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Sample records for amblysomus hottentotus afrosoricida

  1. Comparative gastrointestinal morphology of three small mammalian insectivores: Acomys spinosissimus (Rodentia), Crocidura cyanea (Eulipotyphla), and Amblysomus hottentotus (Afrosoricida).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boonzaier, Julia; Van der Merwe, Elizabeth L; Bennett, Nigel C; Kotzé, Sanet H

    2013-06-01

    The gastrointestinal morphology was investigated in three mammalian insectivorous species, namely Acomys spinosissimus, Crocidura cyanea, and Amblysomus hottentotus. The aim of the study was to provide a comprehensive morphological comparison between the different species and to explore whether anatomical gastrointestinal adaptations are associated with the insectivorous diet of these species. The shape, proportional length, and proportional surface areas of the different gastrointestinal regions were recorded and compared in the three insectivores. Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E) and Alcian Blue/Periodic Acid Schiff (AB/PAS) were used for morphological assessment. In all three species, the stomach was simple and uncompartmentalized. The internal aspect of the stomach in A. spinosissimus was hemi-glandular, containing stratified squamous epithelium in the fundus, with glandular epithelium in the body and pyloric region. However, C. cyanea and A. hottentotus had wholly glandular stomachs. Paneth cells were not observed in the intestinal tracts of C. cyanea and A. hottentotus. Acomys spinosissimus was the only species studied that had a cecum. The proximal colonic region of A. spinosissimus had V-shaped mucosal folds. Histologically, C. cyanea had villi throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract (GIT), whereas for A. hottentotus villi were not present in the most distal gastrointestinal regions. In both C. cyanea and A. hottentotus, longitudinal mucosal folds were present in the distal part of the colon. The GITs of C. cyanea and A. hottentotus showed little morphological differentiation namely, a simple, glandular stomach and the lack of a cecum. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  2. Aseasonal reproduction in the Hottentot golden mole, Amblysomus ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The Hottentot golden mole, Amblysomus hottentotus, is a subterranean mammal that exhibits aseasonal breeding. Reproductive organs of golden moles that had been killed on a monthly basis over a period of one year were examined. Reproductive tract measurements and body mass of each individual was measured and ...

  3. The karyotype and taxonomie status of Cryptomys hottentotus ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Cytogenetic analyses were performed on twenty specimens referable to Cryptomys hottentotus darling! from north eastern Zimbabwe. In comparison to the southern subspecies C. h. hottentotus (aFN = 102) and C. h. natalensis (aFN = 100), C. h. darHngi showed the same diploid number (2n = 54), but a striking reduction in ...

  4. The karyotype and taxonomic status of Cryptomys hottentotus darlingi

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The karyotype and taxonomic status of. Cryptomys hottentotus darlingi (Rodentia: Bath yergid ae). G.H, Aguilar. Department of ZOOlogy, University of Cape Town, Ronde- ..... Classification of southern African mammals. Transvaal Mus. MOflogr. 5: 1-359. NEVO. E .. CAP ANNA. E .. CORTI. M .. JARVIS. LU.M. &. HICKMAN.

  5. Reactions of Cryptomys hottentotus to Water (Rodentia: Bathyergidae)

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Mortalities did not result from the escape of mole-rats from flooded burrows; and under laboratory testing, Cryptomys hottentotus was not hesitant to enter water. Swimming motions were coordinated and effective, enabling animals to swim for up to 14 minutes. Moderate current and aquatic vegetation aided movement in ...

  6. Morphological diversity in tenrecs (Afrosoricida, Tenrecidae: comparing tenrec skull diversity to their closest relatives

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    Sive Finlay

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available It is important to quantify patterns of morphological diversity to enhance our understanding of variation in ecological and evolutionary traits. Here, we present a quantitative analysis of morphological diversity in a family of small mammals, the tenrecs (Afrosoricida, Tenrecidae. Tenrecs are often cited as an example of an exceptionally morphologically diverse group. However, this assumption has not been tested quantitatively. We use geometric morphometric analyses of skull shape to test whether tenrecs are more morphologically diverse than their closest relatives, the golden moles (Afrosoricida, Chrysochloridae. Tenrecs occupy a wider range of ecological niches than golden moles so we predict that they will be more morphologically diverse. Contrary to our expectations, we find that tenrec skulls are only more morphologically diverse than golden moles when measured in lateral view. Furthermore, similarities among the species-rich Microgale tenrec genus appear to mask higher morphological diversity in the rest of the family. These results reveal new insights into the morphological diversity of tenrecs and highlight the importance of using quantitative methods to test qualitative assumptions about patterns of morphological diversity.

