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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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Trait evolution across the tree?of?life of freshwater macroinvertebrates

Trait evolution across the tree?of?life of freshwater macroinvertebrates

The rates of species and trait diversification vary across the Tree?of?Life and over time. Whereas species richness and clade age generally are decoupled, the correlation of accumulated trait diversity of clades (trait disparity) with clade age remains poorly explored. Total trait disparity may be coupled with clade age if the growth of disparity (disparification) within and across clades is continuous with time in an additive niche expansion process (linear?cumulative model), or alternatively if the rate of trait disparification varies over time and decreases as ecological space becomes gradually saturated (disparity?dependent model). Using a clock?calibrated phylogenetic tree for 143 freshwater macroinvertebrate families and richness and trait databases covering more than 6400 species, trait disparity in 18 independent clades that successively transitioned to freshwater ecosystems were measured and its relation with clade age was analyzed. A positive correlation between clade age and total disparity within clades was found, but no relationship for most individual traits. Traits unique to freshwater lifestyle were highly variable within older clades, while disparity in younger clades shifted towards partially terrestrial lifestyles and saline tolerance to occupy habitats previously inaccessible or underutilized. These results argue that constraints from incumbent lineages limit trait disparity in younger clades that evolved for filling unoccupied regions of the trait space, which suggests that trait disparification may follow a disparity?dependent model. Overall, an empirical pattern is provided that reveals the potential of the disparity?dependent model for understanding fundamental processes shaping trait dynamics across the Tree?of?Life. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Múrria et al (2018) Ecological constraints from incumbent clades drive trait evolution across the tree?of?life of freshwater macroinvertebrates. Ecography 41(7): 1049-1063 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1tEETP9G84 https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.02886


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