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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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Reducing light-induced mortality of seabirds: High pressure sodium lights decrease the fatal attraction of shearwaters

Reducing light-induced mortality of seabirds: High pressure sodium lights decrease the fatal attraction of shearwaters

The use of artificial light at night and its ecological consequences are increasing around the world. Light pollution can lead to massive mortality episodes for nocturnally active petrels, one of the most threatened avian groups. Some fledglings can be attracted or disoriented by artificial light on their first flights. Studies testing the effect of artificial light characteristics on attractiveness to seabirds have not provided conclusive results and there is some urgency as some endangered petrel species experience high light-induced mortality. A field experiment to test the effect of three common outdoor lighting systems with different light spectra (high pressure sodium, metal halide and light emitting diode) on the number and the body condition of grounded fledglings of the short-tailed shearwater was designed. A total of 235 birds was grounded during 99 experimental hours (33 h for each treatment). 47% of birds was grounded when metal halide lights were on, while light emitting diode and high pressure sodium lights showed lower percentages of attraction (29% and 24%). No differences in body condition were detected among the birds grounded by the different lighting systems. The adoption of high pressure sodium lights (or with similar spectra) into petrel-friendly lighting designs together with other light mitigation measures such as light attenuation, lateral shielding to reduce spill and appropriate orientation are recommended. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Rodríguez et al (2017) Reducing light-induced mortality of seabirds: High pressure sodium lights decrease the fatal attraction of shearwaters. J Nature Conservation Doi 10.1016/j.jnc.2017.07.001


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1617138117300390