  7. REACTIONS OF CRYPTOMYS HOTTENTOTUS TO WATER

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Initially, the grey-brown fur of swimming mole-rats appeared to have a silver sheen because of trapped air. As the fur gradually became water-logged bare patches of skin became evident, particularly along the ventral porti

  8. A phylogenetic estimate for golden moles (Mammalia, Afrotheria, Chrysochloridae

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    Bloomer Paulette

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Golden moles (Chrysochloridae are small, subterranean, afrotherian mammals from South Africa and neighboring regions. Of the 21 species now recognized, some (e.g., Chrysochloris asiatica, Amblysomus hottentotus are relatively common, whereas others (e.g., species of Chrysospalax, Cryptochloris, Neamblysomus are rare and endangered. Here, we use a combined analysis of partial sequences of the nuclear GHR gene and morphological characters to derive a phylogeny of species in the family Chrysochloridae. Results Although not all nodes of the combined analysis have high support values, the overall pattern of relationships obtained from different methods of phylogeny reconstruction allow us to make several recommendations regarding the current taxonomy of golden moles. We elevate Huetia to generic status to include the species leucorhinus and confirm the use of the Linnean binomial Carpitalpa arendsi, which belongs within Amblysominae along with Amblysomus and Neamblysomus. A second group, Chrysochlorinae, includes Chrysochloris, Cryptochloris, Huetia, Eremitalpa, Chrysospalax, and Calcochloris. Bayesian methods make chrysochlorines paraphyletic by placing the root within them, coinciding with root positions favored by a majority of randomly-generated outgroup taxa. Maximum Parsimony (MP places the root either between chrysochlorines and amblysomines (with Chlorotalpa as sister taxon to amblysomines, or at Chlorotalpa, with the former two groups reconstructed as monophyletic in all optimal MP trees. Conclusions The inclusion of additional genetic loci for this clade is important to confirm our taxonomic results and resolve the chrysochlorid root. Nevertheless, our optimal topologies support a division of chrysochlorids into amblysomines and chrysochlorines, with Chlorotalpa intermediate between the two. Furthermore, evolution of the chrysochlorid malleus exhibits homoplasy. The elongate malleus has evolved just once in the

  9. A phylogenetic estimate for golden moles (Mammalia, Afrotheria, Chrysochloridae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Asher, Robert J; Maree, Sarita; Bronner, Gary; Bennett, Nigel C; Bloomer, Paulette; Czechowski, Paul; Meyer, Matthias; Hofreiter, Michael

    2010-03-09

    Golden moles (Chrysochloridae) are small, subterranean, afrotherian mammals from South Africa and neighboring regions. Of the 21 species now recognized, some (e.g., Chrysochloris asiatica, Amblysomus hottentotus) are relatively common, whereas others (e.g., species of Chrysospalax, Cryptochloris, Neamblysomus) are rare and endangered. Here, we use a combined analysis of partial sequences of the nuclear GHR gene and morphological characters to derive a phylogeny of species in the family Chrysochloridae. Although not all nodes of the combined analysis have high support values, the overall pattern of relationships obtained from different methods of phylogeny reconstruction allow us to make several recommendations regarding the current taxonomy of golden moles. We elevate Huetia to generic status to include the species leucorhinus and confirm the use of the Linnean binomial Carpitalpa arendsi, which belongs within Amblysominae along with Amblysomus and Neamblysomus. A second group, Chrysochlorinae, includes Chrysochloris, Cryptochloris, Huetia, Eremitalpa, Chrysospalax, and Calcochloris. Bayesian methods make chrysochlorines paraphyletic by placing the root within them, coinciding with root positions favored by a majority of randomly-generated outgroup taxa. Maximum Parsimony (MP) places the root either between chrysochlorines and amblysomines (with Chlorotalpa as sister taxon to amblysomines), or at Chlorotalpa, with the former two groups reconstructed as monophyletic in all optimal MP trees. The inclusion of additional genetic loci for this clade is important to confirm our taxonomic results and resolve the chrysochlorid root. Nevertheless, our optimal topologies support a division of chrysochlorids into amblysomines and chrysochlorines, with Chlorotalpa intermediate between the two. Furthermore, evolution of the chrysochlorid malleus exhibits homoplasy. The elongate malleus has evolved just once in the Cryptochloris-Chrysochloris group; other changes in shape have

  10. Reproductive suppression and the seasonality of reproduction in the social Natal mole-rat (Cryptomys hottentotus natalensis).

