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Argentine ants harm nestlings of the blue tit

The consequences of ant invasions on ecosystems may only become apparent after long periods. In addition, predicting how sensitive native fauna will respond is only possible if the underlying proximate mechanisms of their impact are identified. The attraction of the native and invasive ant community to artificial bird nests was studied, together with reproduction of a wild native songbird over five consecutive breeding seasons in relation to the presence of an invasive ant species. Biometric, reproductive and individual blood parameters of great tits Parus major breeding in invaded as compared to uninvaded sites by Argentine ants Linepithema humile were analysed. Great tits bred preferably in uninvaded territories by the Argentine ant. Moreover, Argentine ants were more abundant at nests in invaded sites, than any native ant species were at uninvaded sites. Further, Argentine ants recruited at the artificial nests more intensively and responded to a larger variety of nest (intact eggs, cracked eggs, faeces, and cracked eggs plus faeces) contents than native species. Although breeding success and adult condition did not vary in relation to invasion status, offspring quality was negatively affected by the presence of Argentine ants. Nestlings reared in invaded sites were lighter, with lower wing/tarsus length ratio and had a reduced nutritional condition and altered oxidative stress balance as measured from several blood parameters. The interspersed distribution and small distance between invaded versus uninvaded territories suggest that ant presence affects nestling condition through direct interference at the nest. These results highlight the importance of evaluating the proximate effects like physiological parameters of the native fauna, when studying invasive ant-native bird interactions. informacion[at] Álvarez et al (2020) Breeding consequences for a songbird nesting in Argentine ant' invaded land. Biol Invasions
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UV filters in wild bird eggs

UV filters in wild bird eggs

The present study uses bird eggs of seven wild species as a biomonitoring tool for sunscreens occurrence. Seven UV filters (UV-Fs), including 3 hydroxy-metabolites of oxybenzone (benzophenone 3, BP3) were characterized in unhatched eggs from Doñana Natural Space (Spain). High frequency of detection was observed for all UV-Fs, ranging from 95% to 100%. The oxybenzone metabolite 4-hydroxybenzophenone (4HB) was ubiquitous at concentrations in the range 12.0-3348 ng g-1 dry weight (dw). The parent compound, oxybenzone, was also present in all samples at lower concentrations (16.9-49.3 ng g-1 dw). Due to the three BP3's metabolites, benzophenone 1 (BP1), 4HB, and 4,4'-dihydroxybenzophenone (4DHB) presence in unhatched eggs, it can be inferred that parent compounds are absorbed into the bird through the upper gut and the OH-derivatives formed are transferred by the mother to the egg before the lying. White stork (Ciconia ciconia) and western marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus) were the most contaminated species, with mean total UV-Fs concentrations of 834 and 985 ng g-1 dw, respectively. Results evidenced that biomagnification process across the bird species studied cannot be ruled out. informacion[at] Molins-Delgado et al (2017) A potential new threat to wild life: presence of UV filters in bird eggs from a preserved area. Environ Sci Technol DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b03300