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Sample records for 13-lined ground squirrels

  1. The hibernating 13-lined ground squirrel as a model organism for potential cold storage of platelets.

    PubMed

    Cooper, Scott T; Richters, Karl E; Melin, Travis E; Liu, Zhi-jian; Hordyk, Peter J; Benrud, Ryan R; Geiser, Lauren R; Cash, Steve E; Simon Shelley, C; Howard, David R; Ereth, Mark H; Sola-Visner, Martha C

    2012-05-15

    Hibernating mammals have developed many physiological adaptations to extreme environments. During hibernation, 13-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) must suppress hemostasis to survive prolonged body temperatures of 4-8°C and 3-5 heartbeats per minute without forming lethal clots. Upon arousal in the spring, these ground squirrels must be able to quickly restore normal clotting activity to avoid bleeding. Here we show that ground squirrel platelets stored in vivo at 4-8°C were released back into the blood within 2 h of arousal in the spring with a body temperature of 37°C but were not rapidly cleared from circulation. These released platelets were capable of forming stable clots and remained in circulation for at least 2 days before newly synthesized platelets were detected. Transfusion of autologous platelets stored at 4°C or 37°C showed the same clearance rates in ground squirrels, whereas rat platelets stored in the cold had a 140-fold increase in clearance rate. Our results demonstrate that ground squirrel platelets appear to be resistant to the platelet cold storage lesions observed in other mammals, allowing prolonged storage in cold stasis and preventing rapid clearance upon spring arousal. Elucidating these adaptations could lead to the development of methods to store human platelets in the cold, extending their shelf life.

  2. Current practices in a captive breeding colony of 13-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus).

    PubMed

    Merriman, Dana K; Lahvis, Garet; Jooss, Michelle; Gesicki, Jon A; Schill, Kelly

    2012-11-01

    The authors provide an update to their 2006 report on the successful large-scale captive breeding of the 13-lined ground squirrel (TLGS; Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) in their colony, now a single-source supplier of purpose-bred TLGSs for several research institutions. With funding from the National Institutes of Health, the authors have expanded their capacity for breeding pairs and built a dedicated hibernaculum to house torpid animals in the facility. The authors report new information on housing, diet, environmental enrichment, breeding, behavior and health. They also report the findings of several in-house studies on the health, behavior and well-being of their TLGSs.

  3. Hibernation induces immune changes in the lung of 13-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus).

    PubMed

    Bohr, Matthew; Brooks, Abigail R; Kurtz, Courtney C

    2014-12-01

    During hibernation, significant changes occur in the systemic and intestinal immune populations. We found that the lungs of hibernating 13-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) also undergo shifts in immune phenotype. Within the population of mononuclear cells, the percentage of T cells increases and the percentage of CD11b/c(+) cells decreases in hibernators. E-selectin, which promotes endothelial attachment, increases during arousal from torpor. Levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-10 in the lung are lower during hibernation while levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α remain constant. Expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins is also decreased in torpid hibernators. Our data point to a unique immune phenotype in the lung of hibernating ground squirrels in which certain immunosuppressive proteins are downregulated while some potentially inflammatory proteins are maintained or amplified. This indicates that the lung houses an immune population that can potentially respond to antigenic challenge during hibernation.

  4. Anti-lymphoproliferative activity of alpha-2-macroglobulin in the plasma of hibernating 13-lined ground squirrels and woodchucks.

    PubMed

    Sieckmann, Donna G; Jaffe, Howard; Golech, Susanne; Cai, DeCheng; Hallenbeck, John M; McCarron, Richard M

    2014-09-15

    Plasma from hibernating (HIB) woodchucks (Marmota monax) or 13-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) suppressed (3)H-thymidine uptake in mouse spleen cell cultures stimulated with Concanavalin A (ConA); plasma from non-hibernating animals were only slightly inhibitory. Maximum inhibition occurred when HIB plasma was added to the cultures prior to ConA. After HPLC size exclusion chromatography of the HIB ground squirrel plasma, a single fraction (fraction-14) demonstrated inhibitory activity. Assay of fraction-14 from 8 HIB squirrels showed inhibition ranging from 13 to 95%; inhibition was correlated to the time the squirrels were exposed to cold prior to hibernation. Western blot analysis showed the factor to be a large molecular weight protein (>300 kDa), and mass spectrometry identified sequences that were 100% homologous with alpha-2-macroglobulin from humans and other species. These findings indicate a hibernation-related protein that may be responsible for immune system down regulation.

  5. Response of the JAK-STAT pathway to mammalian hibernation in 13-lined ground squirrel striated muscle.

    PubMed

    Logan, Samantha M; Tessier, Shannon N; Tye, Joann; Storey, Kenneth B

    2016-03-01

    Over the course of the torpor-arousal cycle, hibernators must make behavioral, physiological, and molecular rearrangements in order to keep a very low metabolic rate and retain organ viability. 13-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) remain immobile during hibernation, and although the mechanisms of skeletal muscle survival are largely unknown, studies have shown minimal muscle loss in hibernating organisms. Additionally, the ground squirrel heart undergoes cold-stress, reversible cardiac hypertrophy, and ischemia-reperfusion without experiencing fatal impairment. This study examines the role of the Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling pathway in the regulation of cell stress in cardiac and skeletal muscles, comparing euthermic and hibernating ground squirrels. Immunoblots showed a fivefold decrease in JAK3 expression during torpor in skeletal muscle, along with increases in STAT3 and 5 phosphorylation and suppressors of cytokine signaling-1 (SOCS1) protein levels. Immunoblots also showed coordinated increases in STAT1, 3 and 5 phosphorylation and STAT1 inhibitor protein expression in cardiac muscle during torpor. PCR analysis revealed that the activation of these pro-survival signaling cascades did not result in coordinate changes in downstream genes such as anti-apoptotic B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) family gene expression. Overall, these results indicate activation of the JAK-STAT pathway in both cardiac and skeletal muscles, suggesting a response to cellular stress during hibernation. PMID:26885984

  6. Response of the JAK-STAT pathway to mammalian hibernation in 13-lined ground squirrel striated muscle.

    PubMed

    Logan, Samantha M; Tessier, Shannon N; Tye, Joann; Storey, Kenneth B

    2016-03-01

    Over the course of the torpor-arousal cycle, hibernators must make behavioral, physiological, and molecular rearrangements in order to keep a very low metabolic rate and retain organ viability. 13-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) remain immobile during hibernation, and although the mechanisms of skeletal muscle survival are largely unknown, studies have shown minimal muscle loss in hibernating organisms. Additionally, the ground squirrel heart undergoes cold-stress, reversible cardiac hypertrophy, and ischemia-reperfusion without experiencing fatal impairment. This study examines the role of the Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling pathway in the regulation of cell stress in cardiac and skeletal muscles, comparing euthermic and hibernating ground squirrels. Immunoblots showed a fivefold decrease in JAK3 expression during torpor in skeletal muscle, along with increases in STAT3 and 5 phosphorylation and suppressors of cytokine signaling-1 (SOCS1) protein levels. Immunoblots also showed coordinated increases in STAT1, 3 and 5 phosphorylation and STAT1 inhibitor protein expression in cardiac muscle during torpor. PCR analysis revealed that the activation of these pro-survival signaling cascades did not result in coordinate changes in downstream genes such as anti-apoptotic B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) family gene expression. Overall, these results indicate activation of the JAK-STAT pathway in both cardiac and skeletal muscles, suggesting a response to cellular stress during hibernation.

  7. Von Willebrand factor is reversibly decreased during torpor in 13-lined ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Cooper, Scott; Sell, Shawn; Nelson, Luke; Hawes, Jennifer; Benrud, Jacob A; Kohlnhofer, Bridget M; Burmeister, Bradley R; Flood, Veronica H

    2016-01-01

    During torpor in a hibernating mammal, decreased blood flow increases the risk of blood clots such as deep vein thrombi (DVT). In other animal models platelets, neutrophils, monocytes and von Willebrand factor (VWF) have been found in DVT. Previous research has shown that hibernating mammals decrease their levels of platelets and clotting factors VIII (FVIII) and IX (FIX), increasing both bleeding time and activated partial thromboplastin time. In this study, FVIII, FIX and VWF activities and mRNA levels were measured in torpid and non-hibernating ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus). Here, we show that VWF high molecular weight multimers, collagen-binding activity, lung mRNA and promoter activity decrease during torpor. The VWF multimers reappear in plasma within 2 h of arousal in the spring. Similarly, FIX activity and liver mRNA both dropped threefold during torpor. In contrast, FVIII liver mRNA levels increased twofold while its activity dropped threefold, consistent with a post-transcriptional decrease in FVIII stability in the plasma due to decreased VWF levels. Finally, both neutrophils and monocytes are decreased eightfold during torpor which could slow the formation of DVT. In addition to providing insight in how blood clotting can be regulated to allow mammals to survive in extreme environments, hibernating ground squirrels provide an interesting model for studying.

  8. Cytoskeletal Regulation Dominates Temperature-Sensitive Proteomic Changes of Hibernation in Forebrain of 13-Lined Ground Squirrels

    PubMed Central

    Hindle, Allyson G.; Martin, Sandra L.

    2013-01-01

    13-lined ground squirrels, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus, are obligate hibernators that transition annually between summer homeothermy and winter heterothermy – wherein they exploit episodic torpor bouts. Despite cerebral ischemia during torpor and rapid reperfusion during arousal, hibernator brains resist damage and the animals emerge neurologically intact each spring. We hypothesized that protein changes in the brain underlie winter neuroprotection. To identify candidate proteins, we applied a sensitive 2D gel electrophoresis method to quantify protein differences among forebrain extracts prepared from ground squirrels in two summer, four winter and fall transition states. Proteins that differed among groups were identified using LC-MS/MS. Only 84 protein spots varied significantly among the defined states of hibernation. Protein changes in the forebrain proteome fell largely into two reciprocal patterns with a strong body temperature dependence. The importance of body temperature was tested in animals from the fall; these fall animals use torpor sporadically with body temperatures mirroring ambient temperatures between 4 and 21°C as they navigate the transition between summer homeothermy and winter heterothermy. Unlike cold-torpid fall ground squirrels, warm-torpid individuals strongly resembled the homeotherms, indicating that the changes observed in torpid hibernators are defined by body temperature, not torpor per se. Metabolic enzymes were largely unchanged despite varied metabolic activity across annual and torpor-arousal cycles. Instead, the majority of the observed changes were cytoskeletal proteins and their regulators. While cytoskeletal structural proteins tended to differ seasonally, i.e., between summer homeothermy and winter heterothermy, their regulatory proteins were more strongly affected by body temperature. Changes in the abundance of various isoforms of the microtubule assembly and disassembly regulatory proteins dihydropyrimidinase

  9. Cytoskeletal regulation dominates temperature-sensitive proteomic changes of hibernation in forebrain of 13-lined ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Hindle, Allyson G; Martin, Sandra L

    2013-01-01

    13-lined ground squirrels, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus, are obligate hibernators that transition annually between summer homeothermy and winter heterothermy - wherein they exploit episodic torpor bouts. Despite cerebral ischemia during torpor and rapid reperfusion during arousal, hibernator brains resist damage and the animals emerge neurologically intact each spring. We hypothesized that protein changes in the brain underlie winter neuroprotection. To identify candidate proteins, we applied a sensitive 2D gel electrophoresis method to quantify protein differences among forebrain extracts prepared from ground squirrels in two summer, four winter and fall transition states. Proteins that differed among groups were identified using LC-MS/MS. Only 84 protein spots varied significantly among the defined states of hibernation. Protein changes in the forebrain proteome fell largely into two reciprocal patterns with a strong body temperature dependence. The importance of body temperature was tested in animals from the fall; these fall animals use torpor sporadically with body temperatures mirroring ambient temperatures between 4 and 21°C as they navigate the transition between summer homeothermy and winter heterothermy. Unlike cold-torpid fall ground squirrels, warm-torpid individuals strongly resembled the homeotherms, indicating that the changes observed in torpid hibernators are defined by body temperature, not torpor per se. Metabolic enzymes were largely unchanged despite varied metabolic activity across annual and torpor-arousal cycles. Instead, the majority of the observed changes were cytoskeletal proteins and their regulators. While cytoskeletal structural proteins tended to differ seasonally, i.e., between summer homeothermy and winter heterothermy, their regulatory proteins were more strongly affected by body temperature. Changes in the abundance of various isoforms of the microtubule assembly and disassembly regulatory proteins dihydropyrimidinase

  10. Transcriptional Activation of p53 during Cold Induced Torpor in the 13-Lined Ground Squirrel Ictidomys tridecemlineatus

    PubMed Central

    Hefler, Joshua; Wu, Cheng-Wei; Storey, Kenneth B.

    2015-01-01

    The transcription factor p53 is located at the centre of multiple pathways relating the cellular response to stress. Commonly known as a tumor suppressor, it is responsible for initiating diverse actions to protect the integrity of the genome, ranging from cell cycle arrest to apoptosis. This study investigated the regulation of p53 protein in hibernating 13-lined ground squirrel Ictidomys tridecemlineatus during multiple stages of the torpor-arousal cycle. Transcript and protein levels of p53 were both elevated in the skeletal muscle during early and late torpor stages of the hibernation cycle. Nuclear localization of p53 was also increased during late torpor, and this is associated with an increase in its DNA binding activity and expression of p53 transcriptional targets p21CIP, gadd45α, and 14-3-3σ. The increase in p53 transcriptional activity appears to be independent of its phosphorylation at Ser-15, Ser-46, and Ser-392, consistent with an absence of checkpoint kinase activation during torpor. Sequence analysis revealed unique amino acid substitutions in the ground squirrel p53 protein, which may contribute to an increase in protein stability compared to nonhibernators. Overall, the study results provided evidences for a potential role of p53 in the protection of the skeletal muscle during torpor. PMID:26843984

  11. Transcriptional Activation of p53 during Cold Induced Torpor in the 13-Lined Ground Squirrel Ictidomys tridecemlineatus.

    PubMed

    Hefler, Joshua; Wu, Cheng-Wei; Storey, Kenneth B

    2015-01-01

    The transcription factor p53 is located at the centre of multiple pathways relating the cellular response to stress. Commonly known as a tumor suppressor, it is responsible for initiating diverse actions to protect the integrity of the genome, ranging from cell cycle arrest to apoptosis. This study investigated the regulation of p53 protein in hibernating 13-lined ground squirrel Ictidomys tridecemlineatus during multiple stages of the torpor-arousal cycle. Transcript and protein levels of p53 were both elevated in the skeletal muscle during early and late torpor stages of the hibernation cycle. Nuclear localization of p53 was also increased during late torpor, and this is associated with an increase in its DNA binding activity and expression of p53 transcriptional targets p21CIP, gadd45α, and 14-3-3σ. The increase in p53 transcriptional activity appears to be independent of its phosphorylation at Ser-15, Ser-46, and Ser-392, consistent with an absence of checkpoint kinase activation during torpor. Sequence analysis revealed unique amino acid substitutions in the ground squirrel p53 protein, which may contribute to an increase in protein stability compared to nonhibernators. Overall, the study results provided evidences for a potential role of p53 in the protection of the skeletal muscle during torpor.

  12. Comparison of surface temperature in 13-lined ground squirrel (Spermophilus tridecimlineatus) and yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris) during arousal from hibernation.

    PubMed

    Phillips, P K; Heath, J E

    2004-08-01

    Surface temperatures (Ts) of eight 13-lined ground squirrels and seven yellow-bellied marmots were measured during arousal from hibernation using infrared thermography (IRT) and recorded on videotape. Animals aroused normally in 5 degrees C cold rooms. Body temperatures were recorded during arousal using both cheek pouch and interscapular temperature probes. Warming rate in arousal was exponential. Mean mass specific warming rates show the squirrels warm faster (69.76 degrees C/h/kg) than the marmots (4.49 degrees C/h/kg). Surface temperatures (Ts) for 11 regions were measured every few minutes during arousal. The smaller ground squirrel shows the ability to perfuse distal regions without compromising rise in deep body temperature (Tb). All squirrel Ts's remained low as Tb rose to 18 degrees C, at which point, eyes opened, squirrels became more active and all Ts's rose parallel to Tb. Marmot Ts remained low as Tb rose initially. Each marmot showed a plateau phase where Tb remained constant (mean Tb 20.3+/-1.0 degrees C, duration 9.4+/-4.1 min) during which time all Ts's rose, and then remained relatively constant as Tb again began to rise. An anterior to posterior Ts gradient was evident in the ground squirrel, both body and feet. This gradient was only evident in the feet of the marmots.

  13. Metabolic changes associated with the long winter fast dominate the liver proteome in 13-lined ground squirrels

    PubMed Central

    Hindle, Allyson G.; Grabek, Katharine R.; Epperson, L. Elaine; Karimpour-Fard, Anis

    2014-01-01

    Small-bodied hibernators partition the year between active homeothermy and hibernating heterothermy accompanied by fasting. To define molecular events underlying hibernation that are both dependent and independent of fasting, we analyzed the liver proteome among two active and four hibernation states in 13-lined ground squirrels. We also examined fall animals transitioning between fed homeothermy and fasting heterothermy. Significantly enriched pathways differing between activity and hibernation were biased toward metabolic enzymes, concordant with the fuel shifts accompanying fasting physiology. Although metabolic reprogramming to support fasting dominated these data, arousing (rewarming) animals had the most distinct proteome among the hibernation states. Instead of a dominant metabolic enzyme signature, torpor-arousal cycles featured differences in plasma proteins and intracellular membrane traffic and its regulation. Phosphorylated NSFL1C, a membrane regulator, exhibited this torpor-arousal cycle pattern; its role in autophagosome formation may promote utilization of local substrates upon metabolic reactivation in arousal. Fall animals transitioning to hibernation lagged in their proteomic adjustment, indicating that the liver is more responsive than preparatory to the metabolic reprogramming of hibernation. Specifically, torpor use had little impact on the fall liver proteome, consistent with a dominant role of nutritional status. In contrast to our prediction of reprogramming the transition between activity and hibernation by gene expression and then within-hibernation transitions by posttranslational modification (PTM), we found extremely limited evidence of reversible PTMs within torpor-arousal cycles. Rather, acetylation contributed to seasonal differences, being highest in winter (specifically in torpor), consistent with fasting physiology and decreased abundance of the mitochondrial deacetylase, SIRT3. PMID:24642758

  14. Quantitative analysis of liver metabolites in three stages of the circannual hibernation cycle in 13-lined ground squirrels by NMR.

    PubMed

    Serkova, Natalie J; Rose, James C; Epperson, L Elaine; Carey, Hannah V; Martin, Sandra L

    2007-09-19

    Thirteen-lined ground squirrels and other circannual hibernators undergo profound physiological changes on an annual basis, transitioning from summer homeothermy [body temperature (T(b)) approximately 37 degrees C] to winter heterothermy (T(b) cycling between 0 degrees C and 37 degrees C). We hypothesize that these physiological changes are reflected in biochemical changes that provide mechanistic insights into, and biomarkers for, hibernation states. Here we report the results of an NMR-based metabolomics analysis of liver extracts from ground squirrels in three distinct physiological states of circannual hibernation: summer active (SA), late torpor (LT), and reentering torpor (Ent) after one of the euthermic arousals. Of the 43 identified and quantified metabolites, 36 differed among these three states and fell into two patterns of variation: 1) SA differed from both of the two winter states; or 2) the two winter states differed from each other, but one of the two was not different from SA. Concentrations of hepatic glucose, lactate, alanine, succinate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, glutamine, and betaine were identified as robust hepatic biomarkers that together distinguish among animals in these three states of the circannual hibernation rhythm. These data are consistent with a proposed two-switch model of hibernation, in which setting the summer-winter switch to winter enables expression of a distinct torpor-arousal switch. The summer-winter switch is characterized by the metabolites associated with the well-known switch from carbohydrate to lipid fuel utilization during hibernation. The torpor-arousal switch is characterized by the accumulation of metabolites of nitrogen (glutamine) and phospholipid (betaine) catabolism in LT with the capacity to act as protective osmolytes. PMID:17536023

  15. Intracellular antioxidant enzymes are not globally upregulated during hibernation in the major oxidative tissues of the 13-lined ground squirrel Spermophilus tridecemlineatus.

    PubMed

    Page, Melissa M; Peters, Craig W; Staples, James F; Stuart, Jeffrey A

    2009-01-01

    Hibernating mammals exhibit oxidative stress resistance in brain, liver and other tissues. In many animals, cellular oxidative stress resistance is associated with enhanced expression of intracellular antioxidant enzymes. Intracellular antioxidant capacity may be upregulated during hibernation to protect against oxidative damage associated with the ischemia-reperfusion that occurs during transitions between torpor and arousal. We tested the hypothesis that the 13-lined ground squirrel (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus), upregulates intracellular antioxidant enzymes in major oxidative tissues during hibernation. The two major intracellular isoforms of superoxide dismutase (MnSOD and CuZnSOD), which catalyze the first step in superoxide detoxification, were quantified in heart, brain and liver tissue using immunodetection and an in-gel activity assay. However, no differences in SOD protein expression or activity were found between active and hibernating squirrels. Measurements of glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase, which catalyze hydrogen peroxide removal, were not broadly upregulated during hibernation. The activity of catalase, which catalyzes an alternative hydrogen peroxide detoxification pathway, was higher in heart and brain of torpid squirrels, but lower in liver. Taken together, these data do not support the hypothesis that hibernation is associated with enhanced oxidative stress resistance due to an upregulation of intracellular antioxidant enzymes in the major oxidative tissues.

  16. Hibernation is associated with depression of T-cell independent humoral immune responses in the 13-lined ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Bouma, Hjalmar R; Henning, Robert H; Kroese, Frans G M; Carey, Hannah V

    2013-03-01

    Mammalian hibernation consists of periods of low metabolism and body temperature (torpor), interspersed by euthermic arousal periods. The function of both the innate and adaptive immune system is suppressed during hibernation. In this study, we analyzed the humoral adaptive immune response to a T-cell independent (TI-2) and a T-cell dependent (TD) antigen. Thirteen-lined ground squirrels were immunized in summer or during hibernation with either a TI-2 or TD antigen on day 0 and day 14. Blood was drawn on day 0, 7, 14, 21 and 28. Both types of antigens induced a significant rise in antibody titer in summer animals. Much to our surprise, however, only immunization with the TD antigen, and not with the TI-2 antigen induced a humoral response in hibernators. Flow cytometric analysis of CD4 (helper T-lymphocytes), CD8 (cytotoxic T-lymphocytes) and CD45RA (B-lymphocytes) in blood, spleen and lymph nodes ruled out massive apoptosis as explanation of the absent TI humoral response during hibernation. Rather, reduced TI-2 stimulation of B-lymphocytes, possibly due to lowered serum complement during torpor, may explain the reduced antibody production in response to a TI-2 antigen. These results demonstrate that hibernation diminishes the capacity to induce a TI-2 humoral immune response, while the capacity to induce a humoral response to a TD antigen is maintained.

  17. Tissue-specific response of carbohydrate-responsive element binding protein (ChREBP) to mammalian hibernation in 13-lined ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Logan, Samantha M; Storey, Kenneth B

    2016-10-01

    Mammalian hibernation is characterized by a general suppression of energy expensive processes and a switch to lipid oxidation as the primary fuel source. Glucose-responsive carbohydrate responsive element binding protein (ChREBP) has yet to be studied in hibernating organisms, which prepare for the cold winter months by feeding until they exhibit an obesity-like state that is accompanied by naturally-induced and completely reversible insulin resistance. Studying ChREBP expression and activity in the hibernating 13-lined ground squirrel is important to better understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate energy metabolism under cellular stress. Immunoblotting was used to determine the relative expression level and subcellular localization of ChREBP, as well as serine phosphorylation at 95 kDa, comparing euthermic and late torpid ground squirrel liver, kidney, heart and muscle. DNA-binding ELISAs and RT-PCR were used to explore ChREBP transcriptional activity during cold stress. ChREBP activity seemed generally suppressed in liver and kidney. During torpor, ChREBP total protein levels decreased to 44% of EC in liver, phosphoserine levels increased 2.1-fold of EC in kidney, and downstream Fasn/Pkl transcript levels decreased to <60% of EC in liver. By contrast, ChREBP activity generally increased during torpor in cardiac and skeletal muscle, where ChREBP total protein levels increased over 1.5-fold and 5-fold of EC in muscle and heart, respectively; where DNA-binding increased by ∼2-fold of EC in muscle; and where Fasn transcript levels increased over 3-fold and 7-fold in both muscle and heart, respectively. In summary, ChREBP has a tissue-specific role in regulating energy metabolism during hibernation.

  18. Tissue-specific response of carbohydrate-responsive element binding protein (ChREBP) to mammalian hibernation in 13-lined ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Logan, Samantha M; Storey, Kenneth B

    2016-10-01

    Mammalian hibernation is characterized by a general suppression of energy expensive processes and a switch to lipid oxidation as the primary fuel source. Glucose-responsive carbohydrate responsive element binding protein (ChREBP) has yet to be studied in hibernating organisms, which prepare for the cold winter months by feeding until they exhibit an obesity-like state that is accompanied by naturally-induced and completely reversible insulin resistance. Studying ChREBP expression and activity in the hibernating 13-lined ground squirrel is important to better understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate energy metabolism under cellular stress. Immunoblotting was used to determine the relative expression level and subcellular localization of ChREBP, as well as serine phosphorylation at 95 kDa, comparing euthermic and late torpid ground squirrel liver, kidney, heart and muscle. DNA-binding ELISAs and RT-PCR were used to explore ChREBP transcriptional activity during cold stress. ChREBP activity seemed generally suppressed in liver and kidney. During torpor, ChREBP total protein levels decreased to 44% of EC in liver, phosphoserine levels increased 2.1-fold of EC in kidney, and downstream Fasn/Pkl transcript levels decreased to <60% of EC in liver. By contrast, ChREBP activity generally increased during torpor in cardiac and skeletal muscle, where ChREBP total protein levels increased over 1.5-fold and 5-fold of EC in muscle and heart, respectively; where DNA-binding increased by ∼2-fold of EC in muscle; and where Fasn transcript levels increased over 3-fold and 7-fold in both muscle and heart, respectively. In summary, ChREBP has a tissue-specific role in regulating energy metabolism during hibernation. PMID:27614289

  19. Analysis of microRNA expression during the torpor-arousal cycle of a mammalian hibernator, the 13-lined ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Wu, Cheng-Wei; Biggar, Kyle K; Luu, Bryan E; Szereszewski, Kama E; Storey, Kenneth B

    2016-06-01

    Hibernation is a highly regulated stress response that is utilized by some mammals to survive harsh winter conditions and involves a complex metabolic reprogramming at the cellular level to maintain tissue protections at low temperature. In this study, we profiled the expression of 117 conserved microRNAs in the heart, muscle, and liver of the 13-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) across four stages of the torpor-arousal cycle (euthermia, early torpor, late torpor, and interbout arousal) by real-time PCR. We found significant differential regulation of numerous microRNAs that were both tissue specific and torpor stage specific. Among the most significant regulated microRNAs was miR-208b, a positive regulator of muscle development that was found to be upregulated by fivefold in the heart during late torpor (13-fold during arousal), while decreased by 3.7-fold in the skeletal muscle, implicating a potential regulatory role in the development of cardiac hypertrophy and skeletal muscle atrophy in the ground squirrels during torpor. In addition, the insulin resistance marker miR-181a was upregulated by 5.7-fold in the liver during early torpor, which supports previous suggestions of hyperinsulinemia in hibernators during the early stages of the hibernation cycle. Although microRNA expression profiles were largely unique between the three tissues, GO annotation analysis revealed that the putative targets of upregulated microRNAs tend to enrich toward suppression of progrowth-related processes in all three tissues. These findings implicate microRNAs in the regulation of both tissue-specific processes and general suppression of cell growth during hibernation. PMID:27084747

  20. Analysis of microRNA expression during the torpor-arousal cycle of a mammalian hibernator, the 13-lined ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Wu, Cheng-Wei; Biggar, Kyle K; Luu, Bryan E; Szereszewski, Kama E; Storey, Kenneth B

    2016-06-01

    Hibernation is a highly regulated stress response that is utilized by some mammals to survive harsh winter conditions and involves a complex metabolic reprogramming at the cellular level to maintain tissue protections at low temperature. In this study, we profiled the expression of 117 conserved microRNAs in the heart, muscle, and liver of the 13-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) across four stages of the torpor-arousal cycle (euthermia, early torpor, late torpor, and interbout arousal) by real-time PCR. We found significant differential regulation of numerous microRNAs that were both tissue specific and torpor stage specific. Among the most significant regulated microRNAs was miR-208b, a positive regulator of muscle development that was found to be upregulated by fivefold in the heart during late torpor (13-fold during arousal), while decreased by 3.7-fold in the skeletal muscle, implicating a potential regulatory role in the development of cardiac hypertrophy and skeletal muscle atrophy in the ground squirrels during torpor. In addition, the insulin resistance marker miR-181a was upregulated by 5.7-fold in the liver during early torpor, which supports previous suggestions of hyperinsulinemia in hibernators during the early stages of the hibernation cycle. Although microRNA expression profiles were largely unique between the three tissues, GO annotation analysis revealed that the putative targets of upregulated microRNAs tend to enrich toward suppression of progrowth-related processes in all three tissues. These findings implicate microRNAs in the regulation of both tissue-specific processes and general suppression of cell growth during hibernation.

  1. Hibernation alters the diversity and composition of mucosa-associated bacteria while enhancing antimicrobial defence in the gut of 13-lined ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Dill-McFarland, Kimberly A; Neil, Katie L; Zeng, Austin; Sprenger, Ryan J; Kurtz, Courtney C; Suen, Garret; Carey, Hannah V

    2014-09-01

    The gut microbiota plays important roles in animal nutrition and health. This relationship is particularly dynamic in hibernating mammals where fasting drives the gut community to rely on host-derived nutrients instead of exogenous substrates. We used 16S rRNA pyrosequencing and caecal tissue protein analysis to investigate the effects of hibernation on the mucosa-associated bacterial microbiota and host responses in 13-lined ground squirrels. The mucosal microbiota was less diverse in winter hibernators than in actively feeding spring and summer squirrels. UniFrac analysis revealed distinct summer and late winter microbiota clusters, while spring and early winter clusters overlapped slightly, consistent with their transitional structures. Communities in all seasons were dominated by Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, with lesser contributions from Proteobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, Tenericutes and Actinobacteria. Hibernators had lower relative abundances of Firmicutes, which include genera that prefer plant polysaccharides, and higher abundances of Bacteroidetes and Verrucomicrobia, some of which can survive solely on host-derived mucins. A core mucosal assemblage of nine operational taxonomic units shared among all individuals was identified with an average total sequence abundance of 60.2%. This core community, together with moderate shifts in specific taxa, indicates that the mucosal microbiota remains relatively stable over the annual cycle yet responds to substrate changes while potentially serving as a pool for 'seeding' the microbiota once exogenous substrates return in spring. Relative to summer, hibernation reduced caecal crypt length and increased MUC2 expression in early winter and spring. Hibernation also decreased caecal TLR4 and increased TLR5 expression, suggesting a protective response that minimizes inflammation.

  2. Hibernation alters the diversity and composition of mucosa-associated bacteria while enhancing antimicrobial defence in the gut of 13-lined ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Dill-McFarland, Kimberly A; Neil, Katie L; Zeng, Austin; Sprenger, Ryan J; Kurtz, Courtney C; Suen, Garret; Carey, Hannah V

    2014-09-01

    The gut microbiota plays important roles in animal nutrition and health. This relationship is particularly dynamic in hibernating mammals where fasting drives the gut community to rely on host-derived nutrients instead of exogenous substrates. We used 16S rRNA pyrosequencing and caecal tissue protein analysis to investigate the effects of hibernation on the mucosa-associated bacterial microbiota and host responses in 13-lined ground squirrels. The mucosal microbiota was less diverse in winter hibernators than in actively feeding spring and summer squirrels. UniFrac analysis revealed distinct summer and late winter microbiota clusters, while spring and early winter clusters overlapped slightly, consistent with their transitional structures. Communities in all seasons were dominated by Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, with lesser contributions from Proteobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, Tenericutes and Actinobacteria. Hibernators had lower relative abundances of Firmicutes, which include genera that prefer plant polysaccharides, and higher abundances of Bacteroidetes and Verrucomicrobia, some of which can survive solely on host-derived mucins. A core mucosal assemblage of nine operational taxonomic units shared among all individuals was identified with an average total sequence abundance of 60.2%. This core community, together with moderate shifts in specific taxa, indicates that the mucosal microbiota remains relatively stable over the annual cycle yet responds to substrate changes while potentially serving as a pool for 'seeding' the microbiota once exogenous substrates return in spring. Relative to summer, hibernation reduced caecal crypt length and increased MUC2 expression in early winter and spring. Hibernation also decreased caecal TLR4 and increased TLR5 expression, suggesting a protective response that minimizes inflammation. PMID:25130694

  3. North American tree squirrels and ground squirrels with overlapping ranges host different Cryptosporidium species and genotypes.

    PubMed

    Stenger, Brianna L S; Clark, Mark E; Kváč, Martin; Khan, Eakalak; Giddings, Catherine W; Prediger, Jitka; McEvoy, John M

    2015-12-01

    Wildlife-associated Cryptosporidium are an emerging cause of cryptosporidiosis in humans. The present study was undertaken to determine the extent to which North American tree squirrels and ground squirrels host zoonotic Cryptosporidium species and genotypes. Fragments of the Cryptosporidium 18S rRNA and actin genes were amplified and sequenced from fecal samples obtained from three tree squirrel and three ground squirrel species. In tree squirrels, Cryptosporidium was identified in 40.5% (17/42) of American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), 40.4% (55/136) of eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), and 28.6% (2/7) of fox squirrels (Sciurus niger). Human-pathogenic Cryptosporidium ubiquitum and Cryptosporidium skunk genotype were the most prevalent species/genotypes in tree squirrels. Because tree squirrels live in close proximity to humans and are frequently infected with potentially zoonotic Cryptosporidium species/genotypes, they may be a significant reservoir of infection in humans. In ground squirrels, Cryptosporidium was detected in 70.2% (33/47) of 13-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus), 35.1% (27/77) of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus), and the only golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis) that was sampled. Cryptosporidium rubeyi and ground squirrel genotypes I, II, and III were identified in isolates from these ground squirrel species. In contrast to the Cryptosporidium infecting tree squirrels, these species/genotypes appear to be specific for ground squirrels and are not associated with human disease. PMID:26437239

  4. North American tree squirrels and ground squirrels with overlapping ranges host different Cryptosporidium species and genotypes.

    PubMed

    Stenger, Brianna L S; Clark, Mark E; Kváč, Martin; Khan, Eakalak; Giddings, Catherine W; Prediger, Jitka; McEvoy, John M

    2015-12-01

    Wildlife-associated Cryptosporidium are an emerging cause of cryptosporidiosis in humans. The present study was undertaken to determine the extent to which North American tree squirrels and ground squirrels host zoonotic Cryptosporidium species and genotypes. Fragments of the Cryptosporidium 18S rRNA and actin genes were amplified and sequenced from fecal samples obtained from three tree squirrel and three ground squirrel species. In tree squirrels, Cryptosporidium was identified in 40.5% (17/42) of American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), 40.4% (55/136) of eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), and 28.6% (2/7) of fox squirrels (Sciurus niger). Human-pathogenic Cryptosporidium ubiquitum and Cryptosporidium skunk genotype were the most prevalent species/genotypes in tree squirrels. Because tree squirrels live in close proximity to humans and are frequently infected with potentially zoonotic Cryptosporidium species/genotypes, they may be a significant reservoir of infection in humans. In ground squirrels, Cryptosporidium was detected in 70.2% (33/47) of 13-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus), 35.1% (27/77) of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus), and the only golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis) that was sampled. Cryptosporidium rubeyi and ground squirrel genotypes I, II, and III were identified in isolates from these ground squirrel species. In contrast to the Cryptosporidium infecting tree squirrels, these species/genotypes appear to be specific for ground squirrels and are not associated with human disease.

  5. Noninvasive imaging of the thirteen-lined ground squirrel photoreceptor mosaic

    PubMed Central

    Sajdak, Benjamin; Sulai, Yusufu N.; Langlo, Christopher S.; Luna, Gabriel; Fisher, Steven K.; Merriman, Dana K.; Dubra, Alfredo

    2016-01-01

    Ground squirrels are an increasingly important model for studying visual processing, retinal circuitry, and cone photoreceptor function. Here, we demonstrate that the photoreceptor mosaic can be longitudinally imaged noninvasively in the 13-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) using confocal and nonconfocal split-detection adaptive optics scanning ophthalmoscopy using 790 nm light. Photoreceptor density, spacing, and Voronoi analysis are consistent with that of the human cone mosaic. The high imaging success rate and consistent image quality in this study reinforce the ground squirrel as a practical model to aid drug discovery and testing through longitudinal imaging on the cellular scale. PMID:26923645

  6. Noninvasive imaging of the thirteen-lined ground squirrel photoreceptor mosaic.

    PubMed

    Sajdak, Benjamin; Sulai, Yusufu N; Langlo, Christopher S; Luna, Gabriel; Fisher, Steven K; Merriman, Dana K; Dubra, Alfredo

    2016-01-01

    Ground squirrels are an increasingly important model for studying visual processing, retinal circuitry, and cone photoreceptor function. Here, we demonstrate that the photoreceptor mosaic can be longitudinally imaged noninvasively in the 13-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) using confocal and nonconfocal split-detection adaptive optics scanning ophthalmoscopy using 790 nm light. Photoreceptor density, spacing, and Voronoi analysis are consistent with that of the human cone mosaic. The high imaging success rate and consistent image quality in this study reinforce the ground squirrel as a practical model to aid drug discovery and testing through longitudinal imaging on the cellular scale.

  7. Eye model for the ground squirrel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sussman, Dafna; Chou, B. Ralph; Lakshminarayanan, Vasudevan

    2011-11-01

    This paper presents an anatomically-correct eye model for the ground squirrel, a diurnal, highly-developed mammal with high visual acuity. This model can assist in understanding the relationship between ocular structural development and its corresponding function. The eye model is constructed based on anatomical measurements of thicknesses and indices of refraction of the various ocular media. The model then derives the gradient index distribution of the crystalline lens using a ray tracing method with a Monte Carlo optimization. Results indicate a diffraction-limited ocular behaviour, implying the visual acuity of the ground squirrel is more likely to be limited by photoreceptor density and diffraction effects, than by ocular geometry.

  8. Hepatocellular carcinoma in ground squirrels persistently infected with ground squirrel hepatitis virus.

    PubMed Central

    Marion, P L; Van Davelaar, M J; Knight, S S; Salazar, F H; Garcia, G; Popper, H; Robinson, W S

    1986-01-01

    Although persistent infection with hepatitis B virus and woodchuck hepatitis virus has been associated with development of hepatocellular carcinoma in the host, little has been known of such an association with ground squirrel hepatitis virus (GSHV), which is closely related to the woodchuck virus. Colonies of GSHV-infected and -uninfected Beechey ground squirrels were observed for tumors for a period of 5 years. Tumors developed in seven squirrels after a minimum of 2.4 years of observation per animal; each of the seven animals was over 4 years old when the tumor was detected. The predominant type of tumor was hepatocellular carcinoma, which appeared in 2 of 28 GSHV-bearing animals studied and in 1 of 23 squirrels with antibody to the virus. No hepatocellular carcinoma appeared in 24 GSHV marker-free squirrels. Integrated GSHV DNA was found in the hepatocellular carcinoma tissue of the one carrier animal examined, paralleling the frequent findings of integrated hepatitis B and woodchuck hepatitis viral DNA in human and woodchuck hepatocellular carcinoma. Although the incidence of liver carcinoma reported here in carrier ground squirrels is neither as great as that in carrier woodchucks nor statistically different from the incidence in noncarrier squirrels, the data presented suggest that persistent infection with GSHV may also be associated with hepatocellular carcinoma. Images PMID:3012572

  9. Arctic Ground Squirrels Limit Bone Loss during the Prolonged Physical Inactivity Associated with Hibernation.

    PubMed

    Wojda, Samantha J; Gridley, Richard A; McGee-Lawrence, Meghan E; Drummer, Thomas D; Hess, Ann; Kohl, Franziska; Barnes, Brian M; Donahue, Seth W

    2016-01-01

    Prolonged disuse (e.g., physical inactivity) typically results in increased bone porosity, decreased mineral density, and decreased bone strength, leading to increased fracture risk in many mammals. However, bears, marmots, and two species of ground squirrels have been shown to preserve macrostructural bone properties and bone strength during long seasons of hibernation while they remain mostly inactive. Some small hibernators (e.g., 13-lined ground squirrels) show microstructural bone loss (i.e., osteocytic osteolysis) during hibernation, which is not seen in larger hibernators (e.g., bears and marmots). Arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii) are intermediate in size between 13-lined ground squirrels and marmots and are perhaps the most extreme rodent hibernator, hibernating for up to 8 mo annually with body temperatures below freezing. The goal of this study was to quantify the effects of hibernation and inactivity on cortical and trabecular bone properties in arctic ground squirrels. Cortical bone geometrical properties (i.e., thickness, cross-sectional area, and moment of inertia) at the midshaft of the femur were not different in animals sampled over the hibernation and active seasons. Femoral ultimate stress tended to be lower in hibernators than in summer animals, but toughness was not affected by hibernation. The area of osteocyte lacunae was not different between active and hibernating animals. There was an increase in osteocytic lacunar porosity in the hibernation group due to increased lacunar density. Trabecular bone volume fraction in the proximal tibia was unexpectedly greater in the hibernation group than in the active group. This study shows that, similar to other hibernators, arctic ground squirrels are able to preserve many bone properties during hibernation despite being physically inactive for up to 8 mo.

  10. Arctic Ground Squirrels Limit Bone Loss during the Prolonged Physical Inactivity Associated with Hibernation.

    PubMed

    Wojda, Samantha J; Gridley, Richard A; McGee-Lawrence, Meghan E; Drummer, Thomas D; Hess, Ann; Kohl, Franziska; Barnes, Brian M; Donahue, Seth W

    2016-01-01

    Prolonged disuse (e.g., physical inactivity) typically results in increased bone porosity, decreased mineral density, and decreased bone strength, leading to increased fracture risk in many mammals. However, bears, marmots, and two species of ground squirrels have been shown to preserve macrostructural bone properties and bone strength during long seasons of hibernation while they remain mostly inactive. Some small hibernators (e.g., 13-lined ground squirrels) show microstructural bone loss (i.e., osteocytic osteolysis) during hibernation, which is not seen in larger hibernators (e.g., bears and marmots). Arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii) are intermediate in size between 13-lined ground squirrels and marmots and are perhaps the most extreme rodent hibernator, hibernating for up to 8 mo annually with body temperatures below freezing. The goal of this study was to quantify the effects of hibernation and inactivity on cortical and trabecular bone properties in arctic ground squirrels. Cortical bone geometrical properties (i.e., thickness, cross-sectional area, and moment of inertia) at the midshaft of the femur were not different in animals sampled over the hibernation and active seasons. Femoral ultimate stress tended to be lower in hibernators than in summer animals, but toughness was not affected by hibernation. The area of osteocyte lacunae was not different between active and hibernating animals. There was an increase in osteocytic lacunar porosity in the hibernation group due to increased lacunar density. Trabecular bone volume fraction in the proximal tibia was unexpectedly greater in the hibernation group than in the active group. This study shows that, similar to other hibernators, arctic ground squirrels are able to preserve many bone properties during hibernation despite being physically inactive for up to 8 mo. PMID:27082526

  11. Sciurid phylogeny and the paraphyly of Holarctic ground squirrels (Spermophilus).

    PubMed

    Herron, Matthew D; Castoe, Todd A; Parkinson, Christopher L

    2004-06-01

    The squirrel family, Sciuridae, is one of the largest and most widely dispersed families of mammals. In spite of the wide distribution and conspicuousness of this group, phylogenetic relationships remain poorly understood. We used DNA sequence data from the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene of 114 species in 21 genera to infer phylogenetic relationships among sciurids based on maximum parsimony and Bayesian phylogenetic methods. Although we evaluated more complex alternative models of nucleotide substitution to reconstruct Bayesian phylogenies, none provided a better fit to the data than the GTR+G+I model. We used the reconstructed phylogenies to evaluate the current taxonomy of the Sciuridae. At essentially all levels of relationships, we found the phylogeny of squirrels to be in substantial conflict with the current taxonomy. At the highest level, the flying squirrels do not represent a basal divergence, and the current division of Sciuridae into two subfamilies is therefore not phylogenetically informative. At the tribal level, the Neotropical pygmy squirrel, Sciurillus, represents a basal divergence and is not closely related to the other members of the tribe Sciurini. At the genus level, the sciurine genus Sciurus is paraphyletic with respect to the dwarf squirrels (Microsciurus), and the Holarctic ground squirrels (Spermophilus) are paraphyletic with respect to antelope squirrels (Ammospermophilus), prairie dogs (Cynomys), and marmots (Marmota). Finally, several species of chipmunks and Holarctic ground squirrels do not appear monophyletic, indicating a need for reevaluation of alpha taxonomy. PMID:15120398

  12. UV filters in the lens of the thirteen lined ground squirrel (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus).

    PubMed

    Hains, P G; Simpanya, M F; Giblin, F; Truscott, R J W

    2006-04-01

    Major UV filters have been identified in the lens of the 13 lined ground squirrel (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus). These were found to be N-acetyl-3-hydroxykynurenine and N-acetyl-kynurenine, in addition to a small quantity of 3-hydroxykynurenine. The level of N-acetyl-3-hydroxykynurenine measured in the ground squirrel lens, 8.2mM, is approximately 11 times the concentration of 3-hyroxykynurenine glucoside reported previously for the human lens. Two additional UV filters of related structure were also present; however, their structures are still under investigation. HPLC elution profiles indicated that the ground squirrel lens cortex and nucleus contained comparable amounts of alpha-, beta(H)-, beta(L)-, and gamma-crystallins. Levels of GSH in the cortex and nucleus were 12.4 and 7.4mM, respectively. Such high concentrations of GSH may act to inhibit oxidation of the 3-hydroxykynurenine and N-acetyl-3-hydroxykynurenine. N-Acetylated kynurenines are less labile than those with free alpha-amino groups since N-acetyl-alpha-amino groups do not undergo spontaneous deamination. This modification thus stabilises the squirrel UV filters. In addition, because deamination is prevented, the decomposition products will not be involved in binding to lens proteins. Because of the similarity of the UV filters present in the ground squirrel to those in man, this species may be a suitable animal model for investigating the effects of UV radiation on cataract, and other ocular diseases, thought to involve exposure to light.

  13. Bipolar cells of the ground squirrel retina.

    PubMed

    Puller, Christian; Ondreka, Katharina; Haverkamp, Silke

    2011-03-01

    Parallel processing of an image projected onto the retina starts at the first synapse, the cone pedicle, and each cone feeds its light signal into a minimum of eight different bipolar cell types. Hence, the morphological classification of bipolar cells is a prerequisite for analyzing retinal circuitry. Here we applied common bipolar cell markers to the cone-dominated ground squirrel retina, studied the labeling by confocal microscopy and electron microscopy, and compared the resulting bipolar cell types with those of the mouse (rod dominated) and primate retina. Eight different cone bipolar cell types (three OFF and five ON) and one rod bipolar cell were distinguished. The major criteria for classifying the cells were their immunocytochemical identity, their dendritic branching pattern, and the shape and stratification level of their axons in the inner plexiform layer (IPL). Immunostaining with antibodies against Gγ13, a marker for ON bipolar cells, made it possible to separate OFF and ON bipolars. Recoverin-positive OFF bipolar cells partly overlapped with ON bipolar axon terminals at the ON/OFF border of the IPL. Antibodies against HCN4 labeled the S-cone selective (bb) bipolar cell. The calcium-binding protein CaB5 was expressed in two OFF and two ON cone bipolar cell types, and CD15 labeled a widefield ON cone bipolar cell comparable to the DB6 in primate.

  14. Thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) show microstructural bone loss during hibernation but preserve bone macrostructural geometry and strength.

    PubMed

    McGee-Lawrence, Meghan E; Stoll, Danielle M; Mantila, Emily R; Fahrner, Bryna K; Carey, Hannah V; Donahue, Seth W

    2011-04-15

    Lack of activity causes bone loss In most animals. Hibernating bears have physiological processes to prevent cortical and trabecular bone loss associated with reduced physical activity, but different mechanisms of torpor among hibernating species may lead to differences in skeletal responses to hibernation. There are conflicting reports regarding whether small mammals experience bone loss during hibernation. To investigate this phenomenon, we measured cortical and trabecular bone properties in physically active and hibernating juvenile and adult 13-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus, previous genus name Spermophilus). Cortical bone geometry, strength and mineral content were similar in hibernating compared with active squirrels, suggesting that hibernation did not cause macrostructural cortical bone loss. Osteocyte lacunar size increased (linear regression, P=0.001) over the course of hibernation in juvenile squirrels, which may indicate an osteocytic role in mineral homeostasis during hibernation. Osteocyte lacunar density and porosity were greater (+44 and +59%, respectively; P<0.0001) in hibernating compared with active squirrels, which may reflect a decrease in osteoblastic activity (per cell) during hibernation. Trabecular bone volume fraction in the proximal tibia was decreased (-20%; P=0.028) in hibernating compared with physically active adult squirrels, but was not different between hibernating and active juvenile squirrels. Taken together, these data suggest that 13-lined ground squirrels may be unable to prevent microstructural losses of cortical and trabecular bone during hibernation, but importantly may possess a biological mechanism to preserve cortical bone macrostructure and strength during hibernation, thus preventing an increased risk of bone fracture during remobilization in the spring.

  15. How habitat features shape ground squirrel (Urocitellus beldingi) navigation.

    PubMed

    Bruck, Jason N; Mateo, Jill M

    2010-05-01

    The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether Belding's ground squirrels (Urocitellus beldingi) from areas rich in beacons perform differently in a task of spatial memory compared with squirrels from beacon-thin areas. To assess the role of environmental experience in spatial memory, wild-born squirrels with several days of experience in the field were compared with squirrels born in a lab and with no experience in their original habitat. Over two summers, squirrels captured from beacon-dense and beacon-thin areas were tested in a radial maze interspersed with beacons, using number of trials to criterion as a measure of spatial memory. To evaluate the effect of landmark navigation, in year 2 juveniles were prevented from seeing outside the maze area. In both years squirrels from beacon-dense populations reached criterion faster than squirrels from beacon-thin populations, and a weak rearing effect was present in 1 year. Despite sex differences in adult spatial skills, no differences were found between males and females in the maze. This demonstrates variation in the navigation strategies of young U. beldingi, and highlights the need to evaluate spatial preferences as a function of population or ecology in addition to species and sex.

  16. A new hepadnavirus endemic in arctic ground squirrels in Alaska.

    PubMed Central

    Testut, P; Renard, C A; Terradillos, O; Vitvitski-Trepo, L; Tekaia, F; Degott, C; Blake, J; Boyer, B; Buendia, M A

    1996-01-01

    We present evidence for a novel member of the hepadnavirus family that is endemic in wild arctic ground squirrels (Spermophylus parryi kennicotti) in Alaska. This virus, designated arctic squirrel hepatitis virus (ASHV), was initially detected in the livers of animals bearing large hepatic nodules by nucleic acid hybridization with hepadnavirus probes and in plasma by cross-reactivity with antibodies to hepadnavirus surface and core antigens. The complete nucleotide sequence of the 3,302-bp-long ASHV genome was determined and compared with those of ground squirrel hepatitis virus (GSHV) and woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV); all sequences were organized into four open reading frames, designated pre-C/C, pre-S/S, pol, and X. Despite roughly equivalent variability among the three rodent hepadnaviruses (around 16% base and 19% amino acid exchanges), ASHV appeared to be more closely related to GSHV than to WHV in phylogenetic analysis. Accordingly, preliminary studies of the pathology of ASHV infection suggested that ASHV may be a less efficient oncogenic agent than WHV. About one-third of aged animals maintained in captivity, including virus-infected as well as uninfected squirrels, developed large liver nodules, consisting of hepatocellular adenomas or carcinomas or nonmalignant lesions characterized by drastic microvesicular steatosis. ASHV-infected arctic ground squirrels may serve as a new model with which to analyze the contribution of hepadnavirus- and host-specific determinants to liver pathology and tumorigenesis. PMID:8676441

  17. Hepatic capillariasis in a Cape ground squirrel (Xerus inaurus).

    PubMed

    Erlwanger, K H; De Witt, B A; Fick, L G; Hetem, R S; Meyer, L C R; Mitchell, D; Wilson, W A; Mitchell, B

    2009-12-01

    We report, for the first time, an incidental finding of Calodium hepaticum infestation in a sub-adult female Cape ground squirrel (Xerus inaurus). Post mortem examination of the squirrel revealed severe haemoperitoneum, splenomegaly and hepatomegaly with miliary white spots distributed diffusely throughout the hepatic parenchyma. Histologically the portal tracts in the liver showed granulomatous inflammation with fibrosis and numerous giant cells. Occasional adult worms were identified and there were multiple C. hepaticum eggs distributed diffusely throughout the portal tracts and the parenchyma. The spleen also contained C. hepaticum eggs. The genus Rattus is the primary host and reservoir of C. hepaticum, but C. hepaticum infections have been reported previously in other Sciuridae. Based on our findings, people should be cautious of the zoonotic potential of C. hepaticum, when they come into contact with the Cape ground squirrel.

  18. Karyotypic evolution of the family Sciuridae: inferences from the genome organizations of ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Li, T; Wang, J; Su, W; Nie, W; Yang, F

    2006-01-01

    Cross-species chromosome painting has made a great contribution to our understanding of the evolution of karyotypes and genome organizations of mammals. Several recent papers of comparative painting between tree and flying squirrels have shed some light on the evolution of the family Sciuridae and the order Rodentia. In the present study we have extended the comparative painting to the Himalayan marmot (Marmotahimalayana) and the African ground squirrel (Xerus cf. erythropus), i.e. representative species from another important squirrel group--the ground squirrels--, and have established genome-wide comparative chromosome maps between human, eastern gray squirrel, and these two ground squirrels. The results show that 1) the squirrels so far studied all have conserved karyotypes that resemble the ancestral karyotype of the order Rodentia; 2) the African ground squirrels could have retained the ancestral karyotype of the family Sciuridae. Furthermore, we have mapped the evolutionary rearrangements onto a molecular-based consensus phylogenetic tree of the family Sciuridae.

  19. Proteomic analysis of the winter-protected phenotype of hibernating ground squirrel intestine.

    PubMed

    Martin, Sandra L; Epperson, L Elaine; Rose, James C; Kurtz, Courtney C; Ané, Cécile; Carey, Hannah V

    2008-07-01

    The intestine of hibernating ground squirrels is protected against damage by ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. This resistance does not depend on the low body temperature of torpor; rather, it is exhibited during natural interbout arousals that periodically return hibernating animals to euthermia. Here we use fluorescence two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis (DIGE) to identify protein spot differences in intestines of 13-lined ground squirrels in the sensitive and protected phases of the circannual hibernation cycle, comparing sham-treated control animals with those exposed to I/R. Protein spot differences distinguished the sham-treated summer and hibernating samples, as well as the response to I/R between summer and hibernating intestines. The majority of protein changes among these groups were attributed to a seasonal difference between summer and winter hibernators. Many of the protein spots that differed were unambiguously identified by high-pressure liquid chromatography followed by tandem mass spectrometry of their constituent peptides. Western blot analysis confirmed significant upregulation for three of the proteins, albumin, apolipoprotein A-I, and ubiquitin hydrolase L1, that were identified in the DIGE analysis as increased in sham-treated hibernating squirrels compared with sham-treated summer squirrels. This study identifies several candidate proteins that may contribute to hibernation-induced protection of the gut during natural torpor-arousal cycles and experimental I/R injury. It also reveals the importance of enterocyte maturation in defining the hibernating gut proteome and the role of changing cell populations for the differences between sham and I/R-treated summer animals.

  20. Metabolism of brain cortex and cardiac muscle mitochondria in hibernating 13-lined ground squirrels Ictidomys tridecemlineatus.

    PubMed

    Gallagher, Kirsten; Staples, James F

    2013-01-01

    During bouts of torpor, mitochondrial metabolism is known to be suppressed in the liver and skeletal muscle of hibernating mammals. This suppression is rapidly reversed during interbout euthermic (IBE) phases, when whole-animal metabolic rate and body temperature (T(b)) return spontaneously to euthermic levels. Such mitochondrial suppression may contribute significantly to energy savings, but the capacity of other tissues to suppress mitochondrial metabolism remains unclear. In this study we compared the metabolism of mitochondria from brain cortex and left ventricular cardiac muscle between animals sampled while torpid (stable T(b) near 5°C) and in IBE (stable T(b) near 37°C). Instead of isolating mitochondria using the traditional methods of homogenization and centrifugation, we permeabilized tissue slices with saponin, allowing energetic substrates and inhibitors to access mitochondria. No significant differences in state 3 or state 4 respiration were observed between torpor and IBE in either tissue. In general, succinate produced the highest oxidation rates followed by pyruvate and then glutamate, palmitoyl carnitine, and β-hydroxybutyrate. These findings suggest that there is no suppression of mitochondrial metabolism or change in substrate preference in these two tissues despite the large changes in whole-animal metabolism seen between torpor and IBE. PMID:23303316

  1. Social conditioned place preference in the captive ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus): Social reward as a natural phenotype.

    PubMed

    Lahvis, Garet P; Panksepp, Jules B; Kennedy, Bruce C; Wilson, Clarinda R; Merriman, Dana K

    2015-08-01

    Social behaviors of wild animals are often considered within an ultimate framework of adaptive benefits versus survival risks. By contrast, studies of laboratory animals more typically focus on affective aspects of behavioral decisions, whether a rodent derives a rewarding experience from social encounter, and how this experience might be initiated and maintained by neural circuits. Artificial selection and inbreeding have rendered laboratory animals more affiliative and less aggressive than their wild conspecifics, leaving open the possibility that social reward is an artifact of domestication. We compared social behaviors of wild and captive population of juvenile 13-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus), the latter being 2nd- and 3rd-generation descendants of wild individuals. At an age corresponding to emergence from the burrow, postnatal day (PD) 38, captive squirrels engaged in vigorous social approach and play and these juvenile behaviors declined significantly by PD 56. Similarly, young wild squirrels expressed social proximity and play; affiliative interactions declined with summer's progression and were replaced by agonistic chasing behaviors. Social conditioned place preference testing (conditioned PDs 40-50) indicated that adolescent squirrels derived a rewarding experience from social reunion. Our results support the contention that undomesticated rodents have the capacity for social reward and more generally suggest the possibility that positive affective experiences may support group cohesion, social cooperation, and altruism in the wild.

  2. Social conditioned place preference in the captive ground squirrel Ictidomys tridecemlineatus: Social reward as a natural phenotype

    PubMed Central

    Lahvis, Garet P.; Panksepp, Jules B.; Kennedy, Bruce C.; Wilson, Clarinda R.; Merriman, Dana K.

    2015-01-01

    Social behaviors of wild animals are often considered within an ultimate framework of adaptive benefits versus survival risks. By contrast, studies of laboratory animals more typically focus on affective aspects of behavioral decisions, whether a rodent derives a rewarding experience from social encounter and how this experience might be initiated and maintained by neural circuits. Artificial selection and inbreeding have rendered laboratory animals more affiliative and less aggressive than their wild conspecifics, leaving open the possibility that social reward is an artifact of domestication. We compared social behaviors of wild and captive population of juvenile 13-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus), the latter 2nd and 3rd generation descendents of wild individuals. At an age corresponding to emergence from the burrow, postnatal day 38, captive squirrels engaged in vigorous social approach and play; these juvenile behaviors declined significantly by postnatal day 56. Similarly, young wild squirrels expressed social proximity and play, affiliative interactions declined with summer’s progression and were replaced by agonistic chasing behaviors. Social conditioned place preference testing (conditioned postnatal days 40–50) indicated that adolescent squirrels derived a rewarding experience from social reunion. Our results support the contention that undomesticated rodents have the capacity for social reward and more generally suggest the possibility that positive affective experiences may support group cohesion and social cooperation in the wild. PMID:26147706

  3. Populations and habitat relationships of Piute ground squirrels in southwest Idaho

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Steenhof, Karen; Yensen, Eric; Kochert, Michael N.; Gage, K.

    2006-01-01

    Piute ground squirrels (Spermophilus mollis idahoensis) are normally above ground from late January until late June or early July in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in southwestern Idaho. In 2002 they were rarely seen above ground after early May. Because of the ecological importance of ground squirrels for nesting raptors and other species, we sought to determine the reasons for their early disappearance. We sampled 12 sites from January 2003 through March 2003 to determine if a population crash had occurred in 2002. Tests indicated that Piute ground squirrels had not been exposed to plague within the past year. The presence of yearlings in the population indicated that squirrels reproduced in 2002 and that at least some yearlings survived the winter. Both yearling and adult squirrels appeared to be reproducing at or above normal rates in 2003. The most plausible explanation for the early disappearance of Piute ground squirrels in 2002 is that squirrels entered seasonal torpor early in response to a late spring drought. In addition, the breeding chronology of squirrels may have shifted during the past 2 decades in response to climate change and/or habitat alteration. Shrub habitats provide a more favorable and stable environment for squirrels than grass habitats. Squirrel abundance was higher on live-trapping grids with sagebrush than on grids dominated by grass, and squirrel masses were higher at sites dominated by shrubs and Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda). Densities in big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) were within the ranges reported for earlier years, but densities in grass were lower than previously reported. Low densities at grassland sites in 2003 support other findings that drought affects squirrels in altered grass communities more than those in native shrub habitats. Long-term shifts in ground squirrel breeding chronology may have implications for raptors that depend on them for food.

  4. Regulation of Akt during torpor in the hibernating ground squirrel, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus.

    PubMed

    McMullen, David C; Hallenbeck, John M

    2010-08-01

    The 13-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) is capable of entering into extended periods of torpor during winter hibernation. The state of torpor represents a hypometabolic shift wherein the rate of oxygen consuming processes are strongly repressed in an effort to maintain cellular homeostasis as the availability of food energy becomes limited. We are interested in studying hibernation/torpor because of the robust state of tolerance to constrained oxygen delivery, oligemia, and hypothermia achieved by the tissues of hibernating mammals. The role of the serine/threonine kinase Akt (also known as PKB) has been examined in torpor in previous studies. However, this is the first study that examines the level of Akt phosphorylation in the liver during the two transition phases of the hibernation cycle: entrance into torpor, and the subsequent arousal from torpor. Our results indicate that Akt is activated in the squirrel liver by phosphorylation of two key residues (Thr(308) and Ser(473)) during entrance into torpor and arousal from torpor. Moreover, we observed increased phosphorylation of key substrates of Akt during the two transition stages of torpor. Finally, this study reports the novel finding that PRAS40, a component of the TORC1 multi-protein complex and a potentially important modulator of metabolism, is regulated during torpor.

  5. Fitness implications of seasonal climate variation in Columbian ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Dobson, F Stephen; Lane, Jeffrey E; Low, Matthew; Murie, Jan O

    2016-08-01

    The influence of climate change on the fitness of wild populations is often studied in the context of the spring onset of the reproductive season. This focus is relevant for climate influences on reproductive success, but neglects other fitness-relevant periods (e.g., autumn preparation for overwintering). We examined variation in climate variables (temperature, rainfall, snowfall, and snowpack) across the full annual cycle of Columbian ground squirrels (Urocitellus columbianus) for 21 years. We investigated seasonal climate variables that were associated with fitness variables, climate variables that exhibited directional changes across the study period, and finally observed declines in fitness (-0.03 units/year; total decline = 37%) that were associated with directional changes in climate variables. Annual fitness of adult female ground squirrels was positively associated with spring temperature (r = 0.69) and early summer rainfall (r = 0.56) and negatively associated with spring snow conditions (r = -0.44 to -0.66). Across the 21 years, spring snowmelt has become significantly delayed (r = 0.48) and summer rainfall became significantly reduced (r = -0.53). Using a standardized partial regression model, we found that directional changes in the timing of spring snowmelt and early summer rainfall (i.e., progressively drier summers) had moderate influences on annual fitness, with the latter statistically significant (ρ = -0.314 and 0.437, respectively). The summer period corresponds to prehibernation fattening of young and adult ground squirrels. Had we focused on a single point in time (viz. the onset of the breeding season), we would have underestimated the influences of climate change on our population. Rather, we obtained a comprehensive understanding of the influences of climate change on individual fitness by investigating the full lifecycle. PMID:27547341

  6. Fitness implications of seasonal climate variation in Columbian ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Dobson, F Stephen; Lane, Jeffrey E; Low, Matthew; Murie, Jan O

    2016-08-01

    The influence of climate change on the fitness of wild populations is often studied in the context of the spring onset of the reproductive season. This focus is relevant for climate influences on reproductive success, but neglects other fitness-relevant periods (e.g., autumn preparation for overwintering). We examined variation in climate variables (temperature, rainfall, snowfall, and snowpack) across the full annual cycle of Columbian ground squirrels (Urocitellus columbianus) for 21 years. We investigated seasonal climate variables that were associated with fitness variables, climate variables that exhibited directional changes across the study period, and finally observed declines in fitness (-0.03 units/year; total decline = 37%) that were associated with directional changes in climate variables. Annual fitness of adult female ground squirrels was positively associated with spring temperature (r = 0.69) and early summer rainfall (r = 0.56) and negatively associated with spring snow conditions (r = -0.44 to -0.66). Across the 21 years, spring snowmelt has become significantly delayed (r = 0.48) and summer rainfall became significantly reduced (r = -0.53). Using a standardized partial regression model, we found that directional changes in the timing of spring snowmelt and early summer rainfall (i.e., progressively drier summers) had moderate influences on annual fitness, with the latter statistically significant (ρ = -0.314 and 0.437, respectively). The summer period corresponds to prehibernation fattening of young and adult ground squirrels. Had we focused on a single point in time (viz. the onset of the breeding season), we would have underestimated the influences of climate change on our population. Rather, we obtained a comprehensive understanding of the influences of climate change on individual fitness by investigating the full lifecycle.

  7. Transmission of ground squirrel hepatitis virus to homologous and heterologous hosts.

    PubMed

    Trueba, D; Phelan, M; Nelson, J; Beck, F; Pecha, B S; Brown, R J; Varmus, H E; Ganem, D

    1985-01-01

    The infectivity and host range of ground squirrel hepatitis virus (GSHV) have been further examined by animal inoculation experiments. Although carrier squirrel sera usually harbor 10(9) to 10(10) virions per ml as determined by physical measurements, titration of one such serum revealed that squirrel infectivity was lost following dilution of the sample over 10(6)-fold. Infectivity is markedly reduced by NP40 pretreatment of infected serum. GSHV infection cannot be readily transmitted to several related ground squirrel species, but chipmunks can be experimentally infected by GSHV virions or by cloned GSHV DNA, and the resulting infection closely resembles that seen in the normal host.

  8. The demographic basis of population regulation in columbian ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Dobson, F S; Oli, M K

    2001-09-01

    Environmental factors influence the dynamics and regulation of biological populations through their influences on demographic variables, but demographic mechanisms of population regulation have received little attention. We investigated the demographic basis of regulation of Columbian ground squirrel (Spermophilus columbianus) populations under natural and experimentally food-supplemented conditions. Food supplementation caused substantial increases in population density, and population densities returned to pretreatment levels when the supplementation ended. Control (untreated) populations remained relatively stable throughout the study period (1981-1986). Because food resources regulated the size of the ground squirrel populations, we used life-table response experiment (LTRE) analyses to examine the demographic basis of changes in population growth rate and thus also demographic influences on population regulation. LTRE analyses of two food-manipulated populations revealed that changes in age at maturity and fertility rate of females generally made the largest contributions to observed changes in population growth rate. Thus, our results suggested that abundance of food resources regulated the size of our study populations through the effects of food resources on age at maturity and fertility rates. Our results also indicated that different demographic mechanisms can underlie population regulation under different environmental conditions, because lower juvenile survival substantially contributed to population decline, but in only one of the populations. Demographic analyses of experimental data, such as those presented here, offer a rigorous and unambiguous means to elucidate the demographic basis of population regulation and to help identify environmental factors that underlie dynamics and regulation of biological populations. PMID:18707321

  9. Donning your enemy's cloak: ground squirrels exploit rattlesnake scent to reduce predation risk.

    PubMed

    Clucas, Barbara; Owings, Donald H; Rowe, Matthew P

    2008-04-01

    Ground squirrels (Spermophilus spp.) have evolved a battery of defences against the rattlesnakes (Crotalus spp.) that have preyed on them for millions of years. The distinctive behavioural reactions by these squirrels to rattlesnakes have recently been shown to include self-application of rattlesnake scent-squirrels apply scent by vigorously licking their fur after chewing on shed rattlesnake skins. Here, we present evidence that this behaviour is a novel antipredator defence founded on exploitation of a foreign scent. We tested three functional hypotheses for snake scent application--antipredator, conspecific deterrence and ectoparasite defence--by examining reactions to rattlesnake scent by rattlesnakes, ground squirrels and ectoparasites (fleas). Rattlesnakes were more attracted to ground squirrel scent than to ground squirrel scent mixed with rattlesnake scent or rattlesnake scent alone. However, ground squirrel behaviour and flea host choice were not affected by rattlesnake scent. Thus, ground squirrels can reduce the risk of rattlesnake predation by applying rattlesnake scent to their bodies, potentially as a form of olfactory camouflage. Opportunistic exploitation of heterospecific scents may be widespread; many species self-apply foreign odours, but few such cases have been demonstrated to serve in antipredator defence.

  10. Donning your enemy's cloak: ground squirrels exploit rattlesnake scent to reduce predation risk

    PubMed Central

    Clucas, Barbara; Owings, Donald H; Rowe, Matthew P

    2008-01-01

    Ground squirrels (Spermophilus spp.) have evolved a battery of defences against the rattlesnakes (Crotalus spp.) that have preyed on them for millions of years. The distinctive behavioural reactions by these squirrels to rattlesnakes have recently been shown to include self-application of rattlesnake scent—squirrels apply scent by vigorously licking their fur after chewing on shed rattlesnake skins. Here, we present evidence that this behaviour is a novel antipredator defence founded on exploitation of a foreign scent. We tested three functional hypotheses for snake scent application—antipredator, conspecific deterrence and ectoparasite defence—by examining reactions to rattlesnake scent by rattlesnakes, ground squirrels and ectoparasites (fleas). Rattlesnakes were more attracted to ground squirrel scent than to ground squirrel scent mixed with rattlesnake scent or rattlesnake scent alone. However, ground squirrel behaviour and flea host choice were not affected by rattlesnake scent. Thus, ground squirrels can reduce the risk of rattlesnake predation by applying rattlesnake scent to their bodies, potentially as a form of olfactory camouflage. Opportunistic exploitation of heterospecific scents may be widespread; many species self-apply foreign odours, but few such cases have been demonstrated to serve in antipredator defence. PMID:18198147

  11. Seasonal proteomic changes reveal molecular adaptations to preserve and replenish liver proteins during ground squirrel hibernation.

    PubMed

    Epperson, L Elaine; Rose, James C; Carey, Hannah V; Martin, Sandra L

    2010-02-01

    Hibernators are unique among mammals in their ability to survive extended periods of time with core body temperatures near freezing and with dramatically reduced heart, respiratory, and metabolic rates in a state known as torpor. To gain insight into the molecular events underlying this remarkable physiological phenotype, we applied a proteomic screening approach to identify liver proteins that differ between the summer active (SA) and the entrance (Ent) phase of winter hibernation in 13-lined ground squirrels. The relative abundance of 1,600 protein spots separated on two-dimensional gels was quantitatively determined using fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis, and 74 unique proteins exhibiting significant differences between the two states were identified using liquid chromatography followed by tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Proteins elevated in Ent hibernators included liver fatty acid-binding protein, fatty acid transporter, and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase, which support the known metabolic fuel switch to lipid and ketone body utilization in winter. Several proteins involved in protein stability and protein folding were also elevated in the Ent phase, consistent with previous findings. In contrast to transcript screening results, there was a surprising increase in the abundance of proteins involved in protein synthesis during Ent hibernation, including several initiation and elongation factors. This finding, coupled with decreased abundance of numerous proteins involved in amino acid and nitrogen metabolism, supports the intriguing hypothesis that the mechanism of protein preservation and resynthesis is used by hibernating ground squirrels to help avoid nitrogen toxicity and ensure preservation of essential amino acids throughout the long winter fast.

  12. Influence of habitat on behavior of Towndsend's ground squirrels (Spermophilus townsendii)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sharpe, Peter B.; Van Horne, Beatrice

    1998-01-01

    Trade-offs between foraging and predator avoidance may affect an animal's survival and reproduction. These trade-offs may be influenced by differences in vegetative cover, especially if foraging profitability and predation risk differ among habitats. We examined above-ground activity of Townsend's ground squirrels (Spermophilus townsendii) in four habitats in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in southwestern Idaho to determine if behavior of ground squirrels varied among habitats, and we assessed factors that might affect perceived predation risk (i. e. predator detectability, predation pressure, population density). The proportion of time spent in vigilance by ground squirrels in winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata) and mosaic habitats of winterfat-sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) was more than twice that of ground squirrels in burned and unburned sagebrush habitats. We found no evidence for the 'many-eyes' hypothesis as an explanation for differences in vigilance among habitats. Instead, environmental heterogeneity, especially vegetation structure, likely influenced activity budgets of ground squirrels. Differences in vigilance may have been caused by differences in predator detectability and refuge availability, because ground squirrels in the winterfat and mosaic habitats also spent more time in upright vigilant postures than ground squirrels in burned-sagebrush or sagebrush habitats. Such postures may enhance predator detection in low-growing winterfat.

  13. Early Wisconsinan (MIS 4) Arctic ground squirrel middens and a squirrel-eye-view of the mammoth-steppe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zazula, Grant D.; Froese, Duane G.; Elias, Scott A.; Kuzmina, Svetlana; Mathewes, Rolf W.

    2011-08-01

    Fossil arctic ground squirrel ( Spermophilus parryii) middens were recovered from ice-rich loess sediments in association with Sheep Creek-Klondike and Dominion Creek tephras (ca 80 ka) exposed in west-central Yukon. These middens provide plant and insect macrofossil evidence for a steppe-tundra ecosystem during the Early Wisconsinan (MIS 4) glacial interval. Midden plant and insect macrofossil data are compared with those previously published for Late Wisconsinan middens dating to ˜25-29 14C ka BP (MIS 3/2) from the region. Although multivariate statistical comparisons suggest differences between the relative abundances of plant macrofossils, the co-occurrence of steppe-tundra plants and insects (e.g., Elymus trachycaulus, Kobresia myosuroides, Artemisia frigida, Phlox hoodii, Connatichela artemisiae) provides evidence for successive reestablishment of the zonal steppe-tundra habitats during cold stages of the Late Pleistocene. Arctic ground squirrels were well adapted to the cold, arid climates, steppe-tundra vegetation and well-drained loessal soils that characterize cold stages of Late Pleistocene Beringia. These glacial conditions enabled arctic ground squirrel populations to expand their range to the interior regions of Alaska and Yukon, including the Klondike, where they are absent today. Arctic ground squirrels have endured numerous Quaternary climate oscillations by retracting populations to disjunct "interglacial refugia" during warm interglacial periods (e.g., south-facing steppe slopes, well-drained arctic and alpine tundra areas) and expanding their distribution across the mammoth-steppe biome during cold, arid glacial intervals.

