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A captive breeding programme for the Fennoscandian Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus; syn. Alopex lagopus) failed due to fatal encephalitis. The aim of this study was to identify the causative agent. Viral nucleic acid was detected by PCR and in situ hybridization in the brain of affected foxes. The results suggest that a herpesvirus might be the causative agent. Whether this infection also occurs in free-living Arctic foxes is unknown. PMID:21546045
Widén, F; Sundström, E; Gavier-Widén, D; Berg, A L; Dillner, B; Berg, M
The gastrointestinal tracts of 254 arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) trapped or shot in Greenland, mainly during winter, were examined for the presence of food items. The occurrence of different food categories in the gastrointestinal tracts differed significantly between the geographical areas. Overall frequencies of occurrence of food categories were the following: berries (0 - 67%), seaweed (0 - 50%), other
Arcticfoxes (Alopex lagopus) were successfully immunized against rabies using an orally-administered, liquid SAD-BHK21 live virus vaccine in a sausage bait. Immunization was determined by serologic response and by resistance to challenge with an arctic rabies virus strain. Virus was not shed in saliva following oral vaccination, indicating that arctic foxes would not infect other foxes after ingesting this vaccine. High
Erich H. Follmann; Donald G. Ritter; George M. Baer
This study presents 137Cs muscle activity concentrations in Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) from Svalbard over a period of several years and discusses the transfer of 137Cs to Arctic foxes through likely predator–prey relationships. Mean 137Cs activity concentrations and 137Cs Tag values (per trapping season) ranged from 0.51±2.76 to 1.32±2.89Bq\\/kg (w.w.) and 5.1×10?4 to 1.3×10?3m2\\/kg, respectively. Mean concentration ratios of 137Cs
Two components of the transmission dynamics of Trichostrongylus tenuis in red grouse are examined and quantified, namely parasite transmission rate and density-dependent reductions in egg production. Age-intensity data for birds of known age suggest that the rate of parasite uptake increases during the first 6 mo of a bird's life and this increase reflects an increase in feeding rate with age and exhibits no signs of self-cure. Analysis of these age-intensity curves permits us to estimate the transmission rate of the free-living infective stages. Reinfection rates of adults treated to reduce parasite intensities were not significantly different from infection rates of naive immature grouse. Secondary infections continued to rise over a period of 18 mo and this suggests that there is no strong host-mediated response against the parasite. Any density-dependent reduction in parasite fecundity is probably very weak and would act through interspecific competition between parasites. Initial analysis of worm egg production in relation to the intensity of worm infection found weak evidence of density-dependent suppression of egg production at high worm intensities. However, a more rigorous analysis found that such a relationship suffered from Type I errors and was a consequence of the aggregated distribution of the parasites. Any density-dependent suppression of parasite egg production is too weak to be detected and would only occur at high worm intensities. The potential density-dependent reductions in fecundity on the population dynamics of T. tenuis and red grouse are examined using a mathematical model. The model suggests that the presence of density-dependent reductions in worm fecundity could produce significant reductions in the propensity of the grouse-nematode system to exhibit population cycles. The sustained cycles observed in the long-term dynamics of the grouse populations in the study area suggest that density-dependent reductions in worm fecundity and establishment are either absent or only operating at levels that are not detectable in field studies. PMID:9105295
Normal and rachitic, skeletally immature arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) were subjected to physical examination, roentgenographic studies, and in some cases histologic studies. The involved animals had active rickets coupled with antecedent normal diaphyseal bone formation. Evaluation of all the long bones showed highly variable manifestations of the disease, which undoubtedly reflect different rates of physeal endochondral transformation and metaphyseal remodeling. Histologic examination showed distinct patterns of widening of the physes and variable osteodystrophy in the trabecular and cortical bone of the metaphyses and epiphyseal ossification centers. These aforementioned factors certainly would necessitate different regional calcium needs and, therefore, different regional responses to an overall calcium deficiency. The physes involved in the most rapid growth rates in this period showed the most widening of the growth plate, and the most dystrophic changes in the metaphysis. Skeletal injuries, including metaphyseal fractures and slow-down of longitudinal growth (particularly in the ulna) were also evident. Because of apparent dietary differences in the affected and normal fox kits, this juvenile-onset disease was presumed due to calcium-deficient intake following weaning. To the best of our knowledge this is the first report of spontaneously occurring rickets in a wild animal in its natural habitat. There are several possible mechanisms for the variable widening of the physis and the loss of bone mineralization in these fox kits: calcium-deficient diet, binding of calcium in the bowel by high phosphorus intake, secondary hyperparathyroidism, and vitamin A toxicity.
Eleven skull and mandible dimensions were measured in arctic foxes, Alopex lagopus, from Fennoscandia, the Far East (Siberia), Baffin Island (Canada), Greenland, Jan Mayen and Svalbard (n=278), and comparisons with data from the literature were made, including samples from most parts of the species' circumpolar range. Significant differences between regions were found, notably Fennoscandian and Siberian foxes were larger than
Physical characteristics of arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) dens on Herschel Island and the Yukon Coastal Plain, Yukon Territory, Canada, are described. The preferred den habitat on Herschel Island is characterized by moderately eroded, sloping, gullied terrain, where foxes select sandy erosional mounds for denning. The preferred habitat on the Yukon Coastal Plain is fluvial landforms, where foxes select streamside cutbanks
The prevalence of Trichinella sp. in arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) from Svalbard was studied from 1983 to 1989. Diaphragms of 697 foxes were examined for larvae; 59 foxes (8.5%) were infected. The prevalence of Trich- indIa sp. increased from 4% in juveniles to 36% in foxes aged more than 6 years of age. There were no significant correlations when condition
Arctic fox Alopex lagopus dens in Norway are mostly large and well-defined structures of great age. Examinations of these dens have been used in surveys of the breeding and population status of the arctic fox in Fennoscandia. In this study, dens all over north Norway and in some parts of south Norway were surveyed (n=214), and several aspects of den
ABSTRACT. In this article physiological, behavioural and morphological adaptations by the arctic fox to low temperatures and food scarcity in winter are discussed. The arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) adapts to the low polar winter temperatures as a result of the excellent insulative properties of its fur. Among mammals, the arctic fox has the best insulative fur of all. The lower
Dominance relationships were studied in captive Arctic blue fox (Alopex lagopus) groups comprising adults (four males, five females) and juveniles (four males, five females). The results showed that Arctic blue foxes easily formed a social organization with an observable hierarchy, in which adults typically dominated over juveniles. Within the same age group, males usually dominated over females. Dominance correlated most
Natural populations of the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus, Canidae, Carnivora) differ drastically in their reproductive strategy. Coastal foxes, which depend on stable food resources, produce litters of moderate size. Inland foxes feed on small rodents, whose populations are characterized by cycling fluctuation. In the years with low food supply, inland fox populations have a very low rate of reproduction. In
TI Axenovich; IR Akberdin; SV Beketov; SN Kashtanov; IA Zakharov; PM Borodin
Cats are considered essential for the maintenance of Toxoplasma gondii in nature. However, T. gondii infection has been reported in arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) from the Svalbard high arctic archipelago where felids are virtually absent. To identify the potential source of T. gondii, we attempted to isolate and genetically characterize the parasite from arctic foxes in Svalbard. Eleven foxes were
Kristin Wear Prestrud; J. P. Dubey; Kjetil Åsbakk; Eva Fuglei; C. Su
Movements and home ranges of arctic foxes Alopex lagopus were studied in two regions of Svalbard by means of radio tracking (n= 17), ear tagging (n= 192) and visual observations. The movements of radio collared foxes were highly variable, and most foxes roamed over wide areas at least during periods of the year. Home range size was estimated for 11
Cats are considered essential for the maintenance of Toxoplasma gondii in nature. However, T. gondii infection has been reported in arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) from the Svalbard high arctic archipelago where felids are virtually absent. To identify the potential source of T. gondii, we attempted to ...
We studied pairing success in male rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) in northern Alaska to learn whether males obtaining more females possessed phenotypic traits that influenced female choice\\u000a directly, whether these traits permitted males to obtain territories favored by females, or whether both processes occurred.\\u000a The number of females per male varied from zero to three. Several male and territory traits
The bladderworm Pearsonema (syn Capillaria) plica affects domestic dogs and wild carnivores worldwide. A high prevalence in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) has been reported in many European countries. P. plica inhabits the lower urinary tract and is considered to be of low pathogenic significance in dogs mostly causing asymptomatic infections. However, a higher level of pathogenicity has been reported in foxes. A severe cystitis associated with numerous bladderworms was found in a captive arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) originating from the endangered Fennoscandian arctic fox population. To our knowledge this is the first description of P. plica infection in an arctic fox. PMID:20540788
During the 100-150 years since they were introduced to the Aleutian Islands, the Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) and Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) have extirpated native seabirds from most of the islands through predation. Burrow nesting species have been particularly affected. The Least Auklet (Aethia pusilla) is an abundant seabird species in the Aleutian Islands. The introduction of foxes and rats to many islands and the subsequent loss of seabirds have indirectly affected other characteristics of island ecosystems, such as soil nutrient levels, plant community composition, and predominant nutrient sources (terrestrial versus marine). This photograph originally appeared on the cover of Ecological Monographs (76:1) in February of 2006.
Molecular studies show that canid breeding systems are more complex than field data have sometimes sug- gested. For example, microsatellite DNA fingerprints of offspring and adults within their social group indicate that many canid species thought to form monogamous pairs engage in polygyny, polyandry, and plural breeding. In many areas, arc- tic foxes (Alopex lagopus (L., 1758)) are considered monogamous,
L. E. Carmichael; G. Szor; D. Berteaux; M. A. Giroux; C. Cameron; C. Strobeck
We tested the Raboral V-RG® recombinant oral rabies vaccine for its response in Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus), the reservoir of rabies virus in the circumpolar North. The vaccine, which is currently the only licensed oral rabies vaccine in the United States, induced a strong antibody response and protected foxes against a challenge of 500,000 mouse intracerebral lethal dose 50% of an Arctic rabies virus variant. However, one unvaccinated control fox survived challenge with rabies virus, either indicating a high resistance of Arctic foxes to rabies infection or a previous exposure that induced immunity. This preliminary study suggested that Raboral V-RG vaccine may be efficacious in Arctic foxes. PMID:22102679
Fruit-body expansion was studied in Coprinus lagopus (sensu Buller) following surgical procedures. Elongation occurred after denuding mushroom caps of essentially all peripheral scales. Young primordia (1 - 5 mm) failed to develop after vertical bisection. Older primordia (e.g. 10 mm) expanded 3 - 4 fold after vertical bisection or quadrisection, underwent autolysis and basidiospore production. An amorphous brown gel in the stripe lumen disappeared during development of bisected primordia. Stripes isolated from primordia expanded autonomously and exhibited negative geotropism when incubated upside down or when the stripe apex was removed. Displacement of charcoal particles dusted on intact stripes revealed the most active zone of expansion to be the upper mid-region of the stripe. Segmented stripes likewise showed most active elongation in the mid-region. Vertically bisected stripes also expanded. PMID:1238073
In order to characterize the biological activity of fox (Vulpes vulpes) interferon gamma(VuIFN-gamma), We have isolated the cDNA encoding arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) VuIFN-gamma. This cDNA encodes a 23 amino acid signal peptide and a 144 amino acid mature protein, which shares 99.8% or 99.4% for nucleotide identity with silver fox and canine, respectively, and 100% for amino acid identity. Expression of recombinant mature arctic fox interferon gamma (mVuIFN-gamma) in bacterial system was confirmed by SDS-PAGE and Western blotting analysis. Recombinant VuIFN-gamma showed higher antiviral activity against vesicular stomatitis virus in cultured Vero and MDCK by inhibiting virus induced cytopathic effect, In view of the immunomodulatory and antiviral activities of VuIFN-gamma, it may provide a basis for further research on antiviral therapy of recombinant VuIFN-gamma in economic animal practice. PMID:19160847
We investigated the impact from dietary OC (organochlorine) exposure and restricted feeding (emaciation) on bone mineral density (BMD; g hydroxy-apatite cm?2) in femoral, vertebrate, skull and baculum osteoid tissue from farmed Arctic blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus). For femur, also biomechanical properties during bending (displacement [mm], load [N], energy absorption [J] and stiffness [N\\/mm]) were measured. Sixteen foxes (EXP) were fed
Christian Sonne; Hans Wolkers; Frank F. Rigét; Jens-Erik Beck Jensen; Jenni Teilmann; Bjørn Munro Jenssen; Eva Fuglei; Øystein Ahlstrøm; Rune Dietz; Derek C. G. Muir; Even H. Jørgensen
The effects of persistent organic pollutants on renal and liver morphology in farmed arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) were studied under experimental conditions. Control animals received a diet containing pork (Sus scrofa) fat with low amounts of persistent organic pollutants, while the diet of the exposed animals contained whale blubber, 'naturally' contaminated with persistent organic pollutants. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and organochlorine pesticide (OCP) concentrations in the whale blubber were 488 and 395 ng/g wet weight, respectively. Animals were sacrificed and sampled when they were at their fattest (winter) as well as their lowest body weight (summer). The results show that PCB and OCP exposure causes renal (and probably also liver) lesions in arctic foxes. The prevalence of glomerular, tubular and interstitial lesions was significantly highest in the exposed group (chi-square: all p<0.05). The frequency of liver lesions (steatosis, intravascular granulocyte accumulations, interstitial cell infiltrations, lipid granulomas, portal fibrosis and bile duct hyperplasia) were also highest in the exposed group, although not significantly (chi-square: all p>0.05). The prevalence of lesions was not significantly different between lean (winter) and fat (summer) foxes for any of the lesions (chi-square: all p>0.05). We suggest that wild arctic foxes exposed to an environmental cocktail of persistent organic pollutants, such as PCBs and OCPs, in their natural diet are at risk for developing chronic kidney and liver damage. Whether such lesions may have an impact on age and health of the animals remains uncertain. PMID:18279914
This study investigated the physiological adaptations to fasting using the farmed blue fox (Alopex lagopus) as a model for the endangered wild arctic fox. Sixteen blue foxes were fed throughout the winter and 32 blue foxes were fasted for 22 d in Nov-Dec 2002. Half of the fasted blue foxes were food-deprived again for 22 d in Jan-Feb 2003. The farmed blue fox lost weight at a slower rate (0.97-1.02% body mass d(-1)) than observed previously in the arctic fox, possibly due to its higher initial body fat content. The animals experienced occasional fasting-induced hypoglycaemia, but their locomotor activity was not affected. The plasma triacylglycerol and glycerol concentrations were elevated during phase II of fasting indicating stimulated lipolysis, probably induced by the high growth hormone concentrations. The total cholesterol, HDL- and LDL-cholesterol, urea, uric acid and total protein levels and the urea:creatinine ratio decreased during fasting. Although the plasma levels of some essential amino acids increased, the blue foxes did not enter phase III of starvation characterized by stimulated proteolysis during either of the 22-d fasting procedures. Instead of excessive protein catabolism, it is liver dysfunction, indicated by the increased plasma bilirubin levels and alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase activities, that may limit the duration of fasting in the species. PMID:16358268
Natural populations of the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus, Canidae, Carnivora) differ drastically in their reproductive strategy. Coastal foxes, which depend on stable food resources, produce litters of moderate size. Inland foxes feed on small rodents, whose populations are characterized by cycling fluctuation. In the years with low food supply, inland fox populations have a very low rate of reproduction. In the years with high food supply, they undergo a population explosion. To gain insight into the genetic basis of the reproductive strategy of this species, we performed complex segregation analysis of the litter size in the extended pedigree of the farmed arctic foxes involving 20,665 interrelated animals. Complex segregation analysis was performed using a mixed model assuming that the trait was under control of a major gene and a large number of additive genetic and random factors. To check the significance of any major gene effect, we used Elston-Stewart transmission probability test. Our analysis demonstrated that the inheritance of this trait can be described within the frameworks of a major gene model with recessive control of low litter size. This model was also supported by the pattern of its familial segregation and by comparison of the distributions observed in the population and that expected under our model. We suggest that a system of balanced polymorphism for litter size in the farmed population might have been established in natural populations of arctic foxes as a result of adaptation to the drastic fluctuations in prey availability. PMID:17006530
Axenovich, T I; Zorkoltseva, I V; Akberdin, I R; Beketov, S V; Kashtanov, S N; Zakharov, I A; Borodin, P M
Cats are considered essential for the maintenance of Toxoplasma gondii in nature. However, T. gondii infection has been reported in arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) from the Svalbard high arctic archipelago where felids are virtually absent. To identify the potential source of T. gondii, we attempted to isolate and genetically characterize the parasite from arctic foxes in Svalbard. Eleven foxes were trapped live in Grumant (78 degrees 11'N, 15 degrees 09'E), Svalbard, in September 2005 and 2006. One of the foxes was found to be seropositive to T. gondii by the modified agglutination test (MAT). The fox was euthanized and its heart and brain were bioassayed in mice for the isolation of T. gondii. All 10 mice inoculated with brain tissue and one of the five inoculated with heart developed MAT antibodies, and tissue cysts were found in the brains of seropositive mice. Two cats fed tissues from infected mice shed T. gondii oocysts. Genotyping using 10 PCR-RFLP markers and DNA sequencing of gene loci BSR4, GRA6, UPRT1 and UPRT2 determined the isolate to be Type II strain, the predominant T. gondii lineage in the world. PMID:18096319
Prestrud, Kristin Wear; Dubey, J P; Asbakk, Kjetil; Fuglei, Eva; Su, C
Bioactivity guided isolation and characterization of phytoconstituents from the aerial parts of Plantago lagopus L. were performed to give a new insight into the usage of Plantago species in traditional medicine. The extract showed strong radical scavenging effects against DPPH, nitric oxide (NO) and superoxide (SO) radicals comparable to that of known antioxidants 3-t-butyl-4-hydroxyanisole, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and quercetin in addition to its cytotoxic activities against HEP-2 (human larynx epidermoid carcinoma) and RD (human rhabdomyosarcoma) cell lines based on MTT assay for growth inhibition. The gallic acid equivalent total phenolic content of the plant was found to be 79.94 mg/g dry extract. Phenylethanoid glycosides, verbascoside and calceorioside A were isolated from the most active fraction and both compounds showed strong radical scavenging activity against tested radicals and cytotoxicity against HEP-2, RD and MCF-7 (human breast adenocarcinoma) cell lines. In addition apoptotic cell death was observed in histological analysis. Taken together, these findings suggest that verbascoside and calceorioside A may be used in cancer prevention. PMID:22289578
The Svalbard rock ptarmigan, Lagopus muta hyperborea experiences extreme photoperiodic and climatic conditions on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. This species, however, is highly adapted to live in this harsh environment. One of the most striking adaptations found in these birds is the deposition, prior to onset of winter, of fat stores which may comprise up to 32% of body mass and are located primarily around the sternum and abdominal region. This fat, while crucial to the birds' survival, also presents a challenge in that the bird must maintain normal physiological function with this additional mass. In particular these stores are likely to constrain the respiratory system, as the sternum and pelvic region must be moved during ventilation and carrying this extra load may also impact upon the energetic cost of locomotion. Here we demonstrate that winter birds have a reduced cost of locomotion when compared to summer birds. A remarkable finding given that during winter these birds have almost twice the body mass of those in summer. These results suggest that Svalbard ptarmigan are able to carry the additional winter fat without incurring any energetic cost. As energy conservation is paramount to these birds, minimising the costs of moving around when resources are limited would appear to be a key adaptation crucial for their survival in the barren Arctic environment.
