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Sample records for lagopus lagopus scoticus

  1. Local genetic structure in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus): evidence from microsatellite DNA markers.

    PubMed

    Piertney, S B; MacColl, A D; Bacon, P J; Dallas, J F

    1998-12-01

    Allelic variation at seven hypervariable tri- and tetranucleotide microsatellite loci was used to determine levels of population differentiation between 14 populations of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) in northeast Scotland, UK. Despite the potential for long-distance dispersal in grouse, and a semicontinuous habitat, significant population divergence was observed (mean RST = 0.153; P < 0.01) and an isolation-by-distance effect detected (Mantel test: P < 0.001). Examination of the spatial trend in principal component scores derived from allele frequencies among populations highlighted a barrier to gene flow that was confounding a simple isolation-by-distance effect. This barrier corresponded to an area of unsuitable habitat for grouse associated with a river system that bisected the study area. Mean genetic relatedness was higher for males than for females in all but one of the study populations, suggesting that the territorial behaviour and natal philopatry displayed by cocks have a manifold effect in generating the observed spatial genetic structure. Lower female relatedness values suggest a higher level of female-mediated gene flow, which is sufficient to prevent the loss of genetic variation from within populations and the onset of inbreeding effects. The potential consequences of local subdivision for red grouse populations are discussed.

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

    PubMed

    Martínez-Padilla, Jesus; Redpath, Steve M; Zeineddine, Mohammed; Mougeot, François

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mougeot, Francois

    2008-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Mougeot, Francois

    2008-02-01

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

  5. Matrilineal genetic structure and female-mediated gene flow in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus): an analysis using mitochondrial DNA.

    PubMed

    Piertney, S B; MacColl, A D; Bacon, P J; Racey, P A; Lambin, X; Dallas, J F

    2000-02-01

    DNA sequence variation at the hypervariable 5' end of the mitochondrial control region was examined in 247 individuals to detect genetic divergence among 14 populations of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) in northeastern Scotland. Ten haplotypes were resolved, several of which were shared among populations. Analysis of molecular variance, Nei's gamma ST, and a cladistic estimate of the amount of gene flow indicated a lack of overall population differentiation. Patterns of overall panmixia are in stark contrast to previous reports of localized subdivision among the same set of populations detected using hypervariable microsatellite markers. Because grouse cocks are territorial and show extreme natal philopatry and females are the dispersing sex, such discordance could be explained by sex-biased dispersal, with extensive female-mediated gene flow preventing mitochondrial DNA divergence. However, it is difficult to reconcile how effective dispersal of females would not homogenize both mitochondrial and nuclear structure simultaneously. We use a model that examines the spatial and temporal dynamics of diparentally and uniparentally inherited genes to show that, under realistic ecological scenarios and with specific differences in the dispersal of males and females, the local effective size of the nuclear genome can be less than that of the mitochondrial and the patterns of structuring we observe are meaningful.

  6. Temporal changes in kin structure through a population cycle in a territorial bird, the red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus.

    PubMed

    Piertney, Stuart B; Lambin, Xavier; Maccoll, Andrew D C; Lock, Kerry; Bacon, Philip J; Dallas, John F; Leckie, Fiona; Mougeot, Francois; Racey, Paul A; Redpath, Steve; Moss, Robert

    2008-05-01

    Populations of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) undergo regular multiannual cycles in abundance. The 'kinship hypothesis' posits that such cycles are caused by changes in kin structure among territorial males producing delayed density-dependent changes in aggressiveness, which in turn influence recruitment and regulate density. The kinship hypothesis makes several specific predictions about the levels of kinship, aggressiveness and recruitment through a population cycle: (i) kin structure will build up during the increase phase of a cycle, but break down prior to peak density; (ii) kin structure influences aggressiveness, such that there will be a negative relationship between kinship and aggressiveness over the years; (iii) as aggressiveness regulates recruitment and density, there will be a negative relationship between aggressiveness in one year and both recruitment and density in the next; (iv) as kin structure influences recruitment via an affect on aggressiveness, there will be a positive relationship between kinship in one year and recruitment the next. Here we test these predictions through the course of an 8-year cycle in a natural population of red grouse in northeast Scotland, using microsatellite DNA markers to resolve changing patterns of kin structure, and supra-orbital comb height of grouse as an index of aggressiveness. Both kin structure and aggressiveness were dynamic through the course of the cycle, and changing patterns were entirely consistent with the expectations of the kinship hypothesis. Results are discussed in relation to potential drivers of population regulation and implications of dynamic kin structure for population genetics.

  7. Faecal egg counts provide a reliable measure of Trichostrongylus tenuis intensities in free-living red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus.

    PubMed

    Seivwright, L J; Redpath, S M; Mougeot, F; Watt, L; Hudson, P J

    2004-03-01

    The reliability of different egg counting methods for estimating the intensity of Trichostrongylus tenuis infections in red grouse, Lagopus lagopus scoticus, was investigated in the autumn, when grouse may harbour high parasite intensities. Possible limitations to the use of these methods were also examined. Faecal egg counts were found to accurately estimate T. tenuis worm intensities, at least up to an observed maximum of c. 8000 worms. Two egg counting methods (smear and McMaster) gave consistent results, although the exact relationship with worm intensity differed according to the method used. Faecal egg counts significantly decreased with increasing length of sample storage time, but egg counts were reliable for estimating worm intensity for three weeks. The concentration of eggs in the caecum was also found to reliably estimate worm intensity. However, egg counts from frozen gut samples cannot be used to estimate worm intensities. These results conclude that, despite some limitations, faecal and caecum egg counts provide useful and reliable ways of measuring T. tenuis intensities in red grouse.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-01

    A captive breeding programme for the Fennoscandian Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus; syn. Alopex lagopus) failed due to fatal encephalitis. The aim of this study was to identify the causative agent. Viral nucleic acid was detected by PCR and in situ hybridization in the brain of affected foxes. The results suggest that a herpesvirus might be the causative agent. Whether this infection also occurs in free-living Arctic foxes is unknown.

  9. Cranial measurements in the Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus).

    PubMed

    Bisaillon, A; DeRoth, L

    1980-06-01

    The skulls of 36 adult arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) of known sexes were measured in two Canadian subspecies. Significant differences (P less than or equal to 0.05) were found within and between the sexes of the two subspecies of arctic foxes. The identification of sexes is easier in the subspecies innuitus than in the subspecies groenlandicus. When the sexes of both subspecies are considered, the distinction between innuitus and groenlandicus becomes much more difficult.

  10. Sequence Polymorphism in Candidate Genes for Differences in Winter Plumage between Scottish and Scandinavian Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus)

    PubMed Central

    Skoglund, Pontus; Höglund, Jacob

    2010-01-01

    Background Population variation in the degree of seasonal polymorphism is rare in birds, and the genetic basis of this phenomenon remains largely undescribed. Both sexes of Scandinavian and Scottish Willow grouse (Lagopus lagopus) display marked differences in their winter phenotypes, with Scottish grouse retaining a pigmented plumage year-round and Scandinavian Willow grouse molting to a white morph during winter. A widely studied pathway implicated in vertebrate pigmentation is the melanin system, for which functional variation has been characterised in many taxa. Methodology/Principal Findings We sequenced coding regions from four genes involved in melanin pigmentation (DCT, MC1R, TYR and TYRP1), and an additional control involved in the melanocortin pathway (AGRP), to investigate the genetic basis of winter plumage in Lagopus. Despite the well documented role of the melanin system in animal coloration, we found no plumage-associated polymorphism or evidence for selection in a total of ∼2.6 kb analysed sequence. Conclusions/Significance Our results indicate that the genetic basis of alternating between pigmented and unpigmented seasonal phenotypes is more likely explained by regulatory changes controlling the expression of these or other loci in the physiological pathway leading to pigmentation. PMID:20428241

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1980-12-30

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

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

    PubMed Central

    WENZEL, MARIUS A; PIERTNEY, STUART B

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Wenzel, Marius A; Piertney, Stuart B

    2014-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  15. The role of chewing lice (Phthiraptera: Philopteridae) as intermediate hosts in the transmission of Hymenolepis microps (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea) from the willow ptarmigan Lagopus lagopus (Aves: Tetraonidae).

    PubMed

    Pistone, D; Lindgren, M; Holmstad, P; Ellingsen, N K; Kongshaug, H; Nilsen, F; Skorping, A

    2017-03-06

    The cestode Hymenolepis microps is an intestinal parasite of tetraonid birds, including the willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus). This parasite is able to maintain a high prevalence and intensity throughout the year, even in a subarctic environment in bird populations with relatively low host densities, indicating effective transmission routes. Willow ptarmigan consume mainly vegetal material and active consumption of invertebrates is confined to the first two or three weeks of life. Ptarmigan are infected by different species of ectoparasites, of which two species of feather lice, Lagopoecus affinis and Goniodes lagopi, are the most abundant. In this study, we explored the hypothesis that feather lice may be suitable intermediate hosts for H. microps. We applied histological techniques and light microscopy to investigate lice for the presence of larval cestode stages (cysticercoids). We found 12 cysticercoid-like structures inside chewing lice collected on L. lagopus hosts harbouring H. microps. In addition, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screening of Ischnocera lice DNA, targeting the 18S rRNA gene of the cestode, showed positive results for two different short fragments of the 18S rRNA gene of H. microps which were sequenced from lice collected on birds. Both independent lines of evidence support the hypothesis that Ischnocera lice might be suitable intermediate hosts in the life cycle of H. microps in L. lagopus.

  16. Spontaneous rickets in the wild arctic fox Alopex lagopus

    SciTech Connect

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

    1981-10-01

    Normal and rachitic, skeletally immature arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) were subjected to physical examination, roentgenographic studies, and in some cases histologic studies. The involved animals had active rickets coupled with antecedent normal diaphyseal bone formation. Evaluation of all the long bones showed highly variable manifestations of the disease, which undoubtedly reflect different rates of physeal endochondral transformation and metaphyseal remodeling. Histologic examination showed distinct patterns of widening of the physes and variable osteodystrophy in the trabecular and cortical bone of the metaphyses and epiphyseal ossification centers. These aforementioned factors certainly would necessitate different regional calcium needs and, therefore, different regional responses to an overall calcium deficiency. The physes involved in the most rapid growth rates in this period showed the most widening of the growth plate, and the most dystrophic changes in the metaphysis. Skeletal injuries, including metaphyseal fractures and slow-down of longitudinal growth (particularly in the ulna) were also evident. Because of apparent dietary differences in the affected and normal fox kits, this juvenile-onset disease was presumed due to calcium-deficient intake following weaning. To the best of our knowledge this is the first report of spontaneously occurring rickets in a wild animal in its natural habitat. There are several possible mechanisms for the variable widening of the physis and the loss of bone mineralization in these fox kits: calcium-deficient diet, binding of calcium in the bowel by high phosphorus intake, secondary hyperparathyroidism, and vitamin A toxicity.

  17. Parasites of the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) in Iceland.

    PubMed

    Skírnisson, K; Eydal, M; Gunnarsson, E; Hersteinsson, P

    1993-07-01

    Forty-four of 50 arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) in Iceland harbored 15 species of intestinal parasites, including Protozoa: Eimeria sp. or Isospora sp. (in 4%); Trematoda: Cryptocotyle lingua (24%), Plagiorchis elegans (4%), Brachylaemus sp. (12%), Tristriata sp. (10%), and Spelotrema sp. (8%); Cestoda: Mesocestoides canislagopodis (72%), Schistocephalus solidus (2%), and Diphyllobothrium dendriticum (4%); Nematoda: Toxascaris leonina (50%), Toxocara canis (2%), Uncinaria stenocephala (4%), and eggs of the lung worm Capillaria aerophila (6%); and Acanthocephala: Polymorphus meyeri (8%) and Corynosoma hadweni (2%). Only four of the species previously had been recorded in Iceland. Eleven species are new records in Iceland and six appear to be new host records. Two additional nematodes, Stegophorus stercorarii and Syphacia sp., probably were ingested accidentally with the prey. Foxes from coastal habitats harbored 14 parasitic species while only five species were found in foxes from inland habitats. Arctic foxes from coastal habitats generally had higher helminth burdens and harbored more parasitic species per fox than foxes from inland habitats.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Cats are considered essential for the maintenance of Toxoplasma gondii in nature. However, T. gondii infection has been reported in arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) from the Svalbard high arctic archipelago where felids are virtually absent. To identify the potential source of T. gondii, we attempted to ...

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  20. Description of the life stages of quill mite Mironovia lagopus sp. nov. (Acari: Syringophilidae) parasitizing the rock ptarmigan Lagopus muta (Phasianidae) from Iceland.

    PubMed

    Bochkov, Andre V; Skirnisson, Karl

    2011-03-01

    A new species of syringophilid mites, Mironovia lagopus sp. nov. (Acari: Syringophilidae) is described from feather quills of the rock ptarigman Lagopus muta (Montin) (Phasianidae) from Iceland. Females of this new species differ from the closely related Mironovia rouloul Skoracki and Sikora by setae d2, which are subequal or 1.1-1.2 times shorter than setae e2 (vs. d2 1.4-1.5 times longer than e2 in Mironovia rouloul) and by setae ag1, which are 1.3-1.5 times shorter than ag2 (vs. ag1 1.7-1.8 times shorter than ag2). The postembryonic stages of this new species are figured and described in details. In ontogeny of Mironovia spp., the observed pattern of setal appearance is not different from the pattern in other galliform-associated genera such as Syringophilus and Colinophilus, with exception for tarsal setae p'I, II which are absent in protonymphs. The key to all four species of the genus Mironovia is also provided.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-10-01

    We tested the Raboral V-RG® recombinant oral rabies vaccine for its response in Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus), the reservoir of rabies virus in the circumpolar North. The vaccine, which is currently the only licensed oral rabies vaccine in the United States, induced a strong antibody response and protected foxes against a challenge of 500,000 mouse intracerebral lethal dose 50% of an Arctic rabies virus variant. However, one unvaccinated control fox survived challenge with rabies virus, either indicating a high resistance of Arctic foxes to rabies infection or a previous exposure that induced immunity. This preliminary study suggested that Raboral V-RG vaccine may be efficacious in Arctic foxes.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

  3. Endocrine changes associated with fat deposition and mobilization in svalbard ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus hyperboreus).

    PubMed

    Stokkan, K A; Harvey, S; Klandorf, H; Unander, S; Blix, A S

    1985-04-01

    Plasma concentrations of Triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4) and growth hormone (GH) have been measured in blood samples taken from Svalbard ptarmigans (Lagopus mutus hyperboreus), shot throughout 1 whole year at Svalbard (79 degrees N). Plasma T3 levels varied in a monophasic pattern with low levels in winter and a peak in August, whereas plasma T4 levels remained constant throughout the year. High plasma T3 levels coincide with molt and a large food intake while low plasma levels of T3 coincide with molt arrest and a low food intake. Plasma GH levels were highest in winter and lowest in May and September. The low plasma GH levels in early autumn coincide with elevated liver weights and maximum rate of fat deposition. High GH levels in midwinter coincide with low liver weights and the mobilization of fat stores. A possible relationship between molt, food intake, fat deposition/mobilization, and plasma levels of T3 and GH is discussed.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, R. Michael

    1997-01-01

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

  5. Physiological adaptations to fasting in an actively wintering canid, the Arctic blue fox (Alopex lagopus).

    PubMed

    Mustonen, Anne-Mari; Pyykönen, Teija; Puukka, Matti; Asikainen, Juha; Hänninen, Sari; Mononen, Jaakko; Nieminen, Petteri

    2006-01-01

    This study investigated the physiological adaptations to fasting using the farmed blue fox (Alopex lagopus) as a model for the endangered wild arctic fox. Sixteen blue foxes were fed throughout the winter and 32 blue foxes were fasted for 22 d in Nov-Dec 2002. Half of the fasted blue foxes were food-deprived again for 22 d in Jan-Feb 2003. The farmed blue fox lost weight at a slower rate (0.97-1.02% body mass d(-1)) than observed previously in the arctic fox, possibly due to its higher initial body fat content. The animals experienced occasional fasting-induced hypoglycaemia, but their locomotor activity was not affected. The plasma triacylglycerol and glycerol concentrations were elevated during phase II of fasting indicating stimulated lipolysis, probably induced by the high growth hormone concentrations. The total cholesterol, HDL- and LDL-cholesterol, urea, uric acid and total protein levels and the urea:creatinine ratio decreased during fasting. Although the plasma levels of some essential amino acids increased, the blue foxes did not enter phase III of starvation characterized by stimulated proteolysis during either of the 22-d fasting procedures. Instead of excessive protein catabolism, it is liver dysfunction, indicated by the increased plasma bilirubin levels and alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase activities, that may limit the duration of fasting in the species.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2000-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    The Svalbard rock ptarmigan, Lagopus muta hyperborea experiences extreme photoperiodic and climatic conditions on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. This species, however, is highly adapted to live in this harsh environment. One of the most striking adaptations found in these birds is the deposition, prior to onset of winter, of fat stores which may comprise up to 32% of body mass and are located primarily around the sternum and abdominal region. This fat, while crucial to the birds' survival, also presents a challenge in that the bird must maintain normal physiological function with this additional mass. In particular these stores are likely to constrain the respiratory system, as the sternum and pelvic region must be moved during ventilation and carrying this extra load may also impact upon the energetic cost of locomotion. Here we demonstrate that winter birds have a reduced cost of locomotion when compared to summer birds. A remarkable finding given that during winter these birds have almost twice the body mass of those in summer. These results suggest that Svalbard ptarmigan are able to carry the additional winter fat without incurring any energetic cost. As energy conservation is paramount to these birds, minimising the costs of moving around when resources are limited would appear to be a key adaptation crucial for their survival in the barren Arctic environment. PMID:21125015

  8. First genetic characterization of Toxoplasma gondii infection in Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) in China.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xiao-Xuan; Cong, Wei; Ma, Jian-Gang; Lou, Zhi-Long; Zhao, Quan; Meng, Qing-Feng; Qian, Ai-Dong; Zhu, Xing-Quan

    2016-10-01

    Toxoplasma gondii can infect virtually all warm-blooded animals including foxes. However, little is known of the molecular epidemiology and genotypes of T. gondii infecting foxes in China. Therefore, the present study characterized T. gondii genotypes in foxes in China for the first time. During November 2014 to October 2015, brain tissue samples collected from 264 Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) in Jilin, Heilongjiang and Shandong provinces were used to detect the T. gondii B1 gene by a semi-nested PCR, and the positive samples were genotyped at 10 nuclear loci (i.e., SAG1, alternative SAG2, 5'-and 3'-SAG2, SAG3, L358, BTUB, c22-8, GRA6, c29-2, PK1) and an apicoplast locus (Apico) by multi-locus PCR-RFLP technology. Twenty-one (7.96%) samples from 264 foxes were positive for T. gondii B1 gene. T. gondii infection in male and female foxes was 7.14% and 8.70%, respectively. The highest infection rate (11.86%) was detected in foxes from Shandong, followed by foxes from Jilin (6.49%) and Heilongjiang (2.90%). Two genotypes (ToxoDB#9 and ToxoDB#10) were identified. This is the first genetic characterization of T. gondii from foxes in China, which provides basic data for the surveillance and control of T. gondii infection in foxes, other animals and humans.

  9. Shaggy Lame Fox Syndrome in Pribilof Island Arctic Foxes ( Alopex lagopus pribilofensis), Alaska.

    PubMed

    Spraker, T R; White, P A

    2017-03-01

    A previously unrecognized condition is described in wild free-ranging Pribilof arctic foxes ( Alopex lagopus pribilofensis) from the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, USA. This condition is called shaggy lame fox syndrome (SLFS) denoting the primary clinical signs first observed. Criteria used to suspect SLFS on gross examination included emaciation, failure to shed winter pelage and moderate to severe polyarthritis. Criteria used to confirm SLFS histologically included polyarthritis (characterized by lymphoplasmacytic synovitis, tenosynovitis, bursitis, periosteal bony proliferation, and periarticular lymphoplasmacytic vasculitis) and systemic leukocytoclastic vasculitis. Other histological lesions often found included renal cortical infarcts, myocarditis with myocardial infarcts, lymphoplasmacytic meningitis, lymphoplasmacytic cuffing of meningeal and a few cerebral vessels, and cavitating infarcts of the brainstem and thalamus. The cause of SLFS is not known at this time; however, the gross and histological lesions suggest that the cause of SLFS may be a bacterial polyarthritis with a secondary immune-mediated vasculitis. These lesions are consistent with changes described with Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae in domestic dogs; E. rhusiopathiae was identified from the synovial membrane of a swollen stifle joint and the kidney from one fox using real-time polymerase chain reaction and with culture from a fox that had gross and histological lesions of SLFS. Therefore, E. rhusiopathiae is a possible etiological agent for SLFS.

  10. Organochlorine-induced histopathology in kidney and liver tissue from Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    Sonne, Christian; Wolkers, Hans; Leifsson, Pall S; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro; Fuglei, Eva; Ahlstrøm, Oystein; Dietz, Rune; Kirkegaard, Maja; Muir, Derek C G; Jørgensen, Even

    2008-04-01

    The effects of persistent organic pollutants on renal and liver morphology in farmed arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) were studied under experimental conditions. Control animals received a diet containing pork (Sus scrofa) fat with low amounts of persistent organic pollutants, while the diet of the exposed animals contained whale blubber, 'naturally' contaminated with persistent organic pollutants. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and organochlorine pesticide (OCP) concentrations in the whale blubber were 488 and 395 ng/g wet weight, respectively. Animals were sacrificed and sampled when they were at their fattest (winter) as well as their lowest body weight (summer). The results show that PCB and OCP exposure causes renal (and probably also liver) lesions in arctic foxes. The prevalence of glomerular, tubular and interstitial lesions was significantly highest in the exposed group (chi-square: all p<0.05). The frequency of liver lesions (steatosis, intravascular granulocyte accumulations, interstitial cell infiltrations, lipid granulomas, portal fibrosis and bile duct hyperplasia) were also highest in the exposed group, although not significantly (chi-square: all p>0.05). The prevalence of lesions was not significantly different between lean (winter) and fat (summer) foxes for any of the lesions (chi-square: all p>0.05). We suggest that wild arctic foxes exposed to an environmental cocktail of persistent organic pollutants, such as PCBs and OCPs, in their natural diet are at risk for developing chronic kidney and liver damage. Whether such lesions may have an impact on age and health of the animals remains uncertain.

  11. Morphological characteristics of Mesocestoides canislagopodis (Krabbe 1865) tetrathyridia found in rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) in Iceland.

    PubMed

    Skirnisson, Karl; Sigurðardóttir, Ólöf G; Nielsen, Ólafur K

    2016-08-01

    Necropsies of 1010 rock ptarmigans (Lagopus muta) sampled in autumn 2006-2015 in northeast Iceland revealed Mesocestoides canislagopodis tetrathyridia infections in six birds (0.6 %), two juvenile birds (3 month old), and four adult birds (15 months or older). Four birds had tetrathyridia in the body cavity, one bird in the liver, and one bird both in the body cavity and the liver. There were more tetrathyridia in the body cavity of the two juveniles (c. 50 in each) than in three adults (10-40), possibly indicating a host-age-related tetrathyridia mortality. Approximately, half of tetrathyridia in the body cavity were free or loosely attached to the serosa, the other half were encapsulated in a thin, loose connective tissue stroma, frequently attached to the lungs and the liver. Tetrathyridia in the liver parenchyma incited variably intense inflammation. Tetrathyridia from the juvenile hosts were whitish, heart-shaped, and flattened, with unsegmented bodies with a slightly pointed posterior end. In the adult hosts, tetrathyridia were sometimes almost rectangular-shaped, slightly wider compared to those in the juveniles, but more than twice as long as the younger-aged tetrathyridia. Tetrathyridia infections are most likely acquired during the brief insectivorous feeding phase of ptarmigan chicks, and the tetrathyridia persist throughout the lifespan of the birds.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Bocharova, Natalia; Treu, Gabriele; Czirják, Gábor Árpád; Krone, Oliver; Stefanski, Volker; Wibbelt, Gudrun; Unnsteinsdóttir, Ester Rut; Hersteinsson, Páll; Schares, Gereon; Doronina, Lilia; Goltsman, Mikhail; Greenwood, Alex D

    2013-01-01

    Changes in concentration of pollutants and pathogen distribution can vary among ecotypes (e.g. marine versus terrestrial food resources). This may have important implications for the animals that reside within them. We examined 1) canid pathogen presence in an endangered arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) population and 2) relative total mercury (THg) level as a function of ecotype ('coastal' or 'inland') for arctic foxes to test whether the presence of pathogens or heavy metal concentration correlate with population health. The Bering Sea populations on Bering and Mednyi Islands were compared to Icelandic arctic fox populations with respect to inland and coastal ecotypes. Serological and DNA based pathogen screening techniques were used to examine arctic foxes for pathogens. THg was measured by atomic absorption spectrometry from hair samples of historical and modern collected arctic foxes and samples from their prey species (hair and internal organs). Presence of pathogens did not correlate with population decline from Mednyi Island. However, THg concentration correlated strongly with ecotype and was reflected in the THg concentrations detected in available food sources in each ecotype. The highest concentration of THg was found in ecotypes where foxes depended on marine vertebrates for food. Exclusively inland ecotypes had low THg concentrations. The results suggest that absolute exposure to heavy metals may be less important than the feeding ecology and feeding opportunities of top predators such as arctic foxes which may in turn influence population health and stability. A higher risk to wildlife of heavy metal exposure correlates with feeding strategies that rely primarily on a marine based diet.

