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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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The costs of mischoosing are not uniform across individuals

The costs of mischoosing are not uniform across individuals

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Matching habitat choice is a particular form of habitat selection based on self-assessment of local performance that offers individuals a means to optimize the match of phenotype to the environment. Despite the advantages of this mechanism in terms of increased local adaptation, examples from natural populations are extremely rare. One possible reason for the apparent rarity of matching habitat choice is that it might be manifest only in those segments of a population for which the cost of a phenotype–environment mismatch is high. To test this hypothesis, a breeding population of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) exposed to size-dependent predation risk by bears was used, and the costs of mischoosing in discrete groups (e.g. male versus females, and ocean-age 2 versus ocean-age 3) was evaluated using reproductive life span as a measure of individual performance. Bear preference for larger fish, especially in shallow water, translates into a performance trade-off that sockeye salmon can potentially use to guide their settlement decisions. Consistent with matching habitat choice, we found that salmon of similar ocean-age and size tended to cluster together in sites of similar water depth. However, matching habitat choice was only favoured in 3-ocean females – the segment of the population most vulnerable to bear predation. This study illustrates the unequal relevance of matching habitat choice to different segments of a population, and suggests that ‘partial matching habitat choice' could have resulted in an underestimation of the actual prevalence of this mechanism in nature. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Camacho & Hendry (2020) Matching habitat choice: it's not for everyone. Oikos DOI 10.1111/oik.06932


https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/oik.06932