  14. Ground squirrels use an infrared signal to deter rattlesnake predation

    PubMed Central

    Rundus, Aaron S.; Owings, Donald H.; Joshi, Sanjay S.; Chinn, Erin; Giannini, Nicolas

    2007-01-01

    The evolution of communicative signals involves a major hurdle; signals need to effectively stimulate the sensory systems of their targets. Therefore, sensory specializations of target animals are important sources of selection on signal structure. Here we report the discovery of an animal signal that uses a previously unknown communicative modality, infrared radiation or “radiant heat,” which capitalizes on the infrared sensory capabilities of the signal's target. California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) add an infrared component to their snake-directed tail-flagging signals when confronting infrared-sensitive rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus), but tail flag without augmenting infrared emission when confronting infrared-insensitive gopher snakes (Pituophis melanoleucus). Experimental playbacks with a biorobotic squirrel model reveal this signal's communicative function. When the infrared component was added to the tail flagging display of the robotic models, rattlesnakes exhibited a greater shift from predatory to defensive behavior than during control trials in which tail flagging included no infrared component. These findings provide exceptionally strong support for the hypothesis that the sensory systems of signal targets should, in general, channel the evolution of signal structure. Furthermore, the discovery of previously undescribed signaling modalities such as infrared radiation should encourage us to overcome our own human-centered sensory biases and more fully examine the form and diversity of signals in the repertoires of many animal species. PMID:17704254

  15. Karyotypic evolution of the family Sciuridae: inferences from the genome organizations of ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Li, T; Wang, J; Su, W; Nie, W; Yang, F

    2006-01-01

    Cross-species chromosome painting has made a great contribution to our understanding of the evolution of karyotypes and genome organizations of mammals. Several recent papers of comparative painting between tree and flying squirrels have shed some light on the evolution of the family Sciuridae and the order Rodentia. In the present study we have extended the comparative painting to the Himalayan marmot (Marmotahimalayana) and the African ground squirrel (Xerus cf. erythropus), i.e. representative species from another important squirrel group--the ground squirrels--, and have established genome-wide comparative chromosome maps between human, eastern gray squirrel, and these two ground squirrels. The results show that 1) the squirrels so far studied all have conserved karyotypes that resemble the ancestral karyotype of the order Rodentia; 2) the African ground squirrels could have retained the ancestral karyotype of the family Sciuridae. Furthermore, we have mapped the evolutionary rearrangements onto a molecular-based consensus phylogenetic tree of the family Sciuridae. PMID:16484783

  16. Ground-squirrel mounds and related patterned ground along the San Andreas Fault in Central California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wallace, Robert E.

    1991-01-01

    Extensive areas of mound topography and related patterned ground, apparently derived from the mounds of the California Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi beecheyi), are in central California.  The relation of patterned ground to the San Andreas fault west of Bakersfield may provide insight into the timing of deformation along the fault as well as the history of ground squirrels.  Mound topography appears to have evolved through several stages from scattered mounds currently being constructed on newly deposited alluvial surfaces, to saturation of areas by mounds, followed by coalescence, elongation and lineation of the mounds.  Elongation, coalescence and modification of the mounds has been primarily by wind, but to a lesser extent by drainage and solifluction.  A time frame including ages of 4,000, 10,500, 29,000, and 73,000 years BP is derived by relating the patterns to slip on the San Andreas fault.  Further relating of the patterns to faulting, tilting, and warping may illuminate details of the rates and history of deformation.  Similarly, relating the patterns to the history of ground squirrel activity may help answer such problems as rates of dispersal and limits on population density.

  17. Daily rhythmicity and hibernation in the Anatolian ground squirrel under natural and laboratory conditions.

    PubMed

    Kart Gür, Mutlu; Refinetti, Roberto; Gür, Hakan

    2009-02-01

    We studied daily rhythmicity of body temperature (T(b)) before and during hibernation in Anatolian ground squirrels (Spermophilus xanthoprymnus) under natural and laboratory conditions using surgically implanted temperature loggers. Under both conditions, robust daily T(b) rhythmicity with parameters comparable to those of other ground squirrel species was observed before but not during hibernation. Euthermic animals had robust daily T(b) rhythms with a mean of 37.0 degrees C and a range of excursion of approximately 4 degrees C. No T(b) rhythm was detected during torpor bouts, either because T(b) rhythmicity was absent or because the daily range of excursion was smaller than 0.2 degrees C. The general patterns of hibernation that we observed in Anatolian ground squirrels were similar to those previously observed by other investigators in other species of ground squirrels.

  18. Increased Na+/Ca2+ exchanger activity promotes resistance to excitotoxicity in cortical neurons of the ground squirrel (a Hibernator).

    PubMed

    Zhao, Juan-Juan; Gao, Shan; Jing, Jun-Zhan; Zhu, Ming-Yue; Zhou, Chen; Chai, Zhen

    2014-01-01

    Ground squirrel, a hibernating mammalian species, is more resistant to ischemic brain stress than rat. Gaining insight into the adaptive mechanisms of ground squirrels may help us design treatment strategies to reduce brain damage in patients suffering ischemic stroke. To understand the anti-stress mechanisms in ground squirrel neurons, we studied glutamate toxicity in primary cultured neurons of the Daurian ground squirrel (Spermophilus dauricus). At the neuronal level, for the first time, we found that ground squirrel was more resistant to glutamate excitotoxicity than rat. Mechanistically, ground squirrel neurons displayed a similar calcium influx to the rat neurons in response to glutamate or N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) perfusion. However, the rate of calcium removal in ground squirrel neurons was markedly faster than in rat neurons. This allows ground squirrel neurons to maintain lower level of intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) upon glutamate insult. Moreover, we found that Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX) activity was higher in ground squirrel neurons than in rat neurons. We also proved that overexpression of ground squirrel NCX2, rather than NCX1 or NCX3, in rat neurons promoted neuron survival against glutamate toxicity. Taken together, our results indicate that ground squirrel neurons are better at maintaining calcium homeostasis than rat neurons and this is likely achieved through the activity of ground squirrel NCX2. Our findings not only reveal an adaptive mechanism of mammalian hibernators at the cellular level, but also suggest that NCX2 of ground squirrel may have therapeutic value for suppressing brain ischemic damage.

  19. Phospholipids of liver cell nuclei during hibernation of Yakutian ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Lakhina, A A; Markevich, L N; Zakharova, N M; Afanasyev, V N; Kolomiytseva, I K; Fesenko, E E

    2016-07-01

    In hibernating Yakutian ground squirrels S. undulatus, the content of total phospholipids in the nuclei of liver increased by 40% compared to that in animals in summer. In torpid state, the amount of sphingomyelin increased almost 8 times; phosphatidylserine, 7 times; and cardiolipin, 4 times. In active "winter" ground squirrels, the amount of sphingomyelin, phosphatidylserine, and cardiolipin decreased compared to the hibernating individuals but remained high compared to the "summer" ones. The torpor state did not affect the amount of lysophosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylinositol.

  20. Seasonal and post-trauma remodeling in cone-dominant ground squirrel retina.

    PubMed

    Merriman, Dana K; Sajdak, Benjamin S; Li, Wei; Jones, Bryan W

    2016-09-01

    With a photoreceptor mosaic containing ∼85% cones, the ground squirrel is one of the richest known mammalian sources of these important retinal cells. It also has a visual ecology much like the human's. While the ground squirrel retina is understandably prominent in the cone biochemistry, physiology, and circuitry literature, far less is known about the remodeling potential of its retinal pigment epithelium, neurons, macroglia, or microglia. This review aims to summarize the data from ground squirrel retina to this point in time, and to relate them to data from other brain areas where appropriate. We begin with a survey of the ground squirrel visual system, making comparisons with traditional rodent models and with human. Because this animal's status as a hibernator often goes unnoticed in the vision literature, we then present a brief primer on hibernation biology. Next we review what is known about ground squirrel retinal remodeling concurrent with deep torpor and with rapid recovery upon re-warming. Notable here is rapidly-reversible, temperature-dependent structural plasticity of cone ribbon synapses, as well as pre- and post-synaptic plasticity throughout diverse brain regions. It is not yet clear if retinal cell types other than cones engage in torpor-associated synaptic remodeling. We end with the small but intriguing literature on the ground squirrel retina's remodeling responses to insult by retinal detachment. Notable for widespread loss of (cone) photoreceptors, there is surprisingly little remodeling of the RPE or Müller cells. Microglial activation appears minimal, and remodeling of surviving second- and third-order neurons seems absent, but both require further study. In contrast, traumatic brain injury in the ground squirrel elicits typical macroglial and microglial responses. Overall, the data to date strongly suggest a heretofore unrecognized, natural checkpoint between retinal deafferentiation and RPE and Müller cell remodeling events. As we

  1. Seasonal change in irradiance: a zeitgeber for circannual rhythms in ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Davis, D E

    1991-01-01

    1. Zeitgebers for circannual rhythms have been elusive. Demonstration that an external factor is a zeitgeber requires proof of a phase-shift that endures for several years. 2. The California ground squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi) is an ideal subject. Many features of behavior have circannual rhythms of which change in mass is the easiest to measure. The squirrels thrive in captivity for up to 10 years. The squirrels were kept in individual cages in an air conditioned room, fed lab chow ad lib, and weighed twice a month. They were exposed to a 6-month phase shift of (a) length of day (b) seasonal change in temperature, (c) both, (d) seasonal cycle of irradiance. 3. The squirrels maintained circannual rhythms for up to 9 years. Entrainment was evident only by squirrels exposed to seasonal change in irradiance. PMID:1673890

  2. Ca2+ cycling in heart cells from ground squirrels: adaptive strategies for intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis.

    PubMed

    Li, Xiao-Chen; Wei, Ling; Zhang, Guang-Qin; Bai, Zai-Ling; Hu, Ying-Ying; Zhou, Peng; Bai, Shu-Hua; Chai, Zhen; Lakatta, Edward G; Hao, Xue-Mei; Wang, Shi-Qiang

    2011-01-01

    Heart tissues from hibernating mammals, such as ground squirrels, are able to endure hypothermia, hypoxia and other extreme insulting factors that are fatal for human and nonhibernating mammals. This study was designed to understand adaptive mechanisms involved in intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis in cardiomyocytes from the mammalian hibernator, ground squirrel, compared to rat. Electrophysiological and confocal imaging experiments showed that the voltage-dependence of L-type Ca(2+) current (I(Ca)) was shifted to higher potentials in ventricular myocytes from ground squirrels vs. rats. The elevated threshold of I(Ca) did not compromise the Ca(2+)-induced Ca(2+) release, because a higher depolarization rate and a longer duration of action potential compensated the voltage shift of I(Ca). Both the caffeine-sensitive and caffeine-resistant components of cytosolic Ca(2+) removal were more rapid in ground squirrels. Ca(2+) sparks in ground squirrels exhibited larger amplitude/size and much lower frequency than in rats. Due to the high I(Ca) threshold, low SR Ca(2+) leak and rapid cytosolic Ca(2+) clearance, heart cells from ground squirrels exhibited better capability in maintaining intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis than those from rats and other nonhibernating mammals. These findings not only reveal adaptive mechanisms of hibernation, but also provide novel strategies against Ca(2+) overload-related heart diseases. PMID:21935466

  3. Membrane lipids and morphology of brain cortex synaptosomes isolated from hibernating Yakutian ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Kolomiytseva, Iskra K; Perepelkina, Natalia I; Zharikova, Alevtina D; Popov, Victor I

    2008-12-01

    Synaptosomes were isolated from Yakutian ground squirrel brain cortex of summer and winter hibernating animals in active and torpor states. Synaptosomal membrane cholesterol and phospholipids were determined. The seasonal changes of synaptosomal lipid composition were found. Synaptosomes isolated from hibernating Yakutian ground squirrel brain cortex maintained the cholesterol sphingomyelin, phosphatidylethanolamine, lysophosphatidylcholine, cardiolipin, phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylserine contents 2.5, 1.8, 2.6, 1.8, 1.6, and 1.3 times less, respectively, and the content of phosphatidylcholine twice as much as the one in summer season. The synaptosomal membrane lipid composition of summer animals was shown to be markedly different from that as hibernating ground squirrels and non-hibernating rodents. It is believed that phenotypic changes of synaptosomal membrane lipid composition in summer Yakutian ground squirrel are the important preparation step for hibernation. The phosphatidylethanolamine content was increased in torpor state compared with winter-active state and the molar ratio of cholesterol/phospholipids in synaptosomal membrane of winter torpor ground squirrels was lower than that in active winter and summer animals. These events were supposed to lead to increase of the synaptosomal membrane fluidity during torpor. Synaptosomes isolated from torpor animals have larger sizes and contain a greater number of synaptic vesicles on the synaptosomal profile area. The synaptosomal membrane lipid composition and synaptosome morphology were involved in phenotypic adaptation of Yakutian ground squirrel to hibernation.

  4. [Phylogeny of genus Spermophilus and position of Alashan ground squirrel (Spermophilus alashanicus, Buchner, 1888) on phylogenetic tree of Paleartic short-tailed ground squirrels].

    PubMed

    Kapustina, S Yu; Brandler, O V; Adiya, Ya

    2015-01-01

    Phylogenetic relationships within a group of Paleartic short tailed ground squirrels (Spermophilus), recently defined as genus, are not sufficiently clear and need a critical revision. Interspecies hybridization, found in Eurasian Spermophilus, can affect the results of reconstruction of molecular phylogeny. Alashan ground squirrel position on the phylogenetic tree needs clarification. We analyzed eight nucleotide sequences of cytb gene of S. alashanicus and 127 sequences of other Spermophilus species form GenBank. S.alashanicus and S. dauricus close phylogenetic relationship, and their affinity to ancestral forms of the group are revealed. Monophyly of Colobotis subgenus was confirmed. Paraphyly of eastern and western forms of S. relictus was shown.

  5. Home range, social behavior, and dominance relationships in the African unstriped ground squirrel, Xerus rutilus

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Shea, Thomas J.

    1976-01-01

    A field study of home range, social behavior, and dominance relationships in the African unstriped ground squirrel, Xerus rutilus, was conducted in semi-arid bushland near Kibwezi, Kenya. Ground squirrels lived alone or in small groups in isolated burrow systems and had broadly overlapping home ranges. They were neither territorial or colonial. Home ranges were estimated by visual observation of marked animals and those of males were considerably larger (mean=7.01 hectares (ha); n=4) than those of females (mean=1.37 ha; n-6). A continuum of agonistic behavior ranging from threat to combat is described, although actual combat was rarely observed. Sexual behavior includes a stereotypical tail display by adult males. Dominance relationships, based on 542 observed encounters between marked individuals, include a consistent male dominance over females and a fairly constant linear hierarchy among all individuals with shared home ranges. Similarities in the behavior of African ground squirrels and tree squirrels (Sciurus) are discussed.

  6. Will Arctic ground squirrels impede or accelerate climate-induced vegetation changes to the Arctic tundra?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dalton, J.; Flower, C. E.; Brown, J.; Gonzalez-Meler, M. A.; Whelan, C.

    2014-12-01

    Considerable attention has been given to the climate feedbacks associated with predicted vegetation shifts in the Arctic tundra in response to global environmental change. However, little is known regarding the extent to which consumers can facilitate or respond to shrub expansion. Arctic ground squirrels, the largest and most northern ground squirrel, are abundant and widespread throughout the North American tundra. Their broad diet of seeds, flowers, herbage, bird's eggs and meat speaks to the need to breed, feed, and fatten in a span of some 12-16 weeks that separate their 8-9 month bouts of hibernation with the potential consequence to impact ecosystem dynamics. Therefore Arctic ground squirrels are a good candidate to evaluate whether consumers are mere responders (bottom-up effects) or drivers (top-down) of the observed and predicted vegetation changes. As a start towards this question, we measured the foraging intensity (giving-up densities) of Arctic ground squirrels in experimental food patches within which the squirrels experience diminishing returns as they seek the raisins and peanuts that we provided at the Toolik Lake field station in northern Alaska. If the squirrels show their highest feeding intensity in the shrubs, they may impede vegetation shifts by slowing the establishment and expansion of shrubs in the tundra. Conversely, if they show their lowest feeding intensity within shrub dominated areas, they may accelerate vegetation shifts. We found neither. Feeding intensity varied most among transects and times of day, and least along a tundra-to-shrub vegetation gradient. This suggests that the impacts of squirrels will be heterogeneous - in places responders and in others drivers. We should not be surprised then to see patches of accelerated and impeded vegetation changes in the tundra ecosystem. Some of these patterns may be predictable from the foraging behavior of Arctic ground squirrels.

  7. Use of burrow entrances to indicate densities of Townsend's ground squirrels

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Van Horne, Beatrice; Schooley, R.L.; Knick, Steven T.; Olson, G.S.; Burnham, K.P.

    1997-01-01

    Counts of burrow entrances have been positively correlated with densities of semi-fossorial rodents and used as an index of densities. We evaluated their effectiveness in indexing densities of Townsend's ground squirrels (Spermophilus townsendii) in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (SRBOPNCA), Idaho, by comparing burrow entrance densities to densities of ground squirrels estimated from livetrapping in 2 consecutive years over which squirrel populations declined by >75%. We did not detect a consistent relation between burrow entrance counts and ground squirrel density estimates within or among habitat types. Scatter plots indicated that burrow entrances had little predictive power at intermediate densities. Burrow entrance counts did not reflect the magnitude of a between-year density decline. Repeated counts of entrances late in the squirrels' active season varied in a manner that would be difficult to use for calibration of transects sampled only once during this period. Annual persistence of burrow entrances varied between habitats. Trained observers were inconsistent in assigning active-inactive status to entrances. We recommend that burrow entrance counts not be used as measures or indices of ground squirrel densities in shrubsteppe habitats, and that the method be verified thoroughly before being used in other habitats.

  8. Alternative reproductive tactics in male Cape ground squirrels Xerus inauris.

    PubMed

    Scantlebury, M; Waterman, J M; Bennett, N C

    2008-06-01

    In some animal societies, males vary in the strategies and tactics that they use for reproduction. Explanations for the evolution of alternative tactics have usually focussed on extrinsic factors such as social status, the environment or population density and have rarely examined proximate differences between individuals. Anecdotal evidence suggests that two alternative reproductive tactics occur in cooperatively breeding male Cape ground squirrels. Here we show that there is strong empirical support for physiological and behavioural differences to uphold this claim. 'Dispersed' males have higher resting metabolic rates and a heightened pituitary activity, compared with philopatric 'natal' males that have higher circulating cortisol levels. Dispersed males also spend more time moving and less time feeding than natal males. Additionally, lone males spend a greater proportion of their time vigilant and less of their time foraging than those that were in groups. The choice of whether to stay natal or become a disperser may depend on a number of factors such as age, natal group kin structure and reproductive suppression, and the likelihood of successful reproduction whilst remaining natal. Measuring proximate factors, such as behavioural and endocrine function, may provide valuable insights into mechanisms that underlie the evolution of alternative reproductive tactics. PMID:18325548

  9. Ectoparasites and fitness of female Columbian ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Raveh, Shirley; Neuhaus, Peter; Dobson, F Stephen

    2015-05-26

    Parasites play an important role in the evolution of host traits via natural selection, coevolution and sexually selected ornaments used in mate choice. These evolutionary scenarios assume fitness costs for hosts. To test this assumption, we conducted an ectoparasite removal experiment in free-living Columbian ground squirrels (Urocittelus columbianus) in four populations over three years. Adult females were randomly chosen to be either experimentally treated with anti-parasite treatments (spot-on solution and flea powder, N = 61) or a sham treatment (control, N = 44). We expected that experimental females would show better body condition, increased reproductive success and enhanced survival. Contrary to our expectations, body mass was not significantly different between treatments at mating, birth of litter or weaning of young. Further, neither number nor size of young at weaning differed significantly between the two treatments. Survival to the next spring for adult females and juveniles was not significantly different between experimental and control treatments. Finally, annual fitness was not affected by the treatments. We concluded that females and their offspring were able compensate for the presence of ectoparasites, suggesting little or no fitness costs of parasites for females in the different colonies and during the years of our experiments. PMID:25870399

  10. Ectoparasites and fitness of female Columbian ground squirrels

    PubMed Central

    Raveh, Shirley; Neuhaus, Peter; Dobson, F. Stephen

    2015-01-01

    Parasites play an important role in the evolution of host traits via natural selection, coevolution and sexually selected ornaments used in mate choice. These evolutionary scenarios assume fitness costs for hosts. To test this assumption, we conducted an ectoparasite removal experiment in free-living Columbian ground squirrels (Urocittelus columbianus) in four populations over three years. Adult females were randomly chosen to be either experimentally treated with anti-parasite treatments (spot-on solution and flea powder, N = 61) or a sham treatment (control, N = 44). We expected that experimental females would show better body condition, increased reproductive success and enhanced survival. Contrary to our expectations, body mass was not significantly different between treatments at mating, birth of litter or weaning of young. Further, neither number nor size of young at weaning differed significantly between the two treatments. Survival to the next spring for adult females and juveniles was not significantly different between experimental and control treatments. Finally, annual fitness was not affected by the treatments. We concluded that females and their offspring were able compensate for the presence of ectoparasites, suggesting little or no fitness costs of parasites for females in the different colonies and during the years of our experiments. PMID:25870399

  11. Ectoparasites and fitness of female Columbian ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Raveh, Shirley; Neuhaus, Peter; Dobson, F Stephen

    2015-05-26

    Parasites play an important role in the evolution of host traits via natural selection, coevolution and sexually selected ornaments used in mate choice. These evolutionary scenarios assume fitness costs for hosts. To test this assumption, we conducted an ectoparasite removal experiment in free-living Columbian ground squirrels (Urocittelus columbianus) in four populations over three years. Adult females were randomly chosen to be either experimentally treated with anti-parasite treatments (spot-on solution and flea powder, N = 61) or a sham treatment (control, N = 44). We expected that experimental females would show better body condition, increased reproductive success and enhanced survival. Contrary to our expectations, body mass was not significantly different between treatments at mating, birth of litter or weaning of young. Further, neither number nor size of young at weaning differed significantly between the two treatments. Survival to the next spring for adult females and juveniles was not significantly different between experimental and control treatments. Finally, annual fitness was not affected by the treatments. We concluded that females and their offspring were able compensate for the presence of ectoparasites, suggesting little or no fitness costs of parasites for females in the different colonies and during the years of our experiments.

  12. Organizational motifs for ground squirrel cone bipolar cells.

    PubMed

    Light, Adam C; Zhu, Yongling; Shi, Jun; Saszik, Shannon; Lindstrom, Sarah; Davidson, Laura; Li, Xiaoyu; Chiodo, Vince A; Hauswirth, William W; Li, Wei; DeVries, Steven H

    2012-09-01

    In daylight vision, parallel processing starts at the cone synapse. Cone signals flow to On and Off bipolar cells, which are further divided into types according to morphology, immunocytochemistry, and function. The axons of the bipolar cell types stratify at different levels in the inner plexiform layer (IPL) and can interact with costratifying amacrine and ganglion cells. These interactions endow the ganglion cell types with unique functional properties. The wiring that underlies the interactions among bipolar, amacrine, and ganglion cells is poorly understood. It may be easier to elucidate this wiring if organizational rules can be established. We identify 13 types of cone bipolar cells in the ground squirrel, 11 of which contact contiguous cones, with the possible exception of short-wavelength-sensitive cones. Cells were identified by antibody labeling, tracer filling, and Golgi-like filling following transduction with an adeno-associated virus encoding for green fluorescent protein. The 11 bipolar cell types displayed two organizational patterns. In the first pattern, eight to 10 of the 11 types came in pairs with partially overlapping axonal stratification. Pairs shared morphological, immunocytochemical, and functional properties. The existence of similar pairs is a new motif that might have implications for how signals first diverge from a cone to bipolar cells and then reconverge onto a costratifying ganglion cell. The second pattern is a mirror symmetric organization about the middle of the IPL involving at least seven bipolar cell types. This anatomical symmetry may be associated with a functional symmetry in On and Off ganglion cell responses.

  13. The complete mitochondrial genome of Daurian ground squirrel, Spermophilus dauricus.

    PubMed

    Jin, Guang-Yao; Huang, Hai-Jiao; Zhang, Ming-Hai

    2016-07-01

    The mitochondrial genome sequence of Daurian ground squirrel, Spermophilus dauricus, is determined and described for the first time in this study. The genome was a total of 16 512 bp in length and had a base composition of A (32.08%), G (12.53%), C (24.35%), and T (31.04%), indicating that the percentage of A + T (63.12%) is higher than G + C (36.88%). Similar to those reported from other animal mitochondrial genomes, it possessed a typically conserved structure, including 13 protein-coding genes, 22 transfer RNA genes, 2 ribosomal RNA genes and 1 control region (D-loop). Most of these genes were found to locate on the H-strand except for the ND6 gene and 8 tRNA genes. The phylogenetic analysis showed Spermophilus dauricus formed the sister group to the Pteromyini tribe. This mitochondrial genome sequence would supply useful genetic resources to uncover Sciuridae family evolution.

  14. Blood cell dynamics during hibernation in the European Ground Squirrel.

    PubMed

    Bouma, H R; Strijkstra, A M; Boerema, A S; Deelman, L E; Epema, A H; Hut, R A; Kroese, F G M; Henning, R H

    2010-08-15

    Hibernation is a unique natural model to study large and specific modulation in numbers of leukocytes and thrombocytes, with potential relevance for medical application. Hibernating animals cycle through cold (torpor) and warm (arousal) phases. Previous research demonstrated clearance of leukocytes and thrombocytes from the circulation during torpor, but did not provide information regarding the timing during torpor or the subtype of leukocytes affected. To study the influence of torpor-bout duration on clearance of circulating cells, we measured blood cell dynamics in the European Ground Squirrel. Numbers of leukocytes and thrombocytes decreased within 24h of torpor by 90% and remained unchanged during the remainder of the torpor-bout. Differential counts demonstrated that granulocytes, lymphocytes and monocytes are all affected by torpor. Although a decreased production might explain the reduced number of thrombocytes, granulocytes and monocytes, this cannot explain the observed lymphopenia since lymphocytes have a much lower turnover rate than thrombocytes, granulocytes and monocytes. In conclusion, although underlying biochemical signaling pathways need to be unraveled, our data show that the leukocyte count drops dramatically after entrance into torpor and that euthermic cell counts are restored within 1.5h after onset of arousal, even before body temperature is fully normalized.

  15. Regulation of glucokinase activity in liver of hibernating ground squirrel Spermophilus undulatus.

    PubMed

    Khu, L Ya; Storey, K B; Rubtsov, A M; Goncharova, N Yu

    2014-07-01

    The kinetic properties of glucokinase (GLK) from the liver of active and hibernating ground squirrels Spermophilus undulatus have been studied. Entrance of ground squirrels into hibernation from their active state is accompanied by a sharp decrease in blood glucose (Glc) level (from 14 to 2.9 mM) and with a significant (7-fold) decrease of GLK activity in the liver cytoplasm. Preparations of native GLK practically devoid of other molecular forms of hexokinase were obtained from the liver of active and hibernating ground squirrels. The dependence of GLK activity upon Glc concentration for the enzyme from active ground squirrel liver showed a pronounced sigmoid character (Hill coefficient, h=1.70 and S0.5=6.23 mM; the experiments were conducted at 25°C in the presence of enzyme stabilizers, K+ and DTT). The same dependence of enzyme activity on Glc concentration was found for GLK from rat liver. However, on decreasing the temperature to 2°C (simulation of hibernation conditions), this dependency became almost hyperbolic (h=1.16) and GLK affinity for substrate was reduced (S0.5=23 mM). These parameters for hibernating ground squirrels (body temperature 5°C) at 25°C were found to be practically equal to the corresponding values obtained for GLK from the liver of active animals (h=1.60, S0.5=9.0 mM, respectively); at 2°C sigmoid character was less expressed and affinity for Glc was drastically decreased (h=1.20, S0.5=45 mM). The calculations of GLK activity in the liver of hibernating ground squirrels based on enzyme kinetic characteristics and seasonal changes in blood Glc concentrations have shown that GLK activity in the liver of hibernating ground squirrels is decreased about 5500-fold.

  16. California ground squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi) defenses against rattlesnake venom digestive and hemostatic toxins.

    PubMed

    Biardi, James E; Chien, David C; Coss, Richard G

    2006-01-01

    Previous studies have shown that some mammals are able to neutralize venom from snake predators. California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) show variation among populations in their ability to bind venom and minimize damage from northern Pacific rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus), but the venom toxins targeted by resistance have not been investigated. Four California ground squirrel populations, selected for differences in local density or type of rattlesnake predators, were assayed for their ability to neutralize digestive and hemostatic effects of venom from three rattlesnake species. In Douglas ground squirrels (S. b. douglasii), we found that animals from a location where snakes are common showed greater inhibition of venom metalloprotease and hemolytic activity than animals from a location where snakes are rare. Effects on general proteolysis were not different. Douglas ground squirrels also reduced the metalloprotease activity of venom from sympatric northern Pacific rattlesnakes (C. o. oreganus) more than the activity of venom from allopatric western diamondback rattlesnakes (C. atrox), but enhanced the fibrinolysis of sympatric venom almost 1.8 times above baseline levels. Two Beechey ground squirrel (S. b. beecheyi) populations had similar inhibition of venoms from northern and southern Pacific rattlesnakes (C. o. helleri), despite differences between the populations in the locally prevalent predator. However, the venom toxins inhibited by Beechey squirrels varied among venom from Pacific rattlesnake subspecies, and between these venoms and venom from allopatric western diamondback rattlesnakes. Blood plasma from Beechey squirrels showed highest inhibition of metalloprotease activity of northern Pacific rattlesnake venom, general proteolytic activity and hemolysis of southern Pacific rattlesnake venom, and hemolysis by allopatric western diamondback venom. These results reveal previously cryptic variation in venom activity against resistant prey

  17. California ground squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi) defenses against rattlesnake venom digestive and hemostatic toxins.

    PubMed

    Biardi, James E; Chien, David C; Coss, Richard G

    2005-11-01

    Previous studies have shown that some mammals are able to neutralize venom from snake predators. California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) show variation among populations in their ability to bind venom and minimize damage from northern Pacific rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus), but the venom toxins targeted by resistance have not been investigated. Four California ground squirrel populations, selected for differences in local density or type of rattlesnake predators, were assayed for their ability to neutralize digestive and hemostatic effects of venom from three rattlesnake species. In Douglas ground squirrels (S. b. douglasii), we found that animals from a location where snakes are common showed greater inhibition of venom metalloprotease and hemolytic activity than animals from a location where snakes are rare. Effects on general proteolysis were not different. Douglas ground squirrels also reduced the metalloprotease activity of venom from sympatric northern Pacific rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus oreganus) more than the activity of venom from allopatric western diamondback rattlesnakes (C. atrox), but enhanced fibrinolysis of sympatric venom almost 1.8 times above baseline levels. Two Beechey ground squirrel (S. b. beecheyi) populations had similar inhibition of venoms from northern and southern Pacific rattlesnakes (C. o. helleri), despite differences between the populations in the locally prevalent predator. However, the venom toxins inhibited by Beechey squirrels did vary among venom from Pacific rattlesnake subspecies, and between these venoms and venom from allopatric western diamondback rattlesnakes. Blood plasma from Beechey squirrels showed highest inhibition of metalloprotease activity of northern Pacific rattlesnake venom, general proteolytic activity and hemolysis of southern Pacific rattlesnake venom, and hemolysis by allopatric western diamondback venom. These results reveal previously cryptic variation in venom activity against

  18. Stochastic Population Dynamics of a Montane Ground-Dwelling Squirrel

    PubMed Central

    Hostetler, Jeffrey A.; Kneip, Eva; Van Vuren, Dirk H.; Oli, Madan K.

    2012-01-01

    Understanding the causes and consequences of population fluctuations is a central goal of ecology. We used demographic data from a long-term (1990–2008) study and matrix population models to investigate factors and processes influencing the dynamics and persistence of a golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis) population, inhabiting a dynamic subalpine habitat in Colorado, USA. The overall deterministic population growth rate λ was 0.94±SE 0.05 but it varied widely over time, ranging from 0.45±0.09 in 2006 to 1.50±0.12 in 2003, and was below replacement (λ<1) for 9 out of 18 years. The stochastic population growth rate λs was 0.92, suggesting a declining population; however, the 95% CI on λs included 1.0 (0.52–1.60). Stochastic elasticity analysis showed that survival of adult females, followed by survival of juvenile females and litter size, were potentially the most influential vital rates; analysis of life table response experiments revealed that the same three life history variables made the largest contributions to year-to year changes in λ. Population viability analysis revealed that, when the influences of density dependence and immigration were not considered, the population had a high (close to 1.0 in 50 years) probability of extinction. However, probability of extinction declined to as low as zero when density dependence and immigration were considered. Destabilizing effects of stochastic forces were counteracted by regulating effects of density dependence and rescue effects of immigration, which allowed our study population to bounce back from low densities and prevented extinction. These results suggest that dynamics and persistence of our study population are determined synergistically by density-dependence, stochastic forces, and immigration. PMID:22479616

  19. Stochastic population dynamics of a montane ground-dwelling squirrel.

    PubMed

    Hostetler, Jeffrey A; Kneip, Eva; Van Vuren, Dirk H; Oli, Madan K

    2012-01-01

    Understanding the causes and consequences of population fluctuations is a central goal of ecology. We used demographic data from a long-term (1990-2008) study and matrix population models to investigate factors and processes influencing the dynamics and persistence of a golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis) population, inhabiting a dynamic subalpine habitat in Colorado, USA. The overall deterministic population growth rate λ was 0.94±SE 0.05 but it varied widely over time, ranging from 0.45±0.09 in 2006 to 1.50±0.12 in 2003, and was below replacement (λ<1) for 9 out of 18 years. The stochastic population growth rate λ(s) was 0.92, suggesting a declining population; however, the 95% CI on λ(s) included 1.0 (0.52-1.60). Stochastic elasticity analysis showed that survival of adult females, followed by survival of juvenile females and litter size, were potentially the most influential vital rates; analysis of life table response experiments revealed that the same three life history variables made the largest contributions to year-to year changes in λ. Population viability analysis revealed that, when the influences of density dependence and immigration were not considered, the population had a high (close to 1.0 in 50 years) probability of extinction. However, probability of extinction declined to as low as zero when density dependence and immigration were considered. Destabilizing effects of stochastic forces were counteracted by regulating effects of density dependence and rescue effects of immigration, which allowed our study population to bounce back from low densities and prevented extinction. These results suggest that dynamics and persistence of our study population are determined synergistically by density-dependence, stochastic forces, and immigration.

  20. [Seasonal changes in mechanical resistance of erythrocytes of the long-tailed ground squirrel (Citellus undulatus)].

    PubMed

    Gulevsky, A K; Shchenyavsky, I I

    2014-01-01

    Seasonal changes of relative blood reticulocyte counts, free plasma hemoglobin and mechanical erythrocyte resistance were studied in the long-tailed ground squirrel (Citellus undulatus), under different functional conditions (winter hibernation, forced arousal in winter, and summer activity). A significant increase in reticulocyte counts in the ground squirrel blood was observed in April and October, indicating enhancement of erythropoeisis. This conclusion is also confirmed by a significant increase in free plasma hemoglobin at these periods. It has been also shown that erythrocytes of hibernating and forcibly awaken winter ground squirrels have a significantly lower mechanical resistance in comparison with those of active summer animals. The obtained data indicate that during the periods preceding the onset of winter hibernation and transition to summer activity there occurs a seasonal replacement of the erythrocyte pool by a pool more adapted to performance of functions in the novel functional state of the animal-hibernator.

  1. [Seasonal peculiarities of the ground squirrel (Spermophilus undulatus) and Wistar rats circadian activity].

    PubMed

    Semenova, T P; Spiridonova, L A; Zakharova, N M

    2014-09-01

    The seasonal peculiarities of the circadian activity of hibernator, Yakutian long tail ground squirrels (S. undulatus) (n = 35) and non hibernator, Wistar rats (n = 35), were studied. The locomotor activity was registered in each subject individually during 5-17 days by means of "Animex" in the different periods of annual cycle. It was shown that ground squirrels were animals with daily type of activity. On the contrary, the Wistar rats demonstrated nocturne type of locomotors activity. The active period in rats was longer than in ground squirrels. It included not only at night, but morning time in spring, and daytime--in summer. The circadian differences between hibernators and non-hibernators were kept during all annual cycle at night time, but in daytime--only in spring and summer time.

  2. Individual acoustic variation in Belding's ground squirrel alarm chirps in the High Sierra Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCowan, Brenda; Hooper, Stacie L.

    2002-03-01

    The acoustic structure of calls within call types can vary as function of individual identity, sex, and social group membership and is important in kin and social group recognition. Belding's ground squirrels (Spermophilus beldingi) produce alarm chirps that function in predator avoidance but little is known about the acoustic variability of these alarm chirps. The purpose of this preliminary study was to analyze the acoustic structure of alarm chirps with respect to individual differences (e.g., signature information) from eight Belding's ground squirrels from four different lakes in the High Sierra Nevada. Results demonstrate that alarm chirps are individually distinctive, and that acoustic similarity among individuals may correspond to genetic similarity and thus dispersal patterns in this species. These data suggest, on a preliminary basis, that the acoustic structure of calls might be used as a bioacoustic tool for tracking individuals, dispersal, and other population dynamics in Belding's ground squirrels, and perhaps other vocal species.

  3. Age differences in arousal and vigilance in California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi).

    PubMed

    Hanson, M T; Coss, R G

    2001-11-01

    Newly emerged pup, juvenile, and adult California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi douglasii) were videorecorded at a seminatural field site in northern California. Video data revealed age differences in the budgeting of ground squirrel behavior, habitat use, and physiological arousal as indicated by morphometric analyses of tail piloerection. Adults and juveniles devoted their time to foraging in the open at feeding stations while displaying low to moderate levels of arousal, respectively. Pups remained vigilant on the fringe of covered habitats while displaying comparatively higher levels of arousal. Higher pup arousal may facilitate memory formation during early stages of development. PMID:11745313

  4. Phospholipids of liver cell nuclei during hibernation of Yakutian ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Lakhina, A A; Markevich, L N; Zakharova, N M; Afanasyev, V N; Kolomiytseva, I K; Fesenko, E E

    2016-07-01

    In hibernating Yakutian ground squirrels S. undulatus, the content of total phospholipids in the nuclei of liver increased by 40% compared to that in animals in summer. In torpid state, the amount of sphingomyelin increased almost 8 times; phosphatidylserine, 7 times; and cardiolipin, 4 times. In active "winter" ground squirrels, the amount of sphingomyelin, phosphatidylserine, and cardiolipin decreased compared to the hibernating individuals but remained high compared to the "summer" ones. The torpor state did not affect the amount of lysophosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylinositol. PMID:27599501

  5. Opposing Activity Changes in AMP Deaminase and AMP-Activated Protein Kinase in the Hibernating Ground Squirrel

    PubMed Central

    Cicerchi, Christina; Garcia, Gabriela E.; Roncal-Jimenez, Carlos A.; Trostel, Jessica; Jain, Swati; Mant, Colin T.; Rivard, Christopher J.; Ishimoto, Takuji; Shimada, Michiko; Sanchez-Lozada, Laura Gabriela; Nakagawa, Takahiko; Jani, Alkesh; Stenvinkel, Peter; Martin, Sandra L.; Johnson, Richard J.

    2015-01-01

    Hibernating animals develop fatty liver when active in summertime and undergo a switch to a fat oxidation state in the winter. We hypothesized that this switch might be determined by AMP and the dominance of opposing effects: metabolism through AMP deaminase (AMPD2) (summer) and activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) (winter). Liver samples were obtained from 13-lined ground squirrels at different times during the year, including summer and multiples stages of winter hibernation, and fat synthesis and β-fatty acid oxidation were evaluated. Changes in fat metabolism were correlated with changes in AMPD2 activity and intrahepatic uric acid (downstream product of AMPD2), as well as changes in AMPK and intrahepatic β-hydroxybutyrate (a marker of fat oxidation). Hepatic fat accumulation occurred during the summer with relatively increased enzymes associated with fat synthesis (FAS, ACL and ACC) and decreased enoyl CoA hydratase (ECH1) and carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A (CPT1A), rate limiting enzymes of fat oxidation. In summer, AMPD2 activity and intrahepatic uric acid levels were high and hepatic AMPK activity was low. In contrast, the active phosphorylated form of AMPK and β-hydroxybutyrate both increased during winter hibernation. Therefore, changes in AMPD2 and AMPK activity were paralleled with changes in fat synthesis and fat oxidation rates during the summer-winter cycle. These data illuminate the opposing forces of metabolism of AMP by AMPD2 and its availability to activate AMPK as a switch that governs fat metabolism in the liver of hibernating ground squirrel. PMID:25856396

  6. Opposing activity changes in AMP deaminase and AMP-activated protein kinase in the hibernating ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Lanaspa, Miguel A; Epperson, L Elaine; Li, Nanxing; Cicerchi, Christina; Garcia, Gabriela E; Roncal-Jimenez, Carlos A; Trostel, Jessica; Jain, Swati; Mant, Colin T; Rivard, Christopher J; Ishimoto, Takuji; Shimada, Michiko; Sanchez-Lozada, Laura Gabriela; Nakagawa, Takahiko; Jani, Alkesh; Stenvinkel, Peter; Martin, Sandra L; Johnson, Richard J

    2015-01-01

    Hibernating animals develop fatty liver when active in summertime and undergo a switch to a fat oxidation state in the winter. We hypothesized that this switch might be determined by AMP and the dominance of opposing effects: metabolism through AMP deaminase (AMPD2) (summer) and activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) (winter). Liver samples were obtained from 13-lined ground squirrels at different times during the year, including summer and multiples stages of winter hibernation, and fat synthesis and β-fatty acid oxidation were evaluated. Changes in fat metabolism were correlated with changes in AMPD2 activity and intrahepatic uric acid (downstream product of AMPD2), as well as changes in AMPK and intrahepatic β-hydroxybutyrate (a marker of fat oxidation). Hepatic fat accumulation occurred during the summer with relatively increased enzymes associated with fat synthesis (FAS, ACL and ACC) and decreased enoyl CoA hydratase (ECH1) and carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A (CPT1A), rate limiting enzymes of fat oxidation. In summer, AMPD2 activity and intrahepatic uric acid levels were high and hepatic AMPK activity was low. In contrast, the active phosphorylated form of AMPK and β-hydroxybutyrate both increased during winter hibernation. Therefore, changes in AMPD2 and AMPK activity were paralleled with changes in fat synthesis and fat oxidation rates during the summer-winter cycle. These data illuminate the opposing forces of metabolism of AMP by AMPD2 and its availability to activate AMPK as a switch that governs fat metabolism in the liver of hibernating ground squirrel.

  7. Behavioural correlates of urbanisation in the Cape ground squirrel Xerus inauris.

    PubMed

    Chapman, Tarryn; Rymer, Tasmin; Pillay, Neville

    2012-11-01

    Urbanisation critically threatens biodiversity because of habitat destruction and novel selection pressures. Some animals can respond to these challenges by modifying their behaviour, particularly anti-predator behaviour, allowing them to persist in heavily transformed urban areas. We investigated whether the anti-predator behaviour of the Cape ground squirrel Xerus inauris differed in three localities that differed in their level of urbanisation. According to the habituation hypothesis, we predicted that ground squirrels in urban areas would: (a) be less vigilant and forage more; (b) trade-off flight/vigilance in favour of foraging; and (c) have shorter flight initiation distances (FID) when approached by a human observer. Observations were made in winter and summer at each locality. As expected, ground squirrels in urbanised areas were less vigilant and had shorter FIDs but did not trade-off between foraging and vigilance. In contrast, a population in a non-urbanised locality showed greater levels of vigilance, FID and traded-off vigilance and foraging. A population in a peri-urban locality showed mixed responses. Our results indicate that Cape ground squirrels reduce their anti-predator behaviour in urban areas and demonstrate a flexible behavioural response to urbanisation. PMID:23052820

  8. Molecular epidemiology of Bartonella species isolated from ground squirrels and other rodents in northern California.

    PubMed

    Ziedins, A C; Chomel, B B; Kasten, R W; Kjemtrup, A M; Chang, C-C

    2016-07-01

    Bartonella spp. are endemic in wild rodents in many parts of the world. A study conducted in two northern California counties (Sonoma and Yolo) sampling California ground squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi) and four other rodent species (Peromyscus maniculatus, P. boylii, P. truei and Neotoma fuscipes) led to the isolation of small Gram-negative bacilli which were identified as Bartonella spp. based on colony morphology, polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) and partial gene sequencing. Overall, Bartonella spp. were isolated from the blood of 71% (32/45) of the ground squirrels and one third (22/66) of the other rodents. PCR-RFLP analysis of the gltA and 16S rRNA genes yielded seven unique profiles, four for the ground squirrels and three for the other rodents. Isolates from each PCR-RFLP profiles were submitted for partial sequencing. Ground squirrel isolates were most closely related to B. washoensis, whereas the other rodent isolates were closest to B. vinsonii subsp. vinsonii and B. vinsonii subsp. arupensis. Two of these three species or subspecies are known zoonotic agents. PMID:27245290

  9. Implications of Hybridization, NUMTs, and Overlooked Diversity for DNA Barcoding of Eurasian Ground Squirrels

    PubMed Central

    Ermakov, Oleg A.; Simonov, Evgeniy; Surin, Vadim L.; Titov, Sergey V.; Brandler, Oleg V.; Ivanova, Natalia V.; Borisenko, Alex V.

    2015-01-01

    The utility of DNA Barcoding for species identification and discovery has catalyzed a concerted effort to build the global reference library; however, many animal groups of economical or conservational importance remain poorly represented. This study aims to contribute DNA barcode records for all ground squirrel species (Xerinae, Sciuridae, Rodentia) inhabiting Eurasia and to test efficiency of this approach for species discrimination. Cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) gene sequences were obtained for 97 individuals representing 16 ground squirrel species of which 12 were correctly identified. Taxonomic allocation of some specimens within four species was complicated by geographically restricted mtDNA introgression. Exclusion of individuals with introgressed mtDNA allowed reaching a 91.6% identification success rate. Significant COI divergence (3.5–4.4%) was observed within the most widespread ground squirrel species (Spermophilus erythrogenys, S. pygmaeus, S. suslicus, Urocitellus undulatus), suggesting the presence of cryptic species. A single putative NUMT (nuclear mitochondrial pseudogene) sequence was recovered during molecular analysis; mitochondrial COI from this sample was amplified following re-extraction of DNA. Our data show high discrimination ability of 100 bp COI fragments for Eurasian ground squirrels (84.3%) with no incorrect assessments, underscoring the potential utility of the existing reference librariy for the development of diagnostic ‘mini-barcodes’. PMID:25617768

  10. Experimental Infection of Richardson's Ground Squirrels (Spermophilus richardsonii) with Attenuated and Virulent Strains of Brucella abortus

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Exposure of non-target species to wildlife vaccines is an important concern when evaluating a candidate vaccine for use in the field. A previous investigation of the safety of Brucella abortus strain RB51 (sRB51) in various non-target species suggested that Richardson’s ground squirrels (Spermophil...

  11. Molecular epidemiology of Bartonella species isolated from ground squirrels and other rodents in northern California.

    PubMed

    Ziedins, A C; Chomel, B B; Kasten, R W; Kjemtrup, A M; Chang, C-C

    2016-07-01

    Bartonella spp. are endemic in wild rodents in many parts of the world. A study conducted in two northern California counties (Sonoma and Yolo) sampling California ground squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi) and four other rodent species (Peromyscus maniculatus, P. boylii, P. truei and Neotoma fuscipes) led to the isolation of small Gram-negative bacilli which were identified as Bartonella spp. based on colony morphology, polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) and partial gene sequencing. Overall, Bartonella spp. were isolated from the blood of 71% (32/45) of the ground squirrels and one third (22/66) of the other rodents. PCR-RFLP analysis of the gltA and 16S rRNA genes yielded seven unique profiles, four for the ground squirrels and three for the other rodents. Isolates from each PCR-RFLP profiles were submitted for partial sequencing. Ground squirrel isolates were most closely related to B. washoensis, whereas the other rodent isolates were closest to B. vinsonii subsp. vinsonii and B. vinsonii subsp. arupensis. Two of these three species or subspecies are known zoonotic agents.

  12. Behavioural correlates of urbanisation in the Cape ground squirrel Xerus inauris

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chapman, Tarryn; Rymer, Tasmin; Pillay, Neville

    2012-11-01

    Urbanisation critically threatens biodiversity because of habitat destruction and novel selection pressures. Some animals can respond to these challenges by modifying their behaviour, particularly anti-predator behaviour, allowing them to persist in heavily transformed urban areas. We investigated whether the anti-predator behaviour of the Cape ground squirrel Xerus inauris differed in three localities that differed in their level of urbanisation. According to the habituation hypothesis, we predicted that ground squirrels in urban areas would: (a) be less vigilant and forage more; (b) trade-off flight/vigilance in favour of foraging; and (c) have shorter flight initiation distances (FID) when approached by a human observer. Observations were made in winter and summer at each locality. As expected, ground squirrels in urbanised areas were less vigilant and had shorter FIDs but did not trade-off between foraging and vigilance. In contrast, a population in a non-urbanised locality showed greater levels of vigilance, FID and traded-off vigilance and foraging. A population in a peri-urban locality showed mixed responses. Our results indicate that Cape ground squirrels reduce their anti-predator behaviour in urban areas and demonstrate a flexible behavioural response to urbanisation.

  13. Implications of hybridization, NUMTs, and overlooked diversity for DNA Barcoding of Eurasian ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Ermakov, Oleg A; Simonov, Evgeniy; Surin, Vadim L; Titov, Sergey V; Brandler, Oleg V; Ivanova, Natalia V; Borisenko, Alex V

    2015-01-01

    The utility of DNA Barcoding for species identification and discovery has catalyzed a concerted effort to build the global reference library; however, many animal groups of economical or conservational importance remain poorly represented. This study aims to contribute DNA barcode records for all ground squirrel species (Xerinae, Sciuridae, Rodentia) inhabiting Eurasia and to test efficiency of this approach for species discrimination. Cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) gene sequences were obtained for 97 individuals representing 16 ground squirrel species of which 12 were correctly identified. Taxonomic allocation of some specimens within four species was complicated by geographically restricted mtDNA introgression. Exclusion of individuals with introgressed mtDNA allowed reaching a 91.6% identification success rate. Significant COI divergence (3.5-4.4%) was observed within the most widespread ground squirrel species (Spermophilus erythrogenys, S. pygmaeus, S. suslicus, Urocitellus undulatus), suggesting the presence of cryptic species. A single putative NUMT (nuclear mitochondrial pseudogene) sequence was recovered during molecular analysis; mitochondrial COI from this sample was amplified following re-extraction of DNA. Our data show high discrimination ability of 100 bp COI fragments for Eurasian ground squirrels (84.3%) with no incorrect assessments, underscoring the potential utility of the existing reference librariy for the development of diagnostic 'mini-barcodes'.

  14. Behavioural correlates of urbanisation in the Cape ground squirrel Xerus inauris.

    PubMed

    Chapman, Tarryn; Rymer, Tasmin; Pillay, Neville

    2012-11-01

    Urbanisation critically threatens biodiversity because of habitat destruction and novel selection pressures. Some animals can respond to these challenges by modifying their behaviour, particularly anti-predator behaviour, allowing them to persist in heavily transformed urban areas. We investigated whether the anti-predator behaviour of the Cape ground squirrel Xerus inauris differed in three localities that differed in their level of urbanisation. According to the habituation hypothesis, we predicted that ground squirrels in urban areas would: (a) be less vigilant and forage more; (b) trade-off flight/vigilance in favour of foraging; and (c) have shorter flight initiation distances (FID) when approached by a human observer. Observations were made in winter and summer at each locality. As expected, ground squirrels in urbanised areas were less vigilant and had shorter FIDs but did not trade-off between foraging and vigilance. In contrast, a population in a non-urbanised locality showed greater levels of vigilance, FID and traded-off vigilance and foraging. A population in a peri-urban locality showed mixed responses. Our results indicate that Cape ground squirrels reduce their anti-predator behaviour in urban areas and demonstrate a flexible behavioural response to urbanisation.

  15. Managing anabolic steroids in pre-hibernating Arctic ground squirrels: obtaining their benefits and avoiding their costs

    PubMed Central

    Boonstra, Rudy; Mo, Kaiguo; Monks, Douglas Ashley

    2014-01-01

    Androgens have benefits, such as promoting muscle growth, but also significant costs, including suppression of immune function. In many species, these trade-offs in androgen action are reflected in regulated androgen production, which is typically highest only in reproductive males. However, all non-reproductive Arctic ground squirrels, irrespective of age and sex, have high levels of androgens prior to hibernating at sub-zero temperatures. Androgens appear to be required to make muscle in summer, which, together with lipid, is then catabolized during overwinter. By contrast, most hibernating mammals catabolize only lipid. We tested the hypothesis that androgen action is selectively enhanced in Arctic ground squirrel muscle because of an upregulation of androgen receptors (ARs). Using Western blot analysis, we found that Arctic ground squirrels have AR in skeletal muscle more than four times that of Columbian ground squirrels, a related southern species that overwinters at approximately 0°C and has low pre-hibernation androgen levels. By contrast, AR in lymph nodes was equivalent in both species. Brain AR was also modestly but significantly increased in Arctic ground squirrel relative to Columbian ground squirrel. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that tissue-specific AR regulation prior to hibernation provides a mechanism whereby Arctic ground squirrels obtain the life-history benefits and mitigate the costs associated with high androgen production. PMID:25376801

  16. Managing anabolic steroids in pre-hibernating Arctic ground squirrels: obtaining their benefits and avoiding their costs.

    PubMed

    Boonstra, Rudy; Mo, Kaiguo; Monks, Douglas Ashley

    2014-11-01

    Androgens have benefits, such as promoting muscle growth, but also significant costs, including suppression of immune function. In many species, these trade-offs in androgen action are reflected in regulated androgen production, which is typically highest only in reproductive males. However, all non-reproductive Arctic ground squirrels, irrespective of age and sex, have high levels of androgens prior to hibernating at sub-zero temperatures. Androgens appear to be required to make muscle in summer, which, together with lipid, is then catabolized during overwinter. By contrast, most hibernating mammals catabolize only lipid. We tested the hypothesis that androgen action is selectively enhanced in Arctic ground squirrel muscle because of an upregulation of androgen receptors (ARs). Using Western blot analysis, we found that Arctic ground squirrels have AR in skeletal muscle more than four times that of Columbian ground squirrels, a related southern species that overwinters at approximately 0°C and has low pre-hibernation androgen levels. By contrast, AR in lymph nodes was equivalent in both species. Brain AR was also modestly but significantly increased in Arctic ground squirrel relative to Columbian ground squirrel. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that tissue-specific AR regulation prior to hibernation provides a mechanism whereby Arctic ground squirrels obtain the life-history benefits and mitigate the costs associated with high androgen production.

  17. [Comparative analysis of Ca(2+)-signalling in brown preadipocytes of ground squirrel Spermophillus undulatus and mouse].

    PubMed

    Dolgacheva, L P; Konakov, M V; Agafonova, T A; Rybina, V V; Zinchenko, V P; Bronnikov, G E

    2007-01-01

    Analysis of the slow Ca(2+)-responses of brown preadipocytes of ground squirrel Spermophillus undulatus and mouse was carried out. The mouse brown preadipocytes demonstrated low but prominent responses to noradrenalin with the maximum at 3 and 10 microM being the less effective. The ground squirrel brown preadipocytes practically did not practically respond to 10 nM-10 microM, whereas 30-600 microM noradrenalin was able to raise intracellular [Ca2+]i up to 600 nM with 300 microM agonist being the most effective. Stimulation of the plasma membrane Ca(2+)-channels with thimerosal showed considerable reduction of the calcium entry system in the cell precursors of both species comparing with their mature adipocytes. Intracellular calcium stores liberated in preadipocytes of both species by tapsigargin and ionomycin in Ca(2+)-free medium were insignificant, and capacitative Ca(2+)-entry in response to the cellular Ca(2+)-stores depletion was completely absent in Ca(2+)-containing medium. The Ca(2+)-responses of the ground squirrel brown preadipocytes were independent on physiological state of the animals and annual seasons. Preadipocytes of both species showed the same dose-response curves for the Ca(2+)-raise under thimerosal, and the mouse had two-fold higher kinetic constants for the Ca2+ ions entry. The ground squirrel brown adipocytes responded to ionomycin with approximately 25% higher increase in [Ca2+]i and the entry of the ions had 7-10-fold higher kinetic constants for this process. Kinetic constants for the [Ca2+]i raise in mouse preadipocytes were independent of ionomycin concentration, whereas in the ground squirrel brown preadipocytes the constant linearly increased with the ionophore concentration. It is suggested that the found difference in the function of Ca(2+)-signalling in preadipocytes of two species, which becomes apparent in the presence of ionomycin, might be responsible for the observed difference in the noradrenalin induced cellular Ca(2

  18. Temperature adaptation of active sodium-potassium transport and of passive permeability in erythrocytes of ground squirrels.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kimzey, S. L.; Willis, J. S.

    1971-01-01

    Unidirectional active and passive fluxes of K-42 and Na-24 were measured in red blood cells of ground squirrels (hibernators) and guinea pigs (nonhibernators). As the temperature was lowered, ?active' (ouabain-sensitive) K influx and Na efflux were more considerably diminished in guinea pig cells than in those of ground squirrels. The fraction of total K influx which is ouabain-sensitive in red blood cells of ground squirrels was virtually constant at all temperatures, whereas it decreased abruptly in guinea pig cells as temperature was lowered.

  19. Responses of three prairie ground squirrel species, Spermophilus franklinii, S. richardsonii, and S. tridecemlineatus, to duck eggs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sargeant, A.B.; Sovada, M.A.; Greenwood, R.J.

    1987-01-01

    Franklin's Ground Squirrels (Spermophilus franklinii) preyed on eggs in 29 of 30 tests in which they were exposed to two Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) or two Blue-winged Teal (A. discors) eggs and their discovery of eggs was confirmed. No Richardson's (S. richardsonii) or Thirteen-lined (S. tridecemlineatus) ground squirrels preyed on eggs in 104 and 54 similar tests, respectively. Franklin's Ground Squirrels exposed to clutches of six duck eggs placed in simulated nests preyed on all such clutches. Predation on simulated nests began soon after eggs were discovered, but predation of all eggs often took more than one day to complete.

  20. Regulation of gene expression by NFAT transcription factors in hibernating ground squirrels is dependent on the cellular environment.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yichi; Storey, Kenneth B

    2016-09-01

    Calcineurin is a calmodulin-stimulated phosphatase that regulates the nuclear translocation of nuclear factor of activated T cell (NFAT) c1-4 through dephosphorylation. We believe that this mechanism plays various roles in the remodeling and maintenance of Ictidomys tridecemlineatus skeletal muscle. During hibernation, bouts of torpor and arousal take place, and squirrels do not lose muscle mass despite being inactive. Protein expression of Ca(2+) signaling proteins were studied using immunoblotting. A DNA-protein interaction ELISA technique was created to test the binding of NFATs in the nucleus to DNA probes containing the NFAT response element under environmental conditions reflective of those during hibernation. Calcineurin protein levels increased by 3.08-fold during torpor (compared to euthermic control), whereas calpain1 levels also rose by 3.66-fold during torpor. Calmodulin levels were elevated upon entering torpor. NFATc4 binding to DNA showed a 1.4-fold increase during torpor, and we found that this binding was further enhanced when 600 nM of Ca(2+) was supplemented. We also found that decreasing the temperature of ELISAs resulted in progressive decreases in the binding of NFATs c1, c3, and c4 to DNA. In summary, calmodulin and calpain1 appear to activate calcineurin and NFATc4 during torpor. NFAT binding to target promoters is affected by intranuclear [Ca(2+)] and environmental temperatures. Therefore, Ca(2+) signaling and temperature changes play key roles in regulation of the NFAT-calcineurin pathway in skeletal muscle of hibernating 13-lined ground squirrels over the torpor-arousal cycle, and they may contribute to the avoidance of disuse-induced muscle atrophy that occurs naturally in these animals.

  1. Regulation of gene expression by NFAT transcription factors in hibernating ground squirrels is dependent on the cellular environment.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yichi; Storey, Kenneth B

    2016-09-01

    Calcineurin is a calmodulin-stimulated phosphatase that regulates the nuclear translocation of nuclear factor of activated T cell (NFAT) c1-4 through dephosphorylation. We believe that this mechanism plays various roles in the remodeling and maintenance of Ictidomys tridecemlineatus skeletal muscle. During hibernation, bouts of torpor and arousal take place, and squirrels do not lose muscle mass despite being inactive. Protein expression of Ca(2+) signaling proteins were studied using immunoblotting. A DNA-protein interaction ELISA technique was created to test the binding of NFATs in the nucleus to DNA probes containing the NFAT response element under environmental conditions reflective of those during hibernation. Calcineurin protein levels increased by 3.08-fold during torpor (compared to euthermic control), whereas calpain1 levels also rose by 3.66-fold during torpor. Calmodulin levels were elevated upon entering torpor. NFATc4 binding to DNA showed a 1.4-fold increase during torpor, and we found that this binding was further enhanced when 600 nM of Ca(2+) was supplemented. We also found that decreasing the temperature of ELISAs resulted in progressive decreases in the binding of NFATs c1, c3, and c4 to DNA. In summary, calmodulin and calpain1 appear to activate calcineurin and NFATc4 during torpor. NFAT binding to target promoters is affected by intranuclear [Ca(2+)] and environmental temperatures. Therefore, Ca(2+) signaling and temperature changes play key roles in regulation of the NFAT-calcineurin pathway in skeletal muscle of hibernating 13-lined ground squirrels over the torpor-arousal cycle, and they may contribute to the avoidance of disuse-induced muscle atrophy that occurs naturally in these animals. PMID:27344571

  2. Consequences of artic ground squirrels on soil carbon loss from Siberian tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Golden, N. A.; Natali, S.; Zimov, N.

    2014-12-01

    A large pool of organic carbon (C) has been accumulating in the Arctic for thousands of years. Much of this C has been frozen in permafrost and unavailable for microbial decomposition. As the climate warms and permafrost thaws, the fate of this large C pool will be driven not only by climatic conditions, but also by ecosystem changes brought about by arctic animal populations. In this project we studied arctic ground squirrels (Spermophilus parryii), which are widely-distributed throughout the Arctic. These social mammals create subterranean burrows that mix soil layers, increase aeration, alter soil moisture and temperature, and redistribute soil nutrients, all of which may impact microbial decomposition. We examined the effects of arctic ground squirrel activity on soil C mineralization in dry heath tundra underlain by continuous permafrost in the Kolyma River watershed in northeast Siberia, Russia. Vegetation cover was greatly reduced on the ground squirrel burrows (80% of ground un-vegetated), compared to undisturbed sites (35% of ground un-vegetated). Soils from ground squirrel burrows were also significantly dryer and warmer. To examine effects of ground squirrel activity on microbial respiration, we conducted an 8-day incubation of soil fromburrows and from adjacent undisturbed tundra. In addition, we assessed the impact of nutrient addition by including treatments with low and high levels of nitrogen addition. Microbial respiration (per gram soil) was three-fold higher in incubated soils from the undisturbed sites compared to soils collected from the burrows. The lower rates of respiration from the disturbed soils may have been a result of lower carbon quality or low soil moisture. High nitrogen addition significantly increased respiration in the undisturbed soils, but not in the disturbed burrow soils, which suggests that microbial respiration in the burrow soils was not primarily limited by nitrogen. These results demonstrate the importance of wildlife

  3. HEAVY METAL, ORGANOCHLORINE PESTICIDE AND POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYL CONTAMINATION IN ARCTIC GROUND SQUIRRELS (SPERMOPHILUS PARRYI) IN NORTHERN ALASKA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Heavy metal and organochlorine (OC)concentrations, including organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyl congeners (PCBs), were determined in arctic ground squirrels (Spermophilus parryi) from three sites in the Brooks Range of northern Alaska in 1991-93. Heavy metals ...

  4. [Specific molecular and morphological changes in cardiomyocytes of hibernating ground squirrels in different periods of annual cycle].

    PubMed

    Karaduleva, E V; Santalova, I M; Zakharova, N M

    2014-01-01

    Structural and molecular changes in cardiomyocytes of hibernating ground squirrels in different periods of the annual cycle were analyzed by means of electron microscopy and polymerase chain reaction. Morphological analysis showed an increase in relative area of sarcoplasmic reticulum in cardiac muscle of ground squirrels preparing to torpor compared to active summer animals. The size of sarcoplasmic reticulum in cardiomyocytes of torpid animals was reliably less than in any other condition of ground squirrels in the annual cycle. The results of molecular analysis showed the decrease in sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase gene (SERCA2a) expression .at all stages of hibernation process and also in periods of autumn activity compared to control mRNA level in active summer animals. The revealed season changes in structure of sarcoplasmic reticulum and sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase gene expression are discussed in regard to adaptation of ground squirrels to hibernation.

  5. Global and local spatial landmarks: their role during foraging by Columbian ground squirrels (Spermophilus columbianus).

    PubMed

    Vlasak, Anna N

    2006-01-01

    Locating food and refuge is essential for an animal's survival. However, little is known how mammals navigate under natural conditions and cope with given environmental constraints. In a series of six experiments, I investigated landmark-based navigation in free-ranging Columbian ground squirrels (Spermophilus columbianus). Squirrels were trained individually to find a baited platform within an array of nine identical platforms and artificial landmarks set up on their territories. After animals learned the location of the food platform in the array, the position of the latter with respect to local artificial, local natural, and global landmarks was manipulated, and the animal's ability to find the food platform was tested. When only positions of local artificial landmarks were changed, squirrels located food with high accuracy. When the location of the array relative to global landmarks was altered, food-finding accuracy decreased but remained significant. In the absence of known global landmarks, the presence of a familiar route and natural local landmarks resulted in significant but not highly accurate performance. Squirrels likely relied on multiple types of cues when orienting towards a food platform. Local landmarks were used only as a secondary mechanism of navigation, and were not attended to when a familiar route and known global landmarks were present. This study provided insights into landmark use by a wild mammal in a natural situation, and it demonstrated that an array of platforms can be employed to investigate landmark-based navigation under such conditions. PMID:16163480

  6. Evidence for a single class of somatostatin receptors in ground squirrel cerebral cortex

    SciTech Connect

    Krantic, S.; Petrovic, V.M.; Quirion, R.; Kordon, C.

    1989-01-01

    In the present study we characterized high-affinity somatostatin (SRIF) binding sites (Kd = 2.06 +/- 0.32 nM and Bmax = 295 +/- 28 fmol/mg protein) in cerebral cortex membrane preparations of European ground squirrel using /sup 125/I-(Tyr0-D-Trp8)-SRIF14 as a radioligand. The inhibition of radioligand specific binding by SRIF14, as well as by its agonists (SRIF28, Tyr0-D-Trp8-SRIF14, SMS 201 995) was complete and monophasic, thus revealing a single population of somatostatinergic binding sites. Radioautographic analysis of /sup 125/I-(Tyr0-D-Trp8)-SRIF14 labeled brain sections confirmed the results of our biochemical study. The homogeneity of SRIF binding sites in the ground squirrel neocortex was not dependent on the animal's life-cycle phase.

  7. Suspension of mitotic activity in dentate gyrus of the hibernating ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Popov, Victor I; Kraev, Igor V; Ignat'ev, Dmitri A; Stewart, Michael G

    2011-01-01

    Neurogenesis occurs in the adult mammalian hippocampus, a region of the brain important for learning and memory. Hibernation in Siberian ground squirrels provides a natural model to study mitosis as the rapid fall in body temperature in 24 h (from 35-36°C to +4-6°C) permits accumulation of mitotic cells at different stages of the cell cycle. Histological methods used to study adult neurogenesis are limited largely to fixed tissue, and the mitotic state elucidated depends on the specific phase of mitosis at the time of day. However, using an immunohistochemical study of doublecortin (DCX) and BrdU-labelled neurons, we demonstrate that the dentate gyrus of the ground squirrel hippocampus contains a population of immature cells which appear to possess mitotic activity. Our data suggest that doublecortin-labelled immature cells exist in a mitotic state and may represent a renewable pool for generation of new neurons within the dentate gyrus.

  8. Cryptosporidium rubeyi n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Cryptosporidiidae) in multiple Spermophilus ground squirrel species

    PubMed Central

    Li, Xunde; Pereira, Maria das Graças Cabral; Larsen, Royce; Xiao, Chengling; Phillips, Ralph; Striby, Karl; McCowan, Brenda; Atwill, Edward R.

    2015-01-01

    Previously we reported the unique Cryptosporidium sp. “c” genotype (e.g., Sbey03c, Sbey05c, Sbld05c, Sltl05c) from three species of Spermophilus ground squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi, Spermophilus beldingi, Spermophilus lateralis) located throughout California, USA. This follow-up work characterizes the morphology and animal infectivity of this novel genotype as the final step in proposing it as a new species of Cryptosporidium. Analysis of sequences of 18S rRNA, actin, and HSP70 genes of additional Cryptosporidium isolates from recently sampled California ground squirrels (S. beecheyi) confirms the presence of the unique Sbey-c genotype in S. beecheyi. Phylogenetic and BLAST analysis indicates that the c-genotype in Spermophilus ground squirrels is distinct from Cryptosporidium species/genotypes from other host species currently available in GenBank. We propose to name this c-genotype found in Spermophilus ground squirrels as Cryptosporidium rubeyi n. sp. The mean size of C. rubeyi n. sp. oocysts is 4.67 (4.4–5.0) μm × 4.34 (4.0–5.0) μm, with a length/width index of 1.08 (n = 220). Oocysts of C. rubeyi n. sp. are not infectious to neonatal BALB/c mice and Holstein calves. GenBank accession numbers for C. rubeyi n. sp. are DQ295012, AY462233, and KM010224 for the 18S rRNA gene, KM010227 for the actin gene, and KM010229 for the HSP70 gene. PMID:26543805

  9. Cardiovascular function in large to small hibernators: bears to ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Nelson, O Lynne; Robbins, Charles T

    2015-04-01

    Mammalian hibernation has intrigued scientists due to extreme variations in normal seasonal physiological homeostasis. Numerous species manifest a hibernation phenotype although the characteristics of the hypometabolic state can be quite different. Ground squirrels (e.g., Sciuridae) are often considered the prototypical hibernator as individuals in this genus transition from an active, euthermic state (37 °C) to a nonresponsive hibernating state where torpid body temperature commonly falls to 3-5 °C. However, the hibernating state is not continuous as periodic warming and arousals occur. In contrast, the larger hibernators of genus Ursus are less hypothermic (body temperatures decline from approximately 37°-33 °C), are more reactive, and cyclical arousals do not occur. Both species dramatically reduce cardiac output during hibernation from the active state (bears ~75 % reduction in bears and ~97 % reduction in ground squirrels), and both species demonstrate hypokinetic atrial chamber activity. However, there are several important differences in cardiac function between the two groups during hibernation. Left ventricular diastolic filling volumes and stroke volumes do not differ in bears between seasons, but increased diastolic and stroke volumes during hibernation are important contributors to cardiac output in ground squirrels. Decreased cardiac muscle mass and increased ventricular stiffness have been found in bears, whereas ground squirrels have increased cardiac muscle mass and decreased ventricular stiffness during hibernation. Molecular pathways of cardiac muscle plasticity reveal differences between the species in the modification of sarcomeric proteins such as titin and α myosin heavy chain during hibernation. The differences in hibernation character are likely to account for the alternative cardiac phenotypes and functional strategies manifested by the two species. Molecular investigation coupled with better knowledge of seasonal physiological

  10. Cryptosporidium rubeyi n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Cryptosporidiidae) in multiple Spermophilus ground squirrel species.

    PubMed

    Li, Xunde; Pereira, Maria das Graças Cabral; Larsen, Royce; Xiao, Chengling; Phillips, Ralph; Striby, Karl; McCowan, Brenda; Atwill, Edward R

    2015-12-01

    Previously we reported the unique Cryptosporidium sp. "c" genotype (e.g., Sbey03c, Sbey05c, Sbld05c, Sltl05c) from three species of Spermophilus ground squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi, Spermophilus beldingi, Spermophilus lateralis) located throughout California, USA. This follow-up work characterizes the morphology and animal infectivity of this novel genotype as the final step in proposing it as a new species of Cryptosporidium. Analysis of sequences of 18S rRNA, actin, and HSP70 genes of additional Cryptosporidium isolates from recently sampled California ground squirrels (S. beecheyi) confirms the presence of the unique Sbey-c genotype in S. beecheyi. Phylogenetic and BLAST analysis indicates that the c-genotype in Spermophilus ground squirrels is distinct from Cryptosporidium species/genotypes from other host species currently available in GenBank. We propose to name this c-genotype found in Spermophilus ground squirrels as Cryptosporidium rubeyi n. sp. The mean size of C. rubeyi n. sp. oocysts is 4.67 (4.4-5.0) μm × 4.34 (4.0-5.0) μm, with a length/width index of 1.08 (n = 220). Oocysts of C. rubeyi n. sp. are not infectious to neonatal BALB/c mice and Holstein calves. GenBank accession numbers for C. rubeyi n. sp. are DQ295012, AY462233, and KM010224 for the 18S rRNA gene, KM010227 for the actin gene, and KM010229 for the HSP70 gene.

  11. Genomic analysis of miRNAs in an extreme mammalian hibernator, the Arctic ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Liu, Yuting; Hu, Wenchao; Wang, Haifang; Lu, Minghua; Shao, Chunxuan; Menzel, Corinna; Yan, Zheng; Li, Ying; Zhao, Sen; Khaitovich, Philipp; Liu, Mofang; Chen, Wei; Barnes, Brian M; Yan, Jun

    2010-09-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are 19- to 25-nucleotide-long small and noncoding RNAs now well-known for their regulatory roles in gene expression through posttranscriptional and translational controls. Mammalian hibernation is a physiological process involving profound changes in set-points for food consumption, body mass and growth, body temperature, and metabolic rate in which miRNAs may play important regulatory roles. In an initial study, we analyzed miRNAs in the liver of an extreme hibernating species, the Arctic ground squirrel (Spermophilus parryii), using massively parallel Illumina sequencing technology. We identified >200 ground squirrel miRNAs, including 18 novel miRNAs specific to ground squirrel and mir-506 that is fast evolving in the ground squirrel lineage. Comparing animals sampled after at least 8 days of continuous torpor (late torpid), within 5 h of a spontaneous arousal episode (early aroused), and 1-2 mo after hibernation had ended (nonhibernating), we identified differentially expressed miRNAs during hibernation, which are also compared with the results from two other miRNA profiling methods: Agilent miRNA microarray and real-time PCR. Among the most significant miRNAs, miR-320 and miR-378 were significantly underexpressed during both stages of hibernation compared with nonhibernating animals, whereas miR-486 and miR-451 were overexpressed in late torpor but returned in early arousal to the levels similar to those in nonhibernating animals. Analyses of their putative target genes suggest that these miRNAs could play an important role in suppressing tumor progression and cell growth during hibernation. High-throughput sequencing data and microarray data have been submitted to GEO database with accession: GSE19808.

  12. Kin effects on energy allocation in group-living ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Viblanc, Vincent A; Saraux, Claire; Murie, Jan O; Dobson, F Stephen

    2016-09-01

    The social environment has potent effects on individual phenotype and fitness in group-living species. We asked whether the presence of kin might act on energy allocation, a central aspect of life-history variation. Using a 22-year data set on reproductive and somatic allocations in Columbian ground squirrels (Urocitellus columbianus), we tested the effects of co-breeding and non-breeding kin on the fitness and energy allocation balance between reproduction and personal body condition of individual females. Greater numbers of co-breeding kin had a positive effect on the number of offspring weaned, through the mechanism of altering energy allocation patterns. On average, females with higher numbers of co-breeding kin did not increase energy income but biased energy allocation towards reproduction. Co-breeding female kin ground squirrels maintain close nest burrows, likely providing a social buffer against territorial invasions from non-kin ground squirrels. Lower aggressiveness, lower risks of infanticide from female kin and greater protection of territorial boundaries may allow individual females to derive net fitness benefits via their energy allocation strategies. We demonstrated the importance of kin effects on a fundamental life-history trade-off. PMID:27263469

  13. The cloned genome of ground squirrel hepatitis virus is infectious in the animal.

    PubMed Central

    Seeger, C; Ganem, D; Varmus, H E

    1984-01-01

    The lack of an in vitro infectivity assay for hepatitis B viruses has impeded the analysis of their genetic organization. To examine the feasibility of generating mutant and recombinant viruses after manipulation of cloned viral DNA in vitro, we have tested the infectivity of the cloned genome of ground squirrel hepatitis virus (GSHV) in virus-free Beechey ground squirrels. We demonstrate that cloned GSHV DNA is infectious when injected directly into the liver in the form of trimeric, head-to-tail recombinant clones and recircularized monomeric molecules but not when injected into the portal vein. Infections established in all four recipients of intrahepatic injections of cloned GSHV DNA exhibited the characteristics observed after administration of virus: GSHV surface antigen and viral DNA appeared in the serum 14-22 weeks after inoculation, and both circular and heterogeneous protein-linked forms of viral DNA were found in liver biopsy samples. Furthermore, virus present in the sera of these animals can be transmitted to other ground squirrels. These findings imply that any function of virion proteins in the initiation of infection by hepatitis B viruses can be bypassed with the use of cloned viral DNA and that this animal model is suitable for testing mutant genomes. Images PMID:6091114

  14. Plasma androgen and gonadotropin levels during hibernation and testicular maturation in golden-mantled ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Barnes, B M; Kretzmann, M; Zucker, I; Licht, P

    1988-04-01

    The 4-5-mo hibernation season of golden-mantled ground squirrels consists of extended torpor bouts interspersed with brief, periodic intervals of normothermic arousal. Plasma levels of testosterone (T), luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and degree of scrotal pigmentation were measured in torpid and aroused male ground squirrels throughout a season of hibernation and in active animals after the termination of torpor. T was basal in torpid animals; beginning 3 weeks before torpor ended, T was elevated in normothermic males during the first half of periodic arousals but returned to basal levels before animals reentered torpor. After the last (terminal) arousal from torpor, T levels were moderately elevated for 4 wk and maximal for the next 6 wk before they returned to basal values. LH patterns were similar to those of T; however, levels of T and LH were positively correlated only in aroused or posthibernation males. FSH levels remained constant and low during most of the heterothermic season but increased in several torpid males within 3 days of terminal arousal. FSH levels peaked 2 wk after the end of heterothermy. Scrotal pigmentation developed over the first 4 wk after terminal arousal. Maturation of reproductive function occurs during the 4 wk after termination of heterothermy, but elevated levels of T during arousals and variable levels of FSH in the last days of torpor suggest that activation or increased sensitivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis is important in the termination of heterothermy in ground squirrels.