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    Oosthuizen, M K; Bennett, N C; Lutermann, H; Coen, C W

    2008-01-01

    Natal mole-rats are social subterranean rodents which exhibit a reproductive division of labour. Reproduction is confined to a single breeding female and one or more males; the remainder of the colony members is reproductively suppressed by the presence of the breeding animals. Apart from the discovery that female Natal mole-rats are induced ovulators, little is known about the reproductive biology of this species. Natal mole-rats are closely related to common and highveld mole-rats, both of which are induced ovulators and seasonal breeders. We therefore postulated that reproduction in Natal mole-rats is seasonally regulated. However, the results indicate that dominant Natal mole-rats are able to reproduce in the winter as well as in the summer. Furthermore, the increment in plasma LH in response to GnRH does not show marked seasonal differences in reproductive or non-reproductive mole-rats of either sex. Nevertheless, in all reproductive categories the level of plasma LH is significantly higher in the winter than in the summer. Seasonality in plasma LH levels dissociated from seasonality in breeding seems paradoxical. Further investigations will be required to elucidate this finding. We also investigated the processes underlying socially regulated reproduction in this species by determining basal and GnRH-evoked plasma LH in reproductive and non-reproductive animals of each sex in both seasons. The results failed to identify neuroendocrine differences consistent with an inhibited reproductive state in subordinates of either sex. Thus, the present findings suggest that behavioural interactions and/or inbreeding avoidance are the principal factors underlying suppression of reproduction in subordinate Natal mole-rats.

  11. Locomotor Activity and Body Temperature Patterns over a Temperature Gradient in the Highveld Mole-Rat (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae).

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    Haupt, Meghan; Bennett, Nigel C; Oosthuizen, Maria K

    2017-01-01

    African mole-rats are strictly subterranean mammals that live in extensive burrow systems. High humidity levels in the burrows prevent mole-rats from thermoregulating using evaporative cooling. However, the relatively stable environment of the burrows promotes moderate temperatures and small daily temperature fluctuations. Mole-rats therefore display a relatively wide range of thermoregulation abilities. Some species cannot maintain their body temperatures at a constant level, whereas others employ behavioural thermoregulation. Here we test the effect of ambient temperature on locomotor activity and body temperature, and the relationship between the two parameters, in the highveld mole-rat. We exposed mole-rats to a 12L:12D and a DD light cycle at ambient temperatures of 30°C, 25°C and 20°C while locomotor activity and body temperature were measured simultaneously. In addition, we investigated the endogenous rhythms of locomotor activity and body temperature at different ambient temperatures. Mole-rats displayed nocturnal activity at all three ambient temperatures and were most active at 20°C, but least active at 30°C. Body temperature was highest at 30°C and lowest at 20°C, and the daily cycle was highly correlated with locomotor activity. We show that the mole-rats have endogenous rhythms for both locomotor activity and body temperature. However, the endogenous body temperature rhythm appears to be less robust compared to the locomotor activity rhythm. Female mole-rats appear to be more sensitive to temperature changes than males, increased heterothermy is evident at lower ambient temperatures, whilst males show smaller variation in their body temperatures with changing ambient temperatures. Mole-rats may rely more heavily on behavioural thermoregulation as it is more energy efficient in an already challenging environment.

  12. New distribution records for four mammal species, with notes on their taxonomy and ecology

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    G.N. Bronner

    1990-09-01

    Full Text Available New distribution records for four small mammal species (Georychus capensis, Galerella pulverulenta, Rhinolophus swinnyi and Amblysomus julianae are presented, along with relevant notes on the taxonomy, karyology and ecology of these species.

  13. African Zoology - Vol 39, No 1 (2004)

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Afrosoricida: Chrysochloridae) from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa · EMAIL FULL TEXT EMAIL FULL TEXT DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT. S Schoeman, N.C. Bennett, M van der Merwe, A.S. Schoeman, 41-46.