  15. Chronic dietary exposure to environmental organochlorine contaminants induces thyroid gland lesions in Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    Sonne, Christian; Wolkers, Hans; Leifsson, Pall S; Iburg, Tine; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro; Fuglei, Eva; Ahlstrøm, Oystein; Dietz, Rune; Kirkegaard, Maja; Muir, Derek C G; Jørgensen, Even H

    2009-08-01

    The impact of dietary organochlorine (OC) exposure on thyroid gland pathology was studied in farmed male Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus). The exposed group (n=16) was fed a diet based on wild minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) blubber as a main fat source in order to mimic the exposure to OC cocktails in the Artic environment. This resulted in an exposure of approximately 17 microg Sigma OC/kg day and a Sigma OC residue adipose tissue and liver concentration of 1700 and 4470 ng/gl.w., respectively, after 16 months of exposure. Control foxes (n=13) were fed a diet with pork (Sus scrofa) fat as a main fat source containing significantly lower OC concentrations. The food composition fed to the control and exposed group was standardized for nutrient contents. Four OC-related histopathological changes were found: (1) flat-epithelial-cell true thyroid cysts (TC) characterized by neutral content; (2) remnants of simple squamous epithelial-cell embryonic ducts containing neutral debris (EDN); (3) remnants of stratified squamous epithelial-cell embryonic ducts containing acid mucins often accompanied with debris of leukocyte inflammatory nature (EDM) and (4) disseminated thyroid C-cell hyperplasia (HPC). Of these, the prevalence of TC, EDN and HPC was significantly highest in the exposed group (chi(2) test: all p<0.04). The study shows that the OC mixture in minke whale blubber may cause development of thyroid gland cysts, C-cell hyperplasia and increase the prevalence of cystic remnants of embryonic ducts. The mechanism causing these effects could include endocrine disruption of the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis, a disturbance of the calcium homeostasis/metabolism or energy metabolism or immune suppression. Because concentrations of OCs are higher in wild Arctic foxes, it is likely that these animals could suffer from similar OC-induced thyroid gland pathological and functional changes.

  16. Quantifying fenbendazole and its metabolites in self-medicating wild red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus using an HPLC-MS-MS approach.

    PubMed

    Adam, Aileen; Webster, Lucy M I; Mullen, William; Keller, Lukas F; Johnson, Paul C D

    2011-05-11

    On red grouse estates in the UK the nematode parasite Trichostrongylus tenuis is often controlled by application of grit medicated with the anthelmintic fenbendazole (FBZ). To date, assessment of the efficacy has been inhibited by the inability to quantify uptake of FBZ by the birds. We have developed a simple and sensitive HPLC-MS-MS method for detecting and quantifying FBZ and its metabolites from a 300 mg sample of red grouse liver. This method could be used to improve the efficacy of medicated grit treatment by allowing the identification of conditions and application methods that optimize the uptake of FBZ. With the necessary modifications, our method will also be applicable to other wildlife species where self-medication is used for parasite control.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-04-01

    The Arctic Fox Alopex lagopus semenovi population on Mednyi Island is completely isolated and subsists largely by scavenging on seabird colonies, which have remained abundant and spatio-temporally predictable for many years. We compared population data at the beginning of 1976/1978 and some time after 1994-2005, finding an 85% decline in fox numbers due to disease, to assess the effect of population size on social structure. A total of 81 groups of known size and composition was observed during this 29-year period. Overall, helpers (usually non-lactating yearling females) occurred in 25.7% of groups, and in 32.4% of groups there were two or three lactating females. Female engagement in alloparental behaviour decreased, but not statistically significantly, after the decline in population density. Total food availability was apparently constant throughout the study period, and therefore, the amount available per individual was much higher later in the study. Both communally nursing females and helpers brought food and helped to guard the litter. However, the benefits of communal rearing were unclear. While cubs were left without guards significantly more rarely in the groups with an additional adult, the number of cubs weaned per lactating female was greater in groups with one (3.93 ± 1.60), as opposed to two or three (3.06 ± 0.92), lactating females. Survival of cubs to 1 year of age in the groups with two lactating females and/or with helpers was lower than that in the families with one lactating female without helpers (22.2% vs 32.2%). Fewer second-generation litters were born to foxes produced by composite families than to those produced by pairs. Reproductive adults producing by pairs had, on average, 1.23 (±1.72) second-generation litters. In groups that initially included additional adults, the average number of second-generation litters per reproductive female was 0.21 (±0.49) and 0.46 (±0.81) litters per male. Thus, according to three measures

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  19. De novo assembly and characterization of farmed blue fox (Alopex lagopus) global transcriptome using Illumina paired-end sequencing.

    PubMed

    Guo, P C; Yan, S Q; Si, S; Bai, C Y; Zhao, Y; Zhang, Y; Yao, J Y; Li, Y M

    2016-03-28

    The blue fox (Alopex lagopus), a coat-color variant of the Arctic fox, is a domesticated fur-bearing mammal. In the present study, transcriptome data generated from a pool of nine different tissues were obtained with Illumina HiSeq2500 paired-end sequencing technology. After filtering from raw reads, 32,358,290 clean reads were assembled into 161,269 transcripts and 97,252 unigenes by the Trinity fragment assembly software. Of the assembled unigenes, 37,967 were annotated in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Non-Redundant (NR) protein database and 26,264 in the Swiss-Prot database. Among the annotated unigenes, 24,839 and 24,267 were assigned using the Gene Ontology (GO) and euKaryotic Orthologous Groups (KOG) databases, respectively. Altogether, 17,057 unigenes were mapped onto 227 pathways using the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes database. In addition, 6394 simple sequence repeats were identified by examining 12,965 unigenes (>1 kb), which could contribute to the development of molecular markers. This study generated transcriptome data for the blue fox that will promote further progress in expression profiling studies, and provide a good annotation basis for genomic studies.

  20. Concentrations and patterns of hydroxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers and polychlorinated biphenyls in arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) from Svalbard.

    PubMed

    Routti, Heli; Andersen, Martin S; Fuglei, Eva; Polder, Anuschka; Yoccoz, Nigel G

    2016-09-01

    Concentrations and patterns of hydroxylated (OH) polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were investigated in liver from arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) sampled from Svalbard 1997-2011 (n = 100). The most important OH-PBDE in the arctic foxes was 6-OH-BDE47 detected in 24% of the samples. Relationships between 6-OH-BDE47, δ(13)C and BDE47 suggest that 6-OH-BDE47 residues in arctic foxes are related to marine dietary input, while the relative importance of the metabolic/natural origin of this compound remains unclear. 4-OH-CB187 and 4-OH-CB146 were the main OH-PCBs among the analyzed compounds. The OH-PCB pattern in the present arctic foxes indicates that arctic foxes have a capacity to biotransform a wide range of PCBs of different structures. Formation and retention of OH-PCBs was tightly related to PCB exposure. Furthermore, ΣOH-PCB concentrations were four times higher in the leanest compared to the fattest foxes. Concentrations of 4-OH-CB187 and 4-OH-CB146 among the highest contaminated arctic foxes were similar to the previously reported concentrations for polar bears. Given the high endocrine disruptive potential of OH-PCBs, we suggest that endocrine system may be affected by the relatively high OH-PCB residues in the Svalbard arctic fox population.

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

    PubMed

    Gjerde, Bjørn; Schulze, Johan

    2014-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Populations of Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) have been isolated on two of the Commander Islands (Bering and Mednyi) from the circumpolar distributed mainland population since the Pleistocene. In 1970–1980, an epizootic outbreak of mange caused a severe population decline on Mednyi Island. Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) play a primary role in infectious disease resistance. The main objectives of our study were to compare contemporary variation of MHC class II in mainland and island Arctic foxes, and to document the effects of the isolation and the recent bottleneck on MHC polymorphism by analyzing samples from historical and contemporary Arctic foxes. In 184 individuals, we found 25 unique MHC class II DRB and DQB alleles, and identified evidence of balancing selection maintaining allelic lineages over time at both loci. Twenty different MHC alleles were observed in mainland foxes and eight in Bering Island foxes. The historical Mednyi population contained five alleles and all contemporary individuals were monomorphic at both DRB and DQB. Our data indicate that despite positive and diversifying selection leading to elevated rates of amino acid replacement in functionally important antigen-binding sites, below a certain population size, balancing selection may not be strong enough to maintain genetic diversity in functionally important genes. This may have important fitness consequences and might explain the high pathogen susceptibility in some island populations. This is the first study that compares MHC diversity before and after a bottleneck in a wild canid population using DNA from museum samples. PMID:22408734

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  4. Glomerular lipidosis accompanied by renal tubular oxalosis in wild and laboratory-reared Japanese rock ptarmigans (Lagopus mutus japonicus).

    PubMed

    Murai, Atsuko; Murakami, Mami; Sakai, Hiroki; Shimizu, Hiroaki; Murata, Koichi; Yanai, Tokuma

    2011-12-01

    Glomerular lipidosis is a disease characterized by lipid accumulation in mesangial cells but that has not been fully investigated in avian species. We examined four wild and two laboratory-reared Japanese rock ptarmigans (Lagopus mutus japonicus)--an endangered avian species--presenting vacuolar deposits in the glomeruli. All cases had vacuolar deposits in the glomeruli. In the wild cases, fewer than 30% of all glomeruli were affected, compared with more than 90% in the laboratory-reared cases. In the wild cases, most deposits were mild and restricted to the mesangial areas of glomeruli. In the laboratory-reared cases, nearly all of the deposits covered entire glomeruli. Electron microscopy of mild deposits revealed vacuoles in the cytoplasm of mesangial cells. These vacuoles were positive for Sudan III, Sudan black B, oil red O, Nile blue, periodic acid-Schiff, Schultz test, and digitonin stain and were negative for performaric acid-Schiff stains. Based on these results, we diagnosed the glomerular lesion as glomerular lipidosis caused by uptake of low-density lipoprotein in mesangial cells. Except for one wild case, all cases exhibited renal tubular oxalosis. The severity of tubular oxalosis tended to be related to the severity of glomerular lipidosis: In cases of mild glomerular lipidosis, tubular oxalosis was also mild or absent. We therefore diagnosed the primary lesion as glomerular lipidosis accompanied by tubular oxalosis. The four wild cases came from different zones and therefore had no opportunities to interbreed and no common relatives. We believe these data support the hypothesis that glomerular lipidosis is a disease of the general population ofJapanese rock ptarmigans. This is the first report of glomerular lipidosis accompanied by renal tubular oxalosis in an avian species.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

    Until now, no information on Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence in Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) was available in China. A serological survey was undertaken to assess T. gondii seroprevalence in farmed Arctic foxes in eastern and northeastern China. Antibodies to T. gondii were examined in 1346 farmed Arctic foxes using the modified agglutination test (MAT). A total of 113 (8.39%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.91-9.87) serum samples were positive to T. gondii at a 1:25 cutoff. Seroprevalence of T. gondii infection in male Arctic foxes was 8.68% (95% CI 6.75-10.6), which was higher than that in the female Arctic foxes (7.95%, 95% CI 5.65-10.26). The prevalence in polar foxes was 7.07% (95% CI 5.14-8.99), which was lower than that in the blue foxes (9.75%, 95% CI 7.49-11.99). T. gondii seroprevalence in Arctic foxes in Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, and Shandong Provinces was 9.85% (95% CI 5.75-13.95), 9.21% (95% CI 5.54-12.87), 7.37% (95% CI 5.22-9.51), and 8.68% (95% CI 5.66-11.70), respectively. There were no statistically significant differences between T. gondii seroprevalence and morphs, sex, or regions of Arctic foxes in logistic regression analysis (p < 0.05). The results of the present survey indicated that T. gondii infection in farmed Arctic foxes is prevalent in China. To our knowledge, this is the first report of T. gondii seroprevalence in Arctic foxes in China.

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

    PubMed

    Sonne, Christian; Wolkers, Hans; Rigét, Frank F; Jensen, Jens-Erik Beck; Teilmann, Jenni; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro; Fuglei, Eva; Ahlstrøm, Øystein; Dietz, Rune; Muir, Derek C G; Jørgensen, Even H

    2009-01-01

    We investigated the impact from dietary OC (organochlorine) exposure and restricted feeding (emaciation) on bone mineral density (BMD; g hydroxy-apatite cm(-2)) in femoral, vertebrate, skull and baculum osteoid tissue from farmed Arctic blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus). For femur, also biomechanical properties during bending (displacement [mm], load [N], energy absorption [J] and stiffness [N/mm]) were measured. Sixteen foxes (EXP) were fed a wet food containing 7.7% OC-polluted minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) blubber in two periods of body fat deposition (Aug-Dec) and two periods of body fat mobilisation (Jan-July) in which the food contained less energy and only 2% blubber. SigmaOC food concentration in the food containing 7.7% whale blubber was 309 ng/g wet mass. This corresponded to a SigmaOC exposure of ca. 17 microg/kg body mass/d and a responding SigmaOC residue in subcutaneous adipose tissue of ca. 1700 ng/g live mass in the 8 EXP fat foxes euthanized after 16 months. A control group (CON) composed of 15 foxes were fed equal daily caloric amounts of clean pork (Sus scrofa) fat. After 16 months, 8 EXP and 7 CON foxes were euthanized (mean body mass=9.25 kg) while the remaining 8 EXP and 8 CON foxes were given restricted food rations for 6 months resulting in a body weight reduction (mean body mass=5.46 kg). The results showed that only BMD(skull) vs. BMD(vertebrae) were significantly correlated (R=0.68; p=0.03; n=10) probably due to a similar composition of trabecular and cortical osteoid tissue. No difference in any of the BMD measurements or femoral biomechanical properties was found between EXP and CON foxes although BMD baculum was 1.6-folds lower in the EXP group. However, lean summer foxes had significantly lower femoral biomechanical properties measured as displacement (mm), energy absorption (J) and time (s) biomechanical properties than fat winter foxes (all p<0.004). This indicates lower stiffness and softer bones from fasting which is in

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  10. Acute toxoplasmosis in three wild arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) from Svalbard; one with co-infections of Salmonella Enteritidis PT1 and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis serotype 2b.

    PubMed

    Sørensen, K K; Mørk, T; Sigurdardóttir, O G; Asbakk, K; Akerstedt, J; Bergsjø, B; Fuglei, E

    2005-04-01

    Acute disseminated toxoplasmosis was diagnosed in three wild arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) that were found dead in the same locality on Svalbard (Norway). The animals included one adult female and two 4-months-old pups. The adult fox was severely jaundiced. Necropsy revealed multifocal, acute, necrotizing hepatitis, acute interstitial pneumonia, and scattered foci of brain gliosis, often associated with Toxoplasma tachyzoites. One pup also had Toxoplasma-associated meningitis. In addition, the latter animal was infected with Yersinia pseudotuberculosis serotype 2b and Salmonella Enteritidis phage type 1 (PT1), which may have contributed to the severity of the Toxoplasma infection in this animal. The diagnosis of toxoplasmosis was confirmed by positive immunohistochemistry and detection of anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in serum of all foxes. The animals were negative for Neospora caninum, canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus, and rabies virus on immunolabelling of tissue sections and smears.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

    Levels of persistent organic pollutants (POP), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), are high in many Arctic top predators, including the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus). The aim of this study was to examine possible endocrine-disruptive effects of dietary POP exposure in male juvenile Arctic foxes in a controlled exposure experiment. The study was conducted using domesticated farmed blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus) as a model species. Two groups of newly weaned male foxes received a diet supplemented with either minke whale (Baleneoptera acutorostrata) blubber that was naturally contaminated with POP (exposed group, n = 5 or 21), or pork (Sus scrofa) fat (control group, n = 5 or 21). When the foxes were 6 mo old and had received the 2 diets for approximately 4 mo (147 d), effects of the dietary exposure to POP on plasma concentrations of testosterone (T), thyroid hormones (TH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), retinol (vitamin A), and tocopherol (viramin E) were examined. At sampling, the total body concentrations of 104 PCB congeners were 0.1 ± 0.03 μg/g lipid weight (l.w.; n = 5 [mean ± standard deviation]) and 1.5 ± 0.17 μg/g l.w. (n = 5) in the control and exposed groups, respectively. Plasma testosterone concentrations in the exposed male foxes were significantly lower than in the control males, being approximately 25% of that in the exposed foxes. There were no between-treatment differences for TH, TSH, retinol, or tocopherol. The results suggest that the high POP levels experienced by costal populations of Arctic foxes, such as in Svalbard and Iceland, may result in delayed masculine maturation during adolescence. Sex hormone disruption during puberty may thus have lifetime consequences on all aspects of reproductive function in adult male foxes.

  12. The effects of season and sex upon the morphology and material properties of keratin in the Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea).

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-01

    The material properties and morphologies of the modified integumentary organs of birds (the keratinous bills, claws and feathers) have evolved to withstand the variety of mechanical stresses imposed by their interaction with the environment. These stresses are likely to vary temporally in seasonal environments and may also differ between the sexes as a result of behavioural dimorphism. Here we investigate the morphology and material properties of the claws of male and female Svalbard ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea) during the summer and winter using nanoindentation. Despite differences in locomotor demands between the sexes and pronounced seasonal differences in environmental conditions, like ground substrate, ambient temperature and day length, there was no significant difference in Young׳s modulus or hardness between the seasons for each sex. However, when comparing males and females, female claws were significantly harder than those of males and both sexes had significantly wider claws during winter. We propose that wider claws may follow winter claw moulting as the claws are regrown and form an important part of the ptarmigan׳s snowshoe-like foot that is an adaptation to locomotion on snow. Future work focusing on growth rates and more broad measures of material properties in both captive and wild birds is required to determine the extent of seasonal and sex differences in the material properties of their keratinous structures.

  13. Effects of season, food deprivation and re-feeding on leptin, ghrelin and growth hormone in arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) on Svalbard, Norway.

    PubMed

    Fuglei, E; Mustonen, A-M; Nieminen, P

    2004-03-01

    The arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) is a medium-sized predator of the high Arctic experiencing extreme seasonal fluctuations in food availability, photoperiod and temperature. In this study, the plasma leptin, ghrelin and growth hormone (GH) concentrations of male arctic foxes were determined during a food deprivation period of 13 days and the subsequent recovery in November and May. Leptin, ghrelin and GH were present in arctic fox plasma in amounts comparable to other carnivores. The plasma leptin concentrations did not react to food deprivation unlike in humans and rodents. However, the leptin levels increased during re-feeding as an indicator of increasing energy reserves. The relatively high ghrelin-leptin ratio, decrease in the plasma ghrelin concentration, an increase in the circulating GH concentrations and the observed negative correlation between plasma ghrelin and free fatty acid levels during fasting suggest that these hormones take part in the weight-regulation and energy metabolism of this species by increasing fat utilisation during food deprivation. The results strengthen the hypothesis that the actions of these weight-regulatory hormones are species-specific and depend on seasonality and the life history of the animals.

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

    PubMed

    Dahlgren, Stina S; Gjerde, Bjørn

    2010-09-01

    The aim of this study was to determine whether foxes might act as definitive hosts of Sarcocystis alces in moose. In 2 experiments, 6 silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and 6 blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus) were fed muscle tissue from moose containing numerous sarcocysts of S. alces, and euthanazed 7-28 days post-infection (p.i.). Intestinal mucosal scrapings and faecal samples were screened microscopically for Sarcocystis oocysts/sporocysts, which were identified to species by means of species-specific primers and sequence analysis targeting the ssu rRNA gene. All foxes in both experiments became infected with Sarcocystis; the oocysts were fully sporulated by 14 days p.i., containing sporocysts measuring 14-15 x 10 microm. Molecular identification revealed that the oocysts/sporocysts belonged to 2 species, S. alces and Sarcocystis hjorti, although sarcocysts of S. hjorti were only identified in moose subsequent to the infection of foxes. In the first experiment, all 8 foxes also became infected with a Hammondia sp. derived from moose, shedding unsporulated, subspherical oocysts, measuring 10-12 microm in diameter, from 6-7 days p.i. onwards. The study proved that canids (the red fox and arctic fox) are definitive hosts for S. alces and S. hjorti, as had been inferred from the phylogenetic position of these species.

  15. The fall and rise of the Icelandic Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus): a 50-year demographic study on a non-cyclic Arctic fox population.

    PubMed

    Unnsteinsdottir, E R; Hersteinsson, P; Pálsson, S; Angerbjörn, A

    2016-08-01

    In territorial species, observed density dependence is often manifest in lowered reproductive output at high population density where individuals have fewer resources or are forced to inhabit low-quality territories. The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) in Iceland is territorial throughout the year and feeds mostly on birds, since lemmings are absent from the country. Thus, the population does not exhibit short-term population cycles that are evident in most of the species' geographical range. The population has, however, gone through a major long-term fluctuation in population size. Because of the stability in hunting effort and reliable hunting records since 1958, the total number of adult foxes killed annually can be used as an index of population size (N t ). An index of carrying capacity (K) from population growth data for five separate time blocks during 1958-2007 revealed considerable variation in K and allowed a novel definition of population density in terms of K, or N t /K. Correlation analysis suggested that the reproductive rate was largely determined by the proportion of territorial foxes in the population. Variation in litter size and cub mortality was, on the other hand, related to climatic variation. Thus, Arctic foxes in Iceland engage in typical contest competition but can adapt their territory sizes in response to both temporal and spatial variation in carrying capacity, resulting in surprisingly little variation in litter size.

  16. Genetic and ecological data provide incongruent interpretations of population structure and dispersal in naturally subdivided populations of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura).

    PubMed

    Fedy, B C; Martin, K; Ritland, C; Young, J

    2008-04-01

    The dispersal of individuals among populations affects the demographic and adaptive trajectories of animal populations and is fundamental to understanding population dynamics. White-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura) are a high elevation grouse species that live year-round in patchily distributed alpine areas in western North America. We investigated the patterns of dispersal and identified barriers to gene flow for a threatened subspecies (L. l. saxatilis) endemic to Vancouver Island, Canada. Connectivity among seven sites was examined using nine microsatellite loci (n = 133 individuals, H(O) = 0.62, mean number of alleles = 10) and direct movement observations using radio-telemetry (n = 118 individuals). Average movement distances of individuals measured by radio-telemetry were 0.63-3.23 km and considerably less than the shortest distance between sampling sites (18 km). Furthermore, despite extensive radio-telemetry data, movement was never observed between any of the seven sampling sites. In contrast, genetic results (STRUCTURE, TESS) showed connectivity among most of the seven sampling sites and suggested that genetic variation is best explained by two clusters of individuals which separated the South sampling site from all other areas of Vancouver Island. Analysis of molecular data also showed a generally consistent pattern of isolation by distance (Mantel test r = 0.11, P < 0.01) with large areas of unsuitable low elevation habitat possibly acting as barriers to gene flow. Despite the naturally subdivided distribution of populations, white-tailed ptarmigan do not fit well into any common definition of a metapopulation. We conclude the incongruities between the genetic and radio-telemetry data are best explained by episodic dispersal patterns. In this study, we demonstrated the importance of combining genetic and ecological data in understanding patterns of dispersal and population structure.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kempe, R; Strandén, I

    2016-02-01

    The frequency of eye infections in the Finnish blue fox population has increased during the past decade. Eye infection may incur economic losses to producers due to reduced selection intensity, but ethical aspects need to be considered as well because eye infection can be quite painful and reduce animal well-being. The purpose of this study was to determine the potential for genetic selection against susceptibility to eye infection. The data were collected from 2076 blue foxes at the MTT fur animal research station. Genetic parameters were estimated using single- and multiple-trait animal models. The heritability estimate for eye infection was analysed as a binary trait (EYE) and was moderate (0.24 ± 0.07). EYE had a moderate antagonistic genetic correlation (-0.49 ± 0.20) with grading density (thick underfur). The genetic correlation of EYE with grading size or body condition score was estimated without precision, but all size traits had a low antagonistic phenotypic correlation with EYE. Our results suggest that there is genetic variance in susceptibility to EYE, indicating that eye health can be improved through selection. The current recommendation is that the sick animals should be culled immediately. If more efficient selection is needed, the selection index and multiple-trait animal models can be applied in breeding for better eye health.

  19. Complex housing environment for farmed blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus): use of various resources.

    PubMed

    Koistinen, T; Korhonen, H T

    2013-08-01

    The present study was designed to measure the use of various, simultaneously available resources in a complex housing environment in juvenile blue foxes. Twelve blue fox sibling (male-female) pairs were housed in two-section experimental cages from the age of 8 weeks until the age of 7 months (from June to December). Each experimental cage was furnished with two platforms, a nest box, a sand box and a wooden block. This housing set-up provided the foxes with social contact, and an opportunity for oral manipulation, scratching and nesting, as well as the choice of staying on a solid floor material or on an elevated location. The foxes' behaviour was recorded at three time points during autumn (September, November and December). The foxes used all available resources. The most utilised resource was the nest box, possibly because it could be utilised in several ways (as a shelter, an elevated location, an object for scratching and for oral manipulation). The foxes also stayed more in the cage section containing the nest box than in the cage section containing a sand box. The foxes rested much on the cage floor, but they also used the interior of the nest box and elevated locations for resting. Social contact often occurred during resting. Thus, the nest box and elevated location, in conjunction with social contact seem to be valuable while resting. While active, the foxes utilised the cage floor and roof of the nest box instead of the platforms. Scratching, digging and an interaction with the wooden block were seldom observed. Activity occurred mainly on the 'empty' cage area. In conclusion, all studied resources provided blue foxes with a distinct value, as they all were used in the complex housing environment. The nest box is used most and for most variable behaviours.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anthony, R. Michael

    1996-01-01

    Distribution, abundance, and use of arctic fox dens located in coastal tundra communities of the Yukon–Kuskokwim delta were determined in studies from 1985 to 1990. Dens were denser and less complex than those described in studies conducted above the Arctic Circle. Eighty-three dens of varying complexity were found in the 52-km2 study area. Nineteen dens were used by arctic foxes for whelping or rearing pups. Three females relocated litters to multiple dens; a maximum of four dens were used concurrently by pups from one litter. Although red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) were common in the region, their use of dens in the study area was minimal. Differences in vegetation at den sites and nearby unoccupied sites were minimal. Furthermore, den sites could not be distinguished from non-den sites during aerial surveys.

