird age with varying trapping effort were examined using subsamples of the data set. Birds without any previous trapping experience entered nests more quickly than experienced ones, after controlling for other factors affecting latency, such as the sex, offspring quality and the order of capture relative to the other pair member. Birds' reluctance to enter the nest furthermore increased as the number of captures in previous years accumulated, implying that individual pied flycatchers became progressively more difficult to capture over the course of the study. These results indicate that repeated exposure to capture stress over an animal's lifetime may induce long-lasting behavioural modifications that may influence trappability of the older segments of the population. This may ultimately lead to sampling bias towards younger ages, especially when effort is limited. The study concludes that systematic age bias due to trapping experience can have important implications for the estimation of variation in a range of traits and should therefore be carefully checked in longitudinal studies. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Camacho et al (2017) Lifelong effects of trapping experience lead to age-biased sampling: lessons from a wild bird population.


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347217301938