  14. A comparative analysis of components incorporated in conservation ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Seven of the 13 species were from the order Afrosoricida, two species from the order Eulipotyphla, with one species each from the orders Chiroptera, Lagomorpha, Pholidota, and Rodentia. More importantly, 12 of the 13 mammal species were also listed as threatened in the 2004 Red Data Book of South African Mammals.

  15. Residency and small-scale movement behaviour of three endemic ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    A total of 12 blacktail (Diplodus capensis), 12 zebra (Diplodus hottentotus) and six white musselcracker (Sparodon durbanensis) were tagged using visible implant elastomer (VIE) tags. Underwater observations in four shallow rocky subtidal gullies and adjacent areas were made using snorkelling gear on a total of 37 days ...

  16. Author Details

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Aguilar, G.H.. Vol 28, No 4 (1993) - Articles The karyotype and taxonomie status of Cryptomys hottentotus darlingi (Rodentia: Bathyergidae) Abstract PDF · Vol 30, No 1 (1995) - Articles The reproductive biology of the giant Zambian mole-rat, Cryptomys mechowi (Rodentia: Bathyergidae) Abstract PDF. ISSN: 2224-073X.

  17. Habitat variables associated with encounters of Hottentot ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The Hottentot Buttonquail Turnix hottentotus is an endangered terrestrial turnicid and is endemic to the Fynbos biome, South Africa. Due to its secretive nature and apparent rarity almost nothing is known about the species, but its range has been subject to anthropogenic modification, invasion by alien plant species and is ...

  18. The reproductive biology and postnatal development of the highveld ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The highveld mole rat, Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae, occurs in the summer rainfall grasslands of northern South Africa. It is a colonial bathyergid in which reproduction is restricted to a single female. Courtship and copulation are initiated by the male mole rat. Copulation is prolonged and involves multiple bouts of ...

  19. Influence of spatial environment on maze learning in an African mole-rat

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Du Toit, L

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available with sociality in subterranean mammals, we have a less clear understanding of the role of habitat complexity on navigational ability. We tested spatial navigational ability and memory in 12–18-month captive Natal mole-rats (Cryptomys hottentotus natalensis...

  20. African Journal of Marine Science - Vol 36, No 4 (2014)

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Short Communication Diagnosing the sexual pattern of Diplodus cervinus hottentotus (Pisces: Sparidae) from southern Angola · EMAIL FULL TEXT EMAIL FULL TEXT DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT. AC Winkler, CV Santos, WM Potts. http://dx.doi.org/10.2989/1814232X.2014.969771 ...

  1. Effects of reproductive status and high ambient temperatures on the body temperature of a free-ranging basoendotherm.

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    Levesque, Danielle L; Lobban, Kerileigh D; Lovegrove, Barry G

    2014-12-01

    Tenrecs (Order Afrosoricida) exhibit some of the lowest body temperatures (T b) of any eutherian mammal. They also have a high level of variability in both active and resting T bs and, at least in cool temperatures in captivity, frequently employ both short- and long-term torpor. The use of heterothermy by captive animals is, however, generally reduced during gestation and lactation. We present data long-term T b recordings collected from free-ranging S. setosus over the course of two reproductive seasons. In general, reproductive females had slightly higher (~32 °C) and less variable T b, whereas non-reproductive females and males showed both a higher propensity for torpor as well as lower (~30.5 °C) and more variable rest-phase T bs. Torpor expression defined using traditional means (using a threshold or cut-off T b) was much lower than predicted based on the high degree of heterothermy in captive tenrecs. However, torpor defined in this manner is likely to be underestimated in habitats where ambient temperature is close to T b. Our results caution against inferring metabolic states from T b alone and lend support to the recent call to define torpor in free-ranging animals based on mechanistic and not descriptive variables. In addition, lower variability in T b observed during gestation and lactation confirms that homeothermy is essential for reproduction in this species and probably for basoendothermic mammals in general. The relatively low costs of maintaining homeothermy in a sub-tropical environment might help shed light on how homeothermy could have evolved incrementally from an ancestral heterothermic condition.