  1. Sperm kinematic, head morphometric and kinetic-morphometric subpopulations in the blue fox (Alopex lagopus).

    PubMed

    Soler, Carles; Contell, Jesús; Bori, Lorena; Sancho, María; García-Molina, Almudena; Valverde, Anthony; Segarvall, Jan

    2017-01-01

    This work provides information on the blue fox ejaculated sperm quality needed for seminal dose calculations. Twenty semen samples, obtained by masturbation, were analyzed for kinematic and morphometric parameters by using CASA-Mot and CASA-Morph system and principal component (PC) analysis. For motility, eight kinematic parameters were evaluated, which were reduced to PC1, related to linear variables, and PC2, related to oscillatory movement. The whole population was divided into three independent subpopulations: SP1, fast cells with linear movement; SP2, slow cells and nonoscillatory motility; and SP3, medium speed cells and oscillatory movement. In almost all cases, the subpopulation distribution by animal was significantly different. Head morphology analysis generated four size and four shape parameters, which were reduced to PC1, related to size, and PC2, related to shape of the cells. Three morphometric subpopulations existed: SP1: large oval cells; SP2: medium size elongated cells; and SP3: small and short cells. The subpopulation distribution differed between animals. Combining the kinematic and morphometric datasets produced PC1, related to morphometric parameters, and PC2, related to kinematics, which generated four sperm subpopulations - SP1: high oscillatory motility, large and short heads; SP2: medium velocity with small and short heads; SP3: slow motion small and elongated cells; and SP4: high linear speed and large elongated cells. Subpopulation distribution was different in all animals. The establishment of sperm subpopulations from kinematic, morphometric, and combined variables not only improves the well-defined fox semen characteristics and offers a good conceptual basis for fertility and sperm preservation techniques in this species, but also opens the door to use this approach in other species, included humans.

  2. Sperm kinematic, head morphometric and kinetic-morphometric subpopulations in the blue fox (Alopex lagopus)

    PubMed Central

    Soler, Carles; Contell, Jesús; Bori, Lorena; Sancho, María; García-Molina, Almudena; Valverde, Anthony; Segarvall, Jan

    2017-01-01

    This work provides information on the blue fox ejaculated sperm quality needed for seminal dose calculations. Twenty semen samples, obtained by masturbation, were analyzed for kinematic and morphometric parameters by using CASA-Mot and CASA-Morph system and principal component (PC) analysis. For motility, eight kinematic parameters were evaluated, which were reduced to PC1, related to linear variables, and PC2, related to oscillatory movement. The whole population was divided into three independent subpopulations: SP1, fast cells with linear movement; SP2, slow cells and nonoscillatory motility; and SP3, medium speed cells and oscillatory movement. In almost all cases, the subpopulation distribution by animal was significantly different. Head morphology analysis generated four size and four shape parameters, which were reduced to PC1, related to size, and PC2, related to shape of the cells. Three morphometric subpopulations existed: SP1: large oval cells; SP2: medium size elongated cells; and SP3: small and short cells. The subpopulation distribution differed between animals. Combining the kinematic and morphometric datasets produced PC1, related to morphometric parameters, and PC2, related to kinematics, which generated four sperm subpopulations – SP1: high oscillatory motility, large and short heads; SP2: medium velocity with small and short heads; SP3: slow motion small and elongated cells; and SP4: high linear speed and large elongated cells. Subpopulation distribution was different in all animals. The establishment of sperm subpopulations from kinematic, morphometric, and combined variables not only improves the well-defined fox semen characteristics and offers a good conceptual basis for fertility and sperm preservation techniques in this species, but also opens the door to use this approach in other species, included humans. PMID:27751987

  3. Seasonal patterns of prey availability and the foraging behavior of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) in a waterfowl nesting area

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stickney, Alice

    1991-01-01

    The foraging behavior of arctic foxes was observed in a waterfowl nesting area on the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta of Alaska in 1985–1986. Observations were made during peak fox activity from two towers, 3 m high, located in different community types. Data were collected continuously for individual foxes on specific activities, the community in which activities occurred, and the type of food obtained. After migratory birds started nesting in the area, the food potentially available to foxes changed from microtines, old caches, and carrion to include eggs and birds. This change was reflected in the foraging behavior of the foxes as they switched to predation on eggs. After nesting began, the search success rate of foxes increased (from <30% to >50%) and search duration decreased (mean 19.7 s before nest initiation versus mean 9.4 s in mid-incubation) as the rate of food acquisition increased. Over 80% of the eggs taken by foxes were cached rather than eaten immediately, which extended the availability of this temporally limited resource to foxes. Eggs were the primary prey of arctic foxes during the nesting stages in both years, even though microtine populations were high in one year (1985) and low in the other (1986).

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-03-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vergara, Pablo; Martínez-Padilla, Jesús; Redpath, Stephen M.; Mougeot, Francois

    2011-10-01

    Environmental heterogeneity is expected to create variation in the ornament-condition relationship. This topic has been studied in males with less attention being given to females. Here, we explore inter-population variation in the relationship between the size of a male-like trait, supra-orbital combs, and body mass in female red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus. We used the abundance of the nematode Trichostrongylus tenuis, a parasite with strong negative effects on this species, as a proxy of environmental conditions. We studied six populations over 5 years and showed that the comb size-body mass relationship varied with mean parasite abundance, with stronger ornament-condition relationships in populations with higher parasite infection levels. Our study supports the idea that environmental conditions, and in particular parasite infection levels, may affect the reliability of female ornaments as condition indicators.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

    A 4×2 factorial experiment with four supplemental levels of copper (0, 20, 40, or 60 mg copper per kg dry matter) from copper sulfate and two supplemental levels of zinc (40 or 200 mg zinc per kg dry matter) from zinc sulfate was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary copper and zinc supplementation on growth performance, tissue mineral retention, antioxidant status, and fur quality in growing-furring blue foxes. One hundred and twenty healthy 15-week-old male blue foxes were randomly allocated to eight dietary treatments with 15 replicates per treatment for a 70-day trial from mid-September to pelting in December. The average daily gain and feed conversion ratio were increased with copper supplementation in the first 35 days as well as the overall period (P<0.05). In addition, copper supplementation tended to increase feed intake during the first 35 days (P<0.10). Diets supplemented with 200 mg/kg zinc did not affect body gain (P>0.10) and feed intake (P>0.10) but improved feed conversion (P<0.05) compared with those supplemented 40 mg/kg zinc throughout the experiment. No copper×zinc interaction was observed for growth performance except that a tendency (P=0.09) was found for feed intake in the first 35 days. Supplementation of copper or zinc improved crude fat digestibility (P<0.01) but had no effects on the digestibility of other nutrients. Fecal copper was increased with both copper (P<0.01) and zinc addition (P<0.05). However, fecal zinc was affected only by dietary zinc addition (P<0.01). Mineral contents in serum and kidney were not affected by dietary treatments (P>0.05). However, the level of copper in the liver was increased with copper supplementation (P<0.05) and tended to decrease with zinc supplementation (P=0.08). Dietary zinc addition tended to increase the activity of alkaline phosphatase (P=0.07). The activities of copper-zinc superoxide dismutase and catalase tended to increase by copper (P=0.08) and zinc addition (P=0.05). Moreover, a copper×zinc interaction was observed for catalase in the experiment (P<0.05). Serum malondialdehyde concentration decreased with the increasing of dietary copper and zinc levels (P<0.05). The activity of glutathione peroxidase tended to increase by copper addition (P=0.09). For fur quality, foxes fed diets supplemented with high copper had larger skin length and darker pelts than those fed the basal diet without copper addition (P<0.05). In conclusion, this study demonstrated that dietary copper and zinc supplementation can improve growth by increasing feed intake and improving fat digestibility. Additionally, copper and zinc can enhance the antioxidant capacity of blue foxes. This study also indicates that additional zinc up to 200 mg/kg did not exert significant adverse effects on the copper metabolism of growing-furring blue foxes.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-01

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

  11. Isolates of Encephalitozoon cuniculi from farmed blue foxes (Alopex lagopus) from Norway differ from isolates from Swiss domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus).

    PubMed

    Mathis, A; Akerstedt, J; Tharaldsen, J; Odegaard, O; Deplazes, P

    1996-01-01

    Encephalitozoon cuniculi has a wide host range among mammals, but whether it represents a homogeneous species is a subject of controversy. We have isolated, cultivated (in human MRC-5 cells) and, for the first time, characterized by immunological and molecular biological methods four isolates of E. cuniculi from Norwegian blue foxes with a history of encephalitozoonosis. The isolates were compared with nine isolates from domestic rabbits from Switzerland. Two E. cuniculi subtypes were identified according to their host species. A 5'-GTTT-3' tetranucleotide repeat was present twice in the rDNA intergenic spacer in all isolates from foxes as opposed to three times in all isolates from rabbits. Furthermore, random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis showed one polymorphic band among the subtypes, and Western-blot analysis using serum from an infected fox discriminated between the two subtypes on the basis of their banding patterns in the ranges of 31-33 and 38-40 kDa. The 5'-GTTT-3' tetranucleotide repeat is a valuable genetic marker for these two subtypes of E. cuniculi and will be of use in continued studies on the molecular epidemiology of this parasite.

  12. Influence of dietary copper concentrations on growth performance, serum lipid profiles, antioxidant defenses, and fur quality in growing-furring male blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus).

    PubMed

    Liu, Z; Wu, X; Zhang, T; Cui, H; Guo, J; Guo, Q; Gao, X; Yang, F

    2016-03-01

    A 75-d experiment was conducted to evaluate the influence of dietary Cu concentrations on growth performance, serum lipid profiles, antioxidant defenses, and fur quality in growing-furring male blue foxes. Seventy-five male blue foxes (5.78 ± 0.09 kg BW) were selected and randomly allocated to 1 of the following 5 dietary treatments: 1) control (basal diet without supplemental Cu; 7.78 mg Cu/kg), 2) 12.22 mg/kg supplemental Cu (Cu20), 3) 32.22 mg/kg supplemental Cu, 4) 72.22 mg/kg supplemental Cu (Cu80), and 5) 152.22 mg/kg supplemental Cu (Cu160). A dry feed that consisted of animal meals, soybean meal, extruded corn, and soybean oil was used as the basal diet and Cu was supplemented as reagent grade CuSO∙5HO. The results showed that Cu supplementation increased the ADG ( < 0.05) and fat digestibility ( < 0.01) and tended to improve G:F ( = 0.09). The ADFI, however, was not affected by dietary Cu ( > 0.10). Additionally, Cu supplementation linearly increased the concentration of fecal Cu, liver Cu, serum total protein, and albumin ( < 0.01). Foxes in the Cu160 group had higher serum Cu concentration than those in the control and Cu20 groups ( < 0.05). The concentration of serum cholesterol decreased with dietary Cu supplementation ( < 0.05). Serum high-density lipoprotein, on the contrary, tended to increase with Cu supplementation ( = 0.09). Copper supplementation increased the activity of glutathione peroxidase ( < 0.05) and tended to increase the activity of serum ceruloplasmin ( = 0.07). For fur quality, skin length in the Cu80 group was greater than that in the control and Cu20 groups. In addition, hair color tended to deepen with the increasing of dietary Cu concentrations ( = 0.08). In conclusion, this study demonstrates that Cu supplementation can promote growth and increase fat digestibility and fur length. Additionally, dietary Cu supplementation can enhance antioxidant capacity and reduce serum cholesterol in growing-furring blue foxes.

  13. Genetic structure and population dynamics of the biting midges Culicoides obsoletus and Culicoides scoticus: implications for the transmission and maintenance of bluetongue.

    PubMed

    Pili, E; Carcangiu, L; Oppo, M; Marchi, A

    2010-12-01

    Culicoides species belonging to the Obsoletus complex (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) have been indicated as primary bluetongue (BT) vectors in many European countries and their possible involvement in the maintenance and overwintering of BT viruses has been suggested, even in regions where Culicoides imicola Keiffer is the main vector. The Obsoletus complex includes two predominant taxa, Culicoides obsoletus (Meigen) and Culicoides scoticus Downes & Kettle. However, the role played by each species in the epidemiology of BT is still unknown. Taxonomic identification is mainly based on the morphology of male genitalia and the lack of other reliable diagnostic features makes the screening of trap-collected vector populations, mainly females, particularly difficult. Although molecular markers have facilitated species identification, little information is yet available on the biology, abundance and population dynamics of the two taxa. The aim of this work was to investigate the genetic profile and temporal distribution of C. obsoletus and C. scoticus by using isozyme electrophoresis applied to adult midges, collected weekly at two selected farms in southern Sardinia. A total of nine enzyme loci were analysed and five of them provided diagnostic allozyme markers (Hk, Mdh, Pgi, Idh-1 and Idh-2). Nei's genetic distance between the two taxa was in the range of other well-separated taxa (D = 1.792), supporting their status as true species. Culicoides scoticus represented almost 61% of the 562 specimens analysed; its genetic structure was characterized by a very low level of intra-population variation (mean heterozygosity H(e) = 0.019) and higher genetic divergence between populations (F(ST) = 0.0016) than in C. obsoletus. The latter species had significantly more heterozygotes (H(e) = 0.123), a higher percentage of polymorphic loci, and no inter-population differentiation (F(ST) ≅ 0). We suggest that different biological and ecological constraints, such as breeding habitat

  14. Testing the interactive effects of testosterone and parasites on carotenoid-based ornamentation in a wild bird.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Padilla, J; Mougeot, F; Webster, L M I; Pérez-Rodríguez, L; Piertney, S B

    2010-05-01

    Testosterone underlies the expression of most secondary sexual traits, playing a key role in sexual selection. However, high levels might be associated with physiological costs, such as immunosuppression. Immunostimulant carotenoids underpin the expression of many red-yellow ornaments, but are regulated by testosterone and constrained by parasites. We manipulated testosterone and nematode burdens in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) in two populations to tease apart their effects on carotenoid levels, ornament size and colouration in three time-step periods. We found no evidence for interactive effects of testosterone and parasites on ornament size and colouration. We showed that ornament colouration was testosterone-driven. However, parasites decreased comb size with a time delay and testosterone increased carotenoid levels in one of the populations. This suggests that environmental context plays a key role in determining how individuals resolve the trade-off between allocating carotenoids for ornamental coloration or for self-maintenance needs. Our study advocates that adequately testing the mechanisms behind the production or maintenance of secondary sexual characters has to take into account the dynamics of sexual trait expression and their environmental context.

  15. Separating behavioral and physiological mechanisms in testosterone-mediated trade-offs.

    PubMed

    Mougeot, François; Redpath, Stephen M; Piertney, Stuart B; Hudson, Peter J

    2005-08-01

    Testosterone often mediates trade-offs between reproduction and other life-history traits, which are usually investigated using testosterone implants. However, this approach does not distinguish between the physiological and behavioral effects of testosterone. We studied a wild game bird, the red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus, and took a new approach to investigate mechanisms linking elevated testosterone to increased parasite intensity. We caught males in autumn, removed their parasites, implanted them with the antiandrogen flutamide in combination with an aromatase inhibitor (FA males) or with empty implants (control males), and challenged them with parasites. The FA treatment increased testosterone concentration and physiological stress, but without enhancing testosterone-dependent behaviors, because testosterone receptors were blocked. FA males ended up with more parasites than the control males the following autumn, an effect similar to that of a testosterone treatment reported elsewhere. However, and unlike the testosterone treatment, the FA treatment did not affect home range, pairing, or breeding success. The results supported a physiological mechanism (increased susceptibility) linking elevated testosterone and increased parasite intensity. The FA treatment provided a new way of investigating testosterone-mediated trade-offs whereby testosterone concentration was increased while the effects on behavior were blocked, resulting in physiological costs without phenotypic benefits.

  16. Generation of periodic waves by landscape features in cyclic predator-prey systems.

    PubMed Central

    Sherratt, J A; Lambin, X; Thomas, C J; Sherratt, T N

    2002-01-01

    The vast majority of models for spatial dynamics of natural populations assume a homogeneous physical environment. However, in practice, dispersing organisms may encounter landscape features that significantly inhibit their movement. We use mathematical modelling to investigate the effect of such landscape features on cyclic predator-prey populations. We show that when appropriate boundary conditions are applied at the edge of the obstacle, a pattern of periodic travelling waves develops, moving out and away from the obstacle. Depending on the assumptions of the model, these waves can take the form of roughly circular 'target patterns' or spirals. This is, to our knowledge, a new mechanism for periodic-wave generation in ecological systems and our results suggest that it may apply quite generally not only to cyclic predator-prey interactions, but also to populations that oscillate for other reasons. In particular, we suggest that it may provide an explanation for the observed pattern of travelling waves in the densities of field voles (Microtus agrestis) in Kielder Forest (Scotland-England border) and of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) on Kerloch Moor (northeast Scotland), which in both cases move orthogonally to any large-scale obstacles to movement. Moreover, given that such obstacles to movement are the rule rather than the exception in real-world environments, our results suggest that complex spatio-temporal patterns such as periodic travelling waves are likely to be much more common in the natural world than has previously been assumed. PMID:11886619

  17. Identification of genes responding to nematode infection in red grouse.

    PubMed

    Webster, L M I; Mello, L V; Mougeot, F; Martinez-Padilla, J; Paterson, S; Piertney, S B

    2011-03-01

    The identification of genes involved in a host's response to parasite infection provides both a means for understanding the pathways involved in immune defence and a target for examining host-parasite co-evolution. Most studies rely on a candidate gene approach derived from model systems to identify gene targets of interest, and there have been a dearth of studies geared towards providing a holistic overview of immune response from natural populations. We carried out an experiment in a natural population of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) to manipulate levels of Trichostrongylus tenuis parasite infection. The transcriptomic response of individuals was examined from standard cDNA and suppressive subtractive hybridization (SSH) libraries produced from gut, liver and spleen, enriching for genes expressed in response to T. tenuis infection. A total of 2209 and 3716 unique transcript sequences were identified from the cDNA and SSH libraries, respectively. Forty-five of these had Gene Ontology annotation associated with immune response. Some of these genes have previously been reported from laboratory-based studies of model species as important in immune response to gastrointestinal parasite infection; however, multiple novel genes were also identified. These may reveal novel pathways involved in the host response of grouse to T. tenuis and provide a resource that can be utilized as candidate genes in other species. All sequences described have been deposited in GenBank (accession numbers GW698221-GW706922)

  18. Characterising functionally important and ecologically meaningful genetic diversity using a candidate gene approach.

    PubMed

    Piertney, Stuart B; Webster, Lucy M I

    2010-04-01

    Over the past two decades the fields of molecular ecology and population genetics have been dominated by the use of putatively neutral DNA markers, primarily to resolve spatio-temporal patterns of genetic variation to inform our understanding of population structure, gene flow and pedigree. Recent emphasis in comparative functional genomics, however, has fuelled a resurgence of interest in functionally important genetic variation that underpins phenotypic traits of adaptive or ecological significance. It may prove a major challenge to transfer genomics information from classical model species to examine functional diversity in non-model species in natural populations, but already multiple gene-targeted candidate loci with major effect on phenotype and fitness have been identified. Here we briefly describe some of the research strategies used for isolating and characterising functional genetic diversity at candidate gene-targeted loci, and illustrate the efficacy of some of these approaches using our own studies on red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus). We then review how candidate gene markers have been used to: (1) quantify genetic diversity among populations to identify those depauperate in genetic diversity and requiring specific management action; (2) identify the strength and mode of selection operating on individuals within natural populations; and (3) understand direct mechanistic links between allelic variation at single genes and variance in individual fitness.

  19. Altitudinal patterns of tick and host abundance: a potential role for climate change in regulating tick-borne diseases?

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Lucy

    2010-01-01

    The impact of climate change on vector-borne infectious diseases is currently controversial. In Europe the primary arthropod vectors of zoonotic diseases are ticks, which transmit Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (the agent of Lyme disease), tick-borne encephalitis virus and louping ill virus between humans, livestock and wildlife. Ixodes ricinus ticks and reported tick-borne disease cases are currently increasing in the UK. Theories for this include climate change and increasing host abundance. This study aimed to test how I. ricinus tick abundance might be influenced by climate change in Scotland by using altitudinal gradients as a proxy, while also taking into account the effects of hosts, vegetation and weather effects. It was predicted that tick abundance would be higher at lower altitudes (i.e. warmer climates) and increase with host abundance. Surveys were conducted on nine hills in Scotland, all of open moorland habitat. Tick abundance was positively associated with deer abundance, but even after taking this into account, there was a strong negative association of ticks with altitude. This was probably a real climate effect, with temperature (and humidity, i.e. saturation deficit) most likely playing an important role. It could be inferred that ticks may become more abundant at higher altitudes in response to climate warming. This has potential implications for pathogen prevalence such as louping ill virus if tick numbers increase at elevations where competent transmission hosts (red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus and mountain hares Lepus timidus) occur in higher numbers.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

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

  1. Transcriptomic response of red grouse to gastro-intestinal nematode parasites and testosterone: implications for population dynamics.

    PubMed

    Webster, L M I; Paterson, S; Mougeot, F; Martinez-Padilla, J; Piertney, S B

    2011-03-01

    A central issue in ecology is in understanding the relative influences of intrinsic and extrinsic effects on population regulation. Previous studies on the cyclic population dynamics of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) have emphasized the destabilizing effects of either nematode parasites or territorial behaviour and aggression. The potential interacting effects of these processes, mediated through density-dependent, environmentally induced alterations of host immunocompetence influencing susceptibility to parasites have not been considered. Male red grouse at high density are more aggressive, associated with increased testosterone, which potentially could lead to reduced immunocompetence at a stage when parasites are most prevalent. This could depress individual condition, breeding performance and survival and thus drive or contribute to overall reductions in population size. Here, we characterize the transcriptomic response of grouse to nematode parasite infection and investigate how this is subsequently affected by testosterone, using a microarray approach contrasting red grouse with high and low parasite load at both high and low testosterone titre. A suite of 52 transcripts showed a significant level of up-regulation to either chronic parasite load or experimental parasite infection. Of these, 51 (98%) showed a reduced level of expression under conditions of high parasite load and high testosterone. The genes up-regulated by parasites and then down-regulated at high testosterone titre were not necessarily associated with immune response, as might be intuitively expected. The results are discussed in relation to the fitness and condition of individual red grouse and factors influencing the regulation of abundance in natural populations.

  2. Enhanced control of sheep ticks in upland sheep flocks: repercussions for red grouse co-hosts.

    PubMed

    Newborn, D; Baines, D

    2012-03-01

    Sheep ticks Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae) and tick-borne diseases cause major economic losses in both upland sheep farming and moorland shoots of red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus. Sheep were treated with acaricide four times between March and October and double-vaccinated against louping ill virus (LIV), instead of the conventional regime of two acaricide treatments and no vaccinations, on two moors in northern England. Enhanced treatment started at Westerdale Moor in 1995 and at Danby Moor in 2000; the latter had previously represented a spatial control site. From 1992 to 2003, grouse chick condition, tick burdens, reproductive success, shooting bags and LIV seroprevalence were measured. A total of 1297 grouse chicks from 398 broods were examined for ticks. Enhanced acaricide treatment reduced tick burdens by 90%, and LIV seroprevalence decreased in relation to the number of years since treatment began. Breeding success and post-breeding densities of grouse in the current sample area remained unrelated to acaricide treatment, tick burdens or LIV seroprevalence, but 25% and 60% more grouse were shot on Westerdale and Danby, respectively, after treatment enhancement than before. By improving shooting bags, tick management schemes help to maintain the economic viability of grouse moors, which, in turn, provide upland landscape and wildlife benefits.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  4. Effects of lead shot ingestion in willow grouse

    SciTech Connect

    Fimreite, N.

    1984-07-01

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

  5. Detection of the Schmallenberg virus in nulliparous Culicoides obsoletus/scoticus complex and C. punctatus--the possibility of transovarial virus transmission in the midge population and of a new vector.

    PubMed

    Larska, Magdalena; Lechowski, Lech; Grochowska, Maria; Żmudziński, Jan F

    2013-10-25

    The arthropod-borne Schmallenberg virus (SBV) emerged in Europe in the late summer/autumn of 2011. SBV spread across the continent until 2012. This paper presents SBV detection in female Culicoides spp. caught in UV traps located in 23 different locations in Poland. The midges were divided into pools containing 20.5 individual insects on average according to species and parity status. The study was based on duplex real-time reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) for the detection of the SBV S segment and culicoid 18S gene fragments. Forty-four out of 402 midge pools tested (10.9%) were found to be positive for the presence of viral RNA. The SBV positive Culicoides came from 10 traps spread randomly across the country and were collected between August and October 2012. The timing of the SBV positive midge collections and the locations of the traps corresponded to the epizootic situation of SBV in ruminants. SBV RNA was most frequently identified in gravid midges (36.4%), while in nulliparous, blood-fed and parous midges the percentages were 10.8% 13.0% and 8.1%, respectively. The majority (82%) of SBV positive pools belonged to Culicoides obsoletus/scoticus complex; however, viral RNA was also found in 8 out of the 149 (5.4%) Culicoides punctatus pools tested. While no statistical differences in the Ct values between different parity groups were found, the bimodal distribution observed at the Ct frequency plots suggested active SBV replication, especially in parous and gravid midge females, and sub-transmissible infection in nulliparous and blood-fed insects. The most important findings included identification of C. punctatus as a new possible vector of SBV and the recovery of viral RNA from the nulliparous females which may suggest transovarial transmission in C. obsoletus/scoticus complex and C. punctatus.