Lees, John; Nudds, Robert; Stokkan, Karl-Arne; Folkow, Lars; Codd, Jonathan
Changes in concentration of pollutants and pathogen distribution can vary among ecotypes (e.g. marine versus terrestrial food resources). This may have important implications for the animals that reside within them. We examined 1) canid pathogen presence in an endangered arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) population and 2) relative total mercury (THg) level as a function of ecotype ('coastal' or 'inland') for arctic foxes to test whether the presence of pathogens or heavy metal concentration correlate with population health. The Bering Sea populations on Bering and Mednyi Islands were compared to Icelandic arctic fox populations with respect to inland and coastal ecotypes. Serological and DNA based pathogen screening techniques were used to examine arctic foxes for pathogens. THg was measured by atomic absorption spectrometry from hair samples of historical and modern collected arctic foxes and samples from their prey species (hair and internal organs). Presence of pathogens did not correlate with population decline from Mednyi Island. However, THg concentration correlated strongly with ecotype and was reflected in the THg concentrations detected in available food sources in each ecotype. The highest concentration of THg was found in ecotypes where foxes depended on marine vertebrates for food. Exclusively inland ecotypes had low THg concentrations. The results suggest that absolute exposure to heavy metals may be less important than the feeding ecology and feeding opportunities of top predators such as arctic foxes which may in turn influence population health and stability. A higher risk to wildlife of heavy metal exposure correlates with feeding strategies that rely primarily on a marine based diet. PMID:23671561
Bocharova, Natalia; Treu, Gabriele; Czirják, Gábor Árpád; Krone, Oliver; Stefanski, Volker; Wibbelt, Gudrun; Unnsteinsdóttir, Ester Rut; Hersteinsson, Páll; Schares, Gereon; Doronina, Lilia; Goltsman, Mikhail; Greenwood, Alex D
Despite more than 69 years of protection populations of arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) in Scandinavia has not recovered their former numbers or distribution following over-hunting at the turn of the century. We aimed to evaluate the possible fate of arctic fox populations using discrete-time models including both demographic and environmental variability. Because the reproduction of arctic fox in Scandinavia is
The arctic fox ( Alopex lagopus) is a medium-sized predator of the high Arctic experiencing extreme seasonal fluctuations in food availability, photoperiod and temperature. In this study, the plasma leptin, ghrelin and growth hormone (GH) concentrations of male arctic foxes were determined during a food deprivation period of 13 days and the subsequent recovery in November and May. Leptin, ghrelin and
The Arctic Fox Alopex lagopus semenovi population on Mednyi Island is completely isolated and subsists largely by scavenging on seabird colonies, which have remained abundant and spatio-temporally predictable for many years. We compared population data at the beginning of 1976/1978 and some time after 1994-2005, finding an 85% decline in fox numbers due to disease, to assess the effect of population size on social structure. A total of 81 groups of known size and composition was observed during this 29-year period. Overall, helpers (usually non-lactating yearling females) occurred in 25.7% of groups, and in 32.4% of groups there were two or three lactating females. Female engagement in alloparental behaviour decreased, but not statistically significantly, after the decline in population density. Total food availability was apparently constant throughout the study period, and therefore, the amount available per individual was much higher later in the study. Both communally nursing females and helpers brought food and helped to guard the litter. However, the benefits of communal rearing were unclear. While cubs were left without guards significantly more rarely in the groups with an additional adult, the number of cubs weaned per lactating female was greater in groups with one (3.93 +/- 1.60), as opposed to two or three (3.06 +/- 0.92), lactating females. Survival of cubs to 1 year of age in the groups with two lactating females and/or with helpers was lower than that in the families with one lactating female without helpers (22.2% vs 32.2%). Fewer second-generation litters were born to foxes produced by composite families than to those produced by pairs. Reproductive adults producing by pairs had, on average, 1.23 (+/-1.72) second-generation litters. In groups that initially included additional adults, the average number of second-generation litters per reproductive female was 0.21 (+/-0.49) and 0.46 (+/-0.81) litters per male. Thus, according to three measures, increased group size had no apparent positive impact on reproductive success. The increased parental investment and enhanced guarding of the cubs in the larger families could be beneficial under conditions of high population density and a saturated biotope to which the island fox population was presumably adapted before the population crash in the late 1970s. PMID:19082989
Kruchenkova, Elena P; Goltsman, Michael; Sergeev, Sergei; Macdonald, David W
The aim of the study was to adapt a method to determine acrosin activity of human spermatozoa to arctic fox (Alopex lagopus L.) spermatozoa. We modified this method by reducing sperm count per sample from 1 divided by 10 x 10(6) to 25 divided by 200 x 10(3), incubation time from 180 minutes to 60 minutes, and Triton X-100 concentration in the reaction mixture from 0.01% to 0.005% per 100 cm3. It has also confirmed that arctic fox seminal plasma is rich in proteinases and their inhibitors. To completely abolish the inhibitory effect of seminal plasma on acrosin activity it is recommended to wash the spermatozoa four times. Benzamidine served an inhibitor of acrosin activity. PMID:23390774
Post-absorptive resting metabolic rates (RMRs), body mass and ad libitum food intake were recorded on an annual cycle in\\u000a captive arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) at Svalbard. During the light season in May and in the dark period in November, RMR during starvation and subsequent re-feeding\\u000a were also measured. In contrast to earlier findings, the present study indicated a seasonal trend
The functional properties of purified glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) from the erythrocytes of Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) and silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes) were investigated. It was found that pH optima for G6PD range from 8.15 to 8.25 in Arctic foxes and from 10.2 to 10.4 in silver foxes. For G6P, the estimated Km values were 74×10-6m (at pH 8.2) and 166×10-6m
We have characterized two mutations in the MC1R gene of the blue variant of the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) that both incorporate a novel cysteine residue into the receptor. A family study in farmed arctic foxes verified that the dominant expression of the blue color phenotype cosegregates completely with the allele harboring these two mutations. Additionally to the altered pigment synthesis, the blue fox allele suppresses the seasonal change in coat color found in the native arctic fox. Consequently, these findings suggest that the MC1R/agouti regulatory system is involved in the seasonal changes of coat color found in arctic fox. PMID:15982782
Glomerular lipidosis is a disease characterized by lipid accumulation in mesangial cells but that has not been fully investigated in avian species. We examined four wild and two laboratory-reared Japanese rock ptarmigans (Lagopus mutus japonicus)--an endangered avian species--presenting vacuolar deposits in the glomeruli. All cases had vacuolar deposits in the glomeruli. In the wild cases, fewer than 30% of all glomeruli were affected, compared with more than 90% in the laboratory-reared cases. In the wild cases, most deposits were mild and restricted to the mesangial areas of glomeruli. In the laboratory-reared cases, nearly all of the deposits covered entire glomeruli. Electron microscopy of mild deposits revealed vacuoles in the cytoplasm of mesangial cells. These vacuoles were positive for Sudan III, Sudan black B, oil red O, Nile blue, periodic acid-Schiff, Schultz test, and digitonin stain and were negative for performaric acid-Schiff stains. Based on these results, we diagnosed the glomerular lesion as glomerular lipidosis caused by uptake of low-density lipoprotein in mesangial cells. Except for one wild case, all cases exhibited renal tubular oxalosis. The severity of tubular oxalosis tended to be related to the severity of glomerular lipidosis: In cases of mild glomerular lipidosis, tubular oxalosis was also mild or absent. We therefore diagnosed the primary lesion as glomerular lipidosis accompanied by tubular oxalosis. The four wild cases came from different zones and therefore had no opportunities to interbreed and no common relatives. We believe these data support the hypothesis that glomerular lipidosis is a disease of the general population ofJapanese rock ptarmigans. This is the first report of glomerular lipidosis accompanied by renal tubular oxalosis in an avian species. PMID:22312998
We investigated the impact from dietary OC (organochlorine) exposure and restricted feeding (emaciation) on bone mineral density (BMD; g hydroxy-apatite cm(-2)) in femoral, vertebrate, skull and baculum osteoid tissue from farmed Arctic blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus). For femur, also biomechanical properties during bending (displacement [mm], load [N], energy absorption [J] and stiffness [N/mm]) were measured. Sixteen foxes (EXP) were fed a wet food containing 7.7% OC-polluted minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) blubber in two periods of body fat deposition (Aug-Dec) and two periods of body fat mobilisation (Jan-July) in which the food contained less energy and only 2% blubber. SigmaOC food concentration in the food containing 7.7% whale blubber was 309 ng/g wet mass. This corresponded to a SigmaOC exposure of ca. 17 microg/kg body mass/d and a responding SigmaOC residue in subcutaneous adipose tissue of ca. 1700 ng/g live mass in the 8 EXP fat foxes euthanized after 16 months. A control group (CON) composed of 15 foxes were fed equal daily caloric amounts of clean pork (Sus scrofa) fat. After 16 months, 8 EXP and 7 CON foxes were euthanized (mean body mass=9.25 kg) while the remaining 8 EXP and 8 CON foxes were given restricted food rations for 6 months resulting in a body weight reduction (mean body mass=5.46 kg). The results showed that only BMD(skull) vs. BMD(vertebrae) were significantly correlated (R=0.68; p=0.03; n=10) probably due to a similar composition of trabecular and cortical osteoid tissue. No difference in any of the BMD measurements or femoral biomechanical properties was found between EXP and CON foxes although BMD baculum was 1.6-folds lower in the EXP group. However, lean summer foxes had significantly lower femoral biomechanical properties measured as displacement (mm), energy absorption (J) and time (s) biomechanical properties than fat winter foxes (all p<0.004). This indicates lower stiffness and softer bones from fasting which is in agreement with previous studies. Further, it should be kept in mind when studying bone tissues in Arctic mammals also in order to avoid confounding effects from body condition. PMID:18761108
Sonne, Christian; Wolkers, Hans; Rigét, Frank F; Jensen, Jens-Erik Beck; Teilmann, Jenni; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro; Fuglei, Eva; Ahlstrøm, Øystein; Dietz, Rune; Muir, Derek C G; Jørgensen, Even H
Acute disseminated toxoplasmosis was diagnosed in three wild arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) that were found dead in the same locality on Svalbard (Norway). The animals included one adult female and two 4-months-old pups. The adult fox was severely jaundiced. Necropsy revealed multifocal, acute, necrotizing hepatitis, acute interstitial pneumonia, and scattered foci of brain gliosis, often associated with Toxoplasma tachyzoites. One pup also had Toxoplasma-associated meningitis. In addition, the latter animal was infected with Yersinia pseudotuberculosis serotype 2b and Salmonella Enteritidis phage type 1 (PT1), which may have contributed to the severity of the Toxoplasma infection in this animal. The diagnosis of toxoplasmosis was confirmed by positive immunohistochemistry and detection of anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in serum of all foxes. The animals were negative for Neospora caninum, canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus, and rabies virus on immunolabelling of tissue sections and smears. PMID:15563924
Sørensen, K K; Mørk, T; Sigurdardóttir, O G; Asbakk, K; Akerstedt, J; Bergsjø, B; Fuglei, E
Levels of persistent organic pollutants (POP), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), are high in many Arctic top predators, including the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus). The aim of this study was to examine possible endocrine-disruptive effects of dietary POP exposure in male juvenile Arctic foxes in a controlled exposure experiment. The study was conducted using domesticated farmed blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus) as a model species. Two groups of newly weaned male foxes received a diet supplemented with either minke whale (Baleneoptera acutorostrata) blubber that was naturally contaminated with POP (exposed group, n?=?5 or 21), or pork (Sus scrofa) fat (control group, n?=?5 or 21). When the foxes were 6 mo old and had received the 2 diets for approximately 4 mo (147 d), effects of the dietary exposure to POP on plasma concentrations of testosterone (T), thyroid hormones (TH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), retinol (vitamin A), and tocopherol (viramin E) were examined. At sampling, the total body concentrations of 104 PCB congeners were 0.1 ± 0.03 ?g/g lipid weight (l.w.; n?=?5 [mean ± standard deviation]) and 1.5 ± 0.17 ?g/g l.w. (n?=?5) in the control and exposed groups, respectively. Plasma testosterone concentrations in the exposed male foxes were significantly lower than in the control males, being approximately 25% of that in the exposed foxes. There were no between-treatment differences for TH, TSH, retinol, or tocopherol. The results suggest that the high POP levels experienced by costal populations of Arctic foxes, such as in Svalbard and Iceland, may result in delayed masculine maturation during adolescence. Sex hormone disruption during puberty may thus have lifetime consequences on all aspects of reproductive function in adult male foxes. PMID:23030655
Hallanger, Ingeborg G; Jørgensen, Even H; Fuglei, Eva; Ahlstrøm, Øystein; Muir, Derek C G; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro
The aim of this study was to determine whether foxes might act as definitive hosts of Sarcocystis alces in moose. In 2 experiments, 6 silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and 6 blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus) were fed muscle tissue from moose containing numerous sarcocysts of S. alces, and euthanazed 7-28 days post-infection (p.i.). Intestinal mucosal scrapings and faecal samples were screened microscopically for Sarcocystis oocysts/sporocysts, which were identified to species by means of species-specific primers and sequence analysis targeting the ssu rRNA gene. All foxes in both experiments became infected with Sarcocystis; the oocysts were fully sporulated by 14 days p.i., containing sporocysts measuring 14-15 x 10 microm. Molecular identification revealed that the oocysts/sporocysts belonged to 2 species, S. alces and Sarcocystis hjorti, although sarcocysts of S. hjorti were only identified in moose subsequent to the infection of foxes. In the first experiment, all 8 foxes also became infected with a Hammondia sp. derived from moose, shedding unsporulated, subspherical oocysts, measuring 10-12 microm in diameter, from 6-7 days p.i. onwards. The study proved that canids (the red fox and arctic fox) are definitive hosts for S. alces and S. hjorti, as had been inferred from the phylogenetic position of these species. PMID:20500918
The increasing development of recreational resorts and second homes in mountain regions worldwide require substantial infrastructure,\\u000a and have large impact on habitats and ecosystems. We hypothesized that developed areas would attract predators and lead to\\u000a higher predation on willow ptarmigan and lower their abundance. In a 500-km2 study area in south-central Norway, we sampled the density of territorial cocks in
Ole-Gunnar Støen; Per Wegge; Stian Heid; Olav Hjeljord; Christian Nellemann
BACKGROUND: There is so far very little data on autosomal nucleotide diversity in birds, except for data from the domesticated chicken and some passerines species. Estimates of nucleotide diversity reported so far in birds have been high (~10-3) and a likely explanation for this is the generally higher effective population sizes compared to mammals. In this study, the level of
The number of red grouse ( Lagopuslagopusscoticus ) shot in the UK has declined by 50% during the 20th century. This decline has coincided with reductions in the area of suitable habitat and recoveries in the populations of some avian predators. Here we use long-term records of shooting bags and a large-scale manipulation of raptor density to disentangle
Simon J. Thirgood; Steve M. Redpath; Daniel T. Haydon; Peter Rothery; Ian Newton; Peter J. Hudson
In the UK uplands, there is a conflict between the maintenance of high densities of red grouse (Lagopuslagopusscoticus) for sporting shoots and the conservation of birds of prey on grouse moors where shoots take place. Several authors have indicated that as a result of this conflict, illegal use of poisoned baits to control predators is more likely to
D. Philip Whitfield; David R. A McLeod; Jeff Watson; Alan H Fielding; Paul F Haworth
SUMMARY The allelic relationships between a series of independently-induced adenine mutants of Coprinus Zagopus were investigated, and limited complementation maps of three of the loci constructed. By means of nutritional tests and a search for aminoimidazole accumulants in the mycelium the adenine loci were correlated with steps in the purine biosynthetic pathway. Four loci can be assigned to (unknown) steps
Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders of humans and certain other mammals. Prion protein gene (Prnp) is associated with susceptibility and species barrier to prion diseases. No natural and experimental prion diseases have been documented to date in Arctic fox. In the present study, coding region of Prnp from 135 Arctic foxes were cloned and screened for polymorphisms. Our results indicated that the Arctic fox Prnp open reading frame (ORF) contains 771 nucleotides encoding 257 amino acids. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (G312C, A337G, C541T, and A723G) were identified. SNPs G312C and A723G produced silent mutations, but SNPs A337G and C541T resulted in a M-V change at codon 113 and R-C at codon 181, respectively. The Arctic fox Prnp amino acid sequence was similar to that of the dog (XM 542906). In short, this study provides preliminary information about genotypes of Prnp in Arctic fox. PMID:18622757
Arctic foxes from Svalbard (n=4) and farmed blue foxes (n=4) was used in a digestibility experiment with a high-carbohydrate feed to add more information to the nutritional physiology of the arctic fox, and to compare its digestive capacity with that of the farmed blue fox. The arctic fox has a diet containing mainly protein and fat from mammals and birds,
The polymorphism of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequence was examined in 30 polar foxes from Bering Island\\u000a and 30 polar foxes from Mednyi Island. Seven haplotypes were revealed in polar foxes from Bering Island, and one, in polar\\u000a foxes from Mednyi Island. The age of divergence of these populations (12 000 ? 6 000 years) was calculated based
E. L. Dzhikiya; A. A. Kolesnikov; D. A. Chudakova; S. V. Zagrabelniy; M. E. Goltsman
Arctic foxes are evaluated as seed dispersal vectors for Greenlandic plant species through a feeding experiment with subsequent scat analysis and germination test. Seeds of 22 common species with different morphology were tested. Passage time ranged between 4 and 48 h. No significant differences were detected in passage time for seeds with different morphology. Cerastium alpinum and Stellaria longipes had
Pelage is seasonally dimorphic in the Arctic fox. During the winter, fur lengths are nearly double similar values taken during the summer. Considerable site-specific differences in fur length are noted. In general, body sites which are exposed to the envi...
We used stable carbon isotopes to analyse individual variation in arctic fox diet. We extracted collagen from bones (the lower jaw), and measured stable carbon isotopes. The foxes came from three different localities: Iceland, where both microtines and reindeer are rare; west Greenland, where microtines are absent; and Sweden, where scat analyses showed the primary food to be microtine rodents
Anders Angerbjörn; Pall Hersteinsson; Kerstin Lidén; Erle Nelson
Pelage is seasonally dimorphic in the Arctic fox. During the winter, fur lengths for this species are nearly double similar values taken during the summer season. Considerable site-specific differences in fur length are noted. In general, body sites which are exposed to the environment when an Arctic fox lies in a curled position show greater fur lengths in all seasons and greater seasonal variations than body sites that are more protected during rest. Well-furred sites may tend to conserve heat during periods of inactivity, and scantily furred sites may tend to dissipate heat during periods of exercise. The growth of winter fur may compensate for the severe cold of the arctic winter. Changes in fur lengths indicate a definite pattern in spite of individual variations. During the fall months, fur lengths seem to lag behind an increasing body-to-ambient temperature gradient. Both body-to-ambient temperature gradients and fur lengths peak during December through February. From March through June, gradual environmental warming is accompanied by a decrease in average fur lengths. Thus, there appears to be a remarkable parallel between the body-to-ambient temperature gradient and the fur lengths. The growth of fur in the Arctic fox parallels annual changes in ambient temperature and photoperiod.
