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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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Tent roosting may have driven the evolution of yellow skin coloration in Stenodermatinae bats

Tent roosting may have driven the evolution of yellow skin coloration in Stenodermatinae bats

The recent discovery of the first mammal that deposits significant amounts of carotenoid pigments in the skin (the Honduran white bat Ectophylla alba) has highlighted the presence of conspicuous yellow coloration in the bare skin of some bats. This is patent in the subfamily Stenodermatinae, where many species build tents with plant leaves for communal roosting at daytime. On the basis that tents offer rich light conditions by partly allowing sunlight to pass through the leaves and this makes that yellow coloration probably provides camouflage benefits to tent?roosting bats; that gregariousness facilitates visual communication; and that all Stenodermatinae bats possess retinal L?cones that allow the perception of long?wavelength light and have a frugivorous diet from which carotenoids are obtained, authors hypothesized that tent?roosting may have driven the evolution of yellow skin coloration in this group of bats. This prediction was tested in 71 species within Stenodermatinae. Reconstructions of ancestral states showed that the common ancestor was most likely not colorful and did not roost in tents, but both traits early appeared in the first phylogenetic ramification. Phylogenetically controlled analyses showed that, as predicted, yellow skin coloration and tent?roosting coevolved after their appearance. This is the first explanation for the evolution of body coloration in nocturnal mammals. As the light environment of nocturnal forests is dominated by yellow?green wavelengths that coincide with the spectral sensitivity of some bats, nocturnal light conditions may have acted jointly with diurnal light conditions in tents to favor the evolution of yellow skin coloration in these animals. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Galván et al (2019) Tent-roosting may have driven the evolution of yellow skin coloration in Stenodermatinae bats. J Zool Syst Evol Res https://doi.org/10.1111/jzs.12329


https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jzs.12329