  6. Physiological Stress Mediates the Honesty of Social Signals

    PubMed Central

    Bortolotti, Gary R.; Mougeot, Francois; Martinez-Padilla, Jesus; Webster, Lucy M. I.; Piertney, Stuart B.

    2009-01-01

    Background Extravagant ornaments used as social signals evolved to advertise their bearers' quality. The Immunocompetence Handicap Hypothesis proposes that testosterone-dependent ornaments reliably signal health and parasite resistance; however, empirical studies have shown mixed support. Alternatively, immune function and parasite resistance may be indirectly or directly related to glucocorticoid stress hormones. We propose that an understanding of the interplay between the individual and its environment, particularly how they cope with stressors, is crucial for understanding the honesty of social signals. Methodology/Principal Findings We analyzed corticosterone deposited in growing feathers as an integrated measure of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity in a wild territorial bird, the red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus. We manipulated two key, interrelated components, parasites and testosterone, which influence both ornamentation and fitness. Birds were initially purged of parasites, and later challenged with parasites or not, while at the same time being given testosterone or control implants, using a factorial experimental design. At the treatment level, testosterone enhanced ornamentation, while parasites reduced it, but only in males not implanted with testosterone. Among individuals, the degree to which both parasites and testosterone had an effect was strongly dependent on the amount of corticosterone in the feather grown during the experiment. The more stressors birds had experienced (i.e., higher corticosterone), the more parasites developed, and the less testosterone enhanced ornamentation. Conclusions/Significance With this unique focus on the individual, and a novel, integrative, measure of response to stressors, we show that ornamentation is ultimately a product of the cumulative physiological response to environmental challenges. These findings lead toward a more realistic concept of honesty in signaling as well as a broader discussion of the

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

    PubMed

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

    1992-06-01

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

  8. Oxidative stress and the effect of parasites on a carotenoid-based ornament.

    PubMed

    Mougeot, F; Martínez-Padilla, J; Blount, J D; Pérez-Rodríguez, L; Webster, L M I; Piertney, S B

    2010-02-01

    Oxidative stress, the physiological condition whereby the production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species overwhelms the capacity of antioxidant defences, causes damage to key bio-molecules. It has been implicated in many diseases, and is proposed as a reliable currency in the trade-off between individual health and ornamentation. Whether oxidative stress mediates the expression of carotenoid-based signals, which are among the commonest signals of many birds, fish and reptiles, remains controversial. In the present study, we explored interactions between parasites, oxidative stress and the carotenoid-based ornamentation of red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus. We tested whether removing nematode parasites influenced both oxidative balance (levels of oxidative damage and circulating antioxidant defences) and carotenoid-based ornamentation. At the treatment group level, parasite purging enhanced the size and colouration of ornaments but did not significantly affect circulating carotenoids, antioxidant defences or oxidative damage. However, relative changes in these traits among individuals indicated that males with a greater number of parasites prior to treatment (parasite purging) showed a greater increase in the levels of circulating carotenoids and antioxidants, and a greater decrease in oxidative damage, than those with initially fewer parasites. At the individual level, a greater increase in carotenoid pigmentation was associated with a greater reduction in oxidative damage. Therefore, an individual's ability to express a carotenoid-based ornament appeared to be linked to its current oxidative balance and susceptibility to oxidative stress. Our experimental results suggest that oxidative stress can mediate the impact of parasites on carotenoid-based signals, and we discuss possible mechanisms linking carotenoid-based ornaments to oxidative stress.

  9. Impact of unintentional selective harvesting on the population dynamics of red grouse.

    PubMed

    Bunnefeld, Nils; Reuman, Daniel C; Baines, David; Milner-Gulland, E J

    2011-11-01

    1. The effect of selective exploitation of certain age, stage or sex classes (e.g., trophy hunting) on population dynamics is relatively well studied in fisheries and sexually dimorphic mammals. 2. Harvesting of terrestrial species with no morphological differences visible between the different age and sex classes (monomorphic species) is usually assumed to be nonselective because monomorphicity makes intentionally selective harvesting pointless and impractical. But harvesting of the red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus), a monomorphic species, was recently shown to be unintentionally selective. This study uses a sex- and age-specific model to explore the previously unresearched effects of unintentional harvesting selectivity. 3. We examine the effects of selectivity on red grouse dynamics by considering models with and without selectivity. Our models include territoriality and parasitism, two mechanisms known to be important for grouse dynamics. 4. We show that the unintentional selectivity of harvesting that occurs in red grouse decreases population yield compared with unselective harvesting at high harvest rates. Selectivity also dramatically increases extinction risk at high harvest rates. 5. Selective harvesting strengthens the 3- to 13-year red grouse population cycle, suggesting that the selectivity of harvesting is a previously unappreciated factor contributing to the cycle. 6. The additional extinction risk introduced by harvesting selectivity provides a quantitative justification for typically implemented 20-40% harvest rates, which are below the maximum sustainable yield that could be taken, given the observed population growth rates of red grouse. 7. This study shows the possible broad importance of investigating in future research whether unintentionally selective harvesting occurs on other species.

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

    PubMed

    Martínez-Padilla, J; Pérez-Rodríguez, L; Mougeot, F; Ludwig, S; Redpath, S M

    2014-05-01

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

  11. Environmental Compliance Assessment and Management System Program (ECAMP). U.S. Air Force European Economic Community (EEC)

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1993-09-01

    pipistrellus RODENTIA Sciuridae Citellus citellus Cricetidae Cricetus cricetus Hystricidae Hystrix crisata CARNIVORA Canidae Canis lupus Alopex lagopus...cabrerae Microtus oeconomus arenicola Zapodidae Sicista betulina Hystricidae Hystrix cristata CARNIVORA Canidae Canis lupus except Spanish populations

  12. Environmental Assessment for the Construction of Eielson AFB Youth Center Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-09-01

    metamorphic rocks of the Yukon-Tanana crystalline complex, formally known as the Birch Creek Shist. The rocks have been intruded by igneous rocks ...of Mesozoic and Cenozoic age referred to as the Eielson AFB plutons. The igneous and metamorphic rocks have been overlain by younger sedimentary...Buteo jamaicensis), and American kestrel (Falco sparverius). During winter, willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) and rock ptarmigan (L. mutus) are

  13. Interactions between harvesting, noise and territoriality in a model of red grouse population cycles.

    PubMed

    Chapman, Daniel S; Cornell, Stephen J; Kunin, William E

    2009-03-01

    1. Population cycles are mostly thought to arise through extrinsic rather than intrinsic processes. However, in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus), intrinsic male territoriality has been proposed as a driver of the cycles, possibly in conjunction with an extrinsic interaction with specialist parasitic worms. Here we examine how harvesting and environmental noise may also interact with territoriality to determine how grouse populations cycle. 2. A stochastic model of grouse dynamics based on the territoriality hypothesis is developed, including harvesting and the effects of nonterritorial birds on aggressiveness. Cycles are detected in 97% of populations simulated over realistic parameter ranges, and these exhibit similar statistical properties to those reported in studies of multiple grouse populations. As observed, cycle periods are shorter at higher breeding productivities. 3. The model demonstrates the destabilizing influence of delayed density-dependent territorial aggressiveness. Cycle amplitudes are higher when annual changes in aggression are larger and when nonterritorial males provoke greater aggression. Intriguingly, the model suggests how an interaction between aggressiveness and parasites may operate. It is known that males with high worm burdens show dramatic decreases in aggressiveness in the year following a peak in territoriality. When this is included in the model, via larger crashes in aggression, amplitudes are higher, despite a reduction in overall aggressiveness. 4. Environmental stochasticity interacts with territoriality to determine the form of the cycles, but this is mediated through its 'colour' or temporal autocorrelation. For example, uncorrelated white noise increases amplitudes, while autocorrelated red noise has the opposite effect. However, noise increases cycle periods whatever the colour. 5. Harvesting occurs before territorial competition. This reduces the pool of males competing for territories and so increases recruitment and

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

    SciTech Connect

    Lindberg, P.

    1984-04-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zimmerman, Christian E.; Hillgruber, Nicola; Burril, Sean E.; St. Peters, Michelle A.; Wetzel, Jennifer D.

    2005-01-01

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

  16. Can acaricide-impregnated leg bands fitted to female red grouse reduce sheep tick parasitization of chicks and increase chick survival?

    PubMed

    Baines, D; Taylor, L

    2016-09-01

    In parts of northern England, North Wales and the Scottish Highlands, increasing numbers of sheep ticks Ixodes ricinus (Ixodida: Ixodidae), and the louping ill virus they can carry, are considered to be important factors that reduce red grouse Lagopus lagopus scotica productivity. The present study tested this hypothesis by fitting adult female grouse with leg bands impregnated with the acaricide cypermethrin to experimentally control ticks on their chicks on two managed grouse moors in northeast Scotland. The chicks of females fitted with acaricide leg bands showed reduced tick infestations and improved survival in one of the two study years, relative to chicks of control females. Acaricide leg bands constitute a potential management technique that may be adopted by grouse moor managers in circumstances of high tick infestations on grouse chicks.

  17. New host records for parasitic mites of the family Syringophilidae from accipitriform birds (Aves: Accipitriformes).

    PubMed

    Zmudzinski, Mateusz; Unsoeld, Markus; Knee, Wayne; Skoracki, Maciej

    2015-01-01

    Four accipitriform bird species of the family Accipitridae are reported as new hosts for quill mites (Acari: Cheyletoidea: Syringophilidae): Megasyringophilus aquilus Skoracki, Lontkowski and Stawarczyk, 2010 was collected from Hieraaetus pennatus Gmelin, 1788 in France and Spain, and Buteo jamaicensis Gmelin, 1788 in Canada; Peristerophila accipitridicus Skoracki, Lontkowski and Stawarczyk, 2010 was collected from Circaetus gallicus Gmelin, 1788 in France, and Buteo lagopus Pontoppidan, 1763 in Germany.

  18. Mortality of arctic fox pups in northern Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1982-01-01

    Reports of mortality among arctic foxes, Alopex lagopus, generally consist of isolated incidents of predation by bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, snowy owls, Nyctea scandiaca, red foxes, Vulpes vulpes, and dogs, Canis familiaris. This is a report of observations made on mortality of arctic fox pups observed at dens in the Prudhoe Bay and Colville River Delta areas of northern Alaska during summers of 1975 to 1978 and 1976 to 1979, respectively.

  19. Range shifts or extinction? Ancient DNA and distribution modelling reveal past and future responses to climate warming in cold-adapted birds.

    PubMed

    Lagerholm, Vendela K; Sandoval-Castellanos, Edson; Vaniscotte, Amélie; Potapova, Olga R; Tomek, Teresa; Bochenski, Zbigniew M; Shepherd, Paul; Barton, Nick; Van Dyck, Marie-Claire; Miller, Rebecca; Höglund, Jacob; Yoccoz, Nigel G; Dalén, Love; Stewart, John R

    2017-04-01

    Global warming is predicted to cause substantial habitat rearrangements, with the most severe effects expected to occur in high-latitude biomes. However, one major uncertainty is whether species will be able to shift their ranges to keep pace with climate-driven environmental changes. Many recent studies on mammals have shown that past range contractions have been associated with local extinctions rather than survival by habitat tracking. Here, we have used an interdisciplinary approach that combines ancient DNA techniques, coalescent simulations and species distribution modelling, to investigate how two common cold-adapted bird species, willow and rock ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus and Lagopus muta), respond to long-term climate warming. Contrary to previous findings in mammals, we demonstrate a genetic continuity in Europe over the last 20 millennia. Results from back-casted species distribution models suggest that this continuity may have been facilitated by uninterrupted habitat availability and potentially also the greater dispersal ability of birds. However, our predictions show that in the near future, some isolated regions will have little suitable habitat left, implying a future decrease in local populations at a scale unprecedented since the last glacial maximum.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1996-05-01

    In order to restore black oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani) and pigeon guillemots (Cepphus columba), 2 species injured by the T/V Exxon Valdez oil spill, the introduced predator, artic fox (Alopex lagopus), was removed from 2 islands near the western edge of the trajectory of the oil. Surveys indicated that although adequate nesting habitat was available at Simeonof and Chernabura, oystercatcher and guillemot population densities were much lower than at nearby fox-free islands. Elimination of foxes is expected to dramatically increase populations of these injured species as well as other native birds.

  1. Introduced predators transform subarctic islands from grassland to tundra

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

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

  2. Adoption in rock and white-tailed ptarmigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lyman, R. Lee

    2012-05-01

    Examination of terminal Pleistocene-age fox remains from the Marmes archaeological site in southeastern Washington State (USA) reveals that a previous identification of one specimen as arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) was incorrect. Of nearly four-dozen associated specimens, eleven, including the one originally identified as arctic fox, represent red fox (Vulpes vulpes). Cut-marked fox bones and associated stone artifacts and eyed bone needles suggest several foxes were butchered and perhaps hides sewn together. The modern environmental setting of the Marmes site is too warm for modern red fox; the prehistoric red fox remains suggest (summer) climate was cooler when those remains were deposited.

  4. [Parasite-host relations in toxascariasis in Arctic foxes].

    PubMed

    Anikieva, L V; Anikanova, V S; Ostashkova, V V

    1990-01-01

    The effect of host infection doze (10, 100, 1000 eggs) and developmental stages of helminths (larvae, adult nematodes) on the relationships in the system "Toxascaris leonina-Alopex lagopus" was studied experimentally. It has been established that 100 eggs are the threshold dose for helminths and 1000 eggs for the host. More distinct changes in the indices are characteristic of the parasite. Dynamics of host-parasite relationships in the development of the parasitic process correspond to helminth developmental stage. Larvae of T. leonina are most pathogenic for the host.

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

    PubMed

    Christie, Katie S; Ruess, R W

    2015-07-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-22

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

  8. Use of large-scale, multi-species surveys to monitor gyrfalcon and ptarmigan populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bart, Jonathan; Fuller, Mark; Smith, Paul; Dunn, Leah; Watson, Richard T.; Cade, Tom J.; Fuller, Mark; Hunt, Grainger; Potapov, Eugene

    2011-01-01

    We evaluated the ability of three large-scale, multi-species surveys in the Arctic to provide information on abundance and habitat relationships of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) and ptarmigan. The Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (PRISM) has surveyed birds widely across the arctic regions of Canada and Alaska since 2001. The Arctic Coastal Plain survey has collected abundance information on the North Slope of Alaska using fixed-wing aircraft since 1992. The Northwest Territories-Nunavut Bird Checklist has collected presenceabsence information from little-known locations in northern Canada since 1995. All three surveys provide extensive information on Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) and Rock Ptarmigan (L. muta). For example, they show that ptarmigan are most abundant in western Alaska, next most abundant in northern Alaska and northwest Canada, and least abundant in the Canadian Archipelago. PRISM surveys were less successful in detecting Gyrfalcons, and the Arctic Coastal Plain Survey is largely outside the Gyrfalcon?s breeding range. The Checklist Survey, however, reflects the expansive Gyrfalcon range in Canada. We suggest that collaboration by Gyrfalcon and ptarmigan biologists with the organizers of large scale surveys like the ones we investigated provides an opportunity for obtaining useful information on these species and their environment across large areas.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Booms, Travis; Fuller, Mark R.

    2003-01-01

    We studied food habits of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) nesting in central west Greenland in 2000 and 2001 using three sources of data: time-lapse video (3 nests), prey remains (22 nests), and regurgitated pellets (19 nests). These sources provided different information describing the diet during the nesting period. Gyrfalcons relied heavily on Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and arctic hares (Lepus arcticus). Combined, these species contributed 79-91% of the total diet, depending on the data used. Passerines were the third most important group. Prey less common in the diet included waterfowl, arctic fox pups (Alopex lagopus), shorebirds, gulls, alcids, and falcons. All Rock Ptarmigan were adults, and all but one arctic hare were young of the year. Most passerines were fledglings. We observed two diet shifts, first from a preponderance of ptarmigan to hares in mid-June, and second to passerines in late June. The video-monitored Gyrfalcons consumed 94-110 kg of food per nest during the nestling period, higher than previously estimated. Using a combination of video, prey remains, and pellets was important to accurately document Gyrfalcon diet, and we strongly recommend using time-lapse video in future diet studies to identify biases in prey remains and pellet data.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2003-01-01

    We studied food habits of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) nesting in central west Greenland in 2000 and 2001 using three sources of data: time-lapse video (3 nests), prey remains (22 nests), and regurgitated pellets (19 nests). These sources provided different information describing the diet during the nesting period. Gyrfalcons relied heavily on Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and arctic hares (Lepus arcticus). Combined, these species contributed 79-91% of the total diet, depending on the data used. Passerines were the third most important group. Prey less common in the diet included waterfowl, arctic fox pups (Alopex lagopus), shorebirds, gulls, alcids, and falcons. All Rock Ptarmigan were adults, and all but one arctic hare were young of the year. Most passerines were fledglings. We observed two diet shifts, first from a preponderance of ptarmigan to hares in mid-June, and second to passerines in late June. The video-monitored Gyrfalcons consumed 94-110 kg of food per nest during the nestling period, higher than previously estimated. Using a combination of video, prey remains, and pellets was important to accurately document Gyrfalcon diet, and we strongly recommend using time-lapse video in future diet studies to identify biases in prey remains and pellet data.

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-10-01

    Unlike Oceanic islands, the islands of the Arctic Sea are not completely isolated from migration by terrestrial vertebrates. The pack ice connects many Arctic Sea islands to the mainland during winter months. The Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), which has a circumpolar distribution, populates numerous islands in the Arctic Sea. In this study, we used genetic data from 20 different populations, spanning the entire distribution of the Arctic fox, to identify barriers to dispersal. Specifically, we considered geographical distance, occurrence of sea ice, winter temperature, ecotype, and the presence of red fox and polar bear as nonexclusive factors that influence the dispersal behaviour of individuals. Using distance-based redundancy analysis and the BIOENV procedure, we showed that occurrence of sea ice is the key predictor and explained 40-60% of the genetic distance among populations. In addition, our analysis identified the Commander and Pribilof Islands Arctic populations as genetically unique suggesting they deserve special attention from a conservation perspective.

  12. Cadmium toxicity among wildlife in the Colorado Rocky Mountains

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2000-01-01

    Cadmium is known to be both extremely toxic and ubiquitous in natural environments. It occurs in almost all soils, surface waters and plants, and it is readily mobilized by human activities such as mining. As a result, cadmium has been named as a potential health threat to wildlife species; however, because it exists most commonly in the environment as a trace constituent, reported incidences of cadmium toxicity are rare. Here we have measured trace metals in the food web and tissues of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus) in Colorado. Our results suggest that cadmium toxicity may be more common among natural populations of vertebrates than has been appreciated to date and that cadmium toxicity may often go undetected or unrecognized. In addition, our research shows that ingestion of even trace quantities of cadmium can influence not only the physiology and health of individual organisms, but also the demographics and the distribution of species.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1988-01-01

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

  14. Cadmium toxicity among wildlife in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

    PubMed

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

    2000-07-13

    Cadmium is known to be both extremely toxic and ubiquitous in natural environments. It occurs in almost all soils, surface waters and plants, and it is readily mobilized by human activities such as mining. As a result, cadmium has been named as a potential health threat to wildlife species; however, because it exists most commonly in the environment as a trace constituent, reported incidences of cadmium toxicity are rare. Here we have measured trace metals in the food web and tissues of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucurus) in Colorado. Our results suggest that cadmium toxicity may be more common among natural populations of vertebrates than has been appreciated to date and that cadmium toxicity may often go undetected or unrecognized. In addition, our research shows that ingestion of even trace quantities of cadmium can influence not only the physiology and health of individual organisms, but also the demographics and the distribution of species.

  15. Mortality of arctic fox pups in northern Alaska

    SciTech Connect

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

    1982-01-01

    Reports of mortality among arctic foxes, Alopex lagopus, generally consist of isolated incidents of predation by bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, snowy owls, Nyctea scandiaca, red foxes, Vulpes vulpes, and dogs, Canis familiaris. This is a report of observations made on mortality of arctic fox pups observed at dens in the Prudhoe Bay and Colville River Delta areas of northern Alaska during summers of 1975 to 1978 and 1976 to 1979, respectively. Pup mortality was noted amng 15 (19%) of 79 families whose dens we visited. Evidence of at least 20 dead pups was found with remains ranging from intact carcasses to a few bone fragments and tufts of hair. Undoubtedly, researchers failed to detect some dead pups, as predators sometimes carry small pups away from the den before consuming them and adult foxes were observed to dispose of bodies of dead pups within den burrows.

  16. Capturing migration phenology of terrestrial wildlife using camera traps

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tape, Ken D.; Gustine, David D.

    2014-01-01

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

  17. [Immunodiffusion analysis of plasma proteins in the canine family].

    PubMed

    Baranov, O K; Iurishina, N A; Savina, M A

    1976-01-01

    Immunodiffusion studies have been made on the plasma of 9 species (Vulpes vulpes, V. corsak, Alopex lagopus, Canis aureus, C. lupus, C. familiaris, C. dingo, Nyctereutes procynoides, Fennecus zerde) from the family of Canidae using milk antisera. Unlike rabbit antisera used earlier, milk antisera make it possible to detect more significant antigenic divergency with respect to 5 alpha- and beta-globulins. These globulins seem to have a higher evolution rate of antigenic mosaics as compared to other plasma proteins in the family investigated. The family Canidae serologically may be divided into two main groups: 1) the genus Canis which includes the wolf, domestic dog, dingo, jackal and 2) species which significantly differ from the former (the fox, polar fox, dog fox, fennec). In relation to these two groups, the raccoon dog occupies special position.

  18. Phylogenetic comparison of rabies viruses from disease outbreaks on the Svalbard Islands.

    PubMed

    Johnson, N; Dicker, A; Mork, T; Marston, D A; Fooks, A R; Tryland, M; Fuglei, E; Müller, T

    2007-01-01

    Periodic wildlife rabies epizootics occur in Arctic regions. The original sources of these outbreaks are rarely identified. In 1980, a wildlife epizootic of rabies occurred on the previously rabies-free Svalbard Islands, Norway. After this outbreak of rabies in the arctic fox population (Alopex lagopus), only single cases have been reported from the Islands over the following two decades. Phylogenetic characterization of four viruses isolated from infected arctic foxes from Svalbard from three different time periods suggest that the source of these epizootics could have been migration of this species from the Russian mainland. Arctic fox migration has likely contributed to the establishment of another zoonotic disease, Echinococcus multilocularis, on Svalbard in recent years.

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

    PubMed

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

    1987-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-08-01

    Cadmium, copper, lead, palladium, platinum, rhodium, and zinc profiles were investigated along feather shafts of raptor and other bird species by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). The distribution of external versus internal metal contamination of feathers was investigated. The species examined were peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), sparrowhawk ( Accipiter nisus), willow grouse (Lagopus lagopus), and house sparrow (Passer domesticus) in Sweden. For habitat comparisons, total Cu, Pb, Zn, and Cd concentrations were analyzed by ICP-MS in feathers of the examined species as well as captive peregrine falcon. For investigation of metal distribution and correlation in different biological materials of raptors, total concentrations of Cu, Pb, Cd, and Zn were also investigated by ICP-MS in feathers, eggs, blood, feces, liver, and kidney of wild peregrine falcon from southwestern Sweden. Laser ablation of feathers revealed that Pb contamination is both external and internal, Zn contamination is internal, and Cd and Cu contamination is predominantly internal, with a few externally attached particles of high concentration. Pb, Cu, and Cd signal intensities were highest in urban habitats and contamination was mainly external in feathers. The background signal intensity of Zn was also higher in birds from urban habitats. The laser ablation profile of PGE (Pt, Pd, Rh) demonstrated that PGE contamination of feathers consists almost exclusively of externally attached PGE-containing particles, with little evidence of internally deposited PGE.Generally, total metal concentrations in feathers were highest in sparrowhawk and house sparrow due to their urban habitat. Total Cu, Zn, and Cd concentrations were highest in liver and kidney due to binding to metallothionein, while the total Pb concentration was highest in feces due to the high excretion rate of Pb. A decreasing temporal trend for Pb in feathers, showing that Pb levels in feathers have

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Wenzel, M A; Piertney, S B

    2015-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

  4. Herbivores influence the growth, reproduction, and morphology of a widespread Arctic willow.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Shoemaker, Kevin T; Akçakaya, H Resit

    2015-02-01

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

  7. Occurrence of Mesocestoides canislagopodis (Rudolphi, 1810) (Krabbe, 1865) in mammals and birds in Iceland and its molecular discrimination within the Mesocestoides species complex.