Pelage is seasonally dimorphic in the Arctic fox. During the winter, fur lengths for this species are nearly double similar values taken during the summer season. Considerable site-specific differences in fur length are noted. In general, body sites which are exposed to the environment when an Arctic fox lies in a curled position show greater fur lengths in all seasons
The arctic fox population in Fennoscandia is on the verge of going extinct after not being able to recover from a severe bottleneck at the end of the 19th century. The Siberian arctic fox population, on the other hand, is large and unthreatened. In order to resolve questions regarding gene flow between, and genetic variation within the populations, a 294
Love Dalén; Anders Götherström; Magnus Tannerfeldt; Anders Angerbjörn
ABSTRACT. Food habits of arctic foxes (Alopex lugopus) on the western coast of Svalbard were studied in the years 1986-89. Faeces (n = 1018) hunting and feeding habits, utilizing a wide variety of available food items. Alcids (mainly little auks and Brünnich’s guillemot), gulls (mainly kittiwakes), were collected mostly in summer, and food remains were recorded both at dens and
This study aims to show the distribution and the three-dimensional structure of the lingual papillae in the arctic fox. The macro- and microscopic structure of the tongue and its lingual papillae was studied in 11 adult arctic foxes. Two types of mechanical papillae were distinguished on the dorsal surface of the tongue--filiform papillae and conical papillae. The gustatory papillae in the arctic fox are represented by fungiform, vallate and foliate papillae. The keratinized filiform papillae on the anterior part of tongue are composed of one big posterior process accompanied by 10-12 secondary anterior processes. The number of anterior processes of filiform papillae undergo a complete reduction within the area between the posterior part of the body of the tongue and area of the vallate papillae. The conical papillae cover the whole dorsal surface of the root of the tongue, including the lateral parts surrounding the area of the vallate papillae and the posterior part of the root. The size of the conical papillae increases towards the root of the tongue but their density decreases. In the arctic fox, there are three pairs of vallate papillae distributed on the plan of a triangle. The diameter of vallate papillae in each successive pair is bigger. The wall surrounding the body of the vallate papilla and its gustatory trench is composed of six to eight conical papillae joined at various degree. The foliate papillae on both margins of the tongue consist of seven to nine laminae. PMID:19694648
Distribution, abundance, and use of arctic fox dens located in coastal tundra communities of the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta were determined in studies from 1985 to 1990. Dens were denser and less complex than those described in studies conducted above the Arctic Circle. Eighty-three dens of varying complexity were found in the 52-km2 study area. Nineteen dens were used by arctic foxes for whelping or rearing pups. Three females relocated litters to multiple dens; a maximum of four dens were used concurrently by pups from one litter. Although red foxes were common in the region, their use of dens in the study area was minimal. Differences in vegetation at den sites and nearby unoccupied sites were minimal. Furthermore, den sites could not be distinguished from non-den sites during aerial surveys.
The present study was designed to measure the use of various, simultaneously available resources in a complex housing environment in juvenile blue foxes. Twelve blue fox sibling (male-female) pairs were housed in two-section experimental cages from the age of 8 weeks until the age of 7 months (from June to December). Each experimental cage was furnished with two platforms, a nest box, a sand box and a wooden block. This housing set-up provided the foxes with social contact, and an opportunity for oral manipulation, scratching and nesting, as well as the choice of staying on a solid floor material or on an elevated location. The foxes' behaviour was recorded at three time points during autumn (September, November and December). The foxes used all available resources. The most utilised resource was the nest box, possibly because it could be utilised in several ways (as a shelter, an elevated location, an object for scratching and for oral manipulation). The foxes also stayed more in the cage section containing the nest box than in the cage section containing a sand box. The foxes rested much on the cage floor, but they also used the interior of the nest box and elevated locations for resting. Social contact often occurred during resting. Thus, the nest box and elevated location, in conjunction with social contact seem to be valuable while resting. While active, the foxes utilised the cage floor and roof of the nest box instead of the platforms. Scratching, digging and an interaction with the wooden block were seldom observed. Activity occurred mainly on the 'empty' cage area. In conclusion, all studied resources provided blue foxes with a distinct value, as they all were used in the complex housing environment. The nest box is used most and for most variable behaviours. PMID:23481620
Svalbard rock ptarmigans were walked and run upon a treadmill and their energy expenditure measured using respirometry. The ptarmigan used three different gaits: a walking gait at slow speeds (less than or equal to 0.75 m s?1), grounded running at intermediate speeds (0.75 m s?1 < U < 1.67 m s?1) and aerial running at high speeds (greater than or equal to 1.67 m s?1). Changes of gait were associated with reductions in the gross cost of transport (COT; J kg?1 m?1), providing the first evidence for energy savings with gait change in a small crouched-postured vertebrate. In addition, for the first time (excluding humans) a decrease in absolute metabolic energy expenditure (rate of O2 consumption) in aerial running when compared with grounded running was identified. The COT versus U curve varies between species and the COT was cheaper during aerial running than grounded running, posing the question of why grounded running should be used at all. Existing explanations (e.g. stability during running over rocky terrain) amount to just so stories with no current evidence to support them. It may be that grounded running is just an artefact of treadmill studies. Research investigating the speeds used by animals in the field is sorely needed.
Nudds, R. L.; Folkow, L. P.; Lees, J. J.; Tickle, P. G.; Stokkan, K.-A.; Codd, J. R.
This study evaluates apparent ileal digestibility of fat and fatty acids in ‘end-to-end’ ileorectal anastomosed blue foxes fed diets used over the reproduction (diets A1 and B1) and lactation (diets A2 and B2) periods on two farms (A and B). The experimental diets A1 and A2 were composed of different animal offal and cereals, while diets B1 and B2 contained
Five mature ileorectal anastomosed blue foxes (6.18±0.15 kg) were used in digestibility experiments to evaluate the L-carnitine apparent ileal absorption from diets used in reproductive polar fox nutrition over the year-long farm-feeding period on two domestic farms (A and B) differing in reproduction results. The concentration of L-carnitine was higher in diets from farm B (136.1–241.7 mg kg DM) than
Roman Szymeczko; Katarzyna Burlikowska; Christine Iben; Anna Piotrowska; Monika Bogus?awska-Tryk
Biting midges of the Culicoides obsoletus Meigen species complex (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are increasingly suspected as vectors of the recent emergence of bluetongue virus in Europe. Within this complex, identification of the C. obsoletus and Culicoides scoticus females is considered as difficult or sometimes not possible while the identification of males is easy, based on genitalia observation. Nolan et al. (2007)
D. Augot; F. Sauvage; D. Jouet; E. Simphal; M. Veuille; A. Couloux; M. L. Kaltenbach; J. Depaquit
Environmental heterogeneity is expected to create variation in the ornament-condition relationship. This topic has been studied in males with less attention being given to females. Here, we explore inter-population variation in the relationship between the size of a male-like trait, supra-orbital combs, and body mass in female red grouse Lagopuslagopusscoticus. We used the abundance of the nematode Trichostrongylus tenuis, a parasite with strong negative effects on this species, as a proxy of environmental conditions. We studied six populations over 5 years and showed that the comb size-body mass relationship varied with mean parasite abundance, with stronger ornament-condition relationships in populations with higher parasite infection levels. Our study supports the idea that environmental conditions, and in particular parasite infection levels, may affect the reliability of female ornaments as condition indicators.
Vergara, Pablo; Martínez-Padilla, Jesús; Redpath, Stephen M.; Mougeot, Francois
Eighteen sika deer (Cervus nippon) and 14 red deer (C. elaphus scoticus) were sampled from two areas where these closely related species are sympatric. Total body weight, carcass weight, age class, sex, and internal parameters (e.g. liver weight, kidney weight, rumen volume) were recorded. Samples of rumen wall mucosa taken from the dorsal rumen wall, atrium ruminis, caudoventral blindsac, and
The influence of dietary protein, methionine, and lysine on leather quality in blue fox pelts was studied. The pelt material originated from animals in two consecutive feeding trials (Exp. 1 and Exp. 2) with three protein levels: conventional, slightly lowered, and very low. The two lowest protein diets were fed as such or as supplemented with methionine or with lysine
Tuula Dahlman; Marja Mäntysalo; Palle V. Rasmussen; L. L. Skovløkke
New chromosomal assignments of canine-derived cosmid clones containing microsatellites to the Chinese raccoon dog and arctic fox genomes are presented in the study. The localizations are in agreement with data obtained from comparative chromosome painting experiments between the dog and arctic fox genomes. However, paracentric inversions have been detected by comparing the loci order in canid karyotypes. The number of
I. Szczerbal; N. Rogalska-Niznik; C. Schelling; J. Schläpfer; G. Dolf; M. Switonski
The aim of the present study was to analyze the presence and morphology of the pineal concretions in the Arctic fox and their relationship to pinealocytes, glial cells and collagen fibers. Pineals collected from 7-8 month-old and 3-4 year-old foxes (6 in each age-group) were investigated. Sections of the glands were stained with HE, Mallory's method and alizarin red S as well as subjected to a combined procedure involving immunofluorescent staining with antibodies against antigen S, glial fibril acid protein (GFAP), type I and III collagen and histochemical staining with alizarin red S. The pineal concretions were found in 2 of 6 investigated Arctic foxes aged 3 years and they were not observed in animals aged 7-8 months. The acervuli were present in the parenchyma and the connective tissue septa. They were more numerous in the distal part than in the proximal part of the gland. The acervuli stained with alizarin red S revealed an intensive red fluorescence, what enabled the use of this compound in a combined histochemical-immunofluorescent procedure. A majority of cells in the fox pineal showed positive staining with antibodies against antigen S, a marker of pinealocytes. GFAP-positive cells were especially numerous in the proximal part of the gland. Both antigen S- and GFAP-positive cells were frequently observed close to the concrements. Collagen fibers of type I and III were found in the capsule, connective tissue septa and vessels. Immunoreactive fibers did not form any capsules or basket-like structures surrounding the concrements. PMID:20731181
Bulc, M; Lewczuk, B; Prusik, M; Gugo?ek, A; Przybylska-Gornowicz, B
Twenty-seven blood enzymes and proteins, whose structures are presumably controlled by at least 33 genes, were assayed in Arctic and silver foxes by starch gel electrophoresis. Two types of protein and enzyme electrophoretic patterns were distinguished: one exhibiting a single enzyme, the other several isozymes. The two fox species were found to differ in seven of the 27 enzymes and
O. L. Serov; S. M. Zakijan; T. M. Khlebodarova; L. I. Korochkin
At the time of pelting (Nov.), blue foxes had a lower liver lipid content (4-5%) than mink (7-10%), whereas the phospholipid (PL) content was 0.5-1% in both species. Dietary fat content had little influence on total liver fat content but affected the liver fatty acid composition. Levels of n3 fatty acids were higher in the PL fraction than in the remaining fraction of liver lipids in both species. Because PL accounted for a larger part of the total liver lipids in blue foxes than in mink, the proportion of the total liver lipids accounted for by n3 fatty acids was highest in blue foxes. On the other hand, the mink and foxes had about the same quantity of n3 per gram liver owing to higher fat content of mink liver. Analyses of liver lipid fatty acid composition did not reveal any differences between the species in their ability to metabolize n3 fatty acids originating from fish oil. Peroxisomal beta-oxidation activity in the liver was significantly higher in blue foxes than in mink. For both species the total activity rose as the level of dietary fish oil increased. PMID:9185341
The two sympatric sibling species Culicoides obsoletus (Meigen) and Culicoides scoticus Downes and Kettle (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), are known to be competent vectors for bluetongue virus in the Palaearctic region. However, morphological identification of constituent species is only readily applicable to adult males and these two species distinguishing traits have overlapping character states. As their vector competence may differ in space and time, the correct identification and quantification of specimens of both species are essential for understanding bluetongue epidemiology. However, no molecular tools are available for high-throughput identification of the two species. We therefore developed a quantitative duplex real-time PCR assay to determine the relative abundance of each sibling species in a sample using TaqMan probes. For each species, standard curves were constructed from serial dilutions of purified plasmid DNA containing ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 (rDNA) in the range of 10(-1) to 10(-5)ng/?L. Standard curves were used to quantify samples of mixed C. obsoletus/C. scoticus specimens. Specificity was evaluated with 5156 specimens representing 62 species. Based on the DNA quantities detected according to the standard curves, a quadratic model developed on 1100 males and validated on 555 females was able to predict the relative abundance of each species simultaneously in a one-shot reaction (Pearson coefficient of 0.999). Our assay showed a requirement of two specimens or less for 95% of the predictions, making it highly applicable to field collections. Extensive use of this real-time PCR assay will provide a better understanding of geographical distribution, dynamics, and bionomics on a species level, which is essential for risk assessment. This approach is an important contribution to medical entomology for investigating the vector role of arthropod sibling species. PMID:21715095
Testosterone underlies the expression of most secondary sexual traits, playing a key role in sexual selection. However, high levels might be associated with physiological costs, such as immunosuppression. Immunostimulant carotenoids underpin the expression of many red-yellow ornaments, but are regulated by testosterone and constrained by parasites. We manipulated testosterone and nematode burdens in red grouse (Lagopuslagopusscoticus) in two populations to tease apart their effects on carotenoid levels, ornament size and colouration in three time-step periods. We found no evidence for interactive effects of testosterone and parasites on ornament size and colouration. We showed that ornament colouration was testosterone-driven. However, parasites decreased comb size with a time delay and testosterone increased carotenoid levels in one of the populations. This suggests that environmental context plays a key role in determining how individuals resolve the trade-off between allocating carotenoids for ornamental coloration or for self-maintenance needs. Our study advocates that adequately testing the mechanisms behind the production or maintenance of secondary sexual characters has to take into account the dynamics of sexual trait expression and their environmental context. PMID:20536879
Martínez-Padilla, J; Mougeot, F; Webster, L M I; Pérez-Rodríguez, L; Piertney, S B
Parasite-mediated apparent competition occurs when one species affects another through the action of a shared parasite. One way of controlling the parasite in the more susceptible host is to manage the reservoir host. Culling can cause issues in terms of ethics and biodiversity impacts, therefore we ask: can treating, as compared to culling, a wildlife host protect a target species from the shared parasite? We used Susceptible Infected Recovered (SIR) models parameterized for the tick-borne louping ill virus (LIV) system. Deer are the key hosts of the vector (Ixodes ricinus) that transmits LIV to red grouse Lagopuslagopusscoticus, causing high mortality. The model was run under scenarios of varying acaricide efficacy and deer densities. The model predicted that treating deer can increase grouse density through controlling ticks and LIV, if acaricide efficacies are high and deer densities low. Comparing deer treated with 70% acaricide efficacy with a 70% cull rate suggested that treatment may be more effective than culling if initial deer densities are high. Our results will help inform tick control policies, optimize the targeting of control methods and identify conditions where host management is most likely to succeed. Our approach is applicable to other host-vector-pathogen systems. PMID:22939093
Cadmium, copper, lead, palladium, platinum, rhodium, and zinc profiles were investigated along feather shafts of raptor and other bird species by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). The distribution of external versus internal metal contamination of feathers was investigated. The species examined were peregrine falcon ( Falco peregrinus), sparrowhawk ( Accipiter nisus), willow grouse ( Lagopuslagopus), and
Kristine H. Ek; Gregory M. Morrison; Peter Lindberg; Sébastien Rauch
1.?The effect of selective exploitation of certain age, stage or sex classes (e.g., trophy hunting) on population dynamics is relatively well studied in fisheries and sexually dimorphic mammals. 2.?Harvesting of terrestrial species with no morphological differences visible between the different age and sex classes (monomorphic species) is usually assumed to be nonselective because monomorphicity makes intentionally selective harvesting pointless and impractical. But harvesting of the red grouse (Lagopuslagopusscoticus), a monomorphic species, was recently shown to be unintentionally selective. This study uses a sex- and age-specific model to explore the previously unresearched effects of unintentional harvesting selectivity. 3.?We examine the effects of selectivity on red grouse dynamics by considering models with and without selectivity. Our models include territoriality and parasitism, two mechanisms known to be important for grouse dynamics. 4.?We show that the unintentional selectivity of harvesting that occurs in red grouse decreases population yield compared with unselective harvesting at high harvest rates. Selectivity also dramatically increases extinction risk at high harvest rates. 5.?Selective harvesting strengthens the 3- to 13-year red grouse population cycle, suggesting that the selectivity of harvesting is a previously unappreciated factor contributing to the cycle. 6.?The additional extinction risk introduced by harvesting selectivity provides a quantitative justification for typically implemented 20-40% harvest rates, which are below the maximum sustainable yield that could be taken, given the observed population growth rates of red grouse. 7.?This study shows the possible broad importance of investigating in future research whether unintentionally selective harvesting occurs on other species. PMID:21595686
Bunnefeld, Nils; Reuman, Daniel C; Baines, David; Milner-Gulland, E J
Background Extravagant ornaments used as social signals evolved to advertise their bearers' quality. The Immunocompetence Handicap Hypothesis proposes that testosterone-dependent ornaments reliably signal health and parasite resistance; however, empirical studies have shown mixed support. Alternatively, immune function and parasite resistance may be indirectly or directly related to glucocorticoid stress hormones. We propose that an understanding of the interplay between the individual and its environment, particularly how they cope with stressors, is crucial for understanding the honesty of social signals. Methodology/Principal Findings We analyzed corticosterone deposited in growing feathers as an integrated measure of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity in a wild territorial bird, the red grouse Lagopuslagopusscoticus. We manipulated two key, interrelated components, parasites and testosterone, which influence both ornamentation and fitness. Birds were initially purged of parasites, and later challenged with parasites or not, while at the same time being given testosterone or control implants, using a factorial experimental design. At the treatment level, testosterone enhanced ornamentation, while parasites reduced it, but only in males not implanted with testosterone. Among individuals, the degree to which both parasites and testosterone had an effect was strongly dependent on the amount of corticosterone in the feather grown during the experiment. The more stressors birds had experienced (i.e., higher corticosterone), the more parasites developed, and the less testosterone enhanced ornamentation. Conclusions/Significance With this unique focus on the individual, and a novel, integrative, measure of response to stressors, we show that ornamentation is ultimately a product of the cumulative physiological response to environmental challenges. These findings lead toward a more realistic concept of honesty in signaling as well as a broader discussion of the concept of stress.
Bortolotti, Gary R.; Mougeot, Francois; Martinez-Padilla, Jesus; Webster, Lucy M. I.; Piertney, Stuart B.
Analyses were made of blood chemistry profiles and liver cytochemical components (ribonucleic acid, protein and glycogen) of captive arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) maintained on either a protein-sufficient or deficient diet. Protein-deficient foxes exhibit...
J. A. Penman R. A. Garrott L. E. Eberhardt A. Anthony H. Rothenbacher
In order to restore black oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani) and pigeon guillemots (Cepphus columba), 2 species injured by the T/V Exxon Valdez oil spill, the introduced predator, arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), was removed from 2 islands near the western ...
