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Sample records for lagopus lagopus scoticus

  1. Insights into population ecology from long-term studies of red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus.

    PubMed

    Martnez-Padilla, Jesus; Redpath, Steve M; Zeineddine, Mohammed; Mougeot, Franois

    2014-01-01

    Long-term studies have been the backbone of population ecology. The red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus is one species that has contributed widely to this field since the 1950s. This paper reviews the trajectory and profound impact that these studies have had. Red grouse research has combined long-term studies of marked individuals with demographic studies over wide geographical areas and replicated individual- and population-level manipulations. A main focus has been on understanding the causes of population cycles in red grouse, and in particular the relative importance of intrinsic (behaviour) and extrinsic (climate, food limitation and parasite) mechanisms. Separate studies conducted in different regions initially proposed either the nematode parasite Trichostrongylus tenuis or changes in male aggressiveness in autumn as drivers of population cycles. More recent experiments suggest that parasites are not a necessary cause for cycles and have highlighted that behavioural and parasite-mediated mechanisms are interrelated. Long-term experiments show that parasites and aggressiveness interact. Two outstanding questions remain to be tested experimentally. First, what intrinsic mechanism causes temporal variation in patterns of male aggressiveness? The current favoured mechanism is related to patterns of kin structuring although there are alternative hypotheses. Second, how do the dual, interacting mechanisms, affect population dynamics? Red grouse studies have had an important impact on the field of population ecology, in particular through highlighting: (1) the impact of parasites on populations; (2) the role of intrinsic mechanisms in cyclic dynamics and (3) the need to consider multiple, interacting mechanisms. PMID:23800249

  2. Ornamental comb colour predicts T-cell-mediated immunity in male red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus.

    PubMed

    Mougeot, Francois

    2008-02-01

    Sexual ornaments might reliably indicate the ability to cope with parasites and diseases, and a better ability to mount a primary inflammatory response to a novel challenge. Carotenoid-based ornaments are amongst the commonest sexual signals of birds and often influence mate choice. Because carotenoids are immuno-stimulants, signallers may trade-off allocating these to ornamental colouration or using them for immune responses, so carotenoid-based ornaments might be particularly useful as honest indicators of immuno-compentence. Tetraonid birds, such as the red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus, exhibit supra-orbital yellow-red combs, a conspicuous ornament which functions in intra- and inter-sexual selection. The colour of combs is due to epidermal pigmentation by carotenoids, while their size is testosterone-dependent. In this study, I investigated whether comb characteristics, and in particular, comb colour, indicated immuno-competence in free-living male red grouse. I assessed T-cell-mediated immunity using a standardised challenge with phytohaemagglutinin. Red grouse combs reflect in the red and in the ultraviolet spectrum of light, which is not visible to humans but that grouse most likely see, so I measured comb colour across the whole bird visible spectrum (300-700 nm) using a reflectance spectrometer. I found that males with bigger and redder combs, but with less ultraviolet reflectance, had greater T-cell-mediated immune response. Comb colour predicted T-cell-mediated immune response better than comb size, indicating that the carotenoid-based colouration of this ornament might reliably signal this aspect of male quality. PMID:17898979

  3. Ornamental comb colour predicts T-cell-mediated immunity in male red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mougeot, Francois

    2008-02-01

    Sexual ornaments might reliably indicate the ability to cope with parasites and diseases, and a better ability to mount a primary inflammatory response to a novel challenge. Carotenoid-based ornaments are amongst the commonest sexual signals of birds and often influence mate choice. Because carotenoids are immuno-stimulants, signallers may trade-off allocating these to ornamental colouration or using them for immune responses, so carotenoid-based ornaments might be particularly useful as honest indicators of immuno-compentence. Tetraonid birds, such as the red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus, exhibit supra-orbital yellow red combs, a conspicuous ornament which functions in intra- and inter-sexual selection. The colour of combs is due to epidermal pigmentation by carotenoids, while their size is testosterone-dependent. In this study, I investigated whether comb characteristics, and in particular, comb colour, indicated immuno-competence in free-living male red grouse. I assessed T-cell-mediated immunity using a standardised challenge with phytohaemagglutinin. Red grouse combs reflect in the red and in the ultraviolet spectrum of light, which is not visible to humans but that grouse most likely see, so I measured comb colour across the whole bird visible spectrum (300 700 nm) using a reflectance spectrometer. I found that males with bigger and redder combs, but with less ultraviolet reflectance, had greater T-cell-mediated immune response. Comb colour predicted T-cell-mediated immune response better than comb size, indicating that the carotenoid-based colouration of this ornament might reliably signal this aspect of male quality.

  4. Detection of herpesvirus DNA in Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus; syn. Alopex lagopus) with fatal encephalitis.

    PubMed

    Widén, F; Sundström, E; Gavier-Widén, D; Berg, A L; Dillner, B; Berg, M

    2012-06-01

    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

  5. Visceral gout in a rough legged hawk (Buteo lagopus).

    PubMed

    Murnane, R D; Garner, M M

    1987-07-01

    Visceral gout is reported for the first time in a rough legged hawk (Buteo lagopus). Urate crystals were present on the pericardium, thoracic and abdominal air sacs, and the ventral surface of the liver. The liver and spleen also had urate crystals throughout the parenchyma. There was no indication of articular or renal involvement. The immediate cause of death in this hawk was not identified, but appeared to result from multiple factors, including the visceral gout. PMID:3625918

  6. Bioindicators of the health of arctic foxes. [Alopex lagopus

    SciTech Connect

    Penman, J.A.; Garrott, R.A.; Eberhardt, L.E.; Anthony, A.; Rothenbacher, H.; Storm, G.L.; Tzilkowski, W.M.

    1980-12-30

    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 exhibited a marked decrease in serum urea nitrogen (UN) levels and in hepatocyte ribonucleic acid (RNA) and protein contents. Comparison of blood profiles between free-ranging and pre-treatment captive foxes yielded several differences. A number of blood components, notably those used as tests of liver function, were negatively correlated with hepatocyte RNA levels. Results support the utility of using both blood chemical and tissue histochemical analyses to ascertain the health of animals.

  7. Fine-scale population epigenetic structure in relation to gastrointestinal parasite load in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica)

    PubMed Central

    WENZEL, MARIUS A; PIERTNEY, STUART B

    2014-01-01

    Epigenetic modification of cytosine methylation states can be elicited by environmental stresses and may be a key process affecting phenotypic plasticity and adaptation. Parasites are potent stressors with profound physiological and ecological effects on their host, but there is little understanding in how parasites may influence host methylation states. Here, we estimate epigenetic diversity and differentiation among 21 populations of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) in north-east Scotland and test for association of gastrointestinal parasite load (caecal nematode Trichostrongylus tenuis) with hepatic genome-wide and locus-specific methylation states. Following methylation-sensitive AFLP (MSAP), 129 bands, representing 73 methylation-susceptible and 56 nonmethylated epiloci, were scored across 234 individuals. The populations differed significantly in genome-wide methylation levels and were also significantly epigenetically (FSC = 0.0227; P < 0.001) and genetically (FSC = 0.0058; P < 0.001) differentiated. Parasite load was not associated with either genome-wide methylation levels or epigenetic differentiation. Instead, we found eight disproportionately differentiated epilocus-specific methylation states (FST outliers) using bayescan software and significant positive and negative association of 35 methylation states with parasite load from bespoke generalized estimating equations (GEE), simple logistic regression (sam) and Bayesian environmental analysis (bayenv2). Following Sanger sequencing, genome mapping and geneontology (go) annotation, some of these epiloci were linked to genes involved in regulation of cell cycle, signalling, metabolism, immune system and notably rRNA methylation, histone acetylation and small RNAs. These findings demonstrate an epigenetic signature of parasite load in populations of a wild bird and suggest intriguing physiological effects of parasite-associated cytosine methylation. PMID:24943398

  8. Fine-scale population epigenetic structure in relation to gastrointestinal parasite load in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica).

    PubMed

    Wenzel, Marius A; Piertney, Stuart B

    2014-09-01

    Epigenetic modification of cytosine methylation states can be elicited by environmental stresses and may be a key process affecting phenotypic plasticity and adaptation. Parasites are potent stressors with profound physiological and ecological effects on their host, but there is little understanding in how parasites may influence host methylation states. Here, we estimate epigenetic diversity and differentiation among 21 populations of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) in north-east Scotland and test for association of gastrointestinal parasite load (caecal nematode Trichostrongylus tenuis) with hepatic genome-wide and locus-specific methylation states. Following methylation-sensitive AFLP (MSAP), 129 bands, representing 73 methylation-susceptible and 56 nonmethylated epiloci, were scored across 234 individuals. The populations differed significantly in genome-wide methylation levels and were also significantly epigenetically (F(SC) = 0.0227; P < 0.001) and genetically (F(SC) = 0.0058; P < 0.001) differentiated. Parasite load was not associated with either genome-wide methylation levels or epigenetic differentiation. Instead, we found eight disproportionately differentiated epilocus-specific methylation states (F(ST) outliers) using bayescan software and significant positive and negative association of 35 methylation states with parasite load from bespoke generalized estimating equations (GEE), simple logistic regression (sam) and Bayesian environmental analysis (bayenv2). Following Sanger sequencing, genome mapping and geneontology (go) annotation, some of these epiloci were linked to genes involved in regulation of cell cycle, signalling, metabolism, immune system and notably rRNA methylation, histone acetylation and small RNAs. These findings demonstrate an epigenetic signature of parasite load in populations of a wild bird and suggest intriguing physiological effects of parasite-associated cytosine methylation. PMID:24943398

  9. The role of parasite-driven selection in shaping landscape genomic structure in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica).

    PubMed

    Wenzel, Marius A; Douglas, Alex; James, Marianne C; Redpath, Steve M; Piertney, Stuart B

    2016-01-01

    Landscape genomics promises to provide novel insights into how neutral and adaptive processes shape genome-wide variation within and among populations. However, there has been little emphasis on examining whether individual-based phenotype-genotype relationships derived from approaches such as genome-wide association (GWAS) manifest themselves as a population-level signature of selection in a landscape context. The two may prove irreconcilable as individual-level patterns become diluted by high levels of gene flow and complex phenotypic or environmental heterogeneity. We illustrate this issue with a case study that examines the role of the highly prevalent gastrointestinal nematode Trichostrongylus tenuis in shaping genomic signatures of selection in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica). Individual-level GWAS involving 384 SNPs has previously identified five SNPs that explain variation in T. tenuis burden. Here, we examine whether these same SNPs display population-level relationships between T. tenuis burden and genetic structure across a small-scale landscape of 21 sites with heterogeneous parasite pressure. Moreover, we identify adaptive SNPs showing signatures of directional selection using FST outlier analysis and relate population- and individual-level patterns of multilocus neutral and adaptive genetic structure to T. tenuis burden. The five candidate SNPs for parasite-driven selection were neither associated with T. tenuis burden on a population level, nor under directional selection. Similarly, there was no evidence of parasite-driven selection in SNPs identified as candidates for directional selection. We discuss these results in the context of red grouse ecology and highlight the broader consequences for the utility of landscape genomics approaches for identifying signatures of selection. PMID:26578090

  10. Spontaneous rickets in the wild arctic fox Alopex lagopus

    SciTech Connect

    Ogden, J.A.; Conlogue, G.J.

    1981-10-01

    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.

  11. First isolate of Toxoplasma gondii from arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) from Svalbard

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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 ...

  12. The Mitochondrial Genomes of Aquila fasciata and Buteo lagopus (Aves, Accipitriformes): Sequence, Structure and Phylogenetic Analyses

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Lan; Chen, Juan; Wang, Ping; Ren, Qiongqiong; Yuan, Jian; Qian, Chaoju; Hua, Xinghong; Guo, Zhichun; Zhang, Lei; Yang, Jianke; Wang, Ying; Zhang, Qin; Ding, Hengwu; Bi, De; Zhang, Zongmeng; Wang, Qingqing; Chen, Dongsheng; Kan, Xianzhao

    2015-01-01

    The family Accipitridae is one of the largest groups of non-passerine birds, including 68 genera and 243 species globally distributed. In the present study, we determined the complete mitochondrial sequences of two species of accipitrid, namely Aquila fasciata and Buteo lagopus, and conducted a comparative mitogenome analysis across the family. The mitogenome length of A. fasciata and B. lagopus are 18,513 and 18,559 bp with an A + T content of 54.2% and 55.0%, respectively. For both the two accipitrid birds mtDNAs, obvious positive AT-skew and negative GC-skew biases were detected for all 12 PCGs encoded by the H strand, whereas the reverse was found in MT-ND6 encoded by the L strand. One extra nucleotideCis present at the position 174 of MT-ND3 gene of A. fasciata, which is not observed at that of B. lagopus. Six conserved sequence boxes in the Domain II, named boxes F, E, D, C, CSBa, and CSBb, respectively, were recognized in the CRs of A. fasciata and B. lagopus. Rates and patterns of mitochondrial gene evolution within Accipitridae were also estimated. The highest dN/dS was detected for the MT-ATP8 gene (0.32493) among Accipitridae, while the lowest for the MT-CO1 gene (0.01415). Mitophylogenetic analysis supported the robust monophyly of Accipitriformes, and Cathartidae was basal to the balance of the order. Moreover, we performed phylogenetic analyses using two other data sets (two mitochondrial loci, and combined nuclear and mitochondrial loci). Our results indicate that the subfamily Aquilinae and all currently polytypic genera of this subfamily are monophyletic. These two novel mtDNA data will be useful in refining the phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary processes of Accipitriformes. PMID:26295156

  13. The Mitochondrial Genomes of Aquila fasciata and Buteo lagopus (Aves, Accipitriformes): Sequence, Structure and Phylogenetic Analyses.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Lan; Chen, Juan; Wang, Ping; Ren, Qiongqiong; Yuan, Jian; Qian, Chaoju; Hua, Xinghong; Guo, Zhichun; Zhang, Lei; Yang, Jianke; Wang, Ying; Zhang, Qin; Ding, Hengwu; Bi, De; Zhang, Zongmeng; Wang, Qingqing; Chen, Dongsheng; Kan, Xianzhao

    2015-01-01

    The family Accipitridae is one of the largest groups of non-passerine birds, including 68 genera and 243 species globally distributed. In the present study, we determined the complete mitochondrial sequences of two species of accipitrid, namely Aquila fasciata and Buteo lagopus, and conducted a comparative mitogenome analysis across the family. The mitogenome length of A. fasciata and B. lagopus are 18,513 and 18,559 bp with an A + T content of 54.2% and 55.0%, respectively. For both the two accipitrid birds mtDNAs, obvious positive AT-skew and negative GC-skew biases were detected for all 12 PCGs encoded by the H strand, whereas the reverse was found in MT-ND6 encoded by the L strand. One extra nucleotide'C'is present at the position 174 of MT-ND3 gene of A. fasciata, which is not observed at that of B. lagopus. Six conserved sequence boxes in the Domain II, named boxes F, E, D, C, CSBa, and CSBb, respectively, were recognized in the CRs of A. fasciata and B. lagopus. Rates and patterns of mitochondrial gene evolution within Accipitridae were also estimated. The highest dN/dS was detected for the MT-ATP8 gene (0.32493) among Accipitridae, while the lowest for the MT-CO1 gene (0.01415). Mitophylogenetic analysis supported the robust monophyly of Accipitriformes, and Cathartidae was basal to the balance of the order. Moreover, we performed phylogenetic analyses using two other data sets (two mitochondrial loci, and combined nuclear and mitochondrial loci). Our results indicate that the subfamily Aquilinae and all currently polytypic genera of this subfamily are monophyletic. These two novel mtDNA data will be useful in refining the phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary processes of Accipitriformes. PMID:26295156

  14. Feather mites (Astigmata: Psoroptidia) parasitising the rock ptarmigan Lagopus muta (Montin) (Aves: Galliformes) in Iceland.

    PubMed

    Mironov, Sergey V; Skirnisson, Karl; Thorarinsdottir, Solrun Th; Nielsen, Olafur K

    2010-03-01

    Four new species of feather mites are described from the Icelandic rock ptarmigan Lagopus muta islandorum (Faber) in Iceland. These are Metamicrolichus islandicus n. sp., Myialges borealis n. sp. (Epidermoptidae), Strelkoviacarus holoaspis n. sp. (Analgidae) and Tetraolichus lagopi n. sp. (Pterolichidae). This is the first report on feather mites associated with the Icelandic rock ptarmigan. Brief comments on the systematics and biology of corresponding feather mite genera are given. For two species, originally described in Pterolichus Robin, 1868 (Pterolichidae), new combinations are proposed, i.e. Tetraolichus gaudi (Cerný, 1971) n. comb. and T. microdiscus (Trouessart, 1887) n. comb. PMID:20157794

  15. Pearsonema (syn Capillaria) plica associated cystitis in a Fennoscandian arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus: a case report.

    PubMed

    Fernández-Aguilar, Xavier; Mattsson, Roland; Meijer, Tomas; Osterman-Lind, Eva; Gavier-Widén, Dolores

    2010-01-01

    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

  16. Preliminary Evaluation of Raboral V-RG Oral Rabies Vaccine in Arctic Foxes (Vulpes lagopus)

    PubMed Central

    Follmann, Erich; Ritter, Don; Swor, Rhonda; Dunbar, Mike; Hueffer, Karsten

    2013-01-01

    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

  17. Preliminary evaluation of Raboral V-RG® oral rabies vaccine in Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    Follmann, Erich; Ritter, Don; Swor, Rhonda; Dunbar, Mike; Hueffer, Karsten

    2011-10-01

    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

  18. First characterization in China of Encephalitozoon cuniculi in the blue fox (Alopex lagopus).

    PubMed

    Meng, Xiangchun; Zheng, Jun; He, Xijun; Jia, Honglin; Zhang, Yanlong

    2014-01-01

    Encephalitozoon cuniculi is a microsporidian parasite that infects a wide range of vertebrates, including primates. It has recently emerged as an opportunistic parasite of patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus. The blue fox (Alopex lagopus; also known as the arctic fox) is one of the most susceptible species for encephalitozoonosis. Here, we report an outbreak of encephalitozoonosis at a fox farm in China. The isolated parasites displayed the typical morphology of E. cuniculi as assessed by Masson's trichrome staining. Analysis of the internal transcribed spacer sequence indicated that the isolated parasite is a genotype III strain of E. cuniculi. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis of the PTP1 gene verifies classification of this new strain (termed LN-1) with other genotype III E. cuniculi strains, though the PTP3 and SWP1 sequences diverge from the reference strain. This is the first report of encephalitozoonosis in farmed blue foxes in China. PMID:24995428

  19. Vector-borne pathogens in arctic foxes, Vulpes lagopus, from Canada.

    PubMed

    Mascarelli, Patricia E; Elmore, Stacey A; Jenkins, Emily J; Alisauskas, Ray T; Walsh, Mary; Breitschwerdt, Edward B; Maggi, Ricardo G

    2015-04-01

    Because of the relatively low biodiversity within arctic ecosystems, arctic foxes, Vulpes lagopus, could serve as sentinels for the study of changes in the ecology of vector-borne zoonotic pathogens. The objective of this study was to determine the molecular prevalence of 5 different genera of vector borne pathogens (Anaplasma, Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, and Hemotropic Mycoplasma spp.) using blood collected from 28 live-trapped arctic foxes from the region of Karrak Lake, Nunavut, Canada. Bartonella henselae (n = 3), Mycoplasma haemocanis (n = 1), Ehrlichia canis (n = 1), and an Anaplasma sp. (n = 1) DNA were PCR amplified and subsequently identified by sequencing. This study provides preliminary evidence that vector borne pathogens, not typically associated with the arctic ecosystem, exist at low levels in this arctic fox population, and that vector exposure, pathogen transmission dynamics, and changes in the geographic distribution of pathogens over time should be investigated in future studies. PMID:25596149

  20. Relative importance of male and territory quality in pairing success of male rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bart, Jonathan; Earnst, Susan L.

    1999-01-01

    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 directly, whether these traits permitted males to obtain territories favored by females, or whether both processes occurred. The number of females per male varied from zero to three. Several male and territory traits were significantly correlated with number of females per male. We used multiple regression to obtain a single measure of male quality and a single measure of territory quality. These measures of male and territory quality correlated with each other and with male pairing success. We used path analysis to separate direct effects of male quality on pairing success from indirect effects due to high-quality males obtaining high-quality territories. Both direct and indirect pathways had significant effects on pairing success, and direct and indirect effects of male traits on pairing success were about equal. This study illustrates an analytical approach for estimating the relative importance of direct and indirect causal relationships in natural systems.

  1. Seasonal differences in jump performance in the Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea)

    PubMed Central

    Lees, John J.; Folkow, Lars P.; Codd, Jonathan R.; Nudds, Robert L.

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT Fat storage is essential to the survival of many bird species, providing energy reserves, but can have an effect on locomotor performance with an associated potential increase in predation risk. In particular, the ability to initiate flight through jumping is critical to predator avoidance and may be influenced by changes in body mass (Mb). Here we investigate seasonal differences in the jump take-off performance of high Arctic Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea) resulting from around a 50% increase in Mb during winter as a result of fat deposition. Using force-plate data and videography, we reveal that, in the absence of alterations to take-off angle, winter Svalbard rock ptarmigan are unable to increase hind-limb power output during jumping to compensate for their increased Mb. As a result, peak take-off velocity is reduced by 42% and jump duration is also extended during winter. The consequences of reduced jumping performance upon Svalbard ptarmigan during winter may be relatively small given their low risk of predation during this season. It may be, however, that the observed reduction in jumping performance when fat may contribute to the sub-maximal pattern of fat acquisition observed in other bird species. PMID:24659246

  2. Home ranges and movements of arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) in western Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, R.M.

    1997-01-01

    During the period from 1985 to 1990, radio collars were attached to 61 arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) in the coastal region of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in western Alaska. Radio tracking using hand-held receivers from aircraft, and from fixed towers was conducted to determine daily and seasonal movements of foxes. Intensive radio tracking of 18 foxes from May through July indicated that males used larger areas (x=10.22i??6.18 km2) than females (x=4.57i??1.94 km2) regardless of breeding status. Generally foxes were relocated near (x=3.4i??2.4 km) their summer home ranges during other seasons of the year. There were no complex social groups of foxes among the marked population. Foxes did not have a definitive preference for any plant community, probably because of the even distribution and abundance of prey throughout all communities. Thirty foxes were relocated repeatedly during a period of at least 10 months, which included the denning season of one year and the breeding season of the next. Of 24 confirmed deaths of collared foxes, 16 were caused by shooting or trapping by local residents and 8 had unidentified causes. Maximum distance moved between relocations was 48.4 km. Males moved farther from initial capture sites in the winter following capture than did females, largely because of greater than 20 km movements by two foxes. There were no seasonal differences in movements between males and females.

  3. Foods of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) during winter and spring in western Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, M.; Barten, N.K.; Seiser, P.E.

    2000-01-01

    During 1986-1991, carcasses of 619 arctic fares (Alopex lagopus) collected from local trappers and at biological field camps on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in western Alaska from November through May were analyzed to determine gastrointestinal contents, age, sex, and body condition. Prey in declining order of importance were small mammals (95% tundra voles, Microtus oeconomus), birds, marine mammals, and fishes. Foxes with small mammal remains in their stomachs were captured farther from the Bering Sea coast ((X) over bar = 5.2 km) than those without small-mammal remains (2.8 km); foxes consuming remains of marine mammals were closer to the coast (1.9 km) than others (4.9 km). Although eggshells had a poor likelihood of occurrence in stomachs, they were found in all months and years. In 1986 and 1987, foxes consumed fewer small mammals than in other years. Mean ages of foxes captured in 1986 (3.7 years) and 1987 (3.2) were greater than in all ether years (1.5). Capture of adults was more common as winter progressed. Indexes of subcutaneous fat decreased annually in April-May and were highest in 1991, when occurrence of carrion of marine mammals was highest.

  4. Effect of body condition on tissue distribution of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    Aas, Camilla Bakken; Fuglei, Eva; Herzke, Dorte; Yoccoz, Nigel G; Routti, Heli

    2014-10-01

    Arctic animals undergo large seasonal fluctuations in body weight. The effect of body condition on the distribution and composition of 16 perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) was investigated in liver, blood, kidney, adipose tissue, and muscle of Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) from Svalbard (n = 18, age 1-3 years). PFAS concentrations were generally highest in liver, followed by blood and kidney, while lowest concentrations were found in adipose tissue and muscle. Concentrations of summed perfluorocarboxylic acids and perfluoroalkyl sulfonates were five and seven times higher, respectively, in adipose tissue of lean compared to fat foxes. In addition, perfluorodecanoate (PFDA) and perfluoroheptanesulfonate (PFHpS) concentrations in liver, kidney, and blood, and, perfluorononanoate (PFNA) in liver and blood, were twice as high in the lean compared to the fat foxes. The ratio between perfluorooctane sulfonamide (FOSA) and its metabolite perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) was lowest in liver, muscle, and kidney, while significantly higher proportions of FOSA were found in adipose tissue and blood. The results of the present study suggest that toxic potential of exposure to PFAS among other pollutants in Arctic mammals may increase during seasonal emaciation. The results also suggest that body condition should be taken into account when assessing temporal trends of PFASs. PMID:25215880

  5. Reduced Metabolic Cost of Locomotion in Svalbard Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea) during Winter

    PubMed Central

    Lees, John; Nudds, Robert; Stokkan, Karl-Arne; Folkow, Lars; Codd, Jonathan

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:21125015

  6. Factors Affecting Diet Variation in the Pyrenean Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica): Conservation Implications

    PubMed Central

    García-González, Ricardo; Aldezabal, Arantza; Laskurain, Nere Amaia; Margalida, Antoni; Novoa, Claude

    2016-01-01

    The Pyrenean rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica) lives at one of the southernmost limits of the ptarmigan range. Their small population sizes and the impacts of global changes are limiting factors in the conservation of this threatened subspecies. An effective conservation policy requires precise basic knowledge of a species' food and habitat requirements, information that is practically non-existent for this Pyrenean population. Here, we describe the diet of a ptarmigan population in the Eastern Pyrenees, the environmental factors influencing its variability and the relationship between diet floristic composition and quality. Diet composition was determined by microhistological analysis of faeces and diet quality was estimated from free-urate faecal N content. Our results show that grouse diet is based mainly on arctic-alpine shrubs of the Ericaceae family, as well as dwarf willows (Salix spp.) and Dryas octopetala. The most frequently consumed plant species was Rhododendron ferrugineum, but its abundance in the diet was negatively related to the diet nitrogen content. Conversely, the abundance of Salix spp., grass leaves and arthropods increased the nitrogen content of the diet. Seasonality associated with snow-melting contributed the most to variability in the Pyrenean ptarmigan diet, differentiating winter from spring/summer diets. The latter was characterised by a high consumption of dwarf willows, flowers, arthropods and tender forb leaves. Geographic area and sex-age class influenced diet variability to a lesser extent. Current temperature increases in the Pyrenees due to global warming may reduce the persistence and surface area of snow-packs where preferred plants for rock ptarmigan usually grow, thus reducing food availability. The high consumption of Rh. ferrugineum characterised the diet of the Pyrenean population. Given the toxicity of this plant for most herbivores, its potential negative effect on Pyrenean ptarmigan populations should be evaluated. PMID:26863532

  7. Correlates between Feeding Ecology and Mercury Levels in Historical and Modern Arctic Foxes (Vulpes lagopus)

    PubMed Central

    Krone, Oliver; Stefanski, Volker; Wibbelt, Gudrun; Unnsteinsdóttir, Ester Rut; Hersteinsson, Páll; Schares, Gereon; Doronina, Lilia; Goltsman, Mikhail; Greenwood, Alex D.

    2013-01-01

    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

  8. Correlates between feeding ecology and mercury levels in historical and modern arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    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

    2013-01-01

    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

  9. Factors Affecting Diet Variation in the Pyrenean Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica): Conservation Implications.

    PubMed

    García-González, Ricardo; Aldezabal, Arantza; Laskurain, Nere Amaia; Margalida, Antoni; Novoa, Claude

    2016-01-01

    The Pyrenean rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica) lives at one of the southernmost limits of the ptarmigan range. Their small population sizes and the impacts of global changes are limiting factors in the conservation of this threatened subspecies. An effective conservation policy requires precise basic knowledge of a species' food and habitat requirements, information that is practically non-existent for this Pyrenean population. Here, we describe the diet of a ptarmigan population in the Eastern Pyrenees, the environmental factors influencing its variability and the relationship between diet floristic composition and quality. Diet composition was determined by microhistological analysis of faeces and diet quality was estimated from free-urate faecal N content. Our results show that grouse diet is based mainly on arctic-alpine shrubs of the Ericaceae family, as well as dwarf willows (Salix spp.) and Dryas octopetala. The most frequently consumed plant species was Rhododendron ferrugineum, but its abundance in the diet was negatively related to the diet nitrogen content. Conversely, the abundance of Salix spp., grass leaves and arthropods increased the nitrogen content of the diet. Seasonality associated with snow-melting contributed the most to variability in the Pyrenean ptarmigan diet, differentiating winter from spring/summer diets. The latter was characterised by a high consumption of dwarf willows, flowers, arthropods and tender forb leaves. Geographic area and sex-age class influenced diet variability to a lesser extent. Current temperature increases in the Pyrenees due to global warming may reduce the persistence and surface area of snow-packs where preferred plants for rock ptarmigan usually grow, thus reducing food availability. The high consumption of Rh. ferrugineum characterised the diet of the Pyrenean population. Given the toxicity of this plant for most herbivores, its potential negative effect on Pyrenean ptarmigan populations should be evaluated. PMID:26863532

  10. Morphometric Parameters of Pyramidal Cells in CA1-CA4 Fields in the Hippocampus of Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    Łuszczewska-Sierakowska, Iwona; Wawrzyniak-Gacek, Agata; Guz, Tomasz; Tatara, Marcin R; Charuta, Anna

    2015-01-01

    The aim of the study was a quantitative examination of neurons of hippocampal subfields (CA1-CA4) in mature male Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus; syn. Alopex lagopus). The preparations were dyed using cresyl violet. Histological preparations were used to morphometricaly analyze the neurons of hippocampus. This analysis included the following parameters: average size of cells in μm, periphery of cells in μm, average cell area in μm2, percentage of cells in area and size of the largest and smallest cells in μm in CA1-CA4 fields. Morphometric observations show that the cells involved in hippocampal formation in polar fox in all layers CA1 -CA4 differ in size, shape, cell area and nucleus area. The size of the cell area in CA3 is the largest and fluctuates around 249.4 μm2, whereas in CA2 the cell area is 184.1 μm2. The cells of the CA2 field are densely arranged, pyramidal and contain a small amount of cytoplasm; their size fluctuates. Cells of CA2 and CA4 had the largest diameter of about 23.6 μm, whereas cells of the CA3 field had the smallest diameter of about 8.3 μm. PMID:26975141

  11. Is alloparenting helpful for Mednyi Island arctic foxes, Alopex lagopus semenovi?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kruchenkova, Elena P.; Goltsman, Michael; Sergeev, Sergei; MacDonald, David W.