    PubMed

    Skirnisson, Karl; Jouet, Damien; Ferté, Hubert; Nielsen, Ólafur K

    2016-07-01

    The life cycle of Mesocestoides tapeworms (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea: Mesocestoididae) requires three hosts. The first intermediate host is unknown but believed to be an arthropod. The second intermediate host is a vertebrate. The primary definitive host is a carnivore mammal, or a bird of prey, that eats the tetrathyridium-infected second intermediate host. One representative of the genus, Mesocestoides canislagopodis, has been reported from Iceland. It is common in the arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) and has also been detected in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) and cats (Felis domestica). Recently, scolices of a non-maturing Mesocestoides sp. have also been detected in gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) intestines, and tetrathyridia in the body cavity of rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta). We examined the taxonomic relationship of Mesocestoides from arctic fox, gyrfalcon, and rock ptarmigan using molecular methods, both at the generic level (D1 domain LSU ribosomal DNA) and at the specific level (cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and 12S mitochondrial DNA). All stages belonged to Mesocestoides canislagopodis. Phylogenetic analysis of the combined 12S-COI at the specific level confirmed that M. canislagopodis forms a distinct clade, well separated from three other recognized representatives of the genus, M. litteratus, M. lineatus, and M. corti/vogae. This is the first molecular description of this species. The rock ptarmigan is a new second intermediate host record, and the gyrfalcon a new primary definitive host record. However, the adult stage seemed not to be able to mature in the gyrfalcon, and successful development is probably restricted to mammalian hosts.

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

    PubMed

    Selås, Vidar; Kålås, John Atle

    2007-09-01

    Two recent studies on territory occupancy rates of goshawk Accipiter gentilis and gyrfalcon Falco rusticolus report a 2-3-year-delayed numerical response to grouse numbers, which is a requirement for a hypothesis of predator-generated grouse cycles. The time lags were assumed to reflect the average age of sexual maturity in the raptor species. In southern Norway, however, subadult (two-year-old) goshawk hens occupied only 18-25% of territories where occupancy was not recorded in the preceding year, and there was no significant relationship between the proportion of subadults among recruits and grouse indices two years earlier. We argue that territory occupancy rates are not appropriate indices of total raptor population levels, but rather reflect the proportion of territorial pairs that attempt to nest. Because this depends on the body condition of the hens, fluctuations in other important winter resident prey species (most important for the goshawk) and winter weather (most important for the gyrfalcon) should also be addressed. During 1988-2006, the annual proportion of goshawk territories with recorded nesting attempts in southern Norway was most closely related to the preceding autumn's population indices of black grouse Tetrao tetrix and mountain hare Lepus timidus, whereas the annual proportion of gyrfalcon territories with observations of falcons or with confirmed breeding attempts in central Norway were best explained by population indices of willow grouse Lagopus lagopus and ptarmigan L. mutus from the previous autumn, and by December temperatures. Hence, our studies do not support the predation hypothesis for grouse cycles.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-08-01

    Lemmings are involved in several important functions in the Arctic ecosystem. The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) can be divided into two discrete ecotypes: "lemming foxes" and "coastal foxes". Crashes in lemming abundance can result in pulses of "lemming fox" movement across the Arctic sea ice and immigration into coastal habitats in search for food. These pulses can influence the genetic structure of the receiving population. We have tested the impact of immigration on the genetic structure of the "coastal fox" population in Svalbard by recording microsatellite variation in seven loci for 162 Arctic foxes sampled during the summer and winter over a 5-year period. Genetic heterogeneity and temporal genetic shifts, as inferred by STRUCTURE simulations and deviations from Hardy-Weinberg proportions, respectively, were recorded. Maximum likelihood estimates of movement as well as STRUCTURE simulations suggested that both immigration and genetic mixture are higher in Svalbard than in the neighbouring "lemming fox" populations. The STRUCTURE simulations and AMOVA revealed there are differences in genetic composition of the population between summer and winter seasons, indicating that immigrants are not present in the reproductive portion of the Svalbard population. Based on these results, we conclude that Arctic fox population structure varies with time and is influenced by immigration from neighbouring populations. The lemming cycle is likely an important factor shaping Arctic fox movement across sea ice and the subsequent population genetic structure, but is also likely to influence local adaptation to the coastal habitat and the prevalence of diseases.

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

    PubMed Central

    Dalén, Love; Nyström, Veronica; Valdiosera, Cristina; Germonpré, Mietje; Sablin, Mikhail; Turner, Elaine; Angerbjörn, Anders; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Götherström, Anders

    2007-01-01

    How species respond to an increased availability of habitat, for example at the end of the last glaciation, has been well established. In contrast, little is known about the opposite process, when the amount of habitat decreases. The hypothesis of habitat tracking predicts that species should be able to track both increases and decreases in habitat availability. The alternative hypothesis is that populations outside refugia become extinct during periods of unsuitable climate. To test these hypotheses, we used ancient DNA techniques to examine genetic variation in the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) through an expansion/contraction cycle. The results show that the arctic fox in midlatitude Europe became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene and did not track the habitat when it shifted to the north. Instead, a high genetic similarity between the extant populations in Scandinavia and Siberia suggests an eastern origin for the Scandinavian population at the end of the last glaciation. These results provide new insights into how species respond to climate change, since they suggest that populations are unable to track decreases in habitat avaliability. This implies that arctic species may be particularly vulnerable to increases in global temperatures. PMID:17420452

  12. The influence of fine-scale habitat features on regional variation in population performance of alpine White-tailed Ptarmigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fedy, B.; Martin, K.

    2011-01-01

    It is often assumed (explicitly or implicitly) that animals select habitat features to maximize fitness. However, there is often a mismatch between preferred habitats and indices of individual and population measures of performance. We examined the influence of fine-scale habitat selection on the overall population performance of the White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura), an alpine specialist, in two subdivided populations whose habitat patches are configured differently. The central region of Vancouver Island, Canada, has more continuous and larger habitat patches than the southern region. In 2003 and 2004, using paired logistic regression between used (n = 176) and available (n = 324) sites, we identified food availability, distance to standing water, and predator cover as preferred habitat components . We then quantified variation in population performance in the two regions in terms of sex ratio, age structure (n = 182 adults and yearlings), and reproductive success (n = 98 females) on the basis of 8 years of data (1995-1999, 2002-2004). Region strongly influenced females' breeding success, which, unsuccessful hens included, was consistently higher in the central region (n = 77 females) of the island than in the south (n = 21 females, P = 0.01). The central region also had a much higher proportion of successful hens (87%) than did the south (55%, P < 0.001). In light of our findings, we suggest that population performance is influenced by a combination of fine-scale habitat features and coarse-scale habitat configuration. ?? The Cooper Ornithological Society 2011.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-01

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

  14. Organization of Enzymes in the Common Aromatic Synthetic Pathway: Evidence for Aggregation in Fungi

    PubMed Central

    Ahmed, S. I.; Giles, Norman H.

    1969-01-01

    Centrifugation in sucrose density gradients of partially purified extracts from six species of fungi, i.e., Rhizopus stolonifer, Phycomyces nitens, Absidia glauca (Phycomycetes), Aspergillus nidulans (Ascomycetes), Coprinus lagopus, and Ustilago maydis (Basidiomycetes), indicate that the five enzymes catalyzing steps two to six in the prechorismic acid part of the polyaromatic synthetic pathway sediment together. The sedimentation coefficients for these enzymes are very similar in the six species and are comparable to those previously observed for the multienzyme complexes (arom aggregates) of Neurospora crassa and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These results are interpreted as indicating the presence in each of these fungi of arom aggregates, presumably encoded by arom gene clusters similar to those in N. crassa and S. cerevisiae. Evidence has also been obtained for the presence in two species (A. nidulans and U. maydis) and the absence in the other four species of a second dehydroquinase isozyme which is distinguishable from the synthetic activity on the basis of both thermostability tests and S values. This second dehydroquinase, which is apparently involved in the catabolism of quinic acid via a pathway similar to that in N. crassa, is inducible in A. nidulans (as it is in N. crassa), but constitutive in U. maydis. These comparative findings are discussed in relation to the organization, evolution, and possible functional relationships of synthetic and catabolic aromatic pathways in fungi. PMID:5802608

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-12-01

    White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura) are well suited as a focal species for the study of climate change because they are adapted to cool, alpine environments that are expected to undergo unusually rapid climate change. We compared samples collected in the late 1930s, the late 1960s, and the late 2000s using molecular genetic and stable isotope methods in an effort to determine whether White-tailed Ptarmigan on Mt. Evans, Colorado have experienced recent environmental changes resulting in shifts in genetic diversity, gene frequency, and nutritional ecology. We genotyped 115 individuals spanning the three time periods using nine polymorphic microsatellite loci in our genetic analysis. These samples were also analyzed for stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition. We found a slight trend of lower heterozygosity through time and allelic richness values were lower in more recent times. We found no changes in allele frequencies across time periods suggesting that population sizes have not changed dramatically. Feather δ13C and δ15N values decreased significantly across time periods, whereas the range in isotope values increased consistently from the late 1930s to the later time periods. Inferred changes in the nutritional ecology of White-tailed Ptarmigan on Mt. Evans relates primarily to increased atmospheric deposition of nutrients that likely influenced foraging habits and tundra plant composition and nutritional quality. We briefly discuss similar ongoing work on the neighboring population in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado and tie in genetic results from across the species range.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  18. Arctic foxes as ecosystem engineers: increased soil nutrients lead to increased plant productivity on fox dens.

    PubMed

    Gharajehdaghipour, Tazarve; Roth, James D; Fafard, Paul M; Markham, John H

    2016-04-05

    Top predators can provide fundamental ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, and their impact can be even greater in environments with low nutrients and productivity, such as Arctic tundra. We estimated the effects of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) denning on soil nutrient dynamics and vegetation production near Churchill, Manitoba in June and August 2014. Soils from fox dens contained higher nutrient levels in June (71% more inorganic nitrogen, 1195% more extractable phosphorous) and in August (242% more inorganic nitrogen, 191% more extractable phosphorous) than adjacent control sites. Inorganic nitrogen levels decreased from June to August on both dens and controls, whereas extractable phosphorous increased. Pup production the previous year, which should enhance nutrient deposition (from urine, feces, and decomposing prey), did not affect soil nutrient concentrations, suggesting the impact of Arctic foxes persists >1 year. Dens supported 2.8 times greater vegetation biomass in August, but δ(15)N values in sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) were unaffected by denning. By concentrating nutrients on dens Arctic foxes enhance nutrient cycling as an ecosystem service and thus engineer Arctic ecosystems on local scales. The enhanced productivity in patches on the landscape could subsequently affect plant diversity and the dispersion of herbivores on the tundra.

  19. Den use by arctic foxes in northern Alaska

    SciTech Connect

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

    1983-01-01

    Den use by arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) was examined near the Prudhoe Bay oil field and on a nearby undisturbed area on the Colville River Delta in northern Alaska. The density of dens at Prudhoe Bay (1 den/12 km/sup 2/) was approximately three times that on Colville Delta (1 den/34 km/sup 2/). Thirty-three percent of the Prudhoe Bay dens appeared to be of recent origin compared to 11% on the Colville Delta. Survival or production of juvenile foxes decreased on both study areas in 1977 when densities of lemmings (Dicrostonyx torquatus and Lemmus sibiricus) were low, but the decrease was less pronounced at Prudhoe Bay. Foxes that raised young at Prudhoe Bay in 1977 were those living near petroleum development facilities. The utilization of garbage by Prudhoe Bay foxes probably accounted for many of the observed differences between study sites. Common features of spring and summer den use by arctic foxes included a selection of historically preferred den sites, splitting litters into multiple dens, and the fidelity of some adult and juvenile foxes to dens in successive years. Winter use of dens was common at Prudhoe Bay. 24 references, 2 tables.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1982-01-01

    Spring and summer home ranges and local movements of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) were studied from 1975 to 1977 at the Prudhoe Bay oil-development area in northern Alaska. Twenty-seven adult and 62 juvenile foxes were captured, marked, and released. Nine adults and 5 juveniles were equipped with radio collars and monitored during 1976 and 1977. Home range size was 20.8 +/- 12.5 (SD) km/sup 2/ for 4 adult foxes and 3.7 +/- 1.7 km/sup 2/ for 5 juveniles. Home range configuration was similar for all marked members of individual families. Adult foxes were nocturnal and territorial. Foxes used oil-development sites for feeding, resting, and denning. Use of these became more comon late in the rearing season, as juveniles became more mobile. A major fluctuation in the availability of natural foods did not appear to alter ues of developed areas by foxes. The number of juvenile foxes observed at Prudhoe Bay decreased from 1976 to 1977, but the decrease was less pronounced than in a nearby undisturbed area.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2010-01-01

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

  2. Inbreeding depression in a critically endangered carnivore.

    PubMed

    Norén, Karin; Godoy, Erika; Dalén, Love; Meijer, Tomas; Angerbjörn, Anders

    2016-07-01

    Harmful effects arising from matings between relatives (inbreeding) is a long-standing observation that is well founded in theory. Empirical evidence for inbreeding depression in natural populations is however rare because of the challenges of assembling pedigrees supplemented with fitness traits. We examined the occurrence of inbreeding and subsequent inbreeding depression using a unique data set containing a genetically verified pedigree with individual fitness traits for a critically endangered arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) population. The study covered nine years and was comprised of 33 litters with a total of 205 individuals. We recorded that the present population was founded by only five individuals. Over the study period, the population exhibited a tenfold increase in average inbreeding coefficient with a final level corresponding to half-sib matings. Inbreeding mainly occurred between cousins, but we also observed two cases of full-sib matings. The pedigree data demonstrated clear evidence of inbreeding depression on traditional fitness traits where inbred individuals displayed reduced survival and reproduction. Fitness traits were however differently affected by the fluctuating resource abundande. Inbred individuals born at low-quality years displayed reduced first-year survival, while inbred individuals born at high-quality years were less likely to reproduce. The documentation of inbreeding depression in fundamental fitness traits suggests that inbreeding depression can limit population recovery. Introducing new genetic material to promote a genetic rescue effect may thus be necessary for population long-term persistence.

  3. Winter habitat associations of diurnal raptors in Californias Central Valley

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pandolrno, E.R.; Herzog, M.P.; Hooper, S.L.; Smith, Z.

    2011-01-01

    The wintering raptors of California's Central Valley are abundant and diverse. Despite this, little information exists on the habitats used by these birds in winter. We recorded diurnal raptors along 19 roadside survey routes throughout the Central Valley for three consecutive winters between 2007 and 2010. We obtained data sufficient to determine significant positive and negative habitat associations for the White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus), Bald Eagle {Haliaeetus leucocephalus), Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus), Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis), Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus), American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), and Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus). The Prairie Falcon and Ferruginous and Rough-legged hawks showed expected strong positive associations with grasslands. The Bald Eagle and Northern Harrier were positively associated not only with wetlands but also with rice. The strongest positive association for the White-tailed Kite was with wetlands. The Red-tailed Hawk was positively associated with a variety of habitat types but most strongly with wetlands and rice. The American Kestrel, Northern Harrier, and White-tailed Kite were positively associated with alfalfa. Nearly all species were negatively associated with urbanized landscapes, orchards, and other intensive forms of agriculture. The White-tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Redtailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, and American Kestrel showed significant negative associations with oak savanna. Given the rapid conversion of the Central Valley to urban and intensive agricultural uses over the past few decades, these results have important implications for conservation of these wintering raptors in this region.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1998-01-01

    We conducted point counts of diurnal raptors on Boulder, Colorado, grasslands for three winters and summers, and compared results to landscape features of the count areas. Four wintering species were scarce on plots that included significant amounts of urban habitat, with a critical landscape threshold at about 5-7% urbanization: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis), Rough-legged Hawk (B. lagopus), and Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus). Counts of the first three species also were positively correlated with proximity of the count plots to the nearest colony of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Two breeding species, the Red-tailed Hawk (B. jamaicensis) and Swainson's Hawk (B. swainsoni), were more abundant on plots dominated by lowland hayfields and tallgrass prairies, as opposed to upland mixed and shortgrass prairies. They, along with the ubiquitous American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), were not sensitive to the amounts of urbanization (up to 30%) that occurred in the landscapes sampled. Results of this study suggest that urban open space grasslands can support sizable populations of most diurnal raptors, as long as prey populations persist, but that some species are highly sensitive to landscape urbanization.

  5. Habitat selection, reproduction and predation of wintering lemmings in the Arctic.

    PubMed

    Duchesne, David; Gauthier, Gilles; Berteaux, Dominique

    2011-12-01

    Snow cover has dramatic effects on the structure and functioning of Arctic ecosystems in winter. In the tundra, the subnivean space is the primary habitat of wintering small mammals and may be critical for their survival and reproduction. We have investigated the effects of snow cover and habitat features on the distributions of collared lemming (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus) and brown lemming (Lemmus trimucronatus) winter nests, as well as on their probabilities of reproduction and predation by stoats (Mustela erminea) and arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus). We sampled 193 lemming winter nests and measured habitat features at all of these nests and at random sites at two spatial scales. We also monitored overwinter ground temperature at a subsample of nest and random sites. Our results demonstrate that nests were primarily located in areas with high micro-topography heterogeneity, steep slopes, deep snow cover providing thermal protection (reduced daily temperature fluctuations) and a high abundance of mosses. The probability of reproduction increased in collared lemming nests at low elevation and in brown lemming nests with high availability of some graminoid species. The probability of predation by stoats was density dependent and was higher in nests used by collared lemmings. Snow cover did not affect the probability of predation of lemming nests by stoats, but deep snow cover limited predation attempts by arctic foxes. We conclude that snow cover plays a key role in the spatial structure of wintering lemming populations and potentially in their population dynamics in the Arctic.

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

    PubMed

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

    2001-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-03-01

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

  8. Network topology of stable isotope interactions in a sub-arctic raptor guild.

    PubMed

    Dalerum, F; Hellström, P; Miranda, M; Nyström, J; Ekenstedt, J; Angerbjörn, A

    2016-10-01

    Predation is an ecologically important process, and intra-guild interactions may substantially influence the ecological effects of predator species. Despite a rapid expansion in the use of mathematical graph theory to describe trophic relations, network approaches have rarely been used to study interactions within predator assemblages. Assemblages of diurnal raptors are subject to substantial intra- and interspecific competition. Here we used the novel approach of applying analyzes based on network topology to species-specific data on the stable isotopes (13)C and (15)N in feathers to evaluate patterns of relative resource utilization within a guild of diurnal raptors in northern Sweden. Our guild consisted of the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) and the rough-legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus). We found a modular trophic interaction structure within the guild, but the interactions were less nested than expected by chance. These results suggest low redundancy and hence a strong ecological importance of individual species. Our data also suggested that species were less connected through intra-guild interactions than expected by chance. We interpret our results as a convergence on specific isotope niches, and that body size and different hunting behaviour may mediate competition within these niches. We finally highlight that generalist predators could be ecologically important by linking specialist predator species with disparate dietary niches.

  9. Population Structure of Two Rabies Hosts Relative to the Known Distribution of Rabies Virus Variants in Alaska

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    For pathogens that infect multiple species the distinction between reservoir hosts and spillover hosts is often difficult. In Alaska, three variants of the arctic rabies virus exist with distinct spatial distributions. We test the hypothesis that rabies virus variant distribution corresponds to the population structure of the primary rabies hosts in Alaska, arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) and red foxes (V. vulpes) in order to possibly distinguish reservoir and spill over hosts. We used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence and nine microsatellites to assess population structure in those two species. mtDNA structure did not correspond to rabies virus variant structure in either species. Microsatellite analyses gave varying results. Bayesian clustering found 2 groups of arctic foxes in the coastal tundra region, but for red foxes it identified tundra and boreal types. Spatial Bayesian clustering and spatial principal components analysis identified 3 and 4 groups of arctic foxes, respectively, closely matching the distribution of rabies virus variants in the state. Red foxes, conversely, showed eight clusters comprising 2 regions (boreal and tundra) with much admixture. These results run contrary to previous beliefs that arctic fox show no fine-scale spatial population structure. While we cannot rule out that the red fox is part of the maintenance host community for rabies in Alaska, the distribution of virus variants appears to be driven primarily by the artic fox Therefore we show that host population genetics can be utilized to distinguish between maintenance and spillover hosts when used in conjunction with other approaches. PMID:26661691

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Titus, K.; Fuller, M.R.

    1990-01-01

    Using simple regression, pooled-sites route-regression, and nonparametric rank-trend analyses, we evaluated trends in counts of hawks migrating past 6 eastern hawk lookouts from 1972 to 1987. The indexing variable was the total count for a season. Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), merlin (F. columbarius), osprey (Pandion haliaetus), and Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperii) counts increased using route-regression and nonparametric methods (P 0.10). We found no consistent trends (P > 0.10) in counts of sharp-shinned hawks (A. striatus), northern goshawks (A. gentilis) red-shouldered hawks (Buteo lineatus), red-tailed hawks (B. jamaicensis), rough-legged hawsk (B. lagopus), and American kestrels (F. sparverius). Broad-winged hawk (B. platypterus) counts declined (P < 0.05) based on the route-regression method. Empirical comparisons of our results with those for well-studied species such as the peregrine falcon, bald eagle, and osprey indicated agreement with nesting surveys. We suggest that counts of migrant hawks are a useful and economical method for detecting long-term trends in species across regions, particularly for species that otherwise cannot be easily surveyed.

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-11-30

    Samples (blood or tissue fluid) from 594 arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus), 390 Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus), 361 sibling voles (Microtus rossiaemeridionalis), 17 walruses (Odobenus rosmarus), 149 barnacle geese (Branta leucopsis), 58 kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), and 27 glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) from Svalbard and nearby waters were assayed for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii using a direct agglutination test. The proportion of seropositive animals was 43% in arctic foxes, 7% in barnacle geese, and 6% (1 of 17) in walruses. There were no seropositive Svalbard reindeer, sibling voles, glaucous gulls, or kittiwakes. The prevalence in the arctic fox was relatively high compared to previous reports from canid populations. There are no wild felids in Svalbard and domestic cats are prohibited, and the absence of antibodies against T. gondii among the herbivorous Svalbard reindeer and voles indicates that transmission of the parasite by oocysts is not likely to be an important mechanism in the Svalbard ecosystem. Our results suggest that migratory birds, such as the barnacle goose, may be the most important vectors bringing the parasite to Svalbard. In addition to transmission through infected prey and carrion, the age-seroprevalence profile in the fox population suggests that their infection levels are enhanced by vertical transmission.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-05-01

    1. Input of external subsidies in the Arctic may have substantial effects on predator populations that otherwise would have been limited by low local primary productivity. 2. We explore life-history traits, age-specific fecundity, litter sizes and survival, and the population dynamics of an Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) population to explore the influence of the spatial distribution and temporal availability of its main prey; including both resident and migrating (external) prey resources. 3. This study reveals that highly predictable cross-boundary subsidies from the marine food web, acting through seasonal access to seabirds, sustain larger local Arctic fox populations. Arctic fox dens located close to the coast in Svalbard were found to have higher occupancy rates, as expected from both high availability and high temporal and spatial predictability of prey resources (temporally stable external subsidies). Whereas the occupancy rate of inland dens varied between years in relation to the abundance of reindeer carcasses (temporally varying resident prey). 4. With regard to demography, juvenile Arctic foxes in Svalbard have lower survival rates and a high age of first reproduction compared with other populations. We suggest this may be caused by a lack of unoccupied dens and a saturated population.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Dalén, Love; Nyström, Veronica; Valdiosera, Cristina; Germonpré, Mietje; Sablin, Mikhail; Turner, Elaine; Angerbjörn, Anders; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Götherström, Anders

    2007-04-17

    How species respond to an increased availability of habitat, for example at the end of the last glaciation, has been well established. In contrast, little is known about the opposite process, when the amount of habitat decreases. The hypothesis of habitat tracking predicts that species should be able to track both increases and decreases in habitat availability. The alternative hypothesis is that populations outside refugia become extinct during periods of unsuitable climate. To test these hypotheses, we used ancient DNA techniques to examine genetic variation in the arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) through an expansion/contraction cycle. The results show that the arctic fox in midlatitude Europe became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene and did not track the habitat when it shifted to the north. Instead, a high genetic similarity between the extant populations in Scandinavia and Siberia suggests an eastern origin for the Scandinavian population at the end of the last glaciation. These results provide new insights into how species respond to climate change, since they suggest that populations are unable to track decreases in habitat avaliability. This implies that arctic species may be particularly vulnerable to increases in global temperatures.

  16. Arctic foxes as ecosystem engineers: increased soil nutrients lead to increased plant productivity on fox dens

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gharajehdaghipour, Tazarve; Roth, James D.; Fafard, Paul M.; Markham, John H.

    2016-04-01

    Top predators can provide fundamental ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, and their impact can be even greater in environments with low nutrients and productivity, such as Arctic tundra. We estimated the effects of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) denning on soil nutrient dynamics and vegetation production near Churchill, Manitoba in June and August 2014. Soils from fox dens contained higher nutrient levels in June (71% more inorganic nitrogen, 1195% more extractable phosphorous) and in August (242% more inorganic nitrogen, 191% more extractable phosphorous) than adjacent control sites. Inorganic nitrogen levels decreased from June to August on both dens and controls, whereas extractable phosphorous increased. Pup production the previous year, which should enhance nutrient deposition (from urine, feces, and decomposing prey), did not affect soil nutrient concentrations, suggesting the impact of Arctic foxes persists >1 year. Dens supported 2.8 times greater vegetation biomass in August, but δ15N values in sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) were unaffected by denning. By concentrating nutrients on dens Arctic foxes enhance nutrient cycling as an ecosystem service and thus engineer Arctic ecosystems on local scales. The enhanced productivity in patches on the landscape could subsequently affect plant diversity and the dispersion of herbivores on the tundra.