  2. The role of host traits, season and group size on parasite burdens in a cooperative mammal.

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    Hermien Viljoen

    Full Text Available The distribution of parasites among hosts is often characterised by a high degree of heterogeneity with a small number of hosts harbouring the majority of parasites. Such patterns of aggregation have been linked to variation in host exposure and susceptibility as well as parasite traits and environmental factors. Host exposure and susceptibility may differ with sexes, reproductive effort and group size. Furthermore, environmental factors may affect both the host and parasite directly and contribute to temporal heterogeneities in parasite loads. We investigated the contributions of host and parasite traits as well as season on parasite loads in highveld mole-rats (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae. This cooperative breeder exhibits a reproductive division of labour and animals live in colonies of varying sizes that procreate seasonally. Mole-rats were parasitised by lice, mites, cestodes and nematodes with mites (Androlaelaps sp. and cestodes (Mathevotaenia sp. being the dominant ecto- and endoparasites, respectively. Sex and reproductive status contributed little to the observed parasite prevalence and abundances possibly as a result of the shared burrow system. Clear seasonal patterns of parasite prevalence and abundance emerged with peaks in summer for mites and in winter for cestodes. Group size correlated negatively with mite abundance while it had no effect on cestode burdens and group membership affected infestation with both parasites. We propose that the mode of transmission as well as social factors constrain parasite propagation generating parasite patterns deviating from those commonly predicted.

  3. Plasticity and constraints on social evolution in African mole-rats: ultimate and proximate factors.

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    Faulkes, Chris G; Bennett, Nigel C

    2013-05-19

    Here, we review comparative studies of African mole-rats (family Bathyergidae) to explain how constraints acting at the ultimate (environmental) and proximate (organismal) levels have led to convergent gains and losses of sociality within this extensive adaptive radiation of subterranean rodents endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. At the ultimate level, living in environments that range from mesic through to arid has led to both variation and flexibility in social organization among species, culminating in the pinnacle of social evolution in the eusocial naked and Damaraland mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber and Fukomys damarensis). The common mole-rat (Cryptomys hottentotus) provides a model example of how plasticity in social traits exists within a single species inhabiting areas with different ecological constraint. At the proximate level, reproductive strategies and cooperative breeding may be constrained by the correlated evolution of a suite of traits including physiological suppression of reproduction, the development of physiological and morphological castes, and the mode of ovulatory control and seasonality in breeding. Furthermore, recent neurobiological advances indicate that differential patterns of neurotransmitter expression within the forebrain may underpin (and limit) either a solitary or group living/cooperative lifestyle not only in mole-rats, but also more widely among disparate mammalian taxa.

  4. Support for the allotonic frequency hypothesis in an insectivorous bat community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schoeman, M Corrie; Jacobs, David S

    2003-01-01

    The allotonic frequency hypothesis proposes that certain insectivorous bat species can prey upon moths that can hear bat echolocation calls by using echolocation frequencies outside the sensitivity range of moth ears. The hypothesis predicts that the peak frequencies of bat echolocation calls are correlated with the incidence of moths in the diets of these bats. The aim of this study was to test this prediction on a bat community dominated by bats using low duty cycle echolocation calls, i.e. aerial foraging, insectivorous species using frequency modulated calls. The community consisted of nine species, two molossids, Sauromys petrophillus and Tadarida aegyptiaca, five vespertilionids, Eptesicus capensis, Eptesicus hottentotus, Miniopteris schreibersii, Myotis tricolor, and Myotis lesueuri, one rhinolophid, Rhinolophus clivosus, and one nycterid, Nycteris thebaica. The insect fauna in the habitat used by the bat community was suited to the testing of the allotonic frequency hypothesis because more than 90% of the moths comprising the insect fauna were tympanate. These included Pyralidae (3.8%), Geometridae (44.9%), Notodontidae (3.8%), Arctiidae (4.6%), Lymantriidae (0.8%) and Noctuidae (32.4%). As predicted, peak echolocation frequency was correlated with the incidence of moths in the diets of these nine species (r=0.98, df=7, Pecholocation frequency (t=9.91, n=129, Phistory. These results suggest that prey defences may mediate other factors structuring bat communities, e.g. competition. Competition may be reduced for those species of bats that can circumvent prey defences.