Summary A procedure for the isolation of highly purified labeled and unlabeled DNAs from fungi representing three major groups has been described. The yield of DNA per g weight of freeze-dried mycelia is always higher inNeurospora crassa thanCoprinus lagopus andMucor azygospora. Thermal melting profiles show that theN. crassa andC. lagopus DNAs have one low G+C (32 mole percent) and another
1. Changes in the abundance of populations have always perplexed ecologists but long-term studies are revealing new insights into population dynamic processes. Long-term data are often derived from harvest records although many wild populations face high harvesting pressures leading to overharvesting and extinction. Additionally, harvest records used to describe population processes such as fluctuations in abundance and reproductive success often assume a random off-take. 2. Selective harvesting based on phenotypic characteristics occurs in many species (e.g. trophy hunting, fisheries) and has important implications for population dynamics, conservation and management. 3. In species with no marked morphological differences between the age and sex classes, such as the red grouse Lagopuslagopusscoticus during the shooting season, hunters cannot consciously select for a specific sex or age class during the shooting process but harvest records could still give a biased reflection of the population structure because of differences in behaviour between age and sex classes. 4. This study compared age and sex ratios in the bag with those in the population before shooting for red grouse at different points in the shooting season and different densities, which has rarely been tested before. 5. More young than old grouse were shot at large bag sizes and vice versa for small bag sizes than would be expected from the population composition before shooting. The susceptibility of old males to shooting compared to females increased with bag size and was high at the first time the area was shot but decreased with the number of times an area was harvested. 6. These findings stress that the assumption made in many studies that harvest records reflect the age and sex ratio of the population and therefore reflect productivity can be misleading. 7. In this paper, as in the literature, it is also shown that number of grouse shot reflects grouse density and therefore that hunting selectivity might influence population dynamics in a cyclic species. 8. The study is not only relevant for red grouse but applies to systems showing interactions between selective harvesting and wider ecological processes, such as age- and sex-related parasitism and territoriality, which may drive population fluctuations. PMID:19021782
Bunnefeld, Nils; Baines, David; Newborn, David; Milner-Gulland, E J
Probable arthropod vectors of avian blood protozoa, Leucocytozoon lovati, were collected in the alpine regions of Japan, the habitats of the host birds of Japanese rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus japonicus). Seven alpine regions of Japan, Asahidake, Chogatake, Tateyama, Jiigatake, Norikura, Kitadake, and Senjyogatake were investigated\\u000a for black fly collection during 2004 to 2007. The collected 490 insects were morphologically identified
The arctic fox ( Alopex lagopus ) in Scandinavia is classified as critically endangered after having gone through a severe decline in population size in the beginning of the 20th century, from which it has failed to recover despite more than 65 years of protection. Arctic foxes have a high dispersal rate and often disperse over long distances, suggesting that
L. DALÉN; K. KVALØY; J. D. C. L INNELL; B. ELMHAGEN; O. STRAND; M. TANNERFELDT; H. HENTTONEN; E. FUGLEI; A. LANDA; A. ANGERBJÖRN
Consumption of marine foods by terrestrial predators can lead to increased predator densities, potentially impacting their terrestrial resources. For arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus), access to such marine foods in winter depends on sea ice, which is threatened by global climate change. To quantify the importance of marine foods (seal carrion and seal pups) and document temporal variation in arctic fox
Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) numbers vary greatly, with cyclic fluctuations often associated with fluctuations in microtine rodents. However, in areas where small prey mammals are absent, such as Iceland and Svalbard, such cyclic fluctuations are lacking. Annual fluctuations in the density of the arctic fox population on the Brøggerhalvøya peninsula and Kongsfjorden region on Svalbard, Norway, were studied from 1990
Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) were immunized with lyophilized SAG2 oral rabies vaccine. The effectiveness of this vaccine was determined by serologic response and survival to challenge by rabies virus isolated from a red fox from Alaska (USA). No vaccine virus was found in saliva 1-72 hr after ingestion. At 2 wk after vaccination, all foxes had seroconverted, with rabies virus
Erich H. Follmann; Donald G. Ritter; Donald W. Hartbauer
The Gannet Islands contain the single most important seabird colony in Lab- rador, both in terms of numbers and species diversity. In 1992, we discovered arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) on these islands during the breeding season. Of five islands examined, two had resident foxes (in one case breeding), two had been visited by foxes earlier in the season, and one
Physical characteristics of 73 arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) dens in Svalbard are described. In a mountainous study area of 975 km2, most dens were found below 200 m and none was found above 400 m. Most dens were located in slopes in valleys or along the coast, facing in a southerly direction (mean aspect 222'). Dens had an average of
Between 1988 and 1995, dens in three adjacent arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) territories were monitored in an alpine environment in south-central Norway (the Snøhetta plateau). A total of 675 scats were collected at dens in both winter and summer, and the numbers of resident adults and pups at emergence were counted each summer. Small rodents (mainly Lemmus sp. and Microtus
OLAV STRAND; JOHN D. C. LINNELL; STEINAR KROGSTAD; ARILD LANDA
Two oil field workers were attacked by a rabid arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) in the Prudhoe Bay oil field (Alaska, USA) prompting officials to reduce the local fox population. Ninety- nine foxes were killed during winter 1994. We tested foxes for prevalence of rabies and canine distemper. Exposure to rabies was detected in five of 99 foxes. Of the five,
Warren B. Ballard; Erich H. Follmann; Donald G. Ritter; Martin D. Robards; Matthew A. Cronin
Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) populations in Scandinavia are small and restricted to alpine regions, while red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are common throughout both Norway and Sweden. The two species are similar in behaviour and diet, and thus competition between them is likely. This study provides seven observations of aggressive interactions between the two species. One adult arctic fox and one
Six arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) were marked with iophenoxic acid (IA), a sub- stance which elevates concentrations of protein- bound iodine in blood plasma. Buccal absorp- tion of IA was determined by placing 20 mg IA dissolved in 100% ethyl alcohol on the tongue. Blood samples collected from 1 to 36 wk fol- lowing exposure showed that all foxes were
Erich H. Follmann; Peter J. Savarie; Donald G. Ritter; George M. Baer
We studied diets of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) associated with a large nesting colony of lesser snow and Ross's geese in the central Canadian Arctic. From 15 May to 5 August 1994 and from 18 May to 7 August 1995, we examined arctic fox diets using frequency of occurrence of prey remains in faeces. Most scats (n = 791 of
Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) are the main predators of many arctic-nesting birds, and such predation can have a large impact on the nesting performance of geese in some years and in some parts of the Arctic. We examined foraging patterns of arctic foxes at a large lesser snow goose (Chen caerulescens caerulescens) colony on Banks Island, Canada, from 1996 to
Samples (blood or tissue fluid) from 594 arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus), 390 Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus), 361 sibling voles (Microtus rossiaemeridionalis), 17 walruses (Odobenus rosmarus), 149 barnacle geese (Branta leucopsis), 58 kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), and 27 glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) from Svalbard and nearby waters were assayed for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii using a direct agglutination test. The proportion
Kristin Wear Prestrud; Kjetil Åsbakk; Eva Fuglei; Torill Mørk; Audun Stien; Erik Ropstad; Morten Tryland; Geir Wing Gabrielsen; Christian Lydersen; Kit M. Kovacs; Maarten J. J. E. Loonen; Kjetil Sagerup; Antti Oksanen
The snowy owl, Nyctea scandiaca, is a permanent resident in the arctic tundra of both North America and Eurasia. Besides the snowy owl only the common raven (Corvus corax) and rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) inhabit the arctic tundra in winter. When food i...
Cold-adapted large mammal faunas reached the Iberian Peninsula during the coldest periods of the Late Pleistocene. A total of 75 Iberian sites yielded remains of the cold-adapted faunal complex which is composed of the species, Mammuthus primigenius (woolly mammoth), Coelodonta antiquitatis (woolly rhinoceros), Rangifer tarandus (reindeer) and, to a lesser extent, Gulo gulo (wolverine), Alopex lagopus (arctic fox), Ovibos moschatus
There are 3 canids besides the dog (Canis familiaris): the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) and Chinese raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides procyonoides), which have been extensively studied with the use of cytogenetic and molecular genetics techniques. These 3 species are considered as farm fur-bearing animals. In addition, they are also useful models in comparative genomic studies of
Eighteen species of birds of prey in Netherlands were examined for helminth parasites: Accipitriformes - Accipiter gentilis (15 birds), A. nisus (9), Aquila pomarina (1), Buteo buteo (56), B. lagopus (4), Circaetus gallicus (2), Circus aeruginosus (2), C. cyaneus (3), Pernis apivorus (5); Falconiformes - Falco columbarius (2), F. peregrinus (2), F. subbuteo (6), F. tinnunculus (31); Strigiformes - Asio
F. H. M. Borgsteede; A. Okulewicz; P. E. F. Zoun; J. Okulewicz
English abstract: We hypothesized that the arctic fox, Alopex lagopus (Linnaeus), population on St. Lawrence Island was cyclic and that its fluctuations in size. structure, and productivity were correlated with the relative size of the population of northern voles, Microtus oeconomus Pallas, the primary prey. Based on a nine-year study, we determined that the variations in size of the fox
Resource pulses are common in various ecosystems and often have large impacts on ecosystem functioning. Many animals hoard food during resource pulses, yet how this behaviour affects pulse diffusion through trophic levels is poorly known because of a lack of individual-based studies. Our objective was to examine how the hoarding behaviour of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) preying on a seasonal
Vincent Careau; Nicolas Lecomte; Joël Bêty; Jean-François Giroux; Gilles Gauthier; Dominique Berteaux
Chitin synthase from Coprinus cinereus (Schaeff. ex Fr.) S. F. Gray (= C. lagopus sensu Buller) was used as a model for chitin synthase from insects. The effect of dimilin (difluorobenzuron), captan (trichloromethylsulfonyl fungicide), kitazin P (organophosphorus ester fungicide) and parathion (organophosphorus insecticide) on the fungal enzyme was compared with the effect of nikkomycin (nucleosidepeptide antibiotic). PMID:380491
One of vector-borne avian protozoa, Leucocytozoon lovati, has been found in the Japanese rock ptarmigans (Lagopus mutus japonicus), the endangered bird species distributed in the alpine regions in Japan. Vector arthropod species of L. lovati has also been estimated as Simuliidae black flies distributed in the same habitat of the host bird, however, possible blood\\u000a meals of the black flies
Concentrations of cadmium, mercury, lead, arsenic, selenium, copper, zinc, manganese and iron in liver, and cadmium in kidneys, were analysed in 95 carcasses of arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) caught in Svalbard during three winter seasons from 1984 through 1986. The hepatic concentration ranges of cadmium, mercury, lead and arsenic were 0.1–2.4, 0.01–2.2, µg·g-1 WW, respectively. The range of cadmium concentration
Cache recovery is critical for evolution of hoarding behaviour, because the energy invested in caching may be lost if consumers\\u000a other than the hoarders benefit from the cached food. By raiding food caches, animals may exploit the caching habits of others,\\u000a that should respond by actively defending their caches. The arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) is the main predator of lemmings
Vincent Careau; Nicolas Lecomte; Jean-François Giroux; Dominique Berteaux
Reports of mortality among arctic foxes, Alopex lagopus, generally consist of isolated incidents of predation by bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, snowy owls, Nyctea scandiaca, red foxes, Vulpes vulpes, and dogs, Canis familiaris. This is a report of observations made on mortality of arctic fox pups observed at dens in the Prudhoe Bay and Colville River Delta areas of northern Alaska during summers of 1975 to 1978 and 1976 to 1979, respectively.
Natural pox infection occurred in a free-living rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus) in northeastern North Dakota. Gross, histological and electron microscopic findings were typical of pox infection, and characteristic lesions developed in red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) but not in great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) following inoculation with case material. Death of the rough-legged hawk was attributed to starvation resulting from inability to capture prey and to blood loss from foot lesions.
Results of determination of 137Cs, 90Sr, 40K, 239+240Pu, and heavy metals: Mn, Zn, Pb, Cd, Ni, Cr, Co, and Cu in skeletons of 15 species of birds of prey from Eastern Poland were\\u000a presented. The greatest amounts of 137Cs and 90Sr (70 Bq\\/kg and 33 Bq\\/kg, respectively) were found in rough-legged buzzards (Buteo lagopus), winter visitors, coming from former soviet nuclear test
A. Komosa; I. Kitowski; S. Chibowski; J. Solecki; J. Orze?; P. Ró?a?ski
Food-hoarding animals are expected to preferentially cache items with lower perishability and\\/or higher consumption time.\\u000a We observed arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) foraging in a greater snow goose (Anser caerulescens atlanticus) colony where the main prey of foxes consisted of goose eggs, goslings, and lemmings (Lemmus and Dicrostonyx spp.). We recorded the number of prey consumed and cached and the time
Vincent Careau; Jean-François Giroux; Dominique Berteaux
Examination of terminal Pleistocene-age fox remains from the Marmes archaeological site in southeastern Washington State (USA) reveals that a previous identification of one specimen as arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) was incorrect. Of nearly four-dozen associated specimens, eleven, including the one originally identified as arctic fox, represent red fox (Vulpes vulpes). Cut-marked fox bones and associated stone artifacts and eyed bone needles suggest several foxes were butchered and perhaps hides sewn together. The modern environmental setting of the Marmes site is too warm for modern red fox; the prehistoric red fox remains suggest (summer) climate was cooler when those remains were deposited.
An experiment was carried out using three cubs of the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus). Twenty-five-day-old cubs were infected by feeding them with the leg muscles of the white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons) containing Sarcocystis sp. (cyst type III) cysts. Under the light microscope, the cysts were ribbon-shaped up to 4 mm long and up to 750 microm wide. On the surface of the wall (up to 2.4 microm), they had teat- or finger-like villar protrusions. Ultrastructurally, the cyst wall was a type-9 with villar protrusions (up to 2.3 microm long) different in size. The 11.4x1.7 (10.0-13.5x1.5-2.5)microm cystozoites were almost straight and shuttle-shaped. The fox cubs started shedding typical 12.0x8.0 (10.0-12.8x6.8-8.6)microm Sarcocystis sp. sporocysts on the 13th-14th days post-infection. The patent period lasted 19 days. The conclusion drawn was that the arctic fox (A. lagopus) can be one of the definitive hosts of Sarcocystis sp. (cyst type III) from the white-fronted goose. PMID:16649036
We studied food habits of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) nesting in central west Greenland in 2000 and 2001 using three sources of data: time-lapse video (3 nests), prey remains (22 nests), and regurgitated pellets (19 nests). These sources provided different information describing the diet during the nesting period. Gyrfalcons relied heavily on Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and arctic hares (Lepus arcticus). Combined, these species contributed 79-91% of the total diet, depending on the data used. Passerines were the third most important group. Prey less common in the diet included waterfowl, arctic fox pups (Alopex lagopus), shorebirds, gulls, alcids, and falcons. All Rock Ptarmigan were adults, and all but one arctic hare were young of the year. Most passerines were fledglings. We observed two diet shifts, first from a preponderance of ptarmigan to hares in mid-June, and second to passerines in late June. The video-monitored Gyrfalcons consumed 94-110 kg of food per nest during the nestling period, higher than previously estimated. Using a combination of video, prey remains, and pellets was important to accurately document Gyrfalcon diet, and we strongly recommend using time-lapse video in future diet studies to identify biases in prey remains and pellet data.
We studied food habits of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) nesting in central west Greenland in 2000 and 2001 using three sources of data: time-lapse video (3 nests), prey remains (22 nests), and regurgitated pellets (19 nests). These sources provided different information describing the diet during the nesting period. Gyrfalcons relied heavily on Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and arctic hares (Lepus arcticus). Combined, these species contributed 79-91% of the total diet, depending on the data used. Passerines were the third most important group. Prey less common in the diet included waterfowl, arctic fox pups (Alopex lagopus), shorebirds, gulls, alcids, and falcons. All Rock Ptarmigan were adults, and all but one arctic hare were young of the year. Most passerines were fledglings. We observed two diet shifts, first from a preponderance of ptarmigan to hares in mid-June, and second to passerines in late June. The video-monitored Gyrfalcons consumed 94-110 kg of food per nest during the nestling period, higher than previously estimated. Using a combination of video, prey remains, and pellets was important to accurately document Gyrfalcon diet, and we strongly recommend using time-lapse video in future diet studies to identify biases in prey remains and pellet data.
Unlike Oceanic islands, the islands of the Arctic Sea are not completely isolated from migration by terrestrial vertebrates. The pack ice connects many Arctic Sea islands to the mainland during winter months. The Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), which has a circumpolar distribution, populates numerous islands in the Arctic Sea. In this study, we used genetic data from 20 different populations, spanning the entire distribution of the Arctic fox, to identify barriers to dispersal. Specifically, we considered geographical distance, occurrence of sea ice, winter temperature, ecotype, and the presence of red fox and polar bear as nonexclusive factors that influence the dispersal behaviour of individuals. Using distance-based redundancy analysis and the BIOENV procedure, we showed that occurrence of sea ice is the key predictor and explained 40-60% of the genetic distance among populations. In addition, our analysis identified the Commander and Pribilof Islands Arctic populations as genetically unique suggesting they deserve special attention from a conservation perspective. PMID:17868292
Geffen, Eli; Waidyaratne, Sitara; Dalén, Love; Angerbjörn, Anders; Vila, Carles; Hersteinsson, Pall; Fuglei, Eva; White, Paula A; Goltsman, Michael; Kapel, Christian M O; Wayne, Robert K
The aim of this study was to compare Toxoplasma gondii infection in three canid species: red fox Vulpes vulpes, arctic fox Vulpes lagopus and raccoon dog Nyctereutesprocyonoides kept at the same farm. Anal swabs were taken from 24 adult and 10 juvenile red foxes, 12 adult arctic foxes, three adult and seven juvenile raccoon dogs. Additionally, muscle samples were taken from 10 juvenile red foxes. PCR was used to detect T. gondii DNA. T. gondii infection was not detected in any of the arctic foxes; 60% ofraccoon dogs were infected; the prevalence of the parasite in material from red fox swabs was intermediate between the prevalence observed in arctic foxes and raccoon dogs. It is possible that susceptibility and immune response to the parasite differ between the three investigated canid species. T. gondii DNA was detected in muscle tissue of five young foxes. The results of this study suggest that T. gondii infection is not rare in farmed canids. PMID:22428309
Periodic wildlife rabies epizootics occur in Arctic regions. The original sources of these outbreaks are rarely identified. In 1980, a wildlife epizootic of rabies occurred on the previously rabies-free Svalbard Islands, Norway. After this outbreak of rabies in the arctic fox population (Alopex lagopus), only single cases have been reported from the Islands over the following two decades. Phylogenetic characterization of four viruses isolated from infected arctic foxes from Svalbard from three different time periods suggest that the source of these epizootics could have been migration of this species from the Russian mainland. Arctic fox migration has likely contributed to the establishment of another zoonotic disease, Echinococcus multilocularis, on Svalbard in recent years. PMID:17767407
Johnson, N; Dicker, A; Mork, T; Marston, D A; Fooks, A R; Tryland, M; Fuglei, E; Müller, T
In most Arctic and subarctic regions, Trichinella nativa is a common zoonotic pathogen circulating among wild carnivores. The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is one of the most important reservoirs for T. nativa in frigid zones. In Iceland, Trichinella infection has never been detected in the local wildlife, despite the presence of one of the host species, the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus). In 2008, one of two polar bears that had swum to Iceland's coast was found to have been infected with Trichinella sp. (8.5 larvae/g in the tongue, 6.8 larvae/g in the masseter and 4.4 larvae/g in the diaphragm); the larvae were identified as T. nativa. This is the second report of Trichinella infection in polar bears that reached the Icelandic coast. In the present work, we describe this case of infection and discuss the epidemiological features that have allowed T. nativa to spread in Arctic regions. PMID:19732473
Reports of mortality among arctic foxes, Alopex lagopus, generally consist of isolated incidents of predation by bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, snowy owls, Nyctea scandiaca, red foxes, Vulpes vulpes, and dogs, Canis familiaris. This is a report of observations made on mortality of arctic fox pups observed at dens in the Prudhoe Bay and Colville River Delta areas of northern Alaska during summers of 1975 to 1978 and 1976 to 1979, respectively. Pup mortality was noted amng 15 (19%) of 79 families whose dens we visited. Evidence of at least 20 dead pups was found with remains ranging from intact carcasses to a few bone fragments and tufts of hair. Undoubtedly, researchers failed to detect some dead pups, as predators sometimes carry small pups away from the den before consuming them and adult foxes were observed to dispose of bodies of dead pups within den burrows.
Garrott, R.A. (Los Alamos National Lab., NM); Eberhardt, L.E.
Immunodiffusion studies have been made on the plasma of 9 species (Vulpes vulpes, V. corsak, Alopex lagopus, Canis aureus, C. lupus, C. familiaris, C. dingo, Nyctereutes procynoides, Fennecus zerde) from the family of Canidae using milk antisera. Unlike rabbit antisera used earlier, milk antisera make it possible to detect more significant antigenic divergency with respect to 5 alpha- and beta-globulins. These globulins seem to have a higher evolution rate of antigenic mosaics as compared to other plasma proteins in the family investigated. The family Canidae serologically may be divided into two main groups: 1) the genus Canis which includes the wolf, domestic dog, dingo, jackal and 2) species which significantly differ from the former (the fox, polar fox, dog fox, fennec). In relation to these two groups, the raccoon dog occupies special position. PMID:62473
Cadmium is known to be both extremely toxic and ubiquitous in natural environments. It occurs in almost all soils, surface waters and plants, and it is readily mobilized by human activities such as mining. As a result, cadmium has been named as a potential health threat to wildlife species; however, because it exists most commonly in the environment as a trace constituent, reported incidences of cadmium toxicity are rare. Here we have measured trace metals in the food web and tissues of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus) in Colorado. Our results suggest that cadmium toxicity may be more common among natural populations of vertebrates than has been appreciated to date and that cadmium toxicity may often go undetected or unrecognized. In addition, our research shows that ingestion of even trace quantities of cadmium can influence not only the physiology and health of individual organisms, but also the demographics and the distribution of species.