  17. Structural determinants of maximal O2 transport in muscles of exercising foxes.

    PubMed

    Bicudo, J E; Longworth, K E; Jones, J H; Taylor, C R; Hoppeler, H

    1996-03-01

    The arctic blue fox (Alopex lagopus) has a specific maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max/Mb = 3.6 ml O2.s-1.kg-1) that is approximately 1.6-fold greater than those of dogs and horses. The fox has one of the highest body mass specific skeletal muscle mitochondrial volumes (V(mt,m)/Mb = 44 cm3.kg-1) among mammalian athletic species matching its higher VO2 max/Mb. The structural components related to capillaries, such as specific capillary length density (J(c)/Mb = 348 km.kg-1) and specific capillary volume (V(c)/Mb = 4.8 ml.kg-1), are not greater in the fox than in the larger athletes. Because a greater specific muscle diffusing capacity for oxygen (DTO2/Mb) is not utilized by the fox to achieve a higher VO2 max/Mb, a higher pressure difference for diffusion in the muscle capillaries is the alternative explanation for the fox's higher VO2 max/Mb. This mechanism is suggested by the fox's higher arterial and mixed venous capillary PO2 (120 mm Hg and 37 mm Hg, respectively) and its shorter mean muscle capillary transit time for blood (tc = 0.28 sec) compared to larger species.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-01

    The direct and interactive effects of climate change on host species and infectious disease dynamics are likely to initially manifest\\ at latitudinal extremes. As such, Alaska represents a region in the United States for introspection on climate change and disease. Rabies is enzootic among arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) throughout the northern polar region. In Alaska, arctic and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are reservoirs for rabies, with most domestic animal and wildlife cases reported from northern and western coastal Alaska. Based on passive surveillance, a pronounced seasonal trend in rabid foxes occurs in Alaska, with a peak in winter and spring. This study describes climatic factors that may be associated with reported cyclic rabies occurrence. Based upon probabilistic modelling, a stronger seasonal effect in reported fox rabies cases appears at higher latitudes in Alaska, and rabies in arctic foxes appear disproportionately affected by climatic factors in comparison with red foxes. As temperatures continue a warming trend, a decrease in reported rabid arctic foxes may be expected. The overall epidemiology of rabies in Alaska is likely to shift to increased viral transmission among red foxes as the primary reservoir in the region. Information on fox and lemming demographics, in addition to enhanced rabies surveillance among foxes at finer geographic scales, will be critical to develop more comprehensive models for rabies virus transmission in the region.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-16

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-08-01

    Wolves (Canis lupus) and arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) are the only canid species found throughout the mainland tundra and arctic islands of North America. Contrasting evolutionary histories, and the contemporary ecology of each species, have combined to produce their divergent population genetic characteristics. Arctic foxes are more variable than wolves, and both island and mainland fox populations possess similarly high microsatellite variation. These differences result from larger effective population sizes in arctic foxes, and the fact that, unlike wolves, foxes were not isolated in discrete refugia during the Pleistocene. Despite the large physical distances and distinct ecotypes represented, a single, panmictic population of arctic foxes was found which spans the Svalbard Archipelago and the North American range of the species. This pattern likely reflects both the absence of historical population bottlenecks and current, high levels of gene flow following frequent long-distance foraging movements. In contrast, genetic structure in wolves correlates strongly to transitions in habitat type, and is probably determined by natal habitat-biased dispersal. Nonrandom dispersal may be cued by relative levels of vegetation cover between tundra and forest habitats, but especially by wolf prey specialization on ungulate species of familiar type and behaviour (sedentary or migratory). Results presented here suggest that, through its influence on sea ice, vegetation, prey dynamics and distribution, continued arctic climate change may have effects as dramatic as those of the Pleistocene on the genetic structure of arctic canid species.

  1. Hammondia triffittae n. comb. of foxes ( Vulpes spp.): biological and molecular characteristics and differentiation from Hammondia heydorni of dogs.

    PubMed

    Gjerde, Bjørn; Dahlgren, Stina S

    2011-03-01

    Genomic DNAs from 3 oocyst isolates of Hammondia sp. from foxes (Vulpes vulpes and V. lagopus) and 1 oocyst isolate of Hammondia heydorni from a dog, were examined by PCR and sequence analysis of 6 loci in order to determine whether the isolates were conspecific. Consistent genetic differences were found between the fox and dog isolates, respectively, at the ITS-2 region, the lsu rRNA gene, the alpha tubulin gene and the HSP70 gene, but not at the ssu rRNA gene or ITS-1 locus. Infection experiments established that dogs were unsuitable as definitive hosts for Hammondia sp. of foxes; hence this species is regarded as separate from H. heydorni of wolf-like canids, but probably identical with Isospora triffittae (syn. Isospora triffitti) previously reported from foxes. This species has therefore been named Hammondia triffittae n. comb. Reindeer, moose, sheep, goats, foxes and rabbits may act as intermediate hosts for H. triffittae. Muscle tissues of inoculated intermediate hosts were infectious for foxes from 16 days post-infection. Oocysts of H. triffittae were subspherical, averaging 12.5 × 10.9 μm in size. The lsu rRNA gene and the alpha tubulin gene seem to be suitable genetic markers for differentiating between H. triffittae and H. heydorni.

  2. Late Quaternary mammalian zoogeography of eastern Washington

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lyman, R. Lee; Livingston, Stephanie D.

    1983-11-01

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

  3. Behavioral interactions of penned red and arctic foxes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1982-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1984-01-01

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

  5. Arctic foxes as ecosystem engineers: increased soil nutrients lead to increased plant productivity on fox dens

    PubMed Central

    Gharajehdaghipour, Tazarve; Roth, James D.; Fafard, Paul M.; Markham, John H.

    2016-01-01

    Top predators can provide fundamental ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, and their impact can be even greater in environments with low nutrients and productivity, such as Arctic tundra. We estimated the effects of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) denning on soil nutrient dynamics and vegetation production near Churchill, Manitoba in June and August 2014. Soils from fox dens contained higher nutrient levels in June (71% more inorganic nitrogen, 1195% more extractable phosphorous) and in August (242% more inorganic nitrogen, 191% more extractable phosphorous) than adjacent control sites. Inorganic nitrogen levels decreased from June to August on both dens and controls, whereas extractable phosphorous increased. Pup production the previous year, which should enhance nutrient deposition (from urine, feces, and decomposing prey), did not affect soil nutrient concentrations, suggesting the impact of Arctic foxes persists >1 year. Dens supported 2.8 times greater vegetation biomass in August, but δ15N values in sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) were unaffected by denning. By concentrating nutrients on dens Arctic foxes enhance nutrient cycling as an ecosystem service and thus engineer Arctic ecosystems on local scales. The enhanced productivity in patches on the landscape could subsequently affect plant diversity and the dispersion of herbivores on the tundra. PMID:27045973

  6. Satellite DNA Sequences in Canidae and Their Chromosome Distribution in Dog and Red Fox.

    PubMed

    Vozdova, Miluse; Kubickova, Svatava; Cernohorska, Halina; Fröhlich, Jan; Rubes, Jiri

    2016-01-01

    Satellite DNA is a characteristic component of mammalian centromeric heterochromatin, and a comparative analysis of its evolutionary dynamics can be used for phylogenetic studies. We analysed satellite and satellite-like DNA sequences available in NCBI for 4 species of the family Canidae (red fox, Vulpes vulpes, VVU; domestic dog, Canis familiaris, CFA; arctic fox, Vulpes lagopus, VLA; raccoon dog, Nyctereutes procyonoides procyonoides, NPR) by comparative sequence analysis, which revealed 86-90% intraspecies and 76-79% interspecies similarity. Comparative fluorescence in situ hybridisation in the red fox and dog showed signals of the red fox satellite probe in canine and vulpine autosomal centromeres, on VVUY, B chromosomes, and in the distal parts of VVU9q and VVU10p which were shown to contain nucleolus organiser regions. The CFA satellite probe stained autosomal centromeres only in the dog. The CFA satellite-like DNA did not show any significant sequence similarity with the satellite DNA of any species analysed and was localised to the centromeres of 9 canine chromosome pairs. No significant heterochromatin block was detected on the B chromosomes of the red fox. Our results show extensive heterogeneity of satellite sequences among Canidae and prove close evolutionary relationships between the red and arctic fox.

  7. Response of predators to Western Sandpiper nest exclosures

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Niehaus, Amanda C.; Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; McCaffery, Brian J.

    2004-01-01

    In 2001, predator exclosures were used to protect nests of the Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) in western Alaska. During the exclosure experiment, nest contents in exclosures had significantly higher daily survival rates than control nests, however, late in the study predators began to cue in on exclosures and predate the nest contents. An Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus) dug under one exclosure and took the newly hatched chicks, and Long-tailed Jaegers (Stercorarius longicaudus) learned to associate exclosures with active nests and repeatedly visited them. The jaegers attempted to gain access to exclosed nests and pursued adult sandpipers as they emerged from the exclosures. The exclosures were removed to reduce potential mortality to adult and young sandpipers, but subsequently, post-exclosure nests had lower daily survival rates than controls during the same time period. Predation of post-exclosure eggs and chicks highlighted the lasting influence of the exclosure treatment on offspring survival because predators probably remembered nest locations. Researchers are urged to use caution when considering use of predator exclosures in areas where jaegers occur.

  8. Experimental Infection of Mink Enforces the Role of Arcanobacterium phocae as Causative Agent of Fur Animal Epidemic Necrotic Pyoderma (FENP)

    PubMed Central

    Nordgren, Heli; Aaltonen, Kirsi; Raunio-Saarnisto, Mirja; Sukura, Antti; Vapalahti, Olli; Sironen, Tarja

    2016-01-01

    Fur Animal Epidemic Necrotic Pyoderma (FENP) is a severe, often lethal infectious disease affecting all three fur animal species: mink (Neovision vision), foxes (Vulpes lagopus) and finnraccoons (Nyctereutes procyonoides). Previous studies showed an association between Arcanobacterium phocae and FENP. An experimental infection was conducted to confirm the ability of A. phocae to infect mink either alone or concurrently with a novel Streptococcus sp. found together with A. phocae in many cases of FENP. Different inoculation methods were tested to study possible routes of transmission. Typical signs, and gross- and histopathological findings for FENP were detected when naïve mink were infected with the tissue extract of mink with FENP, using a subcutaneous/ intradermal infection route. Edema, hemorrhage, necrosis and pus formation were detected in the infection site. A pure culture preparation of A. phocae alone or concurrently with the novel Streptococcus sp. caused severe acute signs of lethargy, apathy and anorexia and even mortality. The histopathological findings were similar to those found in naturally occurring cases of FENP. In contrast, the perorally infected mink presented no clinical signs nor any gross- or histopathological lesions. This study showed that A. phocae is able to cause FENP. The study also indicated that predisposing factors such as the environment, the general condition of the animals, temperature and skin trauma contribute to the development of the disease. PMID:27973532

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McIntyre, Carol L.; Adams, Layne G.

    1999-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  14. Regional distribution shifts help explain local changes in wintering raptor abundance: implications for interpreting population trends.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2013-01-01

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

  16. Host-Parasite Interactions and Population Dynamics of Rock Ptarmigan.

    PubMed

    Stenkewitz, Ute; Nielsen, Ólafur K; Skírnisson, Karl; Stefánsson, Gunnar

    2016-01-01

    Populations of rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) in Iceland fluctuate in multiannual cycles with peak numbers c. every 10 years. We studied the ptarmigan-parasite community and how parasites relate to ptarmigan age, body condition, and population density. We collected 632 ptarmigan in northeast Iceland in early October from 2006 to 2012; 630 (99.7%) were infected with at least one parasite species, 616 (98%) with ectoparasites, and 536 (85%) with endoparasites. We analysed indices for the combined parasite community (16 species) and known pathogenic parasites, two coccidian protozoans Eimeria muta and Eimeria rjupa, two nematodes Capillaria caudinflata and Trichostrongylus tenuis, one chewing louse Amyrsidea lagopi, and one skin mite Metamicrolichus islandicus. Juveniles overall had more ectoparasites than adults, but endoparasite levels were similar in both groups. Ptarmigan population density was associated with endoparasites, and in particular prevalence of the coccidian parasite Eimeria muta. Annual aggregation level of this eimerid fluctuated inversely with prevalence, with lows at prevalence peak and vice versa. Both prevalence and aggregation of E. muta tracked ptarmigan population density with a 1.5 year time lag. The time lag could be explained by the host specificity of this eimerid, host density dependent shedding of oocysts, and their persistence in the environment from one year to the next. Ptarmigan body condition was negatively associated with E. muta prevalence, an indication of their pathogenicity, and this eimerid was also positively associated with ptarmigan mortality and marginally inversely with fecundity. There were also significant associations between fecundity and chewing louse Amyrsidea lagopi prevalence (negative), excess juvenile mortality and nematode Capillaria caudinflata prevalence (positive), and adult mortality and skin mite Metamicrolichus islandicus prevalence (negative). Though this study is correlational, it provides strong

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Ceschin, S; Caneva, G

    2013-06-01

    In this study, we analyzed the relationship between buried archaeological remains (masonries, pavements, and ancient ruins) and spontaneous vegetation growing above them. We carried out several vegetation surveys in the Domitian's Stadium at the archaeological site of the Palatine (Rome). Vegetation data were collected using the Braun-Blanquet approach and elaborated using statistical analyses (cluster analysis) to assess the similarity among surveys. Structural, chorological, and ecological features of the plant communities were analyzed. Results showed that the vegetation responds significantly to the presence of sub-emerging ancient remains. The plant bioindication of this phenomenon occurs through the following floristic-vegetation variations: phenological alterations in single individuals (reduction in height, displacement of flowering/fruiting period), increase of annual species and decrease of perennial ones, decrease of total plant coverage, reduction of maturity level of the vegetation which remains blocked at a pioneer evolutive stage. The presence of sub-surfacing ruins manifests itself through the dominant occurrence of xerophilous and not-nitrophilous species (e.g., Hypochaeris achyrophorus L., Aira elegantissima Schur, Trifolium scabrum L. ssp. scabrum, Trifolium stellatum L., Plantago lagopus L., Medicago minima (L.) L., and Catapodium rigidum (L.) C.E. Hubb. ex Dony ssp. rigidum) and in a rarefaction of more mesophilous and nitrophilous species (e.g., Plantago lanceolata L., Trifolium pratense L. ssp. pratense, Trifolium repens L. ssp. repens, and Poa trivialis L.). Therefore, the vegetation can be used as bioindicator for the detection of buried ruins, contributing in the archaeological prospection for a general, fast, and inexpensive interpretation of the underground.

  20. Trophic relationships in an Arctic food web and implications for trace metal transfer.

    PubMed

    Dehn, Larissa-A; Follmann, Erich H; Thomas, Dana L; Sheffield, Gay G; Rosa, Cheryl; Duffy, Lawrence K; O'Hara, Todd M

    2006-06-01

    Tissues of subsistence-harvested Arctic mammals were analyzed for silver (Ag), cadmium (Cd), and total mercury (THg). Muscle (or total body homogenates of potential fish and invertebrate prey) was analyzed for stable carbon (delta13C) and nitrogen (delta15N) isotopes to establish trophic interactions within the Arctic food chain. Food web magnification factors (FWMFs) and biomagnification factors for selected predator-prey scenarios (BMFs) were calculated to describe pathways of heavy metals in the Alaskan Arctic. FWMFs in this study indicate that magnification of selected heavy metals in the Arctic food web is not significant. Biomagnification of Cd occurs mainly in kidneys; calculated BMFs are higher for hepatic THg than renal THg for all predator-prey scenarios with the exception of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). In bears, the accumulation of renal THg is approximately 6 times higher than in liver. Magnification of hepatic Ag is minimal for all selected predator-prey scenarios. Though polar bears occupy a higher trophic level than belugas (Delphinapterus leucas), based on delta15N, the metal concentrations are either not statistically different between the two species or lower for bears. Similarly, concentrations of renal and hepatic Cd are significantly lower or not statistically different in polar bears compared to ringed (Phoca hispida) and bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus), their primary prey. THg, on the other hand, increased significantly from seal to polar bear tissues. Mean delta15N was lowest in muscle of Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) and foxes also show the lowest levels of Hg, Cd and Ag in liver and kidney compared to the other species analyzed. These values are in good agreement with a diet dominated by terrestrial prey. Metal deposition in animal tissues is strongly dependent on biological factors such as diet, age, sex, body condition and health, and caution should be taken when interpreting magnification of dynamic and actively regulated trace

  1. The occurrence and ecology of Trichinella in marine mammals.

    PubMed

    Forbes, L B

    2000-12-01

    Trichinella in marine mammals has a circumpolar arctic distribution and a narrow range of host species. It is commonly found in polar bears (Ursus maritimus), and increasingly in walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) where it presents a significant zoonotic hazard. This has resulted in the implementation of food safety programs in some arctic communities to test harvested walrus meat for Trichinella larvae prior to consumption. Trichinella has been reported infrequently in bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) and ringed seals (Phoca hispida), and was once observed in a Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas). Cannibalism is probably the most important factor in maintaining a Trichinella cycle in polar bears. Arctic carnivores such as polar bears, arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) and domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) have a high prevalence of Trichinella infection and the carcasses of at least some of these animals are deposited in the ocean. Scavenging of these carcasses by walruses probably occurs, but may not account for the high prevalence the parasite seen in this host species. Predation, carrion feeding and cannibalism have been documented for walruses and a sylvatic cycle similar to that of bears may exist in walrus populations. Seals and whales are likely infected through infrequent exposure to infected carcasses, either directly by scavenging or indirectly by consuming amphipods or fish that have fed on infected carcasses. The inefficiency of this mechanism may account for the low prevalence of Trichinella in seals and whales. It is known that isolates from marine mammals are cold tolerant, and infectious for man, and have been identified as Trichinella nativa (T2). Molecular and other phylogenetic studies would be useful to facilitate studies on the inter-relationship of Trichinella cycles involving marine and terrestrial mammals in the arctic and subarctic, and in the investigation of human outbreaks of trichinellosis in these areas.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2013-01-01

    We used data from aerial surveys (1992–2010) of >100,000 km2 and ground surveys (1998–2004) of >150 km2 to estimate the density and abundance of birds on the North Slope of Alaska (U.S.A.). In the ground surveys, we used double sampling to estimate detection ratios. We used the aerial survey data to compare densities of birds and Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), the major nest predator of birds, on the North Slope, in Prudhoe Bay, and in nearby areas. We partitioned the Prudhoe Bay oil field into 2 × 2 km plots and determined the relation between density of aquatic birds and density of roads, buildings, and other infrastructure in these plots. Abundance and density (birds per square kilometer) of 3 groups of aquatic birds—waterfowl, loons, and grebes; shorebirds; and gulls, terns, and jaegers—were highest in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska (NPRA) and lowest in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Six other major wetlands occur in the Arctic regions of Canada and Russia, but the largest population of aquatic birds was in the NPRA. Aquatic birds were concentrated in the northern part of the NPRA. For example, an area that covered 18% of the NPRA included 53% of its aquatic birds. The aerial surveys showed that bird density was not lower and fox density was not higher in Prudhoe Bay than in surrounding areas. Density of infrastructure did not significantly affect bird density for any group of species. Our results establish that the NPRA is one of the most important areas for aquatic birds in the Arctic. Our results and those of others also indicate that oil production, as practiced in Prudhoe Bay, does not necessarily lead to substantial declines in bird density or productivity in or near the developed areas.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Therrien, J F; Gauthier, G; Korpimäki, E; Bêty, J

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2007-12-01

    As part of a study on Mars Analogue environments, the biogeochemistry of Sverrefjellet Volcano, Bocfjorden, Svalbard, was conducted and compared to surrounding glacial, thermal spring, and sedimentary environments. An understanding of how nitrogen might be distributed in a landscape that had extinct or very cold adapted, slow- growing extant organisms should be useful for detecting unknown life forms. From high elevations (900 m) to the base of the volcano (sea level), soil and rock ammonium concentrations were uniformly low, typically less than 1- 3 micrograms per gm of rock or soil. In weathered volcanic soils, reduced nitrogen concentrations were higher, and oxidized nitrogen concentrations lower. The opposite was found in a weathered Devonian sedimentary soil. Plants and lichens growing on volcanic soils have an unusually wide range in N isotopic compositions from -5 to +12‰, a range rarely measured in temperate ecosystems. Nitrogen contents and isotopic compositions of volcanic soils and rocks were strongly influenced by the presence or absence of terrestrial herbivores or marine avifauna with higher concentrations of N and elevated N isotopic compositions occurring as patches in areas immediately influenced by reindeer, Arctic fox ( Alopex lagopus), and marine birds. Because of the extreme conditions in this area, ephemeral deposition of herbivore feces results in a direct and immediate N pulses into the ecosystem. The lateral extent and distribution of marine- derived nitrogen was measured on a landscape scale surrounding an active fox den. Nitrogen was tracked from the bones of marine birds to soil to vegetation. Because of extreme cold, slow biological rates and nitrogen cycling, a mosaic of N patterns develops on the landscape scale.

  6. Oral rabies vaccination in north america: opportunities, complexities, and challenges.

    PubMed

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

    2009-12-22

    Steps to facilitate inter-jurisdictional collaboration nationally and continentally have been critical for implementing and conducting coordinated wildlife rabies management programs that rely heavily on oral rabies vaccination (ORV). Formation of a national rabies management team has been pivotal for coordinated ORV programs in the United States of America. The signing of the North American Rabies Management Plan extended a collaborative framework for coordination of surveillance, control, and research in border areas among Canada, Mexico, and the US. Advances in enhanced surveillance have facilitated sampling of greater scope and intensity near ORV zones for improved rabies management decision-making in real time. The value of enhanced surveillance as a complement to public health surveillance was best illustrated in Ohio during 2007, where 19 rabies cases were detected that were critical for the formulation of focused contingency actions for controlling rabies in this strategically key area. Diverse complexities and challenges are commonplace when applying ORV to control rabies in wild meso-carnivores. Nevertheless, intervention has resulted in notable successes, including the elimination of an arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) rabies virus variant in most of southern Ontario, Canada, with ancillary benefits of elimination extending into Quebec and the northeastern US. Progress continues with ORV toward preventing the spread and working toward elimination of a unique variant of gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) rabies in west central Texas. Elimination of rabies in coyotes (Canis latrans) through ORV contributed to the US being declared free of canine rabies in 2007. Raccoon (Procyon lotor) rabies control continues to present the greatest challenges among meso-carnivore rabies reservoirs, yet to date intervention has prevented this variant from gaining a broad geographic foothold beyond ORV zones designed to prevent its spread from the eastern US. Progress continues

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pirovano, Andrea; Bocchiola, Daniele

    2010-05-01

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

  8. Sorting out relationships among the grouse and ptarmigan using intron, mitochondrial, and ultra-conserved element sequences.

    PubMed

    Persons, Nicholas W; Hosner, Peter A; Meiklejohn, Kelly A; Braun, Edward L; Kimball, Rebecca T

    2016-05-01

    The Holarctic phasianid clade of the grouse and ptarmigan has received substantial attention in areas such as evolution of mating systems, display behavior, and population ecology related to their conservation and management as wild game species. There are multiple molecular phylogenetic studies that focus on grouse and ptarmigan. In spite of this, there is little consensus regarding historical relationships, particularly among genera, which has led to unstable and partial taxonomic revisions. We estimated the phylogeny of all currently recognized species using a combination of novel data from seven nuclear loci (largely intron sequences) and published data from one additional autosomal locus, two W-linked loci, and four mitochondrial regions. To explore relationships among genera and assess paraphyly of one genus more rigorously, we then added over 3000 ultra-conserved element (UCE) loci (over 1.7million bp) gathered using Illumina sequencing. The UCE topology agreed with that of the combined nuclear intron and previously published sequence data with 100% bootstrap support for all relationships. These data strongly support previous studies separating Bonasa from Tetrastes and Dendragapus from Falcipennis. However, the placement of Lagopus differed from previous studies, and we found no support for Falcipennis monophyly. Biogeographic analysis suggests that the ancestors of grouse and ptarmigan were distributed in the New World and subsequently underwent at least four dispersal events between the Old and New Worlds. Divergence time estimates from maternally-inherited and autosomal markers show stark differences across this clade, with divergence time estimates from maternally-inherited markers being nearly half that of the autosomal markers at some nodes, and nearly twice that at other nodes.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-10-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2008-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-10-01

    The extensive use of anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) for rodent control has led to widespread secondary exposure in nontarget predatory wildlife species. We investigated exposure rates and concentrations of five ARs in liver samples from five raptors and six owls from Denmark. A total of 430 birds were analysed. ARs were detected in 84-100 % of individual birds within each species. Multiple AR exposure was detected in 73 % of all birds. Average number of substances detected in individual birds was 2.2 with no differences between owls and raptors. Difenacoum, bromadiolone, and brodifacoum were the most prevalent substances and occurred in the highest concentrations. Second-generation ARs made up 96 % of the summed AR burden. Among the six core species (sample size >30), summed AR concentrations were lower in rough-legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus) and long-eared owl (Asio otus) than in barn owl (Tyto alba), buzzard (B. buteo), kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), and tawny owl (Strix aluco). There was a strong tendency for seasonal variations in the summed AR concentration with levels being lowest during autumn, which is probably related to an influx of less-exposed migrating birds from northern Scandinavia during autumn. High hepatic AR residue concentrations (>100 ng/g wet weight), which have been associated with symptoms of rodenticide poisoning and increased mortality, were recorded high frequencies (12.9-37.4 %) in five of the six core species. The results suggest that the present use of ARs in Denmark, at least locally, may have adverse effects on reproduction and, ultimately, population status in some raptors and owls.

