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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]ebd.csic.es: Álvarez et al (2020) Breeding consequences for a songbird nesting in Argentine ant' invaded land. Biol Invasions https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-020-02297-3


https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10530-020-02297-3
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Ducks as vectors of seed dispersal for a broad spectrum of plants

Ducks as vectors of seed dispersal for a broad spectrum of plants

Dabbling ducks have long been recognized as important vectors of dispersal for strictly aquatic plants. In terrestrial ecosystems they are widely assumed to be irrelevant. In this study we identified the plant species dispersed by seven duck species in Europe based on a comprehensive review of gut contents. 445 plant species from 189 genera and 57 families were identified. These plant species represent a wide range of wetland and terrestrial habitats, including almost the full range of site fertility, moisture and light conditions recorded for the European flora. They represent a wide range of dispersal syndromes, and most of these plants (62%) have not previously been considered as animal-dispersed in plant databases. Wetland plants make up only 40% of the dispersed species. Ducks feed opportunistically on a wide cross-section of plant species available across the landscapes they inhabit. Internal seed dispersal by dabbling ducks appears to be a major dispersal pathway for a far broader spectrum of plant species than previously considered. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Soons et al (2016) Seed dispersal by dabbling ducks: an overlooked dispersal pathway for a broad spectrum of plant species. J Ecol doi:10.1111/1365-2745.12531


http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2745.12531/full