    2009-04-01

    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.

  12. Determination of sperm acrosin activity in the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus L.)--using method developed for human spermatozoa.

    PubMed

    Stasiak, K; Janicki, B; Glogowski, J

    2012-01-01

    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

  13. Accumulation and potential health effects of organohalogenated compounds in the arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus)--a review.

    PubMed

    Pedersen, Kathrine Eggers; Styrishave, Bjarne; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro

    2015-01-01

    This review addresses biological effects of anthropogenic organohalogenated compounds in the arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus). When considering the current levels, spatial and tissue distributions of selected organic pollutants in arctic fox subpopulations, especially the Svalbard based populations accumulate high levels. The dominating contaminant groups are the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and chlordanes (CHLs), which reach high levels in adipose tissues, adrenals and liver. Recent controlled exposure studies on domesticated arctic fox and Greenland sledge dogs, show adverse health effects associated with OC concentrations lower than those measured in free-ranging populations. This indicates that especially populations at Svalbard may be at risk of experiencing OC related effects. The arctic fox as such may be an overlooked species in the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programs and it would add further information about pollution in the Arctic to include this species in the monitoring program. PMID:25300015

  14. Impact of historical founder effects and a recent bottleneck on MHC variability in Commander Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus)

    PubMed Central

    Ploshnitsa, Anna I; Goltsman, Mikhail E; Macdonald, David W; Kennedy, Lorna J; Sommer, Simone

    2012-01-01

    Populations of Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) have been isolated on two of the Commander Islands (Bering and Mednyi) from the circumpolar distributed mainland population since the Pleistocene. In 19701980, an epizootic outbreak of mange caused a severe population decline on Mednyi Island. Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) play a primary role in infectious disease resistance. The main objectives of our study were to compare contemporary variation of MHC class II in mainland and island Arctic foxes, and to document the effects of the isolation and the recent bottleneck on MHC polymorphism by analyzing samples from historical and contemporary Arctic foxes. In 184 individuals, we found 25 unique MHC class II DRB and DQB alleles, and identified evidence of balancing selection maintaining allelic lineages over time at both loci. Twenty different MHC alleles were observed in mainland foxes and eight in Bering Island foxes. The historical Mednyi population contained five alleles and all contemporary individuals were monomorphic at both DRB and DQB. Our data indicate that despite positive and diversifying selection leading to elevated rates of amino acid replacement in functionally important antigen-binding sites, below a certain population size, balancing selection may not be strong enough to maintain genetic diversity in functionally important genes. This may have important fitness consequences and might explain the high pathogen susceptibility in some island populations. This is the first study that compares MHC diversity before and after a bottleneck in a wild canid population using DNA from museum samples. PMID:22408734

  15. Seasonal emaciation causes tissue redistribution and an increased potential for toxicity of lipophilic pollutants in farmed arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    Helgason, Lisa B; Wolkers, Hans; Fuglei, Eva; Ahlstrøm, Oystein; Muir, Derek; Jørgensen, Even H

    2013-08-01

    Many Arctic animals carry high body burdens of organochlorine contaminants (OCs) as a result of long-range transport of persistent pollutants. It has been shown that seasonal mobilization of body fat in these species results in increased blood concentration of OCs. The authors investigated OC assimilation, tissue distribution, and biotransformation in farmed Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) continuously fed a diet containing contaminated minke whale blubber or lard (control) from 8 wk of age in August 2003, until sampling when they were at their fattest (in November 2004) and leanest (in June 2005). Markedly higher tissue (liver, adrenals, brain, and blood) OC levels were found in June than in November despite low exposure to OCs during emaciation, suggesting that OCs had been redistributed from adipose tissues to vital organs. There were no differences in the activities of hepatic biotransforming enzymes between exposed fat and control fat foxes, except for 16α-hydroxylation, which was higher in exposed fat foxes. In emaciated foxes, ethoxyresorufin activity was higher in exposed than in control foxes, indicating an enhanced potential for toxicity of OCs with emaciation. Lower activities of 6β- and 2β-hydroxylation were found in lean than in fat foxes, irrespective of OC treatment. The results show that emaciation increase the toxic potential of accumulated OCs and emphasize that body adiposity must be considered when time-trend analyses, risk assessments, and effect studies are designed. Environ Toxicol Chem 2013;32:1784-1792. © 2013 SETAC. PMID:23606128

  16. Muscular sarcocystosis in two arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) due to Sarcocystis arctica n. sp.: sarcocyst morphology, molecular characteristics and phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Gjerde, Bjørn; Schulze, Johan

    2014-03-01

    The arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) is a critically endangered species in Norway, and therefore, the small population is closely monitored, and most foxes found dead are subjected to necropsy. In two deceased foxes, thin-walled muscular sarcocysts were first detected in histological sections, and numerous sarcocysts were later found in frozen and thawed muscle samples from Fox 1. These sarcocysts measured 1-12 × 0.1-0.25 mm and had closely spaced, short, knob-like protrusions, giving the cysts a serrated outline. Genomic DNA was extracted from eight isolated sarcocysts (Fox 1) and two muscle samples (Fox 2) and subjected to polymerase chain reaction amplification at four loci: the nuclear 18S and 28S ribosomal RNA genes and internal transcribed spacer 1 region and the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene (cox1). Both foxes were infected by the same Sarcocystis sp., which displayed little or no genetic variation at the three nuclear loci (99.9-100% identity) and slightly more variation at cox1 (99.4-100% identity). Sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analyses revealed that this species was distinct from other named Sarcocystis spp. but was closely related to various species using avian intermediate hosts and possibly identical to an unnamed species reported from two American dogs. The species described from the two arctic foxes was named Sarcocystis arctica n. sp. PMID:24297693

  17. Effect of age and breeding season on sperm acrosin activity in the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus L.).

    PubMed

    Stasiak, K; Janicki, B

    2014-01-01

    The objective of this study was to determine the effect of age and reproductive season on selected properties of semen from the arctic fox, Aloper lagopus L. The experiment used 40 ejaculates collected manually from 6 animals (3 foxes aged one year and 3 foxes older than three years). Statistically less semen (0.39 cm3) was collected from the young compared to the older animals, and the ejaculates obtained were characterized by higher concentration of spermatozoa (195.04 x 106/cm3). In turn, sperm acrosomal extracts from the older animals contained statistically more acrosin (6,4 mU/106 spermatozoa). In the sperm acrosomal extracts prepared during the first semen sampling, the mean acrosin activity did not exceed 2.3 mU/million spermatozoa. At subsequent semen sampling dates, the activity of the analysed enzyme increased to reach 7.72 mU/million spermatozoa. In the extracts obtained from the semen collected at the end of the breeding season of arctic foxes, the acrosin activity again reached a value obtained at the beginning of the season. PMID:24724488

  18. Influence of Snowmelt Timing on the Diet Quality of Pyrenean Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica): Implications for Reproductive Success

    PubMed Central

    García-González, Ricardo; Aldezabal, Arantza; Laskurain, Nere Amaia; Margalida, Antoni; Novoa, Claude

    2016-01-01

    The Pyrenean rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica) is the southernmost subspecies of the species in Europe and is considered threatened as a consequence of changes in landscape, human pressure, climate change, and low genetic diversity. Previous studies have shown a relationship between the date of snowmelt and reproductive success in the Pyrenean ptarmigan. It is well established that birds laying early in the breeding season have higher reproductive success, but the specific mechanism for this relationship is debated. We present an explicative model of the relationship between snowmelt date and breeding success mediated by food quality for grouse in alpine environments. From microhistological analyses of 121 faecal samples collected during three years in the Canigou Massif (Eastern Pyrenees), and the assessment of the chemical composition of the main dietary components, we estimated the potential quality of individual diets. Potential dietary quality was correlated with free-urate faecal N, a proxy of the digestible protein content ingested by ptarmigan, and both were correlated with phenological stage of consumed plants, which in turn depends on snowmelt date. Our findings suggest that the average snowmelt date is subject to a strong interannual variability influencing laying date. In years of early snowmelt, hens benefit from a longer period of high quality food resources potentially leading to a higher breeding success. On the contrary, in years of late snowmelt, hens begin their breeding period in poorer nutrient condition because the peaks of protein content of their main food items are delayed with respect to laying date, hence reducing breeding performance. We discuss the possible mismatch between breeding and snowmelt timing. PMID:26849356

  19. ESTIMATING TOXOPLASMA GONDII EXPOSURE IN ARCTIC FOXES (VULPES LAGOPUS) WHILE NAVIGATING THE IMPERFECT WORLD OF WILDLIFE SEROLOGY.

    PubMed

    Elmore, Stacey A; Samelius, Gustaf; Al-Adhami, Batol; Huyvaert, Kathryn P; Bailey, Larissa L; Alisauskas, Ray T; Gajadhar, Alvin A; Jenkins, Emily J

    2016-01-01

    Although the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii is ubiquitous in birds and mammals worldwide, the full suite of hosts and transmission routes is not completely understood, especially in the Arctic. Toxoplasma gondii occurrence in humans and wildlife can be high in Arctic regions, despite apparently limited opportunities for transmission of oocysts shed by felid definitive hosts. Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) are under increasing anthropogenic and ecologic pressure, leading to population declines in parts of their range. Our understanding of T. gondii occurrence in arctic foxes is limited to only a few regions, but mortality events caused by this parasite have been reported. We investigated the exposure of arctic foxes to T. gondii in the Karrak Lake goose colony, Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Nunavut, Canada. Following an occupancy-modeling framework, we performed replicated antibody testing on serum samples by direct agglutination test (DAT), indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT), and an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that can be used in multiple mammalian host species. As a metric of test performance, we then estimated the probability of detecting T. gondii antibodies for each of the tests. Occupancy estimates for T. gondii antibodies in arctic foxes under this framework were between 0.430 and 0.758. Detection probability was highest for IFAT (0.716) and lower for DAT (0.611) and ELISA (0.464), indicating that the test of choice for antibody detection in arctic foxes might be the IFAT. We document a new geographic record of T. gondii exposure in arctic foxes and demonstrate an emerging application of ecologic modeling techniques to account for imperfect performance of diagnostic tests in wildlife species. PMID:26745833

  20. Use of biochemical markers to evaluate the quality of fresh and cryopreserved semen from the arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    Stasiak, K; Glogowski, J; Demianowicz, W; Kowalski, R; Nowak-Tkaczyk, A; Janicki, B

    2014-01-01

    The aim of this study was to use biochemical markers to evaluate the quality of fresh and cryopreserved semen from the arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus). Twenty-three manually collected ejaculates were analysed for the main indicators of semen quality (sperm concentration and ejaculate volume). Sperm motility and percentage of morphologically normal and abnormal spermatozoa were determined according to the stage of cryopreservation (fresh--measurement A; equilibrated--measurement B; frozen/thawed--measurement C). Furthermore, the seminal plasma and supernatants were analysed after equilibration and freeze/thawing for the activity of the enzymes alkaline phosphatase (ALP), acid phosphatase (AcP), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and aspartate aminotransferase (AspAT), and for the activity of acrosin inhibitors (AP). The mean concentration of sperm was 625.1 million/cm3, and ejaculate volume averaged 1.6 cm3. Seminal plasma was characterized by the highest activity of alkaline phosphatase (3.43 x 10(3) U/l) and lowest activity of acrosin inhibitors (4.55 x 10(3) U/l). After equilibration, the supernatants showed the highest activity of acid phosphatase (94.9 U/l) and after freeze-thawing, they showed a high activity of lactate dehydrogenase (535.8 U/l) and aspartate aminotransferase (577.1 U/l), which indicates that these proteins had leaked from spermatozoa into the extracellular medium during the biotechnique of semen cryopreservation. In addition, several significant relationships were found between some indicators of semen quality and plasma and/or supernatant enzyme activity. PMID:25286649

  1. First report of Toxoplasma gondii Seroprevalence in Farmed Arctic Foxes (Vulpes lagopus) in Eastern and Northeastern China.

    PubMed

    Lou, Zhi-Long; Cong, Wei; Meng, Qing-Feng; Sun, Wu-Wen; Qin, Si-Yuan; Zhang, Xiao-Xuan; Zhu, Xing-Quan; Qian, Ai-Dong

    2015-12-01

    Until now, no information on Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence in Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) was available in China. A serological survey was undertaken to assess T. gondii seroprevalence in farmed Arctic foxes in eastern and northeastern China. Antibodies to T. gondii were examined in 1346 farmed Arctic foxes using the modified agglutination test (MAT). A total of 113 (8.39%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.91-9.87) serum samples were positive to T. gondii at a 1:25 cutoff. Seroprevalence of T. gondii infection in male Arctic foxes was 8.68% (95% CI 6.75-10.6), which was higher than that in the female Arctic foxes (7.95%, 95% CI 5.65-10.26). The prevalence in polar foxes was 7.07% (95% CI 5.14-8.99), which was lower than that in the blue foxes (9.75%, 95% CI 7.49-11.99). T. gondii seroprevalence in Arctic foxes in Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, and Shandong Provinces was 9.85% (95% CI 5.75-13.95), 9.21% (95% CI 5.54-12.87), 7.37% (95% CI 5.22-9.51), and 8.68% (95% CI 5.66-11.70), respectively. There were no statistically significant differences between T. gondii seroprevalence and morphs, sex, or regions of Arctic foxes in logistic regression analysis (p?

  2. Influence of Snowmelt Timing on the Diet Quality of Pyrenean Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica): Implications for Reproductive Success.

    PubMed

    Garca-Gonzlez, Ricardo; Aldezabal, Arantza; Laskurain, Nere Amaia; Margalida, Antoni; Novoa, Claude

    2016-01-01

    The Pyrenean rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta pyrenaica) is the southernmost subspecies of the species in Europe and is considered threatened as a consequence of changes in landscape, human pressure, climate change, and low genetic diversity. Previous studies have shown a relationship between the date of snowmelt and reproductive success in the Pyrenean ptarmigan. It is well established that birds laying early in the breeding season have higher reproductive success, but the specific mechanism for this relationship is debated. We present an explicative model of the relationship between snowmelt date and breeding success mediated by food quality for grouse in alpine environments. From microhistological analyses of 121 faecal samples collected during three years in the Canigou Massif (Eastern Pyrenees), and the assessment of the chemical composition of the main dietary components, we estimated the potential quality of individual diets. Potential dietary quality was correlated with free-urate faecal N, a proxy of the digestible protein content ingested by ptarmigan, and both were correlated with phenological stage of consumed plants, which in turn depends on snowmelt date. Our findings suggest that the average snowmelt date is subject to a strong interannual variability influencing laying date. In years of early snowmelt, hens benefit from a longer period of high quality food resources potentially leading to a higher breeding success. On the contrary, in years of late snowmelt, hens begin their breeding period in poorer nutrient condition because the peaks of protein content of their main food items are delayed with respect to laying date, hence reducing breeding performance. We discuss the possible mismatch between breeding and snowmelt timing. PMID:26849356

  3. Re-colonization by common eiders Somateria mollissima in the Aleutian Archipelago following removal of introduced arctic foxes Vulpes lagopus

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Petersen, Margaret R.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Sexson, Matthew G.

    2015-01-01

    Islands provide refuges for populations of many species where they find safety from predators, but the introduction of predators frequently results in elimination or dramatic reductions in island-dwelling organisms. When predators are removed, re-colonization for some species occurs naturally, and inter-island phylogeographic relationships and current movement patterns can illuminate processes of colonization. We studied a case of re-colonization of common eiders Somateria mollissima following removal of introduced arctic foxes Vulpes lagopus in the Aleutian Archipelago, Alaska. We expected common eiders to resume nesting on islands cleared of foxes and to re-colonize from nearby islets, islands, and island groups. We thus expected common eiders to show limited genetic structure indicative of extensive mixing among island populations. Satellite telemetry was used to record current movement patterns of female common eiders from six islands across three island groups. We collected genetic data from these and other nesting common eiders at 14 microsatellite loci and the mitochondrial DNA control region to examine population genetic structure, historical fluctuations in population demography, and gene flow. Our results suggest recent interchange among islands. Analysis of microsatellite data supports satellite telemetry data of increased dispersal of common eiders to nearby areas and little between island groups. Although evidence from mtDNA is suggestive of female dispersal among island groups, gene flow is insufficient to account for recolonization and rapid population growth. Instead, near-by remnant populations of common eiders contributed substantially to population expansion, without which re-colonization would have likely occurred at a much lower rate. Genetic and morphometric data of common eiders within one island group two and three decades after re-colonization suggests reduced movement of eiders among islands and little movement between island groups after populations were re-established. We predict that re-colonization of an island group where all common eiders are extirpated could take decades.

  4. Mineral density and biomechanical properties of bone tissue from male Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) exposed to organochlorine contaminants and emaciation.

    PubMed

    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

    2009-01-01

    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

  5. Analysis of genomic instability in primary spermatocytes of interspecific hybrids of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and the Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus).

    PubMed

    Bugno-Poniewierska, Monika; Pawlina, Klaudia; Jakubczak, Andrzej; Jeżewska-Witkowska, Grażyna

    2014-01-01

    The aim of this study was to analyse meiotic cells of male interspecific hybrids of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus). To this end we determined stages of meiotic cells as well as carried out FISH analyses with probes specific to heterosomes and a TUNEL assay on synaptonemal complex preparations. The meiotic cell analysis revealed only the presence of stages of the first meiotic division from leptotene to pachytene. Moreover, we observed an increased level of early dissociation of the X-Y bivalent as well as a high percentage of apoptotic cells. These results indicate the disruption of meiotic division in male hybrids manifested through meiotic arrest of the cells. Faulty pairing of the heterosomes can be considered as one of the causes leading to the initiation of the apoptotic process. PMID:25916158

  6. Dietary contaminant exposure affects plasma testosterone, but not thyroid hormones, vitamin A, and vitamin E, in male juvenile arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    Hallanger, Ingeborg G; Jørgensen, Even H; Fuglei, Eva; Ahlstrøm, Øystein; Muir, Derek C G; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro

    2012-01-01

    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 μg/g lipid weight (l.w.; n = 5 [mean ± standard deviation]) and 1.5 ± 0.17 μg/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

  7. The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and the arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) are definitive hosts of Sarcocystis alces and Sarcocystis hjorti from moose (Alces alces).

    PubMed

    Dahlgren, Stina S; Gjerde, Bjørn

    2010-09-01

    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

  8. Effects of follicle-stimulating hormone, bovine somatotrophin and okadaic acid on cumulus expansion and nuclear maturation of blue fox (Alopex lagopus) oocytes in vitro.

    PubMed

    Srsen, V; Kalous, J; Nagyova, E; Sutovsk, P; King, W A; Motlik, J

    1998-11-01

    The meiotic competence and meiosis resumption of Blue fox (Alopex lagopus) oocytes from anoestrous animals were followed. Oocyte-cumulus complexes (OCC) were cultured in modified TC 199 medium with or without FSH, recombinant bovine somatotrophin (bST) and okadaic acid (OA). The results showed that oocytes less than 100 microns in diameter did not achieve germinal vesicle breakdown (GFBD) by 72 h of culture, which indicates their meiotic incompetence. Oocytes larger than 100 microns in diameter underwent GVBD after 48 h of culture (27%) and reached metaphase II (MII) after 72 and 96 h (20% and 27%) in control medium. Both bST and OA accelerated resumption of meiosis (bST: 55% GVBD and 42% MII after 48 h; OA: 66% GVBD after 18 h). In contrast, FSH significantly reduced meiosis resumption (only 3% GVBD and MII after 72 h) and induced changes in the shape of cumulus granulosa (CG) cells and F-actin assembly typical for cumulus expansion. However, the innermost layers of CG cells (corona radiata) remained connected with the oocyte via gap junctions until the end of culture. Cumuli of oocytes cultured in control, bST-supplemented or OA-supplemented medium did not expand (changes in cell shape and F-actin redistribution did not occur). Moreover, especially in media with bST and OA an increased detachment and rapid disconnection of their gap junctions with the oocyte were observed. These results suggest that under in vitro conditions FSH stimulates expansion of the CG cells and the attached membrana granulosa cells but in contrast it secures heterologous gap junctions between cytoplasmic processes of the corona radiata cells and oolemma during 3 days of culture. Thus, in agreement with the in vivo situation in which Canidae oocytes are ovulated in the GV stage, the cumulus, mainly corona radiata cells, controls resumption of meiosis in Blue fox oocytes under in vitro conditions also. PMID:9921640

  9. Levels and temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) from Svalbard in relation to dietary habits and food availability.

    PubMed

    Andersen, Martin S; Fuglei, Eva; König, Max; Lipasti, Inka; Pedersen, Åshild Ø; Polder, Anuschka; Yoccoz, Nigel G; Routti, Heli

    2015-04-01

    Temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) from Svalbard, Norway, were investigated in relation to feeding habits and seasonal food availability. Arctic foxes from Svalbard forage in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems and the availability of their food items are impacted by climatic variability. Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorinated pesticides (OCPs) and brominated flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers [PBDEs] and hexabromocyclododecane [HBCDD]) were analyzed in the liver of 141 arctic foxes collected between 1997 and 2013. Stable carbon isotope values (δ13C) were used as a proxy for feeding on marine versus terrestrial prey. The annual number of recovered reindeer carcasses and sea ice cover were used as proxies for climate influenced food availability (reindeers, seals). Linear models revealed that concentrations of PCBs, chlordanes, p,p'-DDE, mirex and PBDEs decreased 4-11% per year, while no trends were observed for hexachlorobenzene (HCB) or β-hexachlorocyclohexane (β-HCH). Positive relationships between POP concentrations and δ13C indicate that concentrations of all compounds increase with increasing marine dietary input. Increasing reindeer mortality was related to lower HCB concentrations in the foxes based on the linear models. This suggests that concentrations of HCB in arctic foxes may be influenced by high mortality levels of Svalbard reindeer. Further, β-HCH concentrations showed a positive association with sea ice cover. These results in addition to the strong effect of δ13C on all POP concentrations suggest that climate-related changes in arctic fox diet are likely to influence contaminant concentrations in arctic foxes from Svalbard. PMID:25536177

  10. Photoperiod and fur lengths in the arctic fox ( Alopex lagopus L.)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Underwood, L. S.; Reynolds, Patricia

    1980-03-01

    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.

  11. Breeding for better eye health in Finnish blue fox (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    Kempe, R; Strandn, I

    2016-02-01

    The frequency of eye infections in the Finnish blue fox population has increased during the past decade. Eye infection may incur economic losses to producers due to reduced selection intensity, but ethical aspects need to be considered as well because eye infection can be quite painful and reduce animal well-being. The purpose of this study was to determine the potential for genetic selection against susceptibility to eye infection. The data were collected from 2076 blue foxes at the MTT fur animal research station. Genetic parameters were estimated using single- and multiple-trait animal models. The heritability estimate for eye infection was analysed as a binary trait (EYE) and was moderate (0.240.07). EYE had a moderate antagonistic genetic correlation (-0.490.20) with grading density (thick underfur). The genetic correlation of EYE with grading size or body condition score was estimated without precision, but all size traits had a low antagonistic phenotypic correlation with EYE. Our results suggest that there is genetic variance in susceptibility to EYE, indicating that eye health can be improved through selection. The current recommendation is that the sick animals should be culled immediately. If more efficient selection is needed, the selection index and multiple-trait animal models can be applied in breeding for better eye health. PMID:26077003

  12. Evidence for energy savings from aerial running in the Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea).

    PubMed

    Nudds, R L; Folkow, L P; Lees, J J; Tickle, P G; Stokkan, K-A; Codd, J R

    2011-09-01

    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 O(2) 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. PMID:21288943

  13. Den use by arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) in a subarctic region of western Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, R.M.

    1996-01-01

    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.

  14. Genotyping of Enterocytozoon bieneusi in Farmed Blue Foxes (Alopex lagopus) and Raccoon Dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) in China

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Wei; Zhang, Weizhe; Yang, Ziyin; Liu, Aiqin; Zhang, Longxian; Yang, Fengkun; Wang, Rongjun; Ling, Hong

    2015-01-01

    Enterocytozoon bieneusi is the most common species of microsporidia found both in humans and animals. Farmed animals, particularly closely associated to humans, may play an important role of zoonotic reservoir in transmitting this disease to humans. The fur industry is a major economic component in some parts of China. To understand the prevalence, genotype variety and zoonotic risk of E. bieneusi in farmed foxes and raccoon dogs, two species of fur animals, fecal specimens of 110 blue foxes and 49 raccoon dogs from Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces in China were examined by internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-based PCR. E. bieneusi was detected in 16.4% (18/110) blue foxes and 4.1% (2/49) raccoon dogs. Altogether, four genotypes of E. bieneusi were identified, including two known genotypes D (n = 13) and EbpC (n = 5), and two novel genotypes named as CHN-F1 (n = 1) in a fox and CHN-R1 (n = 1) in a raccoon dog. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all the four genotypes were the members of zoonotic group 1. Genotypes D and EbpC were found in humans previously. The findings of zoonotic genotypes of E. bieneusi in the foxes and raccoon dogs suggest these animals infected with E. bieneusi may pose a threat to human health. PMID:26544711

  15. Handling during pregnancy in the blue fox (Alopex lagopus): the influence on the fetal pituitary-adrenal axis.

    PubMed

    Osadchuk, L V; Braastad, B O; Hovland, A L; Bakken, M

    2001-07-01

    Previous studies revealed that handling is a stressor for farmed blue foxes. The present study was designed to examine the effects of a 1-min daily handling stress applied to pregnant blue fox vixens on the function of the fetal pituitary-adrenal system. Plasma concentrations of adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH), cortisol, and progesterone, adrenal content of cortisol and progesterone, in vitro adrenal production of these steroids and response to ACTH, and adrenal weights were measured in control (C; n = 73) and stressed (S; n = 58) fetuses. The ACTH levels were lower in stressed fetuses than in the controls (C: males, 128.6 +/- 6.1 pg/ml; females, 165.9 +/- 6.1 pg/ml; S: males, 122.3 +/- 5.4 pg/ml; females, 145.0 +/- 8.1 pg/ml; P < 0.05). In contrast, increased plasma cortisol concentrations in both sexes were demonstrated in stressed compared with control fetuses (C: males, 9.2 +/- 0.4 ng/ml; females, 9.2 +/- 0.4 ng/ml; S: males, 11.8 +/- 0.7 ng/ml; females, 13.2 +/- 0.7 ng/ml; P < 0.00001). The same difference was observed in plasma progesterone concentrations (C: males, 1.54 +/- 0.07 ng/ml; females, 1.49 +/- 0.10 ng/ml; S: males, 1.86 +/- 0.11 ng/ml; females, 1.74 +/- 0.10 ng/ml; P < 0.01). Prenatal stress did not change the baseline adrenal production of cortisol but prevented the cortisol response to ACTH in female fetuses and decreased the progesterone production in both sexes. Additionally, prenatally stressed fetuses of both sexes had significantly lower adrenal weights than controls (C: males, 9.4 +/- 0.3 mg; females, 9.5 +/- 0.4 mg; S: males, 8.1 +/- 0.3 mg; females, 8.2 +/- 0.4 mg; P < 0.001). These results indicate that prenatal handling stress induces a dysregulation of the pituitary-adrenal axis in the fetus and suggest that increased plasma glucocorticoids in the stressed dam can cross the placenta and influence the fetal hypothalamicpituitary-adrenal axis. PMID:11551111

  16. Genotyping of Enterocytozoon bieneusi in Farmed Blue Foxes (Alopex lagopus) and Raccoon Dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) in China.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Wei; Zhang, Weizhe; Yang, Ziyin; Liu, Aiqin; Zhang, Longxian; Yang, Fengkun; Wang, Rongjun; Ling, Hong

    2015-01-01

    Enterocytozoon bieneusi is the most common species of microsporidia found both in humans and animals. Farmed animals, particularly closely associated to humans, may play an important role of zoonotic reservoir in transmitting this disease to humans. The fur industry is a major economic component in some parts of China. To understand the prevalence, genotype variety and zoonotic risk of E. bieneusi in farmed foxes and raccoon dogs, two species of fur animals, fecal specimens of 110 blue foxes and 49 raccoon dogs from Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces in China were examined by internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-based PCR. E. bieneusi was detected in 16.4% (18/110) blue foxes and 4.1% (2/49) raccoon dogs. Altogether, four genotypes of E. bieneusi were identified, including two known genotypes D (n = 13) and EbpC (n = 5), and two novel genotypes named as CHN-F1 (n = 1) in a fox and CHN-R1 (n = 1) in a raccoon dog. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all the four genotypes were the members of zoonotic group 1. Genotypes D and EbpC were found in humans previously. The findings of zoonotic genotypes of E. bieneusi in the foxes and raccoon dogs suggest these animals infected with E. bieneusi may pose a threat to human health. PMID:26544711

  17. Kinematics and subpopulations' structure definition of blue fox (Alopex lagopus) sperm motility using the ISAS V1 CASA system.

