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A timeline for the urbanization of wild birds: The case of the lesser kestrel

The Lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) evolved as a separate species in the Old-World kestrel radiation starting in the late Miocene. Given that the first cities were erected in the Holocene, this urban colonial raptor has only become a major town dweller recently in its evolutionary history. Today, more than 95% of lesser kestrel colonies in Spain and other Mediterranean countries are on buildings, and the remaining few are on rocky outcrops, that may have been the original nesting substrate for this cavity-nesting bird. Lesser kestrel fossils are well represented in cave sites, and their paleontological distribution, spanning from the Early Paleolithic to the Epipaleolithic, agrees well with its current breeding distribution. According to classical sources, such as the works of Columella and Pliny the Elder, and the presence of a skeletal remain in a Roman villa near Madrid, lesser kestrels may have nested in buildings and in urban settings for at least 2000e2500 years. However, there are no surviving colonies in structures older than 1400 years in Andalusia, nor in Spain. For a sample of 349 colonies on ancient buildings, a majority of the structures had been erected between the 15th and 17th centuries, this putting a time limit of about 300-600 years to the existence of those seemingly immemorial colonies. For specific towns and buildings, written references for the presence of lesser kestrel colonies do not go back more than two centuries. In fact, the Cathedral of Sevilla may be the structure with the longest continuous occupation by lesser kestrels recorded up to present time, from 1834 to 2020. Lesser kestrels were possibly too common in human settlements in the past as to be noted as special. This may explain the scarcity of references to the species until the 19th century. In any case, the same lack of information affects the other major Eurasian urban birds, as no timeline exist for the urbanization process of any other bird species. Here authors propose that lesser kestrels became urban breeders when both adequate cavities in buildings and cereal fields, where they capture their invertebrate prey, became available in their breeding range, several millennia ago. However, urban colonies, in contrast with the ones on stable geological substrates, have been forced to move from building to building when older ones became ruinous or were rebuilt, but new structures with suitable cavities became available throughout History. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Negro et al (2020) A timeline for the urbanization of wild birds: The case of the lesser kestrel. Quaternary Sci Rev https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106638


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379120306004?via%3Dihub
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The life cycle of an alien boatman

The life cycle of an alien boatman

Trichocorixa verticalis (Corixidae) is native to North America but is well established as an alien in the Western Mediterranean region, where it is invasive in permanent coastal wetlands with high salinities. The annual cycle and generation time of T. verticalis was investigated in the introduced range in south-west Spain, through a combination of field surveys and laboratory experiments. Field surveys were conducted on a monthly basis over one year in three saline fish ponds in Doñana and four hypersaline salt ponds in the Odiel marshes. Adults were present all year round, whereas nymphs were only absent in August, when temperatures and salinities were high. Adult sex ratios were idiosyncratic and often male- or female- biased for a given location and month. Adults were smaller during summer months. Laboratory experiments revealed an oviposition rate of 11.5 eggs per day and a generation time of about 54 days from egg to adult, suggesting T. verticalis may complete around six generations per year in permanent wetlands. A combination of a high oviposition rate and continuous reproduction throughout the year give T. verticalis an advantage over native corixid competitors (Sigara spp) and appear to explain the success of this alien aquatic insect. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Céspedes et al (2018) The life cycle of the alien boatman Trichocorixa verticalis (Hemiptera, Corixidae) in saline and hypersaline wetlands of south-west Spain. Hydrobiol DOI 0.1007/s10750-018-3782-x


https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10750-018-3782-x