Larison, J. R.; Likens, G. E.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Crock, J. G.
Two recent studies on territory occupancy rates of goshawk Accipiter gentilis and gyrfalcon Falco rusticolus report a 2-3-year-delayed numerical response to grouse numbers, which is a requirement for a hypothesis of predator-generated grouse cycles. The time lags were assumed to reflect the average age of sexual maturity in the raptor species. In southern Norway, however, subadult (two-year-old) goshawk hens occupied only 18-25% of territories where occupancy was not recorded in the preceding year, and there was no significant relationship between the proportion of subadults among recruits and grouse indices two years earlier. We argue that territory occupancy rates are not appropriate indices of total raptor population levels, but rather reflect the proportion of territorial pairs that attempt to nest. Because this depends on the body condition of the hens, fluctuations in other important winter resident prey species (most important for the goshawk) and winter weather (most important for the gyrfalcon) should also be addressed. During 1988-2006, the annual proportion of goshawk territories with recorded nesting attempts in southern Norway was most closely related to the preceding autumn's population indices of black grouse Tetrao tetrix and mountain hare Lepus timidus, whereas the annual proportion of gyrfalcon territories with observations of falcons or with confirmed breeding attempts in central Norway were best explained by population indices of willow grouse Lagopuslagopus and ptarmigan L. mutus from the previous autumn, and by December temperatures. Hence, our studies do not support the predation hypothesis for grouse cycles. PMID:17549523
Summary: Records of official deer control operations in the Kaweka Range between 1958 and 1988 have been used to describe the pattern of official hunting, to indicate changes in hunting efficiency, and to show trends in the proportions of sika and red deer in sympatric populations. The pattern of hunting largely reflected wild animal control priorities, and to some extent
We conducted point counts of diurnal raptors on Boulder, Colorado, grasslands for three winters and summers, and compared results to landscape features of the count areas. Four wintering species were scarce on plots that included significant amounts of urban habitat, with a critical landscape threshold at about 5-7% urbanization: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis), Rough-legged Hawk (B. lagopus), and Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus). Counts of the first three species also were positively correlated with proximity of the count plots to the nearest colony of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Two breeding species, the Red-tailed Hawk (B. jamaicensis) and Swainson's Hawk (B. swainsoni), were more abundant on plots dominated by lowland hayfields and tallgrass prairies, as opposed to upland mixed and shortgrass prairies. They, along with the ubiquitous American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), were not sensitive to the amounts of urbanization (up to 30%) that occurred in the landscapes sampled. Results of this study suggest that urban open space grasslands can support sizable populations of most diurnal raptors, as long as prey populations persist, but that some species are highly sensitive to landscape urbanization.
Land-based birds, belonging to Galliformes order are considered to be potential intermediaries in the emergence of new strains of influenza A viruses (AIVs), but the viral circulation in these birds remains largely unknown. To gain insights into the circulation of AIV in the wild Galliformes populations in Italian Alps, we conducted a virological survey on rock partridge (Alectoris graeca saxatilis) belonging to Phasianidae family and on tetraonids including rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus helveticus) and black grouse (Tetrao tetrix tetrix). In 2003 and 2004, during the hunting seasons, 79 wild Galliformes, categorised into age and sex classes, were hunted in the Sondrio Province (Central Alps). Cloacal swabs were collected from 11 rock partridges and from 68 tetraonids including 23 alpine rock ptarmigans and 45 black grouses. We tested cloacal swabs by a high sensitive reverse transcription- (RT-) PCR detecting the matrix gene of AIV. No AIV was detected in the investigated samples, thus, suggesting the lack of AIV circulation in these relict populations in the study period. In terms of threatened species conservation, during wildlife management activities, it is very important to exclude the introduction of AIV-carrier birds in shared territories, a fact representing a health risk for these populations.
Delogu, Mauro; Ghetti, Giulia; Gugiatti, Alessandro; Cotti, Claudia; Piredda, Isabella; Frasnelli, Matteo; De Marco, Maria A.
Fifty-nine of 1250 (4.7%) wild and domestic animals from Norway and Sweden had positive dye-test titers (greater than or equal to 1:8) for antibody against Toxoplasma gondii. A dye-test titer of 1:8 (30-40 i.u.) or higher was detected in 3 of 732 small rodents (0.4%), 21 of 87 domestic cats (24%), 9 of 29 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) (31%), 2 of 2 domesticated arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus), 12 of 99 red deer (Cervus elaphus) (12%), 5 of 8 roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) (63%) and in 7 of 34 wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) (21%). Antibodies were not found in 29 shrews (Sorex spp.), 127 gulls (Larus spp.), 4 terns (Sterna sp.), 10 skuas (Stercorarius sp.) 68 domestic reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) and 21 wild reindeer. Histologic examination of brain tissue from another 51 wild rabbits on which serological data were not available, did not reveal cysts. Sero-conversion was not observed in laboratory mice inoculated with the same material. Infection with T. gondii was confirmed in two of the three sero-positive small rodents using a FA-technique. Cysts were not detected in the brains of another 55 rodents, of which 26 were sero-negative and 29 were not tested serologically. PMID:650778
Sequential staining with a counterstain-contrasted fluorescent banding technique (chromomycin A3-distamycin A-DAPI) revealed the occurrence of distamycin A-4,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DA-DAPI) staining heterochromatin in the centromeric regions of chromosomes 33, 36, 37, and 38 in the wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) and of chromosomes 13, 16, and 23 in the blue fox (Alopex lagopus). The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) lacked such regions. Staining with DAPI--actinomycin D produced a QFH-type banding pattern with clearcut differences in the staining behaviour of DA-DAPI positive regions between these three canid species. Staining with the fluorochrome D 287/170 did not preferentially highlight any of the DA-DAPI positive regions in any of them. Counterstain-enhanced chromomycin A3 R-banding and studies of nucleolus organizer region location and activity confirmed a close relationship between the karyotype of the wolf and the domestic dog. Few heterochromatic marker bands were encountered in these two species, but heterochromatin polymorphism was evident in the blue fox. PMID:3801970
In Europe, the Quaternary is characterized by climatic fluctuations known to have led to many cycles of contraction and expansion of species geographical ranges. In addition, during the Holocene, historical changes in human occupation such as colonization or abandonment of traditional land uses can also affect habitats. These climatically or anthropically induced geographic range changes are expected to produce considerable effective population size change, measurable in terms of genetic diversity and organization. The rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) is a small-bodied grouse occurring throughout Northern hemispheric arctic and alpine tundra. This species is not considered threatened at a continental scale, but the populations in the Pyrenees are of concern because of their small population size, geographical isolation and low genetic diversity. Here, we used 11 microsatellites to investigate genetic variations and differentiations and infer the overall demographic history of Pyrenean rock ptarmigan populations. The low genetic variability found in these populations has been previously thought to be the result of a bottleneck that occurred following the last glacial maximum (i.e., 10?000 years ago) or more recently (i.e., during the last 200 years). Our results clearly indicate a major bottleneck affecting the populations in the last tenth of the Holocene. We discuss how this decline can be explained by a combination of unfavorable and successive events that increased the degree of habitat fragmentation. PMID:23838689
Bech, N; Barbu, C M; Quéméré, E; Novoa, C; Allienne, J F; Boissier, J
Along the central Beaufort Sea, Pacific Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima v-nigra) nest on unvegetated, barrier islands; often near nesting Glaucous Gulls (Larus hyperboreus). Nest-site choice likely reflects a strategy of predator avoidance: nesting on islands to avoid mammalian predators and near territorial gulls to avoid other avian predators. We observed a nesting colony of Common Eiders from first nest initiation through nesting termination on Egg Island near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (2002 - 2003). Resident gulls depredated many eider nests, mostly during initiation. All nests failed when an Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus) visited the island and flushed hens from their nests, exposing the eggs to depredation by the fox and gulls (resident and non-resident). Common Eiders actively defended nests from gulls, but not from foxes. Likely all three species (i.e., eiders, gulls, and foxes) ultimately achieved negligible benefit from their nest-site selection or predatory activity: (a) island nesting provided no safety from mammalian predators for eiders or gulls, (b) for Common Eiders, nesting near gulls increased egg loss, (c) for Glaucous Gulls, nesting near colonial eiders may have reduced nest success by attracting the fox, and (d) for Arctic Foxes, the depredation was of questionable value, as most eggs were cached and probably not recoverable (due to damage from fall storms). Thus, the predator-prey interactions we observed appear to be a case where little or no fitness advantage was realized by any of the species involved.
Eight species of Japanese birds were found to be infected with Leucocytozoon species using microscopic analysis. We used PCR and sequence analysis of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (cyt b) to compare the genetic background among these detected protozoa species. In 20 individuals of 22 samples, a single amplified band was detected from 6 of 8 bird species; 9 Japanese rock ptarmigans (Lagopus mutus japonicus), 4 large-billed crows (Corvus macrorhynchos), 2 carrion crows (C. corone), 2 scops owls (Otus scops), 1 Japanese grosbeak (Eophona personata), and 2 brown-eared bulbuls (Hypsipetes amaurotis), respectively. Phylogenetic analysis based on the partial cyt b sequences revealed that all Leucocytozoon isolates in Japan closely grouped with other Leucocytozoon species previously reported in the literature. Among the Japanese isolates, the phylogenetic tree suggested that L. lovati from the Japanese rock ptarmigan may be basal to the parasites found in other bird species. Our study is the first to identify the molecular relationships among Leucocytozoon parasites in the avifauna of Japan. PMID:17283401
1.?Input of external subsidies in the Arctic may have substantial effects on predator populations that otherwise would have been limited by low local primary productivity. 2.?We explore life-history traits, age-specific fecundity, litter sizes and survival, and the population dynamics of an Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) population to explore the influence of the spatial distribution and temporal availability of its main prey; including both resident and migrating (external) prey resources. 3.?This study reveals that highly predictable cross-boundary subsidies from the marine food web, acting through seasonal access to seabirds, sustain larger local Arctic fox populations. Arctic fox dens located close to the coast in Svalbard were found to have higher occupancy rates, as expected from both high availability and high temporal and spatial predictability of prey resources (temporally stable external subsidies). Whereas the occupancy rate of inland dens varied between years in relation to the abundance of reindeer carcasses (temporally varying resident prey). 4.?With regard to demography, juvenile Arctic foxes in Svalbard have lower survival rates and a high age of first reproduction compared with other populations. We suggest this may be caused by a lack of unoccupied dens and a saturated population. PMID:22211323
Samples (blood or tissue fluid) from 594 arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus), 390 Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus), 361 sibling voles (Microtus rossiaemeridionalis), 17 walruses (Odobenus rosmarus), 149 barnacle geese (Branta leucopsis), 58 kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), and 27 glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) from Svalbard and nearby waters were assayed for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii using a direct agglutination test. The proportion of seropositive animals was 43% in arctic foxes, 7% in barnacle geese, and 6% (1 of 17) in walruses. There were no seropositive Svalbard reindeer, sibling voles, glaucous gulls, or kittiwakes. The prevalence in the arctic fox was relatively high compared to previous reports from canid populations. There are no wild felids in Svalbard and domestic cats are prohibited, and the absence of antibodies against T. gondii among the herbivorous Svalbard reindeer and voles indicates that transmission of the parasite by oocysts is not likely to be an important mechanism in the Svalbard ecosystem. Our results suggest that migratory birds, such as the barnacle goose, may be the most important vectors bringing the parasite to Svalbard. In addition to transmission through infected prey and carrion, the age-seroprevalence profile in the fox population suggests that their infection levels are enhanced by vertical transmission. PMID:17950534
There are 3 canids besides the dog (Canis familiaris): the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) and Chinese raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides procyonoides), which have been extensively studied with the use of cytogenetic and molecular genetics techniques. These 3 species are considered as farm fur-bearing animals. In addition, they are also useful models in comparative genomic studies of the canids. In this review genome organization, karyotype evolution, comparative marker maps, DNA polymorphism and similarity of selected gene sequences of the 3 farm species are discussed in relation to the dog. Also the nature and variability of the B chromosomes, present in the red fox and the Chinese raccoon dog, were considered. These comparative analyses showed that among the studied canids the Chinese raccoon dog is phylogenetically the closest species to the dog. On the other hand, the most advanced linkage and cytogenetic marker maps of the red fox genome facilitate genome scanning studies with the aim to search for chromosome locations of QTL regions for behavior and production traits. PMID:20016159
To assist in evaluating serological test results from dead animals, 10 silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and 10 blue foxes (Alopex lagopus), 6 of each species previously vaccinated against and all challenged with Microsporum canis, were blood sampled and euthanased. Fox carcasses were stored at +10 degrees C, and autopsy was performed on Days 0, 2, 4, 7, and 11 post mortem during which samples from blood and/or body fluid from the thoracic cavity were collected. Antibodies against M. canis were measured in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) as absorbance values (optical density; OD). To assess the degradation of antibodies, the ratio between post mortem and ante mortem absorbance was calculated. The mean absorbance from samples collected during autopsy was generally lower than from samples from live animals. In blood samples, this difference increased significantly with time (P = 0.04), while in body fluid samples the difference decreased (not significant; P = 0.18). We suggest that a positive serological result from testing blood or body fluid of a dead animal may be regarded as valuable, although specific prevalences obtained by screening populations based on this type of material may represent an under-estimation of the true antibody prevalence. Negative serological test results based on material from carcasses may be less conclusive, taken into account the general degradation processes in decaying carcasses, also involving immunoglobulin proteins. PMID:16987389
Tryland, Morten; Handeland, Kjell; Bratberg, Anna-Marie; Solbakk, Inge-Tom; Oksanen, Antti
Organochlorine contaminant concentrations, associated fugacities, and stable isotopes of nitrogen (?(15) N) are reported for liver, whole body homogenate, and opportunistically collected samples of prey (amphipods), stomach oils, digestive tract contents, and guano for northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) collected at Cape Vera, Devon Island in the Canadian High Arctic. Liver concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (?PCB) and ?DDT were on average 49.9 ± 35.4 ng g(-1) and 29.9 ± 25.2 ng g(-1) wet weight, respectively. Whole body homogenate concentrations of ?PCB and ?DDT were 637 ± 293 ng g(-1) and 365 ± 212 ng g(-1) wet weight, respectively. A mass and energy balance showed that whole body contaminant concentrations, which are seldom reported for Arctic seabirds, are critical in determining contaminant exposure and associated risk to predators such as the Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus). Biomagnification in the fulmars is evident, because concentrations and fugacities of contaminants were generally one to three orders of magnitude higher than those of likely prey items. The fate of diet-derived contaminants along the digestive tract is discussed, in particular with respect to stomach oils, which are used to feed chicks and for defensive purposes. The benefits of considering both concentrations and fugacities are demonstrated and provide information on the absorption and distribution of chemicals within the fulmars and contaminant transfer to offspring and predators. PMID:21647949
Foster, Karen L; Mallory, Mark L; Hill, Laura; Blais, Jules M
The arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) in Scandinavia is classified as critically endangered after having gone through a severe decline in population size in the beginning of the 20th century, from which it has failed to recover despite more than 65 years of protection. Arctic foxes have a high dispersal rate and often disperse over long distances, suggesting that there was probably little population differentiation within Scandinavia prior to the bottleneck. It is, however, possible that the recent decline in population size has led to a decrease in dispersal and an increase in population fragmentation. To examine this, we used 10 microsatellite loci to analyse genetic variation in 150 arctic foxes from Scandinavia and Russia. The results showed that the arctic fox in Scandinavia presently is subdivided into four populations, and that the Kola Peninsula and northwest Russia together form a large fifth population. Current dispersal between the populations seemed to be very low, but genetic variation within them was relatively high. This and the relative F(ST) values among the populations are consistent with a model of recent fragmentation within Scandinavia. Since the amount of genetic variation is high within the populations, but the populations are small and isolated, demographic stochasticity seems to pose a higher threat to the populations' persistence than inbreeding depression and low genetic variation. PMID:16911202
Dalén, L; Kvaløy, K; Linnell, J D C; Elmhagen, B; Strand, O; Tannerfeldt, M; Henttonen, H; Fuglei, E; Landa, A; Angerbjörn, A
How species respond to an increased availability of habitat, for example at the end of the last glaciation, has been well established. In contrast, little is known about the opposite process, when the amount of habitat decreases. The hypothesis of habitat tracking predicts that species should be able to track both increases and decreases in habitat availability. The alternative hypothesis is that populations outside refugia become extinct during periods of unsuitable climate. To test these hypotheses, we used ancient DNA techniques to examine genetic variation in the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) through an expansion/contraction cycle. The results show that the arctic fox in midlatitude Europe became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene and did not track the habitat when it shifted to the north. Instead, a high genetic similarity between the extant populations in Scandinavia and Siberia suggests an eastern origin for the Scandinavian population at the end of the last glaciation. These results provide new insights into how species respond to climate change, since they suggest that populations are unable to track decreases in habitat avaliability. This implies that arctic species may be particularly vulnerable to increases in global temperatures. PMID:17420452
Dalén, Love; Nyström, Veronica; Valdiosera, Cristina; Germonpré, Mietje; Sablin, Mikhail; Turner, Elaine; Angerbjörn, Anders; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Götherström, Anders