    PubMed

    Soler, C; Garca, A; Contell, J; Segervall, J; Sancho, M

    2014-08-01

    Over recent years, technological advances have brought innovation in assisted reproduction to the agriculture. Fox species are of great economical interest in some countries, but their semen characteristics have not been studied enough. To advance the knowledge of function of fox spermatozoa, five samples were obtained by masturbation, in the breeding season. Kinetic analysis was performed using ISAS v1 system. Usual kinematic parameters (VCL, VSL, VAP, LIN, STR, WOB, ALH and BCF) were considered. To establish the standardization for the analysis of samples, the minimum number of cells to analyse and the minimum number of fields to capture were defined. In the second step, the presence of subpopulations in blue fox semen was analysed. The minimum number of cells to test was 30, because kinematic parameters remained constant along the groups of analysis. Also, the effectiveness of ISAS D4C20 counting chamber was studied, showing that the first five squares presented equivalent results, while in the squares six and seven, the kinematic parameters showed a reduction in all of them, but not in the concentration or motility percentage. Kinematic variables were grouped into two principal components (PC). A linear movement characterized PC1, while PC2 showed an oscillatory movement. Three subpopulations were found, varying in structure among different animals. PMID:24890953

  18. Physiological stress links parasites to carotenoid-based colour signals.

    PubMed

    Mougeot, F; Martnez-Padilla, J; Bortolotti, G R; Webster, L M I; Piertney, S B

    2010-03-01

    Vertebrates commonly use carotenoid-based traits as social signals. These can reliably advertise current nutritional status and health because carotenoids must be acquired through the diet and their allocation to ornaments is traded-off against other self-maintenance needs. We propose that the coloration more generally reveals an individual's ability to cope with stressful conditions. We tested this idea by manipulating the nematode parasite infection in free-living red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) and examining the effects on body mass, carotenoid-based coloration of a main social signal and the amount of corticosterone deposited in feathers grown during the experiment. We show that parasites increase stress and reduce carotenoid-based coloration, and that the impact of parasites on coloration was associated with changes in corticosterone, more than changes in body mass. Carotenoid-based coloration appears linked to physiological stress and could therefore reveal an individual's ability to cope with stressors. PMID:20074170

  19. The ornament-condition relationship varies with parasite abundance at population level in a female bird

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vergara, Pablo; Martnez-Padilla, Jess; Redpath, Stephen M.; Mougeot, Francois

    2011-10-01

    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 Lagopus lagopus scoticus. 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.

  20. Influence of dietary protein level and the amino acids methionine and lysine on leather properties of blue fox (Alopex lagopus) pelts.

    PubMed

    Dahlman, Tuula; Mntysalo, Marja; Rasmussen, Palle V; Skovlkke, L L

    2002-12-01

    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 (lysine only in Exp. 2). The following physical leather properties were measured: breaking load (BRL), tensile strength (TEN), relative elongation at break (PEB), straining of skins at pelting, and shrinkage at dressing. A decline in the dietary protein content reduced BRL and, hence, leather firmness, and increased straining and the corresponding shrinking in Exp. 1. The supplemented methionine tended to improve leather strength and elasticity by increasing TEN and PEB in Exp. 1, whereas lysine elicited no response. Methionine supplementation at the slightly lowered protein level increased BRL in both experiments by almost 10% as compared with the respective non-supplemented diet. We conclude that with high protein quality diets, a level of 200 g/kg DM (as digestible protein) appears to be adequate for producing pelts with firm, elastic leather, provided that an adequate amount of methionine is included in the diet. PMID:12553694

  1. Effects of Dietary Copper and Zinc Supplementation on Growth Performance, Tissue Mineral Retention, Antioxidant Status, and Fur Quality in Growing-Furring Blue Foxes (Alopex lagopus).

    PubMed

    Liu, Zhi; Wu, Xuezhuang; Zhang, Tietao; Guo, Jungang; Gao, Xiuhua; Yang, Fuhe; Xing, Xiumei

    2015-12-01

    A 42 factorial experiment with four supplemental levels of copper (0, 20, 40, or 60 mg copper per kg dry matter) from copper sulfate and two supplemental levels of zinc (40 or 200 mg zinc per kg dry matter) from zinc sulfate was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary copper and zinc supplementation on growth performance, tissue mineral retention, antioxidant status, and fur quality in growing-furring blue foxes. One hundred and twenty healthy 15-week-old male blue foxes were randomly allocated to eight dietary treatments with 15 replicates per treatment for a 70-day trial from mid-September to pelting in December. The average daily gain and feed conversion ratio were increased with copper supplementation in the first 35 days as well as the overall period (P<0.05). In addition, copper supplementation tended to increase feed intake during the first 35 days (P<0.10). Diets supplemented with 200 mg/kg zinc did not affect body gain (P>0.10) and feed intake (P>0.10) but improved feed conversion (P<0.05) compared with those supplemented 40 mg/kg zinc throughout the experiment. No copperzinc interaction was observed for growth performance except that a tendency (P=0.09) was found for feed intake in the first 35 days. Supplementation of copper or zinc improved crude fat digestibility (P<0.01) but had no effects on the digestibility of other nutrients. Fecal copper was increased with both copper (P<0.01) and zinc addition (P<0.05). However, fecal zinc was affected only by dietary zinc addition (P<0.01). Mineral contents in serum and kidney were not affected by dietary treatments (P>0.05). However, the level of copper in the liver was increased with copper supplementation (P<0.05) and tended to decrease with zinc supplementation (P=0.08). Dietary zinc addition tended to increase the activity of alkaline phosphatase (P=0.07). The activities of copper-zinc superoxide dismutase and catalase tended to increase by copper (P=0.08) and zinc addition (P=0.05). Moreover, a copperzinc interaction was observed for catalase in the experiment (P<0.05). Serum malondialdehyde concentration decreased with the increasing of dietary copper and zinc levels (P<0.05). The activity of glutathione peroxidase tended to increase by copper addition (P=0.09). For fur quality, foxes fed diets supplemented with high copper had larger skin length and darker pelts than those fed the basal diet without copper addition (P<0.05). In conclusion, this study demonstrated that dietary copper and zinc supplementation can improve growth by increasing feed intake and improving fat digestibility. Additionally, copper and zinc can enhance the antioxidant capacity of blue foxes. This study also indicates that additional zinc up to 200 mg/kg did not exert significant adverse effects on the copper metabolism of growing-furring blue foxes. PMID:26032444

  2. Calcium concrements in the pineal gland of the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) and their relationship to pinealocytes, glial cells and type I and III collagen fibers.

    PubMed

    Bulc, M; Lewczuk, B; Prusik, M; Gugołek, A; Przybylska-Gornowicz, B

    2010-01-01

    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

  3. The effect of different fat sources in the diet on the composition of adipose tissue in arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus L.).

    PubMed

    Nowicki, Sławomir; Przysiecki, Piotr; Filistowicz, Aneta; Potkański, Andrzej; Filistowicz, Andrzej; Wójtowski, Jacek

    2014-01-01

    The study investigated the effect of vegetable and animal fat in the feed ration on the fatty acid profile of reserve fat in the arctic fox. Varying proportions of saturated and unsaturated fats in the feed ration comprised the experimental factor. In order to differentiate contents of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in the experimental feed rations, various percentages of rapeseed oil and turkey fat were applied. The subcutaneous and circum-organal fat in this study differed considerably in terms of contents of individual fatty acids and between individual groups of acids. The circum-organal fat contained much higher amounts of unsaturated acids, but at the same time it was characterized by a lower amount of monounsaturated acids. Significant differences were also found in the contents of as many as 11 fatty acids. Recorded results indicate a potential modification of reserve fat in the arctic fox, a model representative of carnivorous animals (Carnivora). The possibility of the partial substitution of animal fat with vegetable oil (rape oil) in the nutritive diet of artic foxes was confirmed. PMID:25134342

  4. A base substitution in the donor site of intron 12 of KIT gene is responsible for the dominant white coat colour of blue fox (Alopex lagopus).

    PubMed

    Yan, S Q; Hou, J N; Bai, C Y; Jiang, Y; Zhang, X J; Ren, H L; Sun, B X; Zhao, Z H; Sun, J H

    2014-04-01

    The dominant white coat colour of farmed blue fox is inherited as a monogenic autosomal dominant trait and is suggested to be embryonic lethal in the homozygous state. In this study, the transcripts of KIT were identified by RT-PCR for a dominant white fox and a normal blue fox. Sequence analysis showed that the KIT transcript in normal blue fox contained the full-length coding sequence of 2919 bp (GenBank Acc. No KF530833), but in the dominant white individual, a truncated isoform lacking the entire exon 12 specifically co-expressed with the normal transcript. Genomic DNA sequencing revealed that a single nucleotide polymorphism (c.1867+1G>T) in intron 12 appeared only in the dominant white individuals and a 1-bp ins/del polymorphism in the same intron showed in individuals representing two different coat colours. Genotyping results of the SNP with PCR-RFLP in 185 individuals showed all 90 normal blue foxes were homozygous for the G allele, and all dominant white individuals were heterozygous. Due to the truncated protein with a deletion of 35 amino acids and an amino acid replacement (p.Pro623Ala) located in the conserved ATP binding domain, we propose that the mutant receptor had absent tyrosine kinase activity. These findings reveal that the base substitution at the first nucleotide of intron 12 of KIT gene, resulting in skipping of exon 12, is a causative mutation responsible for the dominant white phenotype of blue fox. PMID:24308634

  5. Environmental heterogeneity influences the reliability of secondary sexual traits as condition indicators.

    PubMed

    Vergara, Pablo; Martinez-Padilla, J; Mougeot, F; Leckie, F; Redpath, S M

    2012-01-01

    Numerous studies have shown positive associations between ornaments and condition, as predicted by indicator models of sexual selection. However, this idea is continuously challenged by opposite results, which reveal our lack of full understanding of how sexual selection works. Environmental heterogeneity may explain such inconsistencies, but valid field tests of this idea are currently lacking. We first analysed the relationship between condition and ornament expression from nine populations over 7 years in a wild bird, the red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus. We then manipulated male aggressiveness at the population level by means of testosterone implants in a replicated field experiment. We found that the relationship between condition and ornamentation varied greatly between environments and became stronger when environmental conditions (ECs) were worse or when aggressiveness in the population was experimentally increased. Some ornaments may therefore reliably advertise a better condition only in adverse ECs. Considering environmental heterogeneity can help reconcile conflicting findings regarding the reliability of ornaments as indicators of condition and will help our understanding of sexual selection processes. PMID:22022806

  6. SkydancerPlex: A novel STR multiplex validated for forensic use in the hen harrier (Circus cyaneus).

    PubMed

    van Hoppe, Moniek J C; Dy, Mary A V; van den Einden, Marion; Iyengar, Arati

    2016-05-01

    The hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) is a bird of prey which is heavily persecuted in the UK because it preys on the game bird red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus). To help investigations into illegal killings of hen harrier, a STR multiplex kit containing eight short tandem repeat (STR) markers and a chromohelicase DNA binding protein 1 (CHD 1) sexing marker was developed. The multiplex kit was tested for species specificity, sensitivity, robustness, precision, accuracy and stability. Full profiles were obtained with as little as 0.25ng of template DNA. Concurrent development of an allelic ladder to ensure reliable and accurate allele designation across laboratories makes the SkydancerPlex the first forensic DNA profiling system in a species of wildlife to be fully validated according to SWGDAM and ISFG recommendations. An average profile frequency of 3.67×10(-8), a PID estimate of 5.3×10(-9) and a PID-SIB estimate of 9.7×10(-4) make the SkydancerPlex an extremely powerful kit for individualisation. PMID:26881329

  7. Louping ill virus in the UK: a review of the hosts, transmission and ecological consequences of control.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Lucy

    2016-03-01

    Louping ill virus (LIV) is a tick-borne flavivirus that is part of the tick-borne encephalitis complex of viruses (TBEV) and has economic and welfare importance by causing illness and death in livestock, especially sheep, Ovies aries, and red grouse, Lagopus lagopus scoticus, an economically valuable gamebird. Unlike Western TBEV which is found primarily in woodlands and is reservoired by small rodents, LIV is not generally transmitted by small rodents but instead by sheep, red grouse and mountain hares and, therefore, is associated with upland heather moorland and rough grazing land. Red grouse are a particularly interesting transmission host because they may acquire most of their LIV infections through eating ticks rather than being bitten by ticks. Furthermore, the main incentive for the application of LIV control methods is not to protect sheep, but to protect red grouse, which is an economically important gamebird. The widespread intensive culling of mountain hares which has been adopted in several areas of Scotland to try to control ticks and LIV has become an important issue in Scotland in recent years. This review outlines the reservoir hosts and transmission cycles of LIV in the UK, then describes the various control methods that have been tried or modelled, with far-reaching implications for conservation and public opinion. PMID:26205612

  8. A model to test how ticks and louping ill virus can be controlled by treating red grouse with acaricide.

    PubMed

    Porter, R; Norman, R A; Gilbert, L

    2013-09-01

    Ticks are the most important vectors of disease-causing pathogens in Europe. In the U.K., Ixodes ricinus L. (Ixodida: Ixodidae) transmits louping ill virus (LIV; Flaviviridae), which kills livestock and red grouse, Lagopus lagopus scoticus Lath. (Galliformes: Phasianidae), a valuable game bird. Tick burdens on grouse have been increasing. One novel method to reduce ticks and LIV in grouse may be acaricide treatment. Here, we use a mathematical model parameterized with empirical data to investigate how the acaricide treatment of grouse might theoretically control ticks and LIV in grouse. Assuming a situation in which ticks and LIV impact on the grouse population, the model predicts that grouse density will depend on deer density because deer maintain the tick population. In low deer densities, no acaricide treatment is predicted to be necessary because abundances of grouse will be high. However, at higher deer densities, the model predicts that grouse densities will increase only if high numbers of grouse are treated, and the efficacy of acaricide is high and lasts 20 weeks. The qualitative model predictions may help to guide decisions on whether to treat grouse or cull deer depending on deer densities and how many grouse can be treated. The model is discussed in terms of practical management implications. PMID:23088727

  9. An alternative to killing? Treatment of reservoir hosts to control a vector and pathogen in a susceptible species.

    PubMed

    Porter, R; Norman, R A; Gilbert, L

    2013-02-01

    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 Lagopus lagopus scoticus, 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

  10. Reducing tick burdens on chicks by treating breeding female grouse with permethrin

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ticks are important arthropod vectors of diseases of human, livestock, and wildlife hosts. In the United Kingdom, the sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus) is increasingly recognized as a main limiting factor of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus) populations, a game bird of high economic value. We evaluated the e...

  11. Effects of lead shot ingestion in willow grouse

    SciTech Connect

    Fimreite, N.

    1984-07-01

    Willow grouse (Lagopus lagopus) is the most popular game bird in Norway and hunted extensively. Ingestion of lead shot pellets as grit with consequently adverse effects is therefore a distinct possibility as this has been observed in other upland game birds. The present experiment was carried out to study the possible effects of ingested lead shot pellets on willow grouse.

  12. Multilocus DNA fingerprints in gallinaceous birds: general approach and problems.

    PubMed

    Hanotte, O; Bruford, M W; Burke, T

    1992-06-01

    Multilocus profiles were investigated in five different species of Galliformes (ring-necked pheasant Phasianus colchicus, Indian peafowl Pavo cristatus, Japanese quail Coturnix coturnix japonica, domestic chicken Gallus gallus, and red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus) using two human multilocus probes (33.6 and 33.15) in combination with each of four restriction enzymes (AluI, DdeI, HaeIII or HinfI). All the species show a DNA fingerprint-like pattern using at least one restriction enzyme in combination with each multilocus probe. The number of bands detected and the value of the index of similarity for each species differ significantly between the profiles obtained with each multilocus probe. Some enzyme/probe combinations reveal strong cross-hybridization of the multilocus probes with satellite or satellite-like DNA sequences in pheasant, peacock, quail and chicken, which partially or completely prevented scoring of the profile. The choice of restriction enzyme was found to influence the number of bands, the value of the index of similarity and the probability of obtaining an identical fingerprint between unrelated individuals. The Mendelian inheritance and independent segregation of the fragments detected using AluI was investigated in three species (ring-necked pheasant, Indian peafowl and red grouse). Some bands were shown to be tightly linked. An extreme case was encountered in the red grouse, where 12 of the 15 bands scored in one parent represented only two, apparently allelic, haplotypes and so derived from a single locus. However, fingerprint patterns will often be adequate for use in paternity analyses, such as in behavioural studies, despite the occurrence of haplotypic sets of bands. Identical DNA multilocus profiles were sometimes observed between captive-bred siblings in one species. These results emphasize the desirability of determining, in each new species, the optimal experimental conditions as a preliminary to any behavioural or population genetic studies that use the multilocus DNA fingerprinting methodology. PMID:1612925

  13. Intra-sexual competition alters the relationship between testosterone and ornament expression in a wild territorial bird.

    PubMed

    Martnez-Padilla, J; Prez-Rodrguez, L; Mougeot, F; Ludwig, S; Redpath, S M

    2014-05-01

    In a reliable signalling system, individual quality is expected to mediate the costs associated with ornamental displays, with relatively lower costs being paid by individuals of higher quality. These relative costs should depend not only on individual quality, but also on levels of intra-sexual competition. We explored the current and delayed effects that testosterone implants have on bird ornamentation in populations with contrasted population densities, as a proxy for intra-sexual competition. In a replicated experiment, we manipulated testosterone in 196 yearling male red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus in autumn in populations of high and low levels of intra-sexual competition. Males were assigned to one of three exogenous testosterone (T) treatments: empty implants (T0), small T implants (T1) or larger T implants (T2). We monitored subsequent changes in testosterone levels, ornament size and carotenoid-based colouration, carotenoid levels and body condition from autumn to spring. Testosterone implants increased testosterone levels, comb redness and comb size, and decreased body condition but these effects depended on levels of intra-sexual competition. Specifically, T2-implanted birds increased testosterone levels and comb size more, and reduced body condition more, in populations where intra-sexual competition was low. In the following spring, testosterone levels of T2-treated birds kept increasing in populations where intra-sexual competition was high but not in populations where intra-sexual competition was low. Our results highlight that levels of intra-sexual competition alter the relationship between testosterone levels and ornament expression, influencing their condition-dependence; they also indicate that the outcome of standard hormone manipulation conducted in free-living animals vary depending on the population context. PMID:24698833

  14. Experimentally elevated levels of testosterone at independence reduce fitness in a territorial bird.

    PubMed

    Martnez-Padilla, J; Prez-Rodrguez, L; Mougeot, F; Ludwig, S C; Redpath, S M

    2014-04-01

    Environmental conditions and individual strategies in early life may have a profound effect on fitness. A critical moment in the life of an organism occurs when an individual reaches independence and stops receiving benefits from its relatives. Understanding the consequences of individual strategies at the time of independence requires quantification of their fitness effects. We explored this period in the Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus). In this system, testosterone and parasite (Trichostrongylus tenuis) levels are known to influence survival and reproduction, the two key components of individual fitness. We experimentally and simultaneously manipulated testosterone and parasites at three levels (high, intermediate, and control levels for both factors) in 195 young males in five populations using a factorial experimental design. We explored the effects of our treatments on fitness by monitoring reproduction and survival throughout the life of all males and estimating lambda(ind), a rate-sensitive index of fitness. Parasite challenges increased the number of worms with a time lag, as previously found. However, we did not find significant effects of parasite manipulations on fitness, possibly because parasite abundance did not increase to harmful levels. Our hormone manipulation was successful at increasing testosterone at three different levels. Such increases in hormone levels decreased overall fitness. This was caused by reduced offspring production in the first breeding attempt rather than by any effect of the treatment on bird survival. Our results highlight that investing in high testosterone levels at independence, a strategy that might enhance short-term recruitment probability in territorial species such as Red Grouse, has a fitness cost, and can influence the resolution of the trade-off between reproduction and survival later in life. PMID:24933821

  15. Mercury in feathers of Swedish gyrfalcons, Falco rusticolus, in relation to diet

    SciTech Connect

    Lindberg, P.

    1984-04-01

    The gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) is mainly a resident bird breeding in mountain areas in Fennoscandia. The population (estimated to 300-500 pairs) probably fluctuates according to the presence of willow grouse (Lagopus lagopus) and ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus). Little is known about pollutant levels in Fennoscandian gyrfalcons. Previous studies found low levels of DDE, PCB and mercury in organs from six Norwegian gyrfalcons. In this paper the author has included additional information on mercury levels, based on feather analyses from a few nests in northern Sweden. The use of feathers is a simple method to monitor mercury levels without sacrificing the birds. Food habits were checked by analyzing food remains at and near the nests.

  16. Offshore marine observation of Willow Ptarmigan, including water landings, Kuskokwim Bay, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zimmerman, C.E.; Hillgruber, N.; Burril, S.E.; St., Peters, M. A.; Wetzel, J.D.

    2005-01-01

    We report an observation of Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) encountered 8 to 17 km from the nearest shoreline on Kuskokwim Bay, Alaska, on 30 August 2003. The ptarmigan were observed flying, landing on our research vessel, and landing and taking off from the water surface. We also report on one other observation of ptarmigan sitting on the water surface and other marine observations of ptarmigan from the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database. These observations provide evidence that Willow Ptarmigan are capable of dispersing across large bodies of water and landing and taking off from the water surface.

  17. Elemental characterization of wild edible plants from countryside and urban areas.

    PubMed

    Renna, Massimiliano; Cocozza, Claudio; Gonnella, Maria; Abdelrahman, Hamada; Santamaria, Pietro

    2015-06-15

    Thirteen elements (Na, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Cr, Co, Cd, Ni and Pb) in 11 different wild edible plants (WEP) (Amaranthus retroflexus, Foeniculum vulgare, Cichorium intybus, Glebionis coronaria, Sonchus spp., Borago officinalis, Diplotaxis tenuifolia, Sinapis arvensis, Papaver rhoeas, Plantago lagopus and Portulaca oleracea) collected from countryside and urban areas of Bari (Italy) were determined. B.officinalis and P.rhoeas could represent good nutritional sources of Mn and Fe, respectively, as well as A.retroflexus and S.arvensis for Ca. High intake of Pb and Cd could come from P.lagopus and A.retroflexus (1.40 and 0.13 mg kg(-1) FW, respectively). WEP may give a substantial contribution to the elements intake for consumers, but in some cases they may supply high level of elements potentially toxic for human health. Anyway, both ANOVA and PCA analyses have highlighted the low influence of the harvesting site on the elements content. PMID:25660854

  18. Fatal pox infection in a rough-legged hawk

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pearson, G.L.; Pass, D.A.; Beggs, E.C.

    1975-01-01

    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.

  19. Mortality of arctic fox pups in northern Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1982-01-01

    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.

  20. Adoption in rock and white-tailed ptarmigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wong, M.M.L.; Fedy, B.C.; Wilson, S.; Martin, K.M.

    2009-01-01

    Reports of adoption in birds are widespread, but few studies report rates of adoption or possible mechanisms for this phenomenon, particularly in the Order Galliformes. We report incidents of adoption in Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) and White-tailed Ptarmigan (L. leucura) from two sites in western Canada. Adoption rates for White-tailed Ptarmigan on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and the Ruby Ranges, Yukon Territory were 13% (n = 16 broods) and 4% (n = 27), respectively, while rates for Rock Ptarmigan were 14% (n = 29) in the Ruby Ranges. Low brood densities may result in lower rates of adoption for ptarmigan. ?? 2009 The Wilson Ornithological Society.

  1. [Isozyme patterns of lactate dehydrogenase from tissues of mink and arctic fox during postnatal development].

    PubMed

    Tiutiunnik, N N; Kozhevnikova, L K; Unzhakov, A R; Meldo, Kh I

    2002-01-01

    Isozymes of lactate dehydrogenase extracted from heart, kidney, and liver of mink (Mustela vison Briss.) and Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus L.) during postnatal development were separated by agarose gel electrophoresis. Tissue-specific isozyme pattern of lactate dehydrogenase can be revealed at the age of one month, while the definitive pattern is formed at the age of four months. The isozyme patterns of lactate dehydrogenase in the studied tissues of mink and Arctic fox share the properties specific for animal species of various ecogenesis. PMID:12068724

  2. Human-behavioral and paleoecological implications of terminal Pleistocene fox remains at the Marmes Site (45FR50), eastern Washington state, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lyman, R. Lee

    2012-05-01

    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.

  3. Introduced predator removal from islands. Exxon Valdez oil spill restoration project final report

    SciTech Connect

    Byrd, G.V.; Bailey, E.P.; Stahl, W.

    1996-05-01

    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, artic fox (Alopex lagopus), was removed from 2 islands near the western edge of the trajectory of the oil. Surveys indicated that although adequate nesting habitat was available at Simeonof and Chernabura, oystercatcher and guillemot population densities were much lower than at nearby fox-free islands. Elimination of foxes is expected to dramatically increase populations of these injured species as well as other native birds.

  4. Introduced predators transform subarctic islands from grassland to tundra.

    PubMed

    Croll, D A; Maron, J L; Estes, J A; Danner, E M; Byrd, G V

    2005-03-25

    Top predators often have powerful direct effects on prey populations, but whether these direct effects propagate to the base of terrestrial food webs is debated. There are few examples of trophic cascades strong enough to alter the abundance and composition of entire plant communities. We show that the introduction of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) to the Aleutian archipelago induced strong shifts in plant productivity and community structure via a previously unknown pathway. By preying on seabirds, foxes reduced nutrient transport from ocean to land, affecting soil fertility and transforming grasslands to dwarf shrub/forb-dominated ecosystems. PMID:15790855

  5. From ‘third pole’ to north pole: a Himalayan origin for the arctic fox

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Xiaoming; Tseng, Zhijie Jack; Li, Qiang; Takeuchi, Gary T.; Xie, Guangpu

    2014-01-01

    The ‘third pole’ of the world is a fitting metaphor for the Himalayan–Tibetan Plateau, in allusion to its vast frozen terrain, rivalling the Arctic and Antarctic, at high altitude but low latitude. Living Tibetan and arctic mammals share adaptations to freezing temperatures such as long and thick winter fur in arctic muskox and Tibetan yak, and for carnivorans, a more predatory niche. Here, we report, to our knowledge, the first evolutionary link between an Early Pliocene (3.60–5.08 Myr ago) fox, Vulpes qiuzhudingi new species, from the Himalaya (Zanda Basin) and Kunlun Mountain (Kunlun Pass Basin) and the modern arctic fox Vulpes lagopus in the polar region. A highly hypercarnivorous dentition of the new fox bears a striking resemblance to that of V. lagopus and substantially predates the previous oldest records of the arctic fox by 3–4 Myr. The low latitude, high-altitude Tibetan Plateau is separated from the nearest modern arctic fox geographical range by at least 2000 km. The apparent connection between an ancestral high-elevation species and its modern polar descendant is consistent with our ‘Out-of-Tibet’ hypothesis postulating that high-altitude Tibet was a training ground for cold-environment adaptations well before the start of the Ice Age. PMID:24920475

  6. Experimental evidence that ptarmigan regulate willow bud production to their own advantage.

    PubMed

    Christie, Katie S; Ruess, R W

    2015-07-01

    In some ecosystems, vertebrate herbivores increase the nutritional quality and biomass of their food source through repeated grazing, thereby manipulating their environment to support higher densities of animals. We tested whether ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus and L. muta) are capable of regulating the nutritional quality, abundance, and availability of feltleaf willow (Salix alaxensis) buds using a simulated browsing experiment and a feeding preference study with wild birds. Simulated ptarmigan browsing resulted in smaller buds, but greater numbers of buds per shoot. Furthermore, browsing altered the morphology of willow branches such that buds were at higher densities and closer to snow level compared to unbrowsed controls. Browsing increased the number of willows with accessible buds (buds within 50 cm of snow level) from 55 to 89%, and increased total accessible bud biomass from 113 30 to 129 50 mg/ramet. Browsing did not affect bud nitrogen or carbon concentration and slightly reduced protein precipitation capacity (tannins) in buds the following winter, indicating that ptarmigan browsing does not induce a defensive response in this species. When branches of broomed (previously browsed) and unbroomed willows were placed in the snow at equal heights, ptarmigan showed no preference for either type; however, they obtained more buds from broomed willows. Increased accessibility and density of willow buds caused by browsing has the potential to increase habitat carrying capacity, thereby supporting higher densities of ptarmigan. PMID:25698142

  7. From 'third pole' to north pole: a Himalayan origin for the arctic fox.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiaoming; Tseng, Zhijie Jack; Li, Qiang; Takeuchi, Gary T; Xie, Guangpu

    2014-07-22

    The 'third pole' of the world is a fitting metaphor for the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau, in allusion to its vast frozen terrain, rivalling the Arctic and Antarctic, at high altitude but low latitude. Living Tibetan and arctic mammals share adaptations to freezing temperatures such as long and thick winter fur in arctic muskox and Tibetan yak, and for carnivorans, a more predatory niche. Here, we report, to our knowledge, the first evolutionary link between an Early Pliocene (3.60-5.08 Myr ago) fox, Vulpes qiuzhudingi new species, from the Himalaya (Zanda Basin) and Kunlun Mountain (Kunlun Pass Basin) and the modern arctic fox Vulpes lagopus in the polar region. A highly hypercarnivorous dentition of the new fox bears a striking resemblance to that of V. lagopus and substantially predates the previous oldest records of the arctic fox by 3-4 Myr. The low latitude, high-altitude Tibetan Plateau is separated from the nearest modern arctic fox geographical range by at least 2000 km. The apparent connection between an ancestral high-elevation species and its modern polar descendant is consistent with our 'Out-of-Tibet' hypothesis postulating that high-altitude Tibet was a training ground for cold-environment adaptations well before the start of the Ice Age. PMID:24920475

  8. Gyrfalcon diet in central west Greenland during the nesting period

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Booms, T.L.; Fuller, M.R.