  5. Reproductive status and testosterone among females in cooperative mole-rat societies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lutermann, Heike; Young, Andrew J; Bennett, Nigel C

    2013-06-15

    Sexual selection acts on traits that increase reproductive success. Variation in reproductive success is often higher among males than females. Consequently, sexual selection has been studied extensively in males while its possible role in females has only recently attracted considerable attention. In some cooperatively breeding species females compete intensely for reproductive opportunities and may thereby have evolved 'male-like' traits such as increased intra-sexual aggression and exaggerated secondary sexual traits. The expression of the latter tends to be testosterone-dependent in male vertebrates but whether this is also the case among females remains poorly understood. Here, we compare two cooperatively breeding mole-rat species (Natal, Cryptomys hottentotus natalensis, and Damaraland mole-rats, Fukomys damarensis) in which a single female monopolises reproduction through behavioural and physiological suppression, respectively, to evaluate the effect of female intra-sexual competition. Consistent with the hypothesis that intra-sexual competition has shaped patterns of testosterone (T) secretion among females in these species, we show that (i) female T levels in both species are significantly higher among breeding (BFs) (who may face the highest degree of intra-sexual competition) compared to non-breeding females (NBFs), (ii) that T levels in both species are significantly higher when access to unrelated males can be assumed to be greatest (i.e., wet season), and (iii) that the average female T levels are a full order of magnitude higher in the absence of a physiological mechanism of reproductive suppression. Together, our results suggest a role for intra-sexual competition in shaping patterns of T secretion among females of the social mole-rats and raise the possibility of a modulatory role for the mode of reproductive suppression on competition-related traits in females. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. Natural parasite infection affects the tolerance but not the response to a simulated secondary parasite infection.

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    Lutermann, Heike; Bodenstein, Chimoné; Bennett, Nigel C

    2012-01-01

    Parasites deplete the resources of their host and can consequently affect the investment in competing traits (e.g. reproduction and immune defence). The immunocompetence handicap hypothesis posits that testosterone (T) mediates trade-offs between parasite defence and reproductive investment by suppressing immune function in male vertebrates while more recently a role for glucocorticoids (e.g. cortisol (C)) in resource allocation has been suggested. These hypotheses however, have not always found support in wild animals, possibly because most studies focus on a single parasite species, whereas infections with multiple parasites are the rule in nature. We measured body mass, T- and C-levels of wild male highveld mole-rats (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae) naturally uninfected or infected with a cestode (Mathevotaenia sp.) right after capture. Subsequently, we injected animals subcutaneously with a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to simulate a bacterial infection and recorded changes in body mass, food intake, haematological parameters and hormone levels. As a control, animals were injected with saline. Natural infection neither affected initial body mass nor C-levels, whereas infected males had significantly reduced T-levels. We observed significant reductions in food intake, body mass and T in response to LPS but not saline while C increased. However, this response did not vary with infection status. In contrast, final body mass and some haematological parameters were significantly lowered in infected males. Our results suggest that naturally infected males are able to compensate for resource depletion by physiological adjustments. However, this leaves them less tolerant to the challenges of a secondary infection.

  7. Natural parasite infection affects the tolerance but not the response to a simulated secondary parasite infection.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Heike Lutermann

    Full Text Available Parasites deplete the resources of their host and can consequently affect the investment in competing traits (e.g. reproduction and immune defence. The immunocompetence handicap hypothesis posits that testosterone (T mediates trade-offs between parasite defence and reproductive investment by suppressing immune function in male vertebrates while more recently a role for glucocorticoids (e.g. cortisol (C in resource allocation has been suggested. These hypotheses however, have not always found support in wild animals, possibly because most studies focus on a single parasite species, whereas infections with multiple parasites are the rule in nature. We measured body mass, T- and C-levels of wild male highveld mole-rats (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae naturally uninfected or infected with a cestode (Mathevotaenia sp. right after capture. Subsequently, we injected animals subcutaneously with a lipopolysaccharide (LPS to simulate a bacterial infection and recorded changes in body mass, food intake, haematological parameters and hormone levels. As a control, animals were injected with saline. Natural infection neither affected initial body mass nor C-levels, whereas infected males had significantly reduced T-levels. We observed significant reductions in food intake, body mass and T in response to LPS but not saline while C increased. However, this response did not vary with infection status. In contrast, final body mass and some haematological parameters were significantly lowered in infected males. Our results suggest that naturally infected males are able to compensate for resource depletion by physiological adjustments. However, this leaves them less tolerant to the challenges of a secondary infection.