Lemmings are involved in several important functions in the Arctic ecosystem. The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) can be divided into two discrete ecotypes: "lemming foxes" and "coastal foxes". Crashes in lemming abundance can result in pulses of "lemming fox" movement across the Arctic sea ice and immigration into coastal habitats in search for food. These pulses can influence the genetic structure of the receiving population. We have tested the impact of immigration on the genetic structure of the "coastal fox" population in Svalbard by recording microsatellite variation in seven loci for 162 Arctic foxes sampled during the summer and winter over a 5-year period. Genetic heterogeneity and temporal genetic shifts, as inferred by STRUCTURE simulations and deviations from Hardy-Weinberg proportions, respectively, were recorded. Maximum likelihood estimates of movement as well as STRUCTURE simulations suggested that both immigration and genetic mixture are higher in Svalbard than in the neighbouring "lemming fox" populations. The STRUCTURE simulations and AMOVA revealed there are differences in genetic composition of the population between summer and winter seasons, indicating that immigrants are not present in the reproductive portion of the Svalbard population. Based on these results, we conclude that Arctic fox population structure varies with time and is influenced by immigration from neighbouring populations. The lemming cycle is likely an important factor shaping Arctic fox movement across sea ice and the subsequent population genetic structure, but is also likely to influence local adaptation to the coastal habitat and the prevalence of diseases. PMID:21344255
The intestinal parasite community of Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) on the Svalbard archipelago in the High Arctic was investigated in relation to the abundance and distribution of intermediate hosts. Five species of cestodes (Echinococcus multilocularis, Taenia crassiceps, Taenia polyacantha, Taenia krabbei and Diphyllobothrium sp.), ascaridoid nematodes and one unidentified acanthocephalan species were found. The cestodes E. multilocularis, T. crassiceps and T. polyacantha all showed a decreasing prevalence in the fox population with increasing distance from their spatially restricted intermediate host population of sibling voles (Microtus levis). In addition, the prevalence of E. multilocularis in a sample from the vole population was directly related to the local vole abundance. The cestode T. krabbei uses reindeer as intermediate host, and its prevalence in female foxes was positively related to the density of reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhyncus). Finally, the prevalence of the ascaridoid nematodes also decreased with increasing distance from the vole population, a finding that is consistent with the idea that voles are involved in transmission, most likely as paratenic hosts. The prevalence of the remaining species (Diphyllobothrium sp. and an unidentified acanthocephalan) was very low. We conclude that the distribution and abundance of intermediate host structure the gastrointestinal parasite community of the Arctic fox on the Svalbard archipelago. PMID:19723357
Stien, A; Voutilainen, L; Haukisalmi, V; Fuglei, E; Mørk, T; Yoccoz, N G; Ims, R A; Henttonen, H
The potential contribution of vertebrate-mediated seed rain to the maintenance of plant community richness in a High Arctic ecosystem was investigated. We analyzed viable seed content in dung of the four numerically most important terrestrial vertebrates in Northeast Greenland - muskox (Ovibos moschatus), barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis), Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) and Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus). High numbers of plant propagules were found in the dung of muskox and barnacle goose. Seeds of many plant species were found in the faeces of one vertebrate species only. Propagule composition in barnacle goose droppings was relatively uniform over samples, with a high abundance of the nutritious bulbils of Polygonum viviparum (Bistorta vivipara), suggesting that geese have a narrow habitat preference and feed selectively. Propagule composition in muskox dung was diverse and heterogeneous among samples, suggesting a generalist approach in terms of food selection and the haphazard ingestion of plant propagules with foliage. The species composition of plant propagules in dung samples was different from that of the receiving plant communities (in terms of the Sørensen and Czekanowski dissimilarity indices), and dung deposition, especially by muskox, often brought new species to the receiving community. The results suggest that endozoochorous propagule dispersal in the Arctic has a great potential in the generation and maintenance of local species richness, albeit being little specialized. It is further suggested that endozoochory is an important means of long-distance dispersal and, thereby, of plant migration in response to climate change. PMID:17990003
Bruun, Hans Henrik; Lundgren, Rebekka; Philipp, Marianne
Numerous mutations of the human melanocortin receptor type 4 (MC4R) gene are responsible for monogenic obesity, and some of them appear to be associated with predisposition or resistance to polygenic obesity. Thus, this gene is considered a functional candidate for fat tissue accumulation and body weight in domestic mammals. The aim of the study was comparative analysis of chromosome localization, nucleotide sequence, and polymorphism of the MC4R gene in two farmed species of the Canidae family, namely the Chinese raccoon dog (Nycterutes procyonoides procyonoides) and the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus). The whole coding sequence, including fragments of 3'UTR and 5'UTR, shows 89% similarity between the arctic fox (1276 bp) and Chinese raccoon dog (1213 bp). Altogether, 30 farmed Chinese raccoon dogs and 30 farmed arctic foxes were searched for polymorphisms. In the Chinese raccoon dog, only one silent substitution in the coding sequence was identified; whereas in the arctic fox, four InDels and two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the 5'UTR and six silent SNPs in the exon were found. The studied gene was mapped by FISH to the Chinese raccoon dog chromosome 9 (NPP9q1.2) and arctic fox chromosome 24 (ALA24q1.2-1.3). The obtained results are discussed in terms of genome evolution of species belonging to the family Canidae and their potential use in animal breeding. PMID:22047079
Skorczyk, Anna; Flisikowski, Krzysztof; Switonski, Marek
We analysed data from a selective DNA pooling experiment with 130 individuals of the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), which originated from 2 different types regarding body size. The association between alleles of 6 selected unlinked molecular markers and body size was tested by using univariate and multinomial logistic regression models, applying odds ratio and test statistics from the power divergence family. Due to the small sample size and the resulting sparseness of the data table, in hypothesis testing we could not rely on the asymptotic distributions of the tests. Instead, we tried to account for data sparseness by (i) modifying confidence intervals of odds ratio; (ii) using a normal approximation of the asymptotic distribution of the power divergence tests with different approaches for calculating moments of the statistics; and (iii) assessing P values empirically, based on bootstrap samples. As a result, a significant association was observed for 3 markers. Furthermore, we used simulations to assess the validity of the normal approximation of the asymptotic distribution of the test statistics under the conditions of small and sparse samples. PMID:18263973
Szyda, Joanna; Liu, Zengting; Zato?-Dobrowolska, Magdalena; Wierzbicki, Heliodor; Rzasa, Anna
Wolves (Canis lupus) and arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) are the only canid species found throughout the mainland tundra and arctic islands of North America. Contrasting evolutionary histories, and the contemporary ecology of each species, have combined to produce their divergent population genetic characteristics. Arctic foxes are more variable than wolves, and both island and mainland fox populations possess similarly high microsatellite variation. These differences result from larger effective population sizes in arctic foxes, and the fact that, unlike wolves, foxes were not isolated in discrete refugia during the Pleistocene. Despite the large physical distances and distinct ecotypes represented, a single, panmictic population of arctic foxes was found which spans the Svalbard Archipelago and the North American range of the species. This pattern likely reflects both the absence of historical population bottlenecks and current, high levels of gene flow following frequent long-distance foraging movements. In contrast, genetic structure in wolves correlates strongly to transitions in habitat type, and is probably determined by natal habitat-biased dispersal. Nonrandom dispersal may be cued by relative levels of vegetation cover between tundra and forest habitats, but especially by wolf prey specialization on ungulate species of familiar type and behaviour (sedentary or migratory). Results presented here suggest that, through its influence on sea ice, vegetation, prey dynamics and distribution, continued arctic climate change may have effects as dramatic as those of the Pleistocene on the genetic structure of arctic canid species. PMID:17688546
Carmichael, L E; Krizan, J; Nagy, J A; Fuglei, E; Dumond, M; Johnson, D; Veitch, A; Berteaux, D; Strobeck, C
Spring and summer home ranges and local movements of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) were studied from 1975 to 1977 at the Prudhoe Bay oil-development area in northern Alaska. Twenty-seven adult and 62 juvenile foxes were captured, marked, and released. Nine adults and 5 juveniles were equipped with radio collars and monitored during 1976 and 1977. Home range size was 20.8 +/- 12.5 (SD) km/sup 2/ for 4 adult foxes and 3.7 +/- 1.7 km/sup 2/ for 5 juveniles. Home range configuration was similar for all marked members of individual families. Adult foxes were nocturnal and territorial. Foxes used oil-development sites for feeding, resting, and denning. Use of these became more comon late in the rearing season, as juveniles became more mobile. A major fluctuation in the availability of natural foods did not appear to alter ues of developed areas by foxes. The number of juvenile foxes observed at Prudhoe Bay decreased from 1976 to 1977, but the decrease was less pronounced than in a nearby undisturbed area.
The direct and interactive effects of climate change on host species and infectious disease dynamics are likely to initially manifest at latitudinal extremes. As such, Alaska represents a region in the United States for introspection on climate change and disease. Rabies is enzootic among arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) throughout the northern polar region. In Alaska, arctic and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are reservoirs for rabies, with most domestic animal and wildlife cases reported from northern and western coastal Alaska. Based on passive surveillance, a pronounced seasonal trend in rabid foxes occurs in Alaska, with a peak in winter and spring. This study describes climatic factors that may be associated with reported cyclic rabies occurrence. Based upon probabilistic modelling, a stronger seasonal effect in reported fox rabies cases appears at higher latitudes in Alaska, and rabies in arctic foxes appear disproportionately affected by climatic factors in comparison with red foxes. As temperatures continue a warming trend, a decrease in reported rabid arctic foxes may be expected. The overall epidemiology of rabies in Alaska is likely to shift to increased viral transmission among red foxes as the primary reservoir in the region. Information on fox and lemming demographics, in addition to enhanced rabies surveillance among foxes at finer geographic scales, will be critical to develop more comprehensive models for rabies virus transmission in the region. PMID:23452510
Kim, B I; Blanton, J D; Gilbert, A; Castrodale, L; Hueffer, K; Slate, D; Rupprecht, C E
Den use by arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) was examined near the Prudhoe Bay oil field and on a nearby undisturbed area on the Colville River Delta in northern Alaska. The density of dens at Prudhoe Bay (1 den/12 km/sup 2/) was approximately three times that on Colville Delta (1 den/34 km/sup 2/). Thirty-three percent of the Prudhoe Bay dens appeared to be of recent origin compared to 11% on the Colville Delta. Survival or production of juvenile foxes decreased on both study areas in 1977 when densities of lemmings (Dicrostonyx torquatus and Lemmus sibiricus) were low, but the decrease was less pronounced at Prudhoe Bay. Foxes that raised young at Prudhoe Bay in 1977 were those living near petroleum development facilities. The utilization of garbage by Prudhoe Bay foxes probably accounted for many of the observed differences between study sites. Common features of spring and summer den use by arctic foxes included a selection of historically preferred den sites, splitting litters into multiple dens, and the fidelity of some adult and juvenile foxes to dens in successive years. Winter use of dens was common at Prudhoe Bay. 24 references, 2 tables.
Using simple regression, pooled-sites route-regression, and nonparametric rank-trend analyses, we evaluated trends in counts of hawks migrating past 6 eastern hawk lookouts from 1972 to 1987. The indexing variable was the total count for a season. Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), merlin (F. columbarius), osprey (Pandion haliaetus), and Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperii) counts increased using route-regression and nonparametric methods (P 0.10). We found no consistent trends (P > 0.10) in counts of sharp-shinned hawks (A. striatus), northern goshawks (A. gentilis) red-shouldered hawks (Buteo lineatus), red-tailed hawks (B. jamaicensis), rough-legged hawsk (B. lagopus), and American kestrels (F. sparverius). Broad-winged hawk (B. platypterus) counts declined (P < 0.05) based on the route-regression method. Empirical comparisons of our results with those for well-studied species such as the peregrine falcon, bald eagle, and osprey indicated agreement with nesting surveys. We suggest that counts of migrant hawks are a useful and economical method for detecting long-term trends in species across regions, particularly for species that otherwise cannot be easily surveyed.
Snow cover has dramatic effects on the structure and functioning of Arctic ecosystems in winter. In the tundra, the subnivean space is the primary habitat of wintering small mammals and may be critical for their survival and reproduction. We have investigated the effects of snow cover and habitat features on the distributions of collared lemming (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus) and brown lemming (Lemmus trimucronatus) winter nests, as well as on their probabilities of reproduction and predation by stoats (Mustela erminea) and arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus). We sampled 193 lemming winter nests and measured habitat features at all of these nests and at random sites at two spatial scales. We also monitored overwinter ground temperature at a subsample of nest and random sites. Our results demonstrate that nests were primarily located in areas with high micro-topography heterogeneity, steep slopes, deep snow cover providing thermal protection (reduced daily temperature fluctuations) and a high abundance of mosses. The probability of reproduction increased in collared lemming nests at low elevation and in brown lemming nests with high availability of some graminoid species. The probability of predation by stoats was density dependent and was higher in nests used by collared lemmings. Snow cover did not affect the probability of predation of lemming nests by stoats, but deep snow cover limited predation attempts by arctic foxes. We conclude that snow cover plays a key role in the spatial structure of wintering lemming populations and potentially in their population dynamics in the Arctic. PMID:21701915
Land-based birds, belonging to Galliformes order are considered to be potential intermediaries in the emergence of new strains of influenza A viruses (AIVs), but the viral circulation in these birds remains largely unknown. To gain insights into the circulation of AIV in the wild Galliformes populations in Italian Alps, we conducted a virological survey on rock partridge (Alectoris graeca saxatilis) belonging to Phasianidae family and on tetraonids including rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus helveticus) and black grouse (Tetrao tetrix tetrix). In 2003 and 2004, during the hunting seasons, 79 wild Galliformes, categorised into age and sex classes, were hunted in the Sondrio Province (Central Alps). Cloacal swabs were collected from 11 rock partridges and from 68 tetraonids including 23 alpine rock ptarmigans and 45 black grouses. We tested cloacal swabs by a high sensitive reverse transcription- (RT-) PCR detecting the matrix gene of AIV. No AIV was detected in the investigated samples, thus, suggesting the lack of AIV circulation in these relict populations in the study period. In terms of threatened species conservation, during wildlife management activities, it is very important to exclude the introduction of AIV-carrier birds in shared territories, a fact representing a health risk for these populations. PMID:24167732
Delogu, Mauro; Ghetti, Giulia; Gugiatti, Alessandro; Cotti, Claudia; Piredda, Isabella; Frasnelli, Matteo; De Marco, Maria A
A wide range and occasionally high levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are reported in Arctic regions, especially among top predators. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus), arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) and some gull species (Larus spp.) often have high levels of these fat-soluble pollutants. Gulls deposit significant levels of these contaminants in their eggs. In northern regions, gull eggs are part of the traditional human diet. In the present study we have investigated the levels of POPs in gull eggs in order to determine the tolerable weekly intake (TWI) for humans. Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) were measured in 214 gull eggs collected in the spring of 2001-02. The eggs were collected from four gull species (herring gulls (Larus argentatus), great black-backed gulls (L. marinus), lesser black-backed gulls (L. fuscus) and glaucous gulls (L. hyperboreus)) at 12 different locations in Northern Norway, on the Faroe Islands and on Svalbard. The pollutant levels in gull eggs were found to be 65.5 +/- 26.9 pg toxic equivalent (TE) for dioxin and PCB g(-1) wet weight. Based on these findings and the TWI-value determined by the EU Scientific Committee on Food it is advised that children, young women and pregnant and nursing women should not eat gull eggs. Other people should limit their intake of eggs to an absolute minimum, considering the health risks associated with gull egg intake. PMID:15931427
Global climate change may impact wildlife populations by affecting local weather patterns, which, in turn, can impact a variety of ecological processes. However, it is not clear that local variations in ecological processes can be explained by large-scale patterns of climate. The North Atlantic oscillation (NAO) is a large-scale climate phenomenon that has been shown to influence the population dynamics of some animals. Although effects of the NAO on vertebrate population dynamics have been studied, it remains uncertain whether it broadly predicts the impact of weather on species. We examined the ability of local weather data and the NAO to explain the annual variation in population dynamics of white-tailed ptarmigan ( Lagopus leucurus) in Rocky Mountain National Park, USA. We performed canonical correlation analysis on the demographic subspace of ptarmigan and local-climate subspace defined by the empirical orthogonal function (EOF) using data from 1975 to 1999. We found that two subspaces were significantly correlated on the first canonical variable. The Pearson correlation coefficient of the first EOF values of the demographic and local-climate subspaces was significant. The population density and the first EOF of local-climate subspace influenced the ptarmigan population with 1-year lags in the Gompertz model. However, the NAO index was neither related to the first two EOF of local-climate subspace nor to the first EOF of the demographic subspace of ptarmigan. Moreover, the NAO index was not a significant term in the Gompertz model for the ptarmigan population. Therefore, local climate had stronger signature on the demography of ptarmigan than did a large-scale index, i.e., the NAO index. We conclude that local responses of wildlife populations to changing climate may not be adequately explained by models that project large-scale climatic patterns. PMID:12242476
Wang, Guiming; Hobbs, N Thompson; Galbraith, Hector; Giesen, Kenneth M
We used data from aerial surveys (1992–2010) of >100,000 km2 and ground surveys (1998–2004) of >150 km2 to estimate the density and abundance of birds on the North Slope of Alaska (U.S.A.). In the ground surveys, we used double sampling to estimate detection ratios. We used the aerial survey data to compare densities of birds and Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), the major nest predator of birds, on the North Slope, in Prudhoe Bay, and in nearby areas. We partitioned the Prudhoe Bay oil field into 2 × 2 km plots and determined the relation between density of aquatic birds and density of roads, buildings, and other infrastructure in these plots. Abundance and density (birds per square kilometer) of 3 groups of aquatic birds—waterfowl, loons, and grebes; shorebirds; and gulls, terns, and jaegers—were highest in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska (NPRA) and lowest in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Six other major wetlands occur in the Arctic regions of Canada and Russia, but the largest population of aquatic birds was in the NPRA. Aquatic birds were concentrated in the northern part of the NPRA. For example, an area that covered 18% of the NPRA included 53% of its aquatic birds. The aerial surveys showed that bird density was not lower and fox density was not higher in Prudhoe Bay than in surrounding areas. Density of infrastructure did not significantly affect bird density for any group of species. Our results establish that the NPRA is one of the most important areas for aquatic birds in the Arctic. Our results and those of others also indicate that oil production, as practiced in Prudhoe Bay, does not necessarily lead to substantial declines in bird density or productivity in or near the developed areas.