    2003-01-01

    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.

  9. Gyrfalcon diet in central west Greenland during the nestling period

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Booms, Travis; Fuller, Mark R.

    2003-01-01

    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.

  10. Reproductive characteristics of migratory golden eagles in Denali National Park, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McIntyre, C.L.; Adams, L.G.

    1999-01-01

    We describe reproductive characteristics of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) breeding in Denali National Park, Alaska during an entire snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) cycle, 1988-1997. Data on nesting eagles were collected at 58 to 72 nesting areas annually using two aerial surveys. Surveys were conducted during the incubation period to determine occupancy and nesting activities and late in the nestling period to count nestlings and determine nesting success. Annual occupancy rates of nesting areas did not vary significantly, whereas laying rates, success rates, and mean brood size varied significantly over the study period. Fledgling production for the study population varied sevenfold during the ten-year period. Laying rates, mean brood size, and overall population productivity were significantly correlated with abundance of cyclic snowshoe hare and Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) populations. Reproductive rates of Golden Eagles in Denali were similar to those of Golden Eagles from other high latitude study areas in North America, but lower than for Golden Eagles from temperate zone study areas in North America.

  11. Cadmium toxicity among wildlife in the Colorado Rocky Mountains

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Larison, J.R.; Likens, G.E.; Fitzpatrick, J.W.; Crock, J.G.

    2000-01-01

    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.

  12. Pronounced variation in tarsal and foot feathering in the upland buzzard (Buteo hemilasius) in Mongolia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ellis, D.H.; Woffinden, N.; Whitlock, P.L.; Tsengeg, P.

    1999-01-01

    During 1994, 1995, 1997, and 1998 expeditions across Mongolia, we located over 250 upland buzzard (Buteo hemilasius) nests. At these, we noted considerable morphological variation in plumage coloration and in leg pterylosis. In 1997 and 1998, we examined 131 nests scattered across eastern and central Mongolia and report here the tarsal condition of 119 nestlings from 59 broods where young were at least 2 weeks of age. Of 119 birds carefully examined, 50 (42%) had less than fully feathered tarsi and 4 of the 69 with fully feathered tarsi had scattered feathers on their toes. Thus, 54 of 119 birds (45%) in some way deviated from the feathered tarsibare toes condition. This extraordinary degree of variability in feather patterns may be best explained as the result of extensive and relatively recent hybridization between the longlegged (Buteo rufinus) and roughlegged (B. lagopus) buzzards and/or between long-legged and upland buzzards.

  13. Kleptoparasitism by bald eagles wintering in south-central Nebraska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jorde, D.G.; Lingle, G.R.

    1988-01-01

    Kleptoparasitism on other raptors was one means by which Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) secured food along the North Platte and Platte rivers during the winters of 1978-1980. Species kelptoparasitized were Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis), Red-tailed Hawk (B. jamaicensis), Rough-legged Hawk (B. lagopus), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), and Bald Eagle. Stealing of prey occurred more often during the severe winter of 1978-1979 when ice cover restricted eagles from feeding on fish than during the milder winter of 1979-1980. Kleptoparasitism occurred principally in agricultural habitats where large numbers of Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) were foraging. Subadults watched adults steal food and participated in food-stealing with adults, which indicated interspecific kleptoparasitism may be a learned behavior. We suggest factors that may favor interspecific kleptoparasitism as a foraging strategy of Bald Eagles in obtaining waterfowl during severe winters.

  14. Freeze tolerance, morphology, and RAPD-PCR identification of Trichinella nativa in naturally infected arctic foxes.

    PubMed

    Kapel, C M; Pozio, E; Sacchi, L; Prestrud, P

    1999-02-01

    Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) were collected from Greenland and Svalbard (N = 319). Twenty-four were infected with Trichinella (7.5%). Molecular analysis (random-amplified polymorphic DNA polymerase chain reaction) confirmed that all animals were infected with Trichinella nativa. Motile larvae were found in muscle tissue from all foxes after carcasses had been frozen for 1 yr at -18 C. Infective larvae were found in 2 foxes after a total of 4 yr storage at -18 C, which is longer than any previous observations. Morphological examination of the cysts showed large nurse cells and significant deposition of collagen and connective tissue. It is suggested that, within the geographical distribution of T. nativa, the more freeze-resistant isolates are found at higher latitudes. PMID:10207384

  15. Capturing migration phenology of terrestrial wildlife using camera traps

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tape, Ken D.; Gustine, David D.

    2014-01-01

    Remote photography, using camera traps, can be an effective and noninvasive tool for capturing the migration phenology of terrestrial wildlife. We deployed 14 digital cameras along a 104-kilometer longitudinal transect to record the spring migrations of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) and ptarmigan (Lagopus spp.) in the Alaskan Arctic. The cameras recorded images at 15-minute intervals, producing approximately 40,000 images, including 6685 caribou observations and 5329 ptarmigan observations. The northward caribou migration was evident because the median caribou observation (i.e., herd median) occurred later with increasing latitude; average caribou migration speed also increased with latitude (r2 = .91). Except at the northernmost latitude, a northward ptarmigan migration was similarly evident (r2 = .93). Future applications of this method could be used to examine the conditions proximate to animal movement, such as habitat or snow cover, that may influence migration phenology.

  16. Chromosomal evolution of the Canidae. II. Divergence from the primitive carnivore karyotype.

    PubMed

    Wayne, R K; Nash, W G; O'Brien, S J

    1987-01-01

    The Giemsa-banding patterns of chromosomes from the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), the kit fox (Vulpes macrotis), and the raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) are compared. Despite their traditional placement in different genera, the arctic fox and the kit fox have an identical chromosome morphology and G-banding pattern. The red fox has extensive chromosome arm homoeology with these two species, but has only two entire chromosomes in common. All three species share some chromosomes with the raccoon dog, as does the high diploid-numbered grey wolf (Canis lupus, 2n = 78). Moreover, some chromosomes of the raccoon dog show partial or complete homoeology with metacentric feline chromosomes which suggests that these are primitive canid chromosomes. We present the history of chromosomal rearrangements within the Canidae family based on the assumption that a metacentric-dominated karyotype is primitive for the group. PMID:3568762

  17. Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection diagnosed by PCR in farmed red foxes, arctic foxes and raccoon dogs.

    PubMed

    Górecki, Marcin Tadeusz; Galbas, Mariola; Szwed, Katarzyna; Przysiecki, Piotr; Dullin, Piotr; Nowicki, Sławomir

    2012-01-01

    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

  18. Trichinella nativa in Iceland: an example of Trichinella dispersion in a frigid zone.

    PubMed

    Skírnisson, K; Marucci, G; Pozio, E

    2010-06-01

    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

  19. Mortality of arctic fox pups in northern Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Garrott, R.A.; Eberhardt, L.E.

    1982-01-01

    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.

  20. Sea ice occurrence predicts genetic isolation in the Arctic fox.

    PubMed

    Geffen, Eli; Waidyaratne, Sitara; Daln, Love; Angerbjrn, Anders; Vila, Carles; Hersteinsson, Pall; Fuglei, Eva; White, Paula A; Goltsman, Michael; Kapel, Christian M O; Wayne, Robert K

    2007-10-01

    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

  1. The occurrence of rabies in the Svalbard Islands of Norway.

    PubMed

    Prestrud, P; Krogsrud, J; Gjertz, I

    1992-01-01

    After the first recorded outbreak of rabies in the Svalbard Islands (Norway) in 1980, brain tissue from 817 trapped arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) was tested for rabies by a direct fluorescent antibody test. During the same period (1980 to 1990), 29 arctic foxes, 23 polar bears (Ursus maritimus), 19 reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) and five ringed seals (Phoca hispida) were also tested using the same technique. These animals had either been found dead, killed because of abnormal behavior or were apparently healthy when they were collected. Rabies virus antigen was not detected in any of the trapped foxes. Rabies was confirmed in two foxes in 1981, two foxes and one reindeer in 1987, and in one fox in 1990. The presence of rabies in the Svalbard archipelago probably resulted from immigration over the sea ice of an infected host. PMID:1548803

  2. Lesions associated with Pasteurella multocida infection in raptors.

    PubMed

    Morishita, T Y; Lowenstine, L J; Hirsh, D C; Brooks, D L

    1997-01-01

    Several case reports attest to the pathogenicity of Pasteurella multocida in raptors; however, the pathologic syndromes have not been fully described. We describe here the lesions encountered in 22 avian cholera cases in raptors. Besides septicemia-related lesions, a unique syndrome of esophageal abscesses was noted in 8 of the 11 (73%) Buteo hawks that succumbed to avian cholera. Esophageal abscesses were not noted in birds belonging to the order Strigiformes (owls) or family Falconidae (falcons and their relatives). Thus, the presence of white plaques in both the oropharynx and esophagus of Buteo hawks may indicate a possible P. multocida infection and should be considered in the differential diagnosis. This study also documents the first cases of avian cholera in a rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus) and a flammulated owl (Otus flammeolus). PMID:9087338

  3. Comparative tissue distribution of metals in birds in Sweden using ICP-MS and laser ablation ICP-MS.

    PubMed

    Ek, Kristine H; Morrison, Gregory M; Lindberg, Peter; Rauch, Sbastien

    2004-08-01

    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 (Lagopus lagopus), and house sparrow (Passer domesticus) in Sweden. For habitat comparisons, total Cu, Pb, Zn, and Cd concentrations were analyzed by ICP-MS in feathers of the examined species as well as captive peregrine falcon. For investigation of metal distribution and correlation in different biological materials of raptors, total concentrations of Cu, Pb, Cd, and Zn were also investigated by ICP-MS in feathers, eggs, blood, feces, liver, and kidney of wild peregrine falcon from southwestern Sweden. Laser ablation of feathers revealed that Pb contamination is both external and internal, Zn contamination is internal, and Cd and Cu contamination is predominantly internal, with a few externally attached particles of high concentration. Pb, Cu, and Cd signal intensities were highest in urban habitats and contamination was mainly external in feathers. The background signal intensity of Zn was also higher in birds from urban habitats. The laser ablation profile of PGE (Pt, Pd, Rh) demonstrated that PGE contamination of feathers consists almost exclusively of externally attached PGE-containing particles, with little evidence of internally deposited PGE.Generally, total metal concentrations in feathers were highest in sparrowhawk and house sparrow due to their urban habitat. Total Cu, Zn, and Cd concentrations were highest in liver and kidney due to binding to metallothionein, while the total Pb concentration was highest in feces due to the high excretion rate of Pb. A decreasing temporal trend for Pb in feathers, showing that Pb levels in feathers have decreased since the introduction of nonleaded petrol, is also discussed. PMID:15386152

  4. Inferring the nature of anthropogenic threats from long-term abundance records.

    PubMed

    Shoemaker, Kevin T; Akçakaya, H Resit

    2015-02-01

    Diagnosing the processes that threaten species persistence is critical for recovery planning and risk forecasting. Dominant threats are typically inferred by experts on the basis of a patchwork of informal methods. Transparent, quantitative diagnostic tools would contribute much-needed consistency, objectivity, and rigor to the process of diagnosing anthropogenic threats. Long-term census records, available for an increasingly large and diverse set of taxa, may exhibit characteristic signatures of specific threatening processes and thereby provide information for threat diagnosis. We developed a flexible Bayesian framework for diagnosing threats on the basis of long-term census records and diverse ancillary sources of information. We tested this framework with simulated data from artificial populations subjected to varying degrees of exploitation and habitat loss and several real-world abundance time series for which threatening processes are relatively well understood: bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) (exploitation) and Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) and Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis) (habitat loss). Our method correctly identified the process driving population decline for over 90% of time series simulated under moderate to severe threat scenarios. Successful identification of threats approached 100% for severe exploitation and habitat loss scenarios. Our method identified threats less successfully when threatening processes were weak and when populations were simultaneously affected by multiple threats. Our method selected the presumed true threat model for all real-world case studies, although results were somewhat ambiguous in the case of the Eurasian Skylark. In the latter case, incorporation of an ancillary source of information (records of land-use change) increased the weight assigned to the presumed true model from 70% to 92%, illustrating the value of the proposed framework in bringing diverse sources of information into a common rigorous framework. Ultimately, our framework may greatly assist conservation organizations in documenting threatening processes and planning species recovery. PMID:25065712

  5. Territory occupancy rate of goshawk and gyrfalcon: no evidence of delayed numerical response to grouse numbers.

    PubMed

    Sels, Vidar; Kls, John Atle

    2007-09-01

    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 Lagopus lagopus 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

  6. Distribution of Ground-Nesting Marine Birds Along Shorelines in Glacier Bay, Southeastern Alaska: An Assessment Related to Potential Disturbance by Back-Country Users

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arimitsu, M.L.; Piatt, J.F.; Romano, Marc D.

    2007-01-01

    With the exception of a few large colonies, the distribution of ground-nesting marine birds in Glacier Bay National Park in southeastern Alaska is largely unknown. As visitor use increases in back-country areas of the park, there is growing concern over the potential impact of human activities on breeding birds. During the 2003i??05 breeding seasons, the shoreline of Glacier Bay was surveyed to locate ground-nesting marine birds and their nesting areas, including wildlife closures and historical sites for egg collection by Alaska Native peoples. The nesting distribution of four common ground-nesting marine bird species was determined: Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea), Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani), Mew Gull (Larus canus), and Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens). Observations of less abundant species also were recorded, including Herring Gull (Larus argentatus), Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata), Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus), Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus), Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia), Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla), Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus), and Aleutian Tern (Sterna aleutica). Nesting distribution for Arctic Terns was largely restricted to the upper arms of the bay and a few treeless islets in the lower bay, whereas Black Oystercatchers were more widely distributed along shorelines in the park. Mew Gulls nested throughout the upper bay in Geikie Inlet and in Fingers and Berg Bays, and most Glaucous-winged Gull nests were found at wildlife closures in the central and lower bays. Several areas were identified where human disturbance could affect breeding birds. This study comprises the first bay-wide survey for the breeding distribution of ground-nesting marine birds in Glacier Bay National Park, providing a minimum estimate of their numbers and distribution within the park. This information can be used to assess future human disturbance and track natural changes in nesting bird distribution over time.

  7. Genome-wide association and genome partitioning reveal novel genomic regions underlying variation in gastrointestinal nematode burden in a wild bird.

    PubMed

    Wenzel, Marius A; James, Marianne C; Douglas, Alex; Piertney, Stuart B

    2015-08-01

    Identifying the genetic architecture underlying complex phenotypes is a notoriously difficult problem that often impedes progress in understanding adaptive eco-evolutionary processes in natural populations. Host-parasite interactions are fundamentally important drivers of evolutionary processes, but a lack of understanding of the genes involved in the host's response to chronic parasite insult makes it particularly difficult to understand the mechanisms of host life history trade-offs and the adaptive dynamics involved. Here, we examine the genetic basis of gastrointestinal nematode (Trichostrongylus tenuis) burden in 695 red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) individuals genotyped at 384 genome-wide SNPs. We first use genome-wide association to identify individual SNPs associated with nematode burden. We then partition genome-wide heritability to identify chromosomes with greater heritability than expected from gene content, due to harbouring a multitude of additive SNPs with individually undetectable effects. We identified five SNPs on five chromosomes that accounted for differences of up to 556 worms per bird, but together explained at best 4.9% of the phenotypic variance. These SNPs were closely linked to genes representing a range of physiological processes including the immune system, protein degradation and energy metabolism. Genome partitioning indicated genome-wide heritability of up to 29% and three chromosomes with excess heritability of up to 4.3% (total 8.9%). These results implicate SNPs and novel genomic regions underlying nematode burden in this system and suggest that this phenotype is somewhere between being based on few large-effect genes (oligogenic) and based on a large number of genes with small individual but large combined effects (polygenic). PMID:26179597

  8. Digging for gold nuggets: uncovering novel candidate genes for variation in gastrointestinal nematode burden in a wild bird species.

    PubMed

    Wenzel, M A; Piertney, S B

    2015-04-01

    The extent to which genotypic variation at a priori identified candidate genes can explain variation in complex phenotypes is a major debate in evolutionary biology. Whereas some high-profile genes such as the MHC or MC1R clearly do account for variation in ecologically relevant characters, many complex phenotypes such as response to parasite infection may well be underpinned by a large number of genes, each of small and effectively undetectable effect. Here, we characterize a suite of novel candidate genes for variation in gastrointestinal nematode (Trichostrongylus tenuis) burden among red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) individuals across a network of moors in north-east Scotland. We test for associations between parasite load and genotypic variation in twelve genes previously identified to be differentially expressed in experimentally infected red grouse or genetically differentiated among red grouse populations with overall different parasite loads. These genes are associated with a broad physiological response including immune system processes. Based on individual-level generalized linear models, genotypic variants in nine genes were significantly associated with parasite load, with effect sizes accounting for differences of 514-666 worms per bird. All but one of these variants were synonymous or untranslated, suggesting that these may be linked to protein-coding variants or affect regulatory processes. In contrast, population-level analyses revealed few and inconsistent associations with parasite load, and little evidence of signatures of natural selection. We discuss the broader significance of these contrasting results in the context of the utility of population genomics and landscape genomics approaches in detecting adaptive genomic signatures. PMID:25752450

  9. The importance of willow thickets for ptarmigan and hares in shrub tundra: the more the better?

    PubMed

    Ehrich, Dorothée; Henden, John-André; Ims, Rolf Anker; Doronina, Lilyia O; Killengren, Siw Turid; Lecomte, Nicolas; Pokrovsky, Ivan G; Skogstad, Gunnhild; Sokolov, Alexander A; Sokolov, Vasily A; Yoccoz, Nigel Gilles

    2012-01-01

    In patchy habitats, the relationship between animal abundance and cover of a preferred habitat may change with the availability of that habitat, resulting in a functional response in habitat use. Here, we investigate the relationship of two specialized herbivores, willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) and mountain hare (Lepus timidus), to willows (Salix spp.) in three regions of the shrub tundra zone-northern Norway, northern European Russia and western Siberia. Shrub tundra is a naturally patchy habitat where willow thickets represent a major structural element and are important for herbivores both as food and shelter. Habitat use was quantified using feces counts in a hierarchical spatial design and related to several measures of willow thicket configuration. We document a functional response in the use of willow thickets by ptarmigan, but not by hares. For hares, whose range extends into forested regions, occurrence increased overall with willow cover. The occurrence of willow ptarmigan showed a strong positive relationship to willow cover and a negative relationship to thicket fragmentation in the region with lowest willow cover at landscape scale, where willow growth may be limited by reindeer browsing. In regions with higher cover, in contrast, such relationships were not observed. Differences in predator communities among the regions may contribute to the observed pattern, enhancing the need for cover where willow thickets are scarce. Such region-specific relationships reflecting regional characteristics of the ecosystem highlight the importance of large-scale investigations to understand the relationships of habitat availability and use, which is a critical issue considering that habitat availability changes quickly with climate change and human impact. PMID:21833646

  10. Herbivores Influence the Growth, Reproduction, and Morphology of a Widespread Arctic Willow

    PubMed Central

    Christie, Katie S.; Ruess, Roger W.; Lindberg, Mark S.; Mulder, Christa P.

    2014-01-01

    Shrubs have expanded in Arctic ecosystems over the past century, resulting in significant changes to albedo, ecosystem function, and plant community composition. Willow and rock ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus, L. muta) and moose (Alces alces) extensively browse Arctic shrubs, and may influence their architecture, growth, and reproduction. Furthermore, these herbivores may alter forage plants in such a way as to increase the quantity and accessibility of their own food source. We estimated the effect of winter browsing by ptarmigan and moose on an abundant, early-successional willow (Salix alaxensis) in northern Alaska by comparing browsed to unbrowsed branches. Ptarmigan browsed 82–89% of willows and removed 30–39% of buds, depending on study area and year. Moose browsed 17–44% of willows and browsed 39–55% of shoots. Browsing inhibited apical dominance and activated axillary and adventitious buds to produce new vegetative shoots. Ptarmigan- and moose-browsed willow branches produced twice the volume of shoot growth but significantly fewer catkins the following summer compared with unbrowsed willow branches. Shoots on browsed willows were larger and produced 40–60% more buds compared to unbrowsed shoots. This process of shoot production at basal parts of the branch is the mechanism by which willows develop a highly complex “broomed” architecture after several years of browsing. Broomed willows were shorter and more likely to be re-browsed by ptarmigan, but not moose. Ptarmigan likely benefit from the greater quantity and accessibility of buds on previously browsed willows and may increase the carrying capacity of their own habitat. Despite the observed tolerance of willows to browsing, their vertical growth and reproduction were strongly inhibited by moose and ptarmigan. Browsing by these herbivores therefore needs to be considered in future models of shrub expansion in the Arctic. PMID:25047582

  11. Platinum group elements in the feathers of raptors and their prey.

    PubMed

    Jensen, K H; Rauch, S; Morrison, G M; Lindberg, P

    2002-04-01

    Platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), and rhodium (Rh) concentrations were determined in the feathers of three raptor species in Sweden, the sparrowhawk ( Accipiter nisus), the peregrine falcon ( Falco peregrinus), and the gyrfalcon ( Falco rusticolus), as well as the main prey of the sparrowhawk (the house sparrow, Passer domesticus) and the gyrfalcon (the willow grouse, Lagopus lagopus). The analysis of feathers from 1917-1999 revealed a clear temporal trend, with significantly higher Rh concentrations in sparrowhawk and peregrine falcon after 1986. There is evidence for increasing platinum group element (PGE) concentrations from 1917 to 1999 in peregrine falcon and sparrowhawk. This suggests that feathers reflect increased PGE concentrations in the environment over this time period. Mean concentrations of PGE in feathers of raptors after 1986 ranged from 0.3 to 1.8 ng x g(-1) for Pt, 0.6 to 2.1 ng x g(-1) for Pd (indicative values), and 0.1 to 0.6 ng x g(-1) for Rh. House sparrows in urban areas had significantly higher Pt and Pd concentrations than urban sparrowhawks. The higher Pd concentrations in relation to Pt and Rh may indicate the greater mobility of Pd in the environment. Although PGE concentrations are generally higher in birds living in urban areas, no significant spatial trend could be established. This is partly due to the widespread distribution of automobiles and partly because birds forage and integrate PGE exposure over large areas. Laser ablation analysis demonstrates that PGE contamination of feathers is predominantly external, consisting of small particles in the nanometer size range. Other indications of external contamination are that Pt and Pd levels are significantly higher in the vane than in the shaft and that PGE relative ratios (except Pd) reflect urban particles. PMID:11910463

  12. Vegetation management with fire modifies peatland soil thermal regime.

    PubMed

    Brown, Lee E; Palmer, Sheila M; Johnston, Kerrylyn; Holden, Joseph

    2015-05-01

    Vegetation removal with fire can alter the thermal regime of the land surface, leading to significant changes in biogeochemistry (e.g. carbon cycling) and soil hydrology. In the UK, large expanses of carbon-rich upland environments are managed to encourage increased abundance of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) by rotational burning of shrub vegetation. To date, though, there has not been any consideration of whether prescribed vegetation burning on peatlands modifies the thermal regime of the soil mass in the years after fire. In this study thermal regime was monitored across 12 burned peatland soil plots over an 18-month period, with the aim of (i) quantifying thermal dynamics between burned plots of different ages (from <2 to 15 + years post burning), and (ii) developing statistical models to determine the magnitude of thermal change caused by vegetation management. Compared to plots burned 15 + years previously, plots recently burned (<2-4 years) showed higher mean, maximum and range of soil temperatures, and lower minima. Statistical models (generalised least square regression) were developed to predict daily mean and maximum soil temperature in plots burned 15 + years prior to the study. These models were then applied to predict temperatures of plots burned 2, 4 and 7 years previously, with significant deviations from predicted temperatures illustrating the magnitude of burn management effects. Temperatures measured in soil plots burned <2 years previously showed significant statistical disturbances from model predictions, reaching +6.2 C for daily mean temperatures and +19.6 C for daily maxima. Soil temperatures in plots burnt 7 years previously were most similar to plots burned 15 + years ago indicating the potential for soil temperatures to recover as vegetation regrows. Our findings that prescribed peatland vegetation burning alters soil thermal regime should provide an impetus for further research to understand the consequences of thermal regime change for carbon processing and release, and hydrological processes, in these peatlands. PMID:25728915

  13. Is hunting mortality additive or compensatory to natural mortality? Effects of experimental harvest on the survival and cause-specific mortality of willow ptarmigan.

    PubMed

    Sandercock, Brett K; Nilsen, Erlend B; Brseth, Henrik; Pedersen, Hans C

    2011-01-01

    1. The effects of harvest on the annual and seasonal survival of willow ptarmigan Lagopus lagopus L. were tested in a large-scale harvest experiment. Management units were randomly assigned to one of three experimental treatments: 0%, 15% or 30% harvest. Seasonal quotas were based on the experimental treatment and estimates of bird density before the hunting season. Survival rates and hazard functions for radio-marked ptarmigan were then estimated under the competing risks of harvest and natural mortality. 2. The partially compensatory mortality hypothesis was supported: annual survival of ptarmigan was 054 008 SE under 0% harvest, 047 006 under 15% harvest, and was reduced to 030 005 under 30% harvest. Harvest mortality increased linearly from 008 005, 027 005 and 042 006 from 0% to 30% harvest, whereas natural mortality was 038 008, 025 005 and 028 006 under the same treatments. 3. Realized risk of harvest mortality was 008-012 points higher than our set harvest treatments of 0-30% because birds were exposed to risk if they moved out of protected areas. The superadditive hypothesis was supported because birds in the 30% harvest treatment had higher natural mortality during winter after the hunting season. 4. Natural mortality was mainly because of raptor predation, with two seasonal peaks in fall and spring. Natural and harvest mortality coincided during early autumn with little potential for compensation during winter months. Peak risk of harvest mortality was 5 higher than natural mortality. Low natural mortality during winter suggests that most late season harvest would be additive mortality. 5. Environmental correlates of natural mortality of ptarmigan included seasonal changes in snow cover, onset of juvenile dispersal, and periods of territorial activity. Natural mortality of ptarmigan was highest during autumn movements and nesting by gyrfalcons Falco rusticolus L. Mortality was low when gyrfalcons had departed for coastal wintering sites, and during summer when ptarmigan were attending nests and broods. 6. Our experimental results have important implications for harvest management of upland gamebirds. Seasonal quotas based on proportional harvest were effective and should be set at ? 15% of August populations for regional management plans. Under threshold harvest of a reproductive surplus, 15% harvest would be sustainable at productivity rates ? 25 young per pair. Impacts of winter harvest could be minimized by closing the hunting season in early November or by reducing late season quotas. PMID:21054381

  14. Recent trends in counts of migrant hawks from northeastern North America

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Titus, K.; Fuller, M.R.

    1990-01-01

    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.

  15. A conceptual model for the impact of climate change on fox rabies in Alaska, 1980–2010

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Bryan I.; Blanton, Jesse D.; Gilbert, Amy; Castrodale, Louisa; Hueffer, Karsten; Slate, Dennis; Rupprecht, Charles E.

    2013-01-01

    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 modeling, 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 to 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

  16. Virological Investigation of Avian Influenza Virus on Postglacial Species of Phasianidae and Tetraonidae in the Italian Alps

    PubMed Central

    Delogu, Mauro; Ghetti, Giulia; Gugiatti, Alessandro; Cotti, Claudia; Piredda, Isabella; Frasnelli, Matteo; De Marco, Maria A.

