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A new subspecies of Manx shearwater to the Canary Islands

The taxonomy of Procellariiformes, particularly petrels and shearwaters, is still unresolved. The Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus is one of the best studied seabirds worldwide. Most of the information known on this seabird is focused on the northern core populations where the species is abundant. However, the species shows a high number of peripheral populations, which are extremely small and difficult to study in comparison to central populations. Using an integrative approach, this studies provides significant evidence of phenological, morphological, acoustic, plumage colour, and genetic differentiation of the Canarian Manx shearwaters (the most southern population) from the northern breeding colonies, which is compatible with a long period of isolation. Birds from the Canary Islands breed around 2-3 months earlier, are smaller and lighter, and show darker underwing plumage than those from northern populations. In addition, Canarian call features are different from the northern populations. Finally, genetic analyses of the mitochondrial control region indicate an incipient genetic differentiation of Canarian Manx shearwaters from the other breeding populations. The Canarian population holds a small number of breeding colonies and it is declining, so accurate taxonomic recognition critically affects conservation efforts. For all the aforementioned reasons, the Canarian breeding population is proposed to rank as a new taxon by presenting the formal description of a new subspecies Puffinus puffinus canariensis ssp. nova (available at EBD-CSIC scientific collections). informacion[at] Rodriguez at al (2020) Cryptic differentiation in the Manx Shearwater hinders the identification of a new endemic subspecies. J Avian Biol Doi 10.1111/jav.02633
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High potential of Argentine ant to harm amphibian juveniles

High potential of Argentine ant to harm amphibian juveniles

Invasive species have major impacts on biodiversity and are one of the primary causes of amphibian decline and extinction. Unlike other top ant invaders that negatively affect larger fauna via chemical defensive compounds, the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) does not have a functional sting. Nonetheless, it deploys defensive compounds against competitors and adversaries. Levels of ant aggression toward 3 native terrestrial amphibians were estimated by challenging juveniles in field ant trails and in lab ant foraging arenas. The composition and quantities of toxin in L. humile were measured by analyzing pygidial glands and whole?body contents. The mechanisms of toxicity in juvenile amphibians were examined by quantifying the toxin in amphibian tissues, searching for histological damages, and calculating toxic doses for each amphibian species. To determine the potential scope of the threat to amphibians, global databases were used to estimate the number, ranges, and conservation status of terrestrial amphibian species with ranges that overlap those of L. humile. Juvenile amphibians co?occurring spatially and temporally with L. humile die when they encounter L. humile on an ant trail. In the lab, when a juvenile amphibian came in contact with L. humile the ants reacted quickly to spray pygidial?gland venom onto the juveniles. Iridomyrmecin was the toxic compound in the spray. Following absorption, it accumulated in brain, kidney, and liver tissue. Toxic dose for amphibian was species dependent. Worldwide, an estimated 817 terrestrial amphibian species overlap in range with L. humile, and 6.2% of them are classified as threatened. These findings highlight the high potential of L. humile venom to negatively affect amphibian juveniles and provide a basis for exploring the largely overlooked impacts this ant has in its wide invasive range. informacion[at] Álvarez-Blanco et al (2020) Effects of the Argentine ant venom on terrestrial amphibians. Conservation Biology DOI 10.1111/cobi.13604