  15. Kin effects on energy allocation in group-living ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Viblanc, Vincent A; Saraux, Claire; Murie, Jan O; Dobson, F Stephen

    2016-09-01

    The social environment has potent effects on individual phenotype and fitness in group-living species. We asked whether the presence of kin might act on energy allocation, a central aspect of life-history variation. Using a 22-year data set on reproductive and somatic allocations in Columbian ground squirrels (Urocitellus columbianus), we tested the effects of co-breeding and non-breeding kin on the fitness and energy allocation balance between reproduction and personal body condition of individual females. Greater numbers of co-breeding kin had a positive effect on the number of offspring weaned, through the mechanism of altering energy allocation patterns. On average, females with higher numbers of co-breeding kin did not increase energy income but biased energy allocation towards reproduction. Co-breeding female kin ground squirrels maintain close nest burrows, likely providing a social buffer against territorial invasions from non-kin ground squirrels. Lower aggressiveness, lower risks of infanticide from female kin and greater protection of territorial boundaries may allow individual females to derive net fitness benefits via their energy allocation strategies. We demonstrated the importance of kin effects on a fundamental life-history trade-off.

  16. Seasonal changes in immunoreactivity of activin signaling component proteins in wild ground squirrel testes.

    PubMed

    Sheng, Xia; Zhang, Haolin; Zhang, Mengyuan; Zhang, Wei; Hu, Xiao; Song, Moshi; Zhou, Jiao; Xu, Meiyu; Weng, Qiang; Watanabe, Gen; Taya, Kazuyoshi

    2012-01-01

    The seasonal spermatogenesis and localization of inhibin/activin subunits (alpha, betaA, betaB) in the testes of wild ground squirrel has been previously described; however, the expression pattern of activin receptors and cytoplasmic signaling SMADs has not been detected in any seasonal breeders. The objective of this study was to investigate the abundance and cellular localization of activin signaling components in testes of the wild ground squirrel during the breeding and nonbreeding seasons. The immunolocalizations of ActRIIB (activin type II receptor B) and activin-related SMADs (phospho-SMAD2/3, SMAD4 and SMAD7) were observed by immunohistochemistry. Total proteins were extracted from testicular tissues in the breeding and nonbreeding seasons and were used for Western blotting analysis for ActRIIB and SMADs. Immunoreactivities of activin signaling components were greater in the testes of the breeding season, and then decreased to a relatively low level in the nonbreeding season. ActRIIB and related SMADs were widely spread in the active testes, while spermatogonia were the predominant cellular sites of activin signal transduction during arrested spermatogenesis. The dynamic regulation of activin type II receptor and SMADs indicated that the activin signal pathway played an important paracrine role in seasonal spermatogenesis of the wild ground squirrel. Furthermore, the distinct localizations and immunoreactivity of ActRIIB and SMADs might suggest different functions of activin in seasonal spermatogenesis.

  17. Seasonal patterns of body temperature daily rhythms in group-living Cape ground squirrels Xerus inauris.

    PubMed

    Scantlebury, Michael; Danek-Gontard, Marine; Bateman, Philip W; Bennett, Nigel C; Manjerovic, Mary Beth; Manjerovic, Mary-Beth; Joubert, Kenneth E; Waterman, Jane M

    2012-01-01

    Organisms respond to cyclical environmental conditions by entraining their endogenous biological rhythms. Such physiological responses are expected to be substantial for species inhabiting arid environments which incur large variations in daily and seasonal ambient temperature (T(a)). We measured core body temperature (T(b)) daily rhythms of Cape ground squirrels Xerus inauris inhabiting an area of Kalahari grassland for six months from the Austral winter through to the summer. Squirrels inhabited two different areas: an exposed flood plain and a nearby wooded, shady area, and occurred in different social group sizes, defined by the number of individuals that shared a sleeping burrow. Of a suite of environmental variables measured, maximal daily T(a) provided the greatest explanatory power for mean T(b) whereas sunrise had greatest power for T(b) acrophase. There were significant changes in mean T(b) and T(b) acrophase over time with mean T(b) increasing and T(b) acrophase becoming earlier as the season progressed. Squirrels also emerged from their burrows earlier and returned to them later over the measurement period. Greater increases in T(b), sometimes in excess of 5°C, were noted during the first hour post emergence, after which T(b) remained relatively constant. This is consistent with observations that squirrels entered their burrows during the day to 'offload' heat. In addition, greater T(b) amplitude values were noted in individuals inhabiting the flood plain compared with the woodland suggesting that squirrels dealt with increased environmental variability by attempting to reduce their T(a)-T(b) gradient. Finally, there were significant effects of age and group size on T(b) with a lower and less variable T(b) in younger individuals and those from larger group sizes. These data indicate that Cape ground squirrels have a labile T(b) which is sensitive to a number of abiotic and biotic factors and which enables them to be active in a harsh and variable

  18. Seasonal restructuring of the ground squirrel gut microbiota over the annual hibernation cycle.

    PubMed

    Carey, Hannah V; Walters, William A; Knight, Rob

    2013-01-01

    Many hibernating mammals suspend food intake during winter, relying solely on stored lipids to fuel metabolism. Winter fasting in these species eliminates a major source of degradable substrates to support growth of gut microbes, which may affect microbial community structure and host-microbial interactions. We explored the effect of the annual hibernation cycle on gut microbiotas using deep sequencing of 16S rRNA genes from ground squirrel cecal contents. Squirrel microbiotas were dominated by members of the phyla Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Verrucomicrobia. UniFrac analysis showed that microbiotas clustered strongly by season, and maternal influences, diet history, host age, and host body temperature had minimal effects. Phylogenetic diversity and numbers of operational taxonomic units were lowest in late winter and highest in the spring after a 2-wk period of refeeding. Hibernation increased relative abundance of Bacteroidetes and Verrucomicrobia, phyla that contain species capable of surviving on host-derived substrates such as mucins, and reduced relative abundance of Firmicutes, many of which prefer dietary polysaccharides. Hibernation reduced cecal short-chain fatty acid and ammonia concentrations, and increased and decreased concentrations of acetate and butyrate, respectively. These results indicate that the ground squirrel microbiota is restructured each year in a manner that reflects differences in microbial preferences for dietary vs. host-derived substrates, and thus the competitive abilities of different taxa to survive in the altered environment in the hibernator gut.

  19. Delayed effect of pinealectomy on hibernation of the golden-mantled ground squirrel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ralph, C. L.; Harlow, H. J.; Phillips, J. A.

    1982-12-01

    Pinealectomy or radical sham pinealectomy were performed on adult golden-mantled ground squirrels, Spermophilus (=Citellus) lateralis, approximately 1 month prior to the date of normal winter emergence. The first hibernatory period and subsequent active season were not different in either of the operated groups from intact animals. However, although the initiation of the second hibernatory period was not affected in the pinealectomized animals, this group failed to show the progressive increase in the length of heterothermic bouts that is characteristic of normal hibernation. Also, terminal arousal occurred approximately 6 weeks earlier in the second year after pinealectomy. Male squirrels showed a corresponding time compression in their annual gonadal cycle, as was assessed by testicular state. These results suggest that the pineal gland of the golden-mantled ground squirrel is involved in the expression of the annual hibernatory cycle. In the absence of the pineal gland the adult of this species is unable to sustain the normal depth and duration of hibernation in the second over-wintering period following pinealectomy. We have carried out additional experiments with young, laboratory-born S. lateralis and with field-caught, adult S. richardsonii. The results of these studies also are described in this paper.

  20. [Influence of ADP-ribose, AMP and adenosine on bioelectric activity of hibernating ground squirrel atrium and papillary muscle].

    PubMed

    Kuz'min, V S; Abramochkin, D V; Sukhova, G S; Rozenshtraukh, L V

    2008-01-01

    The aim of work was to investigate effects of adenosine, AMP and ADP-ribose (1x10(-5)) on bioelectric activity of atrium and papillary muscle of nonhibernating (rat) and hibernating (Yakutian ground squirrel) animals. Action potential (AP) was registered with use of standard microelectrode technique. AP duration (APD) at level of 90% repolarisation in rat atrium in control experiments was 30+/-5 ms, APD at level of 50% repolarisation was 12+/-2 ms. APD at level of 90% repolarisation in rat papillary muscle was 56+/-7 ms, at level of 50% repolarisation was 18+/-2 ms. APD at level of 90% repolarisation in ground squirrel atrium was 77+/-6, APD at level of 50% repolarisation was 38+/-6 ms. APD at level of 90% repolarisation in ground squirrel papillary muscle was 105+/-9 ms, APD at level of 50% repolarisation was 42+/-8 ms. Purine nucleotides and nucleoside, that were tested in work, except ADP-ribose, act as inhibitory factors and decrease APD both in rat and hibernating ground squirrel heart. ADP-ribose decreases APD in papillary muscle of hibernator but did not in its atrium. In ground squirrel atrium AMP and adenosine decrease APD at level of 50% repolarisation by 10+/-3% and 18+/-3% respectively. AMP and adenosine decrease APD at level of 90% repolarisation by 9+/-2% and 11+/-2% respectively. In ground squirrel papillary muscle ADP-ribose, AMP and adenosine decrease APD at level of 50% repolarisation by 26+/-8%, 23+/-8% and 26+/-7%. ADP-ribose, AMP and adenosine decrease APD at level of 90% repolarisation by 12+/-3%, 10+/-3%, 13+/-3%. Thus, decrease of APD in ground squirrel papillary muscle at level of 90% repolarisation during nucleotides and adenosine action was 2-2.5 fold less, than the rat.

  1. Leptin regulates energy intake but fails to facilitate hibernation in fattening Daurian ground squirrels (Spermophilus dauricus).

    PubMed

    Xing, Xin; Tang, Gang-Bin; Sun, Ming-Yue; Yu, Chao; Song, Shi-Yi; Liu, Xin-Yu; Yang, Ming; Wang, De-Hua

    2016-04-01

    Body fat storage before hibernation affects the timing of immergence in Daurian ground squirrels (Spermophilus dauricus). Leptin is an adipose signal and plays vital role in energy homeostasis mainly by action in brain. To test the hypothesis that leptin plays a role in facilitating the process of hibernation, squirrels were administrated with recombinant murine leptin (1μg/day) through intracerebroventricular (ICV) injection for 12 days during fattening. From day 7 to 12, animals were moved into a cold room (5±1°C) with constant darkness which functioned as hibernaculum. Energy intake, body mass and core body temperature (Tb) were continuously monitored throughout the course of experiment. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) was measured under both warm and cold conditions. At the end of leptin administration, we measured the serum concentration of hormones related to energy regulation, mRNA expression of hypothalamic neuropeptides and uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) levels in brown adipose tissue (BAT). Our results showed that during leptin administration, the cumulative food intake and increase of body mass were suppressed while Tb and RMR were unaltered. The proportion of torpid squirrels was not different between two groups. At the end of leptin administration, the expressions of hypothalamic neuropeptide Y and agouti gene-related protein were suppressed. There were no differences in UCP1 mRNA expression or protein content in BAT between groups. Our data suggest that leptin can affect energy intake via hypothalamic neuropeptides, but is not involved in the initiation of hibernation in fattening Daurian ground squirrels.

  2. Leptin regulates energy intake but fails to facilitate hibernation in fattening Daurian ground squirrels (Spermophilus dauricus).

    PubMed

    Xing, Xin; Tang, Gang-Bin; Sun, Ming-Yue; Yu, Chao; Song, Shi-Yi; Liu, Xin-Yu; Yang, Ming; Wang, De-Hua

    2016-04-01

    Body fat storage before hibernation affects the timing of immergence in Daurian ground squirrels (Spermophilus dauricus). Leptin is an adipose signal and plays vital role in energy homeostasis mainly by action in brain. To test the hypothesis that leptin plays a role in facilitating the process of hibernation, squirrels were administrated with recombinant murine leptin (1μg/day) through intracerebroventricular (ICV) injection for 12 days during fattening. From day 7 to 12, animals were moved into a cold room (5±1°C) with constant darkness which functioned as hibernaculum. Energy intake, body mass and core body temperature (Tb) were continuously monitored throughout the course of experiment. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) was measured under both warm and cold conditions. At the end of leptin administration, we measured the serum concentration of hormones related to energy regulation, mRNA expression of hypothalamic neuropeptides and uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) levels in brown adipose tissue (BAT). Our results showed that during leptin administration, the cumulative food intake and increase of body mass were suppressed while Tb and RMR were unaltered. The proportion of torpid squirrels was not different between two groups. At the end of leptin administration, the expressions of hypothalamic neuropeptide Y and agouti gene-related protein were suppressed. There were no differences in UCP1 mRNA expression or protein content in BAT between groups. Our data suggest that leptin can affect energy intake via hypothalamic neuropeptides, but is not involved in the initiation of hibernation in fattening Daurian ground squirrels. PMID:27033037

  3. Thermoregulatory changes anticipate hibernation onset by 45 days: data from free-living arctic ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Sheriff, Michael J; Williams, Cory T; Kenagy, G J; Buck, C Loren; Barnes, Brian M

    2012-08-01

    Hibernation is a strategy of reducing energy expenditure, body temperature (T(b)) and activity used by endotherms to escape unpredictable or seasonally reduced food availability. Despite extensive research on thermoregulatory adjustments during hibernation, less is known about transitions in thermoregulatory state, particularly under natural conditions. Laboratory studies on hibernating ground squirrels have demonstrated that thermoregulatory adjustments may occur over short intervals when animals undergo several brief, preliminary torpor bouts prior to entering multiday torpor. These short torpor bouts have been suggested to reflect a resetting of hypothalamic regions that control T(b) or to precondition animals before they undergo deep, multiday torpor. Here, we examined continuous records of T(b) in 240 arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii) prior to hibernation in the wild and in captivity. In free-living squirrels, T(b) began to decline 45 days prior to hibernation, and average T(b) had decreased 4.28 °C at the onset of torpor. Further, we found that 75 % of free-living squirrels and 35 % of captive squirrels entered bouts of multiday torpor with a single T(b) decline and without previously showing short preliminary bouts. This study provides evidence that adjustments in the thermoregulatory component of hibernation begin far earlier than previously demonstrated. The gradual reduction in T(b) is likely a component of the suite of metabolic and behavioral adjustments, controlled by an endogenous, circannual rhythm, that vary seasonally in hibernating ground squirrels.

  4. Ground squirrel tail-flag displays alter both predatory strike and ambush site selection behaviours of rattlesnakes.

    PubMed

    Barbour, Matthew A; Clark, Rulon W

    2012-09-22

    Many species approach, inspect and signal towards their predators. These behaviours are often interpreted as predator-deterrent signals--honest signals that indicate to a predator that continued hunting is likely to be futile. However, many of these putative predator-deterrent signals are given when no predator is present, and it remains unclear if and why such signals deter predators. We examined the effects of one such signal, the tail-flag display of California ground squirrels, which is frequently given both during and outside direct encounters with northern Pacific rattlesnakes. We video-recorded and quantified the ambush foraging responses of rattlesnakes to tail-flagging displays from ground squirrels. We found that tail-flagging deterred snakes from striking squirrels, most likely by advertising squirrel vigilance (i.e. readiness to dodge a snake strike). We also found that tail-flagging by adult squirrels increased the likelihood that snakes would leave their ambush site, apparently by elevating the vigilance of nearby squirrels which reduces the profitability of the ambush site. Our results provide some of the first empirical evidence of the mechanisms by which a prey display, although frequently given in the absence of a predator, may still deter predators during encounters. PMID:22787023

  5. Ground squirrel tail-flag displays alter both predatory strike and ambush site selection behaviours of rattlesnakes.

    PubMed

    Barbour, Matthew A; Clark, Rulon W

    2012-09-22

    Many species approach, inspect and signal towards their predators. These behaviours are often interpreted as predator-deterrent signals--honest signals that indicate to a predator that continued hunting is likely to be futile. However, many of these putative predator-deterrent signals are given when no predator is present, and it remains unclear if and why such signals deter predators. We examined the effects of one such signal, the tail-flag display of California ground squirrels, which is frequently given both during and outside direct encounters with northern Pacific rattlesnakes. We video-recorded and quantified the ambush foraging responses of rattlesnakes to tail-flagging displays from ground squirrels. We found that tail-flagging deterred snakes from striking squirrels, most likely by advertising squirrel vigilance (i.e. readiness to dodge a snake strike). We also found that tail-flagging by adult squirrels increased the likelihood that snakes would leave their ambush site, apparently by elevating the vigilance of nearby squirrels which reduces the profitability of the ambush site. Our results provide some of the first empirical evidence of the mechanisms by which a prey display, although frequently given in the absence of a predator, may still deter predators during encounters.

  6. Melatonin receptor signaling contributes to neuroprotection upon arousal from torpor in thirteen-lined ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Schwartz, Christine; Ballinger, Mallory A; Andrews, Matthew T

    2015-11-15

    The brain of mammalian hibernators is naturally protected. Hibernating ground squirrels undergo rapid and extreme changes in body temperature and brain perfusion as they cycle between lengthy torpor bouts and brief periods of euthermia called interbout arousals (IBAs). Arousal from torpor to IBA occurs rapidly, but there is no evidence of brain injury accompanying this extreme physiological transition. Production of the hormone melatonin accompanies arousal, suggesting that it plays a protective role at this time. Here, we investigated mechanisms of melatonin receptor-mediated protection in the brain of the hibernating ground squirrel. We administered the competitive melatonin receptor antagonist luzindole (30 mg/kg ip) to ground squirrels at the predicted end of a torpor bout, triggering an arousal. We found that luzindole-treated animals exhibited caspase-3 activity two times higher than vehicle-treated animals in the hypothalamus at midarousal (P = 0.01), suggesting that melatonin receptor signaling is important for protection in this brain region. We also found a 30% decline in succinate-fueled mitochondrial respiration in luzindole-treated animals compared with vehicle-treated animals (P = 0.019), suggesting that melatonin receptor signaling is important for optimal mitochondrial function during arousal from torpor. The mitochondrial effects of luzindole treatment were seen only during the hibernation season, indicating that this effect is specifically important for arousal from torpor. These data provide evidence for the protective role of melatonin receptor signaling during the extreme physiological transition that occurs when a hibernating mammal arouses from torpor and provide further evidence for regional and seasonal changes in the hibernator brain.

  7. [Effect of isoproterenol on contractility of the heart papillary muscles of a ground squirrel].

    PubMed

    Averin, A S; Zakharova, N M; Ignat'ev, D A; Tarlachkov, S V; Nakipova, O V

    2010-01-01

    The effect of isoproterenol (1 microM) on the force of isometric contractions (0.1-1.0 Hz, 30 +/- 1 degree C, 1.8 mM Ca2+) of papillary muscles of the right ventricle of the heart of the ground squirrel during summer activity (n = 5) and hibernation (activity between hibernation bouts, n = 4; torpor, n = 4; and arousal, n = 5) has been studied. It was shown that isoproterenol increases the force of contraction (positive inotropic effect) in active summer ground squirrels by 20 +/- 3 and 61 +/- 7% at stimulation frequencies of 0.4 and 1.0 Hz, respectively. The isoproterenol-induced increase in the force of contraction in animals during hibernation is brief (within 3 min after the onset of treatment) and this parameter decreases by 30-50% of the control level (negative inotropic effect) at stimulation frequencies from 0.3 and 0.8 Hz. The positive inotropic effect of isoproterenol in active summer ground squirrels is associated with a decrease in the relative value of the potentiating effect of the pause (qualitative indicator of calcium content in the sarcoplasmic reticulum), and the negative inotropic effect, with its increase. It was found that the inotropic effect of isoproterenol in all groups of animals examined (irrespective of its direction) is accompanied by an acceleration of the velocity of the contraction-relaxation cycle. The dependence of the effect of isoproterenol in the heart of hibernating animals on seasonal changes in the calcium homeostasis and the activity of the sympathetic nervous system is discussed.

  8. The recovery of a Mycoplasma from Citellus richardsonii richardsonii (ground squirrel).

    PubMed Central

    Langford, E V

    1977-01-01

    Swabs from the upper respiratory tract, external genitalia and the eyes and portions of the lungs, spleen, kidney, liver and uteri of two ground squirrels were cultured for mycoplasma. The upper respiratory tracts of both animals were positive for mycoplasma as were the lungs, liver and spleen of one of the animals. Preliminary serological studies, growth inhibition test against 38 known antisera, growth precipitation against 15 antisera and fluorescent antibody technique with eight conjugates have, with the exception of a minor precipitin reaction against Mycoplasma bovirhinis, all been negative. The isolates are believed to be representative of either one or more new mycoplasma species. PMID:861842

  9. Spontaneous cutaneous mast cell tumor with lymph node metastasis in a Richardson's ground squirrel (Spermophilus richardsonii).

    PubMed

    He, Xi Jun; Uchida, Kazuyuki; Tochitani, Tomoaki; Uetsuka, Koji; Miwa, Yasutsugu; Nakayama, Hiroyuki

    2009-01-01

    A 4-year-old female Richardson's ground squirrel (Spermophilus richardsonii) presented with multicentric nodules arising from the skin of the middle of the tail and lumbosacral regions. Histologically, the nodules were composed of a proliferation of spindloid to pleomorphic cells that sometimes formed sheets and fascicular to storiform patterns. Diffuse infiltration of eosinophils was also noted. The results of immunohistochemistry indicated positive labeling for vimentin, mast cell tryptase, c-kit, and Ki-67. Toluidine blue stain revealed fine, metachromatic, cytoplasmic granules. The histologic diagnosis was mast cell tumor. The neoplasm recurred and metastasized to the right lumbar lymph node 1 month later.

  10. Fungal remains in Pleistocene ground squirrel dung from Yukon Territory, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pirozynski, Kris A.; Carter, Adrian; Day, Richard G.

    1984-11-01

    Fungi in dung of the Arctic ground squirrel ( Spermophilus parryii) collected near Dominion Creek, Yukon Territory, Canada, have a radiocarbon age of 12,200 ± 100 yr B.P. Most of the fungal remains are assignable to modern taxa, and most of these are either widespread saprobes or nonspecific coprophiles. However, specimens identified as Chaetomium simile and Thecaphora deformans represent fungi that may be more characteristic of rodent dung than that of other animals, inviting consideration of dung fungi as a potential source of paleontological data.

  11. You can hide but you can’t run: apparent competition, predator responses and the decline of Arctic ground squirrels in boreal forests of the southwest Yukon

    PubMed Central

    Gillis, Elizabeth A.; Boonstra, Rudy; Krebs, Charles J.

    2016-01-01

    Throughout much of North America’s boreal forest, the cyclical fluctuations of snowshoe hare populations (Lepus americanus) may cause other herbivores to become entrained in similar cycles. Alternating apparent competition via prey switching followed by positive indirect effects are the mechanisms behind this interaction. Our purpose is to document a change in the role of indirect interactions between sympatric populations of hares and arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii plesius), and to emphasize the influence of predation for controlling ground squirrel numbers. We used mark-recapture to estimate the population densities of both species over a 25-year period that covered two snowshoe hare cycles. We analysed the strength of association between snowshoe hare and ground squirrel numbers, and the changes to the seasonal and annual population growth rates of ground squirrels over time. A hyperbolic curve best describes the per capita rate of increase of ground squirrels relative to their population size, with a single stable equilibrium and a lower critical threshold below which populations drift to extinction. The crossing of this unstable boundary resulted in the subsequent uncoupling of ground squirrel and hare populations following the decline phase of their cycles in 1998. The implications are that this sustained Type II predator response led to the local extinction of ground squirrels. When few individuals are left in a colony, arctic ground squirrels may also have exhibited an Allee effect caused by the disruption of social signalling of approaching predators. PMID:27635312

  12. You can hide but you can’t run: apparent competition, predator responses and the decline of Arctic ground squirrels in boreal forests of the southwest Yukon

    PubMed Central

    Gillis, Elizabeth A.; Boonstra, Rudy; Krebs, Charles J.

    2016-01-01

    Throughout much of North America’s boreal forest, the cyclical fluctuations of snowshoe hare populations (Lepus americanus) may cause other herbivores to become entrained in similar cycles. Alternating apparent competition via prey switching followed by positive indirect effects are the mechanisms behind this interaction. Our purpose is to document a change in the role of indirect interactions between sympatric populations of hares and arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii plesius), and to emphasize the influence of predation for controlling ground squirrel numbers. We used mark-recapture to estimate the population densities of both species over a 25-year period that covered two snowshoe hare cycles. We analysed the strength of association between snowshoe hare and ground squirrel numbers, and the changes to the seasonal and annual population growth rates of ground squirrels over time. A hyperbolic curve best describes the per capita rate of increase of ground squirrels relative to their population size, with a single stable equilibrium and a lower critical threshold below which populations drift to extinction. The crossing of this unstable boundary resulted in the subsequent uncoupling of ground squirrel and hare populations following the decline phase of their cycles in 1998. The implications are that this sustained Type II predator response led to the local extinction of ground squirrels. When few individuals are left in a colony, arctic ground squirrels may also have exhibited an Allee effect caused by the disruption of social signalling of approaching predators.

  13. You can hide but you can't run: apparent competition, predator responses and the decline of Arctic ground squirrels in boreal forests of the southwest Yukon.

    PubMed

    Werner, Jeffery R; Gillis, Elizabeth A; Boonstra, Rudy; Krebs, Charles J

    2016-01-01

    Throughout much of North America's boreal forest, the cyclical fluctuations of snowshoe hare populations (Lepus americanus) may cause other herbivores to become entrained in similar cycles. Alternating apparent competition via prey switching followed by positive indirect effects are the mechanisms behind this interaction. Our purpose is to document a change in the role of indirect interactions between sympatric populations of hares and arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii plesius), and to emphasize the influence of predation for controlling ground squirrel numbers. We used mark-recapture to estimate the population densities of both species over a 25-year period that covered two snowshoe hare cycles. We analysed the strength of association between snowshoe hare and ground squirrel numbers, and the changes to the seasonal and annual population growth rates of ground squirrels over time. A hyperbolic curve best describes the per capita rate of increase of ground squirrels relative to their population size, with a single stable equilibrium and a lower critical threshold below which populations drift to extinction. The crossing of this unstable boundary resulted in the subsequent uncoupling of ground squirrel and hare populations following the decline phase of their cycles in 1998. The implications are that this sustained Type II predator response led to the local extinction of ground squirrels. When few individuals are left in a colony, arctic ground squirrels may also have exhibited an Allee effect caused by the disruption of social signalling of approaching predators. PMID:27635312

  14. You can hide but you can't run: apparent competition, predator responses and the decline of Arctic ground squirrels in boreal forests of the southwest Yukon.

    PubMed

    Werner, Jeffery R; Gillis, Elizabeth A; Boonstra, Rudy; Krebs, Charles J

    2016-01-01

    Throughout much of North America's boreal forest, the cyclical fluctuations of snowshoe hare populations (Lepus americanus) may cause other herbivores to become entrained in similar cycles. Alternating apparent competition via prey switching followed by positive indirect effects are the mechanisms behind this interaction. Our purpose is to document a change in the role of indirect interactions between sympatric populations of hares and arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii plesius), and to emphasize the influence of predation for controlling ground squirrel numbers. We used mark-recapture to estimate the population densities of both species over a 25-year period that covered two snowshoe hare cycles. We analysed the strength of association between snowshoe hare and ground squirrel numbers, and the changes to the seasonal and annual population growth rates of ground squirrels over time. A hyperbolic curve best describes the per capita rate of increase of ground squirrels relative to their population size, with a single stable equilibrium and a lower critical threshold below which populations drift to extinction. The crossing of this unstable boundary resulted in the subsequent uncoupling of ground squirrel and hare populations following the decline phase of their cycles in 1998. The implications are that this sustained Type II predator response led to the local extinction of ground squirrels. When few individuals are left in a colony, arctic ground squirrels may also have exhibited an Allee effect caused by the disruption of social signalling of approaching predators.

  15. Antipredator vigilance of juvenile and adult thirteen-lined ground squirrels and the role of nutritional need.

    PubMed

    Arenz; Leger

    2000-03-01

    Juvenile thirteen-lined ground squirrels, Spermophilus tridecemlineatus, are less vigilant (i.e. they spend less time visually scanning the environment) than adults. To determine whether nutritional need was a potential cause of this difference, we supplemented two groups of free-ranging juveniles during the predispersal stage, while juveniles were still near and around the natal burrows. The high-energy food group (HEF: 11 squirrels) received peanut butter and oats while the low-energy food group (LEF: seven squirrels) received lettuce. Adults (14 squirrels) were also supplemented, but due to their greater home range sizes, it was not feasible to classify them as either HEF or LEF. To evaluate the effect of supplementation on antipredator vigilance, the behavioural act of visually scanning for predators, we videotaped individuals while they were foraging above ground during 5-min observation periods. Each squirrel was observed and weighed during three time periods over 23 days. From the videotape, we extracted measures of time spent vigilant, locomoting and foraging. All three categories of squirrels gained mass over the study period, but the HEF juveniles rapidly exceeded that of the LEF juveniles. Early in the study, LEF and HEF juveniles did not significantly differ in either body mass or time budgets, and, initially, both juvenile groups were similar to adults in the amount of time devoted to vigilance. Later in the study, the behaviour of HEF juveniles closely resembled that of adults (increased time devoted to vigilance and decreased time devoted to foraging), while LEF juveniles decreased vigilance and increased their foraging time. This study indicates that for thirteen-lined ground squirrels the lower vigilance of juveniles is due, at least in part, to the greater nutritional needs of young animals with consequent increases in foraging, which is largely incompatible with vigilance. Copyright 2000 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. PMID

  16. Metabolic rate and prehibernation fattening in free-living arctic ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Sheriff, Michael J; Fridinger, Robert W; Tøien, Øivind; Barnes, Brian M; Buck, C Loren

    2013-01-01

    Hibernating mammals become sequestered and cease foraging during prolonged seasonal periods of reduced or unpredictable food availability and instead rely on cached food and/or endogenous reserves of fat and protein accumulated during the previous active season. The gain in weight is due to increased food consumption, but it also has been hypothesized that hibernators maximize rates of fattening by decreasing costs of maintenance before weight gain, reflected in reduced resting metabolic rate (RMR). We recorded repeated measures of total body, lean, and fat mass in individual adult male and female arctic ground squirrels across their active season and found that squirrels increased body mass by 42% (males) and 62% (females). This gain was achieved through a 17% increase in lean mass and a 7-8-fold increase in fat mass; however, mass gain was not linear and patterns differed between sexes. Contrary to our hypothesis, decreases in RMR were not associated with rapid mass gain. We found RMR of males increased (whole-animal RMR or lean-mass-specific RMR) or remained constant (mass-specific RMR) for most of the active season and decreased only after the majority of mass had been gained. In females, although RMR (whole-animal, mass-specific, and lean-mass RMR) generally decreased across the active season, the greatest decrease occurred late in the active season after the majority of mass had been gained. In conclusion, arctic ground squirrels do not trade off metabolism to facilitate rates of weight gain before hibernation, but they do use energy sparing strategies before hibernation that help maintain peak mass. PMID:23995482

  17. Plasma glucocorticoid concentrations and body mass in ground squirrels: seasonal variation and circannual organization.

    PubMed

    Nunes, Scott; Pelz, Kimberly M; Muecke, Eva-Maria; Holekamp, Kay E; Zucker, Irving

    2006-04-01

    We examined variation in plasma glucocorticoid concentrations of free-living Belding's ground squirrels (Spermophilus beldingi) and captive golden-mantled ground squirrels (Spermophilus lateralis) housed in constant environmental conditions. Plasma corticosterone concentrations were not significantly correlated with time held captive in traps prior to collection of blood samples in males or non-breeding females, but these variables were significantly correlated in breeding females during the pre-mating, lactation, and post-lactation periods. Among male S. beldingi, plasma corticosterone concentrations increased over the course of the active season, and were significantly higher in non-breeding than breeding individuals. Corticosterone concentrations also increased in non-breeding females throughout the active period. In breeding females, baseline (non-stress) corticosterone concentrations, determined from blood samples collected within 3 min of capture, increased during gestation and declined during lactation, whereas stress values of corticosterone, determined from blood samples collected within 4-11 min of capture, increased during gestation and then again during the period after young emerged from the natal burrow. Changes in plasma corticosterone concentrations of S. beldingi paralleled changes in body mass. Among S. lateralis, plasma concentrations of cortisol were elevated when males and females were in reproductive condition and lower in reproductively quiescent squirrels. The annual peak in plasma cortisol concentrations occurred just prior to increases in body mass associated with pre-hibernation fattening. Collectively, these results suggest that concentrations of circulating glucocorticoids fluctuate with circannual rhythmicity in conjunction with annual cycles of change in body mass and activity; within these circannual cycles glucocorticoid concentrations are influenced by stress and breeding status. PMID:16360155

  18. [Breeding success and direction of animal crossing in the hybrid russet (Spermophilus major) and yellow (Spermophilus fulvus) ground squirrel population].

    PubMed

    Shmyrov, A A; Kuz'min, A A; Kuz'min, A A; Titov, S V

    2011-01-01

    Reproductive relations between animals in the hybrid settlement of the russet and yellow ground squirrels are panmictic and are characterized by the absence of assortative crossings and by the presence of multimale pairings in females with evidently heterospermic broods. Maximum breeding success was observed for hybrid animals proving the fertility of hybrids. However, the hybrid breeding potential (young animal survival rate) is significantly lower as compared with russet and yellow ground squirrels, but the survival rate of the hybrid progeny in the hybrid population is not lower than in specific settlements. PMID:22117418

  19. [Breeding success and direction of animal crossing in the hybrid russet (Spermophilus major) and yellow (Spermophilus fulvus) ground squirrel population].

    PubMed

    Shmyrov, A A; Kuz'min, A A; Kuz'min, A A; Titov, S V

    2011-01-01

    Reproductive relations between animals in the hybrid settlement of the russet and yellow ground squirrels are panmictic and are characterized by the absence of assortative crossings and by the presence of multimale pairings in females with evidently heterospermic broods. Maximum breeding success was observed for hybrid animals proving the fertility of hybrids. However, the hybrid breeding potential (young animal survival rate) is significantly lower as compared with russet and yellow ground squirrels, but the survival rate of the hybrid progeny in the hybrid population is not lower than in specific settlements.

  20. Acoustic analysis of the alarm call of the Anatolian ground squirrel Spermophilus xanthoprymnus: a description and comparison with alarm calls of the Taurus S. taurensis and European S. citellus ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Schneiderová, Irena; Policht, Richard

    2012-01-01

    The Anatolian ground squirrel Spermophilus xanthoprymnus like other ground-dwelling sciurids, emits alarm calls in the presence of predators. In this study, we provide a description of the acoustic structure of alarm call of this species and compare it to those of two closely related species, the Taurus ground squirrel Spermophilus taurensis and the European ground squirrel Spermophilus citellus. The alarm call of S. xanthoprymnus is a tonal sound mostly consisting of two different elements-the first element has low frequency modulation while the second element is highly frequency modulated. A similar basic structure can be found in the alarm calls of some other old world ground squirrel species of the genus Spermophilus, including S. taurensis and S. citellus. Despite this similarity, we found that these three species can be clearly distinguished on the basis of their alarm calls. Differences in the acoustic structure of S. xanthoprymnus and S. taurensis calls are especially remarkable, as these two species were considered to be conspecific until 2007. S. xanthoprymnus and S. taurensis were also demonstrated to have closer acoustic similarity, which is in contrast to results based on molecular data indicating that S. taurensis is most closely related to S. citellus.

  1. Acoustic analysis of the alarm call of the Anatolian ground squirrel Spermophilus xanthoprymnus: a description and comparison with alarm calls of the Taurus S. taurensis and European S. citellus ground squirrels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneiderová, Irena; Policht, Richard

    2012-01-01

    The Anatolian ground squirrel Spermophilus xanthoprymnus like other ground-dwelling sciurids, emits alarm calls in the presence of predators. In this study, we provide a description of the acoustic structure of alarm call of this species and compare it to those of two closely related species, the Taurus ground squirrel Spermophilus taurensis and the European ground squirrel Spermophilus citellus. The alarm call of S. xanthoprymnus is a tonal sound mostly consisting of two different elements—the first element has low frequency modulation while the second element is highly frequency modulated. A similar basic structure can be found in the alarm calls of some other old world ground squirrel species of the genus Spermophilus, including S. taurensis and S. citellus. Despite this similarity, we found that these three species can be clearly distinguished on the basis of their alarm calls. Differences in the acoustic structure of S. xanthoprymnus and S. taurensis calls are especially remarkable, as these two species were considered to be conspecific until 2007. S. xanthoprymnus and S. taurensis were also demonstrated to have closer acoustic similarity, which is in contrast to results based on molecular data indicating that S. taurensis is most closely related to S. citellus.

  2. The influence of changing seasonality and snow cover on arctic ground squirrel phenology.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barnes, B.; Sheriff, M.; Kenagy, J.; Buck, L.; Team Squirrel

    2011-12-01

    A warming climate in the Arctic may have asymmetrical effects on seasonality, depending on the timing and extent of snow cover. Warm autumns that delay the onset of persistent snow cover will lengthen growing seasons of some plants and, combined with continuing access to fallen seeds, berries, and leaves, extend feeding opportunities for ground foragers. Warming in spring should advance when the ground becomes snow free and the onset of plant productivity, leading overall to a longer growing season. However, if winter and spring precipitation increase, as is predicted in climate models, the amount and seasonal extent of snow pack will increase, which will delay melt and lead to delayed springs. Either of these scenarios may develop regionally, depending on local weather, snow, and wind. Since 1996, we have been investigating the timing of annual events in natural populations of arctic ground squirrels, Urocitellus parryii, living at two nearby sites (Toolik and Atigun, 68o38'N) in arctic Alaska that greatly differ in timing and duration of snow cover. Since arctic ground squirrels are highly dependent on snow free ground for foraging, we predicted that these environmental differences will have had major impacts on life histories and timing of annual events on the local populations. Precision in dates of the beginning and end of hibernation, use of heterothermy, and birth of young were determined by temperature-sensitive data loggers implanted into juvenile and adult animals of both sexes. Weather stations, snow cameras, and transects for plant phenology are in place at both locations, although record lengths differ. While across the past 15 years annual timing of hibernation and breeding has not shown significant trends at either site, the two populations have differed consistently in hibernation timing and length of active season, and they show a 13 day difference in average timing of reproduction. These results reveal a substantial flexibility of timing of the

  3. Phenological variation in annual timing of hibernation and breeding in nearby populations of Arctic ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Sheriff, Michael J; Kenagy, G Jim; Richter, Melanie; Lee, Trixie; Tøien, Oivind; Kohl, Franziska; Buck, C Loren; Barnes, Brian M

    2011-08-01

    Ecologists need an empirical understanding of physiological and behavioural adjustments that animals can make in response to seasonal and long-term variations in environmental conditions. Because many species experience trade-offs between timing and duration of one seasonal event versus another and because interacting species may also shift phenologies at different rates, it is possible that, in aggregate, phenological shifts could result in mismatches that disrupt ecological communities. We investigated the timing of seasonal events over 14 years in two Arctic ground squirrel populations living 20 km apart in Northern Alaska. At Atigun River, snow melt occurred 27 days earlier and snow cover began 17 days later than at Toolik Lake. This spatial differential was reflected in significant variation in the timing of most seasonal events in ground squirrels living at the two sites. Although reproductive males ended seasonal torpor on the same date at both sites, Atigun males emerged from hibernation 9 days earlier and entered hibernation 5 days later than Toolik males. Atigun females emerged and bred 13 days earlier and entered hibernation 9 days earlier than those at Toolik. We propose that this variation in phenology over a small spatial scale is likely generated by plasticity of physiological mechanisms that may also provide individuals the ability to respond to variation in environmental conditions over time.

  4. A validation of extraction methods for noninvasive sampling of glucocorticoids in free-living ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Mateo, Jill M; Cavigelli, Sonia A

    2005-01-01

    Fecal hormone assays provide a powerful tool for noninvasive monitoring of endocrine status in wild animals. In this study we validated a protocol for extracting and measuring glucocorticoids in free-living and captive Belding's ground squirrels (Spermophilus beldingi). We first compared two commonly used extraction protocols to determine which performed better with commercially available antibodies. We next verified the preferred extraction method by correlating circulating and fecal glucocorticoid measures from a group of individuals over time. For this comparison, we used both a cortisol and a corticosterone antibody to determine which had greater affinity to the fecal metabolites. Cortisol was the primary circulating glucocorticoid, but both hormones were present in well above detectable concentrations in the blood, which does not occur in other sciurids. In addition, the cortisol antibody showed greater binding with the fecal extracts than did the corticosterone antibody. Finally, we used adrenocorticotropic hormone and dexamethasone challenges to demonstrate that changes in adrenal functioning are reflected in changing fecal corticoid levels. These results suggest that our extraction protocol provides a fast, reliable assay of stress hormones in free-living ground squirrels without the confounding influence of short-term rises in glucocorticoid concentrations caused by handling and restraint stress and that it can facilitate ecological and evolutionary studies of stress in wild species. PMID:16228945

  5. Seasonal variation in daily activity patterns of free-ranging European ground squirrels (Spermophilus citellus).

    PubMed

    Everts, Lammina G; Strijkstra, Arjen M; Hut, Roelof A; Hoffmann, Ilse E; Millesi, Eva

    2004-01-01

    Daily aboveground activity of European ground squirrels (Spermophilus citellus) in their natural habitat was recorded with a visual scanning procedure during the active seasons of 1992 and 1993. Activity patterns were analyzed with respect to time of year and to the animal's reproductive state. Aboveground activity started on average 3.9 h (SD 0.6 h, n = 37 days) after civil twilight at dawn and ended on average 3.2 h (SD 0.9 h, n = 37 days) before civil twilight at dusk. Between onset and offset of activity, 54% was spent aboveground, of which 73% was spent foraging. Activity patterns were influenced by photoperiod, rainfall, and by reproductive state. During mating, reproductively active males started activity earlier than females and reproductively inactive males. For females, time spent foraging was high during lactation. The midpoint of daily activity was at 12:16 h (SD 0.37 h, n = 37 days). Activity patterns of European ground squirrels thus appear robustly positioned in the middle of the photoperiod. PMID:15129824

  6. Caching in the presence of competitors: Are Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris) sensitive to audience attentiveness?

    PubMed

    Samson, Jamie; Manser, Marta B

    2016-01-01

    When social animals cache food close to their burrow, the potential for an audience member to observe the event is significantly increased. As a consequence, in order to reduce theft it may be advantageous for animals to be sensitive to certain audience cues, such as whether they are attentive or not to the cache event. In this study, observations were made on three groups of Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris) in their natural habitat when they cached provisioned food items. When individuals cached within 10 m of conspecifics, we recorded the attentiveness (i.e. whether any audience members were orientated towards the cacher, had direct line of site and were not engaged in other activities) and identity of audience members. Overall, there was a preference to cache when audience members were inattentive rather than attentive. Additionally, we found rank effects related to cache avoidance whereby high-ranked individuals showed less avoidance to cache when audience members were attentive compared to medium- and low-ranked individuals. We suggest this audience sensitivity may have evolved in response to the difference in competitive ability amongst the ranks in how successful individuals are at winning foraging competitions. This study demonstrates that Cape ground squirrels have the ability to not only monitor the presence or absence of conspecifics but also discriminate individuals on the basis of their attentive state.

  7. A Validation of Extraction Methods for Noninvasive Sampling of Glucocorticoids in Free-Living Ground Squirrels

    PubMed Central

    Mateo, Jill M.; Cavigelli, Sonia A.

    2008-01-01

    Fecal hormone assays provide a powerful tool for noninvasive monitoring of endocrine status in wild animals. In this study we validated a protocol for extracting and measuring glucocorticoids in free-living and captive Belding’s ground squirrels (Spermophilus beldingi). We first compared two commonly used extraction protocols to determine which performed better with commercially available antibodies. We next verified the preferred extraction method by correlating circulating and fecal glucocorticoid measures from a group of individuals over time. For this comparison, we used both a cortisol and a corticosterone antibody to determine which had greater affinity to the fecal metabolites. Cortisol was the primary circulating glucocorticoid, but both hormones were present in well above detectable concentrations in the blood, which does not occur in other sciurids. In addition, the cortisol antibody showed greater binding with the fecal extracts than did the corticosterone antibody. Finally, we used adrenocorticotropic hormone and dexamethasone challenges to demonstrate that changes in adrenal functioning are reflected in changing fecal corticoid levels. These results suggest that our extraction protocol provides a fast, reliable assay of stress hormones in free-living ground squirrels without the confounding influence of short-term rises in glucocorticoid concentrations caused by handling and restraint stress and that it can facilitate ecological and evolutionary studies of stress in wild species. PMID:16228945

  8. Caching in the presence of competitors: Are Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris) sensitive to audience attentiveness?

    PubMed

    Samson, Jamie; Manser, Marta B

    2016-01-01

    When social animals cache food close to their burrow, the potential for an audience member to observe the event is significantly increased. As a consequence, in order to reduce theft it may be advantageous for animals to be sensitive to certain audience cues, such as whether they are attentive or not to the cache event. In this study, observations were made on three groups of Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris) in their natural habitat when they cached provisioned food items. When individuals cached within 10 m of conspecifics, we recorded the attentiveness (i.e. whether any audience members were orientated towards the cacher, had direct line of site and were not engaged in other activities) and identity of audience members. Overall, there was a preference to cache when audience members were inattentive rather than attentive. Additionally, we found rank effects related to cache avoidance whereby high-ranked individuals showed less avoidance to cache when audience members were attentive compared to medium- and low-ranked individuals. We suggest this audience sensitivity may have evolved in response to the difference in competitive ability amongst the ranks in how successful individuals are at winning foraging competitions. This study demonstrates that Cape ground squirrels have the ability to not only monitor the presence or absence of conspecifics but also discriminate individuals on the basis of their attentive state. PMID:26242609

  9. Kin selection in Columbian ground squirrels (Urocitellus columbianus): littermate kin provide individual fitness benefits.

    PubMed

    Viblanc, Vincent A; Arnaud, Coline M; Dobson, F Stephen; Murie, Jan O

    2010-04-01

    Since W. D. Hamilton's seminal work on the evolution of sociality, a large body of research has accumulated on how kin selection might explain the evolution of cooperation in many group-living species. Our study examined the evolutionary basis of philopatry and cooperation; specifically, whether individuals benefit from the presence of close kin. We applied an individual fitness approach to a 16-year study of Columbian ground squirrels (Urocitellus columbianus) to investigate potential causal paths by which the presence of kin might act on individual fitness. Our results indicate that individual fitness benefits resulted from associations of philopatric female kin, and support the hypothesis that increased tolerance of proximity of kin is a proximate mechanism for these benefits. The major life-history influence of kin on individual fitness was through improved reproductive success, and this benefit may have been owing to philopatric settlement of kin that were recognized through familiarization in the natal burrow. Thus, we demonstrated an evolutionary basis necessary for ongoing kin-selected cooperation in Columbian ground squirrels, though the mechanism of familiarity may determine which kin individuals benefit from cooperative behaviours.

  10. The impact of predation on burrow use by arctic ground squirrels in the boreal forest.

    PubMed Central

    Karels, T J; Boonstra, R

    1999-01-01

    In sedentary animals, the choice of a suitable home site is critical to survival and reproductive fitness. However, habitat suitability may vary with predation risk. We compared habitat use of Arctic ground squirrels (Spermophilus parryii plesius) living in the boreal forest under conditions of fluctuating predation pressure. In our study area, predators show ten-year cycles in numbers that track that of their primary prey, the snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus). In 1993, we compared burrows that continued to be occupied following the period of intense predation during the hare decline of 1990-1992 with those that became vacant, and with random locations. We contrasted these sites to those in a predator exclosure where predation pressure was minimized. Burrows on control sites were located on sloped sites with high visibility. Burrows that remained occupied during the period of intense predation were more likely to be in open areas with fewer fallen trees than burrows that became vacant. We used discriminant functions derived from the control sites and found that 89% of the burrows on the predator exclosure were classified as being similar to the random locations on control sites. We conclude that the distribution of Arctic ground squirrels in the boreal forest is a direct function of predator presence. PMID:10902546

  11. [Molecular genetic relationships among east Palearctic ground squirrels of the genus Spermophilus (Sciuridae, Rodentia)].

    PubMed

    Tsvirka, M V; Spiridonova, L N; Korablev, V P

    2008-08-01

    Genetic diversity in the four east Palearctic ground squirrel species of the genus Spermophilus--S. undulatus, S. parryi (subgenus Urocitellus), S. dauricus, and S. relictus (subgenus Citellus)--- was investigated using RAPD PCR with ten random primers. Siberian chipmunk, Tamias sibiricus, was used as an outgroup. Molecular markers for different taxonomic ranks were identified, including those for the genera Spermophilus and Tamias, subgenera Urocitellus and Citellus, as well as for each of the four species, S. undulatus, S. parryi, S. dauricus, and S. relictus. For the ground squirrel species and subgenera, genetic differentiation indices (H(t), H(s), D(st), G(st), Nm, and D) were calculated. In addition, for these groups the NJ phylogenetic reconstructions and UPGMA dendrograms of genetic similarity of the individuals and combined populations were constructed. Comparative molecular genetic analysis revealed a high genetic differentiation between S. undulates, S. dauricus, S. relicts, and S. parryi (G(st) = 0.58 to 0.82; D = 0.53 to 1.06), along with a low level of genetic differentiation of the subgenera Citellus and Urocitellus (G(st) = 0.33; D = 0.27), distinguished in accordance with the existing taxonomic systems of the genus Spermophilus.

  12. Immunohistochemical localization of inhibin/activin subunits in the wild ground squirrel (Citellus dauricus Brandt) ovary.

    PubMed

    Sheng, Xia; Weng, Jiaju; Zhang, Haolin; Li, Xiaonan; Zhang, Mengyuan; Xu, Meiyu; Weng, Qiang; Watanabe, Gen; Taya, Kazuyoshi

    2012-01-01

    The intraovarian function of gonadally produced inhibin and activin has been extensively studied in experimental models for decades, yet their presence and function have been rarely reported in wild rodents. With our seasonal breeding model, the wild ground squirrel, we aimed to investigate the possible roles of these peptides in the seasonal folliculogenesis. Immunohistochemical staining and Western blotting have been used to detect the cellular localization and expression patterns of inhibin/activin subunits (α, β(A) and β(B)). In the breeding season ovary, all three subunits were present in granulosa cells, theca cells of antral follicles and interstitial cells, with the strongest immunostaining in granulosa cells. Following ovulation, the corpora lutea become a major site of inhibin/activin synthesis. In the nonbreeding season ovary, inhibin/activin α and β(A) subunits were weakly immunopositive in granulosa cells of early stage follicles, while β(B) subunit was undetectable. The expression level of inhibin/activin subunit proteins were generally higher in the ovaries of the breeding season, and then decreased to a relatively low level during the nonbreeding season. The dynamic expression of inhibin/activin subunits indicated that they might play important paracrine and/or autocrine roles during the seasonal folliculogenesis of the wild ground squirrel.

  13. Hibernation and circadian rhythms of body temperature in free-living Arctic ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Williams, Cory T; Barnes, Brian M; Richter, Melanie; Buck, C Loren

    2012-01-01

    In mammals, the circadian master clock generates daily rhythms of body temperature (T(b)) that act to entrain rhythms in peripheral circadian oscillators. The persistence and function of circadian rhythms during mammalian hibernation is contentious, and the factors that contribute to the reestablishment of rhythms after hibernation are unclear. We collected regular measures of core T(b) (every 34 min) and ambient light conditions (every 30 s) before, during, and following hibernation in free-living male arctic ground squirrels. Free-running circadian T(b) rhythms at euthermic levels of T(b) persisted for up to 10 d in constant darkness after animals became sequestered in their hibernacula in fall. During steady state torpor, T(b) was constant and arrhythmic for up to 13 d (within the 0.19°C resolution of loggers). In spring, males ended heterothermy but remained in their burrows at euthermic levels of T(b) for 22-26 d; patterns of T(b) were arrhythmic for the first 10 d of euthermia. One of four squirrels exhibited a significant free-running T(b) rhythm (τ = 22.1 h) before emergence; this squirrel had been briefly exposed to low-amplitude light before emergence. In all animals, diurnal T(b) rhythms were immediately reestablished coincident with emergence to the surface and the resumption of surface activity. Our results support the hypothesis that clock function is inhibited during hibernation and reactivated by exposure to light, although resumption of extended surface activity does not appear to be necessary to reinitiate T(b) cycles.

  14. Effects of season and host physiological state on the diversity, density, and activity of the arctic ground squirrel cecal microbiota.

    PubMed

    Stevenson, Timothy J; Duddleston, Khrystyne N; Buck, C Loren

    2014-09-01

    We examined the seasonal changes of the cecal microbiota of captive arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii) by measuring microbial diversity and composition, total bacterial density and viability, and short-chain fatty acid concentrations at four sample periods (summer, torpor, interbout arousal, and posthibernation). Abundance of Firmicutes was lower, whereas abundances of Bacteroidetes, Verrucomicrobia, and Proteobacteria were higher during torpor and interbout arousal than in summer. Bacterial densities and percentages of live bacteria were significantly higher in summer than during torpor and interbout arousal. Likewise, total short-chain fatty acid concentrations were significantly greater during summer than during torpor and interbout arousal. Concentrations of individual short-chain fatty acids varied across sample periods, with butyrate concentrations higher and acetate concentrations lower during summer than at all other sample periods. Characteristics of the gut community posthibernation were more similar to those during torpor and interbout arousal than to those during summer. However, higher abundances of the genera Bacteroides and Akkermansia occurred during posthibernation than during interbout arousal and torpor. Collectively, our results clearly demonstrate that seasonal changes in physiology associated with hibernation and activity affect the gut microbial community in the arctic ground squirrel. Importantly, similarities between the gut microbiota of arctic ground squirrels and thirteen-lined ground squirrels suggest the potential for a core microbiota during hibernation.

  15. Late Pleistocene paleoecology of arctic ground squirrel ( Urocitellus parryii) caches and nests from Interior Alaska's mammoth steppe ecosystem, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gaglioti, Benjamin V.; Barnes, Brian M.; Zazula, Grant D.; Beaudoin, Alwynne B.; Wooller, Matthew J.

    2011-11-01

    Botanical analyses of fossil and modern arctic ground squirrel ( Urocitellus parryii) caches and nests have been used to reconstruct the past vegetation from some parts of Beringia, but such archives are understudied in Alaska. Five modern and four fossil samples from arctic ground squirrel caches and nests provide information on late Pleistocene vegetation in Eastern Beringia. Modern arctic ground squirrel caches from Alaska's arctic tundra were dominated by willow and grass leaves and grass seeds and bearberries, which were widespread in the local vegetation as confirmed by vegetation surveys. Late Pleistocene caches from Interior Alaska were primarily composed of steppe and dry tundra graminoid and herb seeds. Graminoid cuticle analysis of fossil leaves identified Calamagrostis canadensis, Koeleria sp. and Carex albonigra as being common in the fossil samples. Stable carbon isotopes analysis of these graminoid specimens indicated that plants using the C 3 photosynthetic pathways were present and functioning with medium to high water-use efficiency. Fossil plant taxa and environments from ground squirrel caches in Alaska are similar to other macrofossil assemblages from the Yukon Territory, which supports the existence of a widespread mammoth steppe ecosystem type in Eastern Beringia that persisted throughout much of the late Pleistocene.

  16. Characterisation of a novel UV filter in the lens of the thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus).

    PubMed

    Lyons, Brian; Karuso, Peter; Jamie, Joanne F; Simpanya, Mukoma F; Giblin, Frank; Truscott, Roger J W

    2014-04-01

    Structural analysis of a novel UV filter present in the lens of the thirteen-lined ground squirrel has shown that it is related in structure to N-acetyl-3-hydroxykynurenine. This finding is consistent with the fact that the squirrel lenses also contain high levels of this tryptophan metabolite. Analysis of both NMR and mass spectrometric data suggested that the novel UV filter compound forms by condensation of proline with N-acetyl-3-hydroxykynurenine. Its absorption maximum at 340 nm is more than 20 nm lower than that of the kynurenines and it may therefore assist in filtering the more damaging shorter wavelengths of UVA.

  17. Determination of an optimal dose of medetomidine-ketamine-buprenorphine for anaesthesia in the Cape ground squirrel (Xerus inauris).

    PubMed

    Jouber, K E; Serfontein, T; Scantlebury, M; Manjerovice, M B; Bateman, P W; Bennett, N C; Waterman, J M

    2011-06-01

    The optimal dose of medetomidine-ketamine-buprenorphine was determined in 25 Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris) undergoing surgical implantation of a temperature logger into the abdominal cavity. At the end of anaesthesia, the squirrels were given atipamezole intramuscularly to reverse the effects of medetomidine. The mean dose of medetomidine was 67.6 +/- 9.2microg/kg, ketamine 13.6 +/- 1.9 mg/kg and buprenorphine 0.5 +/- 0.06 microg/kg. Induction time was 3.1 +/- 1.4 min. This produced surgical anaesthesia for 21 +/- 4.2 min. Atipamezole 232 +/- 92 microg/kg produced a rapid recovery. Squirrels were sternally recumbent in 3.5 +/- 2.2 min.

  18. The secret life of ground squirrels: accelerometry reveals sex-dependent plasticity in above-ground activity

    PubMed Central

    Wilsterman, Kathryn; Zhang, Victor; Moore, Jeanette; Barnes, Brian M.; Buck, C. Loren

    2016-01-01

    The sexes differ in how and when they allocate energy towards reproduction, but how this influences phenotypic plasticity in daily activity patterns is unclear. Here, we use collar-mounted light loggers and triaxial accelerometers to examine factors that affect time spent above ground and overall dynamic body acceleration (ODBA), an index of activity-specific energy expenditure, across the active season of free-living, semi-fossorial arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii). We found high day-to-day variability in time spent above ground and ODBA with most of the variance explained by environmental conditions known to affect thermal exchange. In both years, females spent more time below ground compared with males during parturition and early lactation; however, this difference was fourfold larger in the second year, possibly, because females were in better body condition. Daily ODBA positively correlated with time spent above ground in both sexes, but females were more active per unit time above ground. Consequently, daily ODBA did not differ between the sexes when females were early in lactation, even though females were above ground three to six fewer hours each day. Further, on top of having the additional burden of milk production, ODBA data indicate females also had fragmented rest patterns and were more active during late lactation. Our results indicate that sex differences in reproductive requirements can have a substantial influence on activity patterns, but the size of this effect may be dependent on capital resources accrued during gestation. PMID:27703706

  19. [Seasonal changes in phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chains and C-protein in myocardium of hibernating ground squirrel Citellus undulatus].

    PubMed

    Malyshev, S L; Osipova, D A; Vikhliantsev, I M; Podlubnaia, Z A

    2006-01-01

    A comparative study concerning the extent of phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chains and C-protein from the left ventricle of hibernating ground squirrel Citellus undulatus during the periods of hibernation and activity was carried out. During hibernation, regulatory light chains of ground squirrel were found to be completely dephosphorylated. In active animals, the share of phosphorylated light chains averages 40-45% of their total amount. The extent of phosphorylation of the cardiac C-protein during hibernation is about two times higher than that in the active state. Seasonal differences in phosphorylation of the two proteins of ground squirrel myocardium are discussed in the context of adaptation to hibernation.

  20. Analysis of the hibernation cycle using LC-MS-based metabolomics in ground squirrel liver.

    PubMed

    Nelson, Clark J; Otis, Jessica P; Martin, Sandra L; Carey, Hannah V

    2009-03-01

    A hallmark of hibernation in mammals is metabolic flexibility, which is typified by reversible bouts of metabolic depression (torpor) and the seasonal shift from predominantly carbohydrate to lipid metabolism from summer to winter. To provide new insight into the control and consequences of hibernation, we used LC/MS-based metabolomics to measure differences in small molecules in ground squirrel liver in five activity states: summer, entering torpor, late torpor, arousing from torpor, and interbout arousal. There were significant alterations both seasonally and within torpor-arousal cycles in enzyme cofactor metabolism, amino acid catabolism, and purine and pyrimidine metabolism, with observed metabolites reduced during torpor and increased upon arousal. Multiple lipids also changed, including 1-oleoyllysophosphatidylcholine, cholesterol sulfate, and sphingosine, which tended to be lowest during torpor, and hexadecanedioic acid, which accumulated during a torpor bout. The results reveal the dramatic alterations that occur in several classes of metabolites, highlighting the value of metabolomic analyses in deciphering the hibernation phenotype.

  1. Mechanisms of immediate temperature compensation: experiments with brain synaptosomes from rat and ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Marjanović, Marina; Zivadinović, Dragoslava; Dzakula, Zeljko; Andjus, Radoslav K

    2005-06-01

    Glucose conversion by brain synaptosomes can be regarded as a special case of intrinsic kinetic properties of the enzyme substrate system. Temperature modulation of apparent K(m) for this process can be described with our kinetic model. Using experimental data and the kinetic model, the minimal K(m) value for glucose conversion in ground squirrel synaptosomes was found at the lower temperature (6.5 degrees C), much lower than that for the rat (16.6 degrees C). The inversion temperatures (T(min)) closely coincided with the lowest body temperatures from which the unassisted recovery from hypothermia was demonstrated in both species. This study indicated that thermal modulation of enzyme affinities may have an adaptive role in endotherms that is linked to their tolerance to hypothermia.

  2. Spatial and temporal activation of brain regions in hibernation: c-fos expression during the hibernation bout in thirteen-lined ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Bratincsák, András; McMullen, David; Miyake, Shinichi; Tóth, Zsuzsanna E; Hallenbeck, John M; Palkovits, Miklós

    2007-12-01

    Hibernation results in dramatic changes in body temperature and metabolism; however, the central nervous system remains active during deep torpor. By cloning c-fos cDNA from the 13-lined ground squirrel (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus) and using squirrel c-fos mRNA probe for in situ hybridization histochemistry, we systematically analyzed and identified specific brain regions that were activated during six different phases of the hibernation bout. During entrance into torpor, we detected activation of the ventrolateral subdivision of the medial preoptic area ('thermoregulatory center'), and the reticular thalamic nucleus, which is known to inhibit the somatomotor cortex. During torpor, c-fos expression in the cortex was suppressed while the reticular thalamic nucleus remained uniformly active. Throughout torpor the suprachiasmatic nucleus ('biological clock') showed increasing activity, likely participating in phase-change regulation of the hibernation bout. Interestingly, during torpor very strong c-fos activation was seen in the epithelial cells of the choroid plexus and in tanycytes at the third ventricle, both peaking near the beginning of arousal. In arousal, activity of the suprachiasmatic and reticular thalamic nuclei and choroid epithelial cells diminished, while ependymal cells in the lateral and fourth ventricles showed stronger activity. Increasing body temperature during arousal was driven by the activation of neurons in the medial part of the preoptic area. In interbout awake animals, we demonstrated the activation of hypothalamic neurons located in the arcuate nucleus and the dorsolateral hypothalamus, areas involved in food intake. Our observations indicate that the hibernation bout is closely regulated and orchestrated by specific regions of the central nervous system. J. Comp. Neurol. 505:443-458, 2007. (c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  3. The effects of hibernation and forced disuse (neurectomy) on bone properties in arctic ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Bogren, Lori K; Johnston, Erin L; Barati, Zeinab; Martin, Paula A; Wojda, Samantha J; Van Tets, Ian G; LeBlanc, Adrian D; Donahue, Seth W; Drew, Kelly L

    2016-05-01

    Bone loss is a well-known medical consequence of disuse such as in long-term space flight. Immobilization in many animals mimics the effects of space flight on bone mineral density. Decreases in metabolism are also thought to contribute to a loss of skeletal mass. Hibernating mammals provide a natural model of disuse and metabolic suppression. Hibernating ground squirrels have been shown to maintain bone strength despite long periods of disuse and decreased metabolism during torpor. This study examined if the lack of bone loss during torpor was a result of the decrease in metabolic rate during torpor or an evolutionary change in these animals affording protection against disuse. We delineated changes in bone density during natural disuse (torpor) and forced disuse (sciatic neurectomy) in the hind limbs of the arctic ground squirrel (AGS) over an entire year. We hypothesized that the animals would be resistant to bone loss due to immobilization and disuse during the winter hibernation season when metabolism is depressed but not the summer active season. This hypothesis was not supported. The animals maintained bone density (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) and most bone structural and mechanical properties in both seasons. This was observed in both natural and forced disuse, regardless of the known metabolic rate increase during the summer. However, trabecular bone volume fraction (microcomputed tomography) in the distal femur was lower in neurectomized AGS at the study endpoint. These results demonstrate a need to better understand the relationship between skeletal load (use) and bone density that may lead to therapeutics or strategies to maintain bone density in disuse conditions.

  4. Demography of a population collapse: the Northern Idaho ground squirrel (Spermophilus brunneus brunneus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sherman, P.W.; Runge, M.C.

    2002-01-01

    We studied the demography of a population of Northern Idaho ground squirrels (Spermophilus brunneus brunneus) in Adams Co., Idaho. The population was completely censused yearly from 1987 to 1999, during which time it declined from 272 to 10 animals. The finite population growth rate, based on a Leslie matrix model of average life-history parameters, was only 0.72 (i.e., significantly <1.0). Growth rate was more sensitive to proportional changes in juvenile female survival than to any other single life-history parameter. Comparisons with self-sustaining populations of closely related ground squirrel species revealed that juvenile survival and breeding rates of yearling females were anomalously low. We believe that the ultimate cause of the population's collapse was inadequacy of food resources, particularly seeds, due to drying of the habitat and changes in plant species composition, likely the result of fire suppression and grazing. No 'rescue' by immigration occurred, probably because S. b. brunneus seldom disperse long distances and fire suppression has allowed conifers to encroach on inhabited meadows, shrinking them and closing dispersal routes. The proximate cause of the population's collapse was mortality of older breeding females, which reduced the mean age of breeders. Younger females had lower average pregnancy rates and litter sizes. To place our results in context we developed a new, general classification of anthropogenic population declines, based on whether they are caused by changes in the means of the life-history parameters (blatant disturbances), their variances (inappropriate variations), or the correlations among them (evolutionary traps). Many S. b. brunneus populations have disappeared in recent years, apparently due to blatant disturbances, especially loss of habitat and changes in food-plant composition, resulting in inadequate prehibernation nutrition and starvation overwinter. In addition, our study population may have been caught in an

  5. The effects of hibernation and forced disuse (neurectomy) on bone properties in arctic ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Bogren, Lori K; Johnston, Erin L; Barati, Zeinab; Martin, Paula A; Wojda, Samantha J; Van Tets, Ian G; LeBlanc, Adrian D; Donahue, Seth W; Drew, Kelly L

    2016-05-01

    Bone loss is a well-known medical consequence of disuse such as in long-term space flight. Immobilization in many animals mimics the effects of space flight on bone mineral density. Decreases in metabolism are also thought to contribute to a loss of skeletal mass. Hibernating mammals provide a natural model of disuse and metabolic suppression. Hibernating ground squirrels have been shown to maintain bone strength despite long periods of disuse and decreased metabolism during torpor. This study examined if the lack of bone loss during torpor was a result of the decrease in metabolic rate during torpor or an evolutionary change in these animals affording protection against disuse. We delineated changes in bone density during natural disuse (torpor) and forced disuse (sciatic neurectomy) in the hind limbs of the arctic ground squirrel (AGS) over an entire year. We hypothesized that the animals would be resistant to bone loss due to immobilization and disuse during the winter hibernation season when metabolism is depressed but not the summer active season. This hypothesis was not supported. The animals maintained bone density (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) and most bone structural and mechanical properties in both seasons. This was observed in both natural and forced disuse, regardless of the known metabolic rate increase during the summer. However, trabecular bone volume fraction (microcomputed tomography) in the distal femur was lower in neurectomized AGS at the study endpoint. These results demonstrate a need to better understand the relationship between skeletal load (use) and bone density that may lead to therapeutics or strategies to maintain bone density in disuse conditions. PMID:27225624

  6. The effect of hibernation on protein phosphatases from ground squirrel organs.

    PubMed

    MacDonald, Justin A; Storey, Kenneth B

    2007-12-15

    Protein phosphorylation has been identified as a reversible mechanism for the regulated suppression of metabolism and thermogenesis during mammalian hibernation. The effects of hibernation on the activity of serine/threonine and tyrosine protein phosphatases (PP1, PP2A, PP2C and PTPs) were assessed in five organs of Richardson's ground squirrel. Each phosphatase subfamily responded differently during torpor, and each showed organ-specific patterns of activity changes. The distribution of PP1 catalytic subunit (PP1c) isoforms (alpha, delta, gamma1) was assessed in five organs, and changes in the subcellular distribution of PP1 were observed during hibernation in liver and muscle. For example, in muscle, cytosolic PP1 content increased and myofibril-associated PP1 decreased during torpor. PP1c from ground squirrel liver was purified to homogeneity and characterized; temperature effects on PP1c maximal activity suggested that temperature had little or no effect on relative dephosphorylation potential at low temperatures. However, nucleotide inhibition of PP1c by ATP, ADP and AMP was much weaker at 5 degrees C compared with 37 degrees C assay temperatures. PP2A activity decreased in three organs (brown adipose, kidney, brain) during hibernation whereas PP2C activity was increased in liver and brain. PTPs were assessed using both a general substrate (ENDpYINASL) and a substrate (DADEpYLIPQQG) specific for PTPs containing the SH2-binding site; both revealed hibernation-associated changes in PTP activities. Changes in protein phosphatase activities suggest the relative importance of these modules in controlling metabolic function and cellular processes during mammalian hibernation.

  7. Expression Profiling and Structural Characterization of MicroRNAs in Adipose Tissues of Hibernating Ground Squirrels

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Cheng-Wei; Biggar, Kyle K.; Storey, Kenneth B.

    2014-01-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that are important in regulating metabolic stress. In this study, we determined the expression and structural characteristics of 20 miRNAs in brown (BAT) and white adipose tissue (WAT) during torpor in thirteen-lined ground squirrels. Using a modified stem-loop technique, we found that during torpor, expression of six miRNAs including let-7a, let-7b, miR-107, miR-150, miR-222 and miR-31 was significantly downregulated in WAT (P < 0.05), which was 16%–54% of euthermic non-torpid control squirrels, whereas expression of three miRNAs including miR-143, miR-200a and miR-519d was found to be upregulated by 1.32–2.34-fold. Similarly, expression of more miRNAs was downregulated in BAT during torpor. We detected reduced expression of 6 miRNAs including miR-103a, miR-107, miR-125b, miR-21, miR-221 and miR-31 (48%–70% of control), while only expression of miR-138 was significantly upregulated (2.91 ± 0.8-fold of the control, P < 0.05). Interestingly, miRNAs found to be downregulated in WAT during torpor were similar to those dysregulated in obese humans for increased adipogenesis, whereas miRNAs with altered expression in BAT during torpor were linked to mitochondrial β-oxidation. miRPath target prediction analysis showed that miRNAs downregulated in both WAT and BAT were associated with the regulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling, while the miRNAs upregulated in WAT were linked to transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) signaling. Compared to mouse sequences, no unique nucleotide substitutions within the stem-loop region were discovered for the associated pre-miRNAs for the miRNAs used in this study, suggesting no structure-influenced changes in pre-miRNA processing efficiency in the squirrel. As well, the expression of miRNA processing enzyme Dicer remained unchanged in both tissues during torpor. Overall, our findings suggest that changes of miRNA expression in adipose tissues may be linked

  8. Expression profiling and structural characterization of microRNAs in adipose tissues of hibernating ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Wu, Cheng-Wei; Biggar, Kyle K; Storey, Kenneth B

    2014-12-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that are important in regulating metabolic stress. In this study, we determined the expression and structural characteristics of 20 miRNAs in brown (BAT) and white adipose tissue (WAT) during torpor in thirteen-lined ground squirrels. Using a modified stem-loop technique, we found that during torpor, expression of six miRNAs including let-7a, let-7b, miR-107, miR-150, miR-222 and miR-31 was significantly downregulated in WAT (P<0.05), which was 16%-54% of euthermic non-torpid control squirrels, whereas expression of three miRNAs including miR-143, miR-200a and miR-519d was found to be upregulated by 1.32-2.34-fold. Similarly, expression of more miRNAs was downregulated in BAT during torpor. We detected reduced expression of 6 miRNAs including miR-103a, miR-107, miR-125b, miR-21, miR-221 and miR-31 (48%-70% of control), while only expression of miR-138 was significantly upregulated (2.91±0.8-fold of the control, P<0.05). Interestingly, miRNAs found to be downregulated in WAT during torpor were similar to those dysregulated in obese humans for increased adipogenesis, whereas miRNAs with altered expression in BAT during torpor were linked to mitochondrial β-oxidation. miRPath target prediction analysis showed that miRNAs downregulated in both WAT and BAT were associated with the regulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling, while the miRNAs upregulated in WAT were linked to transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) signaling. Compared to mouse sequences, no unique nucleotide substitutions within the stem-loop region were discovered for the associated pre-miRNAs for the miRNAs used in this study, suggesting no structure-influenced changes in pre-miRNA processing efficiency in the squirrel. As well, the expression of miRNA processing enzyme Dicer remained unchanged in both tissues during torpor. Overall, our findings suggest that changes of miRNA expression in adipose tissues may be linked to distinct

  9. Changes in calpains and calpastatin in the soleus muscle of Daurian ground squirrels during hibernation.

    PubMed

    Yang, Chen-Xi; He, Yue; Gao, Yun-Fang; Wang, Hui-Ping; Goswami, Nandu

    2014-10-01

    We investigated changes in muscle mass, calpains, calpastatin and Z-disk ultrastructure in the soleus muscle (SOL) of Daurian ground squirrels (Spermophilus dauricus) after hibernation or hindlimb suspension to determine possible mechanisms by which muscle atrophy is prevented in hibernators. Squirrels (n=30) were divided into five groups: no hibernation group (PRE, n=6); hindlimb suspension group (HLS, n=6); two month hibernation group (HIB, n=6); two day group after 90±12 days of hibernation (POST, n=6); and forced exercise group (one time forced, moderate-intensity treadmill exercise) after arousal (FE, n=6). Activity and protein expression of calpains were determined by casein zymography and western blotting, and Z-disk ultrastructure was observed by transmission electron microscopy. The following results were found. Lower body mass and higher SOL muscle mass (mg) to total body mass (g) ratio were observed in HIB and POST; calpain-1 activity increased significantly by 176% (P=0.034) in HLS compared to the PRE group; no significant changes were observed in calpain-2 activity. Protein expression of calpain-1 and calpain-2 increased by 83% (P=0.041) and 208% (P=0.029) in HLS compared to the PRE group, respectively; calpastatin expression increased significantly by 180% (P<0.001) and 153% (P=0.007) in HIB and POST, respectively; the myofilaments were well-organized, and the width of the sarcomere and the Z-disk both appeared visually similar among the pre-hibernation, hibernating and post-hibernation animals. Inhibition of calpain activity and consequently calpain-mediated protein degradation by highly elevated calpastatin protein expression levels may be an important mechanism for preventing muscle protein loss during hibernation and ensuring that Z-lines remained ultrastructurally intact.