    2013-01-01

    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

  17. Serological and parasitological prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in wild birds from Colorado.

    PubMed

    Dubey, J P; Felix, T A; Kwok, O C H

    2010-10-01

    Ground-feeding birds are considered important in the epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii because they serve as indicators of soil contamination by oocysts, and birds of prey are indicators of T. gondii prevalence in rodents and other small mammals. Cats excrete environmentally resistant oocysts after consuming tissues of T. gondii -infected birds. In the present study, sera and tissues from 382 wild birds from Colorado were tested for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 38 birds with the use of the modified agglutination test (MAT, 1?25 titer). Tissues (brains, hearts) of 84 birds were bioassayed in mice. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 1 of 1 barn owl (Tyto alba), 1 of 5 American kestrels (Falco sparverius), 1 of 7 ferruginous hawks (Buteo regalis), 1 of 4 rough-legged hawks (Buteo lagopus), 2 of 13 Swainson's hawks (Buteo swainsoni), and 1 of 25 red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis). This is the first time T. gondii has been isolated from the barn owl, ferruginous hawk, rough-legged hawk, and Swainson's hawk. PMID:20950101

  18. Mechanism of gene amplification via yeast autonomously replicating sequences.

    PubMed

    Sehgal, Shelly; Kaul, Sanjana; Dhar, M K

    2015-01-01

    The present investigation was aimed at understanding the molecular mechanism of gene amplification. Interplay of fragile sites in promoting gene amplification was also elucidated. The amplification promoting sequences were chosen from the Saccharomyces cerevisiae ARS, 5S rRNA regions of Plantago ovata and P. lagopus, proposed sites of replication pausing at Ste20 gene locus of S. cerevisiae, and the bend DNA sequences within fragile site FRA11A in humans. The gene amplification assays showed that plasmid bearing APS from yeast and human beings led to enhanced protein concentration as compared to the wild type. Both the in silico and in vitro analyses were pointed out at the strong bending potential of these APS. In addition, high mitotic stability and presence of TTTT repeats and SAR amongst these sequences encourage gene amplification. Phylogenetic analysis of S. cerevisiae ARS was also conducted. The combinatorial power of different aspects of APS analyzed in the present investigation was harnessed to reach a consensus about the factors which stimulate gene expression, in presence of these sequences. It was concluded that the mechanism of gene amplification was that AT rich tracts present in fragile sites of yeast serve as binding sites for MAR/SAR and DNA unwinding elements. The DNA protein interactions necessary for ORC activation are facilitated by DNA bending. These specific bindings at ORC promote repeated rounds of DNA replication leading to gene amplification. PMID:25685838

  19. Gull eggs--food of high organic pollutant content?

    PubMed

    Pusch, Kerstin; Schlabach, Martin; Prinzinger, Roland; Wing Gabrielsen, Geir

    2005-06-01

    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

  20. Serum lipid concentrations in six canid and four ursid species in four zoos.

    PubMed

    Crissey, Susan D; Ange, Kimberly D; Slifka, Kerri A; Sadler, William; Kahn, Stephen; Ward, Ann M

    2004-03-01

    Serum lipid levels were measured in healthy captive wild canids and ursids, and the values were compared with previously published data. Serum lipid levels were evaluated in blood samples collected from eight African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), three arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus), nine gray wolves (Canis lupus), four maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus), two Mexican wolves (Canis lupus baleiyi), nine red wolves (Canis rufus), two brown bears (Ursus arctos), six polar bears (Ursus maritimus), six spectacled bears (Tremarctos ornatus), and five sun bears (Ursus malayanus). Samples were analyzed for total cholesterol, triacylglycerides, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol. Although the results showed a great variation among species, circulating lipids appeared especially high, sometimes extremely so, in the spectacled bears, polar bears, sun bears, and maned wolves compared with all other species sampled. The study provides a substantial basis for comparing lipid levels in presumed healthy animals and indicates a need for controlled study of the effects of diet on circulating lipid levels. PMID:15193071

  1. Unexpected diversity of the cestode Echinococcus multilocularis in wildlife in Canada.

    PubMed

    Gesy, Karen M; Schurer, Janna M; Massolo, Alessandro; Liccioli, Stefano; Elkin, Brett T; Alisauskas, Ray; Jenkins, Emily J

    2014-08-01

    Echinococcus multilocularis is a zoonotic cestode with a distribution encompassing the northern hemisphere that causes alveolar hydatid disease in people and other aberrant hosts. E. multilocularis is not genetically uniform across its distribution, which may have implications for zoonotic transmission and pathogenicity. Recent findings of a European-type haplotype of E. multilocularis in wildlife in one location in western Canada motivated a broader survey of the diversity of this parasite in wildlife from northern and western Canada. We obtained intact adult cestodes of E. multilocularis from the intestines of 41 wild canids (wolf - Canis lupus, coyote - Canis latrans, and red fox - Vulpes vulpes), taeniid eggs from 28 fecal samples from Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), and alveolar hydatid cysts from 39 potential rodent intermediate hosts. Upon sequencing a 370-nucelotide region of the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 (nad1) mitochondrial locus, 17 new haplotypes were identified. This constitutes a much higher diversity than expected, as only two genotypes (European and an Asian/North American) had previously been identified using this locus. The European-type strain, recently introduced, may be widespread in wildlife within western Canada, possibly related to the large home ranges and wide dispersal range of wild canids. This study increased understanding of the biogeographic distribution, prevalence and genetic differences of a globally important pathogenic cestode in northern and western Canada. PMID:25161905

  2. Historical and ecological determinants of genetic structure in arctic canids.

    PubMed

    Carmichael, L E; Krizan, J; Nagy, J A; Fuglei, E; Dumond, M; Johnson, D; Veitch, A; Berteaux, D; Strobeck, C

    2007-08-01

    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

  3. Sarcoptic mange in Swedish wildlife.

    PubMed

    Mörner, T

    1992-12-01

    Mange caused by Sarcoptes scabiei var. vulpes appeared among red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Scandinavia (south-west Finland) for the first time in this century in 1967. The disease was most probably introduced by foxes crossing the Gulf of Finland from Estonia. The mange epizootic spread northwards through Finland and reached Sweden in late 1975, when mangy foxes appeared in the northern part of the country. In 1984, mange was observed in most parts of Sweden. The disease was observed to spread rapidly in boreal areas, whereas it spread more slowly in agricultural areas. Mortality due to mange was very high. The duration of the disease before death due to emaciation has been shown experimentally to be over 90 days. An outbreak of fox mange among Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) occurred in 1986. The local population of Arctic foxes was caught and successfully treated. The following year, treated foxes were caught again and no signs of disease were found. Sporadic cases of fox mange have also been diagnosed in lynx (Lynx lynx), pine marten (Martes martes) and domestic dogs. Single cases have been observed in other species: wolf (Canis lupus), mountain hare (Lepus timidus), domestic cat and horse. No cases of sarcoptic mange have been recorded in the badger (Meles meles). At present, although fox mange occurs as an epizootic in local populations, the number of foxes has increased again in many parts of Sweden. PMID:1305857

  4. Serum concentrations of vitamin D metabolites, vitamins A and E, and carotenoids in six canid and four ursid species at four zoos.

    PubMed

    Crissey, S; Ange, K; Slifka, K; Bowen, P; Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, M; Langman, C; Sadler, W; Ward, A

    2001-01-01

    Nutritional status for six captive canid species (n=34) and four captive ursid species (n=18) were analyzed. The species analyzed included: African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), gray wolf (Canis lupus), maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baleiyi), red wolf (Canis rufus), brown bear (Ursus arctos), polar bear (Ursus maritimus), spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), and sun bear (Ursus malayanus). Diet information was collected for these animals from each participating zoo (Brookfield Zoo, Fort Worth Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens, and North Carolina Zoological Park). The nutritional composition of the diet for each species at each institution met probable dietary requirements. Blood samples were collected from each animal and analyzed for vitamin D metabolites 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)(2)D, vitamin A (retinol, retinyl stearate, retinyl palmitate), vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol) and selected carotenoids. Family differences were found for 25(OH)D, retinol, retinyl stearate, retinyl palmitate and gamma-tocopherol. Species differences were found for all detectable measurements. Carotenoids were not detected in any species. The large number of animals contributing to these data, provides a substantial base for comparing the nutritional status of healthy animals and the differences among them. PMID:11137448

  5. Enhancement of local species richness in tundra by seed dispersal through guts of muskox and barnacle goose.

    PubMed

    Bruun, Hans Henrik; Lundgren, Rebekka; Philipp, Marianne

    2008-02-01

    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

  6. A comparative analysis of MC4R gene sequence, polymorphism, and chromosomal localization in Chinese raccoon dog and Arctic fox.

    PubMed

    Skorczyk, Anna; Flisikowski, Krzysztof; Switonski, Marek

    2012-05-01

    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

  7. Pulses of movement across the sea ice: population connectivity and temporal genetic structure in the arctic fox.

    PubMed

    Norén, Karin; Carmichael, Lindsey; Fuglei, Eva; Eide, Nina E; Hersteinsson, Pall; Angerbjörn, Anders

    2011-08-01

    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

  8. A conceptual model for the impact of climate change on fox rabies in Alaska, 1980-2010.

    PubMed

    Kim, B I; Blanton, J D; Gilbert, A; Castrodale, L; Hueffer, K; Slate, D; Rupprecht, C E

    2014-02-01

    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

  9. Influence of dietary feathers on the fecal microbiota in captive Arctic fox: do dietary hair or feathers play a role in the evolution of carnivorous mammals?

    PubMed

    Zhang, Liang; Yang, Shuhui; Xu, Yanchun; Dahmer, Thomas D

    2014-11-01

    Hair and feathers are composed of keratin and are indigestible, inalimental and unpalatable for carnivores. However, carnivores often ingest hair and feathers during feeding or when grooming. We hypothesized that ingestion of hair and feathers changes species diversity and relative abundance of bacteria in the gut of carnivores. To test this hypothesis, we added disinfected poultry down feathers to the normal diet of captive Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). We then used fluorescently labeled terminal restriction fragments (T-RFs) to examine changes in fecal bacterial diversity and abundance. The results showed that the number of bacterial species increased significantly after feather ingestion, but that total abundance was unchanged. This demonstrated that addition of disinfected feathers to the diet stimulated increased production among less abundant bacteria, resulting in a balancing of relative abundance of different bacterial species, or that some newly-ingested microbial species would colonize the gut because a suitable microhabitat had become available. This implies that the overall production of bacterial metabolites would be made up of a greater range of substances after feather ingestion. On one hand, the host's immune response would be more diverse, increasing the capacity of the immune system to regulate gut microflora. On the other hand, the animal's physiological performance would also be affected. For wild animals, such altered physiological traits would be subjected to natural selection, and, hence, persistent geographic differences in the character of ingested feathers or fur would drive speciation. PMID:25420637

  10. Two missense mutations in melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) are strongly associated with dark ventral coat color in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus).

    PubMed

    Våge, D I; Nieminen, M; Anderson, D G; Røed, K H

    2014-10-01

    The protein-coding region of melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) was sequenced to identify potential variation affecting coat color in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). A T→C sequence variation at nucleotide position 218 (c.218T>C) causing an amino acid (aa) change from methionine to threonine at aa position 73 (p.Met73Thr) was identified. In addition, a T→G sequence variation was found at nucleotide position 839 (c.839T>G), causing phenylalanine to be exchanged by cysteine at aa position 280 (p.Phe280Cys). The two sequence variants (c.218C and c.839G) were found to be closely associated with a darker belly coat compared with animals not having any of these two variants. The aa acid change p.Met73Thr affects the same position as p.Met73Lys previously reported to give constitutive activation of MC1R in black sheep (Ovis aries), whereas p.Phe280Cys is identical to one of two variants previously reported to be associated with dark coat color in Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), supporting that the two variants found in reindeer are functional. The complete absence of Thr73 and Cys280 among the 51 wild reindeer analyzed provides some evidence that these variants are more common in the domestic herds. PMID:25039753

  11. PCB and organochlorine pesticides in northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) from a High Arctic colony: chemical exposure, fate, and transfer to predators.

    PubMed

    Foster, Karen L; Mallory, Mark L; Hill, Laura; Blais, Jules M

    2011-09-01

    Organochlorine contaminant concentrations, associated fugacities, and stable isotopes of nitrogen (δ(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 (ΣPCB) and ΣDDT 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 ΣPCB and ΣDDT 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

  12. Arctic fox home range characteristics in an oil-development area

    SciTech Connect

    Eberhardt, L.E.; Hanson, W.C.; Bengtson, J.L.; Garrott, R.A.; Hanson, E.E.

    1982-01-01

    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.

  13. Reproductive responses to spatial and temporal prey availability in a coastal Arctic fox population.

    PubMed

    Eide, Nina E; Stien, Audun; Prestrud, Pål; Yoccoz, Nigel G; Fuglei, Eva

    2012-05-01

    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

  14. Intestinal parasites of the Arctic fox in relation to the abundance and distribution of intermediate hosts.

    PubMed

    Stien, A; Voutilainen, L; Haukisalmi, V; Fuglei, E; Mørk, T; Yoccoz, N G; Ims, R A; Henttonen, H

    2010-01-01

    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

  15. Unexpected diversity of the cestode Echinococcus multilocularis in wildlife in Canada

    PubMed Central

    Gesy, Karen M.; Schurer, Janna M.; Massolo, Alessandro; Liccioli, Stefano; Elkin, Brett T.; Alisauskas, Ray; Jenkins, Emily J.

    2014-01-01

    Echinococcus multilocularis is a zoonotic cestode with a distribution encompassing the northern hemisphere that causes alveolar hydatid disease in people and other aberrant hosts. E.multilocularis is not genetically uniform across its distribution, which may have implications for zoonotic transmission and pathogenicity. Recent findings of a European-type haplotype of E. multilocularis in wildlife in one location in western Canada motivated a broader survey of the diversity of this parasite in wildlife from northern and western Canada. We obtained intact adult cestodes of E. multilocularis from the intestines of 41 wild canids (wolf Canis lupus, coyote Canis latrans, and red fox Vulpes vulpes), taeniid eggs from 28 fecal samples from Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), and alveolar hydatid cysts from 39 potential rodent intermediate hosts. Upon sequencing a 370-nucelotide region of the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 (nad1) mitochondrial locus, 17 new haplotypes were identified. This constitutes a much higher diversity than expected, as only two genotypes (European and an Asian/North American) had previously been identified using this locus. The European-type strain, recently introduced, may be widespread in wildlife within western Canada, possibly related to the large home ranges and wide dispersal range of wild canids. This study increased understanding of the biogeographic distribution, prevalence and genetic differences of a globally important pathogenic cestode in northern and western Canada. PMID:25161905

  16. Organophosphorous flame retardants in biota from Svalbard, Norway.

    PubMed

    Hallanger, Ingeborg G; Sagerup, Kjetil; Evenset, Anita; Kovacs, Kit M; Leonards, Pim; Fuglei, Eva; Routti, Heli; Aars, Jon; Strøm, Hallvard; Lydersen, Christian; Gabrielsen, Geir Wing

    2015-12-15

    Eight arctic species, including fish, birds and mammals, from diverse habitats (marine and terrestrial) within the Svalbard Archipelago, Norway, were screened for 14 organophosphorus flame retardant (PFR) compounds. Ten PFRs were detected: tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate (TCEP), tris(2-chloroisopropyl)phosphate (TCIPP), tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCIPP), triphenyl phosphate (TPHP); 2-ethylhexyl diphenyl phosphate (EHDPP); tris(2-butoxyethyl)phosphate (TBOEP); tritolyl phosphate (TCrP); triisobutyl phosphate (TIBP); tris(2-ethylhexyl)phosphate (TEHP); and butyl diphenyl phosphate (DPhBP). The greatest number of different PFR compounds, and the highest detection frequency were measured in capelin (Mallotus villotus), and the lowest in Brünnich's guillemot (Uria lomvia). The highest concentrations of ΣPFR, as well as the highest concentration of a single PFR compound, TBOEP, were measured in arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus). The presence of PFR compounds in arctic biota indicates that these compounds can undergo long-range transport and are, to some degree, persistent and bioaccumulated. The potential for biomagnification from fish to higher trophic levels seems to be limited. PMID:26453403

  17. Ancient DNA reveals lack of postglacial habitat tracking in the arctic fox.

    PubMed

    Daln, Love; Nystrm, Veronica; Valdiosera, Cristina; Germonpr, Mietje; Sablin, Mikhail; Turner, Elaine; Angerbjrn, Anders; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Gtherstrm, Anders

    2007-04-17

    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

  18. Serologic evidence of arbovirus infections in humans and wild animals in Alaska.

    PubMed

    Zarnke, R L; Calisher, C H; Kerschner, J

    1983-07-01

    Blood samples were collected from humans and several species of free-ranging wild animals in Alaska. Sera were tested for antibody to Jamestown Canyon (JC), snowshoe hare (SSH), Northway (NOR), Klamath (KLA), Sakhalin (SAK), Great Island (GI), and Silverwater (SIL) virus. JC antibody was found in 54% of 121 human, 89% of 97 bison (Bison bison), 51% of 84 Dall sheep (Ovis dalli), 43% of 68 snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), and 3% of 33 arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) sera. SSH antibody was found in 42% of 121 human, 89% of 97 bison, 41% of 84 Dall sheep, and 65% of 68 snowshoe hare sera. NOR antibody was found in 14% of 121 human, 94% of 97 bison, 84% of 84 Dall sheep, 43% of 69 caribou (Rangifer tarandus), 3% of 68 snowshoe hare, 48% of 64 grizzly bear (Ursus arctos), 3% of 33 arctic fox, and 78% of 27 moose (Alces alces) sera. KLA antibody was found in 5% of 121 human and 40% of 97 bison sera. SAK antibody was found in 2% of 97 bison and 3% of 33 arctic fox sera. GI antibody was found in 1% of 97 bison sera. No SIL antibody was found in any sera tested. Thus the natural host ranges of JC, SSH, NOR, and KLA viruses have been extended by inference from the occurrence of antibody. PMID:6644915

  19. Using Domestic and Free-Ranging Arctic Canid Models for Environmental Molecular Toxicology Research.

    PubMed

    Harley, John R; Bammler, Theo K; Farin, Federico M; Beyer, Richard P; Kavanagh, Terrance J; Dunlap, Kriya L; Knott, Katrina K; Ylitalo, Gina M; O'Hara, Todd M

    2016-02-16

    The use of sentinel species for population and ecosystem health assessments has been advocated as part of a One Health perspective. The Arctic is experiencing rapid change, including climate and environmental shifts, as well as increased resource development, which will alter exposure of biota to environmental agents of disease. Arctic canid species have wide geographic ranges and feeding ecologies and are often exposed to high concentrations of both terrestrial and marine-based contaminants. The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) has been used in biomedical research for a number of years and has been advocated as a sentinel for human health due to its proximity to humans and, in some instances, similar diet. Exploiting the potential of molecular tools for describing the toxicogenomics of Arctic canids is critical for their development as biomedical models as well as environmental sentinels. Here, we present three approaches analyzing toxicogenomics of Arctic contaminants in both domestic and free-ranging canids (Arctic fox, Vulpes lagopus). We describe a number of confounding variables that must be addressed when conducting toxicogenomics studies in canid and other mammalian models. The ability for canids to act as models for Arctic molecular toxicology research is unique and significant for advancing our understanding and expanding the tool box for assessing the changing landscape of environmental agents of disease in the Arctic. PMID:26730740

  20. Abundance of diurnal raptors on open space grasslands in an urbanized landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Berry, M.E.; Bock, C.E.; Haire, S.L.

    1998-01-01

    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.

  1. Reproductive characteristics of migratory golden eagles in Denali National Park, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McIntyre, Carol L.; Adams, Layne G.

    1999-01-01

    We describe reproductive characteristics of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) breeding in Denali National Park, Alaska during an entire snowshoe hare( Lepus americanus) cycle, 1988-1997. Data on nesting eagles were collected at 58 to 72 nesting areas annually using two aerial surveys. Surveys were conducted during the incubation period to determine occupancy and nesting activities and late in the nestling period to count nestlings and determine nesting success. Annual occupancy rates of nesting areas did not vary significantly, whereas laying rates, success rates, and mean brood size varied significantly over the study period. Fledgling production for the study population varied sevenfold during the ten-year period. Laying rates, mean brood size, and overall population productivity were significantly correlated with abundance of cyclic snowshoe hare and Willow Ptarmigan (Lugopus lagopus) populations. Reproductive rates of Golden Eagles in Denali were similar to those of Golden Eagles from other high latitude study areas in North America, but lower than for Golden Eagles from temperate zone study areas in North America.

  2. Effects of climate change on nutrition and genetics of White-tailed Ptarmigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Stricker, Craig A.; St. John, Judy, Braun, Clait E.; Wann, Gregory T.; O'Donnell, Michael S.; Aldridge, Cameron L.

    2011-01-01

    White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura) are well suited as a focal species for the study of climate change because they are adapted to cool, alpine environments that are expected to undergo unusually rapid climate change. We compared samples collected in the late 1930s, the late 1960s, and the late 2000s using molecular genetic and stable isotope methods in an effort to determine whether White-tailed Ptarmigan on Mt. Evans, Colorado, have experiences recent environmental changes resulting in shifts in genetic diversity, gene frequency, and nutritional ecology. We genotyped 115 individuals spanning the three time periods, using nine polymorphic microsatellite loci in our genetic analysis. These samples were also analyzed for stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition. We found a slight trend of lower heterozygosity through time, and allelic richness values were significantly lower in more recent times, but not significantly using an alpha of 0.05 (P 13C and δ15N values decreased significantly across time periods, whereas the range in isotope values increased consistently from the late 1930s to the late time periods. Inferred changes in the nutritional ecology of White-tailed Ptarmigan on Mt. Evans relate primarily to increased atmospheric deposition of nutrients that likely influenced foraging habits and tundra plant composition and nutritional quality. Future work seeks to integrate genetic and isotopic data with long-term demographics to develop a detailed understanding of the interaction among environmental stressors on the long-term viability of ptarmigan populations.

  3. Pyrenean ptarmigans decline under climatic and human influences through the Holocene

    PubMed Central

    Bech, N; Barbu, C M; Qumr, E; Novoa, C; Allienne, J F; Boissier, J

    2013-01-01

    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

  4. Depredation of common eider, Somateria mollissima, nests on a central Beaufort Sea barrier island: A case where no one wins

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reed, J.A.; Lacroix, D.L.; Flint, P.L.

    2007-01-01

    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.

  5. Population structure of two rabies hosts relative to the known distribution of rabies virus variants in Alaska.

    PubMed

    Goldsmith, Elizabeth W; Renshaw, Benjamin; Clement, Christopher J; Himschoot, Elizabeth A; Hundertmark, Kris J; Hueffer, Karsten

    2016-02-01

    For pathogens that infect multiple species, the distinction between reservoir hosts and spillover hosts is often difficult. In Alaska, three variants of the arctic rabies virus exist with distinct spatial distributions. We tested the hypothesis that rabies virus variant distribution corresponds to the population structure of the primary rabies hosts in Alaska, arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) to possibly distinguish reservoir and spillover hosts. We used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence and nine microsatellites to assess population structure in those two species. mtDNA structure did not correspond to rabies virus variant structure in either species. Microsatellite analyses gave varying results. Bayesian clustering found two groups of arctic foxes in the coastal tundra region, but for red foxes it identified tundra and boreal types. Spatial Bayesian clustering and spatial principal components analysis identified 3 and 4 groups of arctic foxes, respectively, closely matching the distribution of rabies virus variants in the state. Red foxes, conversely, showed eight clusters comprising two regions (boreal and tundra) with much admixture. These results run contrary to previous beliefs that arctic fox show no fine-scale spatial population structure. While we cannot rule out that the red fox is part of the maintenance host community for rabies in Alaska, the distribution of virus variants appears to be driven primarily by the arctic fox. Therefore, we show that host population genetics can be utilized to distinguish between maintenance and spillover hosts when used in conjunction with other approaches. PMID:26661691

  6. Investigating variation in the nutritional ecology and genetics of White-tailed Ptarmigan: implications for climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oyler-McCance, S. J.; Stricker, C. A.; Braun, C. E.; Wann, G. T.; Aldridge, C. L.

    2010-12-01

    White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura) are well suited as a focal species for the study of climate change because they are adapted to cool, alpine environments that are expected to undergo unusually rapid climate change. We compared samples collected in the late 1930s, the late 1960s, and the late 2000s using molecular genetic and stable isotope methods in an effort to determine whether White-tailed Ptarmigan on Mt. Evans, Colorado have experienced recent environmental changes resulting in shifts in genetic diversity, gene frequency, and nutritional ecology. We genotyped 115 individuals spanning the three time periods using nine polymorphic microsatellite loci in our genetic analysis. These samples were also analyzed for stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition. We found a slight trend of lower heterozygosity through time and allelic richness values were lower in more recent times. We found no changes in allele frequencies across time periods suggesting that population sizes have not changed dramatically. Feather ?13C and ?15N values decreased significantly across time periods, whereas the range in isotope values increased consistently from the late 1930s to the later time periods. Inferred changes in the nutritional ecology of White-tailed Ptarmigan on Mt. Evans relates primarily to increased atmospheric deposition of nutrients that likely influenced foraging habits and tundra plant composition and nutritional quality. We briefly discuss similar ongoing work on the neighboring population in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado and tie in genetic results from across the species range.

  7. Mother knows best: functionally referential alarm calling in white-tailed ptarmigan.

    PubMed

    Ausmus, Desa M; Clarke, Jennifer A

    2014-05-01

    Functionally referential alarm calls have stimulus specificity, distinct acoustic structure, and elicit different escape responses that are appropriate to the threat. The mechanisms by which escape responses are evoked are not fully understood and may range from eliciting innate responses to conveying representational information. White-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus) are a long-lived alpine tundra grouse, which are preyed upon by aerial and terrestrial predators. We investigated the hypothesis that alarm calls of ptarmigan hens with chicks are functionally referential. We recorded hens' alarm calls in response to naturally occurring and model predators in California's Sierra Nevada alpine tundra for two summer seasons. We conducted playback experiments in the field to determine chick responses to alarm calls. Alarm calls commenced with an extended 'alerting' note followed by a series of staccato notes grouped into elements. Fundamental and dominant frequencies in element notes were significantly higher in terrestrial compared to aerial threat alarm calls. Playbacks of terrestrial threat alarm calls elicited an upright/alert position by chicks (75 % of responses). In response to aerial threat alarm call playbacks, chicks flattened to the ground and froze (80 % of responses). To our knowledge, this study provides the first empirical evidence of functionally referential alarm calling, including the responses of the receivers, in an avian species in the wild. PMID:24132414

  8. Heptachlor seed treatment contaminates hawks, owls, and eagles of Columbia Basin, Oregon

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Henny, C.J.; Blus, L.J.; Kaiser, T.E.

    1984-01-01

    We evaluated organochlorine residues in 12 species of hawks. owls, and eagles from the Columbia Basin of Oregon between 1978 and 1981. Companion studies showed that heptachlor epoxide (HE) induced adult mortality and reduced productivity of the Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) and American Kestrel (Falco sparverius).ln this study, brain tissue from raptors found dead and sample eggs from 90 nests were analyzed for organochlorines. The primary concern was HE that entered raptor food chains through the ingestion of heptachlor-treated seed by their prey. HE residues were detected in eggs from 9 of 10 species and ranged as high as 4.75 ppm (wet wt), but no definite effects of HE on productivity were readily apparent from the limited series of nests. However, the hazard of heptachlor seed treatments to birds of prey was demonstrated by the occurrence of lethal residues of HE in brain tissue of 3 Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) and 1 Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus). Other organochlorine pesticides were present in the eggs and significant relationships were found between DDE and eggshell thickness for the Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) and Western Screech-Owl (Otus kennicotti), although shell thinning (9.6% and 7.4%) was below the generally accepted range where reproductive problems have been known to occur.

  9. Association of wintering raptors with Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program grasslands in Pennsylvania

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilson, A.; Brittingham, M.; Grove, G.

    2010-01-01

    Conservation grasslands can provide valuable habitat resource for breeding songbirds, but their value for wintering raptors has received little attention. We hypothesized that increased availability of grassland habitat through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) has resulted in an increase or redistribution in numbers of four species of raptors in Pennsylvania since 2001. We tested this by analyzing winter raptor counts from volunteer surveys, conducted from 2001 to 2008, for Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus), Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus), and American Kestrels (Falco sparverius). During that period, numbers of wintering Northern Harriers increased by more than 20% per year. Log-linear Poisson regression models show that all four species increased in the region of Pennsylvania that had the most and longest-established conservation grasslands. At the county scale (N= 67), Bayesian spatial models showed that spatial and temporal population trends of all four species were positively correlated with the amount of conservation grassland. This relationship was particularly strong for Northern Harriers, with numbers predicted to increase by 35.7% per year for each additional 1% of farmland enrolled in CREP. Our results suggest that conservation grasslands are likely the primary cause of the increase in numbers of wintering Northern Harriers in Pennsylvania since 2001. ?? 2010 The Authors. Journal of Field Ornithology ?? 2010 Association of Field Ornithologists.

  10. Phylogenetic comparison of Leucocytozoon spp. from wild birds of Japan.

    PubMed

    Sato, Yukita; Hagihara, Mio; Yamaguchi, Tsuyoshi; Yukawa, Masayoshi; Murata, Koichi

    2007-01-01

    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

  11. Cecal bacterial communities in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans and captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans

    PubMed Central

    USHIDA, Kazunari; SEGAWA, Takahiro; TSUCHIDA, Sayaka; MURATA, Koichi

    2015-01-01

    Preservation of indigenous gastrointestinal microbiota is deemed to be critical for successful captive breeding of endangered wild animals, yet its biology is poorly understood. Here, we investigated cecal bacterial communities in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans (Lagopus muta japonica) and compared them with those in Svalbard rock ptarmigans (L. m. hyperborea) in captivity. Ultra-deep sequencing of 16S rRNA gene indicated that the community structure of cecal microbiota in wild rock ptarmigans was remarkably different from that in captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans. Fundamental differences between bacterial communities in the two groups of birds were detected at the phylum level. Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Synergistetes were the major phyla detected in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans, whereas Firmicutes alone occupied more than 80% of abundance in captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans. Furthermore, unclassified genera of Coriobacteriaceae, Synergistaceae, Bacteroidaceae, Actinomycetaceae, Veillonellaceae and Clostridiales were the major taxa detected in wild individuals, whereas in zoo-reared birds, major genera were Ruminococcus, Blautia, Faecalibacterium and Akkermansia. Zoo-reared birds seemed to lack almost all rock ptarmigan-specific bacteria in their intestine, which may explain the relatively high rate of pathogenic infections affecting them. We show evidence that preservation and reconstitution of indigenous cecal microflora are critical for successful ex situ conservation and future re-introduction plan for the Japanese rock ptarmigan. PMID:26468217

  12. Cecal bacterial communities in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans and captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans.

