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

Parasitoidism of host flies by parasitoid wasps in Spain

Parasitoidism of host flies by parasitoid wasps in Spain

Parasitoid wasps may act as hyperparasites and sometimes regulate the populations of their hosts by a top-down dynamic. Nasonia vitripennis  is a generalist gregarious parasitoid that parasitizes several host flies, including the blowfly Protocalliphora, which in turn parasitizes bird nestlings. Nonetheless, the ecological factors underlying N. vitripennis prevalence and parasitoidism intensity on its hosts in natural populations are poorly understood. The prevalence of N. vitripennis in Protocalliphora azurea puparia parasitizing wild populations of pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca and blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus birds was studied in two Mediterranean areas in central and southern Spain. Evidence was found that the prevalence of N. vitripennis was higher in moist habitats in southern Spain. A host-dependent effect was found, since the greater the number of P. azurea puparia, the greater the probability and rate of parasitoidism by the wasp. Results also suggest that N. vitripennis parasitizes more P. azurea puparia in blue tit nests than in pied flycatcher nests as a consequence of a higher load of these flies in the former. Based on the high prevalence of N. vitripennis in P. azurea puparia in nature, this study proposes that this wasp may regulate blowfly populations, with possible positive effects on the reproduction of both bird species. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Garrido-Bautista et al. (2019). Variation in parasitoidism of Protocalliphora azurea (Diptera: Calliphoridae) by Nasonia vitripennis (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae) in Spain. Parasitol Res http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00436-019-06553-x


https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00436-019-06553-x