  12. Host-Parasite Interactions and Population Dynamics of Rock Ptarmigan

    PubMed Central

    Stenkewitz, Ute; Nielsen, Ólafur K.; Skírnisson, Karl; Stefánsson, Gunnar

    2016-01-01

    Populations of rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) in Iceland fluctuate in multiannual cycles with peak numbers c. every 10 years. We studied the ptarmigan-parasite community and how parasites relate to ptarmigan age, body condition, and population density. We collected 632 ptarmigan in northeast Iceland in early October from 2006 to 2012; 630 (99.7%) were infected with at least one parasite species, 616 (98%) with ectoparasites, and 536 (85%) with endoparasites. We analysed indices for the combined parasite community (16 species) and known pathogenic parasites, two coccidian protozoans Eimeria muta and Eimeria rjupa, two nematodes Capillaria caudinflata and Trichostrongylus tenuis, one chewing louse Amyrsidea lagopi, and one skin mite Metamicrolichus islandicus. Juveniles overall had more ectoparasites than adults, but endoparasite levels were similar in both groups. Ptarmigan population density was associated with endoparasites, and in particular prevalence of the coccidian parasite Eimeria muta. Annual aggregation level of this eimerid fluctuated inversely with prevalence, with lows at prevalence peak and vice versa. Both prevalence and aggregation of E. muta tracked ptarmigan population density with a 1.5 year time lag. The time lag could be explained by the host specificity of this eimerid, host density dependent shedding of oocysts, and their persistence in the environment from one year to the next. Ptarmigan body condition was negatively associated with E. muta prevalence, an indication of their pathogenicity, and this eimerid was also positively associated with ptarmigan mortality and marginally inversely with fecundity. There were also significant associations between fecundity and chewing louse Amyrsidea lagopi prevalence (negative), excess juvenile mortality and nematode Capillaria caudinflata prevalence (positive), and adult mortality and skin mite Metamicrolichus islandicus prevalence (negative). Though this study is correlational, it provides strong

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-04-01

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

  15. Interference in the tundra predator guild studied using local ecological knowledge.

    PubMed

    Ehrich, Dorothee; Strømeng, Marita A; Killengreen, Siw T

    2016-04-01

    The decline or recolonization of apex predators such as wolves and lynx, often driven by management decisions, and the expansion of smaller generalist predators such as red foxes, can have important ecosystem impacts. The mesopredator release hypothesis proposes that apex predators control medium-sized predator populations through competition and/or intraguild predation. The decline of apex predators thus leads to an increase in mesopredators, possibly with a negative impact on prey populations. Information about the abundance of mammalian tundra predators, wolf (Canis lupus), wolverine (Gulo gulo), lynx (Lynx lynx), red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) was collected from local active outdoors people during semi-structured interviews in 14 low arctic or sub-arctic settlements in western Eurasia. The perceived abundance of red fox decreased with higher wolf abundance and in more arctic areas, but the negative effect of wolves decreased in more arctic and therefore less productive ecosystems. The perceived abundance of arctic fox increased towards the arctic and in areas with colder winters. Although there was a negative correlation between the two fox species, red fox was not included in the model for perceived arctic fox abundance, which received most support. Our results support the mesopredator release hypothesis regarding the expansion of red foxes in subarctic areas and indicate that top-down control by apex predators is weaker in less productive and more arctic ecosystems. We showed that local ecological knowledge is a valuable source of information about large-scale processes, which are difficult to study through direct biological investigations.

  16. Sarcocystis arctica (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae): ultrastructural description and its new host record, the Alaskan wolf (Canis lupus).

    PubMed

    Calero-Bernal, Rafael; Cerqueira-Cézar, Camila K; Verma, Shiv Kumar; Mowery, Joseph; Carmena, David; Beckmen, Kimberlee; Dubey, Jitender P

    2016-07-01

    Sarcocystis sarcocysts are common in muscles of herbivores but are rare in muscles of carnivores. Here, we report sarcocysts in the muscles of a gray wolf (Canis lupus) from Alaska, USA, for the first time. Sarcocysts extracted from the tongue of the wolf were up to 900 μm long and slender and appeared to have a relatively thin wall by light microscope. By transmission electron microscopy, the sarcocyst wall most closely resembled "type 9c," and had a wavy parasitophorous vacuolar membrane folded as pleomorphic villar protrusions (vp), with anastomoses of tips. The vp and the ground substance (gs) layer were smooth without tubules or granules. The gs was up to 2.0 μm thick. The total width of the wall including vp and the gs was 3.5 μm. The vp were up to 1.5 μm long. Mature sarcocysts contained numerous bradyzoites and few metrocytes. The bradyzoites were 9.5 μm long and 1.5 μm wide, and contained all organelles found in Sarcocystis bradyzoites with at least two rhoptries. Molecular characterization showed the highest identity for 18S rRNA, 28S rRNA, ITS-1, and cox1 sequences of Sarcocystis arctica of the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) from Norway. The ultrastructure of S. arctica from the fox is unknown. Here, we provide ultrastructure of S. arctica from the Alaskan wolf for the first time. The definitive host of S. arctica remains unknown.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dubey, J.P.; Velmurugan, G.V.; Ragendran, C.; Yabsley, M.J.; Thomas, N.J.; Beckmen, K.B.; Sinnett, D.; Ruid, D.; Hart, J.; Fair, P.A.; McFee, W.E.; Shearn-Bochsler, V.; Kwok, O.C.H.; Ferreira, L.R.; Choudhary, S.; Faria, E.B.; Zhou, H.; Felix, T.A.; Su, C.

    2011-01-01

    Little is known of the genetic diversity of Toxoplasma gondii circulating in wildlife. In the present study wild animals, from the USA were examined for T. gondii infection. Tissues of naturally exposed animals were bioassayed in mice for isolation of viable parasites. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 31 animals including, to our knowledge for the first time, from a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), five gray wolves (Canis lupus), a woodrat (Neotoma micropus), and five Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). Additionally, 66 T. gondii isolates obtained previously, but not genetically characterised, were revived in mice. Toxoplasma gondii DNA isolated from these 97 samples (31+66) was characterised using 11 PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) markers (SAG1, 5'- and 3'-SAG2, alt.SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1 and Apico). A total of 95 isolates were successfully genotyped. In addition to clonal Types II, and III, 12 different genotypes were found. These genotype data were combined with 74 T. gondii isolates previously characterised from wildlife from North America and a composite data set of 169 isolates comprised 22 genotypes, including clonal Types II, III and 20 atypical genotypes. Phylogenetic network analysis showed limited diversity with dominance of a recently designated fourth clonal type (Type 12) in North America, followed by the Type II and III lineages. These three major lineages together accounted for 85% of strains in North America. The Type 12 lineage includes previously identified Type A and X strains from sea otters. This study revealed that the Type 12 lineage accounts for 46.7% (79/169) of isolates and is dominant in wildlife of North America. No clonal Type I strain was identified among these wildlife isolates. These results suggest that T. gondii strains in wildlife from North America have limited diversity, with the occurrence of only a few major clonal types.

  18. The epidemiology of Echinococcus granulosus in Great Britain. V. The status of subspecies of Echinococcus granulosus in Great Britain.

    PubMed

    Cook, B R

    1989-02-01

    Twenty-five years ago Williams and Sweatman suggested that in Great Britain there are two subspecies of Echinococcus granulosus--E. granulosus granulosus and E. granulosus equinus. Echinococcus granulosus granulosus does not mature either in foxes or in horses: E. granulosus equinus will mature in either. The prepatent period of E. granulosus granulosus in the definitive host is about 42 days while that of E. granulosus equinus is about 70 days. Each subspecies has a characteristic morphology. More recently, in the course of seven experiments, dogs, red foxes (Vulpes vulpes crucigera), arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus), badgers (Meles meles), domestic ferrets and domestic cats have been infected with protoscoleces derived from hydatid cysts of human, equine and ovine hosts from different regions of England and Wales. Transmissions to horses and sheep were always succeeded by the development of viable hydatid cysts; transmissions to dogs and foxes, by the development of gravid adults. The prepatent period in both dogs and foxes was invariably about 70 days (or longer) and the morphology of all the adult parasites in these definitive hosts was characteristic of E. granulosus equinus. All the evidence derived from these experiments supports the view that there is, in Great Britain, but one subspecies of E. granulosus. That one subspecies is E. granulosus equinus. It infects dogs, red foxes, arctic foxes (experimentally), cats (experimentally), humans, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, pigs, cattle, roe deer and reindeer (in Scotland). Attempts to transmit E. granulosus to badgers and domestic ferrets were unsuccessful. Of 123 cats infected with protoscoleces of horse origin, one gravid adult parasite was recovered from one animal.

  19. Inventory of montane-nesting birds in Katmai and Lake Clark national parks and preserves

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Tibbitts, Lee; Gill, Robert E.; Handel, Colleen M.

    2007-01-01

    As part of the National Park Service’s Inventory and Monitoring Program, biologists from the U. S. Geological Survey’s Alaska Science Center conducted an inventory of birds in montane regions of Katmai and Lake Clark National Parks and Preserves during 2004–2006. We used a stratified random survey design to allocate samples by ecological subsection. To survey for birds, we conducted counts at 468 points across 29, 10-km x 10-km (6.2-mi x 6.2-mi) sample plots in Katmai and 417 points across 25, 10-km x 10-km sample plots in Lake Clark. We detected 92 and 104 species in Katmai and Lake Clark, respectively, including 40 species of conservation concern. We detected three species not previously recorded in Katmai (Ring-necked Duck [Aythya collaris], Lesser Scaup [Aythya affinis], and White-tailed Ptarmigan [Lagopus leucurus]) and two species not previously recorded in Lake Clark (Northern Flicker [Colaptes auratus ] and Olive-sided Flycatcher [Contopus cooperi]). The most commonly detected species in both parks was Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla); Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) and American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) were abundant and widely-distributed as well. We defined sites as low (100–350 m), middle (351–600 m), or high (601–1,620 m) elevation based on the distribution of vegetation cover, and similarly categorized the 34 most-commonly detected species based on the mean elevation of sample points at which they were detected. High elevation (i.e., alpine) sites were characterized by high percent cover of dwarf shrub and bare ground habitat and supported species like Rock Ptarmigan (L. mutus), American Golden-Plover (Pluvialis dominica), Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana), Surfbird (Aphriza virgata), and Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis), all species of conservation concern. This inventory represents the first systematic survey of birds nesting in montane regions of both parks. Results from this inventory can form the foundation of

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

    We used data from aerial surveys (1992-2010) of >100,000 km(2) and ground surveys (1998-2004) of >150 km(2) to estimate the density and abundance of birds on the North Slope of Alaska (U.S.A.). In the ground surveys, we used double sampling to estimate detection ratios. We used the aerial survey data to compare densities of birds and Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), the major nest predator of birds, on the North Slope, in Prudhoe Bay, and in nearby areas. We partitioned the Prudhoe Bay oil field into 2 × 2 km plots and determined the relation between density of aquatic birds and density of roads, buildings, and other infrastructure in these plots. Abundance and density (birds per square kilometer) of 3 groups of aquatic birds-waterfowl, loons, and grebes; shorebirds; and gulls, terns, and jaegers-were highest in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA) and lowest in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Six other major wetlands occur in the Arctic regions of Canada and Russia, but the largest population of aquatic birds was in the NPRA. Aquatic birds were concentrated in the northern part of the NPRA. For example, an area that covered 18% of the NPRA included 53% of its aquatic birds. The aerial surveys showed that bird density was not lower and fox density was not higher in Prudhoe Bay than in surrounding areas. Density of infrastructure did not significantly affect bird density for any group of species. Our results establish that the NPRA is one of the most important areas for aquatic birds in the Arctic. Our results and those of others also indicate that oil production, as practiced in Prudhoe Bay, does not necessarily lead to substantial declines in bird density or productivity in or near the developed areas. Prioridades para la Conservación de Aves en el Norte de Alaska.

  1. Effects of Seasonal Weather on Breeding Phenology and Reproductive Success of Alpine Ptarmigan in Colorado

    PubMed Central

    Wann, Gregory T.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Braun, Clait E.

    2016-01-01

    Animal populations occurring at high elevations are often assumed to be in peril of extinctions or local extirpations due to elevational-dispersal limitations and thermoregulatory constraints as habitats change and warm. However, long-term monitoring of high-elevation populations is uncommon relative to those occurring at lower elevations, and evidence supporting this assumption is limited. We analyzed 45 years of reproductive data for two Colorado populations of white-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura), an alpine-endemic species with restricted distribution in western North America. Seasonal temperatures measured by the number of growing degree days warmed significantly at our study sites for pre-nesting, nesting, and brood-rearing seasonal periods (mean advance of 8 growing degree days per decade), and both populations advanced their reproductive phenology over the study period based on median hatch dates (median advance of 3.7 and 1.9 days per decade for the northern and southern sites, respectively). Reproductive performance measured by the number of chicks per hen declined significantly at one study site but not the other, and differences between sites may have been due to habitat degradation at one study area. Annual variability in chicks per hen was large at both sites but only weakly related to seasonal weather. An index of precipitation and temperature during the brood-rearing period was the best predictor for reproductive success with warm and dry conditions relating positively to number of chicks per hen. Our results provide evidence for two alpine ptarmigan populations that are remarkably invariant to fluctuations in seasonal weather with respect to reproductive success as measured by number of chicks per hen in the breeding population. These results are surprising given the general perception of alpine animal populations as being highly sensitive to warming temperatures. PMID:27420478

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1994-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2003-11-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2006-01-01

    • Background and Aims The organization of rRNA genes in cultivated Plantago ovata Forsk. and several of its wild allies was analysed to gain insight into the phylogenetic relationships of these species in the genus which includes some 200 species. • Methods Specific primers were designed to amplify the internal transcribed spacer (ITS1 and ITS2) regions from seven Plantago species and the resulting fragments were cloned and sequenced. Similarly, using specific primers, the 5S rRNA genes from these species were amplified and subsequently cloned. Fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) was used for physical mapping of 5S and 45S ribosomal RNA genes. • Results The ITS1 region is 19–29 bp longer than the ITS2 in different Plantago species. The 5S rRNA gene-repeating unit varies in length from 289 to 581 bp. Coding regions are highly conserved across species, but the non-transcribed spacers (NTS) do not match any database sequences. The clone from the cultivated species P. ovata was used for physical mapping of these genes by FISH. Four species have one FISH site while three have two FISH sites. In P. lanceolata and P. rhodosperma, the 5S and 45S (18S-5·8S-25S) sites are coupled. • Conclusions Characterization of 5S and 45S rRNA genes has indicated a possible origin of P. ovata, the only cultivated species of the genus and also the only species with x = 4, from a species belonging to subgenus Psyllium. Based on the studies reported here, P. ovata is closest to P. arenaria, although on the basis of other data the two species have been placed in different subgenera. FISH mapping can be used as an efficient tool to help determine phylogenetic relationships in the genus Plantago and show the interrelationship between P. lanceolata and P. lagopus. PMID:16481363

  8. Bioinformatic analysis based on the complete coding region of the MSTN gene within and among different species.

    PubMed

    Song, X C; Xu, C; Yue, Z G; Wang, L; Wang, G W; Yang, F H

    2016-04-07

    Myostatin, encoded by the MSTN gene (previously GDF8), is a member of the transforming growth factor-β superfamily, which normally acts to limit skeletal muscle mass by regulating the number and growth of muscle fibers. In this study, a total of 84 myostatin gene sequences with known complete coding regions (CDS) and corresponding amino acid sequences were analyzed from 17 species, and differentiation within and among species was studied using comparative genomics and bioinformatics. Characteristics of the nucleotide and amino acid sequences were also predicted. The results indicated that a total of 569 polymorphic sites, including 53 singleton variable sites and 516 parsimony informative sites, which could be sorted into 44 haplotypes, were detected from 17 species. Observed genetic diversity was higher among species than within species, and Vulpes lagopus was more polymorphic than other species. There was clear differentiation of the myostatin gene among species and the reconstructed phylogenetic tree was consistent with the NCBI taxonomy. The myostatin gene was 375-aa long in most species, except for Mus musculus (376 aa) and Danio rerio (373 aa). The amino acid sequences of myostatin were deemed hydrophilic, and had theoretical pI values of <7.0, mostly due to the acidic polypeptide. The instability index of the myostatin protein was 40.48-51.63, indicating that the polypeptide is not stable. The G+C content of the CDS nucleotide sequence in different species was 40.60-51.69%. The predicted promoter region of the Ovis aries myostatin gene was 150-220 bp upstream of the start codon.

  9. Genetic Recombination in Coprinus. IV. a Kinetic Study of the Temperature Effect on Recombination Frequency.

    PubMed

    Lu, B C

    1974-10-01

    At the restrictive conditions (35 degrees under continuous light) Coprinus lagopus is unable to initiate premeiotic S phase which takes place normally within 8-10 h of karyogamy. A shift-up to the restrictive conditions causes an arrest of the basidiocarps at this critical stage. A prolonged arrest causes a reversal to mitosis (Lu 1974b). Incubation of basidiocarps at the restrictive conditions before this critical stage causes no increase in recombination frequency (R.F.) in the loci studied. An arrest of 4 h at the critical stage still causes no R.F. increase, but 12-13 h and 18-19 h arrests cause increases of 50% and 90% over the controls, respectively. Thus R.F. can be increased even before the cells are fully committed to meiosis.-A 3-h heat treatment at the beginning of S phase (or 8 h before karyogamy) also causes some (30%) increase in R.F. while the same treatment at late S phase (or 3 h before karyogamy) causes a substantial (164%) increase in R.F. over the controls. A 3-h heat treatment before S phase causes no increase in R.F.-Pachytene is also responsive to temperature treatments (Lu 1969). The maximum R.f. increase is 100% by heat and 220% by cold treatment. The shortest time that can cause the maximum increase in recombination by high temperature is 3 h and that by cold treatment is 7 h. These durations are correlated with the length of the pachytene stage under the treatment conditions. The kinetic data show that the increase in R.F. caused by high and low temperatures follows two-hit kinetics and their rate of increase is almost identical. The higher increase in R.F. by low temperature can be attributed to the increased duration of pachytene and therefore R.F. is a function of time. The longer the homologous chromosomes are held together, the higher the recombination frequency.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-05-01

    1. Flows of nutrients and energy across ecosystem boundaries have the potential to subsidize consumer populations and modify the dynamics of food webs, but how spatio-temporal variations in autochthonous and allochthonous resources affect consumers' subsidization remains largely unexplored. 2. We studied spatio-temporal patterns in the allochthonous subsidization of a predator living in a relatively simple ecosystem. We worked on Bylot Island (Nunavut, Canada), where arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus L.) feed preferentially on lemmings (Lemmus trimucronatus and Dicrostonyx groenlandicus Traill), and alternatively on colonial greater snow geese (Anser caerulescens atlanticus L.). Geese migrate annually from their wintering grounds (where they feed on farmlands and marshes) to the Canadian Arctic, thus generating a strong flow of nutrients and energy across ecosystem boundaries. 3. We examined the influence of spatial variations in availability of geese on the diet of fox cubs (2003-2005) and on fox reproductive output (1996-2005) during different phases of the lemming cycle. 4. Using stable isotope analysis and a simple statistical routine developed to analyse the outputs of a multisource mixing model (SIAR), we showed that the contribution of geese to the diet of arctic fox cubs decreased with distance from the goose colony. 5. The probability that a den was used for reproduction by foxes decreased with distance from the subsidized goose colony and increased with lemming abundance. When lemmings were highly abundant, the effect of distance from the colony disappeared. The goose colony thus generated a spatial patterning of reproduction probability of foxes, while the lemming cycle generated a strong temporal variation of reproduction probability of foxes. 6. This study shows how the input of energy owing to the large-scale migration of prey affects the functional and reproductive responses of an opportunistic consumer, and how this input is spatially and

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-05-01

    1. Habitat heterogeneity and predator behaviour can strongly affect predator-prey interactions but these factors are rarely considered simultaneously, especially when systems encompass multiple predators and prey. 2. In the Arctic, greater snow geese Anser caerulescens atlanticus L. nest in two structurally different habitats: wetlands that form intricate networks of water channels, and mesic tundra where such obstacles are absent. In this heterogeneous environment, goose eggs are exposed to two types of predators: the arctic fox Vulpes lagopus L. and a diversity of avian predators. We hypothesized that, contrary to birds, the hunting ability of foxes would be impaired by the structurally complex wetland habitat, resulting in a lower predation risk for goose eggs. 3. In addition, lemmings, the main prey of foxes, show strong population cycles. We thus further examined how their fluctuations influenced the interaction between habitat heterogeneity and fox predation on goose eggs. 4. An experimental approach with artificial nests suggested that foxes were faster than avian predators to find unattended goose nests in mesic tundra whereas the reverse was true in wetlands. Foxes spent 3.5 times more time between consecutive attacks on real goose nests in wetlands than in mesic tundra. Their attacks on goose nests were also half as successful in wetlands than in mesic tundra whereas no difference was found for avian predators. 5. Nesting success in wetlands (65%) was higher than in mesic tundra (56%) but the difference between habitats increased during lemming crashes (15%) compared to other phases of the cycle (5%). Nests located at the edge of wetland patches were also less successful than central ones, suggesting a gradient in accessibility of goose nests in wetlands for foxes. 6. Our study shows that the structural complexity of wetlands decreases predation risk from foxes but not avian predators in arctic-nesting birds. Our results also demonstrate that cyclic

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

    PubMed Central

    Dubey, J. P.; Sykes, J. E.; Shelton, G. D.; Sharp, N.; Verma, S. K.; Calero-Bernal, R.; Viviano, J.; Sundar, N.; Khan, A.; Grigg, M. E.

    2014-01-01

    , a parasite known to infect Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus). PMID:25256157

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2008-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

    parasite known to infect Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus).

  15. Schmallenberg virus in Culicoides spp. biting midges, the Netherlands, 2011.

    PubMed

    Elbers, Armin R W; Meiswinkel, Rudy; van Weezep, Erik; Sloet van Oldruitenborgh-Oosterbaan, Marianne M; Kooi, Engbert A

    2013-01-01

    To determine which species of Culicoides biting midges carry Schmallenberg virus (SBV), we assayed midges collected in the Netherlands during autumn 2011. SBV RNA was found in C. scoticus, C. obsoletus sensu stricto, and C. chiopterus. The high proportion of infected midges might explain the rapid spread of SBV throughout Europe.

  16. Schmallenberg Virus in Culicoides spp. Biting Midges, the Netherlands, 2011

    PubMed Central

    Meiswinkel, Rudy; van Weezep, Erik; Sloet van Oldruitenborgh-Oosterbaan, Marianne M.; Kooi, Engbert A.

    2013-01-01

    To determine which species of Culicoides biting midges carry Schmallenberg virus (SBV), we assayed midges collected in the Netherlands during autumn 2011. SBV RNA was found in C. scoticus, C. obsoletus sensu stricto, and C. chiopterus. The high proportion of infected midges might explain the rapid spread of SBV throughout Europe. PMID:23260040

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

    PubMed

    Sonne, Christian

    2010-07-01

    The aim of this review is to provide a thorough overview of the health effects from the complexed biomagnified mixture of long-range transported industrial organochlorines (OCs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) and mercury (Hg) on polar bear (Ursus maritimus) health. Multiple scientific studies of polar bears indicate negative relationships between exposure to these contaminants and health parameters; however, these are all of a correlative nature and do not represent true cause-and-effects. Therefore, information from controlled studies of farmed Norwegian Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) and housed East and West Greenland sledge dogs (Canis familiaris) were included as supportive weight of evidence in the clarification of contaminant exposure and health effects in polar bears. The review showed that hormone and vitamin concentrations, liver, kidney and thyroid gland morphology as well as reproductive and immune systems of polar bears are likely to be influenced by contaminant exposure. Furthermore, exclusively based on polar bear contaminant studies, bone density reduction and neurochemical disruption and DNA hypomethylation of the brain stem seemed to occur. The range of tissue concentration, at which these alterations were observed in polar bears, were ca. 1-70,000 ng/g lw for OCs (blood plasma concentrations of some PCB metabolites even higher), ca. 1-1000 ng/g lw for PBDEs and for PFCs and Hg 114-3052 ng/g ww and 0.1-50 microg/g ww, respectively. Similar concentrations were found in farmed foxes and housed sledge dogs while the lack of dose response designs did not allow an estimation of threshold levels for oral exposure and accumulated tissue concentrations. Nor was it possible to pinpoint a specific group of contaminants being more important than others nor analyze their interactions. For East Greenland polar bears the corresponding daily SigmaOC and SigmaPBDE oral exposure was estimated to be 35 and 0.34 microg/kg body

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Booms, Travis L.; Fuller, Mark R.; Schempf, Philip F.; McCaffery, Brian J.; Lindberg, Mark S.; Watson, Richard T.; Cade, Tom J.; Fuller, Mark; Hunt, Grainger; Potapov, Eugene

    2011-01-01

    Assessing the status of Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) and other cliffnesting raptors as the Arctic climate changes often requires aerial surveys of their breeding habitats. Because traditional, count-based surveys that do not adjust for differing detection probabilities can provide faulty inference about population status (Link and Sauer 1998, Thompson 2002), it will be important to incorporate measures of detection probability into survey methods whenever possible. To evaluate the feasibility of this, we conducted repeated aerial surveys for breeding cliff-nesting raptors on the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge (YDNWR) in western Alaska to estimate detection probabilities of Gyrfalcons, Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus), and also Common Ravens (Corvus corax). Using the program PRESENCE, we modeled detection histories of each species based on single species occupancy modeling following MacKenzie et al. (2002, 2006). We used different observers during four helicopter replicate surveys in the Kilbuck Mountains and five fixed-wing replicate surveys in the Ingakslugwat Hills (hereafter called Volcanoes) near Bethel, Alaska. We used the following terms and definitions throughout: Survey Site: site of a nest used previously by a raptor and marked with a GPS-obtained latitude and longitude accurate to within 20 m. All GPS locations were obtained in prior years from a helicopter hovering approximately 10?20 m from a nest. The site was considered occupied if a bird or an egg was detected within approximately 500 m of the nest and this area served as our sampling unit. When multiple historical nests were located on a single cliff, we used only one GPS location to locate the survey site. Detection probability (p): the probability of a species being detected at a site given the site is occupied. Occupancy (?): the probability that the species of interest is present at a site during the survey period. A site was considered occupied if the

  19. Birds of the Kilbuck and Ahklun mountain region, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Petersen, Margaret R.; Weir, Douglas N.; Dick, Matthew H.