    PubMed

    Ushida, Kazunari; Segawa, Takahiro; Tsuchida, Sayaka; Murata, Koichi

    2016-03-01

    Preservation of indigenous gastrointestinal microbiota is deemed to be critical for successful captive breeding of endangered wild animals, yet its biology is poorly understood. Here, we investigated cecal bacterial communities in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans (Lagopus muta japonica) and compared them with those in Svalbard rock ptarmigans (L. m. hyperborea) in captivity. Ultra-deep sequencing of 16S rRNA gene indicated that the community structure of cecal microbiota in wild rock ptarmigans was remarkably different from that in captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans. Fundamental differences between bacterial communities in the two groups of birds were detected at the phylum level. Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Synergistetes were the major phyla detected in wild Japanese rock ptarmigans, whereas Firmicutes alone occupied more than 80% of abundance in captive Svalbard rock ptarmigans. Furthermore, unclassified genera of Coriobacteriaceae, Synergistaceae, Bacteroidaceae, Actinomycetaceae, Veillonellaceae and Clostridiales were the major taxa detected in wild individuals, whereas in zoo-reared birds, major genera were Ruminococcus, Blautia, Faecalibacterium and Akkermansia. Zoo-reared birds seemed to lack almost all rock ptarmigan-specific bacteria in their intestine, which may explain the relatively high rate of pathogenic infections affecting them. We show evidence that preservation and reconstitution of indigenous cecal microflora are critical for successful ex situ conservation and future re-introduction plan for the Japanese rock ptarmigan. PMID:26468217

  13. Serosurvey for Toxoplasma gondii in arctic foxes and possible sources of infection in the high Arctic of Svalbard.

    PubMed

    Prestrud, Kristin Wear; Asbakk, Kjetil; Fuglei, Eva; Mrk, Torill; Stien, Audun; Ropstad, Erik; Tryland, Morten; Gabrielsen, Geir Wing; Lydersen, Christian; Kovacs, Kit M; Loonen, Maarten J J E; Sagerup, Kjetil; Oksanen, Antti

    2007-11-30

    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

  14. Population limitation in a non-cyclic arctic fox population in a changing climate.

    PubMed

    Pálsson, Snæbjörn; Hersteinsson, Páll; Unnsteinsdóttir, Ester R; Nielsen, Ólafur K

    2016-04-01

    Arctic foxes Vulpes lagopus (L.) display a sharp 3- to 5-year fluctuation in population size where lemmings are their main prey. In areas devoid of lemmings, such as Iceland, they do not experience short-term fluctuations. This study focusses on the population dynamics of the arctic fox in Iceland and how it is shaped by its main prey populations. Hunting statistics from 1958-2003 show that the population size of the arctic fox was at a maximum in the 1950s, declined to a minimum in the 1970s, and increased steadily until 2003. Analysis of the arctic fox population size and their prey populations suggests that fox numbers were limited by rock ptarmigan numbers during the decline period. The recovery of the arctic fox population was traced mostly to an increase in goose populations, and favourable climatic conditions as reflected by the Subpolar Gyre. These results underscore the flexibility of a generalist predator and its responses to shifting food resources and climate changes. PMID:26714829

  15. Arctic foxes, lemmings, and canada goose nest survival at cape Churchill, Manitoba

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reiter, M.E.; Andersen, D.E.

    2011-01-01

    We examined factors influencing Canada Goose (Branta canadensis interior) annual nest success, including the relative abundance of collared lemmings (Dicrostonyx richardsoni), arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) den occupancy, nest density, and spring phenology using data collected during annual Canada Goose breeding area surveys at Cape Churchill, Manitoba. Nest density and arctic fox den occupancy strongly influenced Canada Goose nest success. High nest density resulted in higher nest success and high den occupancy reduced nest success. Nest success was not influenced by lemming abundance in the current or previous year as predicted by the "bird-lemming" hypothesis. Reducing arctic fox abundance through targeted management increased nest survival of Canada Geese; a result that further emphasizes the importance of arctic fox as nest predators in this system. The spatial distribution of nest predators, at least for dispersed-nesting geese, may be most important for nest survival, regardless of the abundance of small mammals in the local ecosystem. Further understanding of the factors influencing the magnitude and variance in arctic fox abundance in this region, and the spatial scale at which these factors are realized, is necessary to fully explain predator-prey-alternative prey dynamics in this system. ?? 2011 by the Wilson Ornithological Society.

  16. Behavioral interactions of penned red and arctic foxes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rudzinski, D.R.; Graves, H.B.; Sargeant, A.B.; Storm, G.L.

    1982-01-01

    Expansion of the geographical distribution of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) into the far north tundra region may lead to competition between arctic (Alopex lagopus) and red foxes for space and resources. Behavioral interactions between red and arctic foxes were evaluated during 9 trials conducted in a 4.05-ha enclosure near Woodworth, North Dakota. Each trial consisted of introducing a male-female pair of arctic foxes into the enclosure and allowing them to acclimate for approximately a week before releasing a female red fox into the enclosure, followed by her mate a few days later. In 8 of 9 trials, red foxes were dominant over arctic foxes during encounters. Activity of the arctic foxes decreased upon addition of red foxes. Arctic foxes tried unsuccessfully to defend preferred den, resting, and feeding areas. Even though the outcome of competition between red and arctic foxes in the Arctic is uncertain, the more aggressive red fox can dominate arctic foxes in direct competition for den sites and other limited resources.

  17. Late Quaternary mammalian zoogeography of eastern Washington

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lyman, R. Lee; Livingston, Stephanie D.

    1983-11-01

    The late Quaternary mammalian zoogeographic history of eastern Washington as revealed by archaeological and paleontological research conforms to a set of past environmental conditions inferred from botanical data. During the relatively cool and moist late Pleistocene and early Holocene, Cervus cf. elaphus, Ovis canadensis, Vulpes vulpes, Martes americana, Alopex lagopus, and perhaps Rangifer sp., taxa with ecological preferences for mesic steppe habitats, were present in the now xeric Columbia Basin. As the climate became progressively warmer and drier during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene, Antilocapra americana, Onychomys leucogaster, Spermophilus townsendii, and Neotoma cinerea, taxa with ecological preferences for xeric steppe habitats, appear in the Columbia Basin. Bison sp. and Taxidea taxus may have been present in eastern Washington for the last 20,000 yr. Middle and late Holocene records for Oreamnos americanus, Spermophilus columbianus, S. townsendii, Lagurus curtatus, and Urocyon cinereoargenteus in central eastern Washington suggest fluctuations in the ranges of these taxa that conform to a middle Holocene period of less effective precipitation and a ca. 3500-yr-old period of more effective precipitation before essentially modern environmental conditions prevailed.

  18. Ancient DNA reveals lack of postglacial habitat tracking in the arctic fox

    PubMed Central

    Daln, Love; Nystrm, Veronica; Valdiosera, Cristina; Germonpr, Mietje; Sablin, Mikhail; Turner, Elaine; Angerbjrn, Anders; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Gtherstrm, Anders

    2007-01-01

    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

  19. Persistence of antibodies in blood and body fluids in decaying fox carcasses, as exemplified by antibodies against Microsporum canis

    PubMed Central

    Tryland, Morten; Handeland, Kjell; Bratberg, Anna-Marie; Solbakk, Inge-Tom; Oksanen, Antti

    2006-01-01

    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 +10C, 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

  20. High exposure rates of anticoagulant rodenticides in predatory bird species in intensively managed landscapes in Denmark.

    PubMed

    Christensen, Thomas Kjr; Lassen, Pia; Elmeros, Morten

    2012-10-01

    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

  1. The pattern of phylogenomic evolution of the Canidae.

    PubMed

    Nash, W G; Menninger, J C; Wienberg, J; Padilla-Nash, H M; O'Brien, S J

    2001-01-01

    Canidae species fall into two categories with respect to their chromosome composition: those with high numbered largely acrocentric karyotypes and others with a low numbered principally metacentric karyotype. Those species with low numbered metacentric karyotypes are derived from multiple independent fusions of chromosome segments found as acrocentric chromosomes in the high numbered species. Extensive chromosome homology is apparent among acrocentric chromosome arms within Canidae species; however, little chromosome arm homology exists between Canidae species and those from other Carnivore families. Here we use Zoo-FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridization, also called chromosomal painting) probes from flow-sorted chromosomes of the Japanese raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) to examine two phylogenetically divergent canids, the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) and the crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous). The results affirm intra-canid chromosome homologies, also implicated by G-banding. In addition, painting probes from domestic cat (Felis catus), representative of the ancestral carnivore karyotype (ACK), and giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) were used to define primitive homologous segments apparent between canids and other carnivore families. Canid chromosomes seem unique among carnivores in that many canid chromosome arms are mosaics of two to four homology segments of the ACK chromosome arms. The mosaic pattern apparently preceded the divergence of modern canid species since conserved homology segments among different canid species are common, even though those segments are rearranged relative to the ancestral carnivore genome arrangement. The results indicate an ancestral episode of extensive centric fission leading to an ancestral canid genome organization that was subsequently reorganized by multiple chromosome fusion events in some but not all Canidae lineages. PMID:12063402

  2. Predation pressure by avian predators suggests summer limitation of small-mammal populations in the Canadian Arctic.

    PubMed

    Therrien, J F; Gauthier, G; Korpimki, E; Bty, J

    2014-01-01

    Predation has been suggested to be especially important in simple food webs and less productive ecosystems such as the arctic tundra, but very few data are available to evaluate this hypothesis. We examined the hypothesis that avian predators could drive the population dynamics of two cyclic lemming species in the Canadian Arctic. A dense and diverse suite of predatory birds, including the Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus), the Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus), and the Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus), inhabits the arctic tundra and prey on collared (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus) and brown (Lemmus trimucronatus) lemmings during the snow-free period. We evaluated the predation pressure exerted by these predators by combining their numerical (variation in breeding and fledgling numbers) and functional (variation in diet and daily consumption rates) responses to variations in lemming densities over the 2004-2010 period. Breeding density and number of fledglings produced by the three main avian predators increased sharply without delay in response to increasing lemming densities. The proportion of collared lemmings in the diet of those predators was high at low lemming density (both species) but decreased as lemming density increased. However, we found little evidence that their daily consumption rates vary in relation to changes in lemming density. Total consumption rate by avian predators initially increased more rapidly for collared lemming but eventually leveled off at a much higher value for brown lemmings, the most abundant species at our site. The combined daily predation rate of avian predators exceeded the maximum daily potential growth rates of both lemming species except at the highest recorded densities for brown lemmings. We thus show, for the first time, that predation pressure exerted without delay by avian predators can limit populations of coexisting lemming species during the snow-free period, and thus, that predation could play a role in the cyclic dynamic of these species in the tundra. PMID:24649646

  3. Profile of persistent chlorinated contaminants, including selected chiral compounds, in wolverine (Gulo gulo) livers from the Canadian Arctic.

    PubMed

    Hoekstra, P F; Braune, B M; Wong, C S; Williamson, M; Elkin, B; Muir, D C G

    2003-11-01

    Wolverines (Gulo gulo) are circumpolar omnivores that live throughout the alpine and arctic tundra ecosystem. Wolverine livers were collected at Kugluktuk (Coppermine), NU (n=12) in the western Canadian Arctic to report, for the first time, the residue patterns of persistent organochlorine contaminants (OCs) in this species. The enantiomer fractions (EFs) of several chiral OCs, including PCB atropisomers, in wolverines were also determined. Results were compared to OC concentrations and EFs of chiral contaminants in arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) from Ulukhaqtuuq (Holman), NT (n=20); a closely related species that scavenges the marine and terrestrial arctic environment. The rank order of hepatic concentrations for sum ( summation operator ) OC groups in wolverines were polychlorinated biphenyls ( summation operator PCB)>chlordane-related components ( summation operator CHLOR)>DDT-related compounds ( summation operator DDT)>hexachlorocyclohexane isomers ( summation operator HCHs). The most abundant OC analytes detected in wolverine liver were PCB-153, PCB-180, and oxychlordane (OXY). Wolverine age and gender did not influence OC concentrations, which were comparable to lipid-normalized values in arctic fox. The EFs of several chiral OCs (alpha-HCH, cis- and trans-chlordane, OXY, heptachlor exo-epoxide) and PCB atropisomers (PCB-136, 149) were nonracemic in arctic fox and wolverine liver and similar to those previously calculated in arctic fox and polar bears from Iceland and the Canadian Arctic. Results suggest that these species have similar ability to biotransform OCs. As well, contaminant profiles suggest that terrestrial mammals do not represent the major source of OC exposure to wolverines and that wolverines are scavenging more contaminated prey items, such as marine mammals. While summation operator PCB did not exceed the concentrations associated with mammalian reproductive impairment, future research is required to properly evaluate the potential affect of other OCs on the overall health of wolverines. PMID:12948539

  4. Bald eagles and sea otters in the Aleutian Archipelago: indirect effects of trophic cascades.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, R.G.; Estes, J.A.; Ricca, M.A.; Miles, A.K.; Forsman, E.D.

    2008-01-01

    Because sea otters (Enhydra lutris) exert a wide array of direct and indirect effects on coastal marine ecosystems throughout their geographic range, we investigated the potential influence of sea otters on the ecology of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA. We studied the diets, productivity, and density of breeding Bald Eagles on four islands during 1993-1994 and 2000-2002, when sea otters were abundant and scarce, respectively. Bald Eagles depend on nearshore marine communities for most of their prey in this ecosystem, so we predicted that the recent decline in otter populations would have an indirect negative effect on diets and demography of Bald Eagles. Contrary to our predictions, we found no effects on density of breeding pairs on four islands from 1993-1994 to 2000-2002. In contrast, diets and diet diversity of Bald Eagles changed considerably between the two time periods, likely reflecting a change in prey availability resulting from the increase and subsequent decline in sea otter populations. The frequency of sea otter pups, rock greenling (Hexagammus lagocephalus), and smooth lumpsuckers (Aptocyclus ventricosus) in the eagle's diet declined with corresponding increases in Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus), Glaucous-winged Gulls (Larus glaucescens), Atka mackerel (Pleurogrammus monopterygius), and various species of seabirds during the period of the recent otter population decline. Breeding success and productivity of Bald Eagles also increased during this time period, which may be due to the higher nutritional quality of avian prey consumed in later years. Our results provide further evidence of the wide-ranging indirect effects of sea otter predation on nearshore marine communities and another apex predator, the Bald Eagle. Although the indirect effects of sea otters are widely known, this example is unique because the food-web pathway transcended five species and several trophic levels in linking one apex predator to another.

  5. Alpine plant community trends on the elk summer range of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: an analysis of existing data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zeigenfuss, Linda C.

    2006-01-01

    The majority of the elk (Cervus elaphus) population of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado summer in the parka??s high elevation alpine and subalpine meadows and willow krummholz. The parka??s population of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus altipetens) depends on both dwarf and krummholz willows for food and cover. Concern about the effects of elk herbivory on these communities prompted the monitoring of 12 vegetation transects in these regions from 1971 to 1996. Over this 25-year period, data were collected on plant species cover and frequency and shrub heights. These data have not been statistically analyzed for trends in measured variable over time to determine changes in species abundance. Krummholz willow species (Salix planifolia, S. brachycarpa) declined 17-20 percent in cover and about 25 centimeters in height over the study period. Graminoids (particularly Deschampsia caespitosa, Carex, and Poa) increased slightly from 1971 to 1996. No significant increases of nonnative plant species were observed. An increase in presence of bare ground over the 25-year period warrants continued measurement of these transects. Lack of good data on elk density, distribution, or sue levels precluded correlating changes in plant species cover, frequency, or heights with elk population trends. I recommend development of a more rigorously designed monitoring program that includes these transects as well as other chosen on a random or stratified design and consistent measurement protocol and sampling intervals. Some method of quantifying elk use, either through measurement of plant utilization, pellet counts, or census-type surveys, would allow correlation of changes in plant species over time with changes in elk distribution and density on the parka??s alpine and subalpine regions.

  6. Regional Distribution Shifts Help Explain Local Changes in Wintering Raptor Abundance: Implications for Interpreting Population Trends

    PubMed Central

    Paprocki, Neil; Heath, Julie A.; Novak, Stephen J.

    2014-01-01

    Studies of multiple taxa across broad-scales suggest that species distributions are shifting poleward in response to global climate change. Recognizing the influence of distribution shifts on population indices will be an important part of interpreting trends within management units because current practice often assumes that changes in local populations reflect local habitat conditions. However, the individual- and population-level processes that drive distribution shifts may occur across a large, regional scale and have little to do with the habitats within the management unit. We examined the latitudinal center of abundance for the winter distributions of six western North America raptor species using Christmas Bird Counts from 1975–2011. Also, we considered whether population indices within western North America Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) were explained by distribution shifts. All six raptors had significant poleward shifts in their wintering distributions over time. Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus) and Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) showed the fastest rate of change, with 8.41 km yr−1 and 7.74 km yr−1 shifts, respectively. Raptors may be particularly responsive to warming winters because of variable migration tendencies, intraspecific competition for nesting sites that drives males to winter farther north, or both. Overall, 40% of BCR population trend models were improved by incorporating information about wintering distributions; however, support for the effect of distribution on BCR indices varied by species with Rough-legged Hawks showing the most evidence. These results emphasize the importance of understanding how regional distribution shifts influence local-scale population indices. If global climate change is altering distribution patterns, then trends within some management units may not reflect changes in local habitat conditions. The methods used to monitor and manage bird populations within local BCRs will fundamentally change as species experience changes in distribution in response to climate change. PMID:24466253

  7. Effects of Climate Change on Habitat Availability and Configuration for an Endemic Coastal Alpine Bird.

    PubMed

    Jackson, Michelle M; Gergel, Sarah E; Martin, Kathy

    2015-01-01

    North America's coastal mountains are particularly vulnerable to climate change, yet harbour a number of endemic species. With little room "at the top" to track shifting climate envelopes, alpine species may be especially negatively affected by climate-induced habitat fragmentation. We ask how climate change will affect the total amount, mean patch size, and number of patches of suitable habitat for Vancouver Island White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura saxatilis; VIWTP), a threatened, endemic alpine bird. Using a Random Forest model and a unique dataset consisting of citizen science observations combined with field surveys, we predict the distribution and configuration of potential suitable summer habitat for VIWTP under baseline and future (2020s, 2050s, and 2080s) climates using three general circulation models and two greenhouse gas scenarios. VIWTP summer habitat is predicted to decline by an average of 25%, 44%, and 56% by the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s, respectively, under the low greenhouse gas scenario and 27%, 59%, and 74% under the high scenario. Habitat patches are predicted to become fragmented, with a 52-79% reduction in mean patch size. The average elevation of suitable habitat patches is expected to increase, reflecting a loss of patches at lower elevations. Thus ptarmigan are in danger of being "squeezed off the mountain", as their remaining suitable habitat will be increasingly confined to mountaintops in the center of the island. The extent to which ptarmigan will be able to persist in increasingly fragmented habitat is unclear. Much will depend on their ability to move throughout a more heterogeneous landscape, utilize smaller breeding areas, and survive increasingly variable climate extremes. Our results emphasize the importance of continued monitoring and protection for high elevation specialist species, and suggest that White-tailed Ptarmigan should be considered an indicator species for alpine ecosystems in the face of climate change. PMID:26529306

  8. Characterization of a new epidemic necrotic pyoderma in fur animals and its association with Arcanobacterium phocae infection.

    PubMed

    Nordgren, Heli; Aaltonen, Kirsi; Sironen, Tarja; Kinnunen, Paula M; Kivistö, Ilkka; Raunio-Saarnisto, Mirja; Moisander-Jylhä, Anna-Maria; Korpela, Johanna; Kokkonen, Ulla-Maija; Hetzel, Udo; Sukura, Antti; Vapalahti, Olli

    2014-01-01

    A new type of pyoderma was detected in Finnish fur animals in 2007. The disease continues to spread within and between farms, with severe and potentially fatal symptoms. It compromises animal welfare and causes considerable economic losses to farmers. A case-control study was performed in 2010-2011 to describe the entity and to identify the causative agent. Altogether 99 fur animals were necropsied followed by pathological and microbiological examination. The data indicated that the disease clinically manifests in mink (Neovison vison) by necrotic dermatitis of the feet and facial skin. In finnraccoons (Nyctereutes procyonoides), it causes painful abscesses in the paws. Foxes (Vulpes lagopus) are affected by severe conjunctivitis and the infection rapidly spreads to the eyelids and facial skin. A common finding at necropsy was necrotic pyoderma. Microbiological analysis revealed the presence of a number of potential causative agents, including a novel Streptococcus sp. The common finding from all diseased animals of all species was Arcanobacterium phocae. This bacterium has previously been isolated from marine mammals with skin lesions but this is the first report of A. phocae isolated in fur animals with pyoderma. The results obtained from this study implicate A. phocae as a potential causative pathogen of fur animal epidemic necrotic pyoderma (FENP) and support observations that the epidemic may have originated in a species-shift of the causative agent from marine mammals. The variable disease pattern and the presence of other infectious agents (in particular the novel Streptococcus sp.) suggest a multifactorial etiology for FENP, and further studies are needed to determine the environmental, immunological and infectious factors contributing to the disease. PMID:25302603

  9. Bald eagles and sea otters in the Aleutian Archipelago: indirect effects of trophic cascades.

    PubMed

    Anthony, Robert G; Estes, James A; Ricca, Mark A; Miles, A Keith; Forsman, Eric D

    2008-10-01

    Because sea otters (Enhydra lutris) exert a wide array of direct and indirect effects on coastal marine ecosystems throughout their geographic range, we investigated the potential influence of sea otters on the ecology of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA. We studied the diets, productivity, and density of breeding Bald Eagles on four islands during 1993-1994 and 2000-2002, when sea otters were abundant and scarce, respectively. Bald Eagles depend on nearshore marine communities for most of their prey in this ecosystem, so we predicted that the recent decline in otter populations would have an indirect negative effect on diets and demography of Bald Eagles. Contrary to our predictions, we found no effects on density of breeding pairs on four islands from 1993-1994 to 2000-2002. In contrast, diets and diet diversity of Bald Eagles changed considerably between the two time periods, likely reflecting a change in prey availability resulting from the increase and subsequent decline in sea otter populations. The frequency of sea otter pups, rock greenling (Hexagammus lagocephalus), and smooth lumpsuckers (Aptocyclus ventricosus) in the eagle's diet declined with corresponding increases in Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus), Glaucous-winged Gulls (Larus glaucescens), Atka mackerel (Pleurogrammus monopterygius), and various species of seabirds during the period of the recent otter population decline. Breeding success and productivity of Bald Eagles also increased during this time period, which may be due to the higher nutritional quality of avian prey consumed in later years. Our results provide further evidence of the wide-ranging indirect effects of sea otter predation on nearshore marine communities and another apex predator, the Bald Eagle. Although the indirect effects of sea otters are widely known, this example is unique because the food-web pathway transcended five species and several trophic levels in linking one apex predator to another. PMID:18959310

  10. Molecular epidemiology of terrestrial rabies in the former Soviet Union.

    PubMed

    Kuzmin, Ivan V; Botvinkin, Alexandr D; McElhinney, Lorraine M; Smith, Jean S; Orciari, Lillian A; Hughes, Gareth J; Fooks, Anthony R; Rupprecht, Charles E

    2004-10-01

    Fifty-five rabies virus isolates originating from different regions of the former Soviet Union (FSU) were compared with isolates originating from Eurasia, Africa, and North America according to complete or partial nucleoprotein (N) gene sequences. The FSU isolates formed five distinct groups. Group A represented viruses originating from the Arctic, which were similar to viruses from Alaska and Canada. Group B consisted of "Arctic-like" viruses, originating from the south of East Siberia and the Far East. Group C consisted of viruses circulating in the steppe and forest-steppe territories from the European part of Russia to Tuva and in Kazakhstan. These three phylogenetic groups were clearly different from the European cluster. Viruses of group D circulate near the western border of Russia. Their phylogenetic position is intermediate between group C and the European cluster. Group E consisted of viruses originating from the northwestern part of Russia and comprised a "northeastern Europe" group described earlier from the Baltic region. According to surveillance data, a specific host can be defined clearly only for group A (arctic fox; Alopex lagopus) and for the Far Eastern part of the group B distribution area (raccoon dog; Nyctereutes procyonoides). For other territories and rabies virus variants, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the main virus reservoir. However, the steppe fox (Vulpes corsac), wolf (Canis lupus), and raccoon dog are also involved in virus circulation, depending on host population density. These molecular data, joined with surveillance information, demonstrate that the current fox rabies epizootic in the territory of the FSU developed independently of central and western Europe. No evidence of positive selection was found in the N genes of the isolates. In the glycoprotein gene, evidence of positive selection was strongly suggested in codons 156, 160, and 183. At these sites, no link between amino acid substitutions and phylogenetic placement or specific host species was detected. PMID:15650080

  11. Genetic characterisation of Toxoplasma gondii in wildlife from North America revealed widespread and high prevalence of the fourth clonal type.

    PubMed

    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

    2011-09-01

    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

  12. Trichinella pseudospiralis foci in Sweden.

    PubMed

    Pozio, E; Christensson, D; Stéen, M; Marucci, G; La Rosa, G; Bröjer, C; Mörner, T; Uhlhorn, H; Agren, E; Hall, M

    2004-11-10

    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

  13. Biogeochemistry and nitrogen cycling in an Arctic, volcanic ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fogel, M. L.; Benning, L.; Conrad, P. G.; Eigenbrode, J.; Starke, V.

    2007-12-01

    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.

  14. Importance of the national petroleum reserve-alaska for aquatic birds.

    PubMed

    Bart, Jonathan; Platte, Robert M; Andres, Brad; Brown, Stephen; Johnson, James A; Larned, William

    2013-12-01

    We used data from aerial surveys (1992-2010) of >100,000 km(2) and ground surveys (1998-2004) of >150 km(2) 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. Prioridades para la Conservación de Aves en el Norte de Alaska. PMID:23937114

  15. Oral Rabies Vaccination in North America: Opportunities, Complexities, and Challenges

    PubMed Central

    Slate, Dennis; Algeo, Timothy P.; Nelson, Kathleen M.; Chipman, Richard B.; Donovan, Dennis; Blanton, Jesse D.; Niezgoda, Michael; Rupprecht, Charles E.

    2009-01-01

    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

  16. Genetic structure of the Common Eider in the western Aleutian Islands prior to fox eradication

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Wilson, Robert E.; Petersen, Margaret R.; Williams, Jeffrey C.; Byrd, G. Vernon; McCracken, Kevin G.

    2013-01-01

    Since the late 18th century bird populations residing in the Aleutian Archipelago have been greatly reduced by introduced arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). We analyzed data from microsatellite, nuclear intron, and mitochondrial (mtDNA) loci to examine the spatial genetic structure, demography, and gene flow among four Aleutian Island populations of the Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) much reduced by introduced foxes. In mtDNA, we found high levels of genetic structure within and between island groups (ΦST = 0.643), but we found no population subdivision in microsatellites or nuclear introns. Differences in genetic structure between the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes are consistent with the Common Eider's breeding and winter biology, as females are highly philopatric and males disperse. Nevertheless, significant differences between islands in the mtDNA of males and marginal significance (P =0.07) in the Z-linked locus Smo 1 suggest that males may also have some level of fidelity to island groups. Severe reduction of populations by the fox, coupled with females' high philopatry, may have left the genetic signature of a bottleneck effect, resulting in the high levels of genetic differentiation observed in mtDNA (ΦST = 0.460–0.807) between islands only 440 km apart. Reestablishment of the Common Eider following the fox's eradication was likely through recruitment from within the islands and bolstered by dispersal from neighboring islands, as suggested by the lack of genetic structure and asymmetry in gene flow between Attu and the other Near Islands.

  17. 2,3-DPG-Hb complex: a hypothesis for an asymmetric binding.