  10. Expression of myocyte enhancer factor-2 and downstream genes in ground squirrel skeletal muscle during hibernation.

    PubMed

    Tessier, Shannon N; Storey, Kenneth B

    2010-11-01

    Myocyte enhancer factor-2 (MEF2) transcription factors regulate the expression of a variety of genes encoding contractile proteins and other proteins associated with muscle performance. We proposed that changes in MEF2 levels and expression of selected downstream targets would aid the skeletal muscle of thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus) in meeting metabolic challenges associated with winter hibernation; e.g., cycles of torpor-arousal, body temperature that can fall to near 0°C, long periods of inactivity that could lead to atrophy. MEF2A protein levels were significantly elevated when animals were in torpor (maximally 2.8-fold higher than in active squirrels) and the amount of phosphorylated active MEF2A Thr312 increased during entrance into torpor. MEF2C levels also rose significantly during entrance and torpor as did the amount of phosphorylated MEF2C Ser387. Furthermore, both MEF2 members showed elevated amounts in the nuclear fraction during torpor as well as enhanced binding to DNA indicating that MEF2-mediated gene expression was up-regulated in torpid animals. Indeed, the protein products of two MEF2 downstream gene targets increased in muscle during torpor (glucose transporter isoforms 4; GLUT4) or early arousal (myogenic differentiation; MyoD). Significant increases in Glut4 and MyoD mRNA transcript levels correlated with the rise in protein product levels and provided further support for the activation of MEF2-mediated gene expression in the hibernator. Transcript levels of Mef2a and Mef2c also showed time-dependent patterns with levels of both being highest during arousal from torpor. The data suggest a significant role for MEF2-mediated gene transcription in the selective adjustment of muscle protein complement over the course of torpor-arousal cycles.

  11. [Dynamics of colonies of the speckled ground squirrel (Spermophilus suslicus Guld., 1770) on the northern boundary of the habitat].

    PubMed

    Shilova, S A; Neronov, V V; Shekarova, O N; Savinetskaia, L E

    2010-01-01

    Results of studies in 1999-2009 of the dynamics of five isolated colonies of the speckled ground squirrel (Spermophilus suslicus) at the northern boundary of the habitat of this species (Zaraiskii area, Moscow oblast) are given. An abrupt decrease in the number of this species in colonies was established, as was a multifold decrease (up to 70-90%) in suitable habitats due to the plowing of meadows and build-up of the area. The fragmentation of the optimum habitat of ground squirrels reached a stage where colonies can no longer exist as a stable autonomous system. The process of their extinction unfolds quickly: the number of animals in some colonies decreased five-six times over the last ten years. To preserve this species, it is necessary to create areas of steppefied meadows with regulated agricultural use.

  12. Environmental effects of solar-thermal power systems. Systematic status of the Mojave ground squirrel, Spermophilus mohavensis (subgenus Xerospermophilus)

    SciTech Connect

    Hafner, D.J.; Yates, T.L.

    1982-06-01

    The Mojave ground squirrel, Spermophilus mohavensis, is listed as a rare species by The California Fish and Game Commission. Its well-being has emerged as an environmental concern associated with deployment of solar thermal power systems in western parts of the Motave Desert. The more common round-tailed ground squirrel, Spermophilus tereticaudus, also occurs in the Mojave Desert, and this species closely resembles S. mohavensis. The systematic status of the sibling species was investigated using allozymic and chromosomal data. Karyotypically, the two species differ in diploid number while they share a level of genic similarity reported for other mammalian semispecies. Hybridization was detected only at a single disturbed site, while allelic introgression was confined to an estimated 60 km reach. The two taxa are retained as full biological species.

  13. Seasonal changes in microsomal fraction enriched with Na,K-ATPase from kidneys of the ground squirrel Spermophilus undulatus.

    PubMed

    Basevich, E V; Lopina, O D; Rubtsov, A M

    2010-11-01

    The Na,K-ATPase activity in microsomal fraction isolated from kidneys of winter hibernating ground squirrels was found to be 1.8-2.0-fold lower than that in active animals in summer. This is partially connected with a decrease in Na,K-ATPase protein content in these preparations (by 25%). Using antibodies to different isoforms of Na,K-ATPase α-subunit and analysis of enzyme inhibition by ouabain, it was found that the decrease in Na,K-ATPase activity during hibernation is not connected with change in isoenzyme composition. Seasonal changes of Na,K-ATPase α-subunit phosphorylation level by endogenous protein kinases were not found. Proteins which could be potential regulators of Na,K-ATPase activity were not found among phosphorylated proteins of the microsomes. Analysis of the composition and properties of the lipid phase of microsomes showed that the total level of unsaturation of fatty acids and the lipid/protein ratio are not changed significantly during hibernation, whereas the cholesterol content in preparations from kidneys of hibernating ground squirrels is approximately twice higher than that in preparations from kidneys of active animals. However, using spin and fluorescent probes it was shown that this difference in cholesterol content does not affect the integral membrane microviscosity of microsomes. Using the cross-linking agent cupric phenanthroline, it was shown that Na,K-ATPase in membranes of microsomes from kidneys of hibernating ground squirrels is present in more aggregated state in comparison with membranes of microsomes from kidneys of active animals. We suggest that the decrease in Na,K-ATPase activity in kidneys of ground squirrels during hibernation is mainly connected with the aggregation of proteins in plasma membrane. PMID:21314610

  14. Seasonal changes in microsomal fraction enriched with Na,K-ATPase from kidneys of the ground squirrel Spermophilus undulatus.

    PubMed

    Basevich, E V; Lopina, O D; Rubtsov, A M

    2010-11-01

    The Na,K-ATPase activity in microsomal fraction isolated from kidneys of winter hibernating ground squirrels was found to be 1.8-2.0-fold lower than that in active animals in summer. This is partially connected with a decrease in Na,K-ATPase protein content in these preparations (by 25%). Using antibodies to different isoforms of Na,K-ATPase α-subunit and analysis of enzyme inhibition by ouabain, it was found that the decrease in Na,K-ATPase activity during hibernation is not connected with change in isoenzyme composition. Seasonal changes of Na,K-ATPase α-subunit phosphorylation level by endogenous protein kinases were not found. Proteins which could be potential regulators of Na,K-ATPase activity were not found among phosphorylated proteins of the microsomes. Analysis of the composition and properties of the lipid phase of microsomes showed that the total level of unsaturation of fatty acids and the lipid/protein ratio are not changed significantly during hibernation, whereas the cholesterol content in preparations from kidneys of hibernating ground squirrels is approximately twice higher than that in preparations from kidneys of active animals. However, using spin and fluorescent probes it was shown that this difference in cholesterol content does not affect the integral membrane microviscosity of microsomes. Using the cross-linking agent cupric phenanthroline, it was shown that Na,K-ATPase in membranes of microsomes from kidneys of hibernating ground squirrels is present in more aggregated state in comparison with membranes of microsomes from kidneys of active animals. We suggest that the decrease in Na,K-ATPase activity in kidneys of ground squirrels during hibernation is mainly connected with the aggregation of proteins in plasma membrane.

  15. Environmental effects of solar-thermal-power systems. Systematic status of the Mojave ground squirrel, Spermophilus mohavensis (subgenus Xerospermophilus)

    SciTech Connect

    Hafner, D.J.; Yates, T.L.

    1982-06-01

    The Mojave ground squirrel, Spermophilus mohavensis, is listed as a rare species by the California Fish and Game Commission. Its well-being has emerged as an environmental concern associated with deployment of solar thermal power systems in western parts of the Mojave Desert. The more common round-tailed ground squirrel, Spermophilus tereticaudus, also occurs in the Mojave Desert, and this species closely resembles S. mohavensis. In some areas it may be extremely difficult, on the basis of external characters, to identify the species present. The systematic status of the sibling species Spermophilus mohavensis and S. tereticaudus (subgenus Xerosphermophilus) was investigated throughout the range of the subgenus, based on allozymic and chromosomal data. Hybridization of the two species was detected only at a single disturbed site, while allelic introgression was confined to an estimated 60 km reach of the Mojave River wash. In the absence of an analysis of a zone of natural sympatry, the two taxa are retained as full biological species. The population of ground squirrels just east of Solar One, the 10 MWe pilot solar thermal power plant, is composed of individuals referable to S. tereticaudus based on both allozymic and chromosomal criteria.

  16. Effects of hibernation on bone marrow transcriptome in thirteen-lined ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Cooper, Scott T; Sell, Shawn S; Fahrenkrog, Molly; Wilkinson, Kory; Howard, David R; Bergen, Hannah; Cruz, Estefania; Cash, Steve E; Andrews, Matthew T; Hampton, Marshall

    2016-07-01

    Mammalian hibernators adapt to prolonged periods of immobility, hypometabolism, hypothermia, and oxidative stress, each capable of reducing bone marrow activity. In this study bone marrow transcriptomes were compared among thirteen-lined ground squirrels collected in July, winter torpor, and winter interbout arousal (IBA). The results were consistent with a suppression of acquired immune responses, and a shift to innate immune responses during hibernation through higher complement expression. Consistent with the increase in adipocytes found in bone marrow of hibernators, expression of genes associated with white adipose tissue are higher during hibernation. Genes that should strengthen the bone by increasing extracellular matrix were higher during hibernation, especially the collagen genes. Finally, expression of heat shock proteins were lower, and cold-response genes were higher, during hibernation. No differential expression of hematopoietic genes involved in erythrocyte or megakaryocyte production was observed. This global view of the changes in the bone marrow transcriptome over both short term (torpor vs. IBA) and long term (torpor vs. July) hypothermia can explain several observations made about circulating blood cells and the structure and strength of the bone during hibernation.

  17. Fire and ice: genetic structure of the Uinta ground squirrel (Spermophilus armatus) across the Yellowstone hotspot.

    PubMed

    Van Tuinen, Marcel; O'Keefe, Kim; Ramakrishnan, Uma; Hadly, Elizabeth A

    2008-04-01

    The range of the Uinta ground squirrel, Spermophilus armatus, is centred over one of the most tectonically active regions today, the Yellowstone hotspot. We document the role of Quaternary tectonic and climatic history on the genetic structure of this species by screening museum and extant individuals throughout its range. Phylogeographic, divergence time, and demographic analyses of partial mitochondrial cytochrome b and control region DNA sequences yield insight into the cadence of evolution across three spatiotemporal scales: (i) a relatively deep intraspecific divergence of S. armatus into three lineages coincident with the last major volcanic eruption in the region and maintained by the Snake River Plain; (ii) demographic expansion in two lineages corresponding to the time of last deglaciation of the region; and (iii) a recent (< 50 years) local extinction of the third lineage coincident with climatic change and conversion of habitat for agricultural purposes in eastern Idaho. Beyond these inferences, our study highlights the unique value of museum material to phylogeography, and shows that small mammal recolonization of previously glaciated montane 'islands' differs from northward postglacial expansion observed in areas previously covered by continental ice sheets. Montane 'islands' may harbour high genetic diversity because of admixture and recurrent expansion/extinction. PMID:18284571

  18. Sleep during arousal episodes as a function of prior torpor duration in hibernating European ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Strijkstra, A M; Daan, S

    1997-03-01

    EEG's were recorded in hibernating European ground squirrels during euthermic arousal episodes at an ambient temperature of 5.5 degrees C. Spontaneous torpor bouts ranged from 6 to 15 days, body temperature during torpor was 7.5 degrees C. The torpor duration prior to EEG measurements was experimentally manipulated: the animals were induced to arouse by gentle handling after torpor of less then 1 day (n = 3), 1-2 days (n = 6), 3-4 days (n = 9) and 5-12 days (n = 9). The animals slept 71.5% of euthermic time, of which 61.4% NREM and 10.2% REM sleep. NREM percentage was slightly positively and REM percentage negatively correlated with prior torpor duration (TD). Spectral analysis showed changes in EEG activity during the euthermic phase in the slow wave frequency range (1-4 Hz) and in higher frequencies. Prior TD specifically affected the slow waves. Slow wave activity decreased exponentially during the euthermic phase. The initial slow wave activity showed a systematic increase with prior TD, which could be described by an exponentially saturating function, albeit with a relatively small time constant compared with spontaneous torpor duration. It is concluded that sleep during arousal episodes following torpor at an ambient temperature of 5.5 degrees C is affected both in structure and intensity by prior TD. The results are consistent with the proposition that torpor inhibits the restorative function of sleep. PMID:9125697

  19. Food supplements modulate changes in leucocyte numbers in breeding male ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Bachman, Gwendolyn C

    2003-07-01

    Immunosuppression may be an important cost of reproduction in breeding males. It can result from elevated levels of testosterone or stress hormones and may serve to lower the energetic cost of maintaining immune function at a time of high demand. This suggests that greater access to energy resources could reduce immunosuppression as a cost of reproduction, minimizing the trade-off between energetic investment in current reproductive effort and survival. I examined the impact of food availability on immune function by provisioning male Belding's ground squirrels in the field from the time they emerged from hibernation to the start of breeding. Temporal changes in immune status, measured by leucocyte counts, differed between provisioned males and un-provisioned controls. Provisioning advanced the increase in lymphocytes and neutrophils from after breeding to before. At the start of breeding, the leucocyte count was three times greater in provisioned males than in controls and was still nearly twice as great at the end of breeding. Control males increased all leucocyte numbers after breeding. This experiment demonstrates that variation in food intake can lead to individual variation in the extent of immunosuppression during breeding and therefore that reduced immune function may not be an obligatory cost of reproduction.

  20. (14C)2-deoxyglucose uptake in ground squirrel brain during hibernation

    SciTech Connect

    Kilduff, T.S.; Sharp, F.R.; Heller, H.C.

    1982-02-01

    Autoradiographic patterns of (14C)2-deoxyglucose uptake are described throughout the brains of hibernating and euthermic ground squirrels. Autoradiographs of the brains of hibernating animals are generally homogeneous in comparison to euthermic animals; hence, the relative 2-deoxyglucose uptake (R2DGU) of gray to white matter for the majority of the 85 neural structures examined decreases during hibernation. Two categories of structures are identified as potentially important in hibernation: (1) structures that have the highest R2DGU during hibernation (cochlear nucleus, paratrigeminal nucleus, and superior colliculus) and (2) structures that undergo the least reduction in R2DGU in the transition from euthermia to hibernation (suprachiasmatic nucleus and lateral septal nucleus). The percentage of reduction in R2DGU that a structure undergoes in the transition from euthermia to hibernation is proportional to the R2DGU of that structure during euthermia. The suprachiasmatic, paratrigeminal, and cochlear nuclei undergo less of a reduction than would be predicted from this relationship and may be particularly important during hibernation. Sensory nuclei that receive primary afferent projections are among the structures with the highest R2DGU during hibernation. These metabolically active structures may be responsible for the sensitivity of the hibernator to environmental stimuli.

  1. Intranasal exposure of the Richardson's ground squirrel to Western equine encephalomyelitis virus.

    PubMed Central

    Leung, M K; McLintock, J; Iversen, J

    1978-01-01

    Adult Richardson's ground squirrels were infected with western equine encephalomyelitis virus by intranasal instillation. Mortality followed the instillation of a minimum threshold of 4.7 logs of virus while infection was produced by a dosage of 2.3 logs. The incubation period was from four to seven days, being preceded by a viremic phase. Signs were depression, ataxia and paralysis of the limbs. Highest titres of virus were recovered from the brain and histopathological changes involving the central nervous system included meningitis, vasculitis, perivascular cuffing, gliosis, neuronophagia and neuronal degeneration. The virus was also found in a variety of extraneural tissues. Lesions in extraneural tissues included necrosis of brown fat and an apparent increase in number of Kupffer's cells in the liver. The lymphoid tissue was involved indicating a possible source for viremia. The duration and magnitude of viremia were ample enough to provide virus source for arthropods. The potential for transmission of the virus independent of arthropods was discussed in view of the pathogenesis demonstrated in the experimental infections. PMID:667706

  2. Information asymmetries among males: implications for fertilization success in the thirteen-lined ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Schwagmeyer, P L; Parker, G A; Mock, D W

    1998-10-01

    The classical view of mammalian mating competition focuses on combat and threat. By contrast, field studies have revealed that male mating success in some species is more strongly determined by mate location ability than by physical dominance. In thirteen-lined ground squirrels, competition in locating oestrous females is exacerbated by sperm competition that favours the first male to mate with a female. We used a female-removal experiment to identify the distinguishing characteristics of males that were the first at finding and mating with females. Each focal female was observed the day before she entered oestrus; the identities of males that made contact with her and the locations of their interactions were recorded. The following morning the females were temporarily removed, and we monitored male search behaviour in their absence. Males that arrived first were those that had spent more time with the female the previous day relative to their rivals. Time invested the day before, in turn, was highly correlated with male search persistence and familiarity with the female's likely whereabouts. These results demonstrate that differential fertilization success can arise from information asymmetries among males: the advantaged individuals are those that have greater a priori knowledge of the reproductive state and spatial locations of prospective mates than rivals. PMID:9802243

  3. Inverted-U shape relationship between cortisol and learning in ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Mateo, Jill M

    2008-05-01

    Adrenal hormones regulate glucose levels, responses to unpredictable stressors and modulate cognition. Glucocorticoids can have an inverted-U shape relationship with cognition, as very low or high levels impair, whereas moderate elevations facilitate, acquisition and retention of memories. To date these relationships have been tested with humans and rodents in laboratory settings rather than with wild animals in biologically relevant contexts. This study examined whether the elevated cortisol observed in juvenile Belding's ground squirrels (Spermophilus beldingi) at natal emergence might promote both acquisition of adaptive responses to this species' two alarm calls warning of predators and memory of the spatial configuration of mothers' territories. Both experimentally increased and decreased basal cortisol levels interfere with acquisition and retention of an association between a warning call and the appropriate response compared with naturally occurring moderately elevated cortisol. Further, decreased cortisol impairs learning of a novel, complex spatial maze. Thus in the field the brief elevation of cortisol at emergence might facilitate acquisition of spatial memory of a three-dimensional environment and responses to alarm calls during a sensitive period of learning. This novel demonstration of the inverted-U shape function in a wild animal suggests that natural selection has favored a hormonal profile facilitating rapid acquisition of important survival behaviors.

  4. Effects of hibernation on bone marrow transcriptome in thirteen-lined ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Cooper, Scott T; Sell, Shawn S; Fahrenkrog, Molly; Wilkinson, Kory; Howard, David R; Bergen, Hannah; Cruz, Estefania; Cash, Steve E; Andrews, Matthew T; Hampton, Marshall

    2016-07-01

    Mammalian hibernators adapt to prolonged periods of immobility, hypometabolism, hypothermia, and oxidative stress, each capable of reducing bone marrow activity. In this study bone marrow transcriptomes were compared among thirteen-lined ground squirrels collected in July, winter torpor, and winter interbout arousal (IBA). The results were consistent with a suppression of acquired immune responses, and a shift to innate immune responses during hibernation through higher complement expression. Consistent with the increase in adipocytes found in bone marrow of hibernators, expression of genes associated with white adipose tissue are higher during hibernation. Genes that should strengthen the bone by increasing extracellular matrix were higher during hibernation, especially the collagen genes. Finally, expression of heat shock proteins were lower, and cold-response genes were higher, during hibernation. No differential expression of hematopoietic genes involved in erythrocyte or megakaryocyte production was observed. This global view of the changes in the bone marrow transcriptome over both short term (torpor vs. IBA) and long term (torpor vs. July) hypothermia can explain several observations made about circulating blood cells and the structure and strength of the bone during hibernation. PMID:27207617

  5. A shortage of males causes female reproductive failure in yellow ground squirrels

    PubMed Central

    Vasilieva, Nina; Tchabovsky, Andrey

    2015-01-01

    Sexual conflict theory suggests that female breeding success is strongly influenced by individual life history and environmental conditions and is much less affected by mate availability. Female mating failure due to a shortage of males remains poorly studied and understood. We present data on the effects of male availability on female breeding success in a wild colony of yellow ground squirrels (Spermophilus fulvus). A female’s probability of breeding increased with the local density of males and was higher with higher male-biased operational sex ratio (OSR) but was independent of local female density, female age, and body condition, which are factors commonly assumed to influence female reproduction. The positive effect of male availability (as measured by OSR) on female breeding success was consistent across the years, and we conclude that male limitation contributes to female mating failure. This pattern, which is not commonly recorded in species with conventional sex roles, can be explained by a combination of sociodemographic and life history traits (sex differences in age of maturation, female-skewed adult sex ratio and seasonally varying OSR, solitary living at low population density, and low mobility of females combined with mate-searching tactics of males) that are not confined to S. fulvus. Our findings indicate that the role of female mating failure (due to a shortage of males) in shaping mammalian life history may be underestimated. PMID:26601284

  6. Bartonella Strains from Ground Squirrels Are Identical to Bartonella washoensis Isolated from a Human Patient

    PubMed Central

    Kosoy, Michael; Murray, Mike; Gilmore, Jr., Robert D.; Bai, Ying; Gage, Kenneth L.

    2003-01-01

    The most likely animal source of a human case of cardiac disease in Washoe County, Nev., was identified by comparison of DNA sequences of three genes (citrate synthase gltA, 60-kDa heat shock protein gene groEL, and 16S rRNA gene) of Bartonella washoensis cultured from the human patient in question and of Bartonella isolates obtained from the following Nevada rodents: Peromyscus maniculatus (17 isolates), Tamias minimus (11 isolates), Spermophilus lateralis (3 isolates), and Spermophilus beecheyi (7 isolates). Sequence analyses of gltA amplicons obtained from Bartonella from the rodents demonstrated considerable heterogeneity and resulted in the identification of 16 genetic variants that were clustered within three groups in phylogenetic analysis. Each of the three groups was associated with a rodent genus, Peromyscus, Tamias, or Spermophilus. The gltA, 16S rRNA gene, and groEL sequences of a Bartonella isolate obtained from a California ground squirrel (S. beecheyi) were completely identical to homologous sequences of B. washoensis, strongly suggesting that these animals were the source of infection in the human case. PMID:12574261

  7. Physiological oxidative stress after arousal from hibernation in Arctic ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Orr, Adrienne L; Lohse, Lonita A; Drew, Kelly L; Hermes-Lima, Marcelo

    2009-06-01

    Hibernation in Arctic ground squirrels (AGS), Spermophilus parryii, is characterized by a profound decrease in oxygen consumption and metabolic demand during torpor that is punctuated by periodic rewarming episodes, during which oxygen consumption increases dramatically. The extreme physiology of torpor or the surge in oxygen consumption during arousal may increase production of reactive oxygen species, making hibernation an injurious process for AGS. To determine if AGS tissues experience cellular stress during rewarming, we measured carbonyl proteins, lipid peroxide end products and percent oxidized glutathione in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and liver of torpid, hibernating (hAGS), late arousal (laAGS), and cold-adapted, euthermic AGS (eAGS). In BAT carbonyl proteins and lipid peroxide end products were higher in eAGS and laAGS than in hAGS. By contrast, in liver, no significant difference in carbonyl proteins was observed. In another group of animals, comparison of carbonyl proteins and percent oxidized glutathione in frontal cortex, liver, and BAT of eAGS and hAGS showed no evidence of oxidative stress associated with torpor. These results indicate that increased thermogenesis associated with arousal AGS results in tissue specific oxidative stress in BAT but not in liver. Moreover, torpor per se is largely devoid of oxidative stress, likely due to suppression of oxidative metabolism.

  8. Growth and differentiation of adult hippocampal arctic ground squirrel neural stem cells.

    PubMed

    Drew, Kelly L; McGee, Rebecca C; Wells, Matthew S; Kelleher-Andersson, Judith A

    2011-01-07

    Arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii, AGS) are unique in their ability to hibernate with a core body temperature near or below freezing. These animals also resist ischemic injury to the brain in vivo and oxygen-glucose deprivation in vitro. These unique qualities provided the impetus to isolate AGS neurons to examine inherent neuronal characteristics that could account for the capacity of AGS neurons to resist injury and cell death caused by ischemia and extremely cold temperatures. Identifying proteins or gene targets that allow for the distinctive properties of these cells could aid in the discovery of effective therapies for a number of ischemic indications and for the study of cold tolerance. Adult AGS hippocampus contains neural stem cells that continue to proliferate, allowing for easy expansion of these stem cells in culture. We describe here methods by which researchers can utilize these stem cells and differentiated neurons for any number of purposes. By closely following these steps the AGS neural stem cells can be expanded through two passages or more and then differentiated to a culture high in TUJ1-positive neurons (~50%) without utilizing toxic chemicals to minimize the number of dividing cells. Ischemia induces neurogenesis and neurogenesis which proceeds via MEK/ERK and PI3K/Akt survival signaling pathways contributes to ischemia resistance in vivo and in vitro (Kelleher-Anderson, Drew et al., in preparation). Further characterization of these unique neural cells can advance on many fronts, using some or all of these methods.

  9. Multilocus phylogeography of the European ground squirrel: cryptic interglacial refugia of continental climate in Europe.

    PubMed

    Říčanová, Štěpánka; Koshev, Yordan; Říčan, Oldřich; Ćosić, Nada; Ćirović, Duško; Sedláček, František; Bryja, Josef

    2013-08-01

    The theory of classical and cryptic Pleistocene refugia is based mainly on historical changes in temperature, and the refugia are usually defined within a latitudinal gradient. However, the gradient of oceanic-continental climate (i.e. longitudinal) was also significantly variable during glacial cycles with important biotic consequences. Range-wide phylogeography of the European ground squirrel (EGS) was used to interpret the evolutionary and palaeogeographical history of the species in Europe and to shed light on its glacial-interglacial dynamic. The EGS is a steppe-inhabiting species and the westernmost member of the genus in the Palaearctic region. We have analysed 915 specimens throughout the present natural range by employing mitochondrial DNA sequences (cytochrome b gene) and 12 nuclear microsatellite markers. The reconstructed phylogeography divides the species into two main geographical groups, with deep substructuring within both groups. Bulgaria is the centre of the ancestral area, and it also has the highest genetic diversity within the species. The northernmost group of the EGS survived in the southern part of Pannonia throughout several glacial-interglacial cycles. Animals from this population probably repeatedly colonized areas further to the north and west during the glacial periods, while in the interglacial periods, the EGS distribution contracted back to this Pannonian refugium. The EGS thus represents a species with a glacial expansion/interglacial contraction palaeogeographical dynamics, and the Pannonian and southeastern Balkanian steppes are supported as cryptic refugia of continental climate during Pleistocene interglacials.

  10. Differential expression of miRNAs with metabolic implications in hibernating thirteen-lined ground squirrels, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus.

    PubMed

    Lang-Ouellette, Daneck; Morin, Pier

    2014-09-01

    Mammalian hibernators undergo significant physiological and biochemical changes when confronted with cold temperatures. Metabolic depression and translational repression are two examples of the various processes impacted during a torpor bout. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), non-coding transcripts that bind to mRNAs, are known regulators of mRNA translation and a growing number of these molecules have been found to be differentially expressed during hibernation. We hypothesized that a group of six miRNAs, with targets involved in various metabolic cascades, is modulated in selected tissues of the hibernating thirteen-lined ground squirrel Ictidomys tridecemlineatus. Expression levels of these miRNAs were assessed in the liver, heart, and skeletal muscle ground squirrel tissues using qRT-PCR. miR-29a, miR-152, miR-195, miR-223, and miR-486 were shown to be up-regulated in the hibernating liver, while miR-378 was shown to be down-regulated in hibernating skeletal muscle tissue samples. Interestingly, fatty acid synthase (FAS), an enzyme involved in fatty acid biosynthesis and a miR-195 target, was shown to be down-regulated in hibernating squirrel liver. This data add to the growing signature of differentially expressed miRNAs during hibernation and puts the light on the potential regulation of fatty acid homeostasis by a miRNA in torpid animals.

  11. Developmental and geographic variation in stress hormones in wild Belding's ground squirrels (Spermophilus beldingi).

    PubMed

    Mateo, Jill M

    2006-12-01

    Extensive research has been conducted on the role of glucocorticoids in regulating growth, mobilizing energy, responding to stressors and modulating learning and memory. However, little is known about the production of corticoids during early development in free-living animals, particularly during sensitive periods of acquisition of important behaviors. In a four-year study of Belding's ground squirrels, Spermophilus beldingi, a non-invasive assay of glucocorticoids was used to quantify age and population differences among juveniles from three California locations. Fecal-cortisol metabolites are elevated during a short period when juveniles first emerge aboveground from their natal burrows at about 4 weeks of age. This period of cortisol elevation coincides with when young are learning survival behaviors such as anti-predator responses and foraging strategies. Population differences in juvenile cortisol levels, which may reflect local variation in habitat quality and predator environments, were not evident until 2 weeks after emergence. Elevated cortisol at the age of emergence was also observed in juveniles born and reared in captivity without exposure to typical stressors that occur around the age of emergence. These results indicate that corticoids are regulated during early development, and the possible functions of age-related corticoid levels are discussed, including mobilization of glucose for natal emergence and later facilitation of growth and energy storage during the short summer before hibernation. In some species, elevated corticoids can also facilitate learning and memory, and current work is exploring whether the higher cortisol observed in all three S. beldingi populations just after emergence function to promote rapid acquisition of survival behaviors. PMID:16890229

  12. A quantitative genetic analysis of hibernation emergence date in a wild population of Columbian ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Lane, J E; Kruuk, L E B; Charmantier, A; Murie, J O; Coltman, D W; Buoro, M; Raveh, S; Dobson, F S

    2011-09-01

    The life history schedules of wild organisms have long attracted scientific interest, and, in light of ongoing climate change, an understanding of their genetic and environmental underpinnings is increasingly becoming of applied concern. We used a multi-generation pedigree and detailed phenotypic records, spanning 18 years, to estimate the quantitative genetic influences on the timing of hibernation emergence in a wild population of Columbian ground squirrels (Urocitellus columbianus). Emergence date was significantly heritable [h(2) = 0.22 ± 0.05 (in females) and 0.34 ± 0.14 (in males)], and there was a positive genetic correlation (r(G) = 0.76 ± 0.22) between male and female emergence dates. In adult females, the heritabilities of body mass at emergence and oestrous date were h(2) = 0.23 ± 0.09 and h(2) = 0.18 ± 0.12, respectively. The date of hibernation emergence has been hypothesized to have evolved so as to synchronize subsequent reproduction with upcoming peaks in vegetation abundance. In support of this hypothesis, although levels of phenotypic variance in emergence date were higher than oestrous date, there was a highly significant genetic correlation between the two (r(G) = 0.98 ± 0.01). Hibernation is a prominent feature in the annual cycle of many small mammals, but our understanding of its influences lags behind that for phenological traits in many other taxa. Our results provide the first insight into its quantitative genetic influences and thus help contribute to a more general understanding of its evolutionary significance. PMID:21682787

  13. Energetic costs of parasitism in the Cape ground squirrel Xerus inauris

    PubMed Central

    Scantlebury, M; Waterman, J.M; Hillegass, M; Speakman, J.R; Bennett, N.C

    2007-01-01

    Parasites have been suggested to influence many aspects of host behaviour. Some of these effects may be mediated via their impact on host energy budgets. This impact may include effects on both energy intake and absorption as well as components of expenditure, including resting metabolic rate (RMR) and activity (e.g. grooming). Despite their potential importance, the energy costs of parasitism have seldom been directly quantified in a field setting. Here we pharmacologically treated female Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris) with anti-parasite drugs and measured the change in body composition, the daily energy expenditure (DEE) using doubly labelled water, the RMR by respirometry and the proportions of time spent looking for food, feeding, moving and grooming. Post-treatment animals gained an average 19 g of fat or approximately 25 kJ d−1. DEE averaged 382 kJ d−1 prior to and 375 kJ d−1 post treatment (p>0.05). RMR averaged 174 kJ d−1 prior to and 217 kJ d−1 post treatment (p<0.009). Post-treatment animals spent less time looking for food and grooming, but more time on feeding. A primary impact of infection by parasites could be suppression of feeding behaviour and, hence, total available energy resources. The significant elevation of RMR after treatment was unexpected. One explanation might be that parasites produce metabolic by-products that suppress RMR. Overall, these findings suggest that impacts of parasites on host energy budgets are complex and are not easily explained by simple effects such as stimulation of a costly immune response. There is currently no broadly generalizable framework available for predicting the energetic consequences of parasitic infection. PMID:17613450

  14. Characterization of adipocyte stress response pathways during hibernation in thirteen-lined ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Rouble, Andrew N; Tessier, Shannon N; Storey, Kenneth B

    2014-08-01

    To avoid the harsh conditions of winter climates, hibernating mammals undergo a systematic depression of physiological function by reducing their metabolic rate. During this process, hibernators are exposed to significant stresses (e.g., low body temperature, ischemia-reperfusion) that must be dealt with appropriately to avoid irreversible tissue damage. Consequently, we investigated the contribution of stress-responsive antioxidant enzymes, heat shock proteins, signal transduction pathways (e.g., mitogen-activated protein kinases, MAPK), and transcription factors for their role in conferring tolerance to stress in the hibernating thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus). Using a combination of multiplex protein panels and traditional immunoblotting procedures, we have focused on these stress factors in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and white adipose tissue (WAT) over cycles of torpor-arousal since they provide the means for heat production as a result of non-shivering thermogenesis and the mobilization of critical energy reserves, respectively. We show the differential and tissue-specific regulation of stress factors including a unified upregulation of the antioxidant enzyme Thioredoxin 1 in both tissues, an upregulation of superoxide dismutase (SOD1 and SOD2) in WAT, and an increase in heat shock proteins during the transitory periods of the torpor-arousal cycle (HSP90α in BAT and HSP60 in WAT). Additionally, an upregulation of the active form of ERK1/2 and p38 in BAT and select transcription factors (e.g., CREB-1 and ELK-1) in both tissues were identified. These data provide us with greater insight into the molecular mechanisms responsible for this animal's natural stress tolerance and outline molecular signatures which define stress resistance.

  15. Energetic costs of parasitism in the Cape ground squirrel Xerus inauris.

    PubMed

    Scantlebury, M; Waterman, J M; Hillegass, M; Speakman, J R; Bennett, N C

    2007-09-01

    Parasites have been suggested to influence many aspects of host behaviour. Some of these effects may be mediated via their impact on host energy budgets. This impact may include effects on both energy intake and absorption as well as components of expenditure, including resting metabolic rate (RMR) and activity (e.g. grooming). Despite their potential importance, the energy costs of parasitism have seldom been directly quantified in a field setting. Here we pharmacologically treated female Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris) with anti-parasite drugs and measured the change in body composition, the daily energy expenditure (DEE) using doubly labelled water, the RMR by respirometry and the proportions of time spent looking for food, feeding, moving and grooming. Post-treatment animals gained an average 19g of fat or approximately 25kJd-1. DEE averaged 382kJd-1 prior to and 375kJd-1 post treatment (p>0.05). RMR averaged 174kJd-1 prior to and 217kJd-1 post treatment (p<0.009). Post-treatment animals spent less time looking for food and grooming, but more time on feeding. A primary impact of infection by parasites could be suppression of feeding behaviour and, hence, total available energy resources. The significant elevation of RMR after treatment was unexpected. One explanation might be that parasites produce metabolic by-products that suppress RMR. Overall, these findings suggest that impacts of parasites on host energy budgets are complex and are not easily explained by simple effects such as stimulation of a costly immune response. There is currently no broadly generalizable framework available for predicting the energetic consequences of parasitic infection.

  16. [Disproportionate eruption of maxillary and mandibular incisors in the long-tailed ground squirrel].

    PubMed

    Klevezal', G A; Potapova, E G

    2010-01-01

    Abstract-The surface of the maxillary and mandibular incisors of Spermophilus undulatus long-tailed ground squirrels, including those born in the current year and those that have hibernated (trapped one month or later after hibernation) is studied. The presence of daily growth on the incisors' surface allows the evaluation of their eruption rate; a specific change in the character of the incisors' eruption corresponds to winter hibernation (hibernation zone), which serves as the time mark. Correlation between the eruption rates of the maxillary and mandibular incisors typical for rodents is found in yearlings and some animals after hibernation. The eruption rate of the mandibular incisors is higher than the eruption rate of the maxillary incisors and can be taken as proportional to their length. In individuals that have hibernated and show proportional eruption of the incisors, the proportion of the total length of the incisor formed before and after hibernation is equal for the maxillary and mandibular incisors. In the individuals that have hibernated and show the correlation of the total length of the maxillary and mandibular incisors typical for rodents, the eruption rate of the mandibular incisor is equal to or less than the eruption rate of the maxillary incisor and the proportion of the incisor formed before hibernation is greater in the mandibular incisor than in the maxillary. This disproportionate pattern of incisor eruption is not typical for rodents and is a result of inequal grinding of the maxillary and mandibular incisors, which ultimately results in the normal ratio of the total length of the maxillary and mandibular incisors.

  17. Winter body temperature patterns in free-ranging Cape ground squirrel, Xerus inauris: no evidence for torpor.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Wendy A; O'Riain, M Justin; Hetem, Robyn S; Fuller, Andrea; Fick, Linda G

    2010-10-01

    The body temperature (T(b)) of Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris, Sciuridae) living in their natural environment during winter has not yet been investigated. In this study we measured abdominal T(b) of eight free-ranging Cape ground squirrels over 27 consecutive days during the austral winter. Mean daily T(b) was relatively stable at 37.0 ± 0.2°C (range 33.4 to 40.2°C) despite a marked variation in globe temperature (T(g)) (range -7 to 37°C). Lactating females (n = 2) consistently had a significantly higher mean T (b) (0.7°C) than non-lactating females (n = 3) and males. There was a pronounced nychthemeral rhythm with a mean active phase T(b) of 38.1 ± 0.1°C and a mean inactive phase T(b) of 36.3 ± 0.3°C for non-lactating individuals. Mean daily amplitude of T(b) rhythm was 3.8 ± 0.2°C. T(b) during the active phase closely followed T(g) and mean active phase T(b) was significantly correlated with mean active phase T(g) (r(2) = 0.3-0.9; P < 0.01). There was no evidence for daily torpor or pronounced hypothermia during the inactive phase, and mean minimum inactive phase T(b) was 35.7 ± 0.3°C for non-lactating individuals. Several alternatives (including nocturnal huddling, an aseasonal breeding pattern and abundant winter food resources) as to why Cape ground squirrels do not employ nocturnal hypothermia are discussed.

  18. A refined technique for sciatic denervation in a golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis) model of disuse atrophy.

    PubMed

    Sarukhanov, Valeri; Van Andel, Roger; Treat, Michael D; Utz, Jenifer C; van Breukelen, Frank

    2014-06-01

    Disuse atrophy of both muscle and bone can occur rapidly during periods of inactivity. In several rodent models developed for the study of disuse atrophy, immobilization is induced by prolonged cage restraint, hind limb unloading, tenotomy, sciatic nerve block or sciatic denervation. In less tractable species such as wild-caught hibernating rodents, the sciatic denervation model is superior in terms of both animal welfare and applicability to the characteristics of natural cases of disuse atrophy. The authors describe a refined surgical approach to sciatic denervation in golden-mantled ground squirrels (Callospermophilus lateralis), a hibernating species, that improves animal welfare and reduces the incidence of post-operative complications such as autotomy.

  19. [A comparative analysis of restoration of electroencephalographic and protein-synthesizing activities in neocortex and hippocampus in hibernating (ground squirrels) and nonhibernating (rats) animals during exit from hypothermia].

    PubMed

    Ignat'ev, D A; Gordon, R Ia; Vorob'ev, V V; Rogachevskiĭ, V V

    2005-01-01

    A similarity in the sequence of restoration of the EEG spectrum between ground squirrels arousing from torpor and rats passing out of artificial hypothermia (17-18 degrees C) was shown. First of all, the low-frequency part of the EEG spectrum was restored. As animals warmed up, their breathing became hurried, cold shivering appeared, and the theta- and alpha-rhythms increased. During the exit from hypothermia, the activity of the protein-synthesizing system in both rats and ground squirrels was almost entirely restored when the animal body temperature achieved 21-22 degrees C. In ground squirrel, the rate of protein synthesis in the neocortex was lower than in hippocampus CA1 and CA3 areas, whereas in rats, on the contrary, it was higher in the neocortex in comparison with the CA3 area. PMID:15759514

  20. Spontaneous adenocarcinoma immunoreactive to cyclooxygenase-2 and transforming growth factor-beta1 in the buccal salivary gland of a Richardson's ground squirrel (Spermophilus richardsonii).

    PubMed

    Yamate, Jyoji; Yamamoto, Emi; Nabe, Mikoto; Kuwamura, Mitsuru; Fujita, Daisuke; Sasai, Hiroshi

    2007-10-01

    The ground squirrel is used as an experimental animal because of its unique biological nature. A 3-year-old female Richardson's ground squirrel developed a mass, 1.5 cm in diameter, in the buccal mucosa. The mass consisted of neoplastic epithelial cells showing acinar, ductular, intraductal papillary, solid, and lobular growth patterns; the cells were immunoreactive to cytokeratin, cyclooxygenase-2 (a marker of malignancy) and TGF-beta1. After resection, the tumor recurred with increased area having a solid or lobular pattern with little differentiation. This tumor was diagnosed as an adenocarcinoma arising from the buccal gland, the first case reported in the ground squirrel. A prominent desmoplastic reaction was present. The interstitial cells reacted to alpha-smooth muscle actin and vimentin, indicating a myofibroblastic nature, presumably induced by epithelial TGF-beta1.

  1. Arctic ground squirrel neuronal progenitor cells resist oxygen and glucose deprivation-induced death

    PubMed Central

    Drew, Kelly L; Wells, Matthew; McGee, Rebecca; Ross, Austin P; Kelleher-Andersson, Judith

    2016-01-01

    AIM: To investigate the influence of ischemia/reperfusion on arctic ground squirrel (AGS) neuronal progenitor cells (NPCs), we subjected these cultured cells to oxygen and glucose deprivation. METHODS: AGS NPCs were expanded and differentiated into NPCs and as an ischemia vulnerable control, commercially available human NPCs (hNPCs) were seeded from thawed NPCs. NPCs, identified by expression of TUJ1 were seen at 14-21 d in vitro (DIV). Cultures were exposed to control conditions, hypoxia, oxygen and glucose deprivation or glucose deprivation alone or following return to normal conditions to model reperfusion. Cell viability and death were assessed from loss of ATP as well as from measures of alamarBlue® and lactate dehydrogenase in the media and from counts of TUJ1 positive cells using immunocytochemistry. Dividing cells were identified by expression of Ki67 and phenotyped by double labeling with GFAP, MAP2ab or TUJ1. RESULTS: We report that when cultured in NeuraLife™, AGS cells remain viable out to 21 DIV, continue to express TUJ1 and begin to express MAP2ab. Viability of hNPCs assessed by fluorescence alamarBlue (arbitrary units) depends on both glucose and oxygen availability [viability of hNPCs after 24 h oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD) with return of oxygen and glucose decreased from 48151 ± 4551 in control cultures to 43481 ± 2413 after OGD, P < 0.05]. By contrast, when AGS NPCs are exposed to the same OGD with reperfusion at 14 DIV, cell viability assessed by alamarBlue increased from 165305 ± 11719 in control cultures to 196054 ± 13977 after OGD. Likewise AGS NPCs recovered ATP (92766 ± 6089 in control and 92907 ± 4290 after modeled reperfusion; arbitrary luminescence units), and doubled in the ratio of TUJ1 expressing neurons to total dividing cells (0.11 ± 0.04 in control cultures vs 0.22 ± 0.2 after modeled reperfusion, P < 0.05). Maintaining AGS NPCs for a longer time in culture lowered resistance to injury, however, did not impair

  2. Inhibition of Borna disease virus replication by an endogenous bornavirus-like element in the ground squirrel genome.

    PubMed

    Fujino, Kan; Horie, Masayuki; Honda, Tomoyuki; Merriman, Dana K; Tomonaga, Keizo

    2014-09-01

    Animal genomes contain endogenous viral sequences, such as endogenous retroviruses and retrotransposons. Recently, we and others discovered that nonretroviral viruses also have been endogenized in many vertebrate genomes. Bornaviruses belong to the Mononegavirales and have left endogenous fragments, called "endogenous bornavirus-like elements" (EBLs), in the genomes of many mammals. The striking features of EBLs are that they contain relatively long ORFs which have high sequence homology to the extant bornavirus proteins. Furthermore, some EBLs derived from bornavirus nucleoprotein (EBLNs) have been shown to be transcribed as mRNA and probably are translated into proteins. These features lead us to speculate that EBLs may function as cellular coopted genes. An EBLN element in the genome of the thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus), itEBLN, encodes an ORF with 77% amino acid sequence identity to the current bornavirus nucleoprotein. In this study, we cloned itEBLN from the ground squirrel genome and investigated its involvement in Borna disease virus (BDV) replication. Interestingly, itEBLN, but not a human EBLN, colocalized with the viral factory in the nucleus and appeared to affect BDV polymerase activity by being incorporated into the viral ribonucleoprotein. Our data show that, as do certain endogenous retroviruses, itEBLN potentially may inhibit infection by related exogenous viruses in vivo.

  3. Up-regulation of Long Non-coding RNA TUG1 in Hibernating Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels.

    PubMed

    Frigault, Jacques J; Lang-Ouellette, Daneck; Morin, Pier

    2016-04-01

    Mammalian hibernation is associated with multiple physiological, biochemical, and molecular changes that allow animals to endure colder temperatures. We hypothesize that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), a group of non-coding transcripts with diverse functions, are differentially expressed during hibernation. In this study, expression levels of lncRNAsH19 and TUG1 were assessed via qRT-PCR in liver, heart, and skeletal muscle tissues of the hibernating thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus). TUG1 transcript levels were significantly elevated 1.94-fold in skeletal muscle of hibernating animals when compared with euthermic animals. Furthermore, transcript levels of HSF2 also increased 2.44-fold in the skeletal muscle in hibernating animals. HSF2 encodes a transcription factor that can be negatively regulated by TUG1 levels and that influences heat shock protein expression. Thus, these observations support the differential expression of the TUG1-HSF2 axis during hibernation. To our knowledge, this study provides the first evidence for differential expression of lncRNAs in torpid ground squirrels, adding lncRNAs as another group of transcripts modulated in this mammalian species during hibernation. PMID:27132145

  4. Seasonal changes in spermatogenesis and immunolocalization of inhibin/activin subunits in the wild male ground squirrel (Citellus dauricus Brandt).

    PubMed

    Sheng, Xia; Zhang, Haolin; Zhang, Wei; Song, Moshi; Zhang, Mengyuan; Li, Ben; Weng, Qiang; Watanabe, Gen; Taya, Kazuyoshi

    2008-12-01

    The objective of this study was to investigate the seasonal changes in spermatogenesis and the immunolocalization of the inhibin alpha and inhibin/activin (betaA and betaB) subunits during the breeding and non-breeding seasons in the wild male ground squirrel. The testicular weight and size and seminiferous tubule diameter were measured, and histological observations of testes were performed. The sections of the testes were immunostained by the avidin-biotin-peroxidase complex method (ABC) using polyclonal antisera raised against porcine inhibin alpha, inhibin/activin betaA and inhibin/activin betaB during the breeding and non-breeding seasons. There were marked variations in testicular weight and size and seminiferous tubule diameter between the breeding and non-breeding seasons, and all types of spermatogenic cells, including spermatozoa, were found in the breeding season. In addition, immunoreactivity was also detected for the inhibin alpha, betaA and betaB subunits in Sertoli and Leydig cells during the breeding season, but immunostaining was only present for the inhibin alpha and inhibin/activin betaB subunits in Sertoli cells during the non-breeding season. These results suggest that seasonal changes in testicular weight and size and seminiferous tubule diameter of wild ground squirrels are correlated with changes in spermatogenesis, and the cellular localization of the inhibin/activin subunits showed season related changes in the breeding and non-breeding seasons.

  5. Mitochondrial phylogeography of the European ground squirrel, Spermophilus citellus, yields evidence on refugia for steppic taxa in the southern Balkans.

    PubMed

    Krystufek, B; Bryja, J; Buzan, E V

    2009-08-01

    The spatial genetic structure of the European ground squirrel, a species characteristic of the short-grass steppe, was investigated on the basis of a 1140-bp cyt b gene sequence. The phylogeographical architecture of this species is expected to shed light on the putative long-term presence of the steppic ecosystem in south-eastern Europe and the evolutionary consequences of glacial cycles as forcing factors in speciation. Among 31 haplotypes, three highly divergent phylogenetic lineages (Southern, Northern and Jakupica) were recognized. This result suggests the past existence of an allopatric fragmentation event caused by effective biogeographical barriers. The Southern lineage consisted of the southernmost populations, those from Greece, Macedonia and European Turkey, and showed the highest divergence from all other samples. Haplotypes of the Northern lineage showed little geographical structure, with dispersal on both sides of the Danube River and in both of the two main geographical fragments of the species. The Jakupica lineage is a geographical isolate on a high plateau in central Macedonia. The estimated time for divergence of the Southern lineage (ca. 0.58 Mya) suggests the long-term persistence of a short-grass steppic refugium in the southern Balkans. Although the divergence between the Northern and Jakupica lineages occurred more recently (ca. 0.3 Mya), it still putatively predates two glacial cycles. The three phylogeographical lineages of the European ground squirrel should be regarded as independent units for conservation management purposes.

  6. The relative roles of the parasol-like tail and burrow shuttling in thermoregulation of free-ranging Cape ground squirrels, Xerus inauris.

    PubMed

    Fick, Linda G; Kucio, Tomasz A; Fuller, Andrea; Matthee, André; Mitchell, Duncan

    2009-03-01

    As small arid-zone mammals, Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris) are unusual in being diurnally active. It is postulated that they remain active during the day by using their parasol-like tails to shade their bodies whilst foraging. However, no studies have continuously measured body temperature to determine the effect of using the tail as a parasol, relative to other thermoregulatory behaviours, such as burrow retreat. We caught four free-ranging Cape ground squirrels (673+/-36 g) and surgically implanted miniature temperature-sensitive data loggers into their abdomens, to record body temperature every 5 min to an accuracy of 0.04 degrees C, before they were released back into their home range and observed for two weeks. Mean daily peak black globe temperature was 41 degrees C, and daily peak body temperature reached 40 degrees C. Ground squirrels raised their tails significantly more often at globe temperatures above 30 degrees C, but raising the tail did not decrease body temperature, nor prevent body temperature rising. Ground squirrels retreated to burrows, at 18 degrees C, significantly more often at high body temperatures and body temperature dropped 1-2 degrees C before re-emergence. We believe that the tail was raised to provide thermal comfort during high solar radiation exposure, and that burrow retreat was employed to dissipate a heat load and remain active diurnally. PMID:19041951

  7. Differences in alarm calls of juvenile and adult European ground squirrels (Spermophilus citellus): Findings on permanently marked animals from a semi-natural enclosure.

    PubMed

    Schneiderov, Irena; Schnitzerov, Petra; Uhlikov, Jitka; Brandl, Pavel; Zouhar, Jan; Matejů, Jan

    2015-11-01

    The European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus) emits alarm calls that warn conspecifics of potential danger. Although it has been observed that inexperienced juveniles of this species emit alarm calls that sound similar to those of adults, studies focusing on juvenile alarm calls are lacking. We analyzed the acoustic structure of alarm calls emitted by six permanently marked European ground squirrels living in a semi-natural enclosure when they were juveniles and after 1 year as adults. We found that the acoustic structure of the juvenile alarm calls was significantly different from those of adults and that the alarm calls underwent nearly the same changes in all studied individuals. All juveniles emitted alarm calls consisting of one element with almost constant frequency, but their alarm calls included a second frequency-modulated element after their first hibernation as adults. Our data show that the duration of the first element is significantly shorter in adults than in juveniles. Additionally, the frequency of the first element is significantly higher in adults than in juveniles. Similar to previous findings in other Palearctic ground squirrel species, our data are inconsistent with the assumption that juvenile mammals emit vocalizations with higher fundamental frequencies than adults. However, our results do not support the previously suggested hypothesis that juvenile ground squirrels conceal information regarding their age in their alarm calls because we found significant differences in alarm calls of juveniles and adults.

  8. Activity of Ca2+-dependent neutral proteases in tissues of ground squirrel during hibernation and during self-warming after induced awakening.

    PubMed

    Nurmagomedova, P M; Abasova, M M; Emirbekov, E Z

    2011-09-01

    Cyclic changes in activity of Ca2+-dependent neutral protease occur during preparation for hibernation, with an increase in September and November and decrease in October and December. During hibernation proteolytic enzyme activity decreased, while during self-warming after induced awakening, the role of Ca2+-dependent processes in the tissues of ground squirrels increased according to the body temperature.

  9. Parasite removal and its impact on litter size and body condition in Columbian ground squirrels (Spermophilus columbianus).

    PubMed

    Neuhaus, Peter

    2003-11-01

    The current interest in studies of parasite-host relationships is focusing on the impact of parasites on mate choice, sexual selection and individual fitness. While most studies have been done on birds and fishes, little is known about the interactions between parasites and reproductive success in mammals. In this study, I experimentally removed ectoparasites (mainly fleas) from some female Columbian ground squirrels using a commercially available powder, whereas other squirrels were left untreated as controls. The anti-parasite treatment led to an increase in female body condition during lactation and at weaning and an increase in litter size. The increase of body mass in treated females between birth of the young and weaning is also different from observations done over 8 years in the same population, where untreated females usually lost mass. In close to 400 litters from untreated females in the same area, only 2% had litter sizes as big as the treated females. I conclude that ectoparasites can have a profound impact not only on individuals but probably on the dynamics of the whole population. PMID:14667386

  10. Sexing the Sciuridae: a simple and accurate set of molecular methods to determine sex in tree squirrels, ground squirrels and marmots.

    PubMed

    Gorrell, Jamieson C; Boutin, Stan; Raveh, Shirley; Neuhaus, Peter; Côté, Steeve D; Coltman, David W

    2012-09-01

    We determined the sequence of the male-specific minor histocompatibility complex antigen (Smcy) from the Y chromosome of seven squirrel species (Sciuridae, Rodentia). Based on conserved regions inside the Smcy intron sequence, we designed PCR primers for sex determination in these species that can be co-amplified with nuclear loci as controls. PCR co-amplification yields two products for males and one for females that are easily visualized as bands by agarose gel electrophoresis. Our method provides simple and reliable sex determination across a wide range of squirrel species.

  11. [Possible reasons for the variability of the inotropic insulin effect in papillary muscles of ground squirrel myocardium].

    PubMed

    Nakipova, O V; Chumaeva, L A; Andreeva, L A; Anufriev, A I; Kukushkin, N I

    2012-01-01

    The effects of insulin (0.1-50 nM) on isometric twitch force (0.1 to 1.0 Hz; 30 +/- 1 degree C; 1.8 mM Ca(2+)) were studied in right ventricular papillary muscles from active ground squirrels of different seasons (summer, n = 14; autumn, n = 16 and winter interbout, n = 16) in control conditions and after one-hour pretreatment of PM with 2 mkM nifedipine (an L-type Ca(2+)-channel inhibitor) and 1.0 mM orthovanadate (a tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor). In active animals of different seasonal periods insulin causes both positive and negative inotropic effects. At low frequencies (0.1-0.5 Hz), insulin of low concentrations (0.1-1.0 nM) induces a transient (within the first 20 min after application) positive effect (about 15-25%). Application of high hormone concentration (10 nM) in a low range of stimulation frequencies causes a biphasic effect (a small initial positive inotropic effect followed by a marked negative one). At frequencies above 0.5-Hz stimulation, insulin of 10 nM concentration causes presumably a negative inotropic effect. It was proposed that ICaL is possibly involved in the insulin-induced negative inotropy in ground squirrels hearts. Alteration of protein phosphorylation in tyrosine residues is known to be a major link in the mechanism of insulin action. We performed a study on orthovanadate action (a known inhibitor of tyrosine phosphatase) on the inotropic insulin effect. In the group of summer animals the pretreatment of papillary muscles with orthovanadate (100 mkM) does not change the negative inotropic effect of insulin in a low range of stimulation frequencies but almost completely removes this effect at stimulation frequencies above 0.3 Hz (n = 4). Nifedipine (1-1.5 hr pretreatment), a blocker of L-type calcium channel, reduces the inhibitory effect of insulin in autumn and winter animals, and on the contrary intensifies it in summer animals. This fact indicates that different mechanisms must be involved in insulin actions in animals of

  12. [Possible reasons for the variability of the inotropic insulin effect in papillary muscles of ground squirrel myocardium].

    PubMed

    Nakipova, O V; Chumaeva, L A; Andreeva, L A; Anufriev, A I; Kukushkin, N I

    2012-01-01

    The effects of insulin (0.1-50 nM) on isometric twitch force (0.1 to 1.0 Hz; 30 +/- 1 degree C; 1.8 mM Ca(2+)) were studied in right ventricular papillary muscles from active ground squirrels of different seasons (summer, n = 14; autumn, n = 16 and winter interbout, n = 16) in control conditions and after one-hour pretreatment of PM with 2 mkM nifedipine (an L-type Ca(2+)-channel inhibitor) and 1.0 mM orthovanadate (a tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor). In active animals of different seasonal periods insulin causes both positive and negative inotropic effects. At low frequencies (0.1-0.5 Hz), insulin of low concentrations (0.1-1.0 nM) induces a transient (within the first 20 min after application) positive effect (about 15-25%). Application of high hormone concentration (10 nM) in a low range of stimulation frequencies causes a biphasic effect (a small initial positive inotropic effect followed by a marked negative one). At frequencies above 0.5-Hz stimulation, insulin of 10 nM concentration causes presumably a negative inotropic effect. It was proposed that ICaL is possibly involved in the insulin-induced negative inotropy in ground squirrels hearts. Alteration of protein phosphorylation in tyrosine residues is known to be a major link in the mechanism of insulin action. We performed a study on orthovanadate action (a known inhibitor of tyrosine phosphatase) on the inotropic insulin effect. In the group of summer animals the pretreatment of papillary muscles with orthovanadate (100 mkM) does not change the negative inotropic effect of insulin in a low range of stimulation frequencies but almost completely removes this effect at stimulation frequencies above 0.3 Hz (n = 4). Nifedipine (1-1.5 hr pretreatment), a blocker of L-type calcium channel, reduces the inhibitory effect of insulin in autumn and winter animals, and on the contrary intensifies it in summer animals. This fact indicates that different mechanisms must be involved in insulin actions in animals of

  13. How will the greening of the Arctic affect an important prey species and disturbance agent? Vegetation effects on arctic ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Wheeler, H C; Chipperfield, J D; Roland, C; Svenning, J-C

    2015-07-01

    Increases in terrestrial primary productivity across the Arctic and northern alpine ecosystems are leading to altered vegetation composition and stature. Changes in vegetation stature may affect predator-prey interactions via changes in the prey's ability to detect predators, changes in predation pressure, predator identity and predator foraging strategy. Changes in productivity and vegetation composition may also affect herbivores via effects on forage availability and quality. We investigated if height-dependent effects of forage and non-forage vegetation determine burrowing extent and activity of arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii). We collected data on burrow networks and activity of arctic ground squirrels across long-term vegetation monitoring sites in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. The implications of height-specific cover of potential forage and non-forage vegetation on burrowing behaviour and habitat suitability for arctic ground squirrels were investigated using hierarchical Bayesian modelling. Increased cover of forbs was associated with more burrows and burrow systems, and higher activity of systems, for all forb heights. No other potential forage functional group was related to burrow distribution and activity. In contrast, height-dependent negative effects of non-forage vegetation were observed, with cover over 50-cm height negatively affecting the number of burrows, systems and system activity. Our results demonstrate that increases in vegetation productivity have dual, potentially counteracting effects on arctic ground squirrels via changes in forage and vegetation stature. Importantly, increases in tall-growing woody vegetation (shrubs and trees) have clear negative effects, whereas increases in forb should benefit arctic ground squirrels. PMID:25666700

  14. Stability of acoustic individuality in the alarm calls of wild yellow ground squirrels Spermophilus fulvus and contrasting calls from trapped and free-ranging callers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matrosova, Vera A.; Volodin, Ilya A.; Volodina, Elena V.; Vasilieva, Nina A.

    2010-08-01

    The questions of individuality and stability of cues to identity in vocal signals are of considerable importance from theoretical and conservation perspectives. While individuality in alarm calls has been reported for many sciurids, it is not well-documented that the vocal identity encoded in the alarm calls is stable between different encounters with predators. Previous studies of two obligate hibernating rodents, speckled ground squirrels Spermophilus suslicus, and yellow ground squirrels Spermophilus fulvus demonstrated that, after hibernation, most individuals could not be identified reliably by their alarm calls. Moreover, in most speckled ground squirrels, individual patterns of alarm calls changed progressively over as little as 2 weeks. However, these previous data have been obtained using the collection of alarm calls from trapped animals. Here, we examined ten free-ranging dye-marked yellow ground squirrels to determine whether their alarm calls retain the cues to individuality between two encounters of surrogate predators (humans), separated on average by 3 days. Discriminant function analysis showed that the alarm calls of individual yellow ground squirrels were very similar within a recording session, providing very high individual distinctiveness. However, in six of the ten animals, the alarm calls were unstable between recording sessions. Also, we examined ten dye-marked individuals for consistency of acoustic characteristics of their alarm calls between the encounters of humans, differing in techniques of call collection, from free-ranging vs trapped animals. We found differences only in two variables, both related to sound degradation in the environment. Data are discussed in relation to hypotheses explaining the adaptive utility of acoustic individuality in alarm calls.

  15. How will the greening of the Arctic affect an important prey species and disturbance agent? Vegetation effects on arctic ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Wheeler, H C; Chipperfield, J D; Roland, C; Svenning, J-C

    2015-07-01

    Increases in terrestrial primary productivity across the Arctic and northern alpine ecosystems are leading to altered vegetation composition and stature. Changes in vegetation stature may affect predator-prey interactions via changes in the prey's ability to detect predators, changes in predation pressure, predator identity and predator foraging strategy. Changes in productivity and vegetation composition may also affect herbivores via effects on forage availability and quality. We investigated if height-dependent effects of forage and non-forage vegetation determine burrowing extent and activity of arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii). We collected data on burrow networks and activity of arctic ground squirrels across long-term vegetation monitoring sites in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. The implications of height-specific cover of potential forage and non-forage vegetation on burrowing behaviour and habitat suitability for arctic ground squirrels were investigated using hierarchical Bayesian modelling. Increased cover of forbs was associated with more burrows and burrow systems, and higher activity of systems, for all forb heights. No other potential forage functional group was related to burrow distribution and activity. In contrast, height-dependent negative effects of non-forage vegetation were observed, with cover over 50-cm height negatively affecting the number of burrows, systems and system activity. Our results demonstrate that increases in vegetation productivity have dual, potentially counteracting effects on arctic ground squirrels via changes in forage and vegetation stature. Importantly, increases in tall-growing woody vegetation (shrubs and trees) have clear negative effects, whereas increases in forb should benefit arctic ground squirrels.

  16. Reversible reduction in dendritic spines in CA1 of rat and ground squirrel subjected to hypothermia-normothermia in vivo: A three-dimensional electron microscope study.

    PubMed

    Popov, V I; Medvedev, N I; Patrushev, I V; Ignat'ev, D A; Morenkov, E D; Stewart, M G

    2007-11-01

    A study was made at electron microscope level of changes in the three-dimensional (3-D) morphology of dendritic spines and postsynaptic densities (PSDs) in CA1 of the hippocampus in ground squirrels, taken either at low temperature during hibernation (brain temperature 2-4 degrees C), or after warming and recovery to the normothermic state (34 degrees C). In addition, the morphology of PSDs and spines was measured in a non-hibernating mammal, rat, subjected to cooling at 2 degrees C at which time core rectal temperature was 15 degrees C, and then after warming to normothermic conditions. Significant differences were found in the proportion of thin and stubby spines, and shaft synapses in CA1 for rats and ground squirrels for normothermia compared with cooling or hibernation. Hypothermia induced a decrease in the proportion of thin spines, and an increase in stubby and shaft spines, but no change in the proportion of mushroom spines. The changes in redistribution of these three categories of spines in ground squirrel are more prominent than in rat. There were no significant differences in synapse density determined for ground squirrels or rats at normal compared with low temperature. Measurement of spine and PSD volume (for mushroom and thin spines) also showed no significant differences between the two functional states in either rats or ground squirrels, nor were there any differences in distances between neighboring synapses. Spinules on dendritic shafts were notable qualitatively during hibernation, but absent in normothermia. These data show that hypothermia results in morphological changes which are essentially similar in both a hibernating and a non-hibernating animal.

  17. Rodenticide grain bait ingredient acceptance by Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus), California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) and pocket gophers (Thomomys bottae).

    PubMed

    Salmon, Terrell P; Dochtermann, Ned A

    2006-07-01

    Vertebrate pest control in California is often accomplished through the use of rodenticide grain baits. These grain baits are composed of steam-rolled oats (SRO), a toxicant, an indicator dye and an oil combination. A series of tests were performed to determine the effects of various dye and oil formulations on acceptance of grain bait by Norway rats [Rattus norvegicus (Berk)], California ground squirrels [Spermophilus beecheyi (Richardson)] and pocket gophers (Thomomys bottae Eyd & Gerv). Seven different dyes, four oil formulations and clean (untreated) oats were tested for acceptance. The addition of the selected oils and dyes to grain resulted in no significant differences in consumption. This indicates that there is a wide variety of dyes that could be used in the formulation of rodenticides. These alternatives could aid in proper pesticide use, the deterrence of bait consumption by birds and possibly in ingredient adhesion to the finished bait. PMID:16718744

  18. Metabolic hormone FGF21 is induced in ground squirrels during hibernation but its overexpression is not sufficient to cause torpor.

    PubMed

    Nelson, Bethany T; Ding, Xunshan; Boney-Montoya, Jamie; Gerard, Robert D; Kliewer, Steven A; Andrews, Matthew T

    2013-01-01

    Hibernation is a natural adaptation that allows certain mammals to survive physiological extremes that are lethal to humans. Near freezing body temperatures, heart rates of 3-10 beats per minute, absence of food consumption, and depressed metabolism are characteristic of hibernation torpor bouts that are periodically interrupted by brief interbout arousals (IBAs). The molecular basis of torpor induction is unknown, however starved mice overexpressing the metabolic hormone fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) promote fat utilization, reduce body temperature, and readily enter torpor-all hallmarks of mammalian hibernation. In this study we cloned FGF21 from the naturally hibernating thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) and found that levels of FGF21 mRNA in liver and FGF21 protein in serum are elevated during hibernation torpor bouts and significantly elevated during IBAs compared to summer active animals. The effects of artificially elevating circulating FGF21 concentrations 50 to 100-fold via adenoviral-mediated overexpression were examined at three different times of the year. This is the first time that a transgenic approach has been used in a natural hibernator to examine mechanistic aspects of hibernation. Surgically implanted transmitters measured various metrics of the hibernation phenotype over a 7-day period including changes in motor activity, heart rate and core body temperature. In April fed-state animals, FGF21 overexpression decreased blood insulin and free fatty acid concentrations, effects similar to those seen in obese mice. However, elevated FGF21 concentrations did not cause torpor in these fed-state animals nor did they cause torpor or affect metabolic parameters in fasted-state animals in March/April, August or October. We conclude that FGF21 is strongly regulated during torpor and IBA but that its overexpression is not sufficient to cause torpor in naturally hibernating ground squirrels.

  19. Vernal changes in the behavioral and endocrine responses to GnRH application in male European ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Millesi, Eva; Hoffmann, Ilse E; Steurer, Sabine; Metwaly, Mohammed; Dittami, John P

    2002-02-01

    This field study was aimed at examining hypothalamic involvement in the behavioral changes of male European ground squirrels (Spermophilus citellus) before, during, and after the mating season. The effects of exogenous gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) application on androgen secretion and behavioral patterns were investigated. Animals were captured, bled, and injected intramuscularly with 40 ng/100 g of GnRH. A second plasma sample was collected 40 min after the treatment to document changes in testosterone secretion. Behavioral parameters such as intra-sexual aggression, scent marking, and home range size were compared on the days before and after the stimulation. In the first two phases, before female emergence and during mating, GnRH-injection caused increases in plasma testosterone. In the post-mating phase, initial plasma testosterone levels had decreased and no elevation could be induced. Sham treatment of controls had no effect in any phase. Conditional parameters like emergence body mass and testicular size covaried with androgen increases only in the pre-mating period. Behavioral changes after GnRH administration occurred during the pre-mating period. Intra-sexual aggression, scent marking, and home range size increased significantly in experimental individuals. Later, during mating and post-mating, we found no behavioral changes associated with the GnRH treatment or the testosterone increase. The results demonstrate changes in the endocrine and behavioral sensitivity to GnRH application, according to the phases of the active season. An exogenous pulse of GnRH can apparently release behavior in male European ground squirrels, which is normally context dependent with the emergence of females. PMID:11863383

  20. Isolation and identification of a snake venom metalloproteinase inhibitor from California ground squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi) blood sera.

    PubMed

    Biardi, J E; Ho, C Y L; Marcinczyk, J; Nambiar, K P

    2011-11-01

    California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) show blood-based defenses to a variety of toxins in the venom of the Northern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus). In this study we demonstrate the presence of an effective snake venom metalloproteinase inhibitor (SVMPI) in S. beecheyi. The blood sera of California ground squirrels were effective at reducing the metalloproteinase activity of Northern Pacific (C. o. oreganus) and prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis viridis) venoms by over 75%, significantly more than its ability to reduce the activity of western diamondback rattlesnake venom. We used anion exchange and affinity chromatography to isolate this protein from the blood sera of S. beecheyi. This SVMPI had a molecular mass of 108.3 kDa and a pI of 5.1. The IC(50) of this inhibitor against whole venom from C. o. oreganus was determined to be 3.14 × 10(-8) M. Subsequent LC MS/MS analysis of a CNBr/tryptic digest of the inhibitor yielded multiple internal peptide sequences. These sequences showed homology to three other known mammalian plasma proteins: inter-α trypsin inhibitor, and two hibernation-associated proteins, HP25 and HP27. The presence of SVMPI in S. beecheyi blood sera is consistent with the resistance of these animals to venom-induced hemorrhage and tissue damage, and consistent with the protective factors conferring venom resistance in other mammals. However, the variety of SVMPI identified to date from mammalian taxa suggests that different species have converged on neutralization of venom metalloproteinase activity as a key step in venom neutralization.

  1. [Influence of ionizing radiation on the condition of the protein-synthesizing system in ground squirrel brain neurons at different functional states].

    PubMed

    Gordon, R Ia; Ignat'ev, D A; Mel'nikova, E V; Rogachevskaĭ, V V; Kraev, I V; Khutsian, S S

    2006-01-01

    It was shown by fluorescent and electron microscopy that the physiological state of ground squirrels subjected to ionizing radiation at different phases of the torpor-normothermia cycle plays a determining role in the alteration of the conditions of the protein-synthesizing system in neurons of hippocampus fields CA1 and CA3 and sensomotor area of the brain. In ground squirrels irradiated under normothermia, the neurons were less radioresistant and restored slower compared with torpor animal cells, the distinctions being most expressed in CA1 field neurons. The effect of irradiation was minimum during the entrance into torpor and maximum during arousal. It was supposed that the inhibition of protein synthesis in the latter case occurred at the elongation stage when heavy polyribosomes were formed in neuron cytoplasm. PMID:16637340

  2. State-dependent variation in the inhibitory effect of (D-Ala sup 2 , D-Leu sup 5 )-enkephalin on hippocampal serotonin release in ground squirrels

    SciTech Connect

    Kramarova, L.I.; Lee, T.F.; Cui, Y.; Wang, L.C.H. )

    1990-01-01

    Accumulated evidence has suggested that increased endogenous opioid activities may facilitate the onset of hibernation either directly or possibly through modulation of other neurotransmitter systems. The seasonal change of (D-Ala{sup 2}, D-Leu{sup 5})-enkephalin (DADLE), a {delta} receptor agonist, in modulating K{sup +}-induced ({sup 3}H)-5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) release from the hippocampal and hypothalamic slices of euthermic and hibernating Richardsons' ground squirrels was therefore investigated. DADLE had no effect on 5-HT release in the hypothalamic slices but elicited a dose-related inhibition on ({sup 3}H)-5-HT release from the hippocampal slices of the euthermic ground squirrel. The inhibitory effect of DADLE was completely reversed by naloxone, but not by tetrodotoxin. In contrast, DADLE failed to alter the K{sup +}-induced 5-HT release from the hippocampal slices of the hibernating ground squirrel. This state-dependent reduction in responsiveness to an opioid is consistent with the hypothesis that enhanced endogenous opioid activity in the hibernating phase could lead to down regulation of the opioid receptors and minimize its inhibition on hippocampal serotonergic activity. A high 5-HT activity would inhibit midbrain reticular activating system indirectly through non-serotonergic fibers, which in turn facilitate the onset or maintenance of hibernation.

  3. Seasonal changes of androgen receptor, estrogen receptors and aromatase expression in the medial preoptic area of the wild male ground squirrels (Citellus dauricus Brandt).

    PubMed

    Zhang, F; Wang, J; Jiao, Y; Zhang, L; Zhang, H; Sheng, X; Han, Y; Yuan, Z; Weng, Q

    2016-01-01

    The wild ground squirrel is a typical seasonal breeder. In this study, using RT-PCR, western blot and immunohistochemistry, we investigated the mRNA and protein expressions of androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptors α and β (ERα and ERβ) and aromatase cytochrome P450 (P450arom) in the medial preoptic area (MPOA) of hypothalamus of the wild male ground squirrel during the breeding season (April), the non-breeding season (June) and pre-hibernation (September). AR, ERα, ERβ and P450arom protein/mRNA were present in the MPOA of all seasons detected. The immunostaining of AR and ERα showed no significant changes in different periods, whereas ERβ and P450arom had higher immunoreactivities during the breeding season and pre-hibernation when compared to those of the non-breeding season. Consistently, both the protein and mRNA levels of P450arom and ERβ were higher in the MPOA of pre-hibernation and the breeding season than in the non-breeding season, whereas no significant difference amongst the three periods was observed for AR and ERα levels. These findings suggested that the MPOA of hypothalamus may be a direct target of androgen and estrogen. Androgen may play important regulatory roles through its receptor and/or the aromatized estrogen in the MPOA of hypothalamus of the wild male ground squirrels. PMID:27349316

  4. Seasonal Changes of Androgen Receptor, Estrogen Receptors and Aromatase Expression in the Medial Preoptic Area of the Wild Male Ground Squirrels (Citellus Dauricus Brandt)

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, F.; Wang, J.; Jiao, Y.; Zhang, L.; Zhang, H.; Sheng, X.; Han, Y.; Yuan, Z.; Weng, Q.

    2016-01-01

    The wild ground squirrel is a typical seasonal breeder. In this study, using RT-PCR, western blot and immunohistochemistry, we investigated the mRNA and protein expressions of androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptors a and β (ERα and ERβ) and aromatase cytochrome P450 (P450arom) in the medial preoptic area (MPOA) of hypothalamus of the wild male ground squirrel during the breeding season (April), the non-breeding season (June) and pre-hibernation (September). AR, ERα, ERβ and P450arom protein/mRNA were present in the MPOA of all seasons detected. The immunostaining of AR and ERα showed no significant changes in different periods, whereas ERβ and P450arom had higher immunoreactivities during the breeding season and pre-hibernation when compared to those of the non-breeding season. Consistently, both the protein and mRNA levels of P450arom and ERβ were higher in the MPOA of pre-hibernation and the breeding season than in the non-breeding season, whereas no significant difference amongst the three periods was observed for AR and ERα levels. These findings suggested that the MPOA of hypothalamus may be a direct target of androgen and estrogen. Androgen may play important regulatory roles through its receptor and/or the aromatized estrogen in the MPOA of hypothalamus of the wild male ground squirrels. PMID:27349316

  5. Immunolocalization of NGF and its receptors in ovarian surface epithelium of the wild ground squirrel during the breeding and nonbreeding seasons.

    PubMed

    Bao, L; Li, Q; Liu, Y; Li, B; Sheng, X; Han, Y; Weng, Q

    2014-05-09

    The ovarian surface epithelium (OSE) plays an important role in normal ovarian physiology. During each reproductive cycle, the OSE takes part in the cyclical ovulatory ruptures and repair. The aim of this study was to investigate the immunolocalization of nerve growth factor (NGF) and its receptors, tyrosine kinase A (TrkA) and p75, in the OSE cells of the wild ground squirrels during the breeding and nonbreeding seasons. There were marked variations in ovarian weight and size between the breeding and the nonbreeding seasons. Histologically, cuboidal cells and squamous cells were identified in the OSE of both seasons. Yet, stronger immunostaining of NGF, TrkA and p75 were observed in cuboidal cells and squamous cells in the breeding season as compared to the nonbreeding season. In addition, plasma gonadotropin concentrations were higher in the breeding season than in the nonbreeding season, suggesting that the expression patterns of NGF, TrkA and p75 in the OSE were correlated with changes in plasma gonadotropins. These findings suggested that NGF and its receptor TrkA and p75 may be involved in the regulation of seasonal changes in the OSE of wild ground squirrel.in the OSE of wild ground squirrel.

  6. [Cyclic structural changes in endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus in the hippocampal neurons of ground squirrels during hibernation].