  8. Adult neurogenesis and its anatomical context in the hippocampus of three mole-rat species

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    Irmgard eAmrein

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available African mole-rats (family Bathyergidae are small to medium sized, long-lived and strictly subterranean rodents that became valuable animal models as a result of their longevity and diversity in social organization. The formation and integration of new hippocampal neurons in adult mammals (adult hippocampal neurogenesis, AHN correlates negatively with age and positively with habitat complexity. Here we present quantitative data on AHN in wild-derived mole-rats of one year and older, and briefly describe its anatomical context including markers of neuronal function (calbindin and parvalbumin. Solitary Cape mole-rats (Georychus capensis, social highveld mole-rats (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae, and eusocial naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber were assessed. Compared to other rodents, the hippocampal formation in mole-rats is small, but shows a distinct cytoarchitecture in the dentate gyrus and CA1. Distributions of the calcium-binding proteins differ from those seen in rodents; e.g., calbindin in CA3 of naked mole-rats distributes similar to the pattern seen in early primate development, and calbindin staining extends into the stratum lacunosum-moleculare of Cape mole-rats. Proliferating cells and young neurons are found in low numbers in the hippocampus of all three mole-rat species. Resident granule cell numbers are low as well. Proliferating cells expressed as a percentage of resident granule cells are in the range of other rodents, while the percentage of young neurons is lower than that observed in surface dwelling rodents. Between mole-rat species, we observed no difference in the percentage of proliferating cells. The percentages of young neurons are high in social highveld and naked mole-rats, and low in solitary Cape mole-rats. The findings support that proliferation is regulated independently of average life expectancy and habitat. Instead, neuronal differentiation reflects species-specific demands, which appear lower in subterranean

  9. Adult neurogenesis and its anatomical context in the hippocampus of three mole-rat species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amrein, Irmgard; Becker, Anton S; Engler, Stefanie; Huang, Shih-Hui; Müller, Julian; Slomianka, Lutz; Oosthuizen, Maria K

    2014-01-01

    African mole-rats (family Bathyergidae) are small to medium sized, long-lived, and strictly subterranean rodents that became valuable animal models as a result of their longevity and diversity in social organization. The formation and integration of new hippocampal neurons in adult mammals (adult hippocampal neurogenesis, AHN) correlates negatively with age and positively with habitat complexity. Here we present quantitative data on AHN in wild-derived mole-rats of 1 year and older, and briefly describe its anatomical context including markers of neuronal function (calbindin and parvalbumin). Solitary Cape mole-rats (Georychus capensis), social highveld mole-rats (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae), and eusocial naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber) were assessed. Compared to other rodents, the hippocampal formation in mole-rats is small, but shows a distinct cytoarchitecture in the dentate gyrus and CA1. Distributions of the calcium-binding proteins differ from those seen in rodents; e.g., calbindin in CA3 of naked mole-rats distributes similar to the pattern seen in early primate development, and calbindin staining extends into the stratum lacunosum-moleculare of Cape mole-rats. Proliferating cells and young neurons are found in low numbers in the hippocampus of all three mole-rat species. Resident granule cell numbers are low as well. Proliferating cells expressed as a percentage of resident granule cells are in the range of other rodents, while the percentage of young neurons is lower than that observed in surface dwelling rodents. Between mole-rat species, we observed no difference in the percentage of proliferating cells. The percentages of young neurons are high in social highveld and naked mole-rats, and low in solitary Cape mole-rats. The findings support that proliferation is regulated independently of average life expectancy and habitat. Instead, neuronal differentiation reflects species-specific demands, which appear lower in subterranean rodents.

  10. Ear Structures of the Naked Mole-Rat, Heterocephalus glaber, and Its Relatives (Rodentia: Bathyergidae.

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    Matthew J Mason

    Full Text Available Although increasingly popular as a laboratory species, very little is known about the peripheral auditory system of the naked mole-rat, Heterocephalus glaber. In this study, middle and inner ears of naked mole-rats of a range of ages were examined using micro-computed tomography and dissection. The ears of five other bathyergid species (Bathyergus suillus, Cryptomys hottentotus, Fukomys micklemi, Georychus capensis and Heliophobius argenteocinereus were examined for comparative purposes. The middle ears of bathyergids show features commonly found in other members of the Ctenohystrica rodent clade, including a fused malleus and incus, a synovial stapedio-vestibular articulation and the loss of the stapedius muscle. Heterocephalus deviates morphologically from the other bathyergids examined in that it has a more complex mastoid cavity structure, poorly-ossified processes of the malleus and incus, a 'columelliform' stapes and fewer cochlear turns. Bathyergids have semicircular canals with unusually wide diameters relative to their radii of curvature. How the lateral semicircular canal reaches the vestibule differs between species. Heterocephalus has much more limited high-frequency hearing than would be predicted from its small ear structures. The spongy bone forming its ossicular processes, the weak incudo-stapedial articulation, the columelliform stapes and (compared to other bathyergids reduced cochlear coiling are all potentially degenerate features which might reflect a lack of selective pressure on its peripheral auditory system. Substantial intraspecific differences were found in certain middle and inner ear structures, which might also result from relaxed selective pressures. However, such interpretations must be treated with caution in the absence of experimental evidence.