    PubMed

    Pomponi, M; Bertonati, C; Fuglei, E; Wiig, O; Derocher, A E

    2000-05-15

    This study was undertaken to test the symmetry of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate (2,3-DPG) binding site in hemoglobin (Hb). From Arnone's study [A. Arnone, Nature (London) 237 (1972) 146] the 2,3-DPG binding site is located at the top of the cavity, that runs through the center of the deoxy-Hb molecule. However, it is possible that this symmetry reported by Arnone, for crystals of 2,3-DPG-Hb complex, might not be conserved in solution. In this paper, we report the 31P nuclear magnetic resonances of the 2,3-DPG interaction with Hb. The 2,3-DPG chemical shifts of the P2 and P3 resonance are both pH- and hemoglobin-dependent [protein from man, polar bear (Ursus maritimus), Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) and bovine]. 2,3-DPG binds tightly to deoxyhemoglobin and weakly, nevertheless significantly, to oxyhemoglobin. In particular, our results suggest similar spatial position of the binding site of 2,3-DPG in both forms of Hb in solutions. However, the most unexpected result was the apparent loss of symmetry in the binding site, which might correlate with the ability of the hemoglobin to modulate its functional behavior. The different interactions of the phosphate groups indicate small differences in the quaternary structure of the different deoxy forms of hemoglobin. Given the above structural perturbation an asymmetric binding in the complex could justify, at least in part, different physiological properties of Hb. Regardless, functionally relevant effects of 2,3-DPG seem to be measured and best elucidated through solution studies. PMID:10852312

  18. Impact of transient climate change upon Grouse population dynamics in the Italian Alps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pirovano, Andrea; Bocchiola, Daniele

    2010-05-01

    Understanding the effect of short to medium term weather condition, and of transient global warming upon wildlife species life history is essential to predict the demographic consequences therein, and possibly develop adaptation strategies, especially in game species, where hunting mortality may play an important role in population dynamics. We carried out a preliminary investigation of observed impact of weather variables upon population dynamics indexes of three alpine Grouse species (i.e. Rock Ptarmigan, Lagopus Mutus, Black Grouse, Tetrao Tetrix, Rock Partridge, Alectoris Graeca), nested within central Italian Alps, based upon 15 years (1995-2009) of available censuses data, provided by the Sondrio Province authority. We used a set of climate variables already highlighted within recent literature for carrying considerable bearing on Grouse population dynamics, including e.g. temperature at hatching time and during winter, snow cover at nesting, and precipitation during nursing period. We then developed models of Grouses' population dynamics by explicitly driving population change according to their dependence upon the significant weather variables and population density and we evaluated objective indexes to assess the so obtained predictive power. Eventually, we develop projection of future local climate, based upon locally derived trends, and upon projections from GCMs (A2 IPCC storyline) already validated for the area, to project forward in time (until 2100 or so) the significant climatic variables, which we then use to force population dynamics models of the target species. The projected patterns obtained through this exercise are discussed and compared against those expected under stationary climate conditions at present, and preliminary conclusions are drawn.

  19. Detection probability of cliff-nesting raptors during helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft surveys in western Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Booms, T.L.; Schempf, P.F.; McCaffery, B.J.; Lindberg, M.S.; Fuller, M.R.

    2010-01-01

    We conducted repeated aerial surveys for breeding cliff-nesting raptors on the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge (YDNWR) in western Alaska to estimate detection probabilities of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus), Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus), and also Common Ravens (Corvus corax). Using the program PRESENCE, we modeled detection histories of each species based on single species occupancy modeling. We used different observers during four helicopter replicate surveys in the Kilbuck Mountains and five fixed-wing replicate surveys in the Ingakslugwat Hills near Bethel, AK. During helicopter surveys, Gyrfalcons had the highest detection probability estimate (p^;p^ 0.79; SE 0.05), followed by Golden Eagles (p^=0.68; SE 0.05), Common Ravens (p^=0.45; SE 0.17), and Rough-legged Hawks (p^=0.10; SE 0.11). Detection probabilities from fixed-wing aircraft in the Ingakslugwat Hills were similar to those from the helicopter in the Kilbuck Mountains for Gyrfalcons and Golden Eagles, but were higher for Common Ravens (p^=0.85; SE 0.06) and Rough-legged Hawks (p^=0.42; SE 0.07). Fixed-wing aircraft provided detection probability estimates and SEs in the Ingakslugwat Hills similar to or better than those from helicopter surveys in the Kilbucks and should be considered for future cliff-nesting raptor surveys where safe, low-altitude flight is possible. Overall, detection probability varied by observer experience and in some cases, by study area/aircraft type.

  20. A hierarchical model combining distance sampling and time removal to estimate detection probability during avian point counts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Amundson, Courtney L.; Royle, J. Andrew; Handel, Colleen M.

    2014-01-01

    Imperfect detection during animal surveys biases estimates of abundance and can lead to improper conclusions regarding distribution and population trends. Farnsworth et al. (2005) developed a combined distance-sampling and time-removal model for point-transect surveys that addresses both availability (the probability that an animal is available for detection; e.g., that a bird sings) and perceptibility (the probability that an observer detects an animal, given that it is available for detection). We developed a hierarchical extension of the combined model that provides an integrated analysis framework for a collection of survey points at which both distance from the observer and time of initial detection are recorded. Implemented in a Bayesian framework, this extension facilitates evaluating covariates on abundance and detection probability, incorporating excess zero counts (i.e. zero-inflation), accounting for spatial autocorrelation, and estimating population density. Species-specific characteristics, such as behavioral displays and territorial dispersion, may lead to different patterns of availability and perceptibility, which may, in turn, influence the performance of such hierarchical models. Therefore, we first test our proposed model using simulated data under different scenarios of availability and perceptibility. We then illustrate its performance with empirical point-transect data for a songbird that consistently produces loud, frequent, primarily auditory signals, the Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla); and for 2 ptarmigan species (Lagopus spp.) that produce more intermittent, subtle, and primarily visual cues. Data were collected by multiple observers along point transects across a broad landscape in southwest Alaska, so we evaluated point-level covariates on perceptibility (observer and habitat), availability (date within season and time of day), and abundance (habitat, elevation, and slope), and included a nested point-within-transect and park-level effect. Our results suggest that this model can provide insight into the detection process during avian surveys and reduce bias in estimates of relative abundance but is best applied to surveys of species with greater availability (e.g., breeding songbirds).

  1. Effects of Climate Change on Habitat Availability and Configuration for an Endemic Coastal Alpine Bird

    PubMed Central

    Jackson, Michelle M.; Gergel, Sarah E.; Martin, Kathy

    2015-01-01

    North America’s coastal mountains are particularly vulnerable to climate change, yet harbour a number of endemic species. With little room “at the top” to track shifting climate envelopes, alpine species may be especially negatively affected by climate-induced habitat fragmentation. We ask how climate change will affect the total amount, mean patch size, and number of patches of suitable habitat for Vancouver Island White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura saxatilis; VIWTP), a threatened, endemic alpine bird. Using a Random Forest model and a unique dataset consisting of citizen science observations combined with field surveys, we predict the distribution and configuration of potential suitable summer habitat for VIWTP under baseline and future (2020s, 2050s, and 2080s) climates using three general circulation models and two greenhouse gas scenarios. VIWTP summer habitat is predicted to decline by an average of 25%, 44%, and 56% by the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s, respectively, under the low greenhouse gas scenario and 27%, 59%, and 74% under the high scenario. Habitat patches are predicted to become fragmented, with a 52–79% reduction in mean patch size. The average elevation of suitable habitat patches is expected to increase, reflecting a loss of patches at lower elevations. Thus ptarmigan are in danger of being “squeezed off the mountain”, as their remaining suitable habitat will be increasingly confined to mountaintops in the center of the island. The extent to which ptarmigan will be able to persist in increasingly fragmented habitat is unclear. Much will depend on their ability to move throughout a more heterogeneous landscape, utilize smaller breeding areas, and survive increasingly variable climate extremes. Our results emphasize the importance of continued monitoring and protection for high elevation specialist species, and suggest that White-tailed Ptarmigan should be considered an indicator species for alpine ecosystems in the face of climate change. PMID:26529306

  2. Estimates of annual survival, growth, and recruitment of a white-tailed ptarmigan population in Colorado over 43 years

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wann, Greg; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Braun, Clait E.

    2014-01-01

    Long-term datasets for high-elevation species are rare, and considerable uncertainty exists in understanding how high-elevation populations have responded to recent climate warming. We present estimates of demographic vital rates from a 43-year population study of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura), a species endemic to alpine habitats in western North America. We used capture-recapture models to estimate annual rates of apparent survival, population growth, and recruitment for breeding-age ptarmigan, and we fit winter weather covariates to models in an attempt to explain annual variation. There were no trends in survival over the study period but there was strong support for age and sex effects. The average rate of annual growth suggests a relatively stable breeding-age population ( λ ¯ = 1.036), but there was considerable variation between years for both population growth and recruitment rates. Winter weather covariates only explained a small amount of variation in female survival and were not an important predictor of male survival. Cumulative winter precipitation was found to have a quadratic effect on female survival, with survival being highest during years of average precipitation. Cumulative winter precipitation was positively correlated with population growth and recruitment rates, although this covariate only explained a small amount of annual variation in these rates and there was considerable uncertainty among the models tested. Our results provide evidence for an alpine-endemic population that has not experienced extirpation or drastic declines. However, more information is needed to understand risks and vulnerabilities of warming effects on juveniles as our analysis was confined to determination of vital rates for breeding-age birds.

  3. Sarcocystis caninum and Sarcocystis svanai n. spp. (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) Associated with Severe Myositis and Hepatitis in the Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris).

    PubMed

    Dubey, Jitender P; Sykes, Jane E; Shelton, G Diane; Sharp, Nick; Verma, Shiv K; Calero-Bernal, Rafael; Viviano, Jenifer; Sundar, Natarajan; Khan, Asis; Grigg, Michael E

    2015-01-01

    There are several reports of Sarcocystis sarcocysts in muscles of dogs, but these species have not been named. Additionally, there are two reports of Sarcocystis neurona in dogs. Here, we propose two new names, Sarcocystis caninum, and Sarcocystis svanai for sarcocysts associated with clinical muscular sarcocystosis in four domestic dogs (Canis familiaris), one each from Montana and Colorado in the USA, and two from British Columbia, Canada. Only the sarcocyst stage was identified. Most of the sarcocysts identified were S. caninum. Sarcocysts were studied using light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and polymerase chain reaction. Based on collective results two new species, S. caninum and S. svanai were designated. Sarcocystis caninum and S. svanai were structurally distinct. Sarcocystis caninum sarcocysts were up to 1.2 mm long and up to 75 ?m wide. By light microscopy, the sarcocyst wall was relatively thin and smooth. By TEM, the sarcocyst wall was "type 9", 1-2 ?m thick, and contained villar protrusions that lacked microtubules. Bradyzoites in sections were 7-9 ?m long. Sarcocysts of S. svanai were few and were identified by TEM. Sarcocystis svanai sarcocysts were "type 1", thin walled (< 0.5 ?m), and the wall lacked villar protrusions but had tiny blebs that did not invaginate. DNA was extracted either from infected frozen muscle biopsies or formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sections. Dogs were either singly infected with S. caninum or multiply co-infected with S. caninum and S. svanai (the result of a mixed infection) based on multilocus DNA sequencing and morphology. BLASTn analysis established that the sarcocysts identified in these dogs were similar to, but not identical to Sarcocystis canis or Sarcocystis arctosi, parasites found to infect polar bears (Ursus maritimus) or brown bears (Ursus arctosi), respectively. However, the S. caninum sequence showed 100% identify over the 18S rRNA region sequenced to that of S. arctica, a parasite known to infect Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus). PMID:25256157

  4. Characterization of a New Epidemic Necrotic Pyoderma in Fur Animals and Its Association with Arcanobacterium phocae Infection

    PubMed Central

    Nordgren, Heli; Aaltonen, Kirsi; Sironen, Tarja; Kinnunen, Paula M.; Kivistö, Ilkka; Raunio-Saarnisto, Mirja; Moisander-Jylhä, Anna-Maria; Korpela, Johanna; Kokkonen, Ulla-Maija; Hetzel, Udo; Sukura, Antti; Vapalahti, Olli

    2014-01-01

    A new type of pyoderma was detected in Finnish fur animals in 2007. The disease continues to spread within and between farms, with severe and potentially fatal symptoms. It compromises animal welfare and causes considerable economic losses to farmers. A case-control study was performed in 2010–2011 to describe the entity and to identify the causative agent. Altogether 99 fur animals were necropsied followed by pathological and microbiological examination. The data indicated that the disease clinically manifests in mink (Neovison vison) by necrotic dermatitis of the feet and facial skin. In finnraccoons (Nyctereutes procyonoides), it causes painful abscesses in the paws. Foxes (Vulpes lagopus) are affected by severe conjunctivitis and the infection rapidly spreads to the eyelids and facial skin. A common finding at necropsy was necrotic pyoderma. Microbiological analysis revealed the presence of a number of potential causative agents, including a novel Streptococcus sp. The common finding from all diseased animals of all species was Arcanobacterium phocae. This bacterium has previously been isolated from marine mammals with skin lesions but this is the first report of A. phocae isolated in fur animals with pyoderma. The results obtained from this study implicate A. phocae as a potential causative pathogen of fur animal epidemic necrotic pyoderma (FENP) and support observations that the epidemic may have originated in a species -shift of the causative agent from marine mammals. The variable disease pattern and the presence of other infectious agents (in particular the novel Streptococcus sp.) suggest a multifactorial etiology for FENP, and further studies are needed to determine the environmental, immunological and infectious factors contributing to the disease. PMID:25302603

  5. Importance of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska for aquatic birds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bart, Jonathan; Platte, Robert M.; Andres, Brad; Brown, Stephen; Johnson, James A.; Larned, William

    2013-01-01

    We used data from aerial surveys (19922010) of >100,000 km2 and ground surveys (19982004) 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 birdswaterfowl, loons, and grebes; shorebirds; and gulls, terns, and jaegerswere highest in the National Petroleum ReserveAlaska (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.

  6. Plants as bioindicators for archaeological prospection: a case of study from Domitian's Stadium in the Palatine (Rome, Italy).

    PubMed

    Ceschin, S; Caneva, G

    2013-06-01

    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

  7. Characterization and Physical Mapping of Ribosomal RNA Gene Families in Plantago

    PubMed Central

    DHAR, MANOJ K.; FRIEBE, BERND; KAUL, SANJANA; GILL, BIKRAM S.

    2006-01-01

    Background and Aims The organization of rRNA genes in cultivated Plantago ovata Forsk. and several of its wild allies was analysed to gain insight into the phylogenetic relationships of these species in the genus which includes some 200 species. Methods Specific primers were designed to amplify the internal transcribed spacer (ITS1 and ITS2) regions from seven Plantago species and the resulting fragments were cloned and sequenced. Similarly, using specific primers, the 5S rRNA genes from these species were amplified and subsequently cloned. Fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) was used for physical mapping of 5S and 45S ribosomal RNA genes. Results The ITS1 region is 1929?bp longer than the ITS2 in different Plantago species. The 5S rRNA gene-repeating unit varies in length from 289 to 581?bp. Coding regions are highly conserved across species, but the non-transcribed spacers (NTS) do not match any database sequences. The clone from the cultivated species P. ovata was used for physical mapping of these genes by FISH. Four species have one FISH site while three have two FISH sites. In P. lanceolata and P. rhodosperma, the 5S and 45S (18S-58S-25S) sites are coupled. Conclusions Characterization of 5S and 45S rRNA genes has indicated a possible origin of P. ovata, the only cultivated species of the genus and also the only species with x = 4, from a species belonging to subgenus Psyllium. Based on the studies reported here, P. ovata is closest to P. arenaria, although on the basis of other data the two species have been placed in different subgenera. FISH mapping can be used as an efficient tool to help determine phylogenetic relationships in the genus Plantago and show the interrelationship between P. lanceolata and P. lagopus. PMID:16481363

  8. Falcon versus grouse: flight adaptations of a predator and its prey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pennycuick, C.J.; Fuller, M.R.; Oar, J.J.; Kirkpatrick, S.J.

    1994-01-01

    Several falcons were trained to fly along a 500 m course to a lure. The air speeds of the more consistent performers averaged about 1.5 times their calculated minimum power speeds, and occasionally reached 2.1 times the minimum power speed. Wing beat frequencies of all the falcons were above those estimated from earlier field observations, and the same was true of wild Sage Grouse Centrocercus urophasianus, a regular falconer's quarry in the study area. Measurements of grouse killed by falcons showed that their wings were short, with broad slotted tips, whereas the falcons' wings were longer in relation to their body mass, and tapered. The short wings of grouse result in fast flight, high power requirements, and reduced capacity for aerobic flight. Calculations indicated that the grouse should fly faster than the falcons, and had the large amount of flight muscle needed to do so, but that the falcons would be capable of prolonged aerobic flight, whereas the grouse probably would not. We surmise that Sage Grouse cannot fly continuously without incurring an oxygen debt, and are therefore not long-distance migrants, although this limitation is partly due to their large size, and would not apply to smaller galliform birds such as ptarmigan Lagopus spp. The wing action seen in video recordings of the falcons was not consistent with the maintenance of constant circulation. We call it 'chase mode' because it appears to be associated with a high level of muscular exertion, without special regard to fuel economy. It shows features in common with the 'bounding' flight of passerines.

  9. Predator behaviour and predation risk in the heterogeneous Arctic environment.

    PubMed

    Lecomte, Nicolas; Careau, Vincent; Gauthier, Gilles; Giroux, Jean-Franois

    2008-05-01

    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

  10. Serosurvey for canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus, Leptospira interrogans, and Toxoplasma gondii in free-ranging canids in Scandinavia and Svalbard.

    PubMed

    Akerstedt, Johan; Lillehaug, Atle; Larsen, Inger-Lise; Eide, Nina E; Arnemo, Jon M; Handeland, Kjell

    2010-04-01

    Prevalence of antibodies reactive to canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1), Leptospira interrogans serovars Canicola and Icterohaemorrhagiae, and Toxoplasma gondii were examined in free-ranging Scandinavian canids. Sampling included 275 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from mainland Norway, 60 arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) from the high-arctic islands of Svalbard, and 98 wolves (Canis lupus) from the joint Swedish-Norwegian population. Methods used included virus neutralization tests for CDV and CAV-1, a microscopic agglutination test for L. interrogans, and a direct agglutination test for T. gondii. High prevalence of antibody to CAV-1 was identified in red foxes (59.6%), wolves (67.7%), and arctic foxes (37.8%). The prevalence of antibody to CDV varied between 9.6% and 12.3% in the three species. Antibodies to L. interrogans serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae were found in 9.9% of the red foxes and 8.4% of the wolves sampled, whereas no antibody-positive arctic foxes were found. All animals were antibody-negative for L. interrogans serovar Canicola. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 66.9, 51.7, and 18.6% of red foxes, arctic foxes and wolves, respectively. Significantly more adults than juveniles were antibody-positive for CDV in red foxes and arctic foxes, for CAV-1 in wolves, and for T. gondii in red foxes and wolves. There was a general tendency for adult female red foxes to have a higher prevalence of antibodies for CDV than adult males; this difference was statistically significant. The results indicate that CDV and CAV-1 are endemic in red foxes and wolves on the Scandinavian mainland and in arctic foxes on Svalbard. Although infection with L. interrogans serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae was relatively common in wild canids on mainland Norway, it was not found on Svalbard, where the maintenance host (Rattus norvegicus) is absent. All three species are commonly exposed to T. gondii through predation on infected intermediate hosts. PMID:20688639

  11. Benefiting from a migratory prey: spatio-temporal patterns in allochthonous subsidization of an Arctic predator.

    PubMed

    Giroux, Marie-Andrée; Berteaux, Dominique; Lecomte, Nicolas; Gauthier, Gilles; Szor, Guillaume; Bêty, Joël

    2012-05-01

    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

  12. Factors influencing nesting success of king eiders on northern Alaska's Coastal Plain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bentzen, R.L.; Powell, A.N.; Suydam, R.S.

    2008-01-01

    King eider (Somateria spectabilis) populations have declined markedly in recent decades for unknown reasons. Nest survival is one component of recruitment, and a female's chance of reproductive success increases with her ability to choose an appropriate nesting strategy. We estimated variation in daily nest survival of king eiders at 2 sites, Teshekpuk and Kuparuk, Alaska, USA, 2002-2005. We evaluated both a priori and exploratory competing models of nest survival that considered importance of nest concealment, seclusion, and incubation constancy as strategies to avoid 2 primary egg predators, avian (Larus spp., Stercorarius spp., and Corvus corax) and fox (Alopex lagopus). We used generalized nonlinear techniques to examine factors affecting nest survival rates and information-theoretic approaches to select among competing models. Estimated nest survival, accounting for a nest visitation effect, varied considerably across sites and years (0.21-0.57); however, given our small sample size, much of this variation maybe attributable to sampling variation (??process = 0.007, 95% CI: 0.003-0.070). Nest survival was higher at Kuparuk than Teshekpuk in all years; however, due to the correlative nature of our data, we cannot determine the underlying causes with any certainty. We found mixed support for the concealed breeding strategy, females derived no benefit from nesting in areas with more willow (Salix spp.; measure of concealment) except that the observer effect diminished as willow cover increased. We suggest these patterns are due to conflicting predation pressures. Nest survival was not higher on islands (measure of seclusion) or with increased incubation constancy but was higher post-fox removal, indicating that predator control on breeding grounds could be a viable management option. Nest survival was negatively affected by our nest visitations, most likely by exposing the nest to avian scavengers. We recommend precautions be taken to limit the effects of nest visits in future studies and to consider them as a possible negative bias in estimated nest survival. Future models of the impacts of development within the breeding grounds of king eider should consider the influence of humans in the vicinity of nests.

  13. Some autecological characteristics of early to late successional tree species in Venezuela

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kammesheidt, Ludwig

    2000-01-01

    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.

  14. Health effects from long-range transported contaminants in Arctic top predators: An integrated review based on studies of polar bears and relevant model species.

    PubMed

    Sonne, Christian

    2010-07-01

    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

  15. Detection probability of gyrfalcons and other cliff-nesting raptors during aerial surveys in Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Booms, Travis L.; Fuller, Mark R.; Schempf, Philip F.; McCaffery, Brian J.; Lindberg, Mark S.

    2011-01-01

    Assessing the status of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) and other cliffnesting raptors as the Arctic climate changes often requires aerial surveys of their breeding habitats. Because traditional, count-based surveys that do not adjust for differing detection probabilities can provide faulty inference about population status (Link and Sauer 1998, Thompson 2002), it will be important to incorporate measures of detection probability into survey methods whenever possible. To evaluate the feasibility of this, we conducted repeated aerial surveys for breeding cliff-nesting raptors on the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge (YDNWR) in western Alaska to estimate detection probabilities of Gyrfalcons, Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus), and also Common Ravens (Corvus corax). Using the program PRESENCE, we modeled detection histories of each species based on single species occupancy modeling following MacKenzie et al. (2002, 2006). We used different observers during four helicopter replicate surveys in the Kilbuck Mountains and five fixed-wing replicate surveys in the Ingakslugwat Hills (hereafter called Volcanoes) near Bethel, Alaska. We used the following terms and definitions throughout: Survey Site: site of a nest used previously by a raptor and marked with a GPS-obtained latitude and longitude accurate to within 20 m. All GPS locations were obtained in prior years from a helicopter hovering approximately 10?20 m from a nest. The site was considered occupied if a bird or an egg was detected within approximately 500 m of the nest and this area served as our sampling unit. When multiple historical nests were located on a single cliff, we used only one GPS location to locate the survey site. Detection probability (p): the probability of a species being detected at a site given the site is occupied. Occupancy (?): the probability that the species of interest is present at a site during the survey period. A site was considered occupied if the species was detected there during any of the surveys; confirming breeding status was not necessary for us to consider a site occupied. Here we show that during helicopter surveys, Gyrfalcons had the highest detection probability estimate ( p^; p^ =0.79; SE 0.05), followed by Golden Eagles (p^=0.68; SE 0.05), Common Ravens ( p^ =0.45; SE 0.17), and Rough-legged Hawks ( p^ =0.10; SE 0.11) (Table 1). Detection probabilities from fixed-wing aircraft in the Volcanoes were similar to those from the helicopter in the Kilbuck Mountains for Gyrfalcons and Golden Eagles, but were higher for Common Ravens ( p^ =0.85; SE 0.06) and Rough-legged Hawks ( p^=0.42; SE 0.07). Fixed-wing aircraft provided detection probability estimates and SEs in the Volcanoes similar to or better than those from helicopter surveys in the Kilbucks and should be considered for future cliff-nesting raptor surveys where safe, low-altitude flight is possible. Overall, detection probability varied by observer experience and in some cases, by study area/aircraft type. These results demonstrate that estimating and accounting for detection probability during cliff-nesting raptor surveys is possible, though doing so may require additional effort or shifting priorities in survey protocols.

  16. Exposure and effects assessment of persistent organohalogen contaminants in arctic wildlife and fish.

    PubMed

    Letcher, Robert J; Bustnes, Jan Ove; Dietz, Rune; Jenssen, Bjørn M; Jørgensen, Even H; Sonne, Christian; Verreault, Jonathan; Vijayan, Mathilakath M; Gabrielsen, Geir W

    2010-07-01

    Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) encompass an array of anthropogenic organic and elemental substances and their degradation and metabolic byproducts that have been found in the tissues of exposed animals, especially POPs categorized as organohalogen contaminants (OHCs). OHCs have been of concern in the circumpolar arctic for decades. For example, as a consequence of bioaccumulation and in some cases biomagnification of legacy (e.g., chlorinated PCBs, DDTs and CHLs) and emerging (e.g., brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and in particular polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA) found in Arctic biota and humans. Of high concern are the potential biological effects of these contaminants in exposed Arctic wildlife and fish. As concluded in the last review in 2004 for the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) on the effects of POPs in Arctic wildlife, prior to 1997, biological effects data were minimal and insufficient at any level of biological organization. The present review summarizes recent studies on biological effects in relation to OHC exposure, and attempts to assess known tissue/body compartment concentration data in the context of possible threshold levels of effects to evaluate the risks. This review concentrates mainly on post-2002, new OHC effects data in Arctic wildlife and fish, and is largely based on recently available effects data for populations of several top trophic level species, including seabirds (e.g., glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus)), polar bears (Ursus maritimus), polar (Arctic) fox (Vulpes lagopus), and Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus), as well as semi-captive studies on sled dogs (Canis familiaris). Regardless, there remains a dearth of data on true contaminant exposure, cause-effect relationships with respect to these contaminant exposures in Arctic wildlife and fish. Indications of exposure effects are largely based on correlations between biomarker endpoints (e.g., biochemical processes related to the immune and endocrine system, pathological changes in tissues and reproduction and development) and tissue residue levels of OHCs (e.g., PCBs, DDTs, CHLs, PBDEs and in a few cases perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs) and perfluorinated sulfonates (PFSAs)). Some exceptions include semi-field studies on comparative contaminant effects of control and exposed cohorts of captive Greenland sled dogs, and performance studies mimicking environmentally relevant PCB concentrations in Arctic charr. Recent tissue concentrations in several arctic marine mammal species and populations exceed a general threshold level of concern of 1 part-per-million (ppm), but a clear evidence of a POP/OHC-related stress in these populations remains to be confirmed. There remains minimal evidence that OHCs are having widespread effects on the health of Arctic organisms, with the possible exception of East Greenland and Svalbard polar bears and Svalbard glaucous gulls. However, the true (if any real) effects of POPs in Arctic wildlife have to be put into the context of other environmental, ecological and physiological stressors (both anthropogenic and natural) that render an overall complex picture. For instance, seasonal changes in food intake and corresponding cycles of fattening and emaciation seen in Arctic animals can modify contaminant tissue distribution and toxicokinetics (contaminant deposition, metabolism and depuration). Also, other factors, including impact of climate change (seasonal ice and temperature changes, and connection to food web changes, nutrition, etc. in exposed biota), disease, species invasion and the connection to disease resistance will impact toxicant exposure. Overall, further research and better understanding of POP/OHC impact on animal performance in Arctic biota are recommended. Regardless, it could be argued that Arctic wildlife and fish at the highest potential risk of POP/OHC exposure and mediated effects are East Greenland, Svalbard and (West and South) Hudson Bay polar bears, Alaskan and Northern Norway killer whales, several species of gulls and other seabirds from the Svalbard area, Northern Norway, East Greenland, the Kara Sea and/or the Canadian central high Arctic, East Greenland ringed seal and a few populations of Arctic charr and Greenland shark. PMID:19910021

  17. Seasonal dynamics of biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae: Culicoides), the potential vectors of bluetongue virus, in Sweden.