Bart, Jonathan; Platte, Robert M.; Andres, Brad; Brown, Stephen; Johnson, James A.; Larned, William
Tissues of subsistence-harvested Arctic mammals were analyzed for silver (Ag), cadmium (Cd), and total mercury (THg). Muscle (or total body homogenates of potential fish and invertebrate prey) was analyzed for stable carbon (delta13C) and nitrogen (delta15N) isotopes to establish trophic interactions within the Arctic food chain. Food web magnification factors (FWMFs) and biomagnification factors for selected predator-prey scenarios (BMFs) were calculated to describe pathways of heavy metals in the Alaskan Arctic. FWMFs in this study indicate that magnification of selected heavy metals in the Arctic food web is not significant. Biomagnification of Cd occurs mainly in kidneys; calculated BMFs are higher for hepatic THg than renal THg for all predator-prey scenarios with the exception of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). In bears, the accumulation of renal THg is approximately 6 times higher than in liver. Magnification of hepatic Ag is minimal for all selected predator-prey scenarios. Though polar bears occupy a higher trophic level than belugas (Delphinapterus leucas), based on delta15N, the metal concentrations are either not statistically different between the two species or lower for bears. Similarly, concentrations of renal and hepatic Cd are significantly lower or not statistically different in polar bears compared to ringed (Phoca hispida) and bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus), their primary prey. THg, on the other hand, increased significantly from seal to polar bear tissues. Mean delta15N was lowest in muscle of Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) and foxes also show the lowest levels of Hg, Cd and Ag in liver and kidney compared to the other species analyzed. These values are in good agreement with a diet dominated by terrestrial prey. Metal deposition in animal tissues is strongly dependent on biological factors such as diet, age, sex, body condition and health, and caution should be taken when interpreting magnification of dynamic and actively regulated trace metals. PMID:16387350
Dehn, Larissa-A; Follmann, Erich H; Thomas, Dana L; Sheffield, Gay G; Rosa, Cheryl; Duffy, Lawrence K; O'Hara, Todd M
In two experiments, thirty-six farm foxes of two species were inoculated with various doses of infective Toxocara canis eggs or tissue larvae isolated from mice. In experiment I, six adult arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus; 11-month old) were each inoculated with 20,000 eggs and sacrificed 100, 220, or 300 days post infection (dpi), while ten silver fox cubs (Vulpes vulpes; 6-9-week old) were infected with varying doses of eggs (30-3000) and necropsied 120 dpi. In experiment II, two groups of five cubs and two groups of five adult silver foxes received both a primary inoculation and either one or two challenge inoculations: primary inoculation (day 0) with 400 embryonated eggs were administered to five cubs and five adults and another five cubs and five adults received 400 larvae. At 50 dpi, the first challenge inoculation (400 eggs) was inoculated in all animals. At 100 dpi, three animals from each group were necropsied. The remaining two animals in each group were received a second challenge inoculation of 400 tissue larvae on 100 dpi and were subsequently necropsied at 150 dpi. In both experiments, the highest numbers of larvae per gram (lpg) of tissue was found in the kidneys (100-300 dpi). In adult foxes receiving a high dose (20,000 eggs), increasing larval burdens were found in the kidneys over the course of the experiment (up to 300 dpi). The larval migration from the lungs to other tissues appeared to be dose-dependent with the highest larval burdens found in adult foxes. The faecal egg excretion, larval burden and intestinal worm burdens decreased from the first to the second challenge infection. PMID:15986242
1. Many ecosystems are characterized by pulses of dramatically higher than normal levels of foods (pulsed resources) to which animals often respond by caching foods for future use. However, the extent to which animals use cached foods and how this varies in relation to fluctuations in other foods is poorly understood in most animals. 2. Arctic foxes Alopex lagopus (L.) cache thousands of eggs annually at large goose colonies where eggs are often superabundant during the nesting period by geese. We estimated the contribution of cached eggs to arctic fox diets in spring and autumn, when geese were not present in the study area, by comparing stable isotope ratios (delta(13)C and delta(15)N) of fox tissues with those of their foods using a multisource mixing model in Program IsoSource. 3. The contribution of cached eggs to arctic fox diets was inversely related to collared lemming Dicrostonyx groenlandicus (Traill) abundance; the contribution of cached eggs to overall fox diets increased from < 28% in years when collared lemmings were abundant to 30-74% in years when collared lemmings were scarce. 4. Further, arctic foxes used cached eggs well into the following spring (almost 1 year after eggs were acquired) - a pattern that differs from that of carnivores generally storing foods for only a few days before consumption. 5. This study showed that long-term use of eggs that were cached when geese were superabundant at the colony in summer varied with fluctuations in collared lemming abundance (a key component in arctic fox diets throughout most of their range) and suggests that cached eggs functioned as a buffer when collared lemmings were scarce. PMID:17714265
Samelius, Gustaf; Alisauskas, Ray T; Hobson, Keith A; Larivière, Serge
The extensive use of anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) for rodent control has led to widespread secondary exposure in nontarget predatory wildlife species. We investigated exposure rates and concentrations of five ARs in liver samples from five raptors and six owls from Denmark. A total of 430 birds were analysed. ARs were detected in 84-100 % of individual birds within each species. Multiple AR exposure was detected in 73 % of all birds. Average number of substances detected in individual birds was 2.2 with no differences between owls and raptors. Difenacoum, bromadiolone, and brodifacoum were the most prevalent substances and occurred in the highest concentrations. Second-generation ARs made up 96 % of the summed AR burden. Among the six core species (sample size >30), summed AR concentrations were lower in rough-legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus) and long-eared owl (Asio otus) than in barn owl (Tyto alba), buzzard (B. buteo), kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), and tawny owl (Strix aluco). There was a strong tendency for seasonal variations in the summed AR concentration with levels being lowest during autumn, which is probably related to an influx of less-exposed migrating birds from northern Scandinavia during autumn. High hepatic AR residue concentrations (>100 ng/g wet weight), which have been associated with symptoms of rodenticide poisoning and increased mortality, were recorded high frequencies (12.9-37.4 %) in five of the six core species. The results suggest that the present use of ARs in Denmark, at least locally, may have adverse effects on reproduction and, ultimately, population status in some raptors and owls. PMID:22588365
Christensen, Thomas Kjær; Lassen, Pia; Elmeros, Morten
In this study, we analyzed the relationship between buried archaeological remains (masonries, pavements, and ancient ruins) and spontaneous vegetation growing above them. We carried out several vegetation surveys in the Domitian's Stadium at the archaeological site of the Palatine (Rome). Vegetation data were collected using the Braun-Blanquet approach and elaborated using statistical analyses (cluster analysis) to assess the similarity among surveys. Structural, chorological, and ecological features of the plant communities were analyzed. Results showed that the vegetation responds significantly to the presence of sub-emerging ancient remains. The plant bioindication of this phenomenon occurs through the following floristic-vegetation variations: phenological alterations in single individuals (reduction in height, displacement of flowering/fruiting period), increase of annual species and decrease of perennial ones, decrease of total plant coverage, reduction of maturity level of the vegetation which remains blocked at a pioneer evolutive stage. The presence of sub-surfacing ruins manifests itself through the dominant occurrence of xerophilous and not-nitrophilous species (e.g., Hypochaeris achyrophorus L., Aira elegantissima Schur, Trifolium scabrum L. ssp. scabrum, Trifolium stellatum L., Plantago lagopus L., Medicago minima (L.) L., and Catapodium rigidum (L.) C.E. Hubb. ex Dony ssp. rigidum) and in a rarefaction of more mesophilous and nitrophilous species (e.g., Plantago lanceolata L., Trifolium pratense L. ssp. pratense, Trifolium repens L. ssp. repens, and Poa trivialis L.). Therefore, the vegetation can be used as bioindicator for the detection of buried ruins, contributing in the archaeological prospection for a general, fast, and inexpensive interpretation of the underground. PMID:23114916
In Sweden, the prevalence of Trichinella infection in domestic pigs has greatly decreased since the 1970s, with no reports in the past 4 years. However, infected wild animals continue to be found. The objective of the present study was to identify the species of Trichinella present in animals of Sweden, so as to contribute to the knowledge on the distribution area and hosts useful for the prevention and control of this zoonosis. In the period 1985-2003, Trichinella larvae were detected in the muscles of 81/1800 (4.5%) red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), 1/6 (16.7%) arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), 1/7 (14.3%) wolf (Canis lupus), 10/200 (5.0%) lynxes (Lynx lynx), 4/8000 (0.05%) wild boars (Sus scrofa), and 27/66 x 10(6) (0.000041%) domestic pigs. All four Trichinella species previously found in Europe were detected (Trichinella spiralis, T. nativa, T. britovi and T. pseudospiralis). The non-encapsulated species T. pseudospiralis was detected in three wild boars from Holo (Stockholm area) and in one lynx from Froso (Ostersund area), suggesting that this species is widespread in Sweden. These findings are consistent with those of a study from Finland, both for the unexpected presence of T. pseudospiralis infection and the presence of the same four Trichinella species, suggesting that this epidemiological situation is present in the entire Scandinavian region. The widespread diffusion of T. pseudospiralis in the Scandinavian region is also important in terms of it potential impact on public health, given that human infection can occur and the difficulties to detect it by the trichinelloscopic examination. PMID:15482889
Pozio, E; Christensson, D; Stéen, M; Marucci, G; La Rosa, G; Bröjer, C; Mörner, T; Uhlhorn, H; Agren, E; Hall, M
Little is known of the genetic diversity of Toxoplasma gondii circulating in wildlife. In the present study wild animals, from the USA were examined for T. gondii infection. Tissues of naturally exposed animals were bioassayed in mice for isolation of viable parasites. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 31 animals including, to our knowledge for the first time, from a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), five gray wolves (Canis lupus), a woodrat (Neotoma micropus), and five Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). Additionally, 66 T. gondii isolates obtained previously, but not genetically characterised, were revived in mice. Toxoplasma gondii DNA isolated from these 97 samples (31+66) was characterised using 11 PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) markers (SAG1, 5'- and 3'-SAG2, alt.SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1 and Apico). A total of 95 isolates were successfully genotyped. In addition to clonal Types II, and III, 12 different genotypes were found. These genotype data were combined with 74 T. gondii isolates previously characterised from wildlife from North America and a composite data set of 169 isolates comprised 22 genotypes, including clonal Types II, III and 20 atypical genotypes. Phylogenetic network analysis showed limited diversity with dominance of a recently designated fourth clonal type (Type 12) in North America, followed by the Type II and III lineages. These three major lineages together accounted for 85% of strains in North America. The Type 12 lineage includes previously identified Type A and X strains from sea otters. This study revealed that the Type 12 lineage accounts for 46.7% (79/169) of isolates and is dominant in wildlife of North America. No clonal Type I strain was identified among these wildlife isolates. These results suggest that T. gondii strains in wildlife from North America have limited diversity, with the occurrence of only a few major clonal types. PMID:21802422
Dubey, J P; Velmurugan, G V; Rajendran, C; Yabsley, M J; Thomas, N J; Beckmen, K B; Sinnett, D; Ruid, D; Hart, J; Fair, P A; McFee, W E; Shearn-Bochsler, V; Kwok, O C H; Ferreira, L R; Choudhary, S; Faria, E B; Zhou, H; Felix, T A; Su, C
As part of a study on Mars Analogue environments, the biogeochemistry of Sverrefjellet Volcano, Bocfjorden, Svalbard, was conducted and compared to surrounding glacial, thermal spring, and sedimentary environments. An understanding of how nitrogen might be distributed in a landscape that had extinct or very cold adapted, slow- growing extant organisms should be useful for detecting unknown life forms. From high elevations (900 m) to the base of the volcano (sea level), soil and rock ammonium concentrations were uniformly low, typically less than 1- 3 micrograms per gm of rock or soil. In weathered volcanic soils, reduced nitrogen concentrations were higher, and oxidized nitrogen concentrations lower. The opposite was found in a weathered Devonian sedimentary soil. Plants and lichens growing on volcanic soils have an unusually wide range in N isotopic compositions from -5 to +12‰, a range rarely measured in temperate ecosystems. Nitrogen contents and isotopic compositions of volcanic soils and rocks were strongly influenced by the presence or absence of terrestrial herbivores or marine avifauna with higher concentrations of N and elevated N isotopic compositions occurring as patches in areas immediately influenced by reindeer, Arctic fox ( Alopex lagopus), and marine birds. Because of the extreme conditions in this area, ephemeral deposition of herbivore feces results in a direct and immediate N pulses into the ecosystem. The lateral extent and distribution of marine- derived nitrogen was measured on a landscape scale surrounding an active fox den. Nitrogen was tracked from the bones of marine birds to soil to vegetation. Because of extreme cold, slow biological rates and nitrogen cycling, a mosaic of N patterns develops on the landscape scale.
Fogel, M. L.; Benning, L.; Conrad, P. G.; Eigenbrode, J.; Starke, V.
Steps to facilitate inter-jurisdictional collaboration nationally and continentally have been critical for implementing and conducting coordinated wildlife rabies management programs that rely heavily on oral rabies vaccination (ORV). Formation of a national rabies management team has been pivotal for coordinated ORV programs in the United States of America. The signing of the North American Rabies Management Plan extended a collaborative framework for coordination of surveillance, control, and research in border areas among Canada, Mexico, and the US. Advances in enhanced surveillance have facilitated sampling of greater scope and intensity near ORV zones for improved rabies management decision-making in real time. The value of enhanced surveillance as a complement to public health surveillance was best illustrated in Ohio during 2007, where 19 rabies cases were detected that were critical for the formulation of focused contingency actions for controlling rabies in this strategically key area. Diverse complexities and challenges are commonplace when applying ORV to control rabies in wild meso-carnivores. Nevertheless, intervention has resulted in notable successes, including the elimination of an arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) rabies virus variant in most of southern Ontario, Canada, with ancillary benefits of elimination extending into Quebec and the northeastern US. Progress continues with ORV toward preventing the spread and working toward elimination of a unique variant of gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) rabies in west central Texas. Elimination of rabies in coyotes (Canis latrans) through ORV contributed to the US being declared free of canine rabies in 2007. Raccoon (Procyon lotor) rabies control continues to present the greatest challenges among meso-carnivore rabies reservoirs, yet to date intervention has prevented this variant from gaining a broad geographic foothold beyond ORV zones designed to prevent its spread from the eastern US. Progress continues toward the development and testing of new bait-vaccine combinations that increase the chance for improved delivery and performance in the diverse meso-carnivore rabies reservoir complex in the US. PMID:20027214
Slate, Dennis; Algeo, Timothy P; Nelson, Kathleen M; Chipman, Richard B; Donovan, Dennis; Blanton, Jesse D; Niezgoda, Michael; Rupprecht, Charles E
The breadth of the continuum concept of strategy with respect to succession was tested on 21 tree and shrub species common in either unlogged or logged stands, respectively, in the Forest Reserve of Caparo, Venezuela, by examining morphological, physiological and population characteristics. Based on a preliminary abundance analysis, `early', `mid' and `late' successional species as well as `generalists' were distinguished. Early successional species, i.e. Ochroma lagopus, Heliocarpus popayanensis and Cecropia peltata were similar in many autecological aspects, e.g. monolayered leaf arrangement, orthotropic architectural models, no adaptive reiteration, clumped distribution, but differed in gap association and distribution along a drainage gradient. Mid-successional species established themselves both in large and small gaps (> 300 m[sup2 ]; 80-300 m[sup2 ]) and showed a clumped to regular distribution pattern in logged areas; they exhibited more diverse crown and leaf characteristics than early successional species. Late successional species established themselves only in small gaps and understorey, and showed a regular spatial pattern in undisturbed areas. All late successional species displayed architectural models with plagiotropic lateral axes and showed a multilayered leaf arrangement. Adaptive reiteration was a common feature of late successional species which could be further subdivided into large, medium-sized and small trees, indicating different light requirements at maturity. Generalists were common treelet and shrub species in both disturbed and undisturbed sites where they are also capable of completing their life cycle. The light compensation point (LCP) of an individual plant was strongly influenced by its crown illuminance. Large late successional species showed the widest range of LCP values, reflecting the increasing light availability with increasing height in mature forest. On the basis of many autecological characteristics, it was found (i) that there is in fact a continuum of species strategies with respect to succession even among early and mid-successional species and (ii) that the latter group of species showed the widest breadth of autecological traits, reflecting the heterogeneous environment in which they establish and mature.
1.?Flows of nutrients and energy across ecosystem boundaries have the potential to subsidize consumer populations and modify the dynamics of food webs, but how spatio-temporal variations in autochthonous and allochthonous resources affect consumers' subsidization remains largely unexplored. 2.?We studied spatio-temporal patterns in the allochthonous subsidization of a predator living in a relatively simple ecosystem. We worked on Bylot Island (Nunavut, Canada), where arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus L.) feed preferentially on lemmings (Lemmus trimucronatus and Dicrostonyx groenlandicus Traill), and alternatively on colonial greater snow geese (Anser caerulescens atlanticus L.). Geese migrate annually from their wintering grounds (where they feed on farmlands and marshes) to the Canadian Arctic, thus generating a strong flow of nutrients and energy across ecosystem boundaries. 3.?We examined the influence of spatial variations in availability of geese on the diet of fox cubs (2003-2005) and on fox reproductive output (1996-2005) during different phases of the lemming cycle. 4.?Using stable isotope analysis and a simple statistical routine developed to analyse the outputs of a multisource mixing model (SIAR), we showed that the contribution of geese to the diet of arctic fox cubs decreased with distance from the goose colony. 5.?The probability that a den was used for reproduction by foxes decreased with distance from the subsidized goose colony and increased with lemming abundance. When lemmings were highly abundant, the effect of distance from the colony disappeared. The goose colony thus generated a spatial patterning of reproduction probability of foxes, while the lemming cycle generated a strong temporal variation of reproduction probability of foxes. 6.?This study shows how the input of energy owing to the large-scale migration of prey affects the functional and reproductive responses of an opportunistic consumer, and how this input is spatially and temporally modulated through the foraging behaviour of the consumer. Thus, perspectives of both landscape and foraging ecology are needed to fully resolve the effects of subsidies on animal demographic processes and population dynamics. PMID:22268371
At the restrictive conditions (35° under continuous light) Coprinus lagopus is unable to initiate premeiotic S phase which takes place normally within 8–10 h of karyogamy. A shift-up to the restrictive conditions causes an arrest of the basidiocarps at this critical stage. A prolonged arrest causes a reversal to mitosis (Lu 1974b). Incubation of basidiocarps at the restrictive conditions before this critical stage causes no increase in recombination frequency (R.F.) in the loci studied. An arrest of 4 h at the critical stage still causes no R.F. increase, but 12–13 h and 18–19 h arrests cause increases of 50% and 90% over the controls, respectively. Thus R.F. can be increased even before the cells are fully committed to meiosis.—A 3-h heat treatment at the beginning of S phase (or 8 h before karyogamy) also causes some (30%) increase in R.F. while the same treatment at late S phase (or 3 h before karyogamy) causes a substantial (164%) increase in R.F. over the controls. A 3-h heat treatment before S phase causes no increase in R.F.—Pachytene is also responsive to temperature treatments (Lu 1969). The maximum R.f. increase is 100% by heat and 220% by cold treatment. The shortest time that can cause the maximum increase in recombination by high temperature is 3 h and that by cold treatment is 7 h. These durations are correlated with the length of the pachytene stage under the treatment conditions. The kinetic data show that the increase in R.F. caused by high and low temperatures follows two-hit kinetics and their rate of increase is almost identical. The higher increase in R.F. by low temperature can be attributed to the increased duration of pachytene and therefore R.F. is a function of time. The longer the homologous chromosomes are held together, the higher the recombination frequency.