    PubMed

    Bocharova, L S; Gordon, R Ia; Rogachevskiĭ, V V; Ignat'ev, D A; Khutsian, S S

    2011-01-01

    Repetitive remodeling and renewal of the cytoplasmic structures realizing synthesis of proteins accompanies the cycling of ground squirrels between torpor and arousal states during hibernation season. Earlier we have shown partial loss of ribosomes and nucleolus inactivation in CA3 hippocampal pyramidal neurons in each bout of torpor with rapid and full recovery after warming up. Here we describe reversible structural changes in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and Golgi complex (G) in these neurons. Transformation of ER from mainly cysternal to tubular form and from mainly granular to smooth type occurs at every entrance in torpor, while the opposite change occurs at arousal. Torpor state is also associated with G fragmentation and loss of its flattened cisternae. Appearance in torpor of the autophagosomal vacuoles containing fragments of membrane structures and ribosomes is a sign of their partial destruction. Granular ER restoration, perhaps through assembly from the multilamellar membrane structures, whorls or bags, begins as early as in the middle of the torpor bout, while G flattened cisternae reappear only at warming. ER and G completely restore their structure 2-3 hours after the provoked arousal. Thus, hibernation represents and example of nerve cell structural adaptation to alterations in functional and metabolic activity through both active destruction and renewal of ribosomes, ER, and G. Perhaps, it is the incomplete ER autophagosomal degradation at torpor provides its rapid renewal at arousal by reassembly from the preserved fragments. PMID:21598689

  7. Changing seasonality and phenological responses of free-living male arctic ground squirrels: the importance of sex.

    PubMed

    Sheriff, Michael J; Richter, Melanie M; Buck, C Loren; Barnes, Brian M

    2013-08-19

    Many studies have addressed the effects of climate change on species as a whole; however, few have examined the possibility of sex-specific differences. To understand better the impact that changing patterns of snow-cover have on an important resident Arctic mammal, we investigated the long-term (13 years) phenology of hibernating male arctic ground squirrels living at two nearby sites in northern Alaska that experience significantly different snow-cover regimes. Previously, we demonstrated that snow-cover influences the timing of phenological events in females. Our results here suggest that the end of heterothermy in males is influenced by soil temperature and an endogenous circannual clock, but timing of male emergence from hibernation is influenced by the timing of female emergence. Males at both sites, Atigun and Toolik, end heterothermy on the same date in spring, but remain in their burrows while undergoing reproductive maturation. However, at Atigun, where snowmelt and female emergence occur relatively early, males emerge 8 days earlier than those at Toolik, maintaining a 12-day period between male and female emergence found at each site, but reducing the pre-emergence euthermic period that is critical for reproductive maturation. This sensitivity in timing of male emergence to female emergence will need to be matched by phase shifts in the circannual clock and responsiveness to environmental factors that time the end of heterothermy, if synchrony in reproductive readiness between the sexes is to be preserved in a rapidly changing climate. PMID:23836786

  8. Purification and properties of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase from the skeletal muscle of the hibernating ground squirrel, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus.

    PubMed

    Bell, Ryan A V; Smith, Jeffrey C; Storey, Kenneth B

    2014-01-01

    Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) from the skeletal muscle of euthermic and torpid Ictidomys tridecemlineatus was purified to electrophoretic homogeneity using a novel method involving Blue-agarose and Phenyl-agarose chromatography. Kinetic analysis of the enzymes isolated from the two conditions suggested the existence of two structurally distinct proteins, with GAPDH V max being 40-60% less for the enzyme from the torpid condition (in both glycolytic and gluconeogenic directions) as compared to the euthermic enzyme form. Thermal denaturation, in part determined by differential scanning fluorimetry, revealed that purified GAPDH from the torpid animals was significantly more stable that the enzyme from the euthermic condition. Mass spectrometry combined with Western blot analyses of purified GAPDH indicate that the cellular GAPDH population is extensively modified, with posttranslational phosphorylation, acetylation and methylation being detected. Global reduction in GAPDH tyrosine phosphorylation during torpor as well as site specific alterations in methylation sites suggests that that the stable changes observed in kinetic and structural GAPDH properties may be due to posttranslational modification of this enzyme during torpor. Taken together, these results suggest a stable suppression of GAPDH (possibly by some reversible posttranslational modification) during ground squirrel torpor, which likely contributes to the overall reduction in carbohydrate metabolism when these animals switch to lipid fuels during dormancy.

  9. Inhibition of NMDA Type Glutamate Receptors Induces Arousal from Torpor in Hibernating Arctic Ground Squirrels (Urocitellus parryii)

    PubMed Central

    Jinka, Tulasi R.; Rasley, Brian T.; Drew, Kelly L.

    2012-01-01

    Hibernation is an adaptation to overcome periods of resource limitation often associated with extreme climatic conditions. The hibernation season consists of prolonged bouts of torpor that are interrupted by brief interbout arousals. Physiological mechanisms regulating spontaneous arousals are poorly understood, but may be related to a need for gluconeogenesis or elimination of metabolic wastes. Glutamate is derived from glutamine through the glutamate-glutamine cycle and from glucose via the pyruvate carboxylase pathway when nitrogen balance favors formation of glutamine. The present study tests the hypothesis that activation of NMDA type glutamate receptors (NMDAR) maintains torpor in arctic ground squirrel (AGS; Urocitellus parryii).Administration of NMDAR antagonists MK-801 (5mg/kg,ip) that crosses blood-brain barrier and AP5 (5mg/kg,ip) that does not cross the blood brain barrier induced arousal in AGS. Central administration of MK-801 (0.2, 2, 20 or 200 μg; icv) to hibernating AGS failed to induce arousal. Results suggest that activation of NMDAR at a peripheral or circumventricular site is necessary to maintain prolonged torpor and that a decrease in glutamate at these sites may contribute to spontaneous arousal in AGS. PMID:22697356

  10. Regulation of succinate-fuelled mitochondrial respiration in liver and skeletal muscle of hibernating thirteen-lined ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Brown, Jason C L; Chung, Dillon J; Cooper, Alex N; Staples, James F

    2013-05-01

    Hibernating ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) alternate between two distinct metabolic states throughout winter: torpor, during which metabolic rate (MR) and body temperature (Tb) are considerably suppressed, and interbout euthermia (IBE), during which MR and Tb briefly return to euthermic levels. Previous studies showed suppression of succinate-fuelled respiration during torpor in liver and skeletal muscle mitochondria; however, these studies used only a single, saturating succinate concentration. Therefore, they could not address whether mitochondrial metabolic suppression occurs under physiological substrate concentrations or whether differences in the kinetics of mitochondrial responses to changing substrate concentration might also contribute to mitochondrial metabolic regulation during torpor. The present study confirmed that succinate oxidation is reduced during torpor in liver and skeletal muscle at 37 and 10°C over a 100-fold range of succinate concentrations. At 37°C, this suppression resulted from inhibition of succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), which had a greater affinity for oxaloacetate (an SDH inhibitor) during torpor. At 10°C, SDH was not inhibited, suggesting that SDH inhibition initiates but does not maintain mitochondrial suppression during torpor. Moreover, in both liver and skeletal muscle, mitochondria from torpid animals maintained relatively higher respiration rates at low succinate concentrations, which reduces the extent of energy savings that can be achieved during torpor, but may also maintain mitochondrial oxidative capacity above some lower critical threshold, thereby preventing cellular and/or mitochondrial injury during torpor and facilitating rapid recruitment of oxidative capacity during arousal.

  11. Estimating lean mass over a wide range of body composition: a calibration of deuterium dilution in the arctic ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Lee, Trixie N; Fridinger, Robert W; Barnes, Brian M; Loren Buck, C; O'Brien, Diane M

    2011-12-15

    Calculating body water through isotope dilution has become a useful way to nondestructively estimate body composition in many species. The most accurate estimates using this method require calibration against proximate chemical analysis of body composition for individual species, but no studies to our knowledge have calibrated this method on a hibernating mammal that seasonally undergoes dramatic changes in body composition. We use deuterium oxide to estimate total body water in captive arctic ground squirrels, Urocitellus parryii, and compare two approaches of calculating lean mass from total body water, both calibrated against lean mass based on proximate analysis. The first method uses a single tissue hydration constant to calculate lean mass from total body water; the second method uses a predictive equation to calculate lean mass from total body water and body mass. We found that the predictive equation performs better over the large range of body composition common to this species. Distillation of blood samples did not affect lean mass estimates from either calculation method. These findings indicate that isotope dilution using a predictive equation should work well as an alternative to destructive methods in other small mammals that undergo radical changes in body composition across their annual cycle.

  12. Protein kinase C epsilon activation delays neuronal depolarization during cardiac arrest in the euthermic arctic ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Dave, Kunjan R; Anthony Defazio, Richard; Raval, Ami P; Dashkin, Oleksandr; Saul, Isabel; Iceman, Kimberly E; Perez-Pinzon, Miguel A; Drew, Kelly L

    2009-08-01

    During the pre-hibernation season, arctic ground squirrels (AGS) can tolerate 8 min of asphyxial cardiac arrest (CA) without detectable brain pathology. Better understanding of the mechanisms regulating innate ischemia tolerance in AGS has the potential to facilitate the development of novel prophylactic agents to induce ischemic tolerance in patients at risk of stroke or CA. We hypothesized that neuroprotection in AGS involves robust maintenance of ion homeostasis similar to anoxia-tolerant turtles. Ion homeostasis was assessed by monitoring ischemic depolarization (ID) in cerebral cortex during CA in vivo and during oxygen glucose deprivation in vitro in acutely prepared hippocampal slices. In both models, the onset of ID was significantly delayed in AGS compared with rats. The epsilon protein kinase C (epsilonPKC) is a key mediator of neuroprotection and inhibits both Na+/K+-ATPase and voltage-gated sodium channels, primary mediators of the collapse of ion homeostasis during ischemia. The selective peptide inhibitor of epsilonPKC (epsilonV1-2) shortened the time to ID in brain slices from AGS but not in rats despite evidence that epsilonV1-2 decreased activation of epsilonPKC in brain slices from both rats and AGS. These results support the hypothesis that epsilonPKC activation delays the collapse of ion homeostasis during ischemia in AGS.

  13. Changes in neuropeptide Y immunoreactivity and transcript levels in circadian system structures of the diurnal rodent, the thirteen-lined ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Vidal, Luis; Lugo, Nidza

    2006-12-13

    The intergeniculate leaflet (IGL) and its neuropeptide Y (NPY) projection to the main circadian clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), have been the focus of extensive research conducted, for the most part, on nocturnal rodent species. However, a variety of anatomical and physiological differences between the circadian system of diurnal and nocturnal species have been reported. These differences led us to question whether the role of NPY in the circadian system of the diurnal ground squirrel differs from that in nocturnal rodents. We used semi-quantitative immunohistochemistry to analyze NPY content in SCN terminals of squirrels sacrificed at specific times of the day and compared the data to previous published results from the rat. Additionally, IGL NPY mRNA was quantified using real-time PCR to determine if varying NPY immunoreactivity (-ir) levels could be the result of changes in peptide transcription. Our results demonstrate that NPY-ir levels in the ground squirrel SCN peak during the middle of the night unlike what is observed in the rat. Cell counts of NPY-ir neurons in the IGL revealed a pattern of variation 6 h out of phase compared to what was observed in the SCN. NPY mRNA levels showed only one sharp increase in the middle of the night, coinciding with increases in NPY-ir levels observed in the SCN. Differences in the pattern of fluctuation of NPY in the SCN between the rat and squirrel suggest that this peptide may serve distinct roles in the circadian system of diurnal and nocturnal species. Our data provide the first evidence of the relationship between transcript and peptide levels in the circadian system of a diurnal species.

  14. The expression of leptin, hypothalamic neuropeptides and UCP1 before, during and after fattening in the Daurian ground squirrel (Spermophilus dauricus).

    PubMed

    Xing, Xin; Yang, Ming; Wang, De-Hua

    2015-06-01

    The Daurian ground squirrel (Spermophilus dauricus) accumulates large amounts of body fat during pre-hibernation fattening. Leptin, an adipose-derived hormone, plays important roles in energy balance and thermogenesis. We predicted that body fat accumulation would lead to the elevation of leptin concentration while its effect on satiety would be suppressed in hypothalamus during fattening. In addition, the uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) in brown adipose tissue (BAT) would increase and correlated positively with leptin concentration before hibernation. Here, we measured serum leptin concentration and leptin mRNA in white adipose tissue (WAT), hypothalamic neuropeptides involved in energy regulation and UCP1 in BAT before, during and after fattening in squirrels. The fat mass gradually increased during fattening but serum leptin increased mainly in the late phase of fattening, which was consistent with leptin mRNA expression in WAT. During fattening, the mRNA of hypothalamic leptin receptor was up-regulated and correlated positively with serum leptin. Orexigenic neuropeptide Y mRNA increased by 67%; however agouti-related peptide remained unchanged before hibernation. There was no significant change in anorexigenic neuropeptide mRNA. No change in suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 and protein tyrosine phosphatase-1B was detected. UCP1 mRNA expression and protein content in BAT increased significantly after fattening. These changes were independent of environmental conditions and serum leptin concentration. Our results suggest that the dissociation of leptin production and adiposity during fattening may facilitate fat accumulation. No evidence of suppressed leptin signal was found in fattening squirrels. The UCP1 recruitment in post-fattening squirrels could occur without winter-like acclimation and increased leptin.

  15. Effects of storage treatment on fecal steroid hormone concentrations of a rodent, the Cape ground squirrel (Xerus inauris).

    PubMed

    Pettitt, B A; Wheaton, C J; Waterman, J M

    2007-01-01

    Fecal steroid analysis is an increasingly common non-invasive technique used in both captive and field studies to measure an animal's approximate hormonal levels and corresponding physiological state. Fecal collection in the field necessitates storage and transportation methods that will prevent the degradation of hormonal metabolites by fecal bacteria. To determine the most stable and therefore preferred method of storage, 48 fecal samples were collected from six captive female Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris). Each sample was randomly divided into three sub-samples to be processed for storage through freezing, drying, or preservation in ethanol. Frozen samples were stored at -20 degrees C, dried-treated samples were desiccated in a conventional oven at 40 degrees C for 4 h, and alcohol-treated samples were preserved in 3 ml of 95% ethanol. Samples were stored for 330 days followed by enzyme immunoassay analysis (EIA) to determine their progestogen and estrone conjugate (E(1)C) concentrations. Validations were performed to establish that the progestogen and E(1)C assays accurately measure fecal progestogen and estrone conjugate concentrations and were sensitive enough to detect biologically meaningful differences in these steroid metabolite concentrations in female X. inauris. Validation results showed a significant difference in progestogen concentrations of gravid females compared to sub-adults and non-gravid females. There was also a significant difference in estrone conjugates between sub-adult and adult females. Duration of storage time did not affect progestogen or estrone metabolite concentrations after being frozen for 3 months. Storage treatment results showed no significant difference between frozen and dried samples, but a significant difference was found between frozen and ethanol samples in both progestogen and estrone conjugate concentrations demonstrating that drying feces provides a reliable method for long-term preservation of fecal steroid

  16. Habituation of Arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii) to handling and movement during torpor to prevent artificial arousal.

    PubMed

    Christian, Sherri L; Rasley, Brian T; Roe, Tanna; Moore, Jeanette T; Harris, Michael B; Drew, Kelly L

    2014-01-01

    Hibernation is a unique physiological adaptation characterized by periods of torpor that consist of repeated, reversible, and dramatic reductions of body temperature, metabolism, and blood flow. External and internal triggers can induce arousal from torpor in the hibernator. Studies of hibernating animals often require that animals be handled or moved prior to sampling or euthanasia but this movement can induce changes in the hibernation status of the animal. In fact, it has been demonstrated that movement of animals while they are hibernating is sufficient to induce an artificial arousal, which can detrimentally alter experimental findings obtained from animals assumed to be torpid. Therefore, we assessed a method to induce habituation of torpid hibernators to handling and movement to reduce inadvertent arousals. A platform rocker was used to mimic motion experienced during transfer of an animal and changes in respiratory rate (RR) were used to assess responsiveness of torpid Arctic ground squirrels (AGS, Urocitellus parryii). We found that movement alone did not induce a change in RR, however, exposure to handling induced an increase in RR in almost all AGS. This change in RR was markedly reduced with increased exposures, and all AGS exhibited a change in RR ≤ 1 by the end of the study. AGS habituated faster mid-season compared to early in the season, which mirrors other assessments of seasonal variation of torpor depth. However, AGS regained responsiveness when they were not exposed to daily handling. While AGS continued to undergo natural arousals during the study, occurrence of a full arousal was neither necessary for becoming habituated nor detrimental to the time required for habituation. These data suggest that even when torpid, AGS are able to undergo mechanosensory habituation, one of the simplest forms of learning, and provides a reliable way to reduce the sensitivity of torpid animals to handling. PMID:24847278

  17. The impact of cold acclimation and hibernation on antioxidant defenses in the ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus): an update.

    PubMed

    Vucetic, Milica; Stancic, Ana; Otasevic, Vesna; Jankovic, Aleksandra; Korac, Aleksandra; Markelic, Milica; Velickovic, Ksenija; Golic, Igor; Buzadzic, Biljana; Storey, Kenneth B; Korac, Bato

    2013-12-01

    Any alteration in oxidative metabolism is coupled with a corresponding response by an antioxidant defense (AD) in appropriate subcellular compartments. Seasonal hibernators pass through circannual metabolic adaptations that allow them to either maintain euthermy (cold acclimation) or enter winter torpor with body temperature falling to low values. The present study aimed to investigate the corresponding pattern of AD enzyme protein expressions associated with these strategies in the main tissues involved in whole animal energy homeostasis: brown and white adipose tissues (BAT and WAT, respectively), liver, and skeletal muscle. European ground squirrels (Spermophilus citellus) were exposed to low temperature (4 ± 1 °C) and then divided into two groups: (1) animals fell into torpor (hibernating group) and (2) animals stayed active and euthermic for 1, 3, 7, 12, or 21 days (cold-exposed group). We examined the effects of cold acclimation and hibernation on the tissue-dependent protein expression of four enzymes which catalyze the two-step detoxification of superoxide to water: superoxide dismutase 1 and 2 (SOD 1 and 2), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px). The results showed that hibernation induced an increase of AD enzyme protein expressions in BAT and skeletal muscle. However, AD enzyme contents in liver were largely unaffected during torpor. Under these conditions, different WAT depots responded by elevating the amounts of specific enzymes, as follows: SOD 1 in retroperitoneal WAT, GSH-Px in gonadal WAT, and CAT in subcutaneous WAT. Similar perturbations of AD enzymes contents were seen in all tissues during cold acclimation, often in a time-dependent manner. It can be concluded that BAT and muscle AD capacity undergo the most dramatic changes during both cold acclimation and hibernation, while liver is relatively unaffected by either condition. Additionally, this study provides a basis for further metabolic study that will illuminate the causes

  18. Circannual rhythm in body temperature, torpor, and sensitivity to A₁ adenosine receptor agonist in arctic ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Olson, Jasmine M; Jinka, Tulasi R; Larson, Lindy K; Danielson, Jeffrey J; Moore, Jeanette T; Carpluck, Joanna; Drew, Kelly L

    2013-06-01

    A₁ adenosine receptor (A₁AR) activation within the central nervous system induces torpor, but in obligate hibernators such as the arctic ground squirrel (AGS; Urocitellus parryii), A₁AR stimulation induces torpor only during the hibernation season, suggesting a seasonal increase in sensitivity to A₁AR signaling. The purpose of this research was to investigate the relationship between body temperature (Tb) and sensitivity to an adenosine A1 receptor agonist in AGS. We tested the hypothesis that increased sensitivity in A₁AR signaling would lead to lower Tb in euthermic animals during the hibernation season when compared with the summer season. We further predicted that if a decrease in euthermic Tb reflects increased sensitivity to A₁AR activation, then it should likewise predict spontaneous torpor. We used subcutaneous IPTT-300 transponders to monitor Tb in AGS housed under constant ambient conditions (12:12 L:D, 18 °C) for up to 16 months. These animals displayed an obvious rhythm in euthermic Tb that cycled with a period of approximately 8 months. Synchrony in the Tb rhythm within the group was lost after several months of constant L:D conditions; however, individual rhythms in Tb continued to show clear sine wave-like waxing and waning. AGS displayed spontaneous torpor only during troughs in euthermic Tb. To assess sensitivity to A₁AR activation, AGS were administered the A₁AR agonist N(6)-cyclohexyladenosine (CHA, 0.1 mg/kg, ip), and subcutaneous Tb was monitored. AGS administered CHA during a seasonal minimum in euthermic Tb showed a greater drug-induced decrease in Tb (1.6 ± 0.3 °C) than did AGS administered CHA during a peak in euthermic Tb (0.4 ± 0.3 °C). These results provide evidence for a circannual rhythm in Tb that is associated with increased sensitivity to A₁AR signaling and correlates with the onset of torpor.

  19. The size of non-hippocampal brain regions varies by season and sex in Richardson's ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Keeley, R J; Burger, D K; Saucier, D M; Iwaniuk, A N

    2015-03-19

    Sex- and season-specific modulation of hippocampal size and function is observed across multiple species, including rodents. Other non-hippocampal-dependent behaviors exhibit season and sex differences, and whether the associated brain regions exhibit similar variation with sex and season remains to be fully characterized. As such, we examined the brains of wild-caught Richardson's ground squirrels (RGS; Urocitellus richardsonii) for seasonal (breeding, non-breeding) and sex differences in the volumes of specific brain areas, including: total brain volume, corpus callosum (CC), anterior commissure (AC), medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), total neocortex (NC), entorhinal cortex (EC), and superior colliculus (SC). Analyses of variance and covariance revealed significant interactions between season and sex for almost all areas studied, primarily resulting from females captured during the breeding season exhibiting larger volumes than females captured during the non-breeding season. This was observed for volumes of the AC, mPFC, NC, EC, and SC. Where simple main effects of season were observed for males (the NC and the SC), the volume advantage favoured males captured during the NBr season. Only two simple main effects of sex were observed: males captured in the non-breeding season had significantly larger total brain volume than females captured in the non-breeding season, and females captured during the breeding season had larger volumes of the mPFC and EC than males captured in the breeding season. These results indicate that females have more pronounced seasonal differences in brain and brain region sizes. The extent to which seasonal differences in brain region volumes vary with behaviour is unclear, but our data do suggest that seasonal plasticity is not limited to the hippocampus and that RGS is a useful mammalian species for understanding seasonal plasticity in an ecologically relevant context. PMID:25595988

  20. The size of non-hippocampal brain regions varies by season and sex in Richardson's ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Keeley, R J; Burger, D K; Saucier, D M; Iwaniuk, A N

    2015-03-19

    Sex- and season-specific modulation of hippocampal size and function is observed across multiple species, including rodents. Other non-hippocampal-dependent behaviors exhibit season and sex differences, and whether the associated brain regions exhibit similar variation with sex and season remains to be fully characterized. As such, we examined the brains of wild-caught Richardson's ground squirrels (RGS; Urocitellus richardsonii) for seasonal (breeding, non-breeding) and sex differences in the volumes of specific brain areas, including: total brain volume, corpus callosum (CC), anterior commissure (AC), medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), total neocortex (NC), entorhinal cortex (EC), and superior colliculus (SC). Analyses of variance and covariance revealed significant interactions between season and sex for almost all areas studied, primarily resulting from females captured during the breeding season exhibiting larger volumes than females captured during the non-breeding season. This was observed for volumes of the AC, mPFC, NC, EC, and SC. Where simple main effects of season were observed for males (the NC and the SC), the volume advantage favoured males captured during the NBr season. Only two simple main effects of sex were observed: males captured in the non-breeding season had significantly larger total brain volume than females captured in the non-breeding season, and females captured during the breeding season had larger volumes of the mPFC and EC than males captured in the breeding season. These results indicate that females have more pronounced seasonal differences in brain and brain region sizes. The extent to which seasonal differences in brain region volumes vary with behaviour is unclear, but our data do suggest that seasonal plasticity is not limited to the hippocampus and that RGS is a useful mammalian species for understanding seasonal plasticity in an ecologically relevant context.

  1. Arctic ground squirrels of the mammoth-steppe: paleoecology of Late Pleistocene middens (˜24 000 29 450 14C yr BP), Yukon Territory, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zazula, Grant D.; Froese, Duane G.; Elias, Scott A.; Kuzmina, Svetlana; Mathewes, Rolf W.

    2007-04-01

    This paper presents paleoecological analyses of 48 fossil arctic ground squirrel ( Spermophilus parryii) middens (nests and caches) recovered from ice-rich loess sediments in the Klondike region of west-central Yukon Territory. AMS radiocarbon dates and stratigraphic association of middens with Dawson tephra (˜25 300 14C yr BP), indicate these paleoecological data reflect the onset of glacial conditions of early Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 2 and terminal MIS 3 (˜24 000-29 450 14C yr BP). Plant macrofossils include at least 60 plant taxa, including diverse graminoids ( Poa, Elymus trachycaulus, Kobresia myosuroides), steppe forbs ( Penstemon gormanii, Anemone patens var. multifida, Plantago cf. canescens), tundra forbs ( Draba spp., Bistorta vivipara), dwarf shrubs ( Salix cf. arctica, S. cf. polaris), sage ( Artemisia frigida) and rare trees ( Picea mariana). Many of these taxa identified in the middens represent the first recorded fossils for these plants in Eastern Beringia and add to our knowledge of the floristic composition of Pleistocene vegetation and biogeography in this region. Fossil beetles include typical members of the Eastern Beringian steppe-tundra fauna ( Lepidophorus lineaticollis and Connatichela artemisiae) and others suggesting predominantly dry, open habitats. Cache forage selection is suggested by some plant taxa which were particularly frequent and abundant in the middens ( Bistorta vivipara, Kobresia myosuroides, Ranunculus spp., Potentilla, Erysimum cf. cheiranthoides, Poa, Carex and Draba). Factors such as proximity of vegetation to burrows and abundance of fruits and seeds per plant were probably important in cache selection. Glacial conditions enabled arctic ground squirrels to form widespread and dense populations in regions such as the Klondike in which they are rare or absent at present. This fossil midden record supports previous hypotheses that suggest arctic ground squirrels evolved in and are well-adapted to the open, steppe

  2. Assessment of the stress response in Columbian ground squirrels: laboratory and field validation of an enzyme immunoassay for fecal cortisol metabolites.

    PubMed

    Bosson, Curtis O; Palme, Rupert; Boonstra, Rudy

    2009-01-01

    Stress responses play a critical role in the ecology and demography of wild animals, and the analysis of fecal hormone metabolites is a powerful noninvasive method to assess the role of stress. We characterized the metabolites of injected radiolabeled cortisol in the urine and feces of Columbian ground squirrels and validated an enzyme immunoassay for measuring fecal cortisol metabolites (FCM) with a 5 alpha-3beta,11 beta-diol structure by stimulation and suppression of adrenocortical activity and by evaluation of the circadian pattern of FCM excretion. In addition, we also evaluated the impact of capture, handling, and acclimation to the laboratory on FCM. Cortisol is highly metabolized, with virtually none being excreted, and of the radiolabeled cortisol injected, 31% was recovered in urine and 6.5% in feces. The lag time between cortisol injection and its appearance in urine and feces was 4.5 +/- 0.82 (SE) h and 7.0 +/- 0.53 (SE) h, respectively. FCM levels varied over the day, reflecting circadian variation in endogenous cortisol. Dexamethasone decreased FCM levels by 33%, and ACTH increased them by 255%. Trapping and housing initially increased FCM levels and decreased body mass, but these reversed within 3-7 d, indicating acclimation. Finally, FCM levels were modestly repeatable over time (r=0.57) in wild, live trapped, nonbreeding animals, indicating that FCMs provide a measure of the squirrel's stress-axis state. This assay provides a robust noninvasive assessment of the stress response of the Columbian ground squirrel and will facilitate an integration of its life history and physiology. PMID:19335228

  3. Functional differentiation of trailing and leading forelimbs during locomotion on the ground and on a horizontal branch in the European red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris, Rodentia).

    PubMed

    Schmidt, André

    2011-06-01

    Mammalian locomotion is characterized by the frequent use of in-phase gaits in which the footfalls of the left and right fore- or hindlimbs are unevenly spaced in time. Although previous studies have identified a functional differentiation between the first limb (trailing limb) and the second limb (leading limb) to touch the ground during terrestrial locomotion, the influence of a horizontal branch on limb function has never been explored. To determine the functional differences between trailing and leading forelimbs during locomotion on the ground and on a horizontal branch, X-ray motion analysis and force measurements were carried out in two European red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris, Rodentia). The differences observed between trailing and leading forelimbs were minimal during terrestrial locomotion, where both limbs fulfill two functions and go through a shock-absorbing phase followed by a generating phase. During locomotion on a horizontal branch, European red squirrels reduce speed and all substrate reaction forces transmitted may be due to the reduction of vertical oscillation of the center of mass. Further adjustments during locomotion on a horizontal branch differ significantly between trailing and leading forelimbs and include limb flexion, lead intervals, limb protraction and vertical displacement of the scapular pivot. Consequently, trailing and leading forelimbs perform different functions. Trailing forelimbs function primarily as shock-absorbing elements, whereas leading forelimbs are characterized by a high level of stiffness. This functional differentiation indicates that European red squirrels 'test' the substrate for stability with the trailing forelimb, while the leading forelimb responds to or counteracts swinging or snapping branches.

  4. Resistance to Systemic Inflammation and Multi Organ Damage after Global Ischemia/Reperfusion in the Arctic Ground Squirrel

    PubMed Central

    Bogren, Lori K.; Olson, Jasmine M.; Carpluk, JoAnna; Moore, Jeanette M.; Drew, Kelly L.

    2014-01-01

    Introduction Cardiac arrest (CA) and hemorrhagic shock (HS) are two clinically relevant situations where the body undergoes global ischemia as blood pressure drops below the threshold necessary for adequate organ perfusion. Resistance to ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury is a characteristic of hibernating mammals. The present study sought to determine if arctic ground squirrels (AGS) are protected from systemic inflammation and multi organ damage after CA- or HS-induced global I/R and if, for HS, this protection is dependent upon their hibernation season. Methods For CA, rats and summer euthermic AGS (AGS-EU) were asphyxiated for 8 min, inducing CA. For HS, rats, AGS-EU, and winter interbout arousal AGS (AGS-IBA) were subject to HS by withdrawing blood to a mean arterial pressure of 35 mmHg and maintaining that pressure for 20 min before reperfusion with Ringers. For both I/R models, body temperature (Tb) was kept at 36.5–37.5°C. After reperfusion, animals were monitored for seven days (CA) or 3 hrs (HS) then tissues and blood were collected for histopathology, clinical chemistries, and cytokine level analysis (HS only). For the HS studies, additional groups of rats and AGS were monitored for three days after HS to access survival and physiological impairment. Results Rats had increased serum markers of liver damage one hour after CA while AGS did not. For HS, AGS survived 72 hours after I/R whereas rats did not survive overnight. Additionally, only rats displayed an inflammatory response after HS. AGS maintained a positive base excess, whereas the base excess in rats was negative during and after hemorrhage. Conclusions Regardless of season, AGS are resistant to organ damage, systemic inflammation, and multi organ damage after systemic I/R and this resistance is not dependent on their ability to become decrease Tb during insult but may stem from an altered acid/base and metabolic response during I/R. PMID:24728042

  5. Hibernating above the permafrost: effects of ambient temperature and season on expression of metabolic genes in liver and brown adipose tissue of arctic ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Williams, Cory T; Goropashnaya, Anna V; Buck, C Loren; Fedorov, Vadim B; Kohl, Franziska; Lee, Trixie N; Barnes, Brian M

    2011-04-15

    Hibernating arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii), overwintering in frozen soils, maintain large gradients between ambient temperature (T(a)) and body temperature (T(b)) by substantially increasing metabolic rate during torpor while maintaining a subzero T(b). We used quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) to determine how the expression of 56 metabolic genes was affected by season (active in summer vs hibernating), metabolic load during torpor (imposed by differences in T(a): +2 vs -10°C) and hibernation state (torpid vs after arousal). Compared with active ground squirrels sampled in summer, liver from hibernators showed increased expression of genes associated with fatty acid catabolism (CPT1A, FABP1 and ACAT1), ketogenesis (HMGCS2) and gluconeogenesis (PCK1) and decreased expression of genes associated with fatty acid synthesis (ACACB, SCD and ELOVL6), amino acid metabolism, the urea cycle (PAH, BCKDHA and OTC), glycolysis (PDK1 and PFKM) and lipid metabolism (ACAT2). Stage of hibernation (torpid vs aroused) had a much smaller effect, with only one gene associated with glycogen synthesis (GSY1) in liver showing consistent differences in expression levels between temperature treatments. Despite the more than eightfold increase in energetic demand associated with defending T(b) during torpor at a T(a) of -10 vs +2°C, transcript levels in liver and brown adipose tissue differed little. Our results are inconsistent with a hypothesized switch to use of non-lipid fuels when ambient temperatures drop below freezing.

  6. Seasonal changes in expression of nerve growth factor and its receptors TrkA and p75 in the ovary of wild ground squirrel (Citellus dauricus Brandt).

    PubMed

    Li, Ben; Sheng, Xia; Bao, Lihong; Huang, Shiyang; Li, Qinglin; Liu, Yuning; Han, Yingying; Watanabe, Gen; Taya, Kazuyoshi; Weng, Qiang

    2014-01-09

    The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of nerve growth factor (NGF) and its receptors tyrosine kinase A (TrkA) and p75 in the ovaries of the wild ground squirrels during the breeding and nonbreeding seasons. In the breeding period, NGF, TrkA and p75 were immunolocalized in granulosa cells, thecal cells, interstitial cells and luteal cells whereas in the nonbreeding period, both of them were detected only in granulosa cells, thecal cells and interstitial cells. Stronger immunostaining of NGF, TrkA and p75 were observed in granulosa cells, thecal cells and interstitial cells in the breeding season compared to the nonbreeding season. Corresponding for the immunohistochemical results, immunoreactivities of NGF and its two receptors were greater in the ovaries of the breeding season then decreased to a relatively low level in the nonbreeding season. The mean mRNA levels of NGF, TrkA and p75 were significantly higher in the breeding season than in the nonbreeding season. In addition, plasma gonadotropins, estradiol-17β and progesterone concentrations were significantly higher in the breeding season than in the nonbreeding season, suggesting that the expression patterns of NGF, and TrkA and p75 were correlated with changes in plasma gonadotropins, estradiol-17β and progesterone concentrations. These results indicated that NGF and its receptors, TrkA and p75 may be involved in the regulation of seasonal changes in the ovarian functions of the wild ground squirrel.

  7. Testicular expression of NGF, TrkA and p75 during seasonal spermatogenesis of the wild ground squirrel (Citellus dauricus Brandt).

    PubMed

    Zhang, H; Wang, Y; Zhang, J; Wang, L; Li, Q; Sheng, X; Han, Y; Yuan, Z; Weng, Q

    2015-08-10

    The nerve growth factor (NGF) not only has an essential effect on the nervous system, but also plays an important role in a variety of non-neuronal systems, such as the reproductive system. The aim of this study was to investigate the seasonal changes in expression of NGF and its receptors (TrkA and p75) in testes of the wild ground squirrel during the breeding and nonbreeding seasons. Immunolocalization for NGF was detected mainly in Leydig cells and Sertoli cells in testes of the breeding and nonbreeding seasons. The immunoreactivity of TrkA was highest in the elongated spermatids, whereas p75 in spermatogonia and spermatocytes in testes of the breeding season. In the nonbreeding season testes, TrkA showed positive immunostainings in Leydig cells, spermatogonia and primary spermatocytes, while p75 showed positive signals in spermatogonia and primary spermatocytes. Consistent with the immunohistochemical results, the mean mRNA and protein level of NGF and TrkA were higher in the testes of the breeding season, and then decreased to a relatively low level in the nonbreeding season. In addition, the concentration of plasma gonadotropins and testosterone were assayed by radioimmunoassay (RIA), and the results showed a significant seasonal change between the breeding and nonbreeding seasons. To conclude, these results of this study provide the first evidence on the potential involvement of NGF and its receptor, TrkA and p75 in the seasonal spermatogenesis and testicular function change of the wild ground squirrel.

  8. The effects of season and sex on dentate gyrus size and neurogenesis in a wild rodent, Richardson's ground squirrel (Urocitellus richardsonii).

    PubMed

    Burger, D K; Gulbrandsen, T; Saucier, D M; Iwaniuk, A N

    2014-07-11

    Sex and reproductive status affect hippocampal neurogenesis and dentate gyrus (DG) size in rodents. Relatively few studies, however, address these two effects simultaneously and even fewer studies address this issue in wild populations. Here, we examined seasonal and sex differences in neurogenesis and DG size in a wild, polygynous and social rodent, Richardson's ground squirrel (Uriocitellus richardsonii). Based on the behavioral ecology of this species, we predicted that both neurogenesis and DG size would be sexually dimorphic and the degree of dimorphism would be greatest in the breeding season. Using unbiased stereology and doublecortin (DCX) immunohistochemistry, we found that brain volume, DG size and number of DCX cells varied significantly between breeding and non-breeding seasons, but only brain volume and the number of DCX labeled cells differed between the sexes. Both sex and seasonal differences likely reflect circulating hormone levels, but the extent to which these differences relate to space use in this species is unclear. Based on the degree of seasonal differences in neurogenesis and the DG, we suggest that ground squirrels could be considered model species in which to examine hippocampal plasticity in an ecologically valid context.

  9. Scaling of the mandible in squirrels.

    PubMed

    Velhagen, W A; Roth, V L

    1997-05-01

    We compared the shape of the mandible among New World tree squirrels and selected outgroup taxa using linear measurements and areas defined by the median axis and conventional anatomical landmarks. We modified the median axis technique to define novel measurements, which proved complementary to those obtained from conventional landmarks. Allometric analyses showed that the scaling of the mandible among the New World tree squirrels is generally isometric (as has been observed in other groups of mammals), but diverges from isometry in a tendency in smaller animals for the masseteric ridge to be displaced anteriorly, the condylar process and posterior portion of the ascending ramus to be relatively elongated, and the coronoid process to be shortened. Allometric analyses also revealed the ways and extent that outgrowth taxa deviated from the scaling pattern observed for the New World tree squirrels. A flying squirrel (subfamily Pteromyinae), a moderate-sized callosciurine squirrel, and three species of pygmy tree squirrels from Asia and Africa show mandibular proportions very similar to those predicted for New World tree squirrels of corresponding size. Ground squirrels (tribe Marmotini) and successively more distant relatives such as Aplodontia, two myomorph rodents, and a rabbit show greater differences from the New World tree squirrels in their mandibular proportions. Combining the use of median-axis and conventional measurements makes it possible to examine changing relationships between locations of anatomically homologous landmarks and the geometry of the form. PMID:9097464

  10. Comparative myology of the forelimb of squirrels (Sciuridae).

    PubMed

    Thorington, R W; Darrow, K; Betts, A D

    1997-11-01

    The musculature of the shoulder, arm, and forearm was studied in 19 genera of squirrels, representing the Pteromyinae (flying squirrels) and all 7 tribes of the Sciurinae (tree and ground squirrels). The objective was to locate derived anatomical features of functional or phylogenetic significance and to determine how much morphological variation underlies the diverse locomotor behavior of squirrels, which includes terrestrial and arboreal bounding, climbing, digging, and gliding. The fossil evidence suggests that arboreality is primitive for squirrels, and in fact tree squirrels appear to represent the primitive sciurid morphology. Ground squirrels are less uniform and exhibit a few derived features, including a clavobrachialis muscle not seen in other squirrels. Pygmy tree squirrels, which have evolved independently in three tribes, exhibit convergence of forelimb anatomy, including the loss or reduction of several muscles in the shoulder and forearm. The forelimb anatomy of flying squirrels is the most derived and differs from that of tree squirrels in details of shoulder, arm, and forearm musculature. Some of these muscular differences among squirrels have phylogenetic significance, being shared by closely related genera, but none has significance above the tribal level. Many of the differences suggest a variety of changes in function that are amenable to further study. PMID:9360319

  11. Climate-induced changes in autumn impact spring breeding phenology and reproductive fitness in arctic ground squirrels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sheriff, M. J.; Buck, L.; Barnes, B. M.

    2012-12-01

    Rapid climate change and shifts in seasonality can threaten the reproductive success of organisms and have negative consequences for species' range and even persistence. Focus on unidirectional effects of earlier springs and onset of reproduction do not consider effects warming may also have on autumn conditions. Shifts in the timing and duration of autumn conditions may influence spring breeding since earlier autumns may constrain offspring's winter preparation, forcing animals to breed earlier in the spring, while prolonged autumns may extend the time offspring have for winter preparation; this effect may alleviating the necessity of breeding early in spring and ultimately increase reproductive fitness. In the Arctic, warming and change in seasonality is occurring at unprecedented rates that are two to three times that of the global average. Further, rates are accelerating from about 0.15-0.17°C per decade (1961-1990) to about 0.3-0.4°C per decade. Unlike in temperate regions, arctic warming has had and is predicted to continue having major heterogeneous effects on the extent of seasonal snow cover. Future scenarios involve deeper and prolonged spring snow cover due to increased winter precipitation and frequency of spring snowstorms in some areas and reduced snow depth and earlier snowmelt with increased warming, wind, and winter precipitation falling as rain in other areas. Under both scenarios autumn is expected to become later in the year, potentially prolonging the snow free season. Snow cover is extremely important for many arctic animals controlling microclimates, defining the beginning and length of the growing season, affecting plant productivity, and allowing access to food resources. Using long-term data from two nearby populations of free-living arctic ground squirrels (AGS) that includes fine-scale information on timing of hibernation and reproduction, we found that seasonal differences in snow cover significantly influenced AGS breeding phenology

  12. The rattling sound of rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis) as a communicative resource for ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) and burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia).

    PubMed

    Owings, Donald H; Rowe, Matthew P; Rundus, Aaron S

    2002-06-01

    Animal communication involves very dynamic processes that can generate new uses and functions for established communicative activities. In this article, the authors describe how an aposematic signal, the rattling sound of rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis), has been exploited by 2 ecological associates of rattlesnakes: (a) California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) use incidental acoustic cues in rattling sounds to assess the danger posed by the rattling snake, and (b) burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) defend themselves against mammalian predators by mimicking the sound of rattling. The remarkable similarity between the burrowing owl's defensive hiss and the rattlesnake's rattling reflects both exaptation and adaptation. Such exploitation of the rattling sound has favored alternations in both the structure and the deployment of rattling by rattlesnakes. PMID:12083617

  13. The rattling sound of rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis) as a communicative resource for ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) and burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia).

    PubMed

    Owings, Donald H; Rowe, Matthew P; Rundus, Aaron S

    2002-06-01

    Animal communication involves very dynamic processes that can generate new uses and functions for established communicative activities. In this article, the authors describe how an aposematic signal, the rattling sound of rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis), has been exploited by 2 ecological associates of rattlesnakes: (a) California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) use incidental acoustic cues in rattling sounds to assess the danger posed by the rattling snake, and (b) burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) defend themselves against mammalian predators by mimicking the sound of rattling. The remarkable similarity between the burrowing owl's defensive hiss and the rattlesnake's rattling reflects both exaptation and adaptation. Such exploitation of the rattling sound has favored alternations in both the structure and the deployment of rattling by rattlesnakes.

  14. Testicular Expression of NGF, TrkA and p75 During Seasonal Spermatogenesis of the Wild Ground Squirrel (Citellus Dauricus Brandt)

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, H.; Wang, Y.; Zhan, J.; Wang, L.; Li, Q.; Sheng, X.; Han, Y.; Yuan, Z.; Weng, Q.

    2015-01-01

    The nerve growth factor (NGF) not only has an essential effect on the nervous system, but also plays an important role in a variety of non-neuronal systems, such as the reproductive system. The aim of this study was to compare the quality and quantity in expression of NGF and its receptors (TrkA and p75) in testes of the wild ground squirrel during the breeding and nonbreeding seasons. Immunolocalization for NGF was detected mainly in Leydig cells and Sertoli cells in testes of the breeding and nonbreeding seasons. The immunoreactivity of TrkA was highest in the elongated spermatids, whereas p75 in spermatogonia and spermatocytes in testes of the breeding season. In the nonbreeding season testes, TrkA showed positive immunostainings in Leydig cells, spermatogonia and primary spermatocytes, while p75 showed positive signals in spermatogonia and primary spermatocytes. Consistent with the immunohistochemical results, the mean mRNA and protein level of NGF and TrkA were higher in the testes of the breeding season than in non-breeding season, and then decreased to a relatively low level in the nonbreeding season. In addition, the concentration of plasma gonadotropins and testosterone were assayed by radioimmunoassay (RIA), and the results showed a significant difference between the breeding and nonbreeding seasons with higher concentrations in breeding season. In conclusion, these results of this study provide the first evidence on the potential involvement of NGF and its receptor, TrkA and p75 in the seasonal spermatogenesis and testicular function change of the wild ground squirrel. PMID:26428886

  15. Expression of nerve growth factor and its receptors TrkA and p75 in the uterus of wild female ground squirrel (Citellus dauricus Brandt).

    PubMed

    Li, Ben; Sheng, Xia; Song, Moshi; Zhang, Haolin; Weng, Jiaju; Zhang, Mengyuan; Hu, Xiao; Zhou, Jiao; Xu, Meiyu; Weng, Qiang; Watanabe, Gen; Taya, Kazuyoshi

    2012-03-01

    In this study, we investigated the presence of nerve growth factor (NGF) and its receptors tyrosine kinase A (TrkA) and p75 in the uterus of the wild ground squirrels during the estrous period, early pregnancy and non-breeding period. In the estrous period and early pregnancy, NGF and TrkA were immunolocalized in stromal cells, luminal epithelial cells, glandular cells and smooth muscle cells whereas in the non-breeding period, both of them were detected only in luminal epithelial cells and glandular cells, but not in stromal cells or smooth muscle cells. Stronger immunostaining of NGF and TrkA was observed in luminal epithelial cells and glandular cells in the estrous period and early pregnancy as compared to the non-breeding period. p75 was immunolocalized only in luminal epithelial and glandular cells during the estrous period, early pregnancy and non-breeding period. The intensity of the immunohistochemical signals for p75 did not vary significantly in the estrous period, early pregnancy and non-breeding period. The mean mRNA levels of NGF and TrkA and p75 were significantly higher in the estrous period and early pregnancy as compared to the non-breeding period. Besides, plasma estradiol-17β and progesterone concentrations were higher in the estrous period and early pregnancy than in the non-breeding period, suggesting that the expression patterns of NGF and TrkA are correlated with changes in plasma estradiol-17β and progesterone concentrations. These results indicate that NGF and its receptor TrkA may be involved in the regulation of seasonal changes in the uterine functions of wild female ground squirrels.

  16. The tree squirrel HP-25 gene is a pseudogene.

    PubMed

    Kojima, M; Shiba, T; Kondo, N; Takamatsu, N

    2001-11-01

    The gene for the hibernation-specific protein HP-25 is expressed in the liver in hibernating species of the squirrel family (chipmunk and ground squirrel), but not in a nonhibernating species (tree squirrel). To investigate why the HP-25 gene is not expressed in the tree squirrel, we isolated the tree squirrel HP-25 gene and compared its gene structure and promoter activity with that of the chipmunk. The tree squirrel HP-25 gene is composed of three exons, and the gene structures are conserved between the tree squirrel and chipmunk. However, the tree squirrel HP-25 gene has an insertional mutation of 13 nucleotides in exon 2 that disrupts the ORF. In the chipmunk HP-25 gene, the 80-bp 5' flanking sequence is sufficient for the liver-specific promoter activity, and HNF-4, which binds to the sequence from nucleotides -67 to -51, is involved in its transcriptional regulation. In contrast, the corresponding tree squirrel 5' flanking sequence had almost no promoter activity in HepG2 cells, and HNF-4 did not bind to the corresponding region of the tree squirrel HP-25 gene. Furthermore, a tree squirrel-type G to A mutation at -57 in the chipmunk HP-25 gene promoter context abolished its binding to and transactivation by HNF-4. Thus, the point mutation in the HNF-4-binding site is likely to be involved in the lack of HP-25 gene expression in the tree squirrel.

  17. Turn down genes for WAT? Activation of anti-apoptosis pathways protects white adipose tissue in metabolically depressed thirteen-lined ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Logan, Samantha M; Luu, Bryan E; Storey, Kenneth B

    2016-05-01

    During hibernation, the metabolic rate of thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) can drop to <5 % of normal resting rate at 37 °C, core body temperature can decrease to as low as 1-5 °C, and heart rate can fall from 350-400 to 5-10 bpm. Energy saved by hibernating allows squirrels to survive the winter when food is scarce, and living off lipid reserves in white adipose tissue (WAT) is crucial. While hibernating, some energy must be used to cope with conditions that would normally be damaging for mammals (e.g., low core body temperatures, ischemia) and could induce cell death via apoptosis. Cell survival is largely dependent on the relative amounts and activities of pro- and anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins. The present study analyzed how anti-apoptotic proteins respond to protect WAT cells during hibernation. Relative levels of several anti-apoptotic proteins were quantified in WAT via immunoblotting over six time points of the torpor-arousal cycle. These included anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Mcl-l, as well as caspase inhibitors x-IAP and c-IAP. Changes in the relative protein levels and/or phosphorylation levels were also observed for various regulators of apoptosis (p-JAKs, p-STATs, SOCS, and PIAS). Mcl-1 and x-IAP protein levels increased whereas Bcl-xL, Bcl-2, and c-IAP protein/phosphorylation levels decreased signifying important roles for certain Bcl-2 family members in cell survival over the torpor-arousal cycle. Importantly, the relative phosphorylation of selected STAT proteins increased, suggesting a mechanism for Bcl-2 family activation. These results suggest that an increase in WAT cytoprotective mechanisms supports survival efforts during hibernation. PMID:27032768

  18. Skin tumors on squirrels

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Herman, C.M.; Reilly, J.R.

    1955-01-01

    Skin tumors having the gross appearance of previously reported fibromas are reported on gray squirrels from N. Y., Md., Va., N. C., and W. Va. and from a fox squirrel from W. Va. and a porcupine from Pa.

  19. The effects of hibernation on the contractile and biochemical properties of skeletal muscles in the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus.

    PubMed

    James, Rob S; Staples, James F; Brown, Jason C L; Tessier, Shannon N; Storey, Kenneth B

    2013-07-15

    Hibernation is a crucial strategy of winter survival used by many mammals. During hibernation, thirteen-lined ground squirrels, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus, cycle through a series of torpor bouts, each lasting more than a week, during which the animals are largely immobile. Previous hibernation studies have demonstrated that such natural models of skeletal muscle disuse cause limited or no change in either skeletal muscle size or contractile performance. However, work loop analysis of skeletal muscle, which provides a realistic assessment of in vivo power output, has not previously been undertaken in mammals that undergo prolonged torpor during hibernation. In the present study, our aim was to assess the effects of 3 months of hibernation on contractile performance (using the work loop technique) and several biochemical properties that may affect performance. There was no significant difference in soleus muscle power output-cycle frequency curves between winter (torpid) and summer (active) animals. Total antioxidant capacity of gastrocnemius muscle was 156% higher in torpid than in summer animals, suggesting one potential mechanism for maintenance of acute muscle performance. Soleus muscle fatigue resistance was significantly lower in torpid than in summer animals. Gastrocnemius muscle glycogen content was unchanged. However, state 3 and state 4 mitochondrial respiration rates were significantly suppressed, by 59% and 44%, respectively, in mixed hindlimb skeletal muscle from torpid animals compared with summer controls. These findings in hindlimb skeletal muscles suggest that, although maximal contractile power output is maintained in torpor, there is both suppression of ATP production capacity and reduced fatigue resistance.

  20. The effects of hibernation on the contractile and biochemical properties of skeletal muscles in the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus.

    PubMed

    James, Rob S; Staples, James F; Brown, Jason C L; Tessier, Shannon N; Storey, Kenneth B

    2013-07-15

    Hibernation is a crucial strategy of winter survival used by many mammals. During hibernation, thirteen-lined ground squirrels, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus, cycle through a series of torpor bouts, each lasting more than a week, during which the animals are largely immobile. Previous hibernation studies have demonstrated that such natural models of skeletal muscle disuse cause limited or no change in either skeletal muscle size or contractile performance. However, work loop analysis of skeletal muscle, which provides a realistic assessment of in vivo power output, has not previously been undertaken in mammals that undergo prolonged torpor during hibernation. In the present study, our aim was to assess the effects of 3 months of hibernation on contractile performance (using the work loop technique) and several biochemical properties that may affect performance. There was no significant difference in soleus muscle power output-cycle frequency curves between winter (torpid) and summer (active) animals. Total antioxidant capacity of gastrocnemius muscle was 156% higher in torpid than in summer animals, suggesting one potential mechanism for maintenance of acute muscle performance. Soleus muscle fatigue resistance was significantly lower in torpid than in summer animals. Gastrocnemius muscle glycogen content was unchanged. However, state 3 and state 4 mitochondrial respiration rates were significantly suppressed, by 59% and 44%, respectively, in mixed hindlimb skeletal muscle from torpid animals compared with summer controls. These findings in hindlimb skeletal muscles suggest that, although maximal contractile power output is maintained in torpor, there is both suppression of ATP production capacity and reduced fatigue resistance. PMID:23531815

  1. Remarkable preservation of Ca(2+) homeostasis and inhibition of apoptosis contribute to anti-muscle atrophy effect in hibernating Daurian ground squirrels.

    PubMed

    Fu, Weiwei; Hu, Huanxin; Dang, Kai; Chang, Hui; Du, Bei; Wu, Xue; Gao, Yunfang

    2016-01-01

    The underlying mechanisms that hibernators deviated from muscle atrophy during prolonged hibernating inactivity remain elusive. This study tested the hypothesis that the maintenance of intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis and inhibition of apoptosis would be responsible for preventing muscle atrophy in hibernating Daurian ground squirrels. The results showed that intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis was maintained in soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) in hibernation and post-hibernation, while cytosolic Ca(2+) was overloaded in gastrocnemius (GAS) in hibernation with a recovery in post-hibernation. The Ca(2+) overload was also observed in interbout arousals in all three type muscles. Besides, the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio was unchanged in transcriptional level among pre-hibernation, hibernation and interbout arousals, and reduced to a minimum in post-hibernation. Furthermore, the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio in protein level was reduced in hibernation but recovered in interbout arousals. Although cytochrome C was increased in GAS and EDL in post-hibernation, no apoptosis was observed by TUNEL assay. These findings suggested that the intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis in hibernation might be regulated by the cytosolic Ca(2+) overload during interbout arousals, which were likely responsible for preventing muscle atrophy via inhibition of apoptosis. Moreover, the muscle-specificity indicated that the different mechanisms against disuse-induced atrophy might be involved in different muscles in hibernation. PMID:27256167

  2. Remarkable preservation of Ca2+ homeostasis and inhibition of apoptosis contribute to anti-muscle atrophy effect in hibernating Daurian ground squirrels

    PubMed Central

    Fu, Weiwei; Hu, Huanxin; Dang, Kai; Chang, Hui; Du, Bei; Wu, Xue; Gao, Yunfang

    2016-01-01

    The underlying mechanisms that hibernators deviated from muscle atrophy during prolonged hibernating inactivity remain elusive. This study tested the hypothesis that the maintenance of intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis and inhibition of apoptosis would be responsible for preventing muscle atrophy in hibernating Daurian ground squirrels. The results showed that intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis was maintained in soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) in hibernation and post-hibernation, while cytosolic Ca2+ was overloaded in gastrocnemius (GAS) in hibernation with a recovery in post-hibernation. The Ca2+ overload was also observed in interbout arousals in all three type muscles. Besides, the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio was unchanged in transcriptional level among pre-hibernation, hibernation and interbout arousals, and reduced to a minimum in post-hibernation. Furthermore, the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio in protein level was reduced in hibernation but recovered in interbout arousals. Although cytochrome C was increased in GAS and EDL in post-hibernation, no apoptosis was observed by TUNEL assay. These findings suggested that the intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis in hibernation might be regulated by the cytosolic Ca2+ overload during interbout arousals, which were likely responsible for preventing muscle atrophy via inhibition of apoptosis. Moreover, the muscle-specificity indicated that the different mechanisms against disuse-induced atrophy might be involved in different muscles in hibernation. PMID:27256167

  3. Three new species of fleas belonging to the genus Macrostylophora from the three-striped ground squirrel, Lariscus insignis, in Java.

    PubMed

    Durden, L A; Beaucournu, J-C

    2014-12-01

    Three new species of fleas belonging to the genus Macrostylophora (Siphonaptera, Ceratophyllidae) are described from the three-striped ground squirrel, Lariscus insignis, from Tjibodas, West Java (Jawa Barat), Indonesia at an elevation of 1500 m. Macrostylophora larisci sp. n. is described from three male specimens, Macrostylophora debilitata sp. n. is described from one male and Macrostylophora wilsoni sp. n. is described from one female. Non-genital morphological characters of the female specimen, including ctenidial spine shapes and lengths, show that it is not the corresponding female for either M. larisci sp. n. or M. debilitata sp. n. It is unusual for three different species of congeneric fleas to parasitize the same host species in the same geographical location. These three new species represent the first known records of Macrostylophora from Java and they could be enzootic vectors between rodents of flea-borne zoonotic pathogens such as Rickettsia typhi and Yersinia pestis, both of which are established on Java. A list is provided of the 43 known species and 12 subspecies of Macrostylophora together with their known geographical distributions and hosts. A map depicting the distributions of known Indonesian (and Bornean) species of Macrostylophora is also included.

  4. Energy regulation in context: Free-living female arctic ground squirrels modulate the relationship between thyroid hormones and activity among life history stages.

    PubMed

    Wilsterman, Kathryn; Buck, C Loren; Barnes, Brian M; Williams, Cory T

    2015-09-01

    Thyroid hormones (THs), key regulators of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, are likely modulators of energy allocation within and among animal life history stages. Despite their role in modulating metabolism, few studies have investigated whether THs vary among life history stages in free-living animals or if they exhibit stage-specific relationships to total energy expenditure and activity levels. We measured plasma total triiodothyronine (tT3) and thyroxine (tT4) at four, discrete life history stages of female arctic ground squirrels from two different populations in northern Alaska to test whether plasma THs correlate with life history stage-specific changes in metabolic rate and energy demand. We also tested whether THs explained individual variation in aboveground activity levels within life history stages. T3 peaked during lactation and was lowest during pre-hibernation fattening, consistent with known changes in basal metabolism and core body temperature. In contrast, T4 was elevated shortly after terminating hibernation but remained low and stable across other life-history stages in the active season. THs were consistently higher in the population that spent more time above-ground but the relationship between THs and activity varied among life history stages. T3 was positively correlated with activity only during lactation (r(2)=0.50) whereas T4 was positively correlated with activity immediately following lactation (r(2)=0.48) and during fattening (r(2)=0.53). Our results support the hypothesis that THs are an important modulator of basal metabolism but also suggest that the relationship between THs and activity varies among life history stages.

  5. Seasonal Expression of Androgen Receptor, Aromatase, and Estrogen Receptor Alpha and Beta in the Testis of the Wild Ground Squirrel (Citellus Dauricus Brandt)

    PubMed Central

    Li, Q.; Zhang, F.; Zhang, S.; Sheng, X.; Han, Y.; Yuan, Z.; Weng, Q.

    2015-01-01

    The aim of this study was to investigate the seasonal expression of androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptors α and β (ERα and ERβ) and aromatase cytochrome P450 (P450arom) mRNA and protein by real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry in the wild ground squirrel (WGS) testes. Histologically, all types of spermatogenic cells including mature spermatozoa were identified in the breeding season (April), while spermatogonia and primary spermatocytes were observed in the nonbreeding season (June), and spermatogonia, primary spermatocytes and secondary spermatocytes were found in pre-hibernation (September). AR was present in Leydig cells, peritubular myoid cells and Sertoli cells in the breeding season and pre-hibernation with more intense staining in the breeding season, whereas AR was only found in Leydig cells in the nonbreeding season; P450arom was expressed in Leydig cells, Sertoli cells and germ cells during the breeding season, whereas P450arom was found in Leydig cells and Sertoli cells during pre-hibernation, but P450arom was not present in the nonbreeding season; Stronger immunohistochemical signal for ERα was present in Sertoli cells and Leydig cells during the breeding season; ERβ was only expressed in Leydig cells of the breeding season. Consistent with the immunohistochemical results, the mean mRNA level of AR, P450arom, ERα and ERβ were higher in the testes of the breeding season when compared to pre-hibernation and the nonbreeding season. These results suggested that the seasonal changes in spermatogenesis and testicular recrudescence and regression process in WGSs might be correlated with expression levels of AR, P450arom and ERs, and that estrogen and androgen may play an important autocrine/paracrine role to regulate seasonal testicular function. PMID:25820559

  6. Dynamic changes in global and gene-specific DNA methylation during hibernation in adult thirteen-lined ground squirrels, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus.

    PubMed

    Alvarado, Sebastian; Mak, Timothy; Liu, Sara; Storey, Kenneth B; Szyf, Moshe

    2015-06-01

    Hibernating mammals conserve energy in the winter by undergoing prolonged bouts of torpor, interspersed with brief arousals back to euthermia. These bouts are accompanied by a suite of reversible physiological and biochemical changes; however, much remains to be discovered about the molecular mechanisms involved. Given the seasonal nature of hibernation, it stands to reason that underlying plastic epigenetic mechanisms should exist. One such form of epigenomic regulation involves the reversible modification of cytosine bases in DNA by methylation. DNA methylation is well known to be a mechanism that confers upon DNA its cellular identity during differentiation in response to innate developmental cues. However, it has recently been hypothesized that DNA methylation also acts as a mechanism for adapting genome function to changing external environmental and experiential signals over different time scales, including during adulthood. Here, we tested the hypothesis that DNA methylation is altered during hibernation in adult wild animals. This study evaluated global changes in DNA methylation in response to hibernation in the liver and skeletal muscle of thirteen-lined ground squirrels along with changes in expression of DNA methyltransferases (DNMT1/3B) and methyl binding domain proteins (MBDs). A reduction in global DNA methylation occurred in muscle during torpor phases whereas significant changes in DNMTs and MBDs were seen in both tissues. We also report dynamic changes in DNA methylation in the promoter of the myocyte enhancer factor 2C (mef2c) gene, a candidate regulator of metabolism in skeletal muscle. Taken together, these data show that genomic DNA methylation is dynamic across torpor-arousal bouts during winter hibernation, consistent with a role for this regulatory mechanism in contributing to the hibernation phenotype.

  7. Expression of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) and downstream muscle-specific proteins in ground squirrel skeletal and heart muscle during hibernation.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yichi; Storey, Kenneth B

    2016-01-01

    The thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) undergoes remarkable adaptive changes during hibernation. Interestingly, skeletal muscle remodelling occurs during the torpor-arousal cycle of hibernation to prevent net muscle loss despite inactivity. Reversible cardiomyocyte hypertrophy occurs in cardiac muscle, allowing the heart to preserve cardiac output during hibernation, while avoiding chronic maladaptive hypertrophy post-hibernation. We propose that calcium signalling proteins [calcineurin (Cn), calmodulin (CaM), and calpain], the nuclear factor of activated T cell (NFAT) family of transcription factors, and the NFAT targets myoferlin and myomaker contribute significantly to adaptations taking place in skeletal and cardiac muscle during hibernation. Protein-level analyses were performed over several conditions: euthermic room temperature (ER), euthermic cold room (EC), entrance into (EN), early (ET), and late torpor (LT) time points, in addition to early (EA), interbout (IA), and late arousal (LA) time points using immunoblotting and DNA-protein interaction (DPI) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISAs). In skeletal and cardiac muscle, NFATc2 protein levels were elevated during torpor. NFATc4 increased throughout the torpor-arousal cycle in both tissues, and NFATc1 showed this trend in cardiac muscle only. NFATc3 showed an elevation in DNA-binding activity but not expression during torpor. Myoferlin protein levels dramatically increased during torpor in both skeletal and cardiac muscle. Myomaker levels also increased significantly in cardiac muscle during torpor. Cardiac Cn levels remained stable, whereas CaM and calpain decreased throughout the torpor-arousal cycle. Activation and/or upregulation of NFATc2, c3, myoferlin, and myomaker at torpor could be part of a stress-response mechanism to preserve skeletal muscle mass, whereas CaM and calpain appear to initiate the rapid reversal of cardiac hypertrophy during arousal through

  8. Characterization of the SIRT family of NAD+-dependent protein deacetylases in the context of a mammalian model of hibernation, the thirteen-lined ground squirrel.

    PubMed

    Rouble, Andrew N; Storey, Kenneth B

    2015-10-01

    Hibernating mammals employ strong metabolic rate depression to survive the winter, thereby avoiding the high energy costs of maintaining a euthermic lifestyle in the face of low seasonal temperatures and limited food resources. Characteristics of this natural torpor include a significant reduction in body temperature, a shift to a lipid-based metabolism, global suppression of ATP-expensive activities, and the upregulation of selected genes that mediate biochemical reorganization and cytoprotection. Sirtuin (SIRT) proteins, an evolutionarily conserved family of NAD(+)-dependent protein deacetylases, have been shown to play important roles in the post-translational regulation of many metabolic and cytoprotective processes, suggesting a potential function for these enzymes in the control of hibernation. To assess this possibility, protein levels of the seven mammalian SIRTs (SIRT1, SIRT2, SIRT3, SIRT4, SIRT5, SIRT6 and SIRT7), total SIRT activity, and the acetylation status of two downstream SIRT targets (SOD2K68 and NF-κB p65K310) were measured in skeletal muscle, liver, brown adipose and white adipose tissues of the hibernating thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) over the course of the torpor-arousal cycle. The analysis revealed tissue-specific responses of different SIRTs at various points throughout hibernation, including a potentially interesting correlation between increased levels of SIRT3 protein, heightened total SIRT activity, and decreased acetylation of SIRT3 downstream target SOD2K68 in skeletal muscle during late torpor. These results provide evidence to suggest a possible role for the SIRT family of protein deacetylases in the regulation of the metabolic and cellular protective pathways that mediate the process of mammalian hibernation.

  9. The Regulation of Troponins I, C and ANP by GATA4 and Nkx2-5 in Heart of Hibernating Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrels, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus

    PubMed Central

    Luu, Bryan E.; Tessier, Shannon N.; Duford, Dianna L; Storey, Kenneth B.

    2015-01-01

    Hibernation is an adaptive strategy used by various mammals to survive the winter under situations of low ambient temperatures and limited or no food availability. The heart of hibernating thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) has the remarkable ability to descend to low, near 0°C temperatures without falling into cardiac arrest. We hypothesized that the transcription factors GATA4 and Nkx2-5 may play a role in cardioprotection by facilitating the expression of key downstream targets such as troponin I, troponin C, and ANP (atrial natriuretic peptide). This study measured relative changes in transcript levels, protein levels, protein post-translational modifications, and transcription factor binding over six stages: euthermic control (EC), entrance into torpor (EN), early torpor (ET), late torpor (LT), early arousal (EA), and interbout arousal (IA). We found differential regulation of GATA4 whereby transcript/protein expression, post-translational modification (phosphorylation of serine 261), and DNA binding were enhanced during the transitory phases (entrance and arousal) of hibernation. Activation of GATA4 was paired with increases in cardiac troponin I, troponin C and ANP protein levels during entrance, while increases in p-GATA4 DNA binding during early arousal was paired with decreases in troponin I and no changes in troponin C and ANP protein levels. Unlike its binding partner, the relative mRNA/protein expression and DNA binding of Nkx2-5 did not change during hibernation. This suggests that either Nkx2-5 does not play a substantial role or other regulatory mechanisms not presently studied (e.g. posttranslational modifications) are important during hibernation. The data suggest a significant role for GATA4-mediated gene transcription in the differential regulation of genes which aid cardiac-specific challenges associated with torpor-arousal. PMID:25679215

  10. Inhibition of skeletal muscle atrophy during torpor in ground squirrels occurs through downregulation of MyoG and inactivation of Foxo4.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yichi; Tessier, Shannon N; Storey, Kenneth B

    2016-10-01

    Foxo4 and MyoG proteins regulate the transcription of numerous genes, including the E3 ubiquitin ligases MAFbx and MuRF1, which are activated in skeletal muscle under atrophy-inducing conditions. In the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, there is little muscle wasting that occurs during hibernation, a process characterized by bouts of torpor and arousal, despite virtual inactivity. Consequently, we were interested in studying the regulatory role of Foxo4 and MyoG on ubiquitin ligases throughout torpor-arousal cycles. Findings indicate that MAFbx and MuRF1 decreased during early torpor (ET) by 42% and 40%, respectively, relative to euthermic control (EC), although MuRF1 expression subsequently increased at late torpor (LT). The expression pattern of MyoG most closely resembled that of MAFbx, with levels decreasing during LT. In addition, the phosphorylation of Foxo4 at Thr-451 showed an initial increase during EN, followed by a decline throughout the remainder of the torpor-arousal cycle, suggesting Foxo4 inhibition. This trend was mirrored by inhibition of the Ras-Ral pathway, as the Ras and Ral proteins were decreased by 77% and 41% respectively, at ET. Foxo4 phosphorylation at S197 was depressed during entrance and torpor, suggesting Foxo4 nuclear localization, and possibly regulating the increase in MuRF1 levels at LT. These findings indicate that signaling pathways involved in regulating muscle atrophy, such as MyoG and Foxo4 through the Ras-Ral pathway, contribute to important muscle-specific changes during hibernation. Therefore, this data provides novel insight into the molecular mechanisms regulating muscle remodeling in a hibernator model. PMID:27593478

  11. The regulation of troponins I, C and ANP by GATA4 and Nkx2-5 in heart of hibernating thirteen-lined ground squirrels, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus.

    PubMed

    Luu, Bryan E; Tessier, Shannon N; Duford, Dianna L; Storey, Kenneth B

    2015-01-01

    Hibernation is an adaptive strategy used by various mammals to survive the winter under situations of low ambient temperatures and limited or no food availability. The heart of hibernating thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) has the remarkable ability to descend to low, near 0°C temperatures without falling into cardiac arrest. We hypothesized that the transcription factors GATA4 and Nkx2-5 may play a role in cardioprotection by facilitating the expression of key downstream targets such as troponin I, troponin C, and ANP (atrial natriuretic peptide). This study measured relative changes in transcript levels, protein levels, protein post-translational modifications, and transcription factor binding over six stages: euthermic control (EC), entrance into torpor (EN), early torpor (ET), late torpor (LT), early arousal (EA), and interbout arousal (IA). We found differential regulation of GATA4 whereby transcript/protein expression, post-translational modification (phosphorylation of serine 261), and DNA binding were enhanced during the transitory phases (entrance and arousal) of hibernation. Activation of GATA4 was paired with increases in cardiac troponin I, troponin C and ANP protein levels during entrance, while increases in p-GATA4 DNA binding during early arousal was paired with decreases in troponin I and no changes in troponin C and ANP protein levels. Unlike its binding partner, the relative mRNA/protein expression and DNA binding of Nkx2-5 did not change during hibernation. This suggests that either Nkx2-5 does not play a substantial role or other regulatory mechanisms not presently studied (e.g. posttranslational modifications) are important during hibernation. The data suggest a significant role for GATA4-mediated gene transcription in the differential regulation of genes which aid cardiac-specific challenges associated with torpor-arousal.

  12. Seasonal expression of androgen receptor, aromatase, and estrogen receptor alpha and beta in the testis of the wild ground squirrel (Citellus dauricus Brandt).

    PubMed

    Li, Q; Zhang, F; Zhang, S; Sheng, X; Han, X; Weng, Q; Yuan, Z

    2015-02-17

    The aim of this study was to investigate the seasonal expression of androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptors α and β (ERα and ERβ) and aromatase cytochrome P450 (P450arom) mRNA and protein by real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry in the wild ground squirrel (WGS) testes. Histologically, all types of spermatogenic cells including mature spermatozoa were identified in the breeding season (April), while spermatogonia and primary spermatocytes were observed in the nonbreeding season (June), and spermatogonia, primary spermatocytes and secondary spermatocytes were found in pre-hibernation (September). AR was present in Leydig cells, peritubular myoid cells and Sertoli cells in the breeding season and pre-hibernation with more intense staining in the breeding season, whereas AR was only found in Leydig cells in the nonbreeding season; P450arom was expressed in Leydig cells, Sertoli cells and germ cells during the breeding season, whereas P450arom was found in Leydig cells and Sertoli cells during pre-hibernation, but P450arom was not present in the nonbreeding season; stronger immunohistochemical signal for ERα was present in Sertoli cells and Leydig cells during the breeding season; ERβ was only expressed in Leydig cells of the breeding season. Consistent with the immunohistochemical results, the mean mRNA level of AR, P450arom, ERα and ERβ were higher in the testes of the breeding season when compared to pre-hibernation and the nonbreeding season. These results suggested that the seasonal changes in spermatogenesis and testicular recrudescence and regression process in WGSs might be correlated with expression levels of AR, P450arom and ERs, and that estrogen and androgen may play an important autocrine/paracrine role to regulate seasonal testicular function.

  13. Phylogeny, biogeography and systematic revision of plain long-nosed squirrels (genus Dremomys, Nannosciurinae).

    PubMed

    Hawkins, Melissa T R; Helgen, Kristofer M; Maldonado, Jesus E; Rockwood, Larry L; Tsuchiya, Mirian T N; Leonard, Jennifer A

    2016-01-01

    The plain long-nosed squirrels, genus Dremomys, are high elevation species in East and Southeast Asia. Here we present a complete molecular phylogeny for the genus based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences. Concatenated mitochondrial and nuclear gene trees were constructed to determine the tree topology, and date the tree. All speciation events within the plain-long nosed squirrels (genus Dremomys) were ancient (dated to the Pliocene or Miocene), and averaged older than many speciation events in the related Sunda squirrels, genus Sundasciurus. Within the plain long-nosed squirrels, the most recent interspecific split occurred 2.9 million years ago, older than some splits within Sunda squirrels, which dated to the Pleistocene. Our results demonstrate that the plain long-nosed squirrels are not monophyletic. The single species with a distinct distribution, the Bornean mountain ground squirrel (Dremomys everetti), which is endemic to the high mountains of Borneo, is nested within the Sunda squirrels with high support. This species diverged from its sister taxa in the Sunda squirrels 6.62 million years ago, and other plain long-nosed squirrels over 11 million years ago. Our analyses of morphological traits in these related genera support the re-classification of the Bornean mountain ground squirrel, Dremomys everetti, to the genus Sundasciurus, which changes its name to Sundasciurus everetti. Past inclusion in the plain long-nosed squirrels (Dremomys) reflects convergent evolution between these high elevation species.

  14. Mammalian genome projects reveal new growth hormone (GH) sequences. Characterization of the GH-encoding genes of armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), bat (Myotis lucifugus), hyrax (Procavia capensis), shrew (Sorex araneus), ground squirrel (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus), elephant (Loxodonta africana), cat (Felis catus) and opossum (Monodelphis domestica).

    PubMed

    Wallis, Michael

    2008-01-15

    Mammalian growth hormone (GH) sequences have been shown previously to display episodic evolution: the sequence is generally strongly conserved but on at least two occasions during mammalian evolution (on lineages leading to higher primates and ruminants) bursts of rapid evolution occurred. However, the number of mammalian orders studied previously has been relatively limited, and the availability of sequence data via mammalian genome projects provides the potential for extending the range of GH gene sequences examined. Complete or nearly complete GH gene sequences for six mammalian species for which no data were previously available have been extracted from the genome databases-Dasypus novemcinctus (nine-banded armadillo), Erinaceus europaeus (western European hedgehog), Myotis lucifugus (little brown bat), Procavia capensis (cape rock hyrax), Sorex araneus (European shrew), Spermophilus tridecemlineatus (13-lined ground squirrel). In addition incomplete data for several other species have been extended. Examination of the data in detail and comparison with previously available sequences has allowed assessment of the reliability of deduced sequences. Several of the new sequences differ substantially from the consensus sequence previously determined for eutherian GHs, indicating greater variability than previously recognised, and confirming the episodic pattern of evolution. The episodic pattern is not seen for signal sequences, 5' upstream sequence or synonymous substitutions-it is specific to the mature protein sequence, suggesting that it relates to the hormonal function. The substitutions accumulated during the course of GH evolution have occurred mainly on the side of the hormone facing away from the receptor, in a non-random fashion, and it is suggested that this may reflect interaction of the receptor-bound hormone with other proteins or small ligands.