    PubMed

    Ander, M; Meiswinkel, R; Chirico, J

    2012-02-28

    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 65N (Kalix). PMID:21944873

  18. Do red deer stags (Cervus elaphus) use roar fundamental frequency (F0) to assess rivals?

    PubMed

    Garcia, Maxime; Charlton, Benjamin D; Wyman, Megan T; Fitch, W Tecumseh; Reby, David

    2013-01-01

    It is well established that in humans, male voices are disproportionately lower pitched than female voices, and recent studies suggest that this dimorphism in fundamental frequency (F0) results from both intrasexual (male competition) and intersexual (female mate choice) selection for lower pitched voices in men. However, comparative investigations indicate that sexual dimorphism in F0 is not universal in terrestrial mammals. In the highly polygynous and sexually dimorphic Scottish red deer Cervus elaphus scoticus, more successful males give sexually-selected calls (roars) with higher minimum F0s, suggesting that high, rather than low F0s advertise quality in this subspecies. While playback experiments demonstrated that oestrous females prefer higher pitched roars, the potential role of roar F0 in male competition remains untested. Here we examined the response of rutting red deer stags to playbacks of re-synthesized male roars with different median F0s. Our results show that stags' responses (latencies and durations of attention, vocal and approach responses) were not affected by the F0 of the roar. This suggests that intrasexual selection is unlikely to strongly influence the evolution of roar F0 in Scottish red deer stags, and illustrates how the F0 of terrestrial mammal vocal sexual signals may be subject to different selection pressures across species. Further investigations on species characterized by different F0 profiles are needed to provide a comparative background for evolutionary interpretations of sex differences in mammalian vocalizations. PMID:24386312

  19. Do Red Deer Stags (Cervus elaphus) Use Roar Fundamental Frequency (F0) to Assess Rivals?

    PubMed Central

    Garcia, Maxime; Charlton, Benjamin D.; Wyman, Megan T.; Fitch, W. Tecumseh; Reby, David

    2013-01-01

    It is well established that in humans, male voices are disproportionately lower pitched than female voices, and recent studies suggest that this dimorphism in fundamental frequency (F0) results from both intrasexual (male competition) and intersexual (female mate choice) selection for lower pitched voices in men. However, comparative investigations indicate that sexual dimorphism in F0 is not universal in terrestrial mammals. In the highly polygynous and sexually dimorphic Scottish red deer Cervus elaphus scoticus, more successful males give sexually-selected calls (roars) with higher minimum F0s, suggesting that high, rather than low F0s advertise quality in this subspecies. While playback experiments demonstrated that oestrous females prefer higher pitched roars, the potential role of roar F0 in male competition remains untested. Here we examined the response of rutting red deer stags to playbacks of re-synthesized male roars with different median F0s. Our results show that stags responses (latencies and durations of attention, vocal and approach responses) were not affected by the F0 of the roar. This suggests that intrasexual selection is unlikely to strongly influence the evolution of roar F0 in Scottish red deer stags, and illustrates how the F0 of terrestrial mammal vocal sexual signals may be subject to different selection pressures across species. Further investigations on species characterized by different F0 profiles are needed to provide a comparative background for evolutionary interpretations of sex differences in mammalian vocalizations. PMID:24386312

  20. Importance and mitigation of the risk of spillback transmission of Mycobacterium bovis infection for eradication of bovine tuberculosis from wildlife in New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Barron, M C; Nugent, G; Cross, M L

    2013-07-01

    Introduced brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) are wildlife maintenance hosts for Mycobacterium bovis in New Zealand, often living sympatrically with other potential hosts, including wild red deer (Cervus elaphus scoticus). Population control of possums has been predicted to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) from New Zealand wildlife ; however, there is concern that long-lived M. bovis-infected deer could represent a spillback risk for TB re-establishment (particularly when possum populations recover after cessation of intensive control). We constructed a time-, age- and sex-structured, deer/TB population generic model and simulated the outcomes of deer control on this potential spillback risk. Maintaining intensive possum control on a 5-year cycle, the predicted spillback risk period after TB eradication from possums is ~7 years, while the probability of TB re-establishing in possums over that period is ~6%. Additional targeted control of deer would reduce the risk period and probability of spillback; however, even with high population reductions (up to 80%) only modest decreases in risk and risk period would be achieved. We conclude that possum control alone remains the best strategy for achieving TB eradication from New Zealand habitats in which possums and wild deer are the main M. bovis hosts. PMID:23211646

  1. Does covering of farm-associated Culicoides larval habitat reduce adult populations in the United Kingdom?☆

    PubMed Central

    Harrup, L.E.; Gubbins, S.; Barber, J.; Denison, E.; Mellor, P.S.; Purse, B.V.; Carpenter, S.

    2014-01-01

    Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are the biological vectors of a range of internationally important arboviruses of livestock, including bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently emerging Schmallenberg virus (SBV). Culicoides species in the subgenus Avaritia (in the UK: Culicoides obsoletus Meigen, Culicoides scoticus Downes & Kettle, Culicoides dewulfi Goetghebuer and Culicoides chiopterus Meigen) have been implicated in BTV transmission in northern Europe and to a varying degree utilise cattle dung as a larval development substrate. The collection of cattle dung into heaps on farms provides a localised source of Culicoides emergence in close proximity to livestock. This study assesses the impact of covering dung heaps prior to the onset of adult Culicoides activity with the aim of reducing recruitment to the local adult populations at four livestock farms in England. Light suction trap catches of adult Culicoides from these farms were compared with those from four untreated control farms from a wide geographic range across the UK. It was demonstrated that implementing control of emergence from dung heaps did not have a significant impact upon the local adult subgenus Avaritia abundance at the treated farm holdings and that the onset of Culicoides activity was similarly unaffected. Use of this method in isolation is unlikely to have an effect in reducing the risk of BTV and SBV transmission. The implications of these results for control of farm-associated Culicoides in Europe are discussed. PMID:24472769

  2. Culicoides midges (diptera: ceratopogonidae) as vectors of orbiviruses in Slovakia.

    PubMed

    Sarvaov, Adela; Goffredo, Maria; Sopoliga, Igor; Savini, Giovanni; Ko?iov, Alica

    2014-01-01

    In recent years, rapid spread of Culicoides-borne pathogens such as bluetongue (BT) and Schmallenberg viruses have been reported in Europe. In this study we examined the Culicoides populations in farms with wild and domestic ruminants in Eastern Slovakia with the aim to confirm the presence of biting midges serving as potential vectors of important pathogens. The main vector complexes were the Obsoletus complex (54%; n=4,209) and the Pulicaris complex (23%; n=1,796). To estimate the relative abundance of the cryptic species of the Obsoletus complex (Culicoides obsoletus, Culicoides scoticus and Culicoides montanus), we performed the multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based on ITS-2 and ITS-1 segments, on 125 midges randomly sampled. The relative abundance of C. obsoletus ranged from 5.26% in the farm with wild ruminants to 85.71% in another farm with cattle and sheep. A total of 112 pools of parous and gravid females belonging to the Obsoletus and Pulicaris complexes were tested for virus detection by the real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for BT virus, as well as for the Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (EHDV), with negative results. PMID:25273963

  3. Roaring High and Low: Composition and Possible Functions of the Iberian Stag's Vocal Repertoire

    PubMed Central

    Carranza, Juan; Apollonio, Marco

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:23667678

  4. An investigation on the Culicoides species composition at seven sites in southern Switzerland.

    PubMed

    Casati, S; Racloz, V; Delcolle, J C; Kuhn, M; Mathis, A; Griot, C; Strk, K D C; Vanzetti, T

    2009-06-01

    In the past decade, there have been regular outbreaks of bluetongue (BT) in many parts of Europe. Owing to the presence of BT disease and its vectors in countries adjacent to Switzerland, an initial entomological survey was conducted in 2003, which established the presence of several midges of the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). Subsequently, a sentinel herd monitoring system was established with the primary entomological aim being the determination and further study of Culicoides population compositions. Insects were collected in 2005 and 2006 at seven sentinel herd sites in the south of Switzerland (canton of Ticino) near the border of Italy, using Onderstepoort-type light traps. This region is botanically and zoologically similar to the Mediterranean and is one of the warmest and most humid areas of the country, hence it is considered a potential access path for BT disease into Switzerland. Collections were made at four cattle farms, two equestrian centres and one goat farm. Sites were sampled four times per month from June to October. Traps were operated from dusk until dawn and samples were collected monthly for analysis through microscopy as well as a Culicoides imicola-specific PCR. Results confirmed the absence of C. imicola (Kieffer) and demonstrated that the potential BT virus vectors are highly abundant, notably: Culicoides obsoletus (Meigen), Culicoides scoticus (Downes & Kettle) and Culicoides dewulfi (Goetghebuer) subgenus Avaritia and Culicoides pulicaris (Linnaeus) subgenus Culicoides. These findings expand the current knowledge of Culicoides population composition in the southern part of the Switzerland. Culicoides cataneii (Clastrier), Culicoides flavipulicaris (Dzhafarov), Culicoides indistinctus (Khalaf), Culicoides nubeculosus (Meigen) and species of the Grisescens complex were reported for the first time in Switzerland. PMID:19493190

  5. Are bogs reservoirs for emerging disease vectors? Evaluation of culicoides populations in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium).

    PubMed

    Zimmer, Jean-Yves; Smeets, Franois; Simonon, Grgory; Fagot, Jean; Haubruge, Eric; Francis, Frdric; Losson, Bertrand

    2013-01-01

    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

  6. Bloodmeal Analysis Reveals Avian Plasmodium Infections and Broad Host Preferences of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) Vectors

    PubMed Central

    Santiago-Alarcon, Diego; Havelka, Peter; Schaefer, Hinrich Martin; Segelbacher, Gernot

    2012-01-01

    Changing environmental conditions and human encroachment on natural habitats bring human populations closer to novel sources of parasites, which might then develop into new emerging diseases. Diseases transmitted by host generalist vectors are of special interest due to their capacity to move pathogens into novel hosts. We hypothesize that humans using forests for recreation are exposed to a broad range of parasites from wild animals and their vectors. A corollary of this is that new vector-host, parasite-host, and vector-parasite associations could eventually develop. Thus, we expect to observe atypical vector-host associations. Using molecular bloodmeal analysis via amplification of the mtDNA COI gene we identified the vertebrate hosts of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) species in a sub-urban forest of Southwestern Germany. Bloodmeals were also checked for haemosporidian infections by amplifying a fragment of the mtDNA cyt b gene. We identified a total of 20 Culicoides species, thirteen of which fed on humans. From 105 screened bloodmeals we obtained high quality sequences for 77 samples, 73 (94.8%) originated from humans, two from livestock (Bos taurus and Equus caballus), and two from wild birds (Sylvia atricapilla and Turdus merula). We found that four Culicoides species previously assumed to feed exclusively on either birds (C. kibunensis) or domestic mammals (C. chiopterus, C. deltus, C. scoticus) fed also on humans. A total of six Culicoides abdomens were infected with avian haemosporidian parasites (Plasmodium or Haemoproteus), four of those abdomens contained blood derived from humans. Our results suggest that parasites of wild animals may be transferred to humans through infectious bites of Culicoides vectors. Further, we show that Culicoides vectors believed to be a specialist on specific vertebrate groups can have plastic feeding preferences, and that Culicoides are susceptible to infection by Plasmodium parasites, though vector viability must still be experimentally demonstrated. PMID:22363557

  7. Are Bogs Reservoirs for Emerging Disease Vectors? Evaluation of Culicoides Populations in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium)

    PubMed Central

    Zimmer, Jean-Yves; Smeets, Franois; Simonon, Grgory; Fagot, Jean; Haubruge, Eric; Francis, Frdric; Losson, Bertrand

    2013-01-01

    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

  8. Towards the PCR-based identification of Palaearctic Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae): results from an international ring trial targeting four species of the subgenus Avaritia

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Biting midges of the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are biological vectors of internationally important arboviruses. To understand the role of Culicoides in the transmission of these viruses, it is essential to correctly identify the species involved. Within the western Palaearctic region, the main suspected vector species, C. obsoletus, C. scoticus, C. dewulfi and C. chiopterus, have similar wing patterns, which makes it difficult to separate and identify them correctly. Methods In this study, designed as an inter-laboratory ring trial with twelve partners from Europe and North Africa, we assess four PCR-based assays which are used routinely to differentiate the four species of Culicoides listed above. The assays based on mitochondrial or ribosomal DNA or microarray hybridisation were tested using aliquots of Culicoides DNA (extracted using commercial kits), crude lysates of ground specimens and whole Culicoides (265 individuals), and non-Culicoides Ceratopogonidae (13 individuals) collected from across Europe. Results A total of 800 molecular assays were implemented. The in-house assays functioned effectively, although specificity and sensitivity varied according to the molecular marker and DNA extraction method used. The Obsoletus group specificity was overall high (95-99%) while the sensitivity varied greatly (59.6-100%). DNA extraction methods impacted the sensitivity of the assays as well as the type of sample used as template for the DNA extraction. Conclusions The results are discussed in terms of current use of species diagnostic assays and the future development of molecular tools for the rapid differentiation of cryptic Culicoides species. PMID:24884950

  9. Solar Radiation Determines Site Occupancy of Coexisting Tropical and Temperate Deer Species Introduced to New Zealand Forests

    PubMed Central

    Allen, Robert B.; Forsyth, David M.; Allen, Roy K. J.; Affeld, Kathrin; MacKenzie, Darryl I.

    2015-01-01

    Assemblages of introduced taxa provide an opportunity to understand how abiotic and biotic factors shape habitat use by coexisting species. We tested hypotheses about habitat selection by two deer species recently introduced to New Zealand’s temperate rainforests. We hypothesised that, due to different thermoregulatory abilities, rusa deer (Cervus timorensis; a tropical species) would prefer warmer locations in winter than red deer (Cervus elaphus scoticus; a temperate species). Since adult male rusa deer are aggressive in winter (the rut), we also hypothesised that rusa deer and red deer would not use the same winter locations. Finally, we hypothesised that in summer both species would prefer locations with fertile soils that supported more plant species preferred as food. We used a 250 × 250 m grid of 25 remote cameras to collect images in a 100-ha montane study area over two winters and summers. Plant composition, solar radiation, and soil fertility were also determined for each camera location. Multiseason occupancy models revealed that direct solar radiation was the best predictor of occupancy and detection probabilities for rusa deer in winter. Multistate, multiseason occupancy models provided strong evidence that the detection probability of adult male rusa deer was greater in winter and when other rusa deer were present at a location. Red deer mostly vacated the study area in winter. For the one season that had sufficient camera images of both species (summer 2011) to allow two-species occupancy models to be fitted, the detection probability of rusa deer also increased with solar radiation. Detection probability also varied with plant composition for both deer species. We conclude that habitat use by coexisting tropical and temperate deer species in New Zealand likely depends on the interplay between the thermoregulatory and behavioural traits of the deer and the abiotic and biotic features of the habitat. PMID:26061426

  10. A Cervid Vocal Fold Model Suggests Greater Glottal Efficiency in Calling at High Frequencies

    PubMed Central

    Titze, Ingo R.; Riede, Tobias

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:20808882

  11. Seasonal distribution and relationship to temperature and precipitation of the most abundant species of Culicoides in five provinces of Andalusia, Spain.

    PubMed

    Ortega, M D; Holbrook, F R; Lloyd, J E

    1999-09-01

    A total of 177,344 Culicoides specimens were collected from 3,109 light trap collections made weekly from August 1990 to October 1991 at 62 sites in the provinces of Cdiz, Crdoba, Huelva, Seville, and Mlaga, Spain. Reported for the 1st time are Culicoides agathensis, Culicoides bahrainensis, Culicoides marcleti, and Culicoides odiatus in the Iberian Peninsula, and Culicoides scoticus in Andalusia, Spain. As a group, Culicoides were active throughout the year. The 3 most common species were Culicoides imicola (56,254), Culicoides newsteadi (24,359), and Culicoides circumscriptus (16,720). Numbers of C. imicola peaked in October, C. newsteadi peaked in May, and C. circumscriptus peaked in June. Based on regression analyses, the optimal minimum and maximum air temperatures, respectively, for adult insect activity were approximately > or = 18 degrees C and > or = 38 degrees C for C. imicola, 12 degrees C for C. newsteadi, 14 degrees C for C. circumscriptus (minimum temperature only), 16 degrees C and > or = 38 degrees C for "other" Culicoides, and 14 degrees C and 32 degrees C for total Culicoides. Optimal minimum and maximum temperatures could not be determined for Culicoides pulicaris, Culicoides punctatus, subgenus Monoculicoides, and the Culicoides obsoletus group. During August and September, the months when African horse sickness outbreaks occurred, C. imicola was the predominant species in the coastal Mediterranean zone. If the "other" Culicoides spp. group was not considered, the predominant species were C. imicola in the Guadalquivir River valley zone, C. newsteadi in the Subbtica mountainous range zone, and subgenus Monoculicoides in the coastal Atlantic zone. PMID:10480132

  12. Repellent effect of topical deltamethrin on blood feeding by Culicoides on horses.

    PubMed

    Robin, M; Archer, D; McGowan, C; Garros, C; Gardès, L; Baylis, M

    2015-05-30

    African horse sickness (AHS) is a vectorborne disease spread by Culicoides biting midges. The UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs currently suggests using topical deltamethrin for AHS control; however, no data are available regarding its efficacy in the horse. The aims of this study were to investigate the effect of topical deltamethrin on blood feeding by Culicoides on horses and to investigate which Culicoides species blood fed on horses. Three pairs of horses were placed in partially enclosed cages that allowed samples representing the Culicoides interacting with individual horses to be sampled. Four data collection sessions were completed before one horse from each pair was topically treated with 10 ml of 1 per cent deltamethrin solution and another four sessions were then carried out. Collected Culicoides were identified and each biting midge examined to see if it had blood fed. The most abundant species collected were C. chiopterus, C. dewulfi, C. obsoletus and C. scoticus (44.3 per cent) and either C. pulicaris or C. punctatus (34.7 per cent). These species were also more likely to have blood fed than other species, supporting their potential role as AHS vectors if the virus were to reach the UK. There was no significant effect of treatment on blood feeding by Culicoides. The results do not support the use of topical deltamethrin to prevent blood feeding by Culicoides on individual horses; however, the study does not investigate the effect that the widespread use of topical deltamethrin might have on vector numbers or disease transmission from viraemic individuals during an outbreak of AHS. PMID:25948630

  13. Roaring high and low: composition and possible functions of the Iberian stag's vocal repertoire.

    PubMed

    Passilongo, Daniela; Reby, David; Carranza, Juan; Apollonio, Marco

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:23667678

  14. Solar Radiation Determines Site Occupancy of Coexisting Tropical and Temperate Deer Species Introduced to New Zealand Forests.

    PubMed

    Allen, Robert B; Forsyth, David M; Allen, Roy K J; Affeld, Kathrin; MacKenzie, Darryl I

    2015-01-01

    Assemblages of introduced taxa provide an opportunity to understand how abiotic and biotic factors shape habitat use by coexisting species. We tested hypotheses about habitat selection by two deer species recently introduced to New Zealand's temperate rainforests. We hypothesised that, due to different thermoregulatory abilities, rusa deer (Cervus timorensis; a tropical species) would prefer warmer locations in winter than red deer (Cervus elaphus scoticus; a temperate species). Since adult male rusa deer are aggressive in winter (the rut), we also hypothesised that rusa deer and red deer would not use the same winter locations. Finally, we hypothesised that in summer both species would prefer locations with fertile soils that supported more plant species preferred as food. We used a 250 250 m grid of 25 remote cameras to collect images in a 100-ha montane study area over two winters and summers. Plant composition, solar radiation, and soil fertility were also determined for each camera location. Multiseason occupancy models revealed that direct solar radiation was the best predictor of occupancy and detection probabilities for rusa deer in winter. Multistate, multiseason occupancy models provided strong evidence that the detection probability of adult male rusa deer was greater in winter and when other rusa deer were present at a location. Red deer mostly vacated the study area in winter. For the one season that had sufficient camera images of both species (summer 2011) to allow two-species occupancy models to be fitted, the detection probability of rusa deer also increased with solar radiation. Detection probability also varied with plant composition for both deer species. We conclude that habitat use by coexisting tropical and temperate deer species in New Zealand likely depends on the interplay between the thermoregulatory and behavioural traits of the deer and the abiotic and biotic features of the habitat. PMID:26061426

  15. An unrecognized species of the Culicoides obsoletus complex feeding on livestock in The Netherlands.

    PubMed

    Meiswinkel, R; De Bree, F; Bossers-De Vries, R; Elbers, A R W

    2015-01-30

    In studies on Culicoides attacking livestock in the Netherlands, we chanced upon a species of the Obsoletus complex that we do not recognize, but whose dark wing pattern is distinctive. Nine cytochrome c oxidase (CO1) sequences of our so-called 'dark obsoletus' support its status as a separate species, the sequences differing significantly from those representing Culicoides obsoletus (Meigen) (90-91% homology) and Culicoides scoticus Downes & Kettle (87-88% homology). In the last decade, several research groups in Europe have encountered 'mystery species' related to C. obsoletus and in some instances have made their sequences for various genetic loci available in GenBank. These include a CO1 series submitted from Sweden in 2012 (annotated as 'obsoletus 01, 02, or 03 MA-2012') and of which some share a 99% identity with our sequences for 'dark obsoletus'. Without doubt, the series from the Netherlands, along with a portion of the Swedish submissions, together represent a single species ('dark obsoletus'). Whether this species is referable to the Russian Culicoides gornostaevae Mirzaeva recorded recently from Norway, Sweden and Poland, and based solely upon the external morphology of the male, is not clear. The presence in Western Europe of multiple undescribed species related to C. obsoletus means that the taxonomy of this important vector complex is not fully resolved; consequently, we know little about these cryptic species with regard to seasonality, geographic range and host preference. This is undesirable given that Culicoides-borne arboviruses causing disease in livestock are moving more regularly out of the tropics and spreading north into temperate latitudes. PMID:25583356

  16. Environmental Drivers of Culicoides Phenology: How Important Is Species-Specific Variation When Determining Disease Policy?

    PubMed Central

    Searle, Kate R.; Barber, James; Stubbins, Francesca; Labuschagne, Karien; Carpenter, Simon; Butler, Adam; Denison, Eric; Sanders, Christopher; Mellor, Philip S.; Wilson, Anthony; Nelson, Noel; Gubbins, Simon; Purse, Bethan V.

    2014-01-01

    Since 2006, arboviruses transmitted by Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) have caused significant disruption to ruminant production in northern Europe. The most serious incursions involved strains of bluetongue virus (BTV), which cause bluetongue (BT) disease. To control spread of BTV, movement of susceptible livestock is restricted with economic and animal welfare impacts. The timing of BTV transmission in temperate regions is partly determined by the seasonal presence of adult Culicoides females. Legislative measures therefore allow for the relaxation of ruminant movement restrictions during winter, when nightly light-suction trap catches of Culicoides fall below a threshold (the ‘seasonally vector free period’: SVFP). We analysed five years of time-series surveillance data from light-suction trapping in the UK to investigate whether significant inter-specific and yearly variation in adult phenology exists, and whether the SVFP is predictable from environmental factors. Because female vector Culicoides are not easily morphologically separated, inter-specific comparisons in phenology were drawn from male populations. We demonstrate significant inter-specific differences in Culicoides adult phenology with the season of Culicoides scoticus approximately eight weeks shorter than Culicoides obsoletus. Species-specific differences in the length of the SVFP were related to host density and local variation in landscape habitat. When the Avaritia Culicoides females were modelled as a group (as utilised in the SFVP), we were unable to detect links between environmental drivers and phenological metrics. We conclude that the current treatment of Avaritia Culicoides as a single group inhibits understanding of environmentally-driven spatial variation in species phenology and hinders the development of models for predicting the SVFP from environmental factors. Culicoides surveillance methods should be adapted to focus on concentrated assessments of species-specific abundance during the start and end of seasonal activity in temperate regions to facilitate refinement of ruminant movement restrictions thereby reducing the impact of Culicoides-borne arboviruses. PMID:25386940

  17. Comparison of Vertebrate Cytochrome b and Prepronociceptin for Blood Meal Analyses in Culicoides

    PubMed Central

    Hadj-Henni, Leila; De Meulemeester, Thibaut; Depaquit, Jérôme; Noël, Philippe; Germain, Adeline; Helder, Remi; Augot, Denis

    2015-01-01

    To date, studies on host preferences and blood meal identification have been conducted for Culicoides species using molecular-based methods such as PCR techniques to amplify only a fragment from universal vertebrate mitochondrial genes such as cytochrome c oxidase subunit I or cytochrome b (Cyt b). The vertebrate prepronociceptin gene (PNOC) was also tested in this field. However, the choice of molecular marker to identify blood meal is critical. The objective of our study is to compare the ability of Cyt b and PNOC as molecular markers for blood meal identification depending on the stage of blood meal digestion. In order to determine whether these Cyt b and PNOC could provide a positive result, 565 blood-fed females of Culicoides spp were collected and morphologically identified. The samples were collected between 2012 and 2014, in two localities in France. The collection localities were near either livestock or a forest. To catch the specimens, we used UV CDC miniature light traps. PNOC sequence of donkeys (Equus asinus) was sequenced and submitted because it was missing in GenBank. Our findings emphasize that the PNOC marker is not suitable to separate closely related Equid species such as horses and donkeys. The Cyt b marker was able to identify 204 more samples when compared to PNOC (99.55% of specimens). Cyt b appears to be better able to detect the origin of blood meals from females with digested blood in their abdomens. We conclude that Cyt b is a good marker as it increases the accuracy of blood meal identification of engorged females containing digested blood in their abdomens. The host opportunist behavior of Culicoides, especially that of C. obsoletus and C. scoticus, the main vectors of BTV in Europe was also highlighted. PMID:26664944

  18. Environmental drivers of Culicoides phenology: how important is species-specific variation when determining disease policy?

    PubMed

    Searle, Kate R; Barber, James; Stubbins, Francesca; Labuschagne, Karien; Carpenter, Simon; Butler, Adam; Denison, Eric; Sanders, Christopher; Mellor, Philip S; Wilson, Anthony; Nelson, Noel; Gubbins, Simon; Purse, Bethan V

    2014-01-01

    Since 2006, arboviruses transmitted by Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) have caused significant disruption to ruminant production in northern Europe. The most serious incursions involved strains of bluetongue virus (BTV), which cause bluetongue (BT) disease. To control spread of BTV, movement of susceptible livestock is restricted with economic and animal welfare impacts. The timing of BTV transmission in temperate regions is partly determined by the seasonal presence of adult Culicoides females. Legislative measures therefore allow for the relaxation of ruminant movement restrictions during winter, when nightly light-suction trap catches of Culicoides fall below a threshold (the 'seasonally vector free period': SVFP). We analysed five years of time-series surveillance data from light-suction trapping in the UK to investigate whether significant inter-specific and yearly variation in adult phenology exists, and whether the SVFP is predictable from environmental factors. Because female vector Culicoides are not easily morphologically separated, inter-specific comparisons in phenology were drawn from male populations. We demonstrate significant inter-specific differences in Culicoides adult phenology with the season of Culicoides scoticus approximately eight weeks shorter than Culicoides obsoletus. Species-specific differences in the length of the SVFP were related to host density and local variation in landscape habitat. When the Avaritia Culicoides females were modelled as a group (as utilised in the SFVP), we were unable to detect links between environmental drivers and phenological metrics. We conclude that the current treatment of Avaritia Culicoides as a single group inhibits understanding of environmentally-driven spatial variation in species phenology and hinders the development of models for predicting the SVFP from environmental factors. Culicoides surveillance methods should be adapted to focus on concentrated assessments of species-specific abundance during the start and end of seasonal activity in temperate regions to facilitate refinement of ruminant movement restrictions thereby reducing the impact of Culicoides-borne arboviruses. PMID:25386940

  19. Wear Fast, Die Young: More Worn Teeth and Shorter Lives in Iberian Compared to Scottish Red Deer

    PubMed Central

    Prez-Barbera, F. J.; Carranza, J.; Snchez-Prieto, C.

    2015-01-01

    Teeth in Cervidae are permanent structures that are not replaceable or repairable; consequently their rate of wear, due to the grinding effect of food and dental attrition, affects their duration and can determine an animal's lifespan. Tooth wear is also a useful indicator of accumulative life energy investment in intake and mastication and their interactions with diet. Little is known regarding how natural and sexual selection operate on dental structures within a species in contrasting environments and how these relate to life history traits to explain differences in population rates of tooth wear and longevity. We hypothesised that populations under harsh environmental conditions should be selected for more hypsodont teeth while sexual selection may maintain similar sex differences within different populations. We investigated the patterns of tooth wear in males and females of Iberian red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) in Southern Spain and Scottish red deer (C. e. scoticus) across Scotland, that occur in very different environments, using 10343 samples from legal hunting activities. We found higher rates of both incisor and molar wear in the Spanish compared to Scottish populations. However, Scottish red deer had larger incisors at emergence than Iberian red deer, whilst molars emerged at a similar size in both populations and sexes. Iberian and Scottish males had earlier tooth depletion than females, in support of a similar sexual selection process in both populations. However, whilst average lifespan for Iberian males was 4 years shorter than that for Iberian females and Scottish males, Scottish males only showed a reduction of 1 year in average lifespan with respect to Scottish females. More worn molars were associated with larger mandibles in both populations, suggesting that higher intake and/or greater investment in food comminution may have favoured increased body growth, before later loss of tooth efficiency due to severe wear. These results illustrate how independent selection in both subspecies, that diverged 11,700 years BP, has resulted in the evolution of different longevity, although sexual selection has maintained a similar pattern of relative sex differences in tooth depletion. This study opens interesting questions on optimal allocation in life history trade-offs and the independent evolution of allopatric populations. PMID:26252380

  20. Wear Fast, Die Young: More Worn Teeth and Shorter Lives in Iberian Compared to Scottish Red Deer.

    PubMed

    Prez-Barbera, F J; Carranza, J; Snchez-Prieto, C

    2015-01-01

    Teeth in Cervidae are permanent structures that are not replaceable or repairable; consequently their rate of wear, due to the grinding effect of food and dental attrition, affects their duration and can determine an animal's lifespan. Tooth wear is also a useful indicator of accumulative life energy investment in intake and mastication and their interactions with diet. Little is known regarding how natural and sexual selection operate on dental structures within a species in contrasting environments and how these relate to life history traits to explain differences in population rates of tooth wear and longevity. We hypothesised that populations under harsh environmental conditions should be selected for more hypsodont teeth while sexual selection may maintain similar sex differences within different populations. We investigated the patterns of tooth wear in males and females of Iberian red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) in Southern Spain and Scottish red deer (C. e. scoticus) across Scotland, that occur in very different environments, using 10343 samples from legal hunting activities. We found higher rates of both incisor and molar wear in the Spanish compared to Scottish populations. However, Scottish red deer had larger incisors at emergence than Iberian red deer, whilst molars emerged at a similar size in both populations and sexes. Iberian and Scottish males had earlier tooth depletion than females, in support of a similar sexual selection process in both populations. However, whilst average lifespan for Iberian males was 4 years shorter than that for Iberian females and Scottish males, Scottish males only showed a reduction of 1 year in average lifespan with respect to Scottish females. More worn molars were associated with larger mandibles in both populations, suggesting that higher intake and/or greater investment in food comminution may have favoured increased body growth, before later loss of tooth efficiency due to severe wear. These results illustrate how independent selection in both subspecies, that diverged 11,700 years BP, has resulted in the evolution of different longevity, although sexual selection has maintained a similar pattern of relative sex differences in tooth depletion. This study opens interesting questions on optimal allocation in life history trade-offs and the independent evolution of allopatric populations. PMID:26252380