    1991-01-01

    Between 1952 and 1988, we studied the abundance, distribution, occurrence, and habitats used by birds in the northwest portion of Bristol Bay and the adjacent Kilbuck and Ahklun mountains. In the 809 days we were present, we conducted 53 studies or surveys of birds in the region. We gathered information on 185 species, of which 65% (121) nested, 10% (19) probably nested, and 11% (21) were permanent residents in the region. Most breeding or probably breeding forms were of North American (58%; 81) or Beringian (24%; 33) affinity, while the remainder of the species were of Panboreal (17%; 24) and Old World (1%; 2) affinity. Similarly, most of the 44 migrants and visitants were of North American (41%; 18) affinity, while the remainder were of Beringian (32%; 14) and Panboreal (27%; 12) affinity. Of the 140 species that nested or probably nested, 53% (73) were abundant to fairly common, 29% (40) were uncommon to very rare, and 20% (27) were localized. Shrub thicket, dwarf shrub mat, coniferous forest, deciduous forest, mixed deciduous-coniferous forest, and fluviatile water and shoreline habitats supported the greatest diversity of species breeding and suspected of breeding. The highest concentrations of birds occurred in the estuaries of Nanvak, Chagvan, and Goodnews bays during spring and fall migrations and on the coastal and island cliffs during the breeding season.The information presented here provides the basis for range extensions of several species. Our records further clarify the known or probable Alaska breeding ranges of 11 species (fork-tailed storm-petrel, Oceanodroma furcata; double-crested cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus; red-faced cormorant, Phatacrocorax utile, brant, Branta bernicla; king eider, Somateria spectabilis; white-tailed ptarmigan, Lagopus leucurus; black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola; Pacific golden-plover, Pluvialis fulva; lesser yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes; Say's phoebe, Sayomis saya; and Bohemian waxwing, Bombycilla garrulus). We

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-07-01

    Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) encompass an array of anthropogenic organic and elemental substances and their degradation and metabolic byproducts that have been found in the tissues of exposed animals, especially POPs categorized as organohalogen contaminants (OHCs). OHCs have been of concern in the circumpolar arctic for decades. For example, as a consequence of bioaccumulation and in some cases biomagnification of legacy (e.g., chlorinated PCBs, DDTs and CHLs) and emerging (e.g., brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and in particular polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA) found in Arctic biota and humans. Of high concern are the potential biological effects of these contaminants in exposed Arctic wildlife and fish. As concluded in the last review in 2004 for the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) on the effects of POPs in Arctic wildlife, prior to 1997, biological effects data were minimal and insufficient at any level of biological organization. The present review summarizes recent studies on biological effects in relation to OHC exposure, and attempts to assess known tissue/body compartment concentration data in the context of possible threshold levels of effects to evaluate the risks. This review concentrates mainly on post-2002, new OHC effects data in Arctic wildlife and fish, and is largely based on recently available effects data for populations of several top trophic level species, including seabirds (e.g., glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus)), polar bears (Ursus maritimus), polar (Arctic) fox (Vulpes lagopus), and Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus), as well as semi-captive studies on sled dogs (Canis familiaris). Regardless, there remains a dearth of data on true contaminant exposure, cause-effect relationships with respect to these contaminant exposures in Arctic wildlife and fish. Indications of exposure effects are largely

  1. The emergence of Schmallenberg virus across Culicoides communities and ecosystems in Europe.

    PubMed

    Balenghien, Thomas; Pagès, Nonito; Goffredo, Maria; Carpenter, Simon; Augot, Denis; Jacquier, Elisabeth; Talavera, Sandra; Monaco, Federica; Depaquit, Jérôme; Grillet, Colette; Pujols, Joan; Satta, Giuseppe; Kasbari, Mohamed; Setier-Rio, Marie-Laure; Izzo, Francesca; Alkan, Cigdem; Delécolle, Jean-Claude; Quaglia, Michela; Charrel, Rémi; Polci, Andrea; Bréard, Emmanuel; Federici, Valentina; Cêtre-Sossah, Catherine; Garros, Claire

    2014-10-15

    Schmallenberg virus (SBV), a novel arboviral pathogen, has emerged and spread across Europe since 2011 inflicting congenital deformities in the offspring of infected adult ruminants. Several species of Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) have been implicated in the transmission of SBV through studies conducted in northern Europe. In this study Culicoides from SBV outbreak areas of mainland France and Italy (Sardinia) were screened for viral RNA. The role of both C. obsoletus and the Obsoletus complex (C. obsoletus and C. scoticus) in transmission of SBV were confirmed in France and SBV was also discovered in a pool of C. nubeculosus for the first time, implicating this species as a potential vector. While collections in Sardinia were dominated by C. imicola, only relatively small quantities of SBV RNA were detected in pools of this species and conclusive evidence of its potential role in transmission is required. In addition to these field-based studies, infection rates in colony-derived individuals of C. nubeculosus and field-collected C. scoticus are also examined in the laboratory. Rates of infection in C. nubeculosus were low, confirming previous studies, while preliminary examination of C. scoticus demonstrated that while this species can replicate SBV to a potentially transmissible level, further work is required to fully define comparative competence between species in the region. Finally, the oral competence for SBV of two abundant and widespread mosquito vector species in the laboratory is assessed. Neither Aedes albopictus nor Culex pipiens were demonstrated to replicate SBV to transmissible levels and appear unlikely to play a major role in transmission. Other vector competence data produced from studies across Europe to date is then comprehensively reviewed and compared with that generated previously for bluetongue virus.

  2. Phenotypic differentiation and phylogenetic signal of wing shape in western European biting midges, Culicoides spp., of the subgenus Avaritia.

    PubMed

    Muñoz-Muñoz, F; Talavera, S; Carpenter, S; Nielsen, S A; Werner, D; Pagès, N

    2014-09-01

    In the past decade biting midges of the subgenus Avaritia (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) have been popular subjects of applied entomological studies in Europe owing to their implication as biological vectors in outbreaks of bluetongue and Schmallenberg viruses. This study uses a combination of cytochrome oxidase subunit I barcode sequencing and geometric morphometric analyses to investigate wing shape as a means to infer species identification within this subgenus. In addition the congruence of morphological data with different phylogenetic hypotheses is tested. Five different species of the subgenus Avaritia were considered in the study (C. obsoletus (Meigen); C. scoticus Kettle and Lawson; C. chiopterus (Meigen); C. dewulfi Goetghebuer and C. imicola (Kieffer)). The study demonstrated that over 90% of individuals could be separated correctly into species by their wing shape and that patterns of morphological differentiation derived from the geometric morphometric analyses were congruent with phylogenies generated from sequencing data. Morphological data produced are congruent with monophyly of the subgenus Avaritia and the exclusion of C. dewulfi from the group containing C. obsoletus, C. scoticus and C. chiopterus. The implications of these results and their importance in a wider context of integrating multiple data types to interpret both phylogeny and species characterization is discussed.

  3. A survey of Culicoides developmental sites on a farm in northern Spain, with a brief review of immature habitats of European species.

    PubMed

    González, Mikel; López, Sergio; Mullens, Bradley A; Baldet, Thierry; Goldarazena, Arturo

    2013-01-16

    Culicoides species (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) belonging to the Obsoletus and Pulicaris groups are considered to be the main vectors of bluetongue virus (BTV) in non Mediterranean Europe. Selected terrestrial microhabitats (n=17) on a farm in northern Spain were sampled repeatedly over a year-long period and characterized for use by Culicoides species for immature development. Concurrent use of CDC light traps showed the presence of 37 species and 66,575 specimens of adult Culicoides. A total of 28 species and 11,396 individuals emerged from laboratory-maintained soil samples. Culicoides obsoletus and Culicoides scoticus (pooled as Obsoletus complex) were particularly abundant (comprising 58.6% and 74.5% of the total collections in light traps and emergence traps respectively). Potential key vectors of animal viruses (such as BTV) were found in two main terrestrial types of microhabitats. In the case of C. obsoletus, different types of manure (old and composted manure, manure mixed with organic matter, and fresh manure) produced most of the specimens. In contrast, larvae of C. scoticus and Culicoides lupicaris were associated with soil substantially comprised of rotting leaf litter that included the parasitic plant Lathraea clandestina. Several species, Culicoides festivipennis, Culicoides punctatus and Culicoides brunnicans, were very common in mud at pond margins. Indeed, pond microhabitats and runoff below barn rooflines supported the greatest species richness. In the pond habitat, 49.4% of Culicoides specimens emerged from mud at the water edge, as opposed to 50 cm above (32.4%) and 1 meter above waterline (18%). Similar species richness, but statistically significant differences in abundance, were observed among the four pond microhabitats. Overall, the majority of the specimens were found in the upper layer (0-3 cm), except in manure, where they preferred deeper layers (>6 cm). Maximum peaks of abundance occurred in both light traps and soil samples in summer

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  6. Comparison of different light sources for trapping Culicoides biting midges, mosquitoes and other dipterans.

    PubMed

    González, Mikel; Alarcón-Elbal, Pedro María; Valle-Mora, Javier; Goldarazena, Arturo

    2016-08-15

    The response of Culicoides biting midges, mosquitoes and other dipterans to different wavelengths was evaluated in a farm meadow in northern Spain. A total of 9449 specimens of 23 species of Culicoides, 5495 other ceratopogonids (non-biting midges), 602 culicids and 12428 other mixed dipterans were captured. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suction light traps fitted with five light emitting diodes (LEDs) (white, green, red, blue, ultraviolet) were run for 15 consecutive nights. Significantly more Culicoides were collected in those traps fitted with green, blue or ultraviolet (UV) lights than in red and white-baited LED traps for the most abundant species captured: C. punctatus (37.5%), C. cataneii (26.5%) and C. obsoletus/C. scoticus (20.4%). Similar results were obtained for non-Culicoides ceratopogonids, mosquitoes and other mixed dipterans. Wavelengths in green (570nm) resulted effective for targeting some Culicoides species, culicids and other midges. In a second trial, the effectiveness of 4-W white and UV tubes was compared to traps fitted with UV LED and a standard incandescent light bulb. More specimens of all taxa were collected with fluorescent black light (UV) traps than with the other light sources, except culicids, which were recovered in high numbers from fluorescent white light traps.

  7. Phylogenetic analysis of Culicoides species from France based on nuclear ITS1-rDNA sequences.

    PubMed

    Perrin, A; Cetre-Sossah, C; Mathieu, B; Baldet, T; Delecolle, J-C; Albina, E

    2006-06-01

    Biting midges of the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) play important roles in the transmission of viral diseases affecting wild and domestic ruminants and horses, including Bluetongue (BT) and African horse sickness (AHS) respectively. In southern Europe, BT has been largely transmitted by the classical Afro-Asian vector Culicoides imicola Kieffer. However, other species such as C. obsoletus Meigen, C. scoticus Downs & Kettle and C. pulicaris Linné may also be involved in BTV transmission. As a consequence of the discovery of C. imicola followed by BTV-2 outbreaks on the island of Corsica in October 2000, further studies on these biting midges have been carried out. To better characterize the evolution and phylogenetic relations of Culicoides, molecular analysis in parallel with a morphology-based taxonomic approach were performed. Phylogenetic analyses of French Culicoides species were undertaken using the ribosomal DNA (rDNA) internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) as a molecular target. This region was shown to be useful in understanding evolutionary and genetic relationships between species. Construction of several trees showed that molecular phylogeny within the genus Culicoides correlates not only with morphological-based taxonomy but also with ecological patterns.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-03-17

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

  9. Larval development and emergence sites of farm-associated Culicoides in the United Kingdom.

    PubMed

    Harrup, L E; Purse, B V; Golding, N; Mellor, P S; Carpenter, S

    2013-12-01

    Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are the biological vectors of internationally important arboviruses of livestock including bluetongue virus (BTV). Information on the habitats used by Culicoides for larval development is valuable for establishing targeted vector control strategies and for improving local scale models of vector abundance. This study combines emergence trap collections of adult Culicoides identified using molecular markers and physiochemical measurements of habitats to investigate larval development sites of Palaearctic Culicoides in South East England. The known range of larval habitats for several Culicoides species is extended and the potential BTV vector species C. obsoletus and C. scoticus are confirmed to co-occur in many larval habitats. The presence of emerging C. obsoletus was favoured by increasing substrate moisture level [odds ratio (OR) 6.94 (2.30; 20.90)] and substrate pH [OR 4.80 (1.66; 13.90)] [bias-corrected Dxy : 0.68; area under the curve (AUC): 0.86] rather than any particular larval habitat type, as expected for a species with relatively wide larval habitat preference. Of the newly emerged sub-genus Avaritia individuals collected, 23% were observed to have a degree of abdominal pigmentation commonly inferred to indicate parity. If consistent across species and locations, this observation represents a potential source of error for age structure analyses of Culicoides populations.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Zimmer, Jean-Yves; Smeets, François; Simonon, Grégory; Fagot, Jean; Haubruge, Eric; Francis, Frédéric; Losson, Bertrand

    2013-01-01

    Several species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) biting midges serve as biological vectors for the bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently described Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in northern Europe. Since their recent emergence in this part of the continent, these diseases have caused considerable economic losses to the sheep and cattle industries. Much data is now available that describe the distribution, population dynamics, and feeding habits of these insects. However, little is known regarding the presence of Culicoides in unusual habitats such as peaty marshes, nor their potential vector capacity. This study evaluated Culicoides biting midges present in the bogs of a Belgian nature reserve compared to those residing at a nearby cattle farm. Culicoides were trapped in 2011 at four different sites (broadleaved and coniferous forested areas, open environments, and at a scientific station) located in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium). An additional light trap was operated on a nearby cattle farm. Very high numbers of biting midges were captured in the marshy area and most of them (70 to 95%) were Culicoides impunctatus, a potential vector of BTV and other pathogens. In addition, fewer numbers of C. obsoletus/C. scoticus species, C. chiopterus, and C. dewulfi were observed in the bogs compared to the farm. The wet environment and oligotrophic nature of the soil were probably responsible for these changes in the respective populations. A total of 297,808 Culicoides midges belonging to 27 species were identified during this study and 3 of these species (C. sphagnumensis, C. clintoni and C. comosioculatus) were described in Belgium for the first time. PMID:23799137

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Zimmer, Jean-Yves; Smeets, François; Simonon, Grégory; Fagot, Jean; Haubruge, Eric; Francis, Frédéric; Losson, Bertrand

    2013-01-01

    Several species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) biting midges serve as biological vectors for the bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently described Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in northern Europe. Since their recent emergence in this part of the continent, these diseases have caused considerable economic losses to the sheep and cattle industries. Much data is now available that describe the distribution, population dynamics, and feeding habits of these insects. However, little is known regarding the presence of Culicoides in unusual habitats such as peaty marshes, nor their potential vector capacity. This study evaluated Culicoides biting midges present in the bogs of a Belgian nature reserve compared to those residing at a nearby cattle farm. Culicoides were trapped in 2011 at four different sites (broadleaved and coniferous forested areas, open environments, and at a scientific station) located in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve (Belgium). An additional light trap was operated on a nearby cattle farm. Very high numbers of biting midges were captured in the marshy area and most of them (70 to 95%) were Culicoides impunctatus, a potential vector of BTV and other pathogens. In addition, fewer numbers of C. obsoletus/C. scoticus species, C. chiopterus, and C. dewulfi were observed in the bogs compared to the farm. The wet environment and oligotrophic nature of the soil were probably responsible for these changes in the respective populations. A total of 297,808 Culicoides midges belonging to 27 species were identified during this study and 3 of these species (C. sphagnumensis, C. clintoni and C. comosioculatus) were described in Belgium for the first time.

  14. Gestation length in red deer: genetically determined or environmentally controlled?

    PubMed

    Asher, G W

    2007-01-01

    The red deer (Cervus elaphus) of European origin (e.g. subspecies scoticus, hispanicus, hippelaphus) is a medium sized (100-150kg mature hind weight) ruminant that exhibits highly seasonally patterns of autumn conceptions and summer births. Historic data indicate average (+/- s.d.) gestation length of 233-234 (+/- 2-4) days. Recently, however, there has been growing awareness that there is considerably greater variation in gestation length than earlier indicated and that there is a significant element of environmental, and possibly even social, control over the duration of pregnancy in this species. Imposition of variable levels of nutrition over late pregnancy of red deer hinds has been observed to influence fetal growth trajectory and gestation length, with no apparent effect on birth weight. This supports a hypothesis that under conditions of modest feed imbalance, variation in gestation length compensates for variation in fetal growth trajectory to ensure optimisation of birth weight. More recent studies on primiparous (24 month old) red deer hinds have identified surprisingly large variation in gestation length (193-263 days) compared with adult hinds (228-243 days), with earlier conceiving individuals within the primiparous cohort expressing significantly longer gestation than the later conceiving hinds, resulting in a higher level of calving synchrony than expected from known conception dates. This introduces an intriguing hypothesis of social indicative effects on parturition timing to promote within-cohort birth synchrony. Collectively, these data debunk the commonly held notion that gestation length of red deer is genetically fixed within strict limits. A review of the literature points to this as possibly a common phenomenon across a range of non-domesticated ruminant species but this conclusion is not supported by numerous conflicting studies on domestic sheep and cattle.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  18. The phenology and population dynamics of Culicoides spp. in different ecosystems in The Netherlands.

    PubMed

    Takken, Willem; Verhulst, Niels; Scholte, Ernst-Jan; Jacobs, Frans; Jongema, Yde; van Lammeren, Ron

    2008-10-15

    The Netherlands has enjoyed a relatively free state of vector-borne diseases of economic importance for more than one century. Emerging infectious diseases may change this situation, threatening the health of humans, domestic livestock and wildlife. In order to be prepared for the potential outbreak of vector-borne diseases, a study was undertaken to investigate the distribution and seasonal dynamics of candidate vectors of infectious diseases with emphasis on bluetongue vectors (Culicoides spp.). The study focused primarily on the relationship between characteristic ecosystems suitable for bluetongue vectors and climate, as well as on the phenology and population dynamics of these vectors. Twelve locations were selected, distributed over four distinct habitats: a wetland area, three riverine systems, four peat land areas and four livestock farms. Culicoides populations were sampled continuously using CO(2)-baited counterflow traps from July 2005 until August 2006, with an interruption from November 2005 to March 2006. All vectors were identified to species level. Meteorological and environmental data were collected at each location. Culicoides species were found in all four different habitat types studied. Wetland areas and peat bogs were rich in Culicoides spp. The taxonomic groups Culicoides obsoletus (Meigen) and Culicoides pulicaris (Linnaeus) were strongly associated with farms. Eighty-eight percent of all Culicoides consisted of the taxon C. obsoletus/Culicoides scoticus. On the livestock farms, 3% of Culicoides existed of the alleged bluetongue vector Culicoides dewulfi Goetghebuer. Culicoides impunctatus Goetghebuer was strongly associated with wetland and peat bog. Many Culicoides species were found until late in the phenological season and their activity was strongly associated with climate throughout the year. High annual variations in population dynamics were observed within the same study areas, which were probably caused by annual variations in

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

    PubMed

    Pérez-Barbería, F J; Carranza, J; Sánchez-Prieto, C

    2015-01-01

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

  20. The effect of conception date on gestation length of red deer (Cervus elaphus).

    PubMed

    Scott, I C; Asher, G W; Archer, J A; Littlejohn, R P

    2008-12-01

    Recent studies have demonstrated that gestation length of red deer (Cervus elaphus) is highly variable and influenced by various environmental factors, and this may confer survival advantages for neonates. The current study investigated the relationship between conception date and gestation length to test the hypothesis that within-herd synchrony of red deer births is facilitated by a 'push/pull' control over gestation length, such that hinds conceiving early and late in the breeding season have longer and shorter gestation periods, respectively. In Study 1, data on conception and calving dates were obtained for 393 naturally cycling hinds across two herds. In Study 2, conception and calving dates were obtained from 91 hinds in which oestrus/conception were artificially synchronised across a 4-week range of dates spanning the natural rut. Gestation length for each population was analysed by linear regression, fitting conception day followed by terms for the fixed effect which included hind age (pubertal vs. adult), hind genotype (Cervus elaphus scoticus vs. Cervus elaphus hippelaphus and their crossbreds), calf sex, sire genotype (Study 1 only), birth weight and year. In Study 1, both populations of naturally cycling hinds exhibited highly significant (P<0.001) negative slopes (-0.36, -0.49) for the regression of gestation length against conception date, with indications of a significant hind genotype effect favouring shorter overall gestation lengths for crossbred hinds. Other effects for hind age, calf sex, birth weight, sire genotype and year were not significant. In Study 2, in which conception dates were artificially induced, there was a highly significant negative slope (-0.19), with a notable but non-significant effect of hind age favouring shorter overall gestation length for primiparous (pubertal) hinds (P>0.05). Other effects for hind live weight, calf sex and calf birth weight were not significant. All data sets support the hypothesis, and indicate that

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

    PubMed Central

    Pérez-Barbería, F. J.; Carranza, J.; Sánchez-Prieto, C.

    2015-01-01

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

  2. Reproductive performance of pubertal red deer (Cervus elaphus) hinds: effects of genetic introgression of wapiti subspecies on pregnancy rates at 18 months of age.

    PubMed

    Asher, G W; Archer, J A; Scott, I C; O'Neill, K T; Ward, J; Littlejohn, R P

    2005-12-01

    Low reproductive productivity of young red deer (Cervus elaphus) hinds on New Zealand deer farms appears to reflect high incidences of puberty failure at 16 months of age. This is despite the general attainment of average liveweights 15-25 kg in excess of the accepted minimum threshold for puberty in subspecies of western European origin (scoticus, elaphus and hippelaphus) that form the basis of the national herd. The present study tests the hypotheses that introgression of the larger North American wapiti subspecies (nelsoni, manitobensis and roosevelti) into breeding herds (1) can be assessed from morphological features of individuals, (2) that there is a relationship between the level of wapiti parentage and non-pregnancy rate at 18 months of age (a proxy for puberty failure) and (3) that minimum liveweight thresholds for puberty increase with increasing levels of wapiti parentage. A total of 4329 18-month-old hinds across four "red" deer farms in southern New Zealand were scanned for pregnancy status. Each hind was assigned a wapiti score (WS) as a subjective assessment of the obviousness of wapiti features. Various body measurements were additionally recorded for each hind. A hair sample was collected for DNA analysis (14 markers) to objectively assign subspecies pedigree (i.e. "Elkmeter") on a subset of 1258 individuals. A total of 506 (11.7%) hinds were not pregnant at 18 months of age with rates varying between 4.1 and 37.3% between farms and years. Mean WS differed significantly between farms and reflected the genetic management policy of each farm. WS was positively correlated to Elkmeter for each farm/year (<0.05) although regression slopes varied significantly. WS was able to be adjusted for these differences to assign a corrected WS (CWS) for all 4329 individuals that estimated the proportion wapiti parentage. Discriminant analysis of morphological variables relative to Elkmeter supported the first hypothesis and showed that shoulder height and body

  3. Molecular characterization of Swiss Ceratopogonidae (Diptera) and evaluation of real-time PCR assays for the identification of Culicoides biting midges.

    PubMed

    Wenk, Claudia E; Kaufmann, Christian; Schaffner, Francis; Mathis, Alexander

    2012-03-23

    Biting midges of the genus Culicoides (Diptera, Ceratopogonidae) are vectors of several viruses of veterinary relevance, and they can cause insect bite hypersensitivity. As the morphological identification of these tiny insects is a difficult task in many cases, alternative approaches are expedient. With the aim to develop real-time PCRs, we determined partial mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene (mt COI) sequences from 380 Culicoides midges representing three regions of Switzerland, namely the Alps, Midland north of the Alps (Atlantic climate), and South of the Alps (Mediterranean climate). The same region was also sequenced from non-biting midges of the genera Atrichopogon, Brachypogon, Dasyhelea, Forcipomyia and Serromyia. A total of 21 Culicoides species were identified by morphology. Sequence variability (haplotypes) was observed in all species. For each of C. grisescens and C. obsoletus, a novel cryptic species was identified. Whereas all individuals of C. grisescens and of the cryptic C. obsoletus species (O2) originated only from Alpine sites, the known C. obsoletus (O1) species was found in all three regions. Further, a sister taxon to C. pulicaris was identified based on the mt COI sequences and named Culicoides sp. Alignments of available mtCOI sequences from Ceratopogonidae (GenBank, this study) were used to design real-time PCR primers and probes to distinguish C. chiopterus, C. deltus, C. dewulfi, C. grisescens (including the cryptic species), C. imicola, C. lupicaris, C. obsoletus O1, C. obsoletus O2, C. pulicaris, C. scoticus and Culicoides sp. Specificities of primers and probes was tested with cloned targets representing 1 to 4 haplotypes of 18 Culicoides spp. and 1 haplotype each from 4 other Ceratopogonidae. No cross-reactivity was observed when plasmid template representing 5 × 10(6) gene copies was tested, but it was evident (Ct values ≤ 30) in few instances when plasmid template representing 5 × 10(9) gene copies was utilized, the