  15. Control of food handling by cutaneous receptor input in squirrels.

    PubMed

    Brenowitz, G L

    1980-01-01

    In a complementary neuroanatomical study by Brenowitz in 1980, it was shown that tree squirrels (Sciurus niger) have a higher relative density of mechanoreceptors in their glabrous forepaw skin than do ground squirrels (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus). The main purpose of this sudy was to test the prediction that tree squirrels would depend upon somatic sensory (cutaneous) input from their forepaws to a greater extent than would ground squirrels in food handling behavior. In addition, a series of more general questions about the sensory control of food handling was examined. First, using different sized food items, it was shown that food handling (rate of manipulation) is subject to sensory control, in general. Secondly, comparision of sham-operated groups with groups receiving median nerve (innervating the palmar surface) lesions showed that cutaneous input from the volar surface of the forepaw contributes to the sensory control in both species of squirrels. Thirdly, comparison of lesion effects in the two species showed that, as predicted, tree squirrels depend upon cutaneous input from their volar forepaw to a greater extent than do ground squirrels. Fourthly, by reanalyzing the above data it was shown that there is continued sensory feedback from food items rather than only an initial evaluation of them. PMID:7437901

  16. A squirrel searches for food at KSC

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    An Eastern gray squirrel pauses in its daily search for food in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which shares a boundary with Kennedy Space Center. The Eastern gray squirrel is found in wooded, suburban, and urban areas statewide. It nests in tree hollows or leaf nests in treetops. It forages during the day, mainly early morning and late afternoon, both on the ground and in trees, living on a diet of acorns, nuts, fruits, berries, insects, and bird eggs. Food plants include cypress, buckeyes, elms, grapes, tulip trees, mulberries, and tupelo. It breeds in late winter or early spring and again in late spring or summer, bearing two to six young. The eastern gray squirrel chatters when disturbed. The 92,000-acre wildlife refuge is a habitat for more than 310 species of birds, 25 mammals, 117 fishes and 65 amphibians and reptiles.

  17. Seasonal changes in spermatogenesis and immunolocalization of cytochrome P450 17alpha-hydroxylase/c17-20 lyase and cytochrome P450 aromatase in the wild male ground squirrel (Citellus dauricus Brandt).

    PubMed

    Zhang, Haolin; Sheng, Xia; Hu, Xiao; Li, Xiuwen; Xu, Hui; Zhang, Mengyuan; Li, Ben; Xu, Meiyu; Weng, Qiang; Zhang, Zhixiang; Taya, Kazuyoshi

    2010-06-01

    The purpose of this study was to investigate seasonal changes of spermatogenesis and the cellular localization of P450c17 and P450arom in wild male ground squirrels during the breeding and non-breeding seasons. The testicular weight, testicular size and score count of spermatogenesis from April to September were measured, and histological and immunohistochemical observations of testicular tissues were performed in wild male ground squirrels. In addition, total proteins were extracted from testicular tissue in the breeding and non-breeding seasons and were used for Western blotting analysis for P450c17 and P450arom. There were marked variations in testicular weight, testicular size and score count of spermatogenesis from the breeding season (April) to the non-breeding season (September). Histologically, spermatogonia, primary spermatocytes, secondary spermatocytes and spermatozoa were identified in the breeding season (April). Immunolocalization of P450c17 was detected in Leydig cells and spermatozoa during the breeding season and was only found in Leydig cells during the non-breeding season. The positive signals of P450c17 by Western blotting were both observed in the breeding and non-breeding seasons. Immunolocalization of P450arom was observed in Leydig cells, Sertoli cells and all types of spermatogenic cells including mature-phase spermatozoa in the breeding season, while immunoreactivity for P450arom was not present in the testis of the non-breeding season. With P450arom antibody, a band was also only detected in the breeding season by Western blotting. These results suggest that the seasonal changes in testicular weight and size are correlated with spermatogenesis and immunolocalization of P450c17 and P450arom, and androgen and estrogen may play an important role in the spermatogenesis and testicular recrudescence and regression process.

  18. Evaluation of squirrels (Rodentia: Sciuridae) as ecologically significant hosts for Anaplasma phagocytophilum in California.

    PubMed

    Nieto, Nathan C; Foley, Janet E

    2008-07-01

    Granulocytic anaplasmosis (GA), caused by Anaplasma phagocytophilum, is a potentially fatal, emerging rickettsial disease of humans, domestic animals, and wildlife. The purpose of this study was to determine whether sciurids from multiple areas of northern California were infested with ticks or exposed to or infected with A. phagocytophilum using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and indirect-fluorescent antibody (IFA) serology. Sciurids of nine different tree- and ground-dwelling species were assessed: arboreal squirrels (western and eastern gray squirrels, Sciurus griseus and S. carolinensis, and Douglas squirrels, Tamiasciurus douglasii) but not northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) had greater evidence of exposure and current infection than did semiarboreal or ground dwelling sciurids (California ground squirrels, Spermophilus beecheyi, and chipmunks, Tamias spp.). Western gray squirrels had the most extensive exposure (70.7% seroprevalence and 12.1% PCR prevalence). Positive squirrels were identified in all regions where squirrels were collected. A logistic regression identified being a western gray squirrel (OR = 20.5, P = 2.95 X 10(-8)) and from the north coastal region of California (OR = 9.052, P = 1.41 X 10(-6)) as having the highest risk of exposure to A. phagocytophilum. Five of nine sciurid species had evidence of infestation with Ixodes pacificus or I. spinipalpis that could vector A. phagocytophilum. Extensive exposure from multiple areas suggests sciurids may be important in the maintenance of GA in California and indicates that studies of reservoir competence of these species are warranted. PMID:18714881

  19. Geohydrology, water quality, and preliminary simulations of ground-water flow of the alluvial aquifer in the Upper Black Squirrel Creek basin, El Paso County, Colorado

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Buckles, D.R.; Watts, K.R.

    1988-01-01

    The upper Black Squirrel Creek basin in eastern El Paso County, Colorado, is underlain by an alluvial aquifer and four bedrock aquifers. Groundwater pumpage from the alluvial aquifer has increased since the mid-1950's, and water level declines have been substantial; the bedrock aquifers virtually are undeveloped. Groundwater pumpage for domestic, stock, agricultural, and municipal uses have exceeded recharge for the past 25 years. The present extent of the effect of pumpage on the alluvial aquifer was evaluated, and a groundwater flow model was used to simulate the future effect of continued pumpage on the aquifer. Measured water level declines from 1974 through 1984 were as much as 30 ft in an area north of Ellicott, Colorado. On the basis of the simulations, water level declines from October 1984 to April 1999 north of Ellicott might be as much as 20 to 30 ft and as much as 1 to 10 ft in most of the aquifer. The groundwater flow models provided a means of evaluating the importance of groundwater evapotranspiration at various stages of aquifer development. Simulated groundwater evapotranspiration was about 43% of the outflow from the aquifer during predevelopment stages but was less than 3% of the outflow from the aquifer during late-development stages. Analyses of 36 groundwater samples collected during 1984 indicated that concentrations of dissolved nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen generally were large. Samples from 5 of the 36 wells had concentrations of dissolved nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen that exceeded drinking water standards. Water from the alluvial aquifer generally is of suitable quality for most uses. (USGS)

  20. Squirrel Foraging Preferences: Gone Nuts?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Darling, Randi A.

    2007-01-01

    This field exercise examines the feeding preferences of Gray Squirrels ("Sciurus carolinensis"). Students present squirrels with a variety of food types in a cafeteria-style arrangement in order to test hypotheses about foraging preferences. This exercise, which is appropriate for introductory biology, ecology, and animal behavior classes, is…

  1. Hibernating squirrel muscle activates the endurance exercise pathway despite prolonged immobilization.

    PubMed

    Xu, Ran; Andres-Mateos, Eva; Mejias, Rebeca; MacDonald, Elizabeth M; Leinwand, Leslie A; Merriman, Dana K; Fink, Rainer H A; Cohn, Ronald D

    2013-09-01

    Skeletal muscle atrophy is a very common clinical challenge in many disuse conditions. Maintenance of muscle mass is crucial to combat debilitating functional consequences evoked from these clinical conditions. In contrast, hibernation represents a physiological state in which there is natural protection against disuse atrophy despite prolonged periods of immobilization and lack of nutrient intake. Even though peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) coactivator 1-α (PGC-1α) is a central mediator in muscle remodeling pathways, its role in the preservation of skeletal muscle mass during hibernation remains unclear. Since PGC-1α regulates muscle fiber type formation and mitochondrial biogenesis, we analyzed muscles of 13-lined ground squirrels. We find that animals in torpor exhibit a shift to slow-twitch Type I muscle fibers. This switch is accompanied by activation of the PGC-1α-mediated endurance exercise pathway. In addition, we observe increased antioxidant capacity without evidence of oxidative stress, a marked decline in apoptotic susceptibility, and enhanced mitochondrial abundance and metabolism. These results show that activation of the endurance exercise pathway can be achieved in vivo despite prolonged periods of immobilization, and therefore might be an important mechanism for skeletal muscle preservation during hibernation. This PGC-1α regulated pathway may be a potential therapeutic target promoting skeletal muscle homeostasis and oxidative balance to prevent muscle loss in a variety of inherited and acquired neuromuscular disease conditions.

  2. Squirrels--A Teaching Resource in Your Schoolyard.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    LaHart, David E.

    1991-01-01

    This lesson plan demonstrates how to use common animals in your backyard or school grounds to study basic ecological principles with students. An example study uses squirrels for observational study. Includes background information, references, suggested equipment, activities, and observation techniques. (MCO)

  3. Stable atrogin-1 (Fbxo32) and MuRF1 (Trim63) gene expression is involved in the protective mechanism in soleus muscle of hibernating Daurian ground squirrels (Spermophilus dauricus)

    PubMed Central

    Dang, Kai; Li, Ya-Zhao; Gong, Ling-Chen; Xue, Wei; Wang, Hui-Ping; Goswami, Nandu; Gao, Yun-Fang

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Understanding the mechanisms that protect against or limit muscle atrophy in hibernators during prolonged inactivity has important implications for its treatment. We examined whether external factors influence the pathways regulating protein synthesis and degradation, leading to muscle atrophy prevention in Daurian ground squirrels (Spermophilus dauricus). We investigated the effects of 14-day hindlimb-unloading (HU) in different seasons and two-month hibernation on the soleus (SOL) muscle wet mass, muscle-to-body mass ratio, fiber cross sectional area (CSA), fiber distribution and muscle ultrastructure. We also measured changes in the protein expression and activation states of Akt, mTOR and FoxO1 and the mRNA expression of atrogin-1 and MuRF1. Compared with the control groups, autumn and winter HU significantly lowered SOL muscle wet mass and muscle-to-body mass ratio, decreased type I and II fiber CSA and induced ultrastructural anomalies. However, these measured indices were unchanged between Pre-hibernation and Hibernation groups. Furthermore, phosphorylation levels of Akt and mTOR significantly decreased, while the phosphorylation level of FoxO1 and mRNA expression of atrogin-1 and MuRF1 increased after HU. During hibernation, the phosphorylation levels of Akt and mTOR significantly decreased, but the phosphorylation level of FoxO1 and mRNA expression of atrogin-1 and MuRF1 remained unchanged. Overall, our findings suggest that disuse and seasonality may not be sufficient to initiate the innate protective mechanism that prevents SOL atrophy during prolonged periods of hibernation inactivity. The stable expression of atrogin-1 and MuRF1 may facilitate to prevent SOL atrophy via controlling ubiquitination of muscle proteins during hibernation. PMID:26740574

  4. Trypanosoma (Herpetosoma) kuseli sp. n. (Protozoa: Kinetoplastida) in Siberian flying squirrels (Pteromys volans).

    PubMed

    Sato, H; Al-Adhami, B H; Une, Y; Kamiya, H

    2007-07-01

    All trypanosome species classified in the subgenus Herpetosoma in sciurid hosts have been recorded from ground and tree squirrels to date, but not from any flying squirrels. We describe in this paper a novel trypanosome species, Trypanosoma (Herpetosoma) kuseli sp. n., from Siberian flying squirrels (Pteromys volans) imported from China, and compare it with T. (H.) otospermophili in Richardson's ground squirrels (Spermophilus richardsonii) and Columbian ground squirrels (Spermophilus columbianus) from the USA. Due to a short free flagellum, the new species appeared stumpy compared with T. otospermophili (length of free flagellum 7.0 +/- 0.8 microm, total length 32.1 +/- 0.8 microm, n = 13 and length of free flagellum 15.5 +/- 1.6 microm, total length 35.9 +/- 1.0 microm, n = 13, respectively). Another conspicuous morphological feature of the new species was an anteriorly positioned kinetoplast, found approximately at the midpoint between the nucleus and the posterior end. These characters have not been recorded from any squirrel Herpetosoma trypanosome species. Comparison of the nucleotide sequences of the small and large subunit rRNA genes indicated that T. kuseli sp. n. was more homologous to T. otospermophili than murid Herpetosoma species, such as T. grosi, T. lewisi, T. musculi, T. microti and T. evotomys. PMID:17334786

  5. Daily Activity and Nest Occupation Patterns of Fox Squirrels (Sciurus niger) throughout the Year

    PubMed Central

    Wassmer, Thomas; Refinetti, Roberto

    2016-01-01

    The authors investigated the general activity and nest occupation patterns of fox squirrels in a natural setting using temperature-sensitive data loggers that measure activity as changes in the microenvironment of the animal. Data were obtained from 25 distinct preparations, upon 14 unique squirrels, totaling 1385 recording days. The animals were clearly diurnal, with a predominantly unimodal activity pattern, although individual squirrels occasionally exhibited bimodal patterns, particularly in the spring and summer. Even during the short days of winter (9 hours of light), the squirrels typically left the nest after dawn and returned before dusk, spending only about 7 hours out of the nest each day. Although the duration of the daily active phase did not change with the seasons, the squirrels exited the nest earlier in the day when the days became longer in the summer and exited the nest later in the day when the days became shorter in the winter, thus tracking dawn along the seasons. During the few hours spent outside the nest each day, fox squirrels seemed to spend most of the time sitting or lying. These findings suggest that fox squirrels may have adopted a slow life history strategy that involves long periods of rest on trees and short periods of ground activity each day. PMID:26963918

  6. Habitat Suitability Index Models: Fox squirrel

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Allen, Arthur W.

    1982-01-01

    The fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) is the largest of the North American tree squirrels. The species is widely distributed throughout eastern North American and has been introduced in many portions of the West (Wright 1979). Fox squirrels also have expanded their range westward through utilization of gallery forest habitats along major river drainages (Armstrong 1972; Wright 1979).

  7. Space use and foraging movements in the American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus).

    PubMed

    Benhamou, S

    1996-09-01

    This study deals with the movements of two American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) in their home ranges from late spring to early autumn in a deciduous-coniferous forest in Québec. During 70 six-hour tracking sessions, the type of behaviour exhibited at any place, and its terrestrial or arboreal occurrence, were recorded. Spatio-temporal structure of the squirrels' home ranges were analysed in relation to vegetation type and food availability. Although American red squirrels are known to be mainly adapted to coniferous forests, they also exploit deciduous areas when these areas become productive. Half of the squirrels' activity time was devoted to feeding or to searching for food, and a third was devoted to moving about. Movements were performed mainly on the ground, with a rate of about 0.5 km per activity hour, and appeared to be mainly organized around the locations of food caches and food-providing sites. PMID:24897435

  8. Space use and foraging movements in the American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus).

    PubMed

    Benhamou, S

    1996-09-01

    This study deals with the movements of two American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) in their home ranges from late spring to early autumn in a deciduous-coniferous forest in Québec. During 70 six-hour tracking sessions, the type of behaviour exhibited at any place, and its terrestrial or arboreal occurrence, were recorded. Spatio-temporal structure of the squirrels' home ranges were analysed in relation to vegetation type and food availability. Although American red squirrels are known to be mainly adapted to coniferous forests, they also exploit deciduous areas when these areas become productive. Half of the squirrels' activity time was devoted to feeding or to searching for food, and a third was devoted to moving about. Movements were performed mainly on the ground, with a rate of about 0.5 km per activity hour, and appeared to be mainly organized around the locations of food caches and food-providing sites.

  9. Ultrasonic Vocalizations Emitted by Flying Squirrels

    PubMed Central

    Murrant, Meghan N.; Bowman, Jeff; Garroway, Colin J.; Prinzen, Brian; Mayberry, Heather; Faure, Paul A.

    2013-01-01

    Anecdotal reports of ultrasound use by flying squirrels have existed for decades, yet there has been little detailed analysis of their vocalizations. Here we demonstrate that two species of flying squirrel emit ultrasonic vocalizations. We recorded vocalizations from northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern (G. volans) flying squirrels calling in both the laboratory and at a field site in central Ontario, Canada. We demonstrate that flying squirrels produce ultrasonic emissions through recorded bursts of broadband noise and time-frequency structured frequency modulated (FM) vocalizations, some of which were purely ultrasonic. Squirrels emitted three types of ultrasonic calls in laboratory recordings and one type in the field. The variety of signals that were recorded suggest that flying squirrels may use ultrasonic vocalizations to transfer information. Thus, vocalizations may be an important, although still poorly understood, aspect of flying squirrel social biology. PMID:24009728

  10. Ultrasonic vocalizations emitted by flying squirrels.

    PubMed

    Murrant, Meghan N; Bowman, Jeff; Garroway, Colin J; Prinzen, Brian; Mayberry, Heather; Faure, Paul A

    2013-01-01

    Anecdotal reports of ultrasound use by flying squirrels have existed for decades, yet there has been little detailed analysis of their vocalizations. Here we demonstrate that two species of flying squirrel emit ultrasonic vocalizations. We recorded vocalizations from northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern (G. volans) flying squirrels calling in both the laboratory and at a field site in central Ontario, Canada. We demonstrate that flying squirrels produce ultrasonic emissions through recorded bursts of broadband noise and time-frequency structured frequency modulated (FM) vocalizations, some of which were purely ultrasonic. Squirrels emitted three types of ultrasonic calls in laboratory recordings and one type in the field. The variety of signals that were recorded suggest that flying squirrels may use ultrasonic vocalizations to transfer information. Thus, vocalizations may be an important, although still poorly understood, aspect of flying squirrel social biology. PMID:24009728

  11. The Autopsy of Squirrel Doe

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dick, Timothy T.; Watson, Jason

    2005-01-01

    Introductory biology laboratory experiences frequently rely on preserved chordates for anatomical study. Unfortunately, these preserved organisms rarely reflect the appearance of a living creature. Since community colleges are generally prohibited the use of live chordates, this paper describes the autopsy of a "road kill" squirrel to facilitate…

  12. Androgen Resistance in Squirrel Monkeys (Saimiri spp.)

    PubMed Central

    Gross, Katherine L; Westberry, Jenne M; Hubler, Tina R; Sadosky, Patti W; Singh, Ravinder J; Taylor, Robert L; Scammell, Jonathan G

    2008-01-01

    The goal of this study was to understand the basis for high androgen levels in squirrel monkeys (Saimiri spp.). Mass spectrometry was used to analyze serum testosterone, androstenedione, and dihydrotestosterone of male squirrel monkeys during the nonbreeding (n = 7) and breeding (n = 10) seasons. All hormone levels were elevated compared with those of humans, even during the nonbreeding season; the highest levels occurred during the breeding season. The ratio of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone in squirrel monkeys is high during the breeding season compared to man. Squirrel monkeys may have high testosterone to compensate for inefficient metabolism to dihydrotestosterone. We also investigated whether squirrel monkeys have high androgens to compensate for low-activity androgen receptors (AR). The response to dihydrotestosterone in squirrel monkey cells transfected with AR and AR-responsive reporter plasmids was 4-fold, compared with 28-fold in human cells. This result was not due to overexpression of cellular FKBP51, which causes glucocorticoid and progestin resistance in squirrel monkeys, because overexpression of FKBP51 had no effect on dihydrotestosterone-stimulated reporter activity in a human fibroblast cell line. To test whether the inherently low levels of FKBP52 in squirrel monkeys contribute to androgen insensitivity, squirrel monkey cells were transfected with an AR expression plasmid, an AR-responsive reporter plasmid, and a plasmid expressing FKBP52. Expression of FKBP52 decreased the EC50 or increased the maximal response to dihydrotestosterone. Therefore, the high androgen levels in squirrel monkeys likely compensate for their relatively low 5α-reductase activity during the breeding season and AR insensitivity resulting from low cellular levels of FKBP52. PMID:18724781

  13. Endemic Viruses of Squirrel Monkeys (Saimiri spp.)

    PubMed Central

    Rogers, Donna L; McClure, Gloria B; Ruiz, Julio C; Abee, Christian R; Vanchiere, John A

    2015-01-01

    Nonhuman primates are the experimental animals of choice for the study of many human diseases. As such, it is important to understand that endemic viruses of primates can potentially affect the design, methods, and results of biomedical studies designed to model human disease. Here we review the viruses known to be endemic in squirrel monkeys (Saimiri spp.). The pathogenic potential of these viruses in squirrel monkeys that undergo experimental manipulation remains largely unexplored but may have implications regarding the use of squirrel monkeys in biomedical research. PMID:26141448

  14. Tularemia without lesions in grey tree squirrels: A diagnostic challenge

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fifteen cases of Francisella tularenesis infection (tularemia) were identified in western grey (Sciurus griseus) and eastern grey (Sciurus carolinesis) squirrels submitted to the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory between 2008 and 2011. All of the squirrels originated in Washington stat...

  15. The occurrence of hepatozoon in the gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Herman, C.M.; Price, D.L.

    1955-01-01

    Hepatozoon sciuri (Coles, 1914) is reported from gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Blood smears stained with Giemsa's stain revealed a parasitemia in 16 to 71% of the squirrels examined. A technique for laking the red cells and concentrating the white cells in blood samples demonstrated this protozoon to be present in every squirrel so tested.

  16. Jaw muscles of New World squirrels.

    PubMed

    Ball, S S; Roth, V L

    1995-06-01

    The jaw, suprahyoid, and extrinsic tongue muscles are described for eight species of New World squirrels, spanning more than an order of magnitude in body mass. Anatomical differences are discussed in the light of body size, natural history, and phylogeny. The relative sizes of different muscles, their orientations, and the shapes and positions of their areas of attachment vary but show few trends in relation to body size. The anatomical differences are likewise not readily explained by the mechanical requirements of the animals' diets, which are similar. The most marked anatomical differences occur in Sciurillus (the pygmy tree squirrel), as well as those genera--Glaucomys (the flying squirrel) and Tamias (the chipmunk)--that are taxonomically most distinct from the tree squirrels. Sciurillus is noteworthy for its unusually small temporalis and an anterior deep masseter that is oriented to assist in retraction of the jaw. Tamias has a more vertically oriented temporalis and greater inclination in the anterior masseter muscles than the other squirrels, features that may be associated with its large diastema and relatively posteriorly situated cheek teeth, which in turn may relate to its having cheek pouches. Our results form a valuable database of information to be used in further studies of functional morphology and phylogeny. PMID:7541086

  17. Coevolution of venom function and venom resistance in a rattlesnake predator and its squirrel prey.

    PubMed

    Holding, Matthew L; Biardi, James E; Gibbs, H Lisle

    2016-04-27

    Measuring local adaptation can provide insights into how coevolution occurs between predators and prey. Specifically, theory predicts that local adaptation in functionally matched traits of predators and prey will not be detected when coevolution is governed by escalating arms races, whereas it will be present when coevolution occurs through an alternate mechanism of phenotype matching. Here, we analyse local adaptation in venom activity and prey resistance across 12 populations of Northern Pacific rattlesnakes and California ground squirrels, an interaction that has often been described as an arms race. Assays of venom function and squirrel resistance show substantial geographical variation (influenced by site elevation) in both venom metalloproteinase activity and resistance factor effectiveness. We demonstrate local adaptation in the effectiveness of rattlesnake venom to overcoming present squirrel resistance, suggesting that phenotype matching plays a role in the coevolution of these molecular traits. Further, the predator was the locally adapted antagonist in this interaction, arguing that rattlesnakes are evolutionarily ahead of their squirrel prey. Phenotype matching needs to be considered as an important mechanism influencing coevolution between venomous animals and resistant prey.

  18. Flying squirrels and their ectoparasites: disseminators of epidemic typhus.

    PubMed

    McDade, J E

    1987-03-01

    Information gathered during the past decade indicates that the eastern flying squirrel, Glaucomys volans, is a zoonotic reservoir of Rickettsia prowazekii - causative agent of louse-borne (epidemic) typhus. The sporadic cases o f typhus that have occurred in the USA in association with flying squirrels provide evidence that flying squirrels can transmit R. prowazekii infection to humons. Strains of R. prowazekii, isolated from flying squirrels multiply readily in human body lice, but flying squirrel lice, although readily infected, are very host specific and tend not to bite humans. It may be that the infection is spread to humans in infective ectoporasite faeces aerosolized when the flying squirrels groom themselves. As Joseph McDade emphasizes in this article, current concepts of typhus epidemiology and control must be re-evaluated to take into account this zoonotic aspect. PMID:15462918

  19. Hoarding patterns in the southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans)

    SciTech Connect

    Clemmer, S.M.

    1984-05-01

    Southern flying squirrels, Glaucomys volans, were individually offered two size classes of pecans in a 1:1 ratio to establish preference. All but one squirrel preferred small pecans. As relative abundance of preferred food diminished to 0.10, squirrels switched preference. Absolute abundance of either food did not affect caching levels. A difficulty-of-retrieval experiment did not result in switching of preference. No effect of sex on hoarding was exhibited. There was an inverse correlation between individual storing effort and caching levels of the same squirrels tested as pairs, with individual non-storers showing increases in numbers of pecans stored. Animals that were active storers as individuals showed decreases when paired. Total number stored did not decrease significantly when squirrels were offered previously marked pecans. When offered own-marked and other-marked pecans, squirrels did not discriminate. 43 references, 3 figures, 6 tables.

  20. On the replacement of the red squirrel in Britain: a phytotoxic explanation.

    PubMed

    Kenward, R E; Holm, J L

    1993-03-22

    Diffusion modelling has shown that conservative demographic traits combined with feeding competition could explain red squirrel replacement by grey squirrels. We used field data from seven separate red and grey squirrel populations, in oak-hazel woods and Scots pines, to reject the hypothesis that red squirrel density and breeding is intrinsically poorer than that of grey squirrels. In oak-hazel woods, grey squirrel foraging, density and productivity were related to oak and acorn abundance. In contrast, red squirrels foraged where hazels were abundant; their relatively low density and breeding success were related to the abundance of hazel nuts. Red squirrels failed to exploit good acorn crops, although acorns were more abundant than hazels, but in Scots pines had densities and breeding success as high as grey squirrels in deciduous woods. Captive grey squirrels thrived on a diet of acorns, but red squirrels had a comparative digestive efficiency of only 59%, apparently because they were much less able than grey squirrels to neutralize acorn polyphenols. A model with simple competition for the autumn hazel crop, which was eaten by grey squirrels before the acorn crop, shows that red squirrels are unlikely to persist with grey squirrels in woods with more than 14% oak canopy. With oaks in most British deciduous woods giving grey squirrels a food refuge which red squirrels fail to exploit, replacement of red squirrels can be explained by feeding competition alone, exacerbated by the post-war decline in coppiced hazel. PMID:8097326

  1. Red squirrel habitat mapping using remote sensing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flaherty, Silvia Susana

    This study investigated the relationship between squirrel feeding activity and structural characteristics of Scots pine forests. Field data were collected from two study areas: Abernethy and Aberfoyle Forests. Canopy closure, diameter at breast height, height and number of trees were measured in 56 plots. Abundance of squirrel feeding signs was used as an index of habitat use. A GLM was used to model the response of cones stripped by squirrels in relation to the field collected structural variables. Results show that forest structural characteristics are significant predictors of feeding sign presence, with canopy closure, number of trees and tree height explaining 43% of the variation in stripped cones. The GLM was also implemented using LiDAR data to assess at wider scales the number of cones stripped by squirrels. . The use of remote sensing -in particular Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) - enables cost efficient assessments of forest structure at large scales and can be used to retrieve the three variables explored in this study; canopy cover, tree height and number of trees, that relate to red squirrel feeding behaviour. Correlation between field-predicted and LiDAR-predicted number of stripped cones was performed to assess LiDAR-based model performance. LiDAR data acquired at Aberfoyle and Abernethy Forests had different characteristics (in particular pulse density), which influences the accuracy of LiDAR derived metrics. Therefore correlations between field predicted and LiDAR predicted number of cones (LSC) were assessed for each study area separately. Strong correlations (rs=0.59 for Abernethy and 0.54 for Aberfoyle) suggest that LiDAR-based model performed relatively well over the study areas. The LiDAR-based model was not expected to provide absolute numbers of cones stripped by squirrels but a relative measure of habitat use. This can be interpreted as different levels of habitat suitability for red squirrels. LiDAR-based GLM maps were classified

  2. Leptospirosis in squirrels imported from United States to Japan.

    PubMed

    Masuzawa, Toshiyuki; Okamoto, Yoshihiro; Une, Yumi; Takeuchi, Takahiro; Tsukagoshi, Keiko; Koizumi, Nobuo; Kawabata, Hiroki; Ohta, Shuji; Yoshikawa, Yasuhiro

    2006-07-01

    We diagnosed leptospirosis in 2 patients exposed to southern flying squirrels imported from the United States to Japan. Patients worked with exotic animals in their company. Leptospira isolates from 1 patient and 5 of 10 squirrels at the company were genetically and serologically identical and were identified as Leptospira kirschneri. PMID:16836840

  3. Comparative studies of squirrel monkeys (Saimiri) and titi monkeys (Callicebus) in travel tasks.

    PubMed

    Fragaszy, D M

    1980-01-01

    Squirrel and titi monkeys were observed in a series of experiments in which the subjects' task was to move to a distant goal along above-ground pathways. The pathways were entirely visible to the subjects in all experiments. However, visual cues along the pathways (in Experiment I) and physical and spatial properties of the pathways (in Experiments II and III) were varied systematically in order to determine what effect features had upon selection of travel paths for monkeys of each species. Marked performance differences between the species were evident in these experiments, including differences in latency to move past the choice point, proportion of trials in which the shortest route was chosen first, and changes over test sessions in frequency of initial choice of the shortest route. In particular, titis tended to move past the choice point more slowly than squirrel monkeys; to pay more attention to distant properties of the pathways prior to making a decision, especially after experience in the test setting; and to prefer habitual pathways when these were available, whereas squirrel monkeys preferred novel routes when these were available. The relative "optimality" of decision making in these tasks in relation to species-typical modes of traveling and foraging in natural habitats is discussed. An alternative view of decision making, in which optimality is not assumed to be the only decision-making strategy, is suggested as an appropriate vehicle for further investigation into the sources of short-term variability in choice behavior. PMID:7223106

  4. Comparative studies of squirrel monkeys (Saimiri) and titi monkeys (Callicebus) in travel tasks.

    PubMed

    Fragaszy, D M

    1980-01-01

    Squirrel and titi monkeys were observed in a series of experiments in which the subjects' task was to move to a distant goal along above-ground pathways. The pathways were entirely visible to the subjects in all experiments. However, visual cues along the pathways (in Experiment I) and physical and spatial properties of the pathways (in Experiments II and III) were varied systematically in order to determine what effect features had upon selection of travel paths for monkeys of each species. Marked performance differences between the species were evident in these experiments, including differences in latency to move past the choice point, proportion of trials in which the shortest route was chosen first, and changes over test sessions in frequency of initial choice of the shortest route. In particular, titis tended to move past the choice point more slowly than squirrel monkeys; to pay more attention to distant properties of the pathways prior to making a decision, especially after experience in the test setting; and to prefer habitual pathways when these were available, whereas squirrel monkeys preferred novel routes when these were available. The relative "optimality" of decision making in these tasks in relation to species-typical modes of traveling and foraging in natural habitats is discussed. An alternative view of decision making, in which optimality is not assumed to be the only decision-making strategy, is suggested as an appropriate vehicle for further investigation into the sources of short-term variability in choice behavior.

  5. Bilateral and Ipsilateral Ascending Tectopulvinar Pathways in Mammals: A Study in the Squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi)

    PubMed Central

    Fredes, Felipe; Vega-Zuniga, Tomas; Karten, Harvey; Mpodozis, Jorge

    2014-01-01

    The mammalian pulvinar complex is a collection of dorsal thalamic nuclei related to several visual and integrative processes. Previous studies have shown that the superficial layers of the superior colliculus project to multiple divisions of the pulvinar complex. Although most of these works agree about the existence of an ipsilateral tectopulvinar projection arising from the stratum griseum superficialis, some others report a bilateral projection originating from this same tectal layer. We investigated the organization of the tectopulvinar projections in the Californian ground squirrel using cholera toxin B (CTb). We confirmed previous studies showing that the caudal pulvinar of the squirrel receives a massive bilateral projection originating from a specific cell population located in the superficial collicular layers (SGS3, also called the “lower SGS” or “SGSL”). We found that this projection shares striking structural similarities with the tectorotundal pathway of birds and reptiles. Morphology of the collicular cells originating this projection closely corresponds to that of the bottlebrush tectal cells described previously for chickens and squirrels. In addition, we found that the rostral pulvinar receives an exclusively ipsilateral projection from a spatially separate population of collicular cells located at the base of the stratum opticum, deeper than the cells projecting to the caudal pulvinar. These results strongly support, at a structural level, the homology of the pathway originating in the SGS3 collicular cells upon the caudal pulvinar with the tectorotundal pathway of nonmammalian amniotes and contribute to clarifying the general organization of the tectopulvinar pathways in mammals. PMID:22120503

  6. Metabolism of lithocholic and chenodeoxycholic acids in the squirrel monkey

    SciTech Connect

    Suzuki, H.; Hamada, M.; Kato, F.

    1985-09-01

    Metabolism of lithocholic acid (LCA) and chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) was studied in the squirrel monkey to clarify the mechanism of the lack of toxicity of CDCA in this animal. Radioactive LCA was administered to squirrel monkeys with biliary fistula. Most radioactivity was excreted in the bile in the form of unsulfated lithocholyltaurine. The squirrel monkey thus differs from humans and chimpanzees, which efficiently sulfate LCA, and is similar to the rhesus monkey and baboon in that LCA is poorly sulfated. When labeled CDCA was orally administered to squirrel monkeys, less than 20% of the dosed radioactivity was recovered as LCA and its further metabolites in feces over 3 days, indicating that bacterial metabolism of CDCA into LCA is strikingly less than in other animals and in humans. It therefore appears that LCA, known as a hepatotoxic secondary bile acid, is not accumulated in the squirrel monkey, not because of its rapid turnover through sulfation, but because of the low order of its production.

  7. Anatomy of the squirrel wrist: bones, ligaments, and muscles.

    PubMed

    Thorington, R W; Darrow, K

    2000-11-01

    Anatomical differences among squirrels are usually most evident in the comparison of flying squirrels and nongliding squirrels. This is true of wrist anatomy, probably reflecting the specializations of flying squirrels for the extension of the wing tip and control of it during gliding. In the proximal row of carpals of most squirrels, the pisiform articulates only with the triquetrum, but in flying squirrels there is also a prominent articulation between the pisiform and the scapholunate, providing a more stable base for the styliform cartilage, which supports the wing tip. In the proximal wrist joint, between these carpals and the radius and ulna, differences in curvature of articular surfaces and in the location of ligaments also correlate with differences in degree and kind of movement occurring at this joint, principally reflecting the extreme dorsal flexion and radial deviation of the wrist in flying squirrels when gliding. The distal wrist joint, between the proximal and distal rows of carpals, also shows most variation among flying squirrels, principally in the articulations of the centrale with the other carpal bones, probably causing the distal row of carpal bones to function more like a single unit in some animals. There is little variation in wrist musculature, suggesting only minor evolutionary modification since the tribal radiation of squirrels, probably in the early Oligocene. Variation in the carpal bones, particularly the articulation of the pisiform with the triquetrum and the scapholunate, suggests a different suprageneric grouping of flying squirrels than previously proposed by McKenna (1962) and Mein (1970). J. Morphol. 246:85-102, 2000. Published 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc. PMID:11074577

  8. Cup tool use by squirrel monkeys.

    PubMed

    Buckmaster, Christine L; Hyde, Shellie A; Parker, Karen J; Lyons, David M

    2015-12-01

    Captive-born male and female squirrel monkeys spontaneously 'invented' a cup tool use technique to Contain (i.e., hold and control) food they reduced into fragments for consumption and to Contain water collected from a valve to drink. Food cup use was observed more frequently than water cup use. Observations indicate that 68% (n = 39/57) of monkeys in this population used a cup (a plastic slip cap) to Contain food, and a subset of these monkeys, 10% (n = 4/39), also used a cup to Contain water. Cup use was optional and did not replace, but supplemented, the hand/arm-to-mouth eating and direct valve drinking exhibited by all members of the population. Strategies monkeys used to bring food and cups together for food processing activity at preferred upper-level perching areas, in the arboreal-like environment in which they lived, provides evidence that monkeys may plan food processing activity with the cups. Specifically, prior to cup use monkeys obtained a cup first before food, or obtained food and a cup from the floor simultaneously, before transporting both items to upper-level perching areas. After food processing activity with cups monkeys rarely dropped the cups and more often placed the cups onto perching. Monkeys subsequently returned to use cups that they previously placed on perching after food processing activity. The latter behavior is consistent with the possibility that monkeys may keep cups at preferred perching sites for future food processing activity and merits experimental investigation. Reports of spontaneous tool use by squirrel monkeys are rare and this is the first report of population-level tool use. These findings offer insights into the cognitive abilities of squirrel monkeys and provide a new context for behavior studies with this genus and for comparative studies with other primates.

  9. Renal response to seven days of lower body positive pressure in the squirrel monkey

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Churchill, Susanne; Pollock, David M.; Natale, Mary Ellen; Moore-Ede, Martin C.

    1987-01-01

    As a ground-based model for weightlessness, the response of the chair-trained squirrel monkey to lower body positive pressure (LBPP) was evaluated in a length of study similar to a typical Space Shuttle mission (7 days). Results were compared to time control experiments that included chair-sitting without exposure to LBPP. Chronic exposure to LBPP results in an acute diuretic and natriuretic response independent of changes in plasma aldosterone concentrations and produces a chronic reduction in fluid volume lasting the duration in the stimulus.

  10. Flexibility of cue use in the fox squirrel (Sciurus niger).

    PubMed

    Waisman, Anna S; Jacobs, Lucia F

    2008-10-01

    Recent work on captive flying squirrels has demonstrated a novel degree of flexibility in the use of different orientation cues. In the present study, we examine to what extent this flexibility is present in a free-ranging population of another tree squirrel species, the fox squirrel. We trained squirrels to a rewarded location within a square array of four feeders and then tested them on transformations of the array that either pitted two cue types against one cue type, the majority tests, or all cue types against each other, the forced-hierarchy test. In Experiment 1, squirrels reoriented to the two-cue-type location in all majority tests and to the location indicated by the visual features of the feeders in the forced-hierarchy test. This preference for visual features runs contrary to previous studies that report the use of spatial cues over visual features in food-storing species. In Experiments 2-5 we tested squirrels with different trial orders (Experiments 2 and 3), a different apparatus (Experiment 4) and at different times of the year (Experiment 5) to determine why these squirrels had chosen to orient using visual features in the first experiment. Like captive flying squirrels, free-ranging fox squirrels showed a large degree of flexibility in their use of cues. Furthermore, their cue use appeared to be sensitive both to changes in the test apparatus and the season in which we tested. Altogether our results suggest that the study of free-ranging animals over a variety of conditions is necessary for understanding spatial cognition. PMID:18350324

  11. Squirrel Monkey Requirements for Chronic Acceleration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fuller, Charles A.

    1996-01-01

    This study examined: (1) the ability of a small non-human primate to tolerate chronic centrifugation on a centrifuge with a radius of 0.9 m, and (2) the influence of centrifuge radius on the response of primates to hyperdynamic fields. Eight adult male squirrel monkeys were exposed to 1.5 g via centrifugation at two different radii (0.9 m and 3.0 m). Body temperature, activity, feeding and drinking were monitored. These primates did tolerate and adapt to 1.5G via centrifugation on either radius centrifuge. The results show, however, that centrifuge radius does have an effect on the responses of the primate to the hyperdynamic environment. Adaptation to the hyperdynamic environment occurred more quickly on the larger centrifuge. This study demonstrates that a small, non-human primate model, such as the squirrel monkey, could be used on a 0.9 m radius centrifuge such as is being considered by the NASA Space Station Program.

  12. 2. Light tower, view west towards Squirrel Island, south and ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    2. Light tower, view west towards Squirrel Island, south and east sides - Ram Island Light Station, Ram Island, south of Ocean Point & just north of Fisherman Island, marking south side of Fisherman Island Passage, Ocean Point, Lincoln County, ME

  13. Energetic costs of the winter arboreal microclimate: The gray squirrel in a tree

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Byman, D.; Hay, D. B.; Bakken, G. S.

    1988-06-01

    Heated taxidermic mounts of the gray squirrel were used to analyze the thermal environment of a small arboreal endotherm. Changes in the standard operative temperature ( T es) calculated from the temperatures of heated and unheated mounts agreed well with the power consumption ( M-E) of mounts on the ground and on the wind-ward side of a 48-cm diameter tree trunk. As wind speed ( u) rose and sky solar radiation ( Q r) decreased, the windward side of the tree trunk became an increasingly more stressful thermal environment than the leeward side of the trunk or the ground, producing M-E differences of more than 30%. Although the M-E of a ground mount and a limb mount 4 m in the air are dependent on Q ras well as u, the ratio of the two value of M-E is independent of Q r, poorly predicted by u and well predicted by u 1/2.

  14. Tissue-specific expression of squirrel monkey chorionic gonadotropin

    PubMed Central

    Vasauskas, Audrey A.; Hubler, Tina R.; Boston, Lori; Scammell, Jonathan G.

    2010-01-01

    Pituitary gonadotropins LH and FSH play central roles in reproductive function. In Old World primates, LH stimulates ovulation in females and testosterone production in males. Recent studies have found that squirrel monkeys and other New World primates lack expression of LH in the pituitary. Instead, chorionic gonadotropin (CG), which is normally only expressed in the placenta of Old World primates, is the active luteotropic pituitary hormone in these animals. The goal of this study was to investigate the tissue-specific regulation of squirrel monkey CG. We isolated the squirrel monkey CGβ gene and promoter from genomic DNA from squirrel monkey B-lymphoblasts and compared the promoter sequence to that of the common marmoset, another New World primate, and human CGβ and LHβ. Using reporter gene assays, we found that a squirrel monkey CGβ promoter fragment (−1898/+9) is active in both mouse pituitary LβT2 and human placenta JEG3 cells, but not in rat adrenal PC12 cells. Furthermore, within this construct separate cis-elements are responsible for pituitary- and placenta-specific expression. Pituitary-specific expression is governed by Egr-1 binding sites in the proximal 250 bp of the promoter, whereas placenta-specific expression is controlled by AP-2 sites further upstream. Thus, selective expression of the squirrel monkey CGβ promoter in pituitary and placental cells is governed by distinct cis-elements that exhibit homology with human LHβ and marmoset CGβ promoters, respectively. PMID:21130091

  15. Electrofriction method of manufacturing squirrel cage rotors

    DOEpatents

    Hsu, John S.

    2005-04-12

    A method of making a squirrel cage rotor of copper material for use in AC or DC motors, includes forming a core with longitudinal slots, inserting bars of conductive material in the slots, with ends extending out of opposite ends of the core, and joining the end rings to the bars, wherein the conductive material of either the end rings or the bars is copper. Various methods of joining the end rings to the bars are disclosed including electrofriction welding, current pulse welding and brazing, transient liquid phase joining and casting. Pressure is also applied to the end rings to improve contact and reduce areas of small or uneven contact between the bar ends and the end rings. Rotors made with such methods are also disclosed.

  16. Whitebark pine, grizzly bears, and red squirrels

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, D.J.; Kendall, K.C.; Reinhart, D.P.; Tomback, D.F.; Arno, S.F.; Keane, R.E.

    2001-01-01

    Appropriately enough, much of this book is devoted to discussing management challenges and techniques. However, the impetus for action—the desire to save whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis)—necessarily arises from the extent to which we cherish it for its beauty and its connections with other things that we value. Whitebark pine is at the hub of a fascinating web of relationships. It is the stuff of great stories (cf. Quammen 1994). One of the more interesting of these stories pertains to the dependence of certain grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) populations on its seeds, and the role that red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) play as an agent of transfer between tree and bear.

  17. Survey for zoonotic rickettsial pathogens in northern flying squirrels, Glaucomys sabrinus, in California.

    PubMed

    Foley, Janet E; Nieto, Nathan C; Clueit, S Bernadette; Foley, Patrick; Nicholson, William N; Brown, Richard N

    2007-10-01

    Epidemic typhus, caused by Rickettsia prowazekii, is maintained in a southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) sylvatic cycle in the southeastern United States. The northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) has not been previously associated with R. prowazekii transmission. A second rickettsial pathogen, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, infects dusky-footed woodrats (Neotoma fuscipes) and tree squirrels in northern California. Because northern flying squirrels or their ectoparasites have not been tested for these rickettsial pathogens, serology and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were used to test 24 northern flying squirrels for R. prowazekii and A. phagocytophilum infection or antibodies. Although there was no evidence of exposure to R. prowazekii, we provide molecular evidence of A. phagocytophilum infection in one flying squirrel; two flying squirrels also were seropositive for this pathogen. Fleas and ticks removed from the squirrels included Ceratophyllus ciliatus mononis, Opisodasys vesperalis, Ixodes hearlei, Ixodes pacificus, and Dermacentor paramapertus. PMID:17984264

  18. Macroparasites of Pallas's squirrels (Callosciurus erythraeus) introduced into Europe.

    PubMed

    Dozières, A; Pisanu, B; Gerriet, O; Lapeyre, C; Stuyck, J; Chapuis, J-L

    2010-08-27

    Introduced pets released in natura can lead to sanitary risks for native fauna and humans. We analysed the macroparasite fauna of a total of 49 Pallas's squirrels, Callosciurus erythraeus, from two populations introduced into urbanised areas in Europe (n=16 female symbol and 13 male symbol from Antibes, France, 43 degrees 33'N-7 degrees 7'E; n=11 female symbol and 9 male symbol in from Dadizele, Belgium, 50 degrees 52'N-3 degrees 5'E). Of the 185 identified ectoparasites from Antibes, 183 were sucking lice Enderleinellus kumadai, with male squirrels 10 times more intensely infested than females. The flea Nosopsyllus fasciatus was found on two hosts. No hard ticks were recovered. Of the 131 arthropods specimens from Dadizele, 45 belonged to E. kumadai, with male squirrels three times more intensely infested than females. Eighty-six arthropods belonged to another sucking louse, Hoplopleura erismata, with males infested twice as intensely as females. No fleas or hard ticks were found. We only found 12 immature Hymenolepis sp. cestodes in the small intestine of three squirrels from Antibes and two immature Mastophorus sp. female nematodes in the stomach of a squirrel from Dadizele. We found no other helminths in the body cavity, heart, lung, liver, kidney or bladder. The macroparasite fauna of these two squirrel populations is consistent with what is expected from an introduced host, i.e., a few species dominated by specialist taxa imported with founders. The scarcity of other rodent species in the urbanized areas where Pallas's squirrels were sampled may explain the low variety of newly acquired macroparasites. The discrepancy in sucking lice infestations between males and females could be due to differences in either behaviour or physiology in this non-sexually dimorphic host. Based on the macroparasites found in this study, we expect minimal sanitary risks for both native fauna and humans in urbanized habitats such as those in our study.

  19. Responses of squirrel monkeys to their experimentally modified mobbing calls

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fichtel, Claudia; Hammerschmidt, Kurt

    2003-05-01

    Previous acoustic analyses suggested emotion-correlated changes in the acoustic structure of squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus) vocalizations. Specifically, calls given in aversive contexts were characterized by an upward shift in frequencies, often accompanied by an increase in amplitude. In order to test whether changes in frequencies or amplitude are indeed relevant for conspecific listeners, playback experiments were conducted in which either frequencies or amplitude of mobbing calls were modified. Latency and first orienting response were measured in playback experiments with six adult squirrel monkeys. After broadcasting yaps with increased frequencies or amplitude, squirrel monkeys showed a longer orienting response towards the speaker than after the corresponding control stimuli. Furthermore, after broadcasting yaps with decreased frequencies or amplitude, squirrel monkeys showed a shorter orienting response towards the speaker than after the corresponding manipulated calls with higher frequencies or amplitude. These results suggest that changes in frequencies or amplitude were perceived by squirrel monkeys, indicating that the relationship between call structure and the underlying affective state of the caller agreed with the listener's assessment of the calls. However, a simultaneous increase in frequencies and amplitude did not lead to an enhanced response, compared to each single parameter. Thus, from the receiver's perspective, both call parameters may mutually replace each other.

  20. Microwaves modify thermoregulatory behavior in squirrel monkey.

    PubMed

    Adair, E R; Adams, B W

    1980-01-01

    Squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) trained to regulate environmental temperature (Ta) behaviorally were exposed in the far field of a horn antenna to ten-minute periods of 2,450 MHz CW microwaves. Incident power density ranged from 1 to 22 mW/cm2. The corresponding specific absorption rate (SAR), derived from temperature increments in saline-filled styrofoam models, ranged from 0.15 to 3.25 W/kg. Controls included exposure to infrared radiation equivalent incident energy and no radiation exposure. Normal thermo-regulatory behavior produces tight control over environmental and body temperatures; most monkeys select a Ta of 34-36 degrees C. Ten-minute exposures to 2,450 MHz CW microwaves at an incident power density of 6-8 mW/cm2 stimulated all animals to select a lower Ta. This threshold energy represents a whole-body SAR of 1.1 W/kg, about 20% of the resting metabolic rate of the monkey. Thermoregulatory behavior was highly efficient, and skin and rectal temperatures remained stable, even at 22 mW/cm2 where the preferred Ta was lowered by as much as 4 degrees C. No comparable reduction in selected Ta below control levels occurred during exposure to infrared radiation of equal incident power density.

  1. Environmental synchronizers of squirrel monkey circadian rhythms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sulzman, F. M.; Fuller, C. A.; Moore-Ede, M. C.

    1977-01-01

    Various temporal signals in the environment were tested to determine if they could synchronize the circadian timing system of the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus). The influence of cycles of light and dark, eating and fasting, water availability and deprivation, warm and cool temperature, sound and quiet, and social interaction and isolation on the drinking and activity rhythms of unrestrained monkeys was examined. In the absence of other time cues, 24-hr cycles of each of these potential synchronizers were applied for up to 3 wk, and the periods of the monkey's circadian rhythms were examined. Only light-dark cycles and cycles of food availability were shown to be entraining agents, since they were effective in determining the period and phase of the rhythmic variables. In the presence of each of the other environmental cycles, the monkey's circadian rhythms exhibited free-running periods which were significantly different from 24 hr with all possible phase relationships between the rhythms and the environmental cycles being examined.

  2. Microwaves modify thermoregulatory behavior in squirrel monkey

    SciTech Connect

    Adair, E.R.; Adams, B.W.

    1980-01-01

    Squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) trained to regulate environmental temperature (Ta) behaviorally were exposed in the far field of a horn antenna to ten-minute periods of 2,450 MHz CW microwaves. Incident power density ranged from 1 to 22 mW/cm2. The corresponding specific absorption rate (SAR), derived from temperature increments in saline-filled styrofoam models, ranged from 0.15 to 3.25 W/kg. Controls included exposure to infrared radiation equivalent incident energy and no radiation exposure. Normal thermo-regulatory behavior produces tight control over environmental and body temperatures; most monkeys select a Ta of 34-36 degrees C. Ten-minute exposures to 2,450 MHz CW microwaves at an incident power density of 6-8 mW/cm2 stimulated all animals to select a lower Ta. This threshold energy represents a whole-body SAR of 1.1 W/kg, about 20% of the resting metabolic rate of the monkey. Thermoregulatory behavior was highly efficient, and skin and rectal temperatures remained stable, even at 22 mW/cm2 where the preferred Ta was lowered by as much as 4 degrees C. No comparable reduction in selected Ta below control levels occurred during exposure to infrared radiation of equal incident power density.

  3. Environmental synchronizers of squirrel monkey circadian rhythms.

    PubMed

    Sulzman, F M; Fuller, C A; Moore-Ede, M C

    1977-11-01

    Various temporal signals in the environment were tested to determine if they could synchronize the circadian timing system of the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus). The influence of cycles of light and dark, eating and fasting, water availability and deprivation, warm and cool temperature, sound and quiet, and social interaction and isolation was examined on the drinking and activity rhythms of unrestrained monkeys. In the absence of other time cues, 24-h cycles of each of these potential synchronizers were applied for up to 3 wk, and the periods of the monkey's circadian rhythms were examined. Only light-dark cycles and cycles of food availability were shown to be entraining agents, since they were effective in determining the period and phase of rhythmic variables. In the presence of each of the other environmental cycles, the monkey's circadian rhythms exhibited free-running periods which were significantly different from 24 h with all possible phase relationships between the rhythms and the environmental cycles being examined. PMID:412829

  4. Biodiversity threats from outside to inside: effects of alien grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) on helminth community of native red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Romeo, Claudia; Ferrari, Nicola; Lanfranchi, Paolo; Saino, Nicola; Santicchia, Francesca; Martinoli, Adriano; Wauters, Lucas A

    2015-07-01

    Biological invasions are among the major causes of biodiversity loss worldwide, and parasites carried or acquired by invaders may represent an added threat to native species. We compared gastrointestinal helminth communities of native Eurasian red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) in the presence and absence of introduced Eastern grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) to detect alterations induced by the alien species. In particular, we investigated whether spillover of a North American nematode Strongyloides robustus occurs and whether prevalence of a local parasite Trypanoxyuris sciuri in red squirrels is affected by grey squirrel presence. The probability of being infected by both parasites was significantly higher in areas co-inhabited by the alien species, where 61 % of examined red squirrels (n = 49) were infected by S. robustus and 90 % by T. sciuri. Conversely, in red-only areas, the two parasites infected only 5 and 70 % of individuals (n = 60). Overall, our findings support the hypothesis that red squirrels acquire S. robustus via spillover from the alien congener and suggest that invaders' presence may also indirectly affect infection by local parasites through mechanisms diverse than spill-back and linked to the increased competitive pressure to which red squirrels are subjected. These results indicate that the impact of grey squirrel on red squirrels may have been underestimated and highlight the importance of investigating variation in macroparasite communities of native species threatened by alien competitors.

  5. Fire, red squirrels, whitebark pine, and Yellowstone grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Podruzny, Shannon; Reinhart, D.P.; Mattson, David J.

    1999-01-01

    Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) habitats are important to Yellowstone grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) as refugia and sources of food. Ecological relationships between whitebark pine, red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), and grizzly bear use of pine seeds on Mt. Washburn in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, were examined during 1984-86. Following large-scale fires in 1988, we repeated the study in 1995-97 to examine the effects of fire on availability of whitebark pine seed in red squirrel middens and on bear use of middens. Half of the total length of the original line transects burned. We found no red squirrel middens in burned areas. Post-fire linear-abundance (no./km) of active squirrel middens that were pooled from burned and unburned areas decreased 27% compared to pre-fire abundance, but increased in unburned portions of some habitat types. Mean size of active middens decreased 54% post-fire. Use of pine seeds by bears (linear abundance of excavated middens) in pooled burned and unburned habitats decreased by 64%, likely due to the combined effects of reduced midden availability and smaller midden size. We discourage any further large-scale losses of seed producing trees from management-prescribed fires or timber harvesting until the effects of fire on ecological relationships in the whitebark pine zone are better understood.

  6. Positive reinforcement training in squirrel monkeys using clicker training.

    PubMed

    Gillis, Timothy E; Janes, Amy C; Kaufman, Marc J

    2012-08-01

    Nonhuman primates in research environments experience regular stressors that have the potential to alter physiology and brain function, which in turn can confound some types of research studies. Operant conditioning techniques such as positive reinforcement training (PRT), which teaches animals to voluntarily perform desired behaviors, can be applied to improve behavior and reactivity. PRT has been used to train rhesus macaques, marmosets, and several other nonhuman primate species. To our knowledge, the method has yet to be used to train squirrel monkeys to perform complex tasks. Accordingly, we sought to establish whether PRT, utilizing a hand-box clicker (which emits a click sound that acts as the conditioned reinforcer), could be used to train adult male squirrel monkeys (Saimiri boliviensis, N = 14). We developed and implemented a training regimen to elicit voluntary participation in routine husbandry, animal transport, and injection procedures. Our secondary goal was to quantify the training time needed to achieve positive results. Squirrel monkeys readily learned the connection between the conditioned reinforcer (the clicker) and the positive reinforcer (food). They rapidly developed proficiency on four tasks of increasing difficulty: target touching, hand sitting, restraint training, and injection training. All subjects mastered target touching behavior within 2 weeks. Ten of 14 subjects (71%) mastered all tasks in 59.2 ± 2.6 days (range: 50-70 days). In trained subjects, it now takes about 1.25 min per monkey to weigh and administer an intramuscular injection, one-third of the time it took before training. From these data, we conclude that clicker box PRT can be successfully learned by a majority of squirrel monkeys within 2 months and that trained subjects can be managed more efficiently. These findings warrant future studies to determine whether PRT may be useful in reducing stress-induced experimental confounds in studies involving squirrel monkeys.

  7. Positive Reinforcement Training in Squirrel Monkeys Using Clicker Training

    PubMed Central

    Gillis, Timothy E.; Janes, Amy C.; Kaufman, Marc J.

    2012-01-01

    Nonhuman primates in research environments experience regular stressors that have the potential to alter physiology and brain function, which in turn can confound some types of research studies. Operant conditioning techniques such as positive reinforcement training (PRT), which teaches animals to voluntarily perform desired behaviors, can be applied to improve behavior and reactivity. PRT has been used to train rhesus macaques, marmosets, and several other nonhuman primate species. To our knowledge, the method has yet to be used to train squirrel monkeys to perform complex tasks. Accordingly, we sought to establish whether PRT, utilizing a hand-box clicker (which emits a click sound that acts as the conditioned reinforcer), could be used to train adult male squirrel monkeys (Saimiri boliviensis, N=14). We developed and implemented a training regimen to elicit voluntary participation in routine husbandry, animal transport, and injection procedures. Our secondary goal was to quantify the training time needed to achieve positive results. Squirrel monkeys readily learned the connection between the conditioned reinforcer (the clicker) and the positive reinforcer (food). They rapidly developed proficiency on 4 tasks of increasing difficulty: target touching, hand sitting, restraint training, and injection training. All subjects mastered target touching behavior within 2 weeks. Ten of 14 subjects (71%) mastered all tasks in 59.2±2.6 days (range: 50–70 days). In trained subjects, it now takes about 1.25 minutes per monkey to weigh and administer an intramuscular injection, one-third of the time it took before training. From these data, we conclude that clicker box PRT can be successfully learned by a majority of squirrel monkeys within two months and that trained subjects can be managed more efficiently. These findings warrant future studies to determine whether PRT may be useful for reducing stress-induced experimental confounds in studies involving squirrel monkeys

  8. Fatal Systemic Toxoplasma gondii Infection in a Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), a Swinhoe's Striped Squirrel (Tamiops swinhoei) and a New World Porcupine (Erethizontidae sp.).

    PubMed

    Fayyad, A; Kummerfeld, M; Davina, I; Wohlsein, P; Beineke, A; Baumgärtner, W; Puff, C

    2016-01-01

    Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease that affects man and animals worldwide. The primary hosts and major reservoir for Toxoplasma gondii are felids and the intermediate hosts are most warm-blooded animals including man. This report describes fatal toxoplasmosis in three different rodent species in Germany: a female red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) and a male Swinhoe's striped squirrel (Tamiops swinhoei), both kept as pets, and a female New World porcupine (Erethizontidae sp.) from a zoo. All three animals had multifocal necrotizing hepatitis. Additional findings included lymphohistiocytic and necrotizing myocarditis in the New World porcupine and the Swinhoe's striped squirrel, lymphohistiocytic encephalomyelitis in the New World porcupine and suppurative lymphadenitis in the red squirrel. Numerous tachyzoites were identified associated with the lesions. The diagnosis was confirmed by Toxoplasma. gondii immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. This is the first report of toxoplasmosis in a New World porcupine and a Swinhoe's striped squirrel.

  9. Seasonal use of red-cockaded woodpecker cavities by southern flying squirrels.

    SciTech Connect

    Loeb, Susan C.; Ruth, Deanna L.

    2004-12-31

    Loeb, Susan C., and Deanna L. Ruth. 2004. Seasonal use of red-cockaded woodpecker cavities by southern flying squirrels. In: Red-cockaded woodpecker; Road to Recovery. Proceedings of the 4th Red-cockaded woodpecker Symposium. Ralph Costa and Susan J. Daniels, eds. Savannah, Georgia. January, 2003. Chapter 8. Cavities, Cavity Trees, and Cavity Communities. Pp 501-502. Abstract: Southern flying squirrels can significantly impact red-cockaded woodpecker reproductive success (Laves and Loeb 1999). Thus exclusion or removal of flying squirrels from red-cockaded woodpecker cavities and clusters may be warranted in small woodpecker populations (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2003). However, development of effective and efficient protocols for southern flying squirrel control requires an understanding of the seasonal dynamics of southern flying squirrel cavity use. Most studies of southern flying squirrel use of red-cockaded woodpecker cavities have been conducted during spring (e.g., Harlow and Lennartz 1983, Rudolph et al. 1990a, Loeb 1993) and no studies have examined the effects of long term flying squirrel control on subsequent cavity use. The objectives of this study were to determine: (1) whether flying squirrel use of red-cockaded woodpecker cavities varies with season or cavity type, and (2) the long term effect of continuous squirrel removal.

  10. Spontaneous Cholelithiasis in a Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri sciureus)

    PubMed Central

    Lieberman, Mia T.; Wachtman, Lynn M.; Marini, Robert P.; Bakthavatchalu, Vasu; Fox, James G.

    2016-01-01

    A mature female squirrel monkey was noted during routine semiannual examinations to have moderate progressive weight loss. Serum chemistry panels revealed marked increases in hepatic enzyme, bilirubin, and bile salt concentrations and hypoalbuminemia. Abdominal ultrasonography revealed echogenic, shadowing debris in the gallbladder, consistent with cholelithiasis. At necropsy, marked thickening and distension of the gallbladder, cystic duct, and common bile duct was noted, and more than 50 irregularly shaped, black gallstones were removed from the biliary tract. Gallbladder tissue, bile, and gallstones cultured positive for Escherichia coli and Proteus spp., suggesting a brown-pigment gallstone type secondary to a bacterial nidus. Histopathology revealed severe chronic–active diffuse cholecystitis and severe chronic-active hepatic degeneration and necrosis with severe cholestasis. To our knowledge, this report is the first description of spontaneous choleilthiasis in a squirrel monkey. PMID:26884412

  11. Motion Sickness-Induced Food Aversions in the Squirrel Monkey

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roy, M. Aaron; Brizzee, Kenneth R.

    1979-01-01

    Conditioned aversions to colored, flavored water were established in Squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) by following consumption with 90 min of simultaneous rotational and vertical stimulation. The experimental group (N= 13) drank significantly less of the green, almond-flavored test solution than did the control group (N=14) during three post-treatment preference testing days. Individual differences were noted in that two experimental monkeys readily drank the test solution after rotational stimulation. Only two of the experimental monkeys showed emesis during rotation, yet 10 monkeys in this group developed an aversion. These results suggest that: (1) motion sickness can be readily induced in Squirrel monkeys with simultaneous rotational and vertical stimulation, and (2) that conditioned food aversions are achieved in the absence of emesis in this species.

  12. Habitat exploration and use in dispersing juvenile flying squirrels.

    PubMed

    Selonen, Vesa; Hanski, Ilpo K

    2006-11-01

    1. Variation in behaviours involved in habitat selection is important for several evolutionary and ecological processes. For example, habitat use during dispersal may differ from breeding habitat use, and for dispersers the scale of habitat familiarity is determined by exploratory behaviour. We studied habitat use and exploration of 56 radio-collared juvenile flying squirrels Pteromys volans L. within natal home range and during dispersal, and compared habitat use between juveniles and 37 adults within breeding home range. 2. Before dispersal, young flying squirrels actively moved around the natal site. Surprisingly, long-distance dispersers explored less than short-distance dispersers, but philopatric individuals explored similar distances as dispersers. Females explored less than males, although females are the more dispersive sex in flying squirrels. 3. For most of the individuals the settlement area was unfamiliar due to long dispersal distance. Consequently, direction and distance of exploration were not very strong predictors of settlement location. However, individuals familiar with the settlement area concentrated exploration to that area. Exploration did not correlate with short-term survival. 4. Dispersers preferred breeding habitat while dispersing, but were found more often in matrix habitat than juveniles within natal, or adults within breeding, home ranges. 5. We conclude that familiarity does not determine settlement as much as, for example, availability of the habitat for flying squirrels. Based on our results, it also seems clear that data on adult habitat use are not enough to predict habitat use of dispersing individuals. In addition, our results support the recent view that short- and long-distance dispersers may need to be analysed separately in ecological and evolutionary analyses. PMID:17032376

  13. Polymorphism of photopigments in the squirrel monkey: a sixth phenotype.

    PubMed

    Bowmaker, J K; Jacobs, G H; Mollon, J D

    1987-08-21

    We describe here a trichromatic type of squirrel monkey that resembles Old World monkeys in having two well-separated photopigments in the red-green part of the spectrum; the cones of this phenotype have peak sensitivities close to 430, 536 and 564 nm. The existence of such animals is predicted by a genetic model that postulates three alleles for a single locus on the X-chromosome of the squirrel monkey. The three alleles correspond to three different photopigments in the red-green spectral range. A male monkey, or a homozygous female, will be dichromatic, combining short-wave cones with just one of the cone types in the red-green range. But a female monkey, if heterozygous at the locus, draws any two of the three alleles from the set. X-chromosome inactivation ensures that the two alleles are expressed in different subpopulations of retinal cone, giving the monkey the basis for trichromatic colour vision. This model requires three trichromatic types of female squirrel monkey. The photopigment complements of two types have previously been reported and microspectrophotometric data are now given for the third type. Behaviourally, this third type of trichromat gives precise Rayleigh matches that are intermediate between those of the other two types of trichromat. The polymorphism of photopigments in the squirrel monkey may be maintained by the heterozygous advantage enjoyed by the trichromatic females. This would be an instructive instance of heterozygous advantage because it is a case where X-chromosome inactivation plays a crucial role in segregating the two different gene-products into different cells. PMID:2888125

  14. Fitness consequences of hoarding behaviour in the Eurasian red squirrel.

    PubMed

    Wauters, L A; Suhonen, J; Dhondt, A A

    1995-12-22

    Hoarding increases food availability during periods of scarcity, and therefore should enhance fitness. Although short-term advantages of hoarding have been described for birds, effects over an animal's lifetime have not yet been documented. Here, we report that in the red squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris, individuals which recovered many cached tree seeds increased their body mass and were more likely to survive the spring breeding season than those that recovered fewer seeds. There was no significant effect of the time spent recovering cached food on the probability for females to produce a spring litter. In the long-term, hoarding behaviour was related to fitness in two ways; (i) squirrels spending more time recovering hoards survived longer; and (ii) females with a high recovery activity tended to wean more young in their lifetime than those that spent less time recovering hoards. Our data indicate that in red squirrels, food hoarding is an adaptive foraging strategy to preserve temporarily abundant food resources for future periods of hardship, and that individuals that hoard and recovery many tree seeds are more likely to survive and reproduce. PMID:8587886

  15. Architectonic subdivisions of neocortex in the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

    PubMed Central

    Wong, Peiyan; Kaas, Jon H.

    2010-01-01

    Squirrels are highly visual mammals with an expanded cortical visual system and a number of well-differentiated architectonic fields. In order to describe and delimit cortical fields, subdivisions of cortex were reconstructed from serial brain sections cut in the coronal, sagittal, or horizontal planes. Architectonic characteristics of cortical areas were visualized after brain sections were processed with immunohistochemical and histochemical procedures for revealing parvalbumin, calbindin, neurofilament protein, vesicle glutamate transporter 2, limbic-associated membrane protein, synaptic zinc, cytochrome oxidase, myelin or Nissl substance. In general, these different procedures revealed similar boundaries between areas, suggesting that functionally relevant borders were being detected. The results allowed a more precise demarcation of previously identified areas as well as the identification of areas that had not been previously described. Primary sensory cortical areas characterized by sparse zinc staining of layer 4, as thalamocortical terminations lack zinc, as well as by layer 4 terminations rich in parvalbumin and vesicle glutamate transporter 2. Primary areas also expressed higher levels of cytochrome oxidase and myelin. Primary motor cortex was associated with large SMI-32 labeled pyramidal cells in layers 3 and 5. Our proposed organization of cortex in grey squirrels includes both similarities and differences to the proposed of cortex in other rodents such as mice and rats. The presence of a number of well-differentiated cortical areas in squirrels may serve as a guide to the identification of homologous fields in other rodents, as well as a useful guide in further studies of cortical organization and function. PMID:18780299

  16. Fitness consequences of hoarding behaviour in the Eurasian red squirrel.

    PubMed

    Wauters, L A; Suhonen, J; Dhondt, A A

    1995-12-22

    Hoarding increases food availability during periods of scarcity, and therefore should enhance fitness. Although short-term advantages of hoarding have been described for birds, effects over an animal's lifetime have not yet been documented. Here, we report that in the red squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris, individuals which recovered many cached tree seeds increased their body mass and were more likely to survive the spring breeding season than those that recovered fewer seeds. There was no significant effect of the time spent recovering cached food on the probability for females to produce a spring litter. In the long-term, hoarding behaviour was related to fitness in two ways; (i) squirrels spending more time recovering hoards survived longer; and (ii) females with a high recovery activity tended to wean more young in their lifetime than those that spent less time recovering hoards. Our data indicate that in red squirrels, food hoarding is an adaptive foraging strategy to preserve temporarily abundant food resources for future periods of hardship, and that individuals that hoard and recovery many tree seeds are more likely to survive and reproduce.

  17. Eye-head coordination during optokinetic stimulation in squirrel monkeys

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kubo, T.; Igarashi, M.; Jensen, D. W.; Homick, J. L.

    1981-01-01

    Head and eye movements in the yaw plane were recorded during and after optokinetic stimulation in squirrel monkeys. 1) Phasic or tonic head deviations to the side of the ocular quick phase occurred in 94% of total recordings (n = 50) during the perstimulus period, and in 75% of recordings (n = 49) during the poststimulus period. Magnitude of mean head deviation was significantly different between perstimulus and poststimulus periods. 2) Head nystagmus associated with eye nystagmus was consistently observed in seven of nine squirrel monkeys during optokinetic stimulation. Squirrel monkeys are thereby less prone to display head nystagmus than either guinea pigs, pigeons or chickens. 3) Slow phase speeds of coupled head and eye nystagmus were subjected to statistical analysis. A highly significant negative correlation was found between slow phase head and eye speeds. The correlation coefficient was - 0.81 at 60 degrees / sec stimulus (n = 119) and -0.72 at 100 degrees / sec stimulus (n = 131). The gaze speed, calculated by summing the head and eye speeds, was 59.1 plus or minus 6.8 / sec at 60 degrees / sec and 92.2 plus or minus 11.4 at 100 degrees / sec stimulus. There was no significant difference between the gaze speed in a free head condition and the eye speed when the head was fixed.

  18. Red Squirrel Middens Influence Abundance but Not Diversity of Other Vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Posthumus, Erin E.; Koprowski, John L.; Steidl, Robert J.

    2015-01-01

    Some animals modify the environment in ways that can influence the resources available to other species. Because red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) create large piles of conifer-cone debris (middens) in which they store cones, squirrels concentrate resources that might affect biodiversity locally. To determine whether other animals are attracted to midden sites beyond their affinity for the same resources that attract red squirrels, we assessed associations between middens, mammals, and birds at population and community levels. We surveyed 75 middens where residency rates of red squirrels varied during the previous five years; sampling along this residency gradient permitted us to evaluate the influence of resources at middens beyond the influence of a resident squirrel. At each location, we quantified vegetation, landscape structure, abundance of conifer cones, and midden structure, and used capture–recapture, distance sampling, and remote cameras to quantify presence, abundance, and species richness of mammals and birds. Red squirrels and the resources they concentrated at middens influenced mammals and birds at the population scale and to a lesser extent at the community scale. At middens with higher residency rates of red squirrels, richness of medium and large mammals increased markedly and species richness of birds increased slightly. After accounting for local forest characteristics, however, only species richness of medium-to-large mammals was associated with a red squirrel being resident during surveys. In areas where red squirrels were resident during surveys or in areas with greater amounts of resources concentrated by red squirrels, abundances of two of four small mammal species and two of four bird species increased. We conclude that the presence of this ecosystem modifier and the resources it concentrates influence abundance of some mammals and birds, which may have implications for maintaining biodiversity across the wide geographic range

  19. Red squirrel middens influence abundance but not diversity of other vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Posthumus, Erin E; Koprowski, John L; Steidl, Robert J

    2015-01-01

    Some animals modify the environment in ways that can influence the resources available to other species. Because red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) create large piles of conifer-cone debris (middens) in which they store cones, squirrels concentrate resources that might affect biodiversity locally. To determine whether other animals are attracted to midden sites beyond their affinity for the same resources that attract red squirrels, we assessed associations between middens, mammals, and birds at population and community levels. We surveyed 75 middens where residency rates of red squirrels varied during the previous five years; sampling along this residency gradient permitted us to evaluate the influence of resources at middens beyond the influence of a resident squirrel. At each location, we quantified vegetation, landscape structure, abundance of conifer cones, and midden structure, and used capture-recapture, distance sampling, and remote cameras to quantify presence, abundance, and species richness of mammals and birds. Red squirrels and the resources they concentrated at middens influenced mammals and birds at the population scale and to a lesser extent at the community scale. At middens with higher residency rates of red squirrels, richness of medium and large mammals increased markedly and species richness of birds increased slightly. After accounting for local forest characteristics, however, only species richness of medium-to-large mammals was associated with a red squirrel being resident during surveys. In areas where red squirrels were resident during surveys or in areas with greater amounts of resources concentrated by red squirrels, abundances of two of four small mammal species and two of four bird species increased. We conclude that the presence of this ecosystem modifier and the resources it concentrates influence abundance of some mammals and birds, which may have implications for maintaining biodiversity across the wide geographic range

  20. Red squirrel middens influence abundance but not diversity of other vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Posthumus, Erin E; Koprowski, John L; Steidl, Robert J

    2015-01-01

    Some animals modify the environment in ways that can influence the resources available to other species. Because red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) create large piles of conifer-cone debris (middens) in which they store cones, squirrels concentrate resources that might affect biodiversity locally. To determine whether other animals are attracted to midden sites beyond their affinity for the same resources that attract red squirrels, we assessed associations between middens, mammals, and birds at population and community levels. We surveyed 75 middens where residency rates of red squirrels varied during the previous five years; sampling along this residency gradient permitted us to evaluate the influence of resources at middens beyond the influence of a resident squirrel. At each location, we quantified vegetation, landscape structure, abundance of conifer cones, and midden structure, and used capture-recapture, distance sampling, and remote cameras to quantify presence, abundance, and species richness of mammals and birds. Red squirrels and the resources they concentrated at middens influenced mammals and birds at the population scale and to a lesser extent at the community scale. At middens with higher residency rates of red squirrels, richness of medium and large mammals increased markedly and species richness of birds increased slightly. After accounting for local forest characteristics, however, only species richness of medium-to-large mammals was associated with a red squirrel being resident during surveys. In areas where red squirrels were resident during surveys or in areas with greater amounts of resources concentrated by red squirrels, abundances of two of four small mammal species and two of four bird species increased. We conclude that the presence of this ecosystem modifier and the resources it concentrates influence abundance of some mammals and birds, which may have implications for maintaining biodiversity across the wide geographic range

  1. Evolution of genome organizations of squirrels (Sciuridae) revealed by cross-species chromosome painting.

    PubMed

    Li, Tangliang; O'Brien, Patricia C M; Biltueva, Larisa; Fu, Beiyuan; Wang, Jinhuan; Nie, Wenhui; Ferguson-Smith, Malcolm A; Graphodatsky, Alexander S; Yang, Fengtang

    2004-01-01

    With complete sets of chromosome-specific painting probes derived from flow-sorted chromosomes of human and grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), the whole genome homologies between human and representatives of tree squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis, Callosciurus erythraeus), flying squirrels (Petaurista albiventer) and chipmunks (Tamias sibiricus) have been defined by cross-species chromosome painting. The results show that, unlike the highly rearranged karyotypes of mouse and rat, the karyotypes of squirrels are highly conserved. Two methods have been used to reconstruct the genome phylogeny of squirrels with the laboratory rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) as the out-group: (1) phylogenetic analysis by parsimony using chromosomal characters identified by comparative cytogenetic approaches; (2) mapping the genome rearrangements onto recently published sequence-based molecular trees. Our chromosome painting results, in combination with molecular data, show that flying squirrels are phylogenetically close to New World tree squirrels. Chromosome painting and G-banding comparisons place chipmunks (Tamias sibiricus ), with a derived karyotype, outside the clade comprising tree and flying squirrels. The superorder Glires (orde Rodentia + order Lagomorpha) is firmly supported by two conserved syntenic associations between human chromosomes 1 and 10p homologues, and between 9 and 11 homologues. PMID:15241012

  2. Competition between Eurasian red and introduced Eastern grey squirrels: the energetic significance of body-mass differences.

