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

The effect of body size and habitat on the evolution of alarm vocalizations in rodents

The effect of body size and habitat on the evolution of alarm vocalizations in rodents

When confronted with a predator, many mammalian species emit vocalizations known as alarm calls. Vocal structure variation results from the interactive effects of different selective pressures and constraints affecting their production, transmission, and detection. Body size is an important morphological constraint influencing the lowest frequencies that an organism can produce. The acoustic environment influences signal degradation; low frequencies should be favoured in dense forests compared to more open habitats (i.e. the ‘acoustic adaptation hypothesis'). Such hypotheses have been mainly examined in birds, whereas the proximate and ultimate factors affecting vocalizations in nonprimate mammals have received less attention. In the present study, we investigated the relationships between the frequency of alarm calls, body mass, and habitat in 65 species of rodents. Although we found the expected negative relationship between call frequency and body mass, we found no significant differences in acoustic characteristics between closed and open-habitat species. The results of the present study show that the acoustic frequencies of alarm calls can provide reliable information about the size of a sender in this taxonomic group, although they generally do not support the acoustic adaptation hypothesis. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: García-Navas & Blumstein (2016). The effect of body size and habitat on the evolution of alarm vocalizations in rodents. Biol J Linn Soc DOI: 10.1111/bij.12789


http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bij.12789/abstract