1. Habitat heterogeneity and predator behaviour can strongly affect predator-prey interactions but these factors are rarely considered simultaneously, especially when systems encompass multiple predators and prey. 2. In the Arctic, greater snow geese Anser caerulescens atlanticus L. nest in two structurally different habitats: wetlands that form intricate networks of water channels, and mesic tundra where such obstacles are absent. In this heterogeneous environment, goose eggs are exposed to two types of predators: the arctic fox Vulpes lagopus L. and a diversity of avian predators. We hypothesized that, contrary to birds, the hunting ability of foxes would be impaired by the structurally complex wetland habitat, resulting in a lower predation risk for goose eggs. 3. In addition, lemmings, the main prey of foxes, show strong population cycles. We thus further examined how their fluctuations influenced the interaction between habitat heterogeneity and fox predation on goose eggs. 4. An experimental approach with artificial nests suggested that foxes were faster than avian predators to find unattended goose nests in mesic tundra whereas the reverse was true in wetlands. Foxes spent 3.5 times more time between consecutive attacks on real goose nests in wetlands than in mesic tundra. Their attacks on goose nests were also half as successful in wetlands than in mesic tundra whereas no difference was found for avian predators. 5. Nesting success in wetlands (65%) was higher than in mesic tundra (56%) but the difference between habitats increased during lemming crashes (15%) compared to other phases of the cycle (5%). Nests located at the edge of wetland patches were also less successful than central ones, suggesting a gradient in accessibility of goose nests in wetlands for foxes. 6. Our study shows that the structural complexity of wetlands decreases predation risk from foxes but not avian predators in arctic-nesting birds. Our results also demonstrate that cyclic lemming populations indirectly alter the spatial distribution of productive nests due to a complex interaction between habitat structure, prey-switching and foraging success of foxes. PMID:18248387
The aim of this review is to provide a thorough overview of the health effects from the complexed biomagnified mixture of long-range transported industrial organochlorines (OCs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) and mercury (Hg) on polar bear (Ursus maritimus) health. Multiple scientific studies of polar bears indicate negative relationships between exposure to these contaminants and health parameters; however, these are all of a correlative nature and do not represent true cause-and-effects. Therefore, information from controlled studies of farmed Norwegian Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) and housed East and West Greenland sledge dogs (Canis familiaris) were included as supportive weight of evidence in the clarification of contaminant exposure and health effects in polar bears. The review showed that hormone and vitamin concentrations, liver, kidney and thyroid gland morphology as well as reproductive and immune systems of polar bears are likely to be influenced by contaminant exposure. Furthermore, exclusively based on polar bear contaminant studies, bone density reduction and neurochemical disruption and DNA hypomethylation of the brain stem seemed to occur. The range of tissue concentration, at which these alterations were observed in polar bears, were ca. 1-70,000 ng/g lw for OCs (blood plasma concentrations of some PCB metabolites even higher), ca. 1-1000 ng/g lw for PBDEs and for PFCs and Hg 114-3052 ng/g ww and 0.1-50 microg/g ww, respectively. Similar concentrations were found in farmed foxes and housed sledge dogs while the lack of dose response designs did not allow an estimation of threshold levels for oral exposure and accumulated tissue concentrations. Nor was it possible to pinpoint a specific group of contaminants being more important than others nor analyze their interactions. For East Greenland polar bears the corresponding daily SigmaOC and SigmaPBDE oral exposure was estimated to be 35 and 0.34 microg/kg body weight, respectively. Furthermore, PFC concentrations, at which population effect levels could occur, are likely to be reached around year 2012 for the East Greenland polar bear subpopulation if current increasing temporal trends continue. Such proposed reproductive population effects were supported by physiological based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modelling of critical body residues (CBR) with risk quotients >or=1 for SigmaPCB, dieldrin, SigmaPFC and SigmaOHC (organohalogen contaminant). The estimated daily TEQ for East Greenland polar bears and East Greenland sledge dogs were 32-281-folds above WHO SigmaTEQ guidelines for humans. Compared to human tolerable daily intake (TDI), these were exceeded for PCBs, dieldrin, chlordanes and SigmaHCH in East Greenland polar bears. Comparisons like these should be done with caution, but together with the CBR modelling and T-score estimations, these were the only available tools for polar bear risk evaluation. In conclusion, polar bears seem to be susceptible to contaminant induced stress that may have an overall sub-clinical impact on their health and population status via impacts on their immune and reproductive systems. PMID:20398940
Species recognition and identification are crucial in any biological studies, especially when dealing with insect species involved in pathogen transmission. In recent years, molecular approaches have helped the clarification of systematic schemes and taxonomic status. Kiehl et al. (Parasitol Res 105:331-336, 2009) used molecular data to discuss the taxonomic status of biting midge species in the Palaearctic region. In the present work, the statements that "[Thus] there is no molecular support for the existence of a separate species C. montanus" and "[Therefore] probably C. scoticus should be considered only as a race of C. obsoletus" are discussed. PMID:20512587
The outbreak of bluetongue (BT) in northern Europe 2006 initiated the monitoring of vectors, biting midges of the genus Culicoides in Sweden. In order to determine the diversity, distribution and seasonal dynamics of Culicoides, weekly collections were made during 2008 and during March-December 2009 using the Ondestepoort Veterinary Institute black light trap. Twenty sampling sites were selected in 12 provinces. In total of 30,704 Culicoides were collected in 2008 and 32,252 in 2009. The most abundant species were the potential vectors of BTV Culicoides obsoletus/C. scoticus that comprised of 77% of the total catches. Other biting midges collected were Culicoides impunctatus (9%), Culicoides grisescens (3%), Culicoides punctatus (2%), Culicoides chiopterus (2%) and Culicoides pulicaris (2%). Culicoides obsoletus/C. scoticus were most abundant during May-June and August-September. The majority of the species were active from March to November in 2008 and April to October in 2009. Species considered as potential vectors of bluetongue virus (BTV) occurred as far north as latitude 65°N (Kalix). PMID:21944873
Truck trap collections of Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) were made during 2 yr of sampling from 2008 to 2009 at a farm site in southern England. Samples were collected from 810 sample runs carried out over 52 d and contained 7,095 Culicoides of which more than half (50.3%) were identified as Culicoides obsoletus Meigen by using a multiplex polymerase chain reaction assay. Other commonly encountered species included Culicoides scoticus Downes & Kettle (14.7% of total Culicoides caught), Culicoides dewulfi Goetghebuer (3.7%), and Culicoides chiopterus Meigen (4.2%). The activity rates of these species were examined with regard to both meteorological factors (light intensity, humidity, temperature, and wind speed and direction) and other potentially contributing variables (lunar phase and brightness, sunset time, and year) by using generalized linear models. All the species examined were collected in greater abundance at sunset, although the relationship between underlying light intensity and numbers was less pronounced in C. dewulfi and C. chiopterus. Collections of Culicoides were reduced at temperatures above 21 degrees C and were inversely related to wind speed. Variation between species was recorded, however, in response to wind direction: C. dewulfi and C. chiopterus were associated with prevailing winds passing through fields containing livestock, whereas C. obsoletus and C. scoticus demonstrated no such relationship. A male:female ratio of 1:3.56 was observed in catches, and male populations were protandrous. These results are discussed with reference both to the ecology of these species and methods currently used to predict adult Culicoides movement and abundance in Europe. PMID:22679886
Sanders, Christopher J; Gubbins, Simon; Mellor, Philip S; Barber, James; Golding, Nicholas; Harrup, Lara E; Carpenter, Simon T
After the emergence of bluetongue (BT) in Belgium in 2006, two types of entomological surveys were initiated, the one to identify the local vector species, and the other to study their population dynamics. In the vector study, Culicoides were captured near farms with recently infected cattle or sheep; in the population study Culicoides were captured in two meadows situated in the BT-affected region. A total of 130 pools of parous, non-blood engorged female midges (with a mean of 7.5 midges per pool) were analysed with real-time reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) targeting bluetongue virus (BTV) segment 5. To ensure the RNA integrity of the samples, all pools were also tested in a second RT-qPCR targeting Culicoides 18S rRNA, which served as an internal control. Seventeen pools with negative results for both 18S and BTV were excluded, most of which originated from the population survey. In the vector survey near outbreak sites, female midges of the obsoletus complex, including C. obsoletus, C. scoticus, C. dewulfi and C. chiopterus, dominated the black-light trap collections with 19 of 89 pools being BTV-positive. Moreover, all the collections from the vector survey included at least one positive pool of the obsoletus complex compared with only 20% collections (C. obsoletus/C. scoticus) in the population survey. The current study also revealed the presence of BTV RNA in one of five pools of C. pulicaris females captured near recent BT outbreaks, suggesting that this species might have played a role in transmission. Finally, the use of RT-qPCR for the recognition of new potential BTV vector species and the impact of an appropriate monitoring method and internal control are discussed. PMID:19432638
Vanbinst, T; Vandenbussche, F; Vandemeulebroucke, E; De Leeuw, I; Deblauwe, I; De Deken, G; Madder, M; Haubruge, E; Losson, B; De Clercq, K
After bluetongue (BT) appeared in northern Europe in August 2006 entomological studies were implemented in all five affected Member States (MSs) to establish which species of Culicoides had acted as vectors. The findings can be summarised as follows: (i) C. imicola the principal southern European/African vector of BTV has not penetrated into northern Europe, (ii) three pools of C. obsoletus/C. scoticus and one of C. dewulfi assayed RT-PCR-positive to BTV-8, (iii) in support of these results it was found that both potential vectors had also high parity rates (approximately 40%) indicating increased longevity favouring BTV virogenesis and transmission, (iv) furthermore, C. obsoletus/C. scoticus and C. dewulfi occurred also widely and abundantly on sheep and cattle holdings across the entire affected region, (v) and during the latter part of the season showed strong endophily readily entering livestock buildings in significant numbers to bite the animals inside (endophagy), (vi) which demonstrates that housing at best offers only limited protection to livestock from Culicoides attacks, (vii) in contrast the potential vector C. pulicaris sensu stricto was restricted geographically, was captured rarely, had a low parity rate (10%) and was exophilic indicating it played no role in the outbreak of BT, (viii) the incrimination of C. dewulfi as a novel vector is significant because it breeds in cattle and horse dung this close association raising its vectorial potential, but (ix) problems with its taxonomy (and that of the Obsoletus and Pulicaris species complexes) illustrates the need for morphological and molecular techniques to become more fully integrated to ensure progress in the accurate identification of vector Culicoides, (x) midge densities (as adjudged by light traps) were generally low indicating northern European Culicoides to have a high vector potential and/or that significant numbers of midges are going undetected because they are biting (and transmitting BTV) during the day when light traps are not effective, and (xi) the sporadic capture of Culicoides in the winter of 2007 invites re-examination of the current definition of a vector-free period. The re-emergence of BT over a wide front in 2007 raises anew questions as to precisely how the virus overwinters and asks also that we scrutinise our monitoring systems in terms of their sensitivity and early warning capability. PMID:18640734
Meiswinkel, R; Baldet, T; de Deken, R; Takken, W; Delécolle, J-C; Mellor, P S
Male Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) produce loud and high fundamental frequency bugles during the mating season, in contrast to the male European Red Deer (Cervus elaphus scoticus) who produces loud and low fundamental frequency roaring calls. A critical step in understanding vocal communication is to relate sound complexity to anatomy and physiology in a causal manner. Experimentation at the sound source, often difficult in vivo in mammals, is simulated here by a finite element model of the larynx and a wave propagation model of the vocal tract, both based on the morphology and biomechanics of the elk. The model can produce a wide range of fundamental frequencies. Low fundamental frequencies require low vocal fold strain, but large lung pressure and large glottal flow if sound intensity level is to exceed 70 dB at 10 m distance. A high-frequency bugle requires both large muscular effort (to strain the vocal ligament) and high lung pressure (to overcome phonation threshold pressure), but at least 10 dB more intensity level can be achieved. Glottal efficiency, the ration of radiated sound power to aerodynamic power at the glottis, is higher in elk, suggesting an advantage of high-pitched signaling. This advantage is based on two aspects; first, the lower airflow required for aerodynamic power and, second, an acoustic radiation advantage at higher frequencies. Both signal types are used by the respective males during the mating season and probably serve as honest signals. The two signal types relate differently to physical qualities of the sender. The low-frequency sound (Red Deer call) relates to overall body size via a strong relationship between acoustic parameters and the size of vocal organs and body size. The high-frequency bugle may signal muscular strength and endurance, via a ‘vocalizing at the edge’ mechanism, for which efficiency is critical.
Several species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) biting midges serve as biological vectors for the bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently described Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in northern Europe. Since their recent emergence in this part of the continent, these diseases have caused considerable economic losses to the sheep and cattle industries. Much data is now available that describe the distribution, population dynamics, and feeding habits of these insects. However, little is known regarding the presence of Culicoides in unusual habitats such as peaty marshes, nor their potential vector capacity. This study evaluated Culicoides biting midges present in the bogs of a Belgian nature reserve compared to those residing at a nearby cattle farm. Culicoides were trapped in 2011 at four different sites (broadleaved and coniferous forested areas, open environments, and at a scientific station) located in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium). An additional light trap was operated on a nearby cattle farm. Very high numbers of biting midges were captured in the marshy area and most of them (70 to 95%) were Culicoides impunctatus, a potential vector of BTV and other pathogens. In addition, fewer numbers of C. obsoletus/C. scoticus species, C. chiopterus, and C. dewulfi were observed in the bogs compared to the farm. The wet environment and oligotrophic nature of the soil were probably responsible for these changes in the respective populations. A total of 297,808 Culicoides midges belonging to 27 species were identified during this study and 3 of these species (C. sphagnumensis, C. clintoni and C. comosioculatus) were described in Belgium for the first time. PMID:23799137
We provide a detailed description of the rutting vocalisations of free-ranging male Iberian deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus, Hilzheimer 1909), a geographically isolated and morphologically differentiated subspecies of red deer Cervus elaphus. We combine spectrographic examinations, spectral analyses and automated classifications to identify different call types, and compare the composition of the vocal repertoire with that of other red deer subspecies. Iberian stags give bouts of roars (and more rarely, short series of barks) that are typically composed of two different types of calls. Long Common Roars are mostly given at the beginning or at the end of the bout, and are characterised by a high fundamental frequency (F0) resulting in poorly defined formant frequencies but a relatively high amplitude. In contrast, Short Common Roars are typically given in the middle or at the end of the bout, and are characterised by a lower F0 resulting in relatively well defined vocal tract resonances, but low amplitude. While we did not identify entirely Harsh Roars (as described in the Scottish red deer subspecies (Cervus elaphus scoticus)), a small percentage of Long Common Roars contained segments of deterministic chaos. We suggest that the evolution of two clearly distinct types of Common Roars may reflect divergent selection pressures favouring either vocal efficiency in high pitched roars or the communication of body size in low-pitched, high spectral density roars highlighting vocal tract resonances. The clear divergence of the Iberian red deer vocal repertoire from those of other documented European red deer populations reinforces the status of this geographical variant as a distinct subspecies.
Biting midges in the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) were collected near sunset by direct aspiration from sheep in northeastern Spain to determine species-specific biting rates and crepuscular activity. Midges were also collected by UV-baited light traps and CO2-baited traps over the same period to compare species diversity and abundance using these common surveillance methods to actual sheep attack rates. Culicoides aspirated from sheep included C. obsoletus, C. parroti, C. scoticus, C. punctatus, and C. imicola. Peak host-seeking activity during the time period examined for the two most commonly collected species (C. obsoletus and C. parroti) occurred just before sunset and activity ceased within 1 h after sunset. Host attack rates near sunset averaged 0.9 midges/min for both species with maximum attack rates of 3/min for C. obsoletus and 4/min for C. parroti. For both species, approximately 35% of midges collected from the sheep were engorged, giving a maximum biting rate of 1.1/min for C. obsoletus and 1.5/min for C. parroti. Traps baited with CO2 collected fewer midges of each species relative to other collection methods. Traps baited with UV light provided a good indication of species richness but significantly underestimated the host attack rate of C. obsoletus and C. parroti while overestimating the host attack rate of C. imicola. Animal-baited collecting is critical to interpret the epidemiological significance of light trap collections used for surveillance of the midge vectors of bluetongue virus and African horse sickness virus. PMID:19496435
Gerry, Alec C; Sarto i Monteys, V; Moreno Vidal, J O; Francino, O; Mullens, Bradley A
Background Biting midges of the Obsoletus species complex of the ceratopogonid genus Culicoides were assumed to be the major vectors of bluetongue virus (BTV) in northern and central Europe during the 2006 outbreak of bluetongue disease (BT). Most recently, field specimens of the same group of species have also been shown to be infected with the newly emerged Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in Europe. A reliable identification of the cryptic species of this group is fundamental for both understanding the epidemiology of the diseases and for targeted vector control. In the absence of classical morphological characters unambiguously identifying the species, DNA sequence-based tests have been established for the distinction of selected species in some parts of Europe. Since specificity and sensitivity of these tests have been shown to be in need of improvement, an alternative PCR assay targeting the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene was developed for the identification of the three Obsoletus complex species endemic to Germany (C. obsoletus, C. scoticus, C. chiopterus) plus the isomorphic species C. dewulfi. Methods Biting midges of the genus Culicoides caught by UV light traps all over Germany were morphologically pre-identified to species or complex level. The COI region was amplified from their extracted DNA and sequenced. Final species assignment was done by sequence comparison to GenBank entries and to morphologically identified males. Species-specific consensus sequences were aligned and polymorphisms were utilized to design species-specific primers to PCR-identify specimens when combined with a universal primer. Results The newly developed multiplex PCR assay was successfully tested on genetically defined Obsoletus complex material as well as on morphologically pre-identified field material. The intended major advantage of the assay as compared to other PCR approaches, namely the production of only one single characteristic band for each species, could be realized with high specificity and sensitivity. Conclusion To elucidate the biological characteristics of potential vectors of disease agents, such as ecology, behaviour and vector competence, and the role of these haematophagous arthropods in the epidemiology of the diseases, simple, cost-effective and, most importantly, reliable identification techniques are necessary. The PCR assay presented will help to identify culicoid vector species and therefore add to bluetongue and Schmallenberg disease research including vector control and monitoring.
The Netherlands has enjoyed a relatively free state of vector-borne diseases of economic importance for more than one century. Emerging infectious diseases may change this situation, threatening the health of humans, domestic livestock and wildlife. In order to be prepared for the potential outbreak of vector-borne diseases, a study was undertaken to investigate the distribution and seasonal dynamics of candidate vectors of infectious diseases with emphasis on bluetongue vectors (Culicoides spp.). The study focused primarily on the relationship between characteristic ecosystems suitable for bluetongue vectors and climate, as well as on the phenology and population dynamics of these vectors. Twelve locations were selected, distributed over four distinct habitats: a wetland area, three riverine systems, four peat land areas and four livestock farms. Culicoides populations were sampled continuously using CO(2)-baited counterflow traps from July 2005 until August 2006, with an interruption from November 2005 to March 2006. All vectors were identified to species level. Meteorological and environmental data were collected at each location. Culicoides species were found in all four different habitat types studied. Wetland areas and peat bogs were rich in Culicoides spp. The taxonomic groups Culicoides obsoletus (Meigen) and Culicoides pulicaris (Linnaeus) were strongly associated with farms. Eighty-eight percent of all Culicoides consisted of the taxon C. obsoletus/Culicoides scoticus. On the livestock farms, 3% of Culicoides existed of the alleged bluetongue vector Culicoides dewulfi Goetghebuer. Culicoides impunctatus Goetghebuer was strongly associated with wetland and peat bog. Many Culicoides species were found until late in the phenological season and their activity was strongly associated with climate throughout the year. High annual variations in population dynamics were observed within the same study areas, which were probably caused by annual variations in environmental conditions. The study demonstrates that candidate vectors of bluetongue virus are present in natural and livestock-farm habitats in the Netherlands, distributed widely across the country. Under favourable climatic conditions, following virus introduction, bluetongue can spread among livestock (cattle, sheep and goats), depending on the nature of the viral serotype. The question now arises whether the virus can survive the winter conditions in north-western Europe and whether measures can be taken that effectively halt further spread of the disease. PMID:18639947
Takken, Willem; Verhulst, Niels; Scholte, Ernst-Jan; Jacobs, Frans; Jongema, Yde; van Lammeren, Ron
Low reproductive productivity of young red deer (Cervus elaphus) hinds on New Zealand deer farms appears to reflect high incidences of puberty failure at 16 months of age. This is despite the general attainment of average liveweights 15-25 kg in excess of the accepted minimum threshold for puberty in subspecies of western European origin (scoticus, elaphus and hippelaphus) that form the basis of the national herd. The present study tests the hypotheses that introgression of the larger North American wapiti subspecies (nelsoni, manitobensis and roosevelti) into breeding herds (1) can be assessed from morphological features of individuals, (2) that there is a relationship between the level of wapiti parentage and non-pregnancy rate at 18 months of age (a proxy for puberty failure) and (3) that minimum liveweight thresholds for puberty increase with increasing levels of wapiti parentage. A total of 4329 18-month-old hinds across four "red" deer farms in southern New Zealand were scanned for pregnancy status. Each hind was assigned a wapiti score (WS) as a subjective assessment of the obviousness of wapiti features. Various body measurements were additionally recorded for each hind. A hair sample was collected for DNA analysis (14 markers) to objectively assign subspecies pedigree (i.e. "Elkmeter") on a subset of 1258 individuals. A total of 506 (11.7%) hinds were not pregnant at 18 months of age with rates varying between 4.1 and 37.3% between farms and years. Mean WS differed significantly between farms and reflected the genetic management policy of each farm. WS was positively correlated to Elkmeter for each farm/year (<0.05) although regression slopes varied significantly. WS was able to be adjusted for these differences to assign a corrected WS (CWS) for all 4329 individuals that estimated the proportion wapiti parentage. Discriminant analysis of morphological variables relative to Elkmeter supported the first hypothesis and showed that shoulder height and body length were good indicators of the degree of wapiti parentage within individuals. This enabled the development of an objective estimate of wapiti parentage (EWP). The actual level of such parentage within herds ranged from <5 to >55%. There was a significant negative association between wapiti parentage and pregnancy, which was strongly influenced by liveweight, supporting the second and third hypotheses. This was manifest as marked displacement of pregnancy probability curves in relation to liveweight between genotype groups, particularly for those groups with >20% wapiti parentage. For example, predicted threshold liveweights required to achieve a 90% pregnancy rate for EWP values that represent 0, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50% wapiti parentage were 81, 81, 85, 106, 127 and approximately 137 kg, respectively. Within the study herds, the majority of hinds of 0-20% wapiti parentage exceeded the predicted 90% threshold liveweights for their genotype cohort. However, hinds with higher levels of wapiti parentage generally fell below the predicted threshold for their genotype group. The data strongly suggest that under liveweight performance levels measured for red deer, hinds with >20% wapiti parentage are at high risk of puberty failure. PMID:16298276
Asher, G W; Archer, J A; Scott, I C; O'Neill, K T; Ward, J; Littlejohn, R P