    PubMed

    Bryce, J M; Speakman, J R; Johnson, P J; Macdonald, D W

    2001-08-22

    Daily energy expenditure (DEE) was measured in sympatric populations of red and grey squirrels using the doubly labelled water technique. Grey squirrels had significantly higher DEEs than red squirrels. However, the difference between the species was not separable from the effects of body mass on DEE. The DEEs of both species were in accordance with published allometric predictions incorporating body mass and ambient temperature. The differences in energetic requirements and social dominance, both consequences of body size, may represent means by which grey squirrels exert more interspecific competition on red squirrels than do conspecifics, potentially driving populations below viable levels in some sites.

  3. Woodland fragmentation affects space use of Eurasian red squirrels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Verbeylen, Goedele; Wauters, Lucas A.; De Bruyn, Luc; Matthysen, Erik

    2009-01-01

    When habitats become fragmented, variation in patch size and quality are expected to impose changes on the spacing pattern and social organization of animal populations. General theory predicts different possible responses including shrinking home ranges (fission response), increasing range overlap (fusion) and incorporation of multiple patches in the home range (expansion response) as fragmentation increases. We studied space use and social organization in a metapopulation of red squirrels ( Sciurus vulgaris) in 15 woodland fragments differing in size and tree species composition. Home ranges and core areas of males were larger than females, and fragmentation had different and complex effects on the spacing pattern of both sexes. In food-supplemented patches, high densities led to increased intra-sexual overlap. In linear-shaped patches, squirrels used smaller home ranges and core areas and had lower male-male and male-female overlap levels, independent of patch quality or size. Home range and core area size of males increased with patch size, and male core areas overlapped extensively those of other males and females. Hence males seemed to show a fission response only in some patches. In contrast, home range and core area size of females was not related with patch size, but decreased with habitat quality, supporting predictions of a fusion response and intra-sexual defense of food-based core areas. Hence, where patch size and shape strongly affected space use of male red squirrels, social organization of females was only affected in small, food-supplemented patches, suggesting that the basic spatio-social organization of adult females is very resistant to fragmentation.

  4. The squirrel monkey as a candidate for space flight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brizzee, K. R.; Ordy, J. M.; Kaack, B.

    1977-01-01

    Because of its size and other unique diurnal-primate characteristics, the squirrel monkey is used in: (1) actual bioflight missions, (2) in laboratory tests designed to clarify the risks to man during launch and recovery as well as in hazardous spaceflight environments; and (3) in the acquisition of data on unknown risks encountered in long duration space exploration. Pertinent data concerning samiri sciureus as described in published and unpublished reports are summarized. Topics include: taxonomy, ethology, life history, sensory-learning-motor capabilities in primate perspective, anatomy and physiology (including homeostatic adaptation to stress), susceptibility to environmental hazards, reproduction, care and clinical management, and previous use in aerospace biomedical research.

  5. Macroparasite Fauna of Alien Grey Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis): Composition, Variability and Implications for Native Species

    PubMed Central

    Romeo, Claudia; Wauters, Lucas A.; Ferrari, Nicola; Lanfranchi, Paolo; Martinoli, Adriano; Pisanu, Benoît; Preatoni, Damiano G.; Saino, Nicola

    2014-01-01

    Introduced hosts populations may benefit of an "enemy release" through impoverishment of parasite communities made of both few imported species and few acquired local ones. Moreover, closely related competing native hosts can be affected by acquiring introduced taxa (spillover) and by increased transmission risk of native parasites (spillback). We determined the macroparasite fauna of invasive grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) in Italy to detect any diversity loss, introduction of novel parasites or acquisition of local ones, and analysed variation in parasite burdens to identify factors that may increase transmission risk for native red squirrels (S. vulgaris). Based on 277 grey squirrels sampled from 7 populations characterised by different time scales in introduction events, we identified 7 gastro-intestinal helminths and 4 parasite arthropods. Parasite richness is lower than in grey squirrel's native range and independent from introduction time lags. The most common parasites are Nearctic nematodes Strongyloides robustus (prevalence: 56.6%) and Trichostrongylus calcaratus (6.5%), red squirrel flea Ceratophyllus sciurorum (26.0%) and Holarctic sucking louse Neohaematopinus sciuri (17.7%). All other parasites are European or cosmopolitan species with prevalence below 5%. S. robustus abundance is positively affected by host density and body mass, C. sciurorum abundance increases with host density and varies with seasons. Overall, we show that grey squirrels in Italy may benefit of an enemy release, and both spillback and spillover processes towards native red squirrels may occur. PMID:24505348

  6. Effects of tannins on digestion and detoxification activity in gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis).

    PubMed

    Chung-MacCoubrey, A L; Hagerman, A E; Kirkpatrick, R L

    1997-01-01

    Acorn tannins may affect food preferences and foraging strategies of squirrels through effects on acorn palatability and digestibility and squirrel physiology. Captive eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) were fed 100% red oak (Quercus rubra) or white oak (Quercus alba) acorn diets to determine effects on intake, digestion, and detoxification activity. Red oak acorns had higher phenol and tannin levels, which may explain the lower dry matter intakes and apparent protein digestibilities and the higher glucuronidation activities observed in squirrels. Although the white oak acorn diet had lower apparent protein digestibilities than the reference diet, it did not suppress dry matter intake for a prolonged period or stimulate glucuronidation. Negative physiological effects of a 100% red oak acorn diet suggest gray squirrels may require other foods to dilute tannin intake and provide additional nutrients. To distinguish the roles of different tannin types in the observed effects of acorn diets on squirrels, squirrels were fed rat chow containing no tannins, 4% or 8% tannic acid (hydrolyzable tannin), or 3% or 6% quebracho (condensed tannin). Apparent protein digestibilities were reduced by tannic acid and quebracho diets. Only the 8% tannic acid diet tended to increase glucuronidation. Specific effects of tannins may largely depend on tannin type, composition, and source and on other nutritional and physiological factors. PMID:9231400

  7. Behavioural responses of Eastern grey squirrels, Sciurus carolinensis, to cues of risk while foraging.

    PubMed

    Jayne, Kimberley; Lea, Stephen E G; Leaver, Lisa A

    2015-07-01

    Previous studies have shown that Eastern grey squirrels modify their behaviour while foraging to offset risks of social and predatory costs, but none have simultaneously compared whether such modifications are performed at a cost to foraging. The present study directly compares how grey squirrels respond to cues of these risks while foraging. We simulated social risk and predatory risk using acoustic playbacks of stimuli that grey squirrels might be exposed to at a foraging patch: calls of conspecifics, heterospecifics (competitor and non-competitor) and predators. We found that grey squirrels responded to predator, heterospecific competitor and conspecific playbacks by altering their foraging and vigilance behaviours. Foraging was most disrupted by increased vigilance when we played calls of predators. Squirrels' response to calls of heterospecific competitors did not differ from their response to conspecific calls, and they resumed foraging more quickly after both compared to predator calls: whereas they showed little response to calls of non-competitor heterospecifics and a white noise control. We conclude that squirrels respond differentially to calls made by conspecifics, heterospecific competitors and predators, with the most pronounced response being to calls of predators. We suggest that squirrels may view conspecific and corvid vocalisations as cues of potential conflict while foraging, necessitating increased vigilance. PMID:25957953

  8. Toxoplasmosis in a woodchuck (Marmota monax) and two American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus).

    PubMed

    Bangari, Dinesh S; Mouser, Pamela; Miller, Margaret A; Stevenson, Gregory W; Vemulapalli, Ramesh; Thacker, H Leon

    2007-11-01

    Toxoplasmosis was diagnosed in a woodchuck (Marmota monax) and 2 American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus). The woodchuck was euthanized by a wildlife rescue organization in New York after progressive clinical signs of head tilt, circling, and rapid weight loss. Necropsy examination revealed acute subdural hemorrhage over the right cerebral hemisphere. Histologic lesions included meningoencephalitis, myocarditis, and hepatitis. Protozoal cysts were present in affected and unaffected neuroparenchyma. The squirrels were found dead, emaciated, and moderately infested with fleas near a park in northern Indiana. In both squirrels, the lungs were consolidated with numerous nodules up to 2 mm in diameter. Histologically, pneumonia and encephalitis were associated with intracellular and free protozoa. Additional histologic lesions included multifocal lymphoplasmacytic encephalitis with intralesional protozoa in both squirrels. The protozoa were positive with Toxoplasma gondii-specific immunohistochemistry and had ultrastructural features consistent with T. gondii in both squirrels. A real-time polymerase chain reaction test using T. gondii-specific probes demonstrated protozoal DNA in the lung, brain, and kidney of the squirrels and in the brain and heart of the woodchuck. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of toxoplasmosis in woodchucks or American red squirrels. Because rodents are common near urban settlements, this finding underscores their role as important intermediate hosts for T. gondii.

  9. Macroparasite fauna of alien grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis): composition, variability and implications for native species.

    PubMed

    Romeo, Claudia; Wauters, Lucas A; Ferrari, Nicola; Lanfranchi, Paolo; Martinoli, Adriano; Pisanu, Benoît; Preatoni, Damiano G; Saino, Nicola

    2014-01-01

    Introduced hosts populations may benefit of an "enemy release" through impoverishment of parasite communities made of both few imported species and few acquired local ones. Moreover, closely related competing native hosts can be affected by acquiring introduced taxa (spillover) and by increased transmission risk of native parasites (spillback). We determined the macroparasite fauna of invasive grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) in Italy to detect any diversity loss, introduction of novel parasites or acquisition of local ones, and analysed variation in parasite burdens to identify factors that may increase transmission risk for native red squirrels (S. vulgaris). Based on 277 grey squirrels sampled from 7 populations characterised by different time scales in introduction events, we identified 7 gastro-intestinal helminths and 4 parasite arthropods. Parasite richness is lower than in grey squirrel's native range and independent from introduction time lags. The most common parasites are Nearctic nematodes Strongyloides robustus (prevalence: 56.6%) and Trichostrongylus calcaratus (6.5%), red squirrel flea Ceratophyllus sciurorum (26.0%) and Holarctic sucking louse Neohaematopinus sciuri (17.7%). All other parasites are European or cosmopolitan species with prevalence below 5%. S. robustus abundance is positively affected by host density and body mass, C. sciurorum abundance increases with host density and varies with seasons. Overall, we show that grey squirrels in Italy may benefit of an enemy release, and both spillback and spillover processes towards native red squirrels may occur. PMID:24505348

  10. Macroparasite fauna of alien grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis): composition, variability and implications for native species.

    PubMed

    Romeo, Claudia; Wauters, Lucas A; Ferrari, Nicola; Lanfranchi, Paolo; Martinoli, Adriano; Pisanu, Benoît; Preatoni, Damiano G; Saino, Nicola

    2014-01-01

    Introduced hosts populations may benefit of an "enemy release" through impoverishment of parasite communities made of both few imported species and few acquired local ones. Moreover, closely related competing native hosts can be affected by acquiring introduced taxa (spillover) and by increased transmission risk of native parasites (spillback). We determined the macroparasite fauna of invasive grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) in Italy to detect any diversity loss, introduction of novel parasites or acquisition of local ones, and analysed variation in parasite burdens to identify factors that may increase transmission risk for native red squirrels (S. vulgaris). Based on 277 grey squirrels sampled from 7 populations characterised by different time scales in introduction events, we identified 7 gastro-intestinal helminths and 4 parasite arthropods. Parasite richness is lower than in grey squirrel's native range and independent from introduction time lags. The most common parasites are Nearctic nematodes Strongyloides robustus (prevalence: 56.6%) and Trichostrongylus calcaratus (6.5%), red squirrel flea Ceratophyllus sciurorum (26.0%) and Holarctic sucking louse Neohaematopinus sciuri (17.7%). All other parasites are European or cosmopolitan species with prevalence below 5%. S. robustus abundance is positively affected by host density and body mass, C. sciurorum abundance increases with host density and varies with seasons. Overall, we show that grey squirrels in Italy may benefit of an enemy release, and both spillback and spillover processes towards native red squirrels may occur.

  11. Natal habitat-biased dispersal in the Siberian flying squirrel.

    PubMed

    Selonen, Vesa; Hanski, Ilpo K; Desrochers, André

    2007-08-22

    Theoretically, dispersers should target the habitat where prospects for fitness will be highest. Aiming for a habitat similar to the natal area (natal habitat-biased dispersal) has been hypothesized as a probable rule of thumb for dispersers, but has received very little empirical support to date. We investigated similarities between natal and post-dispersal settlement sites with radio-collared Siberian flying squirrels (Pteromys volans L.). Juveniles born in small patches and raised in nests close to patch edge settled in small patches and used nests close to edges after dispersal. In addition, post-dispersal use of dreys (versus cavities) was similar to that observed in natal sites. However, the quality of settlement habitat was unrelated to the quality of the natal site, which suggests that natal experience on average-quality habitats may not lead to ecological traps for flying squirrels. This study provides evidence that habitat selection at the landscape scale is influenced by habitat of natal area. PMID:17567559

  12. Mesoamerican tree squirrels evolution (Rodentia: Sciuridae): a molecular phylogenetic analysis.

    PubMed

    Villalobos, Federico; Gutierrez-Espeleta, Gustavo

    2014-06-01

    The tribe Sciurini comprehends the genera Sciurus, Syntheosiurus, Microsciurus, Tamiasciurus and Rheinthrosciurus. The phylogenetic relationships within Sciurus have been only partially done, and the relationship between Mesoamerican species remains unsolved. The phylogenetic relationships of the Mesoamerican tree squirrels were examined using molecular data. Sequence data publicly available (12S, 16S, CYTB mitochondrial genes and IRBP nuclear gene) and cytochrome B gene sequences of four previously not sampled Mesoamerican Sciurus species were analyzed under a Bayesian multispecies coalescence model. Phylogenetic analysis of the multilocus data set showed the neotropical tree squirrels as a monophyletic clade. The genus Sciurus was paraphyletic due to the inclusion of Microsciurus species (M. alfari and M. flaviventer). The South American species S. aestuans and S. stramineus showed a sister taxa relationship. Single locus analysis based on the most compact and complete data set (i.e. CYTB gene sequences), supported the monophyly of the South American species and recovered a Mesoamerican clade including S. aureogaster, S. granatensis and S. variegatoides. These results corroborated previous findings based on cladistic analysis of cranial and post-cranial characters. Our data support a close relationship between Mesoamerican Sciurus species and a sister relationship with South American species, and corroborates previous findings in relation to the polyphyly of Microsciurus and Syntheosciurus paraphyly.

  13. Strongyloides robustus and the northern sympatric populations of northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern (G. volans) flying squirrels.

    PubMed

    Pauli, Jonathan N; Dubay, Shelli A; Anderson, Eric M; Taft, Stephen J

    2004-07-01

    Within North America, northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern (Glaucomys volans) flying squirrels occupy distinct ranges with limited overlap. Sympatry in northern latitudes coincides with northern hardwood vegetation from Minnesota to New England. Strongyloides robustus is an intestinal parasite that infects both species but appears to be deleterious only to northern flying squirrels. As a result, S. robustus could be a critical determinant of flying squirrel population characteristics in at least some areas of sympatry. However, cold weather could potentially limit the distribution of S. robustus in northern climates. Therefore, we assessed fecal samples from both flying squirrel species to determine the presence of the nematode in Wisconsin. Strongyloides robustus was found in 12 flying squirrel scat samples and infected 52% of southern flying squirrels and 11% of northern flying squirrels. Prevalence of S. robustus infection for northern flying squirrels was substantially lower than previously reported from more southern regions. This is the northernmost documentation of S. robustus in flying squirrels and the first documentation of S. robustus parasitizing flying squirrels in Wisconsin. PMID:15465730

  14. Mandible shape and dwarfism in squirrels (Mammalia, Rodentia): interaction of allometry and adaptation.

    PubMed

    Hautier, Lionel; Fabre, Pierre-Henri; Michaux, Jacques

    2009-06-01

    Squirrels include several independent lineages of dwarf forms distributed into two ecological groups: the dwarf tree and flying squirrels. The mandible of dwarf tree squirrels share a highly reduced coronoid process and a condylar process drawn backwards. Dwarf flying squirrels on the other hand, have an elongated coronoid process and a well-differentiated condylar process. To interpret such a difference, Elliptic Fourier Transform was used to evaluate how mandible shape varies with dwarfism in sciurids. The results obtained show that this clear-cut difference cannot be explained by a simple allometric relationship in relation with size decrease. We concluded that the retention of anteriorly positioned eye sockets, in relation with distance estimation, allowed the conservation of a well-differentiated coronoid process in all flying species, despite the trend towards its reduction observed among sciurids as their size decreases. PMID:19288073

  15. Mandible shape and dwarfism in squirrels (Mammalia, Rodentia): interaction of allometry and adaptation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hautier, Lionel; Fabre, Pierre-Henri; Michaux, Jacques

    2009-06-01

    Squirrels include several independent lineages of dwarf forms distributed into two ecological groups: the dwarf tree and flying squirrels. The mandible of dwarf tree squirrels share a highly reduced coronoid process and a condylar process drawn backwards. Dwarf flying squirrels on the other hand, have an elongated coronoid process and a well-differentiated condylar process. To interpret such a difference, Elliptic Fourier Transform was used to evaluate how mandible shape varies with dwarfism in sciurids. The results obtained show that this clear-cut difference cannot be explained by a simple allometric relationship in relation with size decrease. We concluded that the retention of anteriorly positioned eye sockets, in relation with distance estimation, allowed the conservation of a well-differentiated coronoid process in all flying species, despite the trend towards its reduction observed among sciurids as their size decreases.

  16. Subgingival microbiota in squirrel monkeys with naturally occurring periodontal diseases.

    PubMed Central

    Beem, J E; Hurley, C G; Magnusson, I; McArthur, W P; Clark, W B

    1991-01-01

    The squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus) has been proposed as an in vivo model for the study of subgingival colonization by suspected periodontopathogens, such as black-pigmented porphyromonads and prevotellas (BP/P). However, the indigenous microbiota of the squirrel monkey has not been well described. Therefore, in order to more fully characterize the oral microbiota of these animals, we studied two groups of squirrel monkeys from widely different sources. Group I consisted of 50 breeding colony monkeys ranging in age from 9 months to over 6 years which had been raised in captivity; group II consisted of 16 young sexually mature monkeys recently captured in the wild in Guyana. Group I animals in captivity had developed moderate to severe gingivitis, with a mean gingival index (GI) of 2.6; 52% of the sites bled, 26% had detectable calculus, and 83% had detectable BP/P. A group I subset (six animals), for which predominant cultivable microbiota was described, had a mean GI of 2.4. Colony morphology enumeration revealed that five of the six subset animals were detectably colonized with BP/P (range, 0 to 16.9%) and Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans (range, 0 to 3.9%); all subset animals were colonized with Fusobacterium species (range, 0.8 to 3.6%), Actinomyces species (range, 2.3 to 11%), and gram-positive cocci (range, 1.4 to 21.4%). Predominant cultivable microbiota results revealed the presence of many bacterial species commonly found in the human gingival sulcus. At baseline, group II animals were clinically healthy and had a mean GI of 1.4; 67% of the sites bled and 2.1% had calculus, and none of the animals had detectable BP/P. Neisseriae were very common in noninflamed sites. Subsequently, when inflamed sites were compared with noninflamed sites in group II animals after they had been maintained in captivity for 6 months, inflamed sites exhibited a more complex microbiota and increased proportions of gram-negative rods and asaccharolytic bacteria. PMID

  17. Dissecting the mechanisms of squirrel monkey (Saimiri boliviensis) social learning

    PubMed Central

    Holmes, AN; Williams, LE; Brosnan, SF

    2013-01-01

    Although the social learning abilities of monkeys have been well documented, this research has only focused on a few species. Furthermore, of those that also incorporated dissections of social learning mechanisms, the majority studied either capuchins (Cebus apella) or marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). To gain a broader understanding of how monkeys gain new skills, we tested squirrel monkeys (Saimiri boliviensis) which have never been studied in tests of social learning mechanisms. To determine whether S. boliviensis can socially learn, we ran “open diffusion” tests with monkeys housed in two social groups (N = 23). Over the course of 10 20-min sessions, the monkeys in each group observed a trained group member retrieving a mealworm from a bidirectional task (the “Slide-box”). Two thirds (67%) of these monkeys both learned how to operate the Slide-box and they also moved the door significantly more times in the direction modeled by the trained demonstrator than the alternative direction. To tease apart the underlying social learning mechanisms we ran a series of three control conditions with 35 squirrel monkeys that had no previous experience with the Slide-box. The first replicated the experimental open diffusion sessions but without the inclusion of a trained model, the second was a no-information control with dyads of monkeys, and the third was a ‘ghost’ display shown to individual monkeys. The first two controls tested for the importance of social support (mere presence effect) and the ghost display showed the affordances of the task to the monkeys. The monkeys showed a certain level of success in the group control (54% of subjects solved the task on one or more occasions) and paired controls (28% were successful) but none were successful in the ghost control. We propose that the squirrel monkeys’ learning, observed in the experimental open diffusion tests, can be best described by a combination of social learning mechanisms in concert; in this

  18. Quadrupedal locomotor performance in two species of arboreal squirrels: predicting energy savings of gliding.

    PubMed

    Flaherty, Elizabeth A; Ben-David, Merav; Smith, Winston P

    2010-10-01

    Gliding allows mammals to exploit canopy habitats of old-growth forests possibly as a means to save energy. To assess costs of quadrupedal locomotion for a gliding arboreal mammal, we used open-flow respirometry and a variable-speed treadmill to measure oxygen consumption and to calculate cost of transport, excess exercise oxygen consumption, and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption for nine northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) and four fox squirrels (Sciurus niger). Our results indicate that oxygen consumption during exercise by flying squirrels was 1.26-1.65 times higher than predicted based on body mass, and exponentially increased with velocity (from 0.84 ± 0.03 ml O(2) kg(-1) s(-1) at 0.40 m s(-1) to 1.55 ± 0.03 ml O(2) kg(-1) s(-1) at 0.67 m s(-1)). Also, cost of transport in flying squirrels increased with velocity, although excess exercise oxygen consumption and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption did not. In contrast, oxygen consumption during exercise for fox squirrels was similar to predicted, varying from 0.51 (±0.02) ml O(2) kg(-1) s(-1) at 0.63 m s(-1) to 0.54 (±0.03) ml O(2) kg(-1) s(-1) at 1.25 m s(-1). In addition, the cost of transport for fox squirrels decreased with velocity, while excess exercise oxygen consumption and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption did not. Collectively, these observations suggest that unlike fox squirrels, flying squirrels are poorly adapted to prolonged bouts of quadrupedal locomotion. The evolution of skeletal adaptations to climbing, leaping, and landing and the development of a gliding membrane likely has increased the cost of quadrupedal locomotion by >50% while resulting in energy savings during gliding and reduction in travel time between foraging patches. PMID:20361193

  19. Assessment of the Kania trap to humanely kill red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) in enclosures.

    PubMed

    Proulx, G; Kolenosky, A J; Cole, P J

    1993-04-01

    The Kania trap equipped with side wings and baited with a pine cone quickly killed nine of nine red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) in enclosures. Mean times to loss of consciousness and heartbeat were estimated at < or = 65 sec and < or = 91 sec, respectively, after firing the trap. Thus the Kania can be expected to render > or = 70% of captured red squirrels irreversibly unconscious in < or = 3 min (P < 0.05).

  20. Nuclear DNA phylogeny of the squirrels (Mammalia: Rodentia) and the evolution of arboreality from c-myc and RAG1.

    PubMed

    Steppan, Scott J; Storz, Brian L; Hoffmann, Robert S

    2004-03-01

    Although the family Sciuridae is large and well known, phylogenetic analyses are scarce. We report on a comprehensive molecular phylogeny for the family. Two nuclear genes (c-myc and RAG1) comprising approximately 4500 bp of data (most in exons) are applied for the first time to rodent phylogenetics. Parsimony, likelihood, and Bayesian analyses of the separate gene regions and combined data reveal five major lineages and refute the conventional elevation of the flying squirrels (Pteromyinae) to subfamily status. Instead, flying squirrels are derived from one of the tree squirrel lineages. C-myc indels corroborate the sequence-based topologies. The common ancestor of extant squirrels appears to have been arboreal, confirming the fossil evidence. The results also reveal an unexpected clade of mostly terrestrial squirrels with African and Holarctic centers of diversity. We present a revised classification of squirrels. Our results demonstrate the phylogenetic utility of relatively slowly evolving nuclear exonic data even for relatively recent clades. PMID:15012949

  1. Green foliage losses from ponderosa pines induced by Abert squirrels and snowstorms: A comparison. [Sciurus aberti; Pinus pondersosa

    SciTech Connect

    Allred, W.S.; Gaud, W.S. )

    1993-01-01

    Abert squirrels (Sciurus aberti) are obligate herbivores on ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa). The inner bark of pine shoots is considered one of the predominant food resources obtained by foraging squirrels. As squirrels forage for this resource they induce green needle losses from chosen feed trees. Amounts of induced green needle losses appear to vary according to the availability of alternative foods and squirrel population densities. Weather also induces green needle losses to ponderosa pines. Results of this study indicate that, at least in some years, heavy snowstorms can induce greater amounts of green needle losses than squirrels. Squirrel herbivory was not indicated as a factor in any tree mortality. However, losses due to snowstorms are more severe since they may cause the actual depletion of trees in the forest because of the tree mortality they inflict.

  2. Monitoring interactions between red-cockaded woodpeckers and southern flying squirrels.

    SciTech Connect

    Risch, Thomas S.; Loeb, Susan C.

    2004-12-31

    Risch, Thomas S., and Susan C. Loeb. 2004. Monitoring interactions between red-cockaded woodpeckers and southern flying squirrels. In: Red-cockaded woodpecker; Road to Recovery. Proceedings of the 4th Red-cockaded woodpecker Symposium. Ralph Costa and Susan J. Daniels, eds. Savannah, Georgia. January, 2003. Chapter 8. Cavities, Cavity Trees, and Cavity Communities. Pp 504-505. Abstract: Although several studies have suggested that southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) may have a significant negative impact on red-cockades woodpeckers (Picoides borealsi) (Loeb and Hooper 1997, Laves and Loeb 1999), the nature of the interactions between the species remains unclear. Particularly lacking are data that address if southern flying squirrels directly usurp red-cockaded woodpecker s from cavities, or simply occupy cavities previously abandoned by red-cockaded woodpeckers. Ridley et al. (1997) observed the displacement of a red-cockaded woodpecker by a southern flying squirrel that was released after being captured. Observations of nocturnal displacements of red-cockaded woodpeckers by flying squirrels, however, are lacking. Due to the difficulty of observing interspecific interactions, determining the mechanisims by which flying squirrels impact red-cockaded woodpeckers is problematic.

  3. Regulation and distribution of squirrel monkey chorionic gonadotropin and secretogranin II in the pituitary

    PubMed Central

    Vasauskas, Audrey A.; Hubler, Tina R.; Mahanic, Christina; Gibson, Susan; Kahn, Andrea G.; Scammell, Jonathan G.

    2011-01-01

    Secretogranin II (SgII) is a member of the granin family of proteins found in neuroendocrine and endocrine cells. The expression and storage of SgII in the pituitary gland of Old World primates and rodents have been linked with those of luteinizing hormone (LH). However, New World primates including squirrel monkeys do not express LH in the pituitary gland, but rather CG is expressed. If CG takes on the luteotropic role of LH in New World primates, SgII may be associated with the expression and storage of CG in the pituitary gland. The goal of this study was to evaluate the regulation and distribution of CG and SgII in the squirrel monkey. A DNA fragment containing approximately 750 bp of squirrel monkey SgII promoter was isolated from genomic DNA and found to contain a cyclic AMP response element that is also present in the human SgII promoter and important for GnRH responsiveness. The squirrel monkey and human SgII promoters were similarly activated by GnRH in luciferase reporter gene assays in LβT2 cells. Double immunofluorescence microscopy demonstrated close association of SgII and CG in gonadotrophs of squirrel monkey pituitary gland. These results suggest that CG and SgII have a similar intercellular distribution and are coregulated in squirrel monkey pituitary gland. PMID:21095191

  4. Status and habitat relationships of northern flying squirrels on Mount Desert Island, Maine

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Connell, A.F.; Servello, F.; Higgins, J.; Halteman, W.

    2001-01-01

    Northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern (G. volans) flying squirrels occur in Maine, but there is uncertainty about range overlap in southcentral Maine where the southern flying squirrel reaches its geographic range limit. We surveyed flying squirrels on Mount Desert Island (MDI), located along the central Maine coast, to update the current status and distribution of these species. We captured only northern flying squirrels, and populations (> 2 individuals) were located in two conifer stands and one mixed conifer-hardwood stand. All three stands were located in relatively older forests, outside a large area burned in a 1947 fire. Tree diameters were similar between trap stations with and without captures, under-story density was low overall, and there was a trend of higher seedling density at capture locations. Low understory density may allow squirrels more effective gliding movements between trees, which may enhance predator avoidance. Although the southern flying squirrel was reported from MDI numerous times during the 20th century, no voucher specimens exist, and species identification and localities have been poorly documented. Future surveys on MDI should consider collection of voucher specimens to validate subsequent survey efforts and effectively document changes in local biodiversity.

  5. Genetic variation in natural and translocated populations of the endangered Delmarva fox squirrel (Sciurus niger cinereus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lance, S.L.; Maldonado, J.E.; Bocetti, C.I.; Pattee, O.H.; Ballou, J.D.; Fleischer, R.C.

    2003-01-01

    The Delmarva fox squirrel, Sciurus niger cinereus, is a federally listed endangered subspecies whose range has been reduced by 90%. In an attempt to increase both population size and range, translocation sites were established beginning in the 1960's by moving squirrels from the natural range to sites outside the current range. Although translocations have served as the primary component of the DFS recovery program, there has been very little post-release examination of the genetics of the translocation sites. In this study, we developed ten microsatellite loci, screened the three polymorphic loci, and sequenced a 330 bp fragment of the mitochondrial control region in order to assess levels of genetic variation in natural and translocated regions of Delmarva fox squirrels and to compare them to Southeastern fox squirrels (S. n. niger). Although we found low levels of microsatellite polymorphism, there were no differences in heterozygosity between natural and translocated regions, or between Delmarva and Southeastern fox squirrels. We found high levels of polymorphism in the mitochondrial control region. Our patterns of haplotype diversity suggest incomplete lineage sorting of the two subspecies. In general, our data suggest that the current levels of genetic variation in the translocated sites are representative of those found in the natural population, and we encourage the continued use of translocations as a major component of Delmarva fox squirrel recovery.

  6. FLOTAC for diagnosis of endo-parasites in pet squirrels in southern Italy.

    PubMed

    d'Ovidio, D; Rinaldi, L; Ianniello, D; Donnelly, T M; Pepe, P; Capasso, M; Cringoli, G

    2014-02-24

    The present study investigated the occurrence of endoparasites in pet squirrels in southern Italy. Fresh fecal samples were collected from 50 asymptomatic pet squirrels belonging to five different species (Callosciurus finlaysonii, n=6, C. prevosti, n=6; Tamias striatus, n=26, T. sibiricus, n=10; Sciurus carolinensis, n=2) housed both in pet shops and/or in private residences. All fecal samples were processed using the FLOTAC pellet technique to identify and count helminth eggs/larvae and protozoan cysts/oocysts. In addition, to detect Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia spp. the samples were analyzed by the Remel Xpect(®) immunoassay. Helminth eggs were detected in 9 out of 50 squirrels. Specifically, eggs of Dicrocoelium dendriticum were found in 5 squirrels (C. finlaysonii, n=2; C. prevosti, n=2; T. striatus, n=1); eggs of the pinworm Syphacia spp. in 3 squirrels (C. prevosti, n=2; T. striatus, n=1); and eggs of gastrointestinal nematoda (Nippostrongylus-like) were found in 1 subject (C. prevosti). Finally, two squirrels (C. prevosti) had multiple parasitic infections with D. dendriticum and Capillaria hepatica, and with D. dendriticum and Strongyloides spp., respectively. None of the samples were positive for Cryptosporidium spp. or Giardia spp. or any other protozoa (e.g. Eimeria). To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of a D. dendriticum natural infection in pet rodents.

  7. Movements of northern flying squirrels in different-aged forest stands of western Oregon

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Martin, K.J.; Anthony, R.G.

    1999-01-01

    In western Oregon, northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) are the primary prey species for northern spotted owls (Strix occidentalis caurina), an old-growth associated species. To assess differences between old-growth and second-growth habitat, we livetrapped and radiotagged 39 northern flying squirrels to estimate their home range sizes and describe movements in 2 old-growth and 2 second-growth conifer forest stands in the Cascade Mountains of central Oregon. Sampling periods were summer and fall of 1991-92. Home range sizes averaged 4.9 ha and did not differ (P > 0.30) between the 2 stand types. Male northern flying squirrels had larger (P ??? 0.03) mean home ranges (5.9 ?? 0.8 ha; ?? ?? SE; n = 20) than females (3.9 ?? 0.4 ha; n = 19). Northern flying squirrel movement distances between successive, noncorrelated telemetry locations averaged 71 m (n = 1,090). No correlation was found between distances moved and stand type or sex. Northern flying squirrel's home range sizes, movements, and densities were similar between the 2 stand types. We suggest abundance and movements of northern flying squirrels are not influencing the preferential selection of oldgrowth forests by northern spotted owls.

  8. The potential role of strongyloides robustus on parasite-mediated competition between two species of flying squirrels (Glaucomys).

    PubMed

    Krichbaum, Kristle; Mahan, Carolyn G; Steele, Michael A; Turner, Gregory; Hudson, Peter J

    2010-01-01

    There is growing evidence that populations of the northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) are declining in the eastern United States, perhaps due to competition with the southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans). Potential causes include parasite-mediated or apparent competition from the shared intestinal nematode, Strongyloides robustus, which has been shown to detrimentally affect the northern flying squirrel but not the southern flying squirrel. To investigate this hypothesis, we conducted a preliminary study on the parasite community of both flying squirrel species from sites in Pennsylvania where the two species occur sympatrically and where G. sabrinus is now considered endangered at the state level. We compared these parasite communities with those from northern flying squirrels from northern New York where the southern flying squirrel is absent. We found eight species of gastrointestinal parasites (Pterygodermatites peromysci, Lemuricola sciuri, Syphacia thompsoni, Syphacia spp., Capillaria spp., Citellinema bifurcatum, Strogyloides robustus, and an unidentifiable cestode species) in both species of flying squirrels examined for our study. The parasite-mediated competition hypothesis was partially supported. For example, in Pennsylvania, S. robustus was overdispersed in southern flying squirrels, such that a small proportion of the hosts carried a large proportion of the worm population. In addition, we found S. robustus to be present in northern flying squirrels when the species were sympatric, but not where southern flying squirrels were absent in New York. However, there was no association between S. robustus and the body condition of flying squirrels. We detected a potential parasite community interaction, as S. robustus abundance was positively associated with P. peromysci. PMID:20090036

  9. Epidemic typhus in the United States associated with flying squirrels.

    PubMed

    Duma, R J; Sonenshine, D E; Bozeman, F M; Veazey, J M; Elisberg, B L; Chadwick, D P; Stocks, N I; McGill, T M; Miller, G B; MacCormack, J N

    1981-06-12

    Between July 1977 and January 1980, seven cases of sporadic, nonepidemic "epidemic" typhus (Rickettsia prowazekii) were discovered in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. The reservoir seemed to be the southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans), an animal indigenous to the eastern United States; however, the vector or mode of acquisition was not evident. Diagnosis was established principally through complement fixation, indirect immunofluorescence, and toxin neutralization tests. Patients' ages were 11 to 81 years. Most were white women. Six had abrupt onset of illness. Headaches, fever, myalgias, and exanthems were among the presenting complaints. The disease seemed milder than classic louse-born epidemic typhus, but in some instances, it was life-threatening. All patients responded to tetracycline or chloramphenicol. This entity probably is more common than reported, is difficult to recognize, and is produced by an organism seemingly identical to that producing louse-born epidemic typhus. PMID:6785459

  10. Diffusion dynamics of socially learned foraging techniques in squirrel monkeys.

    PubMed

    Claidière, Nicolas; Messer, Emily J E; Hoppitt, William; Whiten, Andrew

    2013-07-01

    Social network analyses and experimental studies of social learning have each become important domains of animal behavior research in recent years yet have remained largely separate. Here we bring them together, providing the first demonstration of how social networks may shape the diffusion of socially learned foraging techniques. One technique for opening an artificial fruit was seeded in the dominant male of a group of squirrel monkeys and an alternative technique in the dominant male of a second group. We show that the two techniques spread preferentially in the groups in which they were initially seeded and that this process was influenced by monkeys' association patterns. Eigenvector centrality predicted both the speed with which an individual would first succeed in opening the artificial fruit and the probability that they would acquire the cultural variant seeded in their group. These findings demonstrate a positive role of social networks in determining how a new foraging technique diffuses through a population. PMID:23810529

  11. Olfactory communication among Costa Rican squirrel monkeys: a field study.

    PubMed

    Boinski, S

    1992-01-01

    Behaviors with a possible role in olfactory communication among troop members were investigated as part of a field study on the reproductive and foraging ecology of squirrel monkeys (Saimiri oerstedi) in Costa Rica. All age classes engaged in the olfaction-related behaviors. Apart from olfactory investigation of female genitals by males during the mating season, no other potential olfaction-related behavior (urine wash, branch investigation, rump, chest, back rub and sneeze) exceeded 1% of mean behavioral samples. Assessment of reproduction condition appears to be the primary function of such olfactory investigation of the female genital region. The primary function of urine washing is suggested to be the general communication of reproductive status, possibly facilitating reproductive synchrony. Sneezing, rump, back and chest rubbing do not appear to deposit substances active in olfactory communication. PMID:1306175

  12. Motion sickness elicited by passive rotation in squirrel monkeys

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Daunton, Nancy G.; Fox, Robert A.

    1991-01-01

    Current theory and recent evidence suggest that motion sickness occurs under conditions of sensory input in which the normal motor programs for producing eye, head, and body movements are not functionally effective, i.e. under conditions in which there are difficulties in maintaining posture and controlling eye movements. Conditions involving conflicting or inconsistent visual-vestibular (VV) stimulation should thus result in greater sickness rates since the existing motor programs do not produce effective control of eye-head-body movements under such conditions. It is felt that the relationship of postural control to motion sickness is an important one and one often overlooked. The results are reported which showed that when postural requirements were minimized by fully restraining squirrel monkeys during hypogravity parabolic flight, no animals became motion sick, but over 80 percent of the same 11 animals became sick if they were unrestrained and maintained control of their posture.

  13. Acute toxoplasmosis in squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) in Mexico.

    PubMed

    Cedillo-Peláez, Carlos; Rico-Torres, Claudia Patricia; Salas-Garrido, Carlos Gerardo; Correa, Dolores

    2011-08-25

    Toxoplasma gondii causes fatal multisystemic disease in New World primates, with respiratory failure and multifocal necrotic lesions. Although cases and outbreaks of toxoplasmosis have been described, there are few genotyping studies and none has included parasite load quantification. In this article, we describe two cases of lethal acute toxoplasmosis in squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) of Mexico city. The main pathological findings included pulmonary edema, interstitial pneumonia, hepatitis and necrotizing lymphadenitis, and structures similar to T. gondii tachyzoites observed by histopathology in these organs. Diagnosis was confirmed by immunohistochemistry, transmission electron microscopy and both end point and real time PCR. The load was between <14 and 23 parasites/mg tissue. Digestion of the SAG3 gene amplicon showed similar bands to type I reference strains. These are the first cases of toxoplasmosis in primates studied in Mexico, with clinical features similar to others reported in Israel and French Guiana, although apparently caused by a different T. gondii variant.

  14. Acute physiological responses of squirrel monkeys exposed to hyperdynamic environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fuller, C. A.

    1984-01-01

    Physiological and behavioral responses to a hyperdynamic environment were examined in four adult male squirrel monkeys. After baseline monitoring at 1 G, monkeys were exposed to one of three conditions: (1) +2 Gz for 60 minutes, (2) +2.9 Gz max for 8 minutes (simulating Space Shuttle launch), or (3) +1.7 Gz max for 19 minutes (simulating Space Shuttle reentry). During all experimental conditions, heart rate rose, and colonic temperature began to decline within the first ten minutes of centrifugation and decreased by as much as 2 C in some instances. Behaviorally, during centrifugation, the monkeys seemed to exhibit drowsiness and fall asleep, an observation not made during the control period. It is concluded that primates are susceptible to acute hyperdynamic field exposure.

  15. A comparison of parasitic helminths and arthropods from two subspecies of fox squirrels (Sciurus niger) in Florida.

    PubMed

    Coyner, D F; Wooding, J B; Forrester, D J

    1996-07-01

    The faunas of parasitic helminths and arthropods of 87 Sherman's fox squirrels (Sciurus niger shermani) and 32 Big Cypress fox squirrels (Sciurus niger avicennia) collected from Florida (USA) over a 6-yr period (1988 to 1993) were compared. One acanthocephalan, one cestode, nine nematodes, one flea, three sucking lice, three mites, one tick, and one dipteran larva were identified. Citellinema bifurcatum and Physaloptera massino were new records for Florida and Gongylonema pulchrum, Neotrombicula whartoni, and Eushoengastia diversa were new host records. Three core species of nematodes (distributed widely, highly host specific, and very prevalent) were identified from Sherman's fox squirrels. These included Strongyloides robustus, Heligmodendrium hassalli, and C. bifurcatum, which were higher in prevalence and intensity in Sherman's fox squirrels than in Big Cypress fox squirrels. One core species of cestode (Raillietina bakeri) was collected from 32% of Sherman's fox squirrels, but was not observed in Big Cypress fox squirrels. The number of species, prevalences, intensities, and abundances of parasites from Sherman's fox squirrels were greater than those from Big Cypress fox squirrels.

  16. Demography of northern flying squirrels informs ecosystem management of western interior forests.

    PubMed

    Lehmkuhl, John F; Kistler, Keith D; Begley, James S; Boulanger, John

    2006-04-01

    We studied northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) demography in the eastern Washington Cascade Range to test hypotheses about regional and local abundance patterns and to inform managers of the possible effects of fire and fuels management on flying squirrels. We quantified habitat characteristics and squirrel density, population trends, and demography in three typical forest cover types over a four-year period. We had 2034 captures of flying squirrels over 41 000 trap nights from 1997 through 2000 and marked 879 squirrels for mark-recapture population analysis. Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forest appeared to be poorer habitat for flying squirrels than young or mature mixed-conifer forest. About 35% fewer individuals were captured in open pine forest than in dry mixed-conifer Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and grand fir (Abies grandis) forests. Home ranges were 85% larger in pine forest (4.6 ha) than in mixed-conifer forests (2.5 ha). Similarly, population density (Huggins estimator) in ponderosa pine forest was half (1.1 squirrels/ha) that of mixed-conifer forest (2.2 squirrels/ha). Tree canopy cover was the single best correlate of squirrel density (r = 0.77), with an apparent threshold of 55% canopy cover separating stands with low- from high-density populations. Pradel estimates of annual recruitment were lower in open pine (0.28) than in young (0.35) and mature (0.37) forest. High recruitment was most strongly associated with high understory plant species richness and truffle biomass. Annual survival rates ranged from 45% to 59% and did not vary among cover types. Survival was most strongly associated with understory species richness and forage lichen biomass. Maximum snow depth had a strong negative effect on survival. Rate of per capita increase showed a density-dependent response. Thinning and prescribed burning in ponderosa pine and dry mixed conifer forests to restore stable fire regimes and forest structure might reduce flying squirrel

  17. The squirrel as a rodent model of the human visual system.

    PubMed

    Van Hooser, Stephen D; Nelson, Sacha B

    2006-01-01

    Over the last 50 years, studies of receptive fields in the early mammalian visual system have identified many classes of response properties in brain areas such as retina, lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), and primary visual cortex (V1). Recently, there has been significant interest in understanding the cellular and network mechanisms that underlie these visual responses and their functional architecture. Small mammals like rodents offer many advantages for such studies, because they are appropriate for a wide variety of experimental techniques. However, the traditional rodent models, mice and rats, do not rely heavily on vision and have small visual brain areas. Squirrels are highly visual rodents that may be excellent model preparations for understanding mechanisms of function and disease in the human visual system. They use vision for navigating in their environment, predator avoidance, and foraging for food. Visual brain areas such as LGN, V1, superior colliculus, and pulvinar are particularly large and well elaborated in the squirrel, and the squirrel has several extrastriate cortical areas lateral to V1. Unlike many mammals, most squirrel species are diurnal with cone-dominated retinas, similar to the primate fovea, and have excellent dichromatic color vision that is mediated by green and blue cones. Owing to their larger size, squirrels are physiologically more robust than mice and rats under anesthesia, and some hibernating species are particularly tolerant of hypoxia that occurs during procedures such as brain slicing. Finally, many basic anatomical and physiological properties in the early visual system of squirrel have now been described, permitting investigations of cellular mechanisms. In this article, we review four decades of anatomical, behavioral, and physiological studies in squirrel and make comparisons with other species. PMID:17020632

  18. Differential Estimates of Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans) Population Structure Based on Capture Method.

    SciTech Connect

    Laves, Kevin S.; Loeb, Susan C.

    2006-01-01

    ABSTRACT.—It is commonly assumed that population estimates derived from trapping small mammals are accurate and unbiased or that estimates derived from different capture methods are comparable. We captured southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) using two methods to study their effect on red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) reproductive success. Southern flying squirrels were captured at and removed from 30 red-cockaded woodpecker cluster sites during March to July 1994 and 1995 using Sherman traps placed in a grid encompassing a red-cockaded woodpecker nest tree and by hand from red-cockaded woodpecker cavities. Totals of 195 (1994) and 190 (1995) red-cockaded woodpecker cavities were examined at least three times each year. Trappability of southern flying squirrels in Sherman traps was significantly greater in 1995 (1.18%; 22,384 trap nights) than in 1994 (0.42%; 20,384 trap nights), and capture rate of southern flying squirrels in cavities was significantly greater in 1994 (22.7%; 502 cavity inspections) than in 1995 (10.8%; 555 cavity inspections). However, more southern flying squirrels were captured per cavity inspection than per Sherman trap night in both years. Male southern flying squirrels were more likely to be captured from cavities than in Sherman traps in 1994, but not in 1995. Both male and female juveniles were more likely to be captured in cavities than in traps in both years. In 1994 males in reproductive condition were more likely to be captured in cavities than in traps and in 1995 we captured significantly more reproductive females in cavities than in traps. Our data suggest that population estimates based solely on one trapping method may not represent true population size or structure of southern flying squirrels.

  19. Experimental infection of ectoparasitic arthropods with Rickettsia prowazekii (GvF-16 strain) and transmission to flying squirrels.

    PubMed

    Bozeman, F M; Sonenshine, D E; Williams, M S; Chadwick, D P; Lauer, D M; Elisberg, B L

    1981-01-01

    Epizootiologic studies conducted during the past few years showed the existence of widespread natural infection of the southern flying squirrel, Glaucomys volans, with epidemic typhus rickettsiae, Rickettsia prowazekii. The ecological findings strongly implicated transmission of the etiologic agent by an arthropod vector. Studies were conducted under controlled laboratory conditions to determine whether ectoparasites naturally associated with flying squirrels (squirrel fleas, lice, mites and ticks) were capable of acquiring, maintaining and transmitting the infection. Also studied were the cat flea, oriental rat flea and the human body louse. Flying squirrels inoculated with the GvF-16 strain of R. prowazekii circulated rickettsiae in their blood for 2-3 weeks, thus providing ample opportunity for arthropods feeding on them to become infected. The results with Dermacentor variabilis ticks indicated that the rickettsiae did not consistently survive in this insect and were not passed to the eggs of adult females that had been infected subcuticularly. Mites became infected by feeding on infectious blood but failed to sustain the infection. Also, mites fed on an infected flying squirrel did not transmit the infection to a normal squirrel. Squirrel, cat, and oriental rat fleas readily became infected by feeding on a rickettsemic host or on infectious blood through membranes, but failed to transmit the infection to susceptible flying squirrels. In the studies with flying squirrel lice, however, transmission of epidemic typhus from infected to uninfected flying squirrels was demonstrated. Infection of the human body louse with the GvF-16 flying squirrel strain of R. prowazekii was similar to that previously observed with classical human strains, viz., multiplication of the rickettsiae and excretion in the feces. PMID:6782900

  20. Flying squirrel-associated Rickettsia prowazekii (epidemic typhus rickettsiae) characterized by a specific DNA fragment produced by restriction endonuclease digestion.

    PubMed

    Regnery, R L; Fu, Z Y; Spruill, C L

    1986-01-01

    The DNA from flying squirrel-associated Rickettsia prowazekii was characterized by using a specific DNA fragment produced by digestion with the enzyme BamHI. The DNA fragment was cloned into a plasmid vector and used to readily distinguish between available human- and flying squirrel-associated R. prowazekii DNAs derived from crude cytoplasmic extracts. PMID:3009528

  1. Using GPS telemetry to validate least-cost modeling of gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) movement within a fragmented landscape.

    PubMed

    Stevenson, Claire D; Ferryman, Mark; Nevin, Owen T; Ramsey, Andrew D; Bailey, Sallie; Watts, Kevin

    2013-07-01

    In Britain, the population of native red squirrels Sciurus vulgaris has suffered population declines and local extinctions. Interspecific resource competition and disease spread by the invasive gray squirrel Sciurus carolinensis are the main factors behind the decline. Gray squirrels have adapted to the British landscape so efficiently that they are widely distributed. Knowledge on how gray squirrels are using the landscape matrix and being able to predict their movements will aid management. This study is the first to use global positioning system (GPS) collars on wild gray squirrels to accurately record movements and land cover use within the landscape matrix. This data were used to validate Geographical Information System (GIS) least-cost model predictions of movements and provided much needed information on gray squirrel movement pathways and network use. Buffered least-cost paths and least-cost corridors provide predictions of the most probable movements through the landscape and are seen to perform better than the more expansive least-cost networks which include all possible movements. Applying the knowledge and methodologies gained to current gray squirrel expansion areas, such as Scotland and in Italy, will aid in the prediction of potential movement areas and therefore management of the invasive gray squirrel. The methodologies presented in this study could potentially be used in any landscape and on numerous species. PMID:23919175

  2. Using GPS telemetry to validate least-cost modeling of gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) movement within a fragmented landscape

    PubMed Central

    Stevenson, Claire D; Ferryman, Mark; Nevin, Owen T; Ramsey, Andrew D; Bailey, Sallie; Watts, Kevin

    2013-01-01

    In Britain, the population of native red squirrels Sciurus vulgaris has suffered population declines and local extinctions. Interspecific resource competition and disease spread by the invasive gray squirrel Sciurus carolinensis are the main factors behind the decline. Gray squirrels have adapted to the British landscape so efficiently that they are widely distributed. Knowledge on how gray squirrels are using the landscape matrix and being able to predict their movements will aid management. This study is the first to use global positioning system (GPS) collars on wild gray squirrels to accurately record movements and land cover use within the landscape matrix. This data were used to validate Geographical Information System (GIS) least-cost model predictions of movements and provided much needed information on gray squirrel movement pathways and network use. Buffered least-cost paths and least-cost corridors provide predictions of the most probable movements through the landscape and are seen to perform better than the more expansive least-cost networks which include all possible movements. Applying the knowledge and methodologies gained to current gray squirrel expansion areas, such as Scotland and in Italy, will aid in the prediction of potential movement areas and therefore management of the invasive gray squirrel. The methodologies presented in this study could potentially be used in any landscape and on numerous species. PMID:23919175

  3. Flying squirrel-associated Rickettsia prowazekii (epidemic typhus rickettsiae) characterized by a specific DNA fragment produced by restriction endonuclease digestion.

    PubMed Central

    Regnery, R L; Fu, Z Y; Spruill, C L

    1986-01-01

    The DNA from flying squirrel-associated Rickettsia prowazekii was characterized by using a specific DNA fragment produced by digestion with the enzyme BamHI. The DNA fragment was cloned into a plasmid vector and used to readily distinguish between available human- and flying squirrel-associated R. prowazekii DNAs derived from crude cytoplasmic extracts. Images PMID:3009528

  4. Eavesdropping squirrels reduce their future value of food under the perceived presence of cache robbers.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Kenneth A; Ostfeld, Richard S

    2008-03-01

    Caching behavior frequently occurs within a social context that may include heterospecific cache pilferers. All else equal, the value of cacheable food should decline as the probability of cache recovering declines. We manipulated gray squirrels' (Sciurus carolinensis) estimate of the probability of cache recovery using experimental playbacks of the vocalizations of a potential cache robber, the blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata). We used giving-up densities (GUDs) to quantify relative changes in squirrels' valuation of cacheable and noncacheable foods. We collected GUDs during playback experiments to test whether squirrels (1) eavesdrop on vocalizations to detect jay presence, (2) devalue cacheable food in the (perceived) presence of jays (i.e., perceive jays as cache pilferers), and (3) are sensitive to distant effects (i.e., lower devaluation of cacheable food at sites far from the perceived location of jays). Consistent with our predictions, squirrels decreased the value of cacheable hazelnuts by two nuts, on average, during jay playbacks, but only at foraging stations near the jay playback sites. We conclude that through eavesdropping, squirrels assess site-specific risks of cache pilfering and alter their caching behavior to reduce the likelihood of pilferage. Evidence suggests that tree seed consumers in eastern deciduous forests exist within a complex communication network. PMID:18220481

  5. Fox Squirrels Match Food Assessment and Cache Effort to Value and Scarcity

    PubMed Central

    Delgado, Mikel M.; Nicholas, Molly; Petrie, Daniel J.; Jacobs, Lucia F.

    2014-01-01

    Scatter hoarders must allocate time to assess items for caching, and to carry and bury each cache. Such decisions should be driven by economic variables, such as the value of the individual food items, the scarcity of these items, competition for food items and risk of pilferage by conspecifics. The fox squirrel, an obligate scatter-hoarder, assesses cacheable food items using two overt movements, head flicks and paw manipulations. These behaviors allow an examination of squirrel decision processes when storing food for winter survival. We measured wild squirrels' time allocations and frequencies of assessment and investment behaviors during periods of food scarcity (summer) and abundance (fall), giving the squirrels a series of 15 items (alternating five hazelnuts and five peanuts). Assessment and investment per cache increased when resource value was higher (hazelnuts) or resources were scarcer (summer), but decreased as scarcity declined (end of sessions). This is the first study to show that assessment behaviors change in response to factors that indicate daily and seasonal resource abundance, and that these factors may interact in complex ways to affect food storing decisions. Food-storing tree squirrels may be a useful and important model species to understand the complex economic decisions made under natural conditions. PMID:24671221

  6. Audience effects on food caching in grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis): evidence for pilferage avoidance strategies.

    PubMed

    Leaver, Lisa A; Hopewell, Lucy; Caldwell, Christine; Mallarky, Lesley

    2007-01-01

    If food pilferage has been a reliable selection pressure on food caching animals, those animals should have evolved the ability to protect their caches from pilferers. Evidence that animals protect their caches would support the argument that pilferage has been an important adaptive challenge. We observed naturally caching Eastern grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) in order to determine whether they used any evasive tactics in order to deter conspecific and heterospecific pilferage. We found that grey squirrels used evasive tactics when they had a conspecific audience, but not when they had a heterospecific (corvid) audience. When other squirrels were present, grey squirrels spaced their caches farther apart and preferentially cached when oriented with their backs to other squirrels, but no such effect was found when birds were present. Our data provide the first evidence that caching mammals are sensitive to the risk of pilferage posed by an audience of conspecifics, and that they utilise evasive tactics that should help to minimise cache loss. We discuss our results in relation to recent theory of reciprocal pilferage and compare them to behaviours shown by caching birds.

  7. Eavesdropping squirrels reduce their future value of food under the perceived presence of cache robbers.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Kenneth A; Ostfeld, Richard S

    2008-03-01

    Caching behavior frequently occurs within a social context that may include heterospecific cache pilferers. All else equal, the value of cacheable food should decline as the probability of cache recovering declines. We manipulated gray squirrels' (Sciurus carolinensis) estimate of the probability of cache recovery using experimental playbacks of the vocalizations of a potential cache robber, the blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata). We used giving-up densities (GUDs) to quantify relative changes in squirrels' valuation of cacheable and noncacheable foods. We collected GUDs during playback experiments to test whether squirrels (1) eavesdrop on vocalizations to detect jay presence, (2) devalue cacheable food in the (perceived) presence of jays (i.e., perceive jays as cache pilferers), and (3) are sensitive to distant effects (i.e., lower devaluation of cacheable food at sites far from the perceived location of jays). Consistent with our predictions, squirrels decreased the value of cacheable hazelnuts by two nuts, on average, during jay playbacks, but only at foraging stations near the jay playback sites. We conclude that through eavesdropping, squirrels assess site-specific risks of cache pilfering and alter their caching behavior to reduce the likelihood of pilferage. Evidence suggests that tree seed consumers in eastern deciduous forests exist within a complex communication network.

  8. Fox squirrels match food assessment and cache effort to value and scarcity.

    PubMed

    Delgado, Mikel M; Nicholas, Molly; Petrie, Daniel J; Jacobs, Lucia F

    2014-01-01

    Scatter hoarders must allocate time to assess items for caching, and to carry and bury each cache. Such decisions should be driven by economic variables, such as the value of the individual food items, the scarcity of these items, competition for food items and risk of pilferage by conspecifics. The fox squirrel, an obligate scatter-hoarder, assesses cacheable food items using two overt movements, head flicks and paw manipulations. These behaviors allow an examination of squirrel decision processes when storing food for winter survival. We measured wild squirrels' time allocations and frequencies of assessment and investment behaviors during periods of food scarcity (summer) and abundance (fall), giving the squirrels a series of 15 items (alternating five hazelnuts and five peanuts). Assessment and investment per cache increased when resource value was higher (hazelnuts) or resources were scarcer (summer), but decreased as scarcity declined (end of sessions). This is the first study to show that assessment behaviors change in response to factors that indicate daily and seasonal resource abundance, and that these factors may interact in complex ways to affect food storing decisions. Food-storing tree squirrels may be a useful and important model species to understand the complex economic decisions made under natural conditions.

  9. Mapping and Monitoring Delmarva Fox Squirrel Habitat Using an Airborne LiDAR Profiler

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nelson, Ross; Ratnaswamy, Mary; Keller, Cherry

    2004-01-01

    Twenty five hundred thirty nine kilometers of airborne laser profiling and videography data were acquired over the state of Delaware during the summer of 2000. The laser ranging measurements and video from approximately one-half of that data set (1304 km) were analyzed to identify and locate forested sites that might potentially support populations of Delmarva fox squirrel (DFS, Sciurus niger cinereus). The DFS is an endangered species previously endemic to tall, dense, mature forests with open understories on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The airborne LiDAR employed in this study can measure forest canopy height and canopy closure, but cannot measure or infer understory canopy conditions. Hence the LiDAR must be viewed as a tool to map potential, not actual, habitat. Fifty-three potentially suitable DFS sites were identified in the 1304 km of flight transect data. Each of the 53 sites met the following criteria according to the LiDAR and video record: (1 ) at least 120m of contiguous forest; (2) an average canopy height greater than 20m; (3) an average canopy closure of >80%; and (4) no roofs, impervious surface (e.g., asphalt, concrete), and/or open water anywhere along the 120m length of the laser segment. Thirty-two of the 53 sites were visited on the ground and measurements taken for a DFS habitat suitability model. Seventy eight percent of the sites (25 of 32) were judged by the model to be suited to supporting a DFS population. Twenty-eight of the 32 sites visited in the field were in forest cover types (hardwood, mixed wood, conifer, wetlands) according to a land cover GIS map. Of these, 23 (82%) were suited to support DFS. The remaining 4 sites were located in nonforest cover types - agricultural or residential areas. Two of the four, or 50% were suited to the DFS. All of the LiDAR flight data, 2539 km, were analyzed to

  10. Habitat use by squirrel monkeys (Saimiri oerstedi) in Costa Rica.

    PubMed

    Boinski, S

    1987-01-01

    This paper analyses movement patterns, habitat preferences, activity schedules, and dispersion of troop members in squirrel monkeys (Saimiri oerstedi) in relation to seasonal changes in food abundance in a Costa Rican tropical wet forest. Secondary forest was the preferred habitat and use of primary forest and late successional forest was limited primarily to seasons when food availability was low. Range area differed between seasons, varying from 79 to 110 ha, and totaling 176 ha over 11 months. The number of hectares used, hourly rate of group movement, and proportion of time spent foraging each season were all negatively related to relative food abundance. There was a tendency to spend less time in foraging activities in the middle of the day and to spend more time exclusively in travel at dawn and dusk. In all seasons dispersion was least when the troop was travelling and it was generally greatest during seasons of low food abundance. Measures of the allocation of time by the troop to food-related activities and the extent of troop dispersion each season were consistent with estimates based on behavior sampling of individuals. PMID:3504420

  11. Frustrative nonreward and pituitary-adrenal activity in squirrel monkeys.

    PubMed

    Lyons, D M; Fong, K D; Schrieken, N; Levine, S

    2000-12-01

    Little is known about frustration-induced changes in stress physiology in humans and nonhuman primates. Here we assess in two experiments with squirrel monkeys plasma levels of pituitary-adrenal stress hormones in conditions designed to provoke frustrative nonreward. In the first experiment 18 prepubertal monkeys were trained to feed from one of eight sites, and then tested without food at any of the sites. These monkeys responded with significant increases in cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). In the second experiment 18 adult monkeys were trained to feed from one of eight sites, and then tested after food was moved to a different foraging site. Nine monkeys found food at the relocated site, discontinued foraging at the previously baited site, and responded with decreases in cortisol. The other nine monkeys failed to find the relocated site, initially increased their visits to the previously baited site, and responded with elevations in cortisol and ACTH. In keeping with comparable findings in rats, our observations indicate that frustrative nonreward elicits ACTH-stimulated secretion of cortisol in primates. PMID:11239675

  12. Three dimensional eye movements of squirrel monkeys following postrotatory tilt

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Merfeld, D. M.; Young, L. R.; Paige, G. D.; Tomko, D. L.

    1993-01-01

    Three-dimensional squirrel monkey eye movements were recorded during and immediately following rotation around an earth-vertical yaw axis (160 degrees/s steady state, 100 degrees/s2 acceleration and deceleration). To study interactions between the horizontal angular vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) and head orientation, postrotatory VOR alignment was changed relative to gravity by tilting the head out of the horizontal plane (pitch or roll tilt between 15 degrees and 90 degrees) immediately after cessation of motion. Results showed that in addition to post rotatory horizontal nystagmus, vertical nystagmus followed tilts to the left or right (roll), and torsional nystagmus followed forward or backward (pitch) tilts. When the time course and spatial orientation of eye velocity were considered in three dimensions, the axis of eye rotation always shifted toward alignment with gravity, and the postrotatory horizontal VOR decay was accelerated by the tilts. These phenomena may reflect a neural process that resolves the sensory conflict induced by this postrotatory tilt paradigm.

  13. Endogenous thermoregulatory rhythms of squirrel monkeys in thermoneutrality and cold

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Robinson, E. L.; Fuller, C. A.

    1999-01-01

    Whole body heat production (HP) and heat loss (HL) were examined to determine if the free-running circadian rhythm in body temperature (Tb) results from coordinated changes in HP and HL rhythms in thermoneutrality (27 degrees C) as well as mild cold (17 degrees C). Squirrel monkey metabolism (n = 6) was monitored by both indirect and direct calorimetry, with telemetered measurement of Tb and activity. Feeding was also measured. Rhythms of HP, HL, and conductance were tightly coupled with the circadian Tb rhythm at both ambient temperatures (TA). At 17 degrees C, increased HP compensated for higher HL at all phases of the Tb rhythm, resulting in only minor changes to Tb. Parallel compensatory changes of HP and HL were seen at all rhythm phases at both TA. Similar time courses of Tb, HP, and HL in their respective rhythms and the relative stability of Tb during both active and rest periods suggest action of the circadian timing system on Tb set point.

  14. Maternal effects and the response to selection in red squirrels.

    PubMed Central

    McAdam, Andrew G.; Boutin, Stan

    2004-01-01

    Mothers often provide much of the early environment for their offspring. These maternal effects are predicted to result in unusual evolutionary dynamics in offspring traits if they are themselves heritable, but these important predictions have not previously, to our knowledge, been tested in the wild. Here, we quantified the responses of red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) to documented episodes of natural selection and found support for both of the fundamental predictions of models that describe maternal effect evolution. First, changes in juvenile growth rates across one generation of selection were five times greater than predicted by heritability (h2) alone, but were consistent with the additional contribution of maternal genetic effects. Second, responses to selection were influenced not only by the strength of selection in the current generation, but also by selection in the previous generation, indicating the presence of evolutionary momentum. These results were in agreement with predictions of a simple model including litter size as the only maternal effect, and provide, to our knowledge, the first empirical evidence for the importance of maternal effects to evolutionary dynamics in a natural population. PMID:15002774

  15. Larva migrans in squirrel monkeys experimentally infected with Baylisascaris potosis.

    PubMed

    Tokiwa, Toshihiro; Tsugo, Kosuke; Nakamura, Shohei; Taira, Kensuke; Une, Yumi

    2015-10-01

    Roundworms of the genus Baylisascaris are natural parasites primarily of wild carnivores, and they can occasionally cause infection in humans and animals. Infection results in visceral larva migrans and/or neural larva migrans, which can be severe or fatal in some animals. Recently, Baylisascaris nematodes isolated from kinkajous (Potos flavus) and previously referred to as Baylisascaris procyonis were renamed as Baylisascaris potosis; however, data regarding the pathogenicity of B. potosis towards animals and humans are lacking. In the present study, we experimentally infected squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) with B. potosis to determine the suitability of the monkey as a primate model. We used embryonated eggs of B. potosis at two different doses (10,000 eggs and 100,000 eggs) and examined the animals at 30 days post-infection. Histopathological examination showed the presence of B. potosis larvae and infiltration of inflammatory cells around a central B. potosis larvae in the brain, intestines, and liver. Nevertheless, the monkeys showed no clinical signs associated with infection. Parasitological examination revealed the presence of B. potosis larvae in the intestines, liver, lung, muscles, brain, kidney, and diaphragm. Our findings extend the range of species that are susceptible to B. potosis and provide evidence for the zoonotic potential of larva migrans in high dose infections.

  16. Evaluation of neonatal squirrel monkeys receiving tritiated water throughout gestation

    SciTech Connect

    Jones, D.C.L.; Krebs, J.S.; Sasmore, D.P.; Mitoma, C.

    1980-09-01

    Pregnant squirrel monkeys received tritiated water (HTO) in the drinking water throughout gestation at levels ranging from 16 to 1000 times the permissible level for human consumption (0.003 ..mu..Ci/ml), resulting in mean body water HTO levels ranging from 0.05 to 3.1 ..mu..Ci/ml. There were no discernible effects of HTO administration on the newborn progeny in terms of body weight, body dimensions, selected organ weights (brain, heart, adrenal, kidney, liver, spleen), hematologic patterns, and histology of selected organs and tissues (adrenal, kidney, liver, lung, brain, pancreas, jejunum, pituitary, spleen, testes, thymus, skin) other than ovaries. The number of primary oocytes in female progeny decreased markedly with increasing levels of HTO in maternal drinking water. Quantitative analysis of neonate ovaries, testes, brain tissue, and retinal tissue is in progress. No effects of HTO administration on maternal body weight, gestation time, or maintenance of pregnancy to full term were observed. Body weights of HTO-treated inseminated females that did not deliver were less than control weights, but the lack of dose dependence implies that this effect may have been associated with a stimulus characteristic of the HTO administration rather than with irradiation.

  17. Adopting kin enhances inclusive fitness in asocial red squirrels.

    PubMed

    Gorrell, Jamieson C; McAdam, Andrew G; Coltman, David W; Humphries, Murray M; Boutin, Stan

    2010-01-01

    Orphaned animals benefit from being adopted, but it is unclear why an adopting parent should incur the costs of rearing extra young. Such altruistic parental behaviour could be favoured if it is directed towards kin and the inclusive benefits of adoption exceed the costs. Here, we report the occurrence of adoption (five occurrences among 2,230 litters over 19 years) in asocial red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus). Adoptions were always between kin, while orphans without nearby kin were never adopted. Adoptions were confined exclusively to circumstances in which the benefits to the adopted juvenile (b), discounted by the degree of relatedness between the surrogate and the orphan (r), exceeded the fitness costs of adding an extra juvenile to her litter (c), as predicted by Hamilton's rule (rb>c) for the evolution of altruism. By focusing on adoption in an asocial species, our study provides a clear test of Hamilton's rule that explains the persistence of occasional altruism in a natural mammal population. PMID:20975694

  18. Cluster of sylvatic epidemic typhus cases associated with flying squirrels, 2004-2006.

    PubMed

    Chapman, Alice S; Swerdlow, David L; Dato, Virginia M; Anderson, Alicia D; Moodie, Claire E; Marriott, Chandra; Amman, Brian; Hennessey, Morgan; Fox, Perry; Green, Douglas B; Pegg, Eric; Nicholson, William L; Eremeeva, Marina E; Dasch, Gregory A

    2009-07-01

    In February 2006, a diagnosis of sylvatic epidemic typhus in a counselor at a wilderness camp in Pennsylvania prompted a retrospective investigation. From January 2004 through January 2006, 3 more cases were identified. All had been counselors at the camp and had experienced febrile illness with myalgia, chills, and sweats; 2 had been hospitalized. All patients had slept in the same cabin and reported having seen and heard flying squirrels inside the wall adjacent to their bed. Serum from each patient had evidence of infection with Rickettsia prowazekii. Analysis of blood and tissue from 14 southern flying squirrels trapped in the woodlands around the cabin indicated that 71% were infected with R. prowazekii. Education and control measures to exclude flying squirrels from housing are essential to reduce the likelihood of sylvatic epidemic typhus. PMID:19624912

  19. A brain MRI atlas of the common squirrel monkey, Saimiri sciureus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gao, Yurui; Schilling, Kurt G.; Khare, Shweta P.; Panda, Swetasudha; Choe, Ann S.; Stepniewska, Iwona; Li, Xia; Ding, Zhoahua; Anderson, Adam; Landman, Bennett A.

    2014-03-01

    The common squirrel monkey, Saimiri sciureus, is a New World monkey with functional and microstructural organization of central nervous system similar to that of humans. It is one of the most commonly used South American primates in biomedical research. Unlike its Old World macaque cousins, no digital atlases have described the organization of the squirrel monkey brain. Here, we present a multi-modal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) atlas constructed from the brain of an adult female squirrel monkey. In vivo MRI acquisitions include high resolution T2 structural imaging and low resolution diffusion tensor imaging. Ex vivo MRI acquisitions include high resolution T2 structural imaging and high resolution diffusion tensor imaging. Cortical regions were manually annotated on the co-registered volumes based on published histological sections.

  20. Cluster of Sylvatic Epidemic Typhus Cases Associated with Flying Squirrels, 2004–2006

    PubMed Central

    Chapman, Alice S.; Swerdlow, David L.; Dato, Virginia M.; Anderson, Alicia D.; Moodie, Claire E.; Marriott, Chandra; Amman, Brian; Hennessey, Morgan; Fox, Perry; Green, Douglas B.; Pegg, Eric; Nicholson, William L.; Eremeeva, Marina E.

    2009-01-01

    In February 2006, a diagnosis of sylvatic epidemic typhus in a counselor at a wilderness camp in Pennsylvania prompted a retrospective investigation. From January 2004 through January 2006, 3 more cases were identified. All had been counselors at the camp and had experienced febrile illness with myalgia, chills, and sweats; 2 had been hospitalized. All patients had slept in the same cabin and reported having seen and heard flying squirrels inside the wall adjacent to their bed. Serum from each patient had evidence of infection with Rickettsia prowazekii. Analysis of blood and tissue from 14 southern flying squirrels trapped in the woodlands around the cabin indicated that 71% were infected with R. prowazekii. Education and control measures to exclude flying squirrels from housing are essential to reduce the likelihood of sylvatic epidemic typhus. PMID:19624912

  1. The Narrow Niche hypothesis: gray squirrels shed new light on primate origins.

    PubMed

    Orkin, Joseph D; Pontzer, Herman

    2011-04-01

    Current hypotheses for primate origins propose that nails and primate-like grasping hands and feet were important early adaptations for feeding in fine branches. Comparative research in this area has focused on instances of convergence in extant animals, showing that species with primate-like morphology feed predominantly from terminal branches. Little has been done to test whether animals without primate-like morphology engage in similar behavior. We tested the fine-branch niche hypothesis for primate origins by observing branch use in Eastern gray squirrels, Sciurus carolinensis, a species lacking primate grasping adaptations that has been understudied in the context of primate origins. We hypothesized that because gray squirrels lack primate-like grasping adaptations, they would avoid feeding and foraging in terminal branches. Instantaneous focal animal sampling was used to examine the locomotor and postural behaviors used while feeding and foraging. Our results demonstrate habitual and effective usage of terminal branches by gray squirrels while feeding and foraging, primarily on tree seeds (e.g., oak, maple, and elm). Discriminant function analysis indicates that gray squirrels feed and forage like primates, unlike some other tree squirrel species. Given the absence of primate-like features in gray squirrels, we suggest that although selection for fine-branch foraging may be a necessary condition for primate origins, it is not sufficient. We propose an alternative model of primate origins. The Narrow Niche hypothesis suggests that the primate morphological suite evolved not only from selection pressure for fine branch use, but also from a lack of engagement in other activities. PMID:21404237

  2. The Narrow Niche hypothesis: gray squirrels shed new light on primate origins.

    PubMed

    Orkin, Joseph D; Pontzer, Herman

    2011-04-01

    Current hypotheses for primate origins propose that nails and primate-like grasping hands and feet were important early adaptations for feeding in fine branches. Comparative research in this area has focused on instances of convergence in extant animals, showing that species with primate-like morphology feed predominantly from terminal branches. Little has been done to test whether animals without primate-like morphology engage in similar behavior. We tested the fine-branch niche hypothesis for primate origins by observing branch use in Eastern gray squirrels, Sciurus carolinensis, a species lacking primate grasping adaptations that has been understudied in the context of primate origins. We hypothesized that because gray squirrels lack primate-like grasping adaptations, they would avoid feeding and foraging in terminal branches. Instantaneous focal animal sampling was used to examine the locomotor and postural behaviors used while feeding and foraging. Our results demonstrate habitual and effective usage of terminal branches by gray squirrels while feeding and foraging, primarily on tree seeds (e.g., oak, maple, and elm). Discriminant function analysis indicates that gray squirrels feed and forage like primates, unlike some other tree squirrel species. Given the absence of primate-like features in gray squirrels, we suggest that although selection for fine-branch foraging may be a necessary condition for primate origins, it is not sufficient. We propose an alternative model of primate origins. The Narrow Niche hypothesis suggests that the primate morphological suite evolved not only from selection pressure for fine branch use, but also from a lack of engagement in other activities.

  3. Macroparasite community of the Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris): poor species richness and diversity.

    PubMed

    Romeo, Claudia; Pisanu, Benoît; Ferrari, Nicola; Basset, Franck; Tillon, Laurent; Wauters, Lucas A; Martinoli, Adriano; Saino, Nicola; Chapuis, Jean-Louis

    2013-10-01

    The Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is the only naturally occurring tree squirrel throughout its range. We aim at improving current knowledge on its macroparasite fauna, expecting that it will have a poor parasite diversity because in species that have no sympatric congeners parasite richness should be lower than in hosts sharing their range with several closely related species, where host-switching events and lateral transmission are promoted. We examined gastro-intestinal helminth and ectoparasite communities (excluding mites) of, respectively, 147 and 311 red squirrel roadkills collected in four biogeographic regions in Italy and France. As expected, the macroparasite fauna was poor: we found five species of nematodes and some unidentified cestodes, three fleas, two sucking lice and two hard ticks. The helminth community was dominated by a single species, the oxyurid Trypanoxyuris (Rodentoxyuris) sciuri (prevalence, 87%; mean abundance, 373 ± 65 worms/host). Its abundance varied among seasons and biogeographic regions and increased with body mass in male hosts while decreased in females. The most prevalent ectoparasites were the flea Ceratophyllus (Monopsyllus) sciurorum (28%), whose presence was affected by season, and the generalist tick Ixodes (Ixodes) ricinus that was found only in France (34%). All the other helminths and arthropod species were rare, with prevalence below 10%. However, the first record of Strongyloides robustus, a common nematode of North American Eastern grey squirrels (S. carolinensis), in two red squirrels living in areas where this alien species co-inhabits, deserves further attention, since low parasite richness could result in native red squirrels being particularly vulnerable to parasite spillover.