  11. Specific paucity of unmyelinated C-fibers in cutaneous peripheral nerves of the African naked-mole rat: comparative analysis using six species of Bathyergidae.

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    St John Smith, Ewan; Purfürst, Bettina; Grigoryan, Tamara; Park, Thomas J; Bennett, Nigel C; Lewin, Gary R

    2012-08-15

    In mammalian peripheral nerves, unmyelinated C-fibers usually outnumber myelinated A-fibers. By using transmission electron microscopy, we recently showed that the saphenous nerve of the naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) has a C-fiber deficit manifested as a substantially lower C:A-fiber ratio compared with other mammals. Here we determined the uniqueness of this C-fiber deficit by performing a quantitative anatomical analysis of several peripheral nerves in five further members of the Bathyergidae mole-rat family: silvery (Heliophobius argenteocinereus), giant (Fukomys mechowii), Damaraland (Fukomys damarensis), Mashona (Fukomys darlingi), and Natal (Cryptomys hottentotus natalensis) mole-rats. In the largely cutaneous saphenous and sural nerves, the naked mole-rat had the lowest C:A-fiber ratio (∼1.5:1 compared with ∼3:1), whereas, in nerves innervating both skin and muscle (common peroneal and tibial) or just muscle (lateral/medial gastrocnemius), this pattern was mostly absent. We asked whether lack of hair follicles alone accounts for the C-fiber paucity by using as a model a mouse that loses virtually all its hair as a consequence of conditional deletion of the β-catenin gene in the skin. These β-catenin loss-of function mice (β-cat LOF mice) displayed only a mild decrease in C:A-fiber ratio compared with wild-type mice (4.42 compared with 3.81). We suggest that the selective cutaneous C-fiber deficit in the cutaneous nerves of naked mole-rats is unlikely to be due primarily to lack of skin hair follicles. Possible mechanisms contributing to this unique peripheral nerve anatomy are discussed. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Ear Structures of the Naked Mole-Rat, Heterocephalus glaber, and Its Relatives (Rodentia: Bathyergidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mason, Matthew J; Cornwall, Hannah L; Smith, Ewan St J

    2016-01-01

    Although increasingly popular as a laboratory species, very little is known about the peripheral auditory system of the naked mole-rat, Heterocephalus glaber. In this study, middle and inner ears of naked mole-rats of a range of ages were examined using micro-computed tomography and dissection. The ears of five other bathyergid species (Bathyergus suillus, Cryptomys hottentotus, Fukomys micklemi, Georychus capensis and Heliophobius argenteocinereus) were examined for comparative purposes. The middle ears of bathyergids show features commonly found in other members of the Ctenohystrica rodent clade, including a fused malleus and incus, a synovial stapedio-vestibular articulation and the loss of the stapedius muscle. Heterocephalus deviates morphologically from the other bathyergids examined in that it has a more complex mastoid cavity structure, poorly-ossified processes of the malleus and incus, a 'columelliform' stapes and fewer cochlear turns. Bathyergids have semicircular canals with unusually wide diameters relative to their radii of curvature. How the lateral semicircular canal reaches the vestibule differs between species. Heterocephalus has much more limited high-frequency hearing than would be predicted from its small ear structures. The spongy bone forming its ossicular processes, the weak incudo-stapedial articulation, the columelliform stapes and (compared to other bathyergids) reduced cochlear coiling are all potentially degenerate features which might reflect a lack of selective pressure on its peripheral auditory system. Substantial intraspecific differences were found in certain middle and inner ear structures, which might also result from relaxed selective pressures. However, such interpretations must be treated with caution in the absence of experimental evidence.