  4. Cone selection by Eurasian red squirrels in mixed conifer forests in the Italian Alps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molinari, A.; Wauters, L. A.; Airoldi, G.; Cerinotti, F.; Martinoli, A.; Tosi, G.

    2006-07-01

    Tree squirrels are arboreal granivores that harvest and consume tree seeds both prior to and after seed-dispersal. Inter- and intraspecific patterns of seed predation suggest that squirrels may exert strong selective pressure on cone morphology and patterns of cone production, and suggest coevolutionary interactions between squirrels and conifers. In some pine species (genus Pinus), mutualistic relationships have evolved between cone (seed) traits and seed-dispersal behaviour by birds and rodents. In other species, feeding by seed predators has selected for cone traits that decrease intensity of seed consumption. In mixed conifer forests, red squirrels ( Sciurus vulgaris) feed intensively in some (target) trees but avoid others (nontarget trees). Here we explore defensive cone traits and seed traits correlated with tree selection for conifer species with different seed-dispersal strategies. No selection for cone traits existed in Pinus cembra, which has large wingless seeds, dispersed by birds and rodents. In Picea abies, the most favoured species, target trees had cones with more seeds per cone than nontarget trees, and number of seeds increased with cone length. Cone selection was most pronounced in Pinus sylvestris, where target trees had bigger cones with more seeds and higher total seed mass than nontarget trees. However, ratio of seed mass on cone mass did not differ among target and nontarget trees, suggesting that bigger cones also had more protective tissue, probably increasing difficulties for seed predators to gain access to seeds. Our results suggest that cone and seed traits of P. cembra facilitate seed consumption by squirrels, but that defensive cone traits of small-seeded conifers, in combination with annual differences in seed production (masting), might be the result of coevolution with seed-eating squirrels.

  5. SEM study on the dorsal lingual surface of the flying squirrel, Petaurista leucogenys.

    PubMed

    Emura, S; Tamada, A; Hayakawa, D; Chen, H; Jamali, M; Taguchi, H; Shoumura, S

    1999-09-01

    The dorsal lingual surface of the flying squirrel was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Filiform (FI), fungiform (FU), foliate (FO) and vallate papillae (VA) were observed. The FI were distributed over the entire dorsal surface of the tongue. In the region of the VA, the FI appeared as giant cones. The FU were present as rounded bodies scattered over the dorsal surface of the tongue. They were relatively scarce and appear to be concentrated around the edges of the tongue. The FO were observed on the posterolateral regions of the tongue. The flying squirrel showed the triangular arrangement of the three VA, with the apex of the triangle directed posteriorly. PMID:10560016

  6. Spatial organization of northern flying squirrels, Glaucomys sabrinus: Territoriality in females?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, J.R.; Vuren, D.H.V.; Kelt, D.A.; Johnson, M.L.

    2011-01-01

    We determined home-range overlap among northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) to assess their spatial organization. We found extensive home-range overlap among females, and though this overlap could reflect social behavior, we found no evidence of attraction among females, with only one instance of den sharing. Instead, our results suggest that females share foraging areas but may be territorial in portions of the home range, especially around den trees and during young-rearing. Home-range overlap could also result from, the extrinsic effect of forest fragmentation due to timber harvest, which might impede dispersal and force squirrels to cluster on remaining fragments of suitable habitat.

  7. Kittens as therapists: social behavior sequences in isolated squirrel monkeys after exposure to young nonconspecifics.

    PubMed

    Huebner, D K; King, J E

    1984-05-01

    Squirrel monkeys that had been exposed to repeated separations from cloth surrogates were given continuous access to domestic kittens. Information-theoretic measures showed that these monkeys exerted greater constraint on behaviors of adult feral squirrel monkeys than did monkeys who had not received previous kitten exposure. The latter monkeys displayed a behavioral encapsulation characterized by increased susceptibility to the constraint imposed by their own preceding behaviors and a decreased susceptibility to constraint from other monkeys' behaviors. In addition, kitten-reared monkeys displayed a high level of positive social behaviors, particularly following noncohesive or divisive behaviors by another monkey. PMID:6724141

  8. The first report of peritoneal tetrathyridiosis in squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus).

    PubMed

    Tokiwa, Toshihiro; Taira, Kensuke; Yamazaki, Mutsumi; Kashimura, Akane; Une, Yumi

    2014-10-01

    This report describes a case of peritoneal larval cestodiasis caused by tetrathyridia of Mesocestoides sp. in an adult female squirrel monkey. The monkey had lived in a zoological garden in Japan and had a clinical history of wasting. At necropsy, numerous whitish oval masses were found in the liver and peritoneal cavity. These masses contained larval cestodes. Morphological observation and molecular analyses of the mitochondrial 12S ribosomal RNA gene and cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene sequences allowed us to identify the larva as the tetrathyridium of Mesocestoides sp. This is the first report of Mesocestoides larvae in a squirrel monkey in Japan.

  9. Influence of thinning of Douglas-fir forests on population parameters and diet of northern flying squirrels

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gomez, D.M.; Anthony, R.G.; Hayes, J.P.

    2005-01-01

    We investigated the effects of thinning young (35- to 45-yr-old) Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forests on density, survival, body mass, movements, and diets of northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) in the northern coast range of Oregon. We used a repeated measures, randomized block design with 3 treatments (control, moderate thinning, and heavy thinning) and 4 replicates to study diets and population characteristics from 1994-1997. Densities of flying squirrels were variable in space and time, but they were positively correlated to biomass and frequency of fungal sporocarps, suggesting they were responding to food resources rather than forest structure. Fungal sporocarps comprised a major portion of the squirrel's diet, and other vegetative material made up the remainder of the diet. Several fungal genera including Gautieria, Geopora, Hymenogaster, Hysterangium, Melanogaster, and Rhizopogon were found more frequently in diets than on the trapping grids and therefore appeared to be selected by the squirrels. Flying squirrel movements were negatively correlated with the frequency of occurrence of fungal sporocarps at trap stations, suggesting that squirrels traveled greater distances to find fungal sporocarps where these food items were more sparsely distributed. We hypothesized that flying squirrel densities would be relatively low in these young, structurally simple forests; however, densities on some of the grids were >1.5 squirrels/ha, which was comparable to densities described for the species in late-successional forests. Our results indicated that commercial thinning did not have measurable short-term effects on density, survival, or body mass of flying squirrels.

  10. Causes of mortality and pathological lesions observed post-mortem in red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) in Great Britain

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The red squirrel population in Great Britain has declined dramatically in recent decades, principally due to squirrelpox. Concern exists that red squirrels may become extinct nationally and, as there has been limited research in to diseases other than squirrelpox, this study aimed to identify additional causes of mortality. Results Post-mortem examinations on 163 red squirrels found dead on Isle of Wight (IoW) England, in Scotland and at other locations in Great Britain showed that 41.7% (n = 68) were killed by road traffic and 9.2% (n = 15) by predators, principally domestic cats and dogs. The overall male/female ratio was 1.08/1. Fleas were recorded on 34.9% of IoW squirrels and on 43.8% of Scottish squirrels but sucking lice and ixodid ticks were only seen on Scottish squirrels. Bacterial infections were significant, particularly in association with respiratory disease (n = 16); two squirrels died of Bordetella bronchiseptica bronchopneumonia. Cases of fatal exudative dermatitis (n = 5) associated with a lukM-positive clone of Staphylococcus aureus occurred only on the IoW. Toxoplasmosis (n = 12) was also confined to IoW where it was responsible for almost one tenth (9.5%) of all deaths. Hepatozoonosis was common, especially in IoW squirrels, but was not considered a primary cause of mortality. Hepatic capillariasis affected four IoW squirrels and one from Scotland. Fungal infections included oral candidiasis, adiaspiromycosis and pulmonary phaeohyphomycosis. Neoplastic conditions diagnosed were: pulmonary carcinoma, gastric spindle cell tumour, renal papillary adenoma and trichoepithelioma. Epidermal hyperplasia of unknown aetiology was seen in squirrels showing crusty lesions of the ear pinnae on IoW (n = 3) and Brownsea Island (n = 1), associated in two cases with cutaneous wart-like growths. Miscellaneous diagnoses included chylothorax, electrocution, intussusception, suspected cholecalciferol rodenticide poisoning and

  11. Responses of squirrel monkeys to seasonal changes in food availability in an eastern Amazonian forest.

    PubMed

    Stone, Anita I

    2007-02-01

    Tropical forests are characterized by marked temporal and spatial variation in productivity, and many primates face foraging problems associated with seasonal shifts in fruit availability. In this study, I examined seasonal changes in diet and foraging behaviors of two groups of squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus), studied for 12 months in Eastern Brazilian Amazonia, an area characterized by seasonal rainfall. Squirrel monkeys were primarily insectivorous (79% of feeding and foraging time), with fruit consumption highest during the rainy season. Although monkeys fed from 68 plant species, fruit of Attalea maripa palms accounted for 28% of annual fruit-feeding records. Dietary shifts in the dry season were correlated with a decline in ripe A. maripa fruits. Despite pronounced seasonal variation in rainfall and fruit abundance, foraging efficiency, travel time, and distance traveled remained stable between seasons. Instead, squirrel monkeys at this Eastern Amazonian site primarily dealt with the seasonal decline in fruit by showing dietary flexibility. Consumption of insects, flowers, and exudates increased during the dry season. In particular, their foraging behavior at this time strongly resembled that of tamarins (Saguinus sp.) and consisted of heavy use of seed-pod exudates and specialized foraging on large-bodied orthopterans near the forest floor. Comparisons with squirrel monkeys at other locations indicate that, across their geographic range, Saimiri use a variety of behavioral tactics during reduced periods of fruit availability. PMID:17154390

  12. Artificial turf foraging boards as environmental enrichment for pair-housed female squirrel monkeys.

    PubMed

    Fekete, J M; Norcross, J L; Newman, J D

    2000-03-01

    We investigated the use of artificial turf foraging boards to determine if providing captive squirrel monkeys an opportunity for semi-natural foraging behavior would 1) alter the monkeys' time budget to better approximate that seen in wild populations, 2) reduce the stereotypic, self-injurious, and aggressive behavior occasionally seen in captive squirrel monkeys, and 3) provide sustained enrichment. Five groups of pair-housed female squirrel monkeys were videotaped the week prior to, the week following, and for 2 weeks during the enrichment phase, when treat-enhanced boards were provided for 2 h daily. During the first 30 min of daily enrichment, inactivity declined 35.3%, locomotion increased 3.8%, and board-related behaviors occupied 36.3% of the activity budget; these changes were not evident after 1.5 h. Stereotypic behavior (pacing, headswinging, tailchewing) and aggression were not altered by the foraging opportunity. The foraging board retained the interest of the subjects across 2 weeks in the same daily pattern. Use of the foraging board altered the squirrel monkeys' time budget to become more like activity patterns seen in wild populations. PMID:11487235

  13. Isolation and amino acid sequences of squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciurea) insulin and glucagon.

    PubMed Central

    Yu, J H; Eng, J; Yalow, R S

    1990-01-01

    It was reported two decades ago that insulin was not detectable in the glucose-stimulated state in Saimiri sciurea, the New World squirrel monkey, by a radioimmunoassay system developed with guinea pig anti-pork insulin antibody and labeled pork insulin. With the same system, reasonable levels were observed in rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees. This suggested that New World monkeys, like the New World hystricomorph rodents such as the guinea pig and the coypu, might have insulins whose sequences differ markedly from those of Old World mammals. In this report we describe the purification and amino acid sequences of squirrel monkey insulin and glucagon. We demonstrate that the substitutions at B29, B27, A2, A4, and A17 of squirrel monkey insulin are identical with those previously found in another New World primate, the owl monkey (Aotus trivirgatus). The immunologic cross-reactivity of this insulin in our immunoassay system is only a few percent of that of human insulin. Squirrel monkey glucagon is identical with the usual glucagon found in Old World mammals, which predicts that the glucagons of other New World monkeys would not differ from the usual Old World mammalian glucagon. It appears that the peptides of the New World monkeys have diverged less from those of the Old World mammals than have those of the New World hystricomorph rodents. The striking improvements in peptide purification and sequencing have the potential for adding new information concerning the evolutionary divergence of species. PMID:2263627

  14. Endogenous retrovirus HC2 pol fragments in the squirrel monkey: expression, evolution, and phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Yi, J-M; Kim, T-H; Huh, J-I; Nakamura, S; Takenaka, O; Lee, W-H; Hyun, B-H; Kim, H-S

    2003-11-01

    Human endogenous retrovirus HC2 is an incomplete provirus containing the entire gag and pol genes and a 3' LTR, whereas the 5' LTR and env gene are missing. We investigated expression of the HC2 pol gene in the squirrel monkey ( Saimiri sciureus) by RT-PCR. The pol gene was expressed in cerebellum, liver, lung, and spleen of the squirrel monkey, but not in six other tissues tested. RT-PCR products were cloned and sequenced resulting in seven sequences that were analyzed. These sequences showed 73.7-89.2% sequence similarity to HC2 pol genes present in the human genome. No frameshifts or termination codons caused by deletion/insertion or point mutation were found in clones SM-HC27-1 and SM-HC27-4 isolated from squirrel monkey lung tissues. Phylogenetic analysis showed that HC2 pol elements from the squirrel monkey were randomly clustered with those in human genome and the genomes of other nonhuman primates, indicating that substantial evolution of the HC2 elements occurred prior to primate speciation with additional evolution of the elements, independent of each other, after speciation.

  15. Excavation of red squirrel middens by grizzly bears in the whitebark pine zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, D.J.; Reinhart, D.P.

    1997-01-01

    7. Grizzly bears would benefit from the minimization of roads and other human facilities in the whitebark pine zone and from increases in the availability of whitebark pine seeds, potentially achieved by increasing the numbers of cone-producing whitebark pine trees, especially in lower elevations of the whitebark pine zone where red squirrels are more abundant.

  16. Acorn Caching in Tree Squirrels: Teaching Hypothesis Testing in the Park

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    McEuen, Amy B.; Steele, Michael A.

    2012-01-01

    We developed an exercise for a university-level ecology class that teaches hypothesis testing by examining acorn preferences and caching behavior of tree squirrels (Sciurus spp.). This exercise is easily modified to teach concepts of behavioral ecology for earlier grades, particularly high school, and provides students with a theoretical basis for…

  17. Interhemispheric connections in the visual cortex of the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus).

    PubMed

    Gould, H J; Weber, J T; Rieck, R W

    1987-02-01

    The callosal connections within the posterior parietal and occipital cortices were studied in the squirrel monkey with horseradish peroxidase tracing techniques. The data were evaluated with particular emphasis on the relationship of major callosal connections along the 17-18 border. The overall pattern of callosal connections in the squirrel monkey also was compared with callosal patterns in other New World simians. Our results show that the dense band of callosal connections along the 17-18 border in the squirrel monkey differs from the connections observed in other New World monkeys in that it is virtually confined to area 18 and avoids area 17. In addition to a continuous band of callosal connections in area 18 that parallels the 17-18 border, rostral extensions of the band are oriented perpendicular to the 17-18 border and present an obvious periodicity. The remaining parieto-occipital cortex contains a complex pattern of callosal connections that is strikingly similar to patterns reported for other New World monkeys. Thus, it is likely that the dorsolateral extrastriate visual cortex in the squirrel monkey is organized in a manner similar to that found within other New World monkeys.

  18. Social Behavior in Interacting Squirrel Monkeys with Differential Nutritional and Environmental Histories.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chappell, Patricia F.

    This paper reports an observational study of the effects of handling on the social behavior of squirrel monkeys who received a protein deficient diet. After birth, experimental animals received a low-protein diet for a 6-week period. A subgroup of these animals were handled between 3 and 12 weeks of age. All of the animals interacted (in four…

  19. Artificial turf foraging boards as environmental enrichment for pair-housed female squirrel monkeys.

    PubMed

    Fekete, J M; Norcross, J L; Newman, J D

    2000-03-01

    We investigated the use of artificial turf foraging boards to determine if providing captive squirrel monkeys an opportunity for semi-natural foraging behavior would 1) alter the monkeys' time budget to better approximate that seen in wild populations, 2) reduce the stereotypic, self-injurious, and aggressive behavior occasionally seen in captive squirrel monkeys, and 3) provide sustained enrichment. Five groups of pair-housed female squirrel monkeys were videotaped the week prior to, the week following, and for 2 weeks during the enrichment phase, when treat-enhanced boards were provided for 2 h daily. During the first 30 min of daily enrichment, inactivity declined 35.3%, locomotion increased 3.8%, and board-related behaviors occupied 36.3% of the activity budget; these changes were not evident after 1.5 h. Stereotypic behavior (pacing, headswinging, tailchewing) and aggression were not altered by the foraging opportunity. The foraging board retained the interest of the subjects across 2 weeks in the same daily pattern. Use of the foraging board altered the squirrel monkeys' time budget to become more like activity patterns seen in wild populations.

  20. Orthopoxvirus antibodies in grey squirrels (Sciurus aureogaster) in Mexico City, Mexico.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Duque, Paola; Avila-Flores, Rafael; Emerson, Ginny L; Carroll, Darin S; Suzán, Gerardo; Gallardo-Romero, Nadia F

    2014-07-01

    Serum from Mexican grey squirrels (Sciurus aureogaster) from Mexico City reacted to Orthopoxvirus by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Real-time PCR based on oral swabs and scabs did not detect viral DNA. Antibody prevalence was 30% (n=366), providing the first evidence of Orthopoxvirus antibodies in Mexican wild rodents. PMID:24807351

  1. Western gray squirrel (Rodentia: Sciuridae): a primary reservoir host of Borrelia burgdorferi in Californian oak woodlands?

    PubMed

    Lane, Robert S; Mun, Jeomhee; Eisen, Rebecca J; Eisen, Lars

    2005-05-01

    In California, dense woodlands have been recognized as important biotopes where humans are exposed to the nymphal stage of the western blacklegged tick, Ixodes pacificus Cooley & Kohls, the primary vector of the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto (s.s.), in the far-western United States. To identify the principal reservoir host(s) of this spirochete, and of closely related spirochetes in the B. burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) complex, in dense woodlands in Mendocino County, California, approximately 50 species of birds and mammals, including wood rats and kangaroo rats, were evaluated as potential hosts for vector ticks and borreliae in 2002 and 2003. Although polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing analyses revealed that many vertebrate species had been exposed to one or more members of the B. burgdorferi s.l. spirochetal complex, only the western gray squirrel, Sciurus griseus, fulfilled the major criteria for a reservoir host of B. burgdorferi s.s. Ear-punch biopsies from eight of 10 squirrels collected from five separate woodlands were PCR-positive for B. burgdorferi s.s., 47% of I. pacificus larvae (n = 64) and 31% of nymphs (n = 49) removed from squirrels contained B. burgdorferi s.l., and the engorgement status of I. pacificus larvae was associated positively with acquisition of spirochetes. Overall, 83 and 100% of the amplicons sequenced from PCR-positive I. pacificus larvae and nymphs, respectively, were identified as B. burgdorferi s.s, Among the five remaining positive I. pacificus larvae, three contained B. bissettii and two had uncharacterized B. burgdorferi s.l. Borrelia burgdorferi s.s. was detected in one of five larvae and zero of two nymphs of the Pacific Coast tick, Dermacentor occidentalis Marx, that likewise had been removed from squirrels. The rickettsial agent of human anaplasmosis, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, was detected in the blood or ear biopsies of two squirrels and in one (1.6%) of 64 I. pacificus larvae and

  2. Pattern of maternal circulating CRH in laboratory-housed squirrel and owl monkeys.

    PubMed

    Power, M L; Williams, L E; Gibson, S V; Schulkin, J; Helfers, J; Zorrilla, E P

    2010-11-01

    The anthropoid primate placenta appears to be unique in producing corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). Placental CRH is involved in an endocrine circuit key to the production of estrogens during pregnancy. CRH induces cortisol production by the maternal and fetal adrenal glands, leading to further placental CRH production. CRH also stimulates the fetal adrenal glands to produce dehydroepiandrostendione sulfate (DHEAS), which the placenta converts into estrogens. There are at least two patterns of maternal circulating CRH across gestation among anthropoids. Monkeys examined to date (Papio and Callithrix) have an early-to-mid gestational peak of circulating CRH, followed by a steady decline to a plateau level, with a possible rise near parturition. In contrast, humans and great apes have an exponential rise in circulating CRH peaking at parturition. To further document and compare patterns of maternal circulating CRH in anthropoid primates, we collected monthly blood samples from 14 squirrel monkeys (Saimiri boliviensis) and ten owl monkeys (Aotus nancymaae) during pregnancy. CRH immunoreactivity was measured from extracted plasma by using solid-phase radioimmunoassay. Both squirrel and owl monkeys displayed a mid-gestational peak in circulating CRH: days 45-65 of the 152-day gestation for squirrel monkeys (mean±SEM CRH=2,694±276 pg/ml) and days 60-80 of the 133-day gestation for owl monkeys (9,871±974 pg/ml). In squirrel monkeys, circulating CRH declined to 36% of mean peak value by 2 weeks before parturition and then appeared to increase; the best model for circulating CRH over gestation in squirrel monkeys was a cubic function, similar to previous results for baboons and marmosets. In owl monkeys, circulating CRH appeared to reach plateau with no subsequent significant decline approaching parturition, although a cubic function was the best fit. This study provides additional evidence for a mid-gestational peak of maternal circulating CRH in ancestral

  3. Pattern of maternal circulating CRH in laboratory-housed squirrel and owl monkeys

    PubMed Central

    Power, ML; Williams, LE; Gibson, SV; Schulkin, J; Helfers, J; Zorrilla, EP

    2010-01-01

    The anthropoid primate placenta appears to be unique in producing corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). Placental CRH is involved in an endocrine circuit key to the production of estrogens during pregnancy. CRH induces cortisol production by the maternal and fetal adrenal glands, leading to further placental CRH production. CRH also stimulates the fetal adrenal glands to produce dehydroepiandrostendione sulfate (DHEAS) which the placenta converts into estrogens. There are at least two patterns of maternal circulating CRH across gestation among anthropoids. Monkeys examined to date (Papio and Callithrix) have an early-to-mid gestational peak of circulating CRH, followed by a steady decline to a plateau level, with a possible rise near parturition. In contrast, humans and great apes have an exponential rise in circulating CRH peaking at parturition. To further document and compare patterns of maternal circulating CRH in anthropoid primates, we collected monthly blood samples on 14 squirrel monkeys (Saimiri boliviensis) and 10 owl monkeys (Aotus nancymaae) during pregnancy. CRH immunoreactivity was measured from extracted plasma by solid-phase RIA. Both squirrel and owl monkeys displayed a mid-gestational peak in circulating CRH: days 45–65 of the 152-day gestation for squirrel monkeys (mean±SEM CRH = 2694±276 pg/ml) and days 60–80 of the 133-day gestation for owl monkeys (9871±974 pg/ml). In squirrel monkeys, circulating CRH declined to 36% of mean peak value by two weeks before parturition and then appeared to increase; the best model for circulating CRH over gestation in squirrel monkeys was a cubic function, similar to previous results for baboons and marmosets. In owl monkeys, circulating CRH appeared to plateau with no subsequent significant decline approaching parturition, although a cubic function was the best fit. This study provides additional evidence for a mid-gestational peak of maternal circulating CRH in ancestral anthropoids that has been lost

  4. Biochemical adaptations of mammalian hibernation: exploring squirrels as a perspective model for naturally induced reversible insulin resistance.

    PubMed

    Wu, C-W; Biggar, K K; Storey, K B

    2013-01-01

    An important disease among human metabolic disorders is type 2 diabetes mellitus. This disorder involves multiple physiological defects that result from high blood glucose content and eventually lead to the onset of insulin resistance. The combination of insulin resistance, increased glucose production, and decreased insulin secretion creates a diabetic metabolic environment that leads to a lifetime of management. Appropriate models are critical for the success of research. As such, a unique model providing insight into the mechanisms of reversible insulin resistance is mammalian hibernation. Hibernators, such as ground squirrels and bats, are excellent examples of animals exhibiting reversible insulin resistance, for which a rapid increase in body weight is required prior to entry into dormancy. Hibernator studies have shown differential regulation of specific molecular pathways involved in reversible resistance to insulin. The present review focuses on this growing area of research and the molecular mechanisms that regulate glucose homeostasis, and explores the roles of the Akt signaling pathway during hibernation. Here, we propose a link between hibernation, a well-documented response to periods of environmental stress, and reversible insulin resistance, potentially facilitated by key alterations in the Akt signaling network, PPAR-γ/PGC-1α regulation, and non-coding RNA expression. Coincidentally, many of the same pathways are frequently found to be dysregulated during insulin resistance in human type 2 diabetes. Hence, the molecular networks that may regulate reversible insulin resistance in hibernating mammals represent a novel approach by providing insight into medical treatment of insulin resistance in humans.

  5. High incidence of the gullet worm, Gongylonema pulchrum, in a squirrel monkey colony in a zoological garden in Japan.

    PubMed

    Sato, Hiroshi; Une, Yumi; Takada, Mariko

    2005-01-20

    Histological examination revealed the gullet worm (Gongylonema pulchrum) embedded in the lingual mucosa of two of four dead Bolivian squirrel monkeys (Saimiri boliviensis) from a zoological garden in Kyushu, Japan. The zoo had kept the monkeys as a colony of approximately 80-100 individuals in a moated, open ground since 1981. To assess the incidence of G. pulchrum infection in this colony, lingual scraping with disposable plastic sticks was conducted in February during 2 consecutive years (2003 and 2004). The oval, thick-shelled egg containing a larva was found in 15 of 27 arbitrarily-chosen adult monkeys (55.5%) in 2003, and 27 of 106 monkeys (25.5%) in 2004. Infection of other zoo-kept mammals with G. pulchrum was not assessed. Since the gullet worm infects a variety of mammals including primates as natural definitive hosts, and dung beetles and cockroaches as intermediate hosts, the zoological garden may provide an ideal environment for the parasite. Zoo veterinarians should be aware of this disease in kept mammals, and should consider in the case of primates, monthly or bimonthly prophylactic anthelmintic treatment.

  6. Phenotype and Age Differences in Blood Gas Characteristics, Electrolytes, Hemoglobin, Plasma Glucose and Cortisol in Female Squirrel Monkeys

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brizzee, K. R.; Ordy, J. M.; Dunlap, W. P.; Kendrick, R.; Wengenack, T. M.

    1988-01-01

    Due to its small size, lower cost, tractable nature, successful breeding in captivity and its status near the middle of the primate phylogenetic scale, the squirrel monkey has become an attractive primate model for basic and biomedical research. Although the squirrel monkey now is being used more extensively in many laboratories with diverse interests, only fragmentary reports have been published regarding basic physiological characteristics, or baseline blood reference values of different phenotypes, particularly blood gases, hematology and serum chemical constituents. It is becoming recognized increasingly that these baseline blood reference values are important not only in the care and maintenance of the squirrel monkey, but are critical for assessing normal physiological status, as well as the effects of various experimental treatments. The purpose of this study was to compare differences in blood gases, electrolytes, hematology, blood glucose and cortisol among young and old Bolivian (Roman type) and Colombian (Gothic type) phenotypes of the squirrel monkey.

  7. [Squirrel monkey--an ideal primate (correction of prmate) model of space physiology].

    PubMed

    Matsunami, K

    1997-06-01

    Investigation of the vestibulo-ocular system of the squirrel monkey was reviewed in consideration of space motion sickness (SMS), or which is recently more often termed as space adaptation syndrome (SAS). Since the first launching of the space satellite, Sputnik [correction of Sputonik] in October 1957, many experiments were carried out in biological and medical fields. A various kind of creatures were used as experimental models from protozoa to human beings. Rats and monkeys are most favorite animals, particularly the non-human primate seems to be the one, because of its phylogenetic relatives akin to the human beings. Chimpanzees, rhesus monkeys, pig tailed-monkeys, red-faced monkeys and squirrel monkeys have been used mostly in American space experiments. Russian used rhesus monkeys. Among these, however, the squirrel monkey has an advantage of the small size of the body, ranging from 600- l000g in adult. This small size as a primate is very advantageous in experiments conducted in a narrow room of the space satellite or shuttle because of its space-saving. The squirrel monkey has another advantage to rear easily as is demonstrated to keep it as a pet. Accordingly, this petit animal provides us a good animal model in biological and medical experiments in space craft. The size of the brain of the squirrel monkey is extraordinary large relative to the body size, which is even superior to that of the human beings. This is partly owed to enlargement of the occipito-temporal cortices, which are forced to well develop for processing a huge amount of audio-visual information indispensable to the arboreal habitant to survive in tropical forest. The vestibular system of the squirrel monkey seems to be the most superior as well, when judged from it relative size of the vestibular nuclear complex. Balancing on swinging twigs or jumping from tree to tree developed the capability of this equilibrium system. Fernandez, Goldberg and his collaborators used the squirrel monkey

  8. [Squirrel monkey--an ideal primate (correction of prmate) model of space physiology].

    PubMed

    Matsunami, K

    1997-06-01

    Investigation of the vestibulo-ocular system of the squirrel monkey was reviewed in consideration of space motion sickness (SMS), or which is recently more often termed as space adaptation syndrome (SAS). Since the first launching of the space satellite, Sputnik [correction of Sputonik] in October 1957, many experiments were carried out in biological and medical fields. A various kind of creatures were used as experimental models from protozoa to human beings. Rats and monkeys are most favorite animals, particularly the non-human primate seems to be the one, because of its phylogenetic relatives akin to the human beings. Chimpanzees, rhesus monkeys, pig tailed-monkeys, red-faced monkeys and squirrel monkeys have been used mostly in American space experiments. Russian used rhesus monkeys. Among these, however, the squirrel monkey has an advantage of the small size of the body, ranging from 600- l000g in adult. This small size as a primate is very advantageous in experiments conducted in a narrow room of the space satellite or shuttle because of its space-saving. The squirrel monkey has another advantage to rear easily as is demonstrated to keep it as a pet. Accordingly, this petit animal provides us a good animal model in biological and medical experiments in space craft. The size of the brain of the squirrel monkey is extraordinary large relative to the body size, which is even superior to that of the human beings. This is partly owed to enlargement of the occipito-temporal cortices, which are forced to well develop for processing a huge amount of audio-visual information indispensable to the arboreal habitant to survive in tropical forest. The vestibular system of the squirrel monkey seems to be the most superior as well, when judged from it relative size of the vestibular nuclear complex. Balancing on swinging twigs or jumping from tree to tree developed the capability of this equilibrium system. Fernandez, Goldberg and his collaborators used the squirrel monkey

  9. Systematic assessment of the impact of adenovirus infection on a captive reintroduction project for red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Everest, D J; Shuttleworth, C M; Grierson, S S; Duff, J P; Jackson, N; Litherland, P; Kenward, R E; Stidworthy, M F

    2012-08-18

    PCR was used to amplify adenoviral DNA, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to detect adenovirus particles in tissue and intestinal content samples from red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) associated with a reintroduction study on Anglesey (North Wales), from other populations on the island and from stock held at the Welsh Mountain Zoo, 38 km to the east. Samples were collected during the routine surveillance postmortem examinations of all 60 red squirrels with carcases retrieved in a suitable condition between 2004 and 2010, including 29 captive and 31 free-living animals. Following significant clusters of mortality in captive red squirrels, adenovirus was identified retrospectively in faecal material from 12 of 13 (92 per cent) examined carcases from squirrels captive on Anglesey, and 14 of 16 (88 per cent) from the Welsh Mountain Zoo. Virus was identified in 13 of 31 (42 per cent) free-living wild animals, with evidence of both subclinical and clinically significant enteric adenoviral infections in wild squirrels. Without ancillary PCR and TEM testing, the extent of adenovirus infection in such populations would have been underestimated. Screening protocols that include examinations for adenovirus should, therefore, be part of the routine biosecurity measures protecting reintroduction or captive breeding programmes for red squirrels. PMID:22791517

  10. Capture of syncytin-Mar1, a Fusogenic Endogenous Retroviral Envelope Gene Involved in Placentation in the Rodentia Squirrel-Related Clade

    PubMed Central

    Redelsperger, François; Cornelis, Guillaume; Vernochet, Cécile; Tennant, Bud C.; Catzeflis, François; Mulot, Baptiste; Heidmann, Odile; Dupressoir, Anne

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT Syncytin genes are fusogenic envelope protein (env) genes of retroviral origin that have been captured for a function in placentation. Within rodents, two such genes have previously been identified in the mouse-related clade, allowing a demonstration of their essential role via knockout mice. Here, we searched for similar genes in a second major clade of the Rodentia order, the squirrel-related clade, taking advantage of the complete sequencing of the ground squirrel Ictidomys tridecemlineatus genome. In silico search for env genes with full coding capacity identified several candidate genes with one displaying placenta-specific expression, as revealed by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR analysis of a large panel of tissues. This gene belongs to a degenerate endogenous retroviral element, with recognizable hallmarks of an integrated provirus. Cloning of the gene in an expression vector for ex vivo cell-cell fusion and pseudotype assays demonstrated fusogenicity on a large panel of mammalian cells. In situ hybridization on placenta sections showed specific expression in domains where trophoblast cells fuse into a syncytiotrophoblast at the fetomaternal interface, consistent with a role in syncytium formation. Finally, we show that the gene is conserved among the tribe Marmotini, thus dating its capture back to about at least 25 million years ago, with evidence for purifying selection and conservation of fusogenic activity. This gene that we named syncytin-Mar1 is distinct from all seven Syncytin genes identified to date in eutherian mammals and is likely to be a major effector of placentation in its related clade. IMPORTANCE Syncytin genes are fusogenic envelope genes of retroviral origin, ancestrally captured for a function in placentation. Within rodents, two such genes had been previously identified in the mouse-related clade. Here, in the squirrel-related rodent clade, we identified the envelope gene of an endogenous retrovirus with all the

  11. Capture of syncytin-Mar1, a fusogenic endogenous retroviral envelope gene involved in placentation in the Rodentia squirrel-related clade.

    PubMed

    Redelsperger, François; Cornelis, Guillaume; Vernochet, Cécile; Tennant, Bud C; Catzeflis, François; Mulot, Baptiste; Heidmann, Odile; Heidmann, Thierry; Dupressoir, Anne

    2014-07-01

    Syncytin genes are fusogenic envelope protein (env) genes of retroviral origin that have been captured for a function in placentation. Within rodents, two such genes have previously been identified in the mouse-related clade, allowing a demonstration of their essential role via knockout mice. Here, we searched for similar genes in a second major clade of the Rodentia order, the squirrel-related clade, taking advantage of the complete sequencing of the ground squirrel Ictidomys tridecemlineatus genome. In silico search for env genes with full coding capacity identified several candidate genes with one displaying placenta-specific expression, as revealed by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR analysis of a large panel of tissues. This gene belongs to a degenerate endogenous retroviral element, with recognizable hallmarks of an integrated provirus. Cloning of the gene in an expression vector for ex vivo cell-cell fusion and pseudotype assays demonstrated fusogenicity on a large panel of mammalian cells. In situ hybridization on placenta sections showed specific expression in domains where trophoblast cells fuse into a syncytiotrophoblast at the fetomaternal interface, consistent with a role in syncytium formation. Finally, we show that the gene is conserved among the tribe Marmotini, thus dating its capture back to about at least 25 million years ago, with evidence for purifying selection and conservation of fusogenic activity. This gene that we named syncytin-Mar1 is distinct from all seven Syncytin genes identified to date in eutherian mammals and is likely to be a major effector of placentation in its related clade. Importance: Syncytin genes are fusogenic envelope genes of retroviral origin, ancestrally captured for a function in placentation. Within rodents, two such genes had been previously identified in the mouse-related clade. Here, in the squirrel-related rodent clade, we identified the envelope gene of an endogenous retrovirus with all the features of a

  12. No safety in the trees: Local and species-level adaptation of an arboreal squirrel to the venom of sympatric rattlesnakes.

    PubMed

    Pomento, Abby M; Perry, Blair W; Denton, Robert D; Gibbs, H Lisle; Holding, Matthew L

    2016-08-01

    Within some species, squirrels respond to variable selection from venomous snake predators by showing population-level variation in resistance, while between species, some rattlesnakes possess venom that is more effective at overcoming venom resistance in different species of squirrels. A functional evaluation of resistance variation to venom within and between species of squirrels and snakes can link resistance variation to its evolutionary causes across these different evolutionary scales. To do this, we compared the effectiveness of squirrel sera in inhibiting rattlesnake (Crotalus spp.) venom metalloproteinase activity between populations and between species to test for a response to local variation in selection from a single rattlesnake predator and for specialization of two resistant squirrel species to each of their distinct sympatric snake predators. We found that Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) venom inhibition by Eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) is higher at a site where the rattlesnakes are present, which suggests selection may maintain venom resistance in populations separated by short distances. Next, we performed a reciprocal cross of venoms and sera from two rattlesnake and two squirrel species. This showed that squirrel resistance is lower when tested against venom from allopatric compared to sympatric rattlesnake species, demonstrating that squirrel inhibitors are specialized to sympatric venom and suggesting a tradeoff in terms of specialization to the venom of a specific species of rattlesnake predator. This pattern can be explained if inhibitors must recognize venom proteins and resistance evolution tracks venom evolution. PMID:27158112

  13. The evolution of urgency-based and functionally referential alarm calls in ground-dwelling species.

    PubMed

    Furrer, Roman D; Manser, Marta B

    2009-03-01

    A major evolutionary force driving functionally referential alarm calls is the need for different strategies to escape various predator types in complex structured habitats. In contrast, a single escape strategy appears to be sufficient in less-structured open habitats, and under such conditions urgency-dependent alarm calls may be favored. Nevertheless, some species, such as meerkats (Suricata suricatta), have evolved functionally referential alarm calls despite living in open areas, using only bolt-holes for retreat. To understand the evolution of different alarm call systems, we investigated the calls of sympatric Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris) and compared their antipredator and foraging behavior with that of meerkats. Cape ground squirrels emitted urgency-dependent alarm calls and responded to playbacks depending on urgency, not predator type. Vigilance behavior and habitat use differed between the two species. Meerkats roam widely to find prey and for efficient foraging depend on coordinated predator vigilance and escape behavior. As herbivores with smaller territories, Cape ground squirrels depend less on coordinated antipredator behavior, and urgency-dependent alarm calls encode all essential information. We conclude that habitat complexity does not explain the evolution of functionally referential alarm calls in all species, and other constraints, such as the need to coordinate group movements to maintain foraging efficiency, could be more relevant. PMID:19199527

  14. The evolution of urgency-based and functionally referential alarm calls in ground-dwelling species.

    PubMed

    Furrer, Roman D; Manser, Marta B

    2009-03-01

    A major evolutionary force driving functionally referential alarm calls is the need for different strategies to escape various predator types in complex structured habitats. In contrast, a single escape strategy appears to be sufficient in less-structured open habitats, and under such conditions urgency-dependent alarm calls may be favored. Nevertheless, some species, such as meerkats (Suricata suricatta), have evolved functionally referential alarm calls despite living in open areas, using only bolt-holes for retreat. To understand the evolution of different alarm call systems, we investigated the calls of sympatric Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris) and compared their antipredator and foraging behavior with that of meerkats. Cape ground squirrels emitted urgency-dependent alarm calls and responded to playbacks depending on urgency, not predator type. Vigilance behavior and habitat use differed between the two species. Meerkats roam widely to find prey and for efficient foraging depend on coordinated predator vigilance and escape behavior. As herbivores with smaller territories, Cape ground squirrels depend less on coordinated antipredator behavior, and urgency-dependent alarm calls encode all essential information. We conclude that habitat complexity does not explain the evolution of functionally referential alarm calls in all species, and other constraints, such as the need to coordinate group movements to maintain foraging efficiency, could be more relevant.

  15. First case of Echinococcus multilocularis infection in a zoo-housed flying squirrel (Pteromys volans orii).

    PubMed

    Oikawa, Eri; Shimura, Ryoji; Nishimura, Maki; Furuoka, Hidefumi

    2013-01-01

    A 33 month-old male flying squirrel kept in a zoo developed progressive dyspnea and died. Macroscopically, the liver and lung were enlarged with numerous nodular vesicles. Histologically, these organs were replaced by numerous collapsed vesicles demarcated by fibrous tissues. The cysts lined by a cellular, germinal layer contained numerous brood capsules with abundant production of well-developed protoscolices. Protoscolices were about 80-100 μm in diameter, and had hooks being visible as refractive structures. This zoo locates in the east of Hokkaido where is an endemic area of Echinococcus multilocularis infection. From epidemiology and pathological findings, this animal was diagnosed as E.multilocularis infection. This report describes the pathology of the first case of E. multilocularis infection in a flying squirrel. PMID:23257604

  16. First case of Echinococcus multilocularis infection in a zoo-housed flying squirrel (Pteromys volans orii).

    PubMed

    Oikawa, Eri; Shimura, Ryoji; Nishimura, Maki; Furuoka, Hidefumi

    2013-01-01

    A 33 month-old male flying squirrel kept in a zoo developed progressive dyspnea and died. Macroscopically, the liver and lung were enlarged with numerous nodular vesicles. Histologically, these organs were replaced by numerous collapsed vesicles demarcated by fibrous tissues. The cysts lined by a cellular, germinal layer contained numerous brood capsules with abundant production of well-developed protoscolices. Protoscolices were about 80-100 μm in diameter, and had hooks being visible as refractive structures. This zoo locates in the east of Hokkaido where is an endemic area of Echinococcus multilocularis infection. From epidemiology and pathological findings, this animal was diagnosed as E.multilocularis infection. This report describes the pathology of the first case of E. multilocularis infection in a flying squirrel.

  17. Sylvatic typhus associated with flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) in New York State, United States.

    PubMed

    Prusinski, Melissa A; White, Jennifer L; Wong, Susan J; Conlon, Maureen A; Egan, Christina; Kelly-Cirino, Cassandra D; Laniewicz, Brian R; Backenson, P Bryon; Nicholson, William L; Eremeeva, Marina E; Karpathy, Sandor E; Dasch, Gregory A; White, Dennis J

    2014-04-01

    Sylvatic typhus is an infrequent, potentially life-threatening emerging zoonotic disease. In January of 2009, the New York State Department of Health was notified of a familial cluster of two suspected cases. Due to the paucity of typhus cases in New York, epidemiologic and environmental investigations were conducted to establish rickettsial etiology and determine potential sources of infection. Patients presented with symptoms consistent with typhus, and serologic testing of each patient confirmed infection with typhus group rickettsiae. Serologic analysis of blood obtained from southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) captured from the attic crawlspace above an enclosed front porch of the cases' residence indicated evidence of infection with Rickettsia prowazekii, with 100% seroprevalence (n=11). Both patients reported spending significant time on the porch and hearing animal activity above the ceiling prior to onset of illness, implicating these flying squirrels as the likely source of infection. PMID:24689928

  18. Quantitative genetics of costly neonatal sexual size dimorphism in squirrel monkeys (Saimiri boliviensis)

    PubMed Central

    BLOMQUIST, G. E.; WILLIAMS, L. E.

    2015-01-01

    Offspring size is often an intimate link between the fitness of parents and offspring. Among mammals, neonate mass is also related to adult levels of dimorphism and intrasexual competitive mating. We describe the sex-specific genetic architecture of neonate mass in captive squirrel monkeys (Saimiri boliviensis), a small Neotropical primate. Best fitting quantitative genetic models show strong maternal genetic effects with little difference between sexes offering limited opportunity for neonatal dimorphism to respond to observed or hypothetical selection. Heritabilities that are approximately zero also imply it is unlikely that neonatal dimorphism can evolve as a correlated response to selection on adult size. However, male mass is also more dependent on maternal condition (age and parity) making dimorphism plastic. Finally, we hypothesize that large maternal genetic effects reflect income breeding and tightly synchronized seasonal reproduction in squirrel monkeys, both of which require strong maternal control of offspring growth and timing of birth. PMID:23437981

  19. Biochemical genetic markers of squirrel monkeys and their use for pedigree validation.

    PubMed

    VandeBerg, J L; Aivaliotis, M J; Williams, L E; Abee, C R

    1990-02-01

    Family data for 14 biochemical genetic markers fo squirrel monkeys (genus Saimiri) were derived from 73 pedigreed progeny and both parents of each, as well as from 16 additional progeny and one parent of each. The data for each marker and the phenotypic patterns were consistent with autosomal codominant inheritance. It was concluded from the genetic marker data that the pedigree records of seven progeny were incorrect. Retrospective investigations of colony records followed by typing of animals that might possibly have been a parent enabled five of the pedigree records to be corrected. Although five of the pedigree errors were cases of mistaken paternity, the other two apparently were the consequence of infant swapping between dams shortly after birth. Because squirrel monkeys exhibit a high degree of allomaternal behavior, infant swapping between dams may occur more frequently than in many other nonhuman primate species. PMID:2344347

  20. Adjustments in metabolic heat production by squirrel monkeys exposed to microwaves

    SciTech Connect

    Adair, E.R.; Adams, B.W.

    1982-04-01

    The basic fact that microwave exposure can lower metabolic heat production has been previously demonstrated for the mouse by Ho and Edwards (1977) and for the rat by Phillips et al. (1975). The general conclusion drawn from both studies was that the metabolic reduction produced by microwave exposure was dose dependent. The present study extends the investigation into the effects of microwave exposure on metabolic heat production to a primate, the squirrel monkey. When squirrel monkeys are restrained in cool environments, body temperature is regulated by an increase in metabolic heat production. The results of the current study demonstrate that either brief or prolonged whole-body exposure to a microwave field will cause a reduction of this elevated heat production by an amount directly related to the microwave energy absorbed.

  1. Molecular characterization of the first polyomavirus from a New World primate: squirrel monkey polyomavirus.

    PubMed

    Verschoor, Ernst J; Groenewoud, Marlous J; Fagrouch, Zahra; Kewalapat, Aruna; van Gessel, Sabine; Kik, Marja J L; Heeney, Jonathan L

    2008-01-01

    DNA samples from a variety of New World monkeys were screened by using a broad-spectrum PCR targeting the VP1 gene of polyomaviruses. This resulted in the characterization of the first polyomavirus from a New World primate. This virus naturally infects squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sp.) and is provisionally named squirrel monkey polyomavirus (SquiPyV). The complete genome of SquiPyV is 5,075 bp in length, and encodes the small T and large T antigens and the three structural proteins VP1, VP2 and VP3. Interestingly, the late region also encodes a putative agnoprotein, a feature that it shares with other polyomaviruses from humans, baboons and African green monkeys. Comparison with other polyomaviruses revealed limited sequence similarity to any other polyomavirus, and phylogenetic analysis of the VP1 gene confirmed its uniqueness.

  2. Sequences and evolution of human and squirrel monkey blue opsin genes.

    PubMed

    Shimmin, L C; Mai, P; Li, W H

    1997-04-01

    The sequences of the entire blue opsin gene in the squirrel monkey (Saimiri boliviensis) and the five introns of the human blue opsin gene were obtained. Intron 3 of these genes contains an Alu sequence and intron 4 contains a partial mer13 sequence. A comparison of the squirrel monkey opsin sequence with published mammalian opsin sequences shows that features believed to be functionally critical are all conserved. However, the blue opsin has evolved twice as fast as rhodopsin and is only as conservative as the beta globin, which has evolved at the average rate of mammalian proteins. Interestingly, the interhelical loops are, on average, actually more conservative than the transmembrane alpha helical regions. The introns of the blue opsin gene have evolved at the average rate of introns in primate genes.

  3. Mapping and monitoring Mount Graham red squirrel habitat with Lidar and Landsat imagery

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hatten, James R.

    2014-01-01

    The Mount Graham red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis) is an endemic subspecies located in the Pinaleño Mountains of southeast Arizona. Living in a conifer forest on a sky-island surrounded by desert, the Mount Graham red squirrel is one of the rarest mammals in North America. Over the last two decades, drought, insect infestations, and fire destroyed much of its habitat. A federal recovery team is working on a plan to recover the squirrel and detailed information is necessary on its habitat requirements and population dynamics. Toward that goal I developed and compared three probabilistic models of Mount Graham red squirrel habitat with a geographic information system and logistic regression. Each model contained the same topographic variables (slope, aspect, elevation), but the Landsat model contained a greenness variable (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) extracted from Landsat, the Lidar model contained three forest-inventory variables extracted from lidar, while the Hybrid model contained Landsat and lidar variables. The Hybrid model produced the best habitat classification accuracy, followed by the Landsat and Lidar models, respectively. Landsat-derived forest greenness was the best predictor of habitat, followed by topographic (elevation, slope, aspect) and lidar (tree height, canopy bulk density, and live basal area) variables, respectively. The Landsat model's probabilities were significantly correlated with all 12 lidar variables, indicating its utility for habitat mapping. While the Hybrid model produced the best classification results, only the Landsat model was suitable for creating a habitat time series or habitat–population function between 1986 and 2013. The techniques I highlight should prove valuable in the development of Landsat- or lidar-based habitat models range wide.

  4. Temperature characteristics of squirrel monkey horizontal semicircular canals during caloric irrigation.

    PubMed

    Wilpizeski, C

    1981-01-01

    Current assumptions concerning body temperature of experimental animals, particularly as it relates to the selection of caloric test stimuli, are likely to be inaccurate guesses. Although the temporal bone of squirrel monkeys attenuates irrigation temperature by a factor of nearly 10, there is a high correlation between thermal changes in inner ear fluid and irrigation values. In this study, nystagmus (defined by electronystagmographic thresholds) occurred when horizontal canal temperatures deviated from resting temperature by +/- 0.14 C.

  5. A Viable Population of the European Red Squirrel in an Urban Park

    PubMed Central

    Rézouki, Célia; Dozières, Anne; Le Cœur, Christie; Thibault, Sophie; Pisanu, Benoît; Chapuis, Jean-Louis; Baudry, Emmanuelle

    2014-01-01

    Whether urban parks can maintain viable and self-sustaining populations over the long term is questionable. In highly urbanized landscapes, urban parks could play a role in biodiversity conservation by providing habitat and resources to native species. However, populations inhabiting urban parks are usually small and isolated, leading to increased demographic stochasticity and genetic drift, with expected negative consequences on their viability. Here, we investigated a European red squirrel population located in an urban park close to Paris, France (Parc de Sceaux; 184 ha) to assess its viability. Using mitochondrial D-loop sequences and 13 microsatellite loci, we showed that the population presented high levels of genetic variation and no evidence of inbreeding. The size of the population was estimated at 100–120 individuals based on the comparison of two census techniques, Distance Sampling and Capture-Mark-Recapture. The estimated heterozygosity level and population size were integrated in a Population Viability Analysis to project the likelihood of the population's persistence over time. Results indicate that the red squirrel population of this urban park can be viable on the long term (i.e. 20 years) for a range of realistic demographic parameters (juvenile survival at least >40%) and immigration rates (at least one immigration event every two years). This study highlights that urban parks can be potential suitable refuges for the red squirrel, a locally threatened species across western European countries, provided that ecological corridors are maintained. PMID:25126848

  6. Ectoparasites and gastrointestinal helminths of southern flying squirrels in southeast Georgia.

    PubMed

    Pung, O J; Durden, L A; Patrick, M J; Conyers, T; Mitchell, L R

    2000-10-01

    Southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) from southeastern Georgia were examined for ectoparasites and gastrointestinal helminths. Ten species of ectoparasites were recovered, including 3 species of sucking lice (Hoplopleura trispinosa, Microphthirus uncinatus, and Neohaematopinus sciuropteri), 1 species of flea (Orchopeas howardi), 2 species of ticks (Amblyomma maculatum and Ixodes scapularis), 3 species of mesostigmatid mites (Androlaelaps casalis, A. fahrenholzi, and Haemogamasus ambulans), and 1 species of chigger (Leptotrombidium peromysci). Only the sucking lice and fleas were common on this host. M. uncinatus is reported for the first time from eastern North America. The 2 most commonly collected ectoparasites, N. sciuropteri (prevalence = 63%) and O. howardi (prevalence = 47%), have previously been shown to be vectors of the rickettsial zoonotic agent that causes sporadic epidemic typhus. Also, 3 nematodes (Citellinema bifurcatum, Strongyloides robusius, and Syphacia thompsoni), 1 unidentified cestode, and 1 acanthocephalan (Moniliformis clarki) were found in flying squirrel gastrointestinal tracts. With the exception of S. thompsoni, which was common and relatively abundant in the cecum (prevalence = 94%, intensity = 51+/-12), both the prevalence and intensity of helminth parasites were low. The nematode S. thompsoni and the acanthocephalan M. clarki are new state records for tree squirrels in Georgia. PMID:11128479

  7. Olfactory discrimination ability for aliphatic esters in squirrel monkeys and humans.

    PubMed

    Laska, M; Freyer, D

    1997-08-01

    Using a behavioral paradigm designed to simulate olfactory-guided foraging, the ability of five squirrel monkeys to distinguish iso-amyl acetate from n- and iso-forms of other acetic esters (ethyl acetate to decyl acetate) and from other esters carrying the iso-amyl group (iso-amyl propionate to iso-amyl capronate) was investigated. We found (i) that all five animals were clearly able to discriminate between all odor pairs tested; (ii) a significant negative correlation between discrimination performance and structural similarity of odorants in terms of differences in carbon chain length of both the aliphatic alcohol group and the aliphatic acid group of the esters; and (iii) that iso- and n-amyl acetate were perceived as qualitatively similar despite different steric conformation. Using a triple-forced choice procedure, 20 human subjects were tested on the same tasks in parallel and showed a very similar pattern of discrimination performance compared with the squirrel monkeys. Thus, the results of this study provide evidence of well-developed olfactory discrimination ability in squirrel monkeys for aliphatic esters and support the assumption that human and non-human primates may share common principles of odor quality perception. PMID:9279468

  8. A viable population of the European red squirrel in an urban park.

    PubMed

    Rézouki, Célia; Dozières, Anne; Le Cœur, Christie; Thibault, Sophie; Pisanu, Benoît; Chapuis, Jean-Louis; Baudry, Emmanuelle

    2014-01-01

    Whether urban parks can maintain viable and self-sustaining populations over the long term is questionable. In highly urbanized landscapes, urban parks could play a role in biodiversity conservation by providing habitat and resources to native species. However, populations inhabiting urban parks are usually small and isolated, leading to increased demographic stochasticity and genetic drift, with expected negative consequences on their viability. Here, we investigated a European red squirrel population located in an urban park close to Paris, France (Parc de Sceaux; 184 ha) to assess its viability. Using mitochondrial D-loop sequences and 13 microsatellite loci, we showed that the population presented high levels of genetic variation and no evidence of inbreeding. The size of the population was estimated at 100-120 individuals based on the comparison of two census techniques, Distance Sampling and Capture-Mark-Recapture. The estimated heterozygosity level and population size were integrated in a Population Viability Analysis to project the likelihood of the population's persistence over time. Results indicate that the red squirrel population of this urban park can be viable on the long term (i.e. 20 years) for a range of realistic demographic parameters (juvenile survival at least >40%) and immigration rates (at least one immigration event every two years). This study highlights that urban parks can be potential suitable refuges for the red squirrel, a locally threatened species across western European countries, provided that ecological corridors are maintained.

  9. An Experimental Test of Competition among Mice, Chipmunks, and Squirrels in Deciduous Forest Fragments.

    PubMed

    Brunner, Jesse L; Duerr, Shannon; Keesing, Felicia; Killilea, Mary; Vuong, Holly; Ostfeld, Richard S

    2013-01-01

    Mixed hardwood forests of the northeast United States support a guild of granivorous/omnivorous rodents including gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus), and white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus). These species coincide geographically, co-occur locally, and consume similar food resources. Despite their idiosyncratic responses to landscape and patch variables, patch occupancy models suggest that competition may influence their respective distributions and abundances, and accordingly their influence on the rest of the forest community. Experimental studies, however, are wanting. We present the result of a large-scale experiment in which we removed white-footed mice or gray squirrels from small, isolated forest fragments in Dutchess County, New York, and added these mammals to other fragments in order to alter the abundance of these two species. We then used mark-recapture analyses to quantify the population-level and individual-level effects on resident mice, squirrels, and chipmunks. Overall, we found little evidence of competition. There were essentially no within-season numerical responses to changes in the abundance of putative competitors. Moreover, while individual-level responses (apparent survival and capture probability) did vary with competitor densities in some models, these effects were often better explained by site-specific parameters and were restricted to few of the 19 sites we studied. With only weak or nonexistent competition among these three common rodent species, we expect their patterns of habitat occupancy and population dynamics to be largely independent of one another. PMID:23824654

  10. An Experimental Test of Competition among Mice, Chipmunks, and Squirrels in Deciduous Forest Fragments

    PubMed Central

    Brunner, Jesse L.; Duerr, Shannon; Keesing, Felicia; Killilea, Mary; Vuong, Holly; Ostfeld, Richard S.

    2013-01-01

    Mixed hardwood forests of the northeast United States support a guild of granivorous/omnivorous rodents including gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus), and white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus). These species coincide geographically, co-occur locally, and consume similar food resources. Despite their idiosyncratic responses to landscape and patch variables, patch occupancy models suggest that competition may influence their respective distributions and abundances, and accordingly their influence on the rest of the forest community. Experimental studies, however, are wanting. We present the result of a large-scale experiment in which we removed white-footed mice or gray squirrels from small, isolated forest fragments in Dutchess County, New York, and added these mammals to other fragments in order to alter the abundance of these two species. We then used mark–recapture analyses to quantify the population-level and individual-level effects on resident mice, squirrels, and chipmunks. Overall, we found little evidence of competition. There were essentially no within-season numerical responses to changes in the abundance of putative competitors. Moreover, while individual-level responses (apparent survival and capture probability) did vary with competitor densities in some models, these effects were often better explained by site-specific parameters and were restricted to few of the 19 sites we studied. With only weak or nonexistent competition among these three common rodent species, we expect their patterns of habitat occupancy and population dynamics to be largely independent of one another. PMID:23824654

  11. Conditioned taste aversion and motion sickness in cats and squirrel monkeys

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fox, Robert A.; Corcoran, Meryl Lee; Brizzee, Kenneth R.

    1991-01-01

    The relationship between vomiting and conditioned taste aversion was studied in intact cats and squirrel monkeys and in cats and squirrel monkeys in which the area postrema was ablated by thermal cautery. In cats conditioned 7-12 months after ablation of the area postrema, three successive treatments with xylazine failed to produce either vomiting or conditioned taste aversion to a novel fluid. Intact cats, however, vomited and formed a conditioned aversion. In squirrel monkeys conditioned 6 months after ablation of the area postrema, three treatments with lithium chloride failed to produce conditioned taste aversion. Intact monkeys did condition with these treatments. Neither intact nor ablated monkeys vomited or evidenced other signs of illness when injected with lithium chloride. When the same ablated cats and monkeys were exposed to a form of motion that produced vomiting prior to surgery, conditioned taste aversion can be produced after ablation of the area postrema. The utility of conditioned taste aversion as a measure of subemetic motion sickness is discussed by examining agreement and disagreement between identifications of motion sickness by conditioned taste aversion and vomiting. It is suggested that a convincing demonstration of the utility of conditioned taste aversion as a measure of nausea requires the identification of physiological correlates of nausea, and caution should be exercised when attempting to interpret conditioned taste aversion as a measure of nausea.

  12. Host-pathogen dynamics of squirrelpox virus infection in red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Fiegna, C; Dagleish, M P; Coulter, L; Milne, E; Meredith, A; Finlayson, J; Di Nardo, A; McInnes, C J

    2016-01-01

    To improve our understanding of squirrelpox virus (SQPV) infection in the susceptible host, three red squirrels were challenged with wild-type SQPV via scarification of the hind-limb skin. All squirrels seroconverted to the infection by the end of the experiment (17 days post-challenge). Challenged animals suffered disease characterised by the development of multiple skin and oral lesions with rapid progression of skin lesions at the infection site by day 10 post-challenge. No internal pathological changes were found at post-mortem examination. A novel SQPV Taqman(®) Real-time PCR detected viral DNA from multiple organs, with the largest amounts consistently associated with the primary and secondary skin and oral lesions where viral replication was most likely occurring. Immunohistochemistry clearly detected viral antigen in the stratified squamous epithelium of the epidermis, tongue and the oropharyngeal mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue and was consistently associated with histological changes resulting from viral replication. The lack of internal pathological changes and the detection of relatively low levels of viral DNA when compared with primary and secondary skin lesions argue against systemic disease, although systemic spread of the virus cannot be ruled out. This study allowed a comprehensive investigation of the clinical manifestation and progression of SQPV infection with a quantitative and qualitative analysis of virus dissemination and shedding. These findings suggest two separate routes of SQPV transmission under natural conditions, with both skin and saliva playing key roles in infected red squirrels.

  13. Isolation and amino acid sequences of squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciurea) insulin and glucagon

    SciTech Connect

    Yu, Jinghua ); Eng, J.; Yalow, R.S. City Univ. of New York, NY )

    1990-12-01

    It was reported two decades ago that insulin was not detectable in the glucose-stimulated state in Saimiri sciurea, the New World squirrel monkey, by a radioimmunoassay system developed with guinea pig anti-pork insulin antibody and labeled park insulin. With the same system, reasonable levels were observed in rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees. This suggested that New World monkeys, like the New World hystricomorph rodents such as the guinea pig and the coypu, might have insulins whose sequences differ markedly from those of Old World mammals. In this report the authors describe the purification and amino acid sequences of squirrel monkey insulin and glucagon. They demonstrate that the substitutions at B29, B27, A2, A4, and A17 of squirrel monkey insulin are identical with those previously found in another New World primate, the owl monkey (Aotus trivirgatus). The immunologic cross-reactivity of this insulin in their immunoassay system is only a few percent of that of human insulin. It appears that the peptides of the New World monkeys have diverged less from those of the Old World mammals than have those of the New World hystricomorph rodents. The striking improvements in peptide purification and sequencing have the potential for adding new information concerning the evolutionary divergence of species.

  14. Natural occurrence of black-pigmented Bacteroides species in the gingival crevice of the squirrel monkey.

    PubMed Central

    Clark, W B; Magnusson, I; Abee, C; Collins, B; Beem, J E; McArthur, W P

    1988-01-01

    The objective of this study was to determine whether the squirrel monkey (Saimiri scuireus) is indigenously colonized with black-pigmented bacteroides (BPB) resembling human Bacteroides gingivalis and Bacteroides intermedius (suspected periodontal pathogens) and to determine the usefulness of the squirrel monkey as an in vivo model for studying colonization by putative pathogens. We assayed the subgingival plaques of 138 monkeys of various ages and in four different colonies for the presence of anaerobic BPB microorganisms. We also tested half the animals for the presence of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. Clinical indices and levels of serum antibody to B. gingivalis were recorded. We detected BPB in 50% of the animals and A. actinomycetemcomitans in 69% of the animals. The presence of BPB was generally associated with increased age, increased gingival index, presence of calculus, and increased levels of serum antibody. These data indicate that the squirrel monkey may be a good model for studying the parameters of natural infection of the gingival crevice with suspected periodontopathogenic BPB microorganisms. PMID:3410543

  15. Planar relationships of the semicircular canals in rhesus and squirrel monkeys.

    PubMed

    Blanks, R H; Curthoys, I S; Bennett, M L; Markham, C H

    1985-08-12

    The technique of principal-component analysis was used to define anatomically the semicircular canal planes of the rhesus and squirrel monkeys with respect to the stereotaxic coordinate system. The analyses were performed on a series of points obtained from the dissected osseous labyrinths. A planar equation was defined for each canal plane in the stereotaxic coordinate system and angles were calculated between the 3 ipsilateral canal planes, between synergistic canal pairs and between each canal plane and the stereotaxic planes. The data from both species are similar: the ipsilateral canal planes are nearly orthogonal; synergistic pairs of canal planes are approximately parallel with angles of 2 degrees-12 degrees between pairs in the rhesus monkey and 13 degrees-16 degrees between pairs in the squirrel monkey. The horizontal canal planes form angles of 22 degrees and 18 degrees with the horizontal stereotaxic plane in the rhesus and squirrel monkeys, respectively. A head position of 15 degrees (pitch nose-down) was calculated to produce an optimal head position in both species for maximally stimulating the horizontal canals and minimally stimulating the vertical canals during horizontal angular acceleration. The radii of curvature (R) of the horizontal, anterior and posterior canals were also measured for both species using a calibrated reticle. These measurements indicate that the anterior canal of both species has the largest radius of curvature. This anatomical information is discussed in relation to the available physiological data. PMID:3896405

  16. Glide performance and aerodynamics of non-equilibrium glides in northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus).

    PubMed

    Bahlman, Joseph W; Swartz, Sharon M; Riskin, Daniel K; Breuer, Kenneth S

    2013-03-01

    Gliding is an efficient form of travel found in every major group of terrestrial vertebrates. Gliding is often modelled in equilibrium, where aerodynamic forces exactly balance body weight resulting in constant velocity. Although the equilibrium model is relevant for long-distance gliding, such as soaring by birds, it may not be realistic for shorter distances between trees. To understand the aerodynamics of inter-tree gliding, we used direct observation and mathematical modelling. We used videography (60-125 fps) to track and reconstruct the three-dimensional trajectories of northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) in nature. From their trajectories, we calculated velocities, aerodynamic forces and force coefficients. We determined that flying squirrels do not glide at equilibrium, and instead demonstrate continuously changing velocities, forces and force coefficients, and generate more lift than needed to balance body weight. We compared observed glide performance with mathematical simulations that use constant force coefficients, a characteristic of equilibrium glides. Simulations with varying force coefficients, such as those of live squirrels, demonstrated better whole-glide performance compared with the theoretical equilibrium state. Using results from both the observed glides and the simulation, we describe the mechanics and execution of inter-tree glides, and then discuss how gliding behaviour may relate to the evolution of flapping flight. PMID:23256188

  17. Glide performance and aerodynamics of non-equilibrium glides in northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus)

    PubMed Central

    Bahlman, Joseph W.; Swartz, Sharon M.; Riskin, Daniel K.; Breuer, Kenneth S.

    2013-01-01

    Gliding is an efficient form of travel found in every major group of terrestrial vertebrates. Gliding is often modelled in equilibrium, where aerodynamic forces exactly balance body weight resulting in constant velocity. Although the equilibrium model is relevant for long-distance gliding, such as soaring by birds, it may not be realistic for shorter distances between trees. To understand the aerodynamics of inter-tree gliding, we used direct observation and mathematical modelling. We used videography (60–125 fps) to track and reconstruct the three-dimensional trajectories of northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) in nature. From their trajectories, we calculated velocities, aerodynamic forces and force coefficients. We determined that flying squirrels do not glide at equilibrium, and instead demonstrate continuously changing velocities, forces and force coefficients, and generate more lift than needed to balance body weight. We compared observed glide performance with mathematical simulations that use constant force coefficients, a characteristic of equilibrium glides. Simulations with varying force coefficients, such as those of live squirrels, demonstrated better whole-glide performance compared with the theoretical equilibrium state. Using results from both the observed glides and the simulation, we describe the mechanics and execution of inter-tree glides, and then discuss how gliding behaviour may relate to the evolution of flapping flight. PMID:23256188

  18. Geographical variation of skull morphology and its functional significances in the red-cheeked squirrel.

    PubMed

    Endo, Hideki; Kimura, Junpei; Oshida, Tatsuo; Stafford, Brian J; Rerkamnuaychoke, Worawut; Nishida, Takao; Sasaki, Motoki; Hayashida, Akiko; Hayashi, Yoshihiro

    2003-11-01

    Skulls of the red-cheeked squirrel (Dremomys rufigenis) from various geographical locations: Malaysia (peninsular area), Vietnam (south district)-Laos, and Thailand (north district) were osteometrically examined. The skull size of the squirrels in the southern (Malaysia) population was fundamentally larger than that in the northern (Vietnam, Laos and Thailand) populations. The proportion indices indicated that the splanchnocranium was relatively longer in the Malaysia population, and that the interorbital space was narrower in Vietnam-Laos, and Thailand populations. We suggest that the long nose and laterally-oriented orbits in the skull may be better adapted for terrestrial-insectivorous life in the Malaysia population and the binocular sense facilitated by rostrally-oriented eyes contributes to the arboreal-fruit eating behavior in the two northern populations. The Malaysia population was clearly distinguished from the other populations by the principal component analysis. We suggest that the geographical barrier of the Isthmus of Kra influences the morphological variation of the skull among the squirrel populations. PMID:14665745

  19. Geographical variation of skull size and shape in various populations in the black giant squirrel.

    PubMed

    Endo, Hideki; Kimura, Junpei; Oshida, Tatsuo; Stafford, Brian J; Rerkamnuaychoke, Worawut; Nishida, Takao; Sasaki, Motoki; Hayashida, Akiko; Hayashi, Yoshihiro

    2004-10-01

    We osteometrically examined the skulls of the black giant squirrel (Ratufa bicolor) from three mainland populations (M. Malayan Peninsula, V. South Vietnam, and B. Burma, India and North Thailand) and from two island populations (T. Tioman, and S. Sumatra Islands). The skull in the Malayan peninsula population was significantly smaller than that of the two other mainland populations. It is consistent with Bergmann's rule as shown in the gray-bellied squirrel. The two island populations did not show obvious differences in comparison with the Malayan population in many measurements. In the proportion analysis eliminating the size factor, the differences among populations were not easily confirmed and we concluded that the osteological characters peculiar to each population could not be shown in this species. The first and second principal component scores of M, S, and T populations were intermingled, whereas the V and B populations of V and B were not separated in the chart. We pointed out that the morphological differences were demonstrated between northern and southern groups of the Isthmus of Kra in the mainland populations, and that the two island populations did not show the island-isolation effect in comparison with the M population. The adaptational variation related to feeding and locomotion could not be confirmed among populations of the black giant squirrel as shown in the proportion analysis. PMID:15528851

  20. An Experimental Test of Competition among Mice, Chipmunks, and Squirrels in Deciduous Forest Fragments.

    PubMed

    Brunner, Jesse L; Duerr, Shannon; Keesing, Felicia; Killilea, Mary; Vuong, Holly; Ostfeld, Richard S

    2013-01-01

    Mixed hardwood forests of the northeast United States support a guild of granivorous/omnivorous rodents including gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus), and white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus). These species coincide geographically, co-occur locally, and consume similar food resources. Despite their idiosyncratic responses to landscape and patch variables, patch occupancy models suggest that competition may influence their respective distributions and abundances, and accordingly their influence on the rest of the forest community. Experimental studies, however, are wanting. We present the result of a large-scale experiment in which we removed white-footed mice or gray squirrels from small, isolated forest fragments in Dutchess County, New York, and added these mammals to other fragments in order to alter the abundance of these two species. We then used mark-recapture analyses to quantify the population-level and individual-level effects on resident mice, squirrels, and chipmunks. Overall, we found little evidence of competition. There were essentially no within-season numerical responses to changes in the abundance of putative competitors. Moreover, while individual-level responses (apparent survival and capture probability) did vary with competitor densities in some models, these effects were often better explained by site-specific parameters and were restricted to few of the 19 sites we studied. With only weak or nonexistent competition among these three common rodent species, we expect their patterns of habitat occupancy and population dynamics to be largely independent of one another.

  1. Glide performance and aerodynamics of non-equilibrium glides in northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus).

    PubMed

    Bahlman, Joseph W; Swartz, Sharon M; Riskin, Daniel K; Breuer, Kenneth S

    2013-03-01

    Gliding is an efficient form of travel found in every major group of terrestrial vertebrates. Gliding is often modelled in equilibrium, where aerodynamic forces exactly balance body weight resulting in constant velocity. Although the equilibrium model is relevant for long-distance gliding, such as soaring by birds, it may not be realistic for shorter distances between trees. To understand the aerodynamics of inter-tree gliding, we used direct observation and mathematical modelling. We used videography (60-125 fps) to track and reconstruct the three-dimensional trajectories of northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) in nature. From their trajectories, we calculated velocities, aerodynamic forces and force coefficients. We determined that flying squirrels do not glide at equilibrium, and instead demonstrate continuously changing velocities, forces and force coefficients, and generate more lift than needed to balance body weight. We compared observed glide performance with mathematical simulations that use constant force coefficients, a characteristic of equilibrium glides. Simulations with varying force coefficients, such as those of live squirrels, demonstrated better whole-glide performance compared with the theoretical equilibrium state. Using results from both the observed glides and the simulation, we describe the mechanics and execution of inter-tree glides, and then discuss how gliding behaviour may relate to the evolution of flapping flight.

  2. Host-pathogen dynamics of squirrelpox virus infection in red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris).

    PubMed

    Fiegna, C; Dagleish, M P; Coulter, L; Milne, E; Meredith, A; Finlayson, J; Di Nardo, A; McInnes, C J

    2016-01-01

    To improve our understanding of squirrelpox virus (SQPV) infection in the susceptible host, three red squirrels were challenged with wild-type SQPV via scarification of the hind-limb skin. All squirrels seroconverted to the infection by the end of the experiment (17 days post-challenge). Challenged animals suffered disease characterised by the development of multiple skin and oral lesions with rapid progression of skin lesions at the infection site by day 10 post-challenge. No internal pathological changes were found at post-mortem examination. A novel SQPV Taqman(®) Real-time PCR detected viral DNA from multiple organs, with the largest amounts consistently associated with the primary and secondary skin and oral lesions where viral replication was most likely occurring. Immunohistochemistry clearly detected viral antigen in the stratified squamous epithelium of the epidermis, tongue and the oropharyngeal mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue and was consistently associated with histological changes resulting from viral replication. The lack of internal pathological changes and the detection of relatively low levels of viral DNA when compared with primary and secondary skin lesions argue against systemic disease, although systemic spread of the virus cannot be ruled out. This study allowed a comprehensive investigation of the clinical manifestation and progression of SQPV infection with a quantitative and qualitative analysis of virus dissemination and shedding. These findings suggest two separate routes of SQPV transmission under natural conditions, with both skin and saliva playing key roles in infected red squirrels. PMID:26711024

  3. Take-off and landing forces and the evolution of controlled gliding in northern flying squirrels Glaucomys sabrinus.

    PubMed

    Paskins, Keith E; Bowyer, Adrian; Megill, William M; Scheibe, John S

    2007-04-01

    Flying squirrels are well known for their ability to glide between trees at the top of a forest canopy. We present experimental performance and behavioural evidence that flight in flying squirrels may have evolved out of a need to control landing forces. Northern flying squirrels were filmed jumping from a horizontal branch to a much larger vertical pole. These were both slightly compliant (less than 1.9 mm N(-1)), and instrumented using strain gauges so that forces could be measured. Take-off and landing forces were both positively correlated with horizontal range between 0.5 and 2.5 m (r=0.355 and r=0.811, respectively, P<0.05), but not significantly different to each other at each range tested. Take-off forces ranged from 1 to 10 bodyweights, and landing forces were between 3 and 10 bodyweights. Glide angles increased rapidly with horizontal range, approaching 45 degrees at 3 m, above which they gradually decreased, suggesting that northern flying squirrels are optimised for long distance travel. We show that northern flying squirrels initiate full gliding posture at ranges of less than 1 m, without landing any higher than an equivalent ballistic projectile. However, this gliding posture enables them to pitch upwards, potentially stalling the wing, and spreads the landing reaction force over all four extended limbs. At steeper approach angles of close to 45 degrees , flying squirrels were unable to pitch up sufficiently and landed forelimbs first, consequently sustaining higher impact forces. We investigate four hypotheses to explain the origin of flight in these animals and conclude that the need to reduce landing impact forces was most likely to have stimulated the development of aerial control in flying squirrels. PMID:17401124

  4. The relationship between 3-D kinematics and gliding performance in the southern flying squirrel, Glaucomys volans.

    PubMed

    Bishop, Kristin L

    2006-02-01

    Gliding is the simplest form of flight, yet relatively little is known about its mechanics in animals. The goal of this study was to describe the body position and performance of a gliding mammal and to identify correlates between kinematics and aerodynamic performance. To do this, I used a pair of high-speed digital cameras to record a portion of the middle of glides by southern flying squirrels, Glaucomys volans. Th