Sample records for caviomorph octodon degus

  1. Temporal dynamics of milk composition of the precocial caviomorph Octodon degus (Rodentia: Octodontidae Dinámica temporal de la composición de la leche del caviomorfo precocial Octodon degus (Rodentia: Octodentidae

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    Full Text Available During lactation, both the nutritional and energetic requirements of suckling change gradually. These changes normally are accompanied by modifications in chemical composition of the milk. We investigated the temporal course of milk composition during lactation in a precocial caviomorph rodent, the "degu" (Octodon degus under laboratory condition. Female degus were kept in laboratory during gestation and lactation and fed with commercial food pellets. Milk was collected at three stages of lactation: early (days 5-8, n = 12, middle (days 15-21, n = 7 and late (days 26-40, n = 6, and analyzed for protein, carbohydrates, lipids, ash, total solids and energy. On average, carbohydrates decreased from 3.1 ± 0.3 % (early to 1.1 ± 0.3 % (late during lactation; lipids, protein, ash, total solids and energy remained about the same. Lipids, the main component of the milk, were 17.3 % and protein remained near 4.4 %. Over lactation, total energy concentration of milk remained near 4.0 kJ mL-1. The maintenance of milk composition during lactation may be related to the initially high energetic and nutritional requirements associated with a precocial reproductive modeDurante la lactancia, tanto los requerimientos energéticos como nutricionales de las crías cambian gradualmente. Estos cambios normalmente van acompañados por modificaciones en la composición química de la leche. Se investigaron los cambios temporales de la composición de la leche durante la lactancia en el roedor caviomorfo precocial "degu" (Octodon degus bajo condiciones de laboratorio. Las hembras de degu fueron mantenidas en el laboratorio durante preñez y lactancia, y fueron alimentadas con alimento comercial de conejo. La leche fue colectada en tres estados de lactancia: temprana (días 5-8, n = 12, media (días 15-21, n = 7 y tardía (días 26-40, n = 6, y analizadas para proteínas, hidratos de carbono, lípidos, ceniza, sólidos totales y energía. En promedio, los hidratos de

  2. Music preference in degus (Octodon degus): Analysis with Chilean folk music.


    Shigeru Watanabe; Katharina Braun; Maria Mensch; Henning Scheich


    Most nonhuman animals do not show selective preference for types of music, but researchers have typically employed only Western classical music in such studies. Thus, there has been bias in music choice. Degus (Octodon degus), originally from the mountain areas of Chile, have highly developed vocal communication. Here, we examined music preference of degus using not only Western classical music (music composed by Bach and Stravinsky), but also South American folk music (Chilean and Peruvian)....

  3. Music preference in degus (Octodon degus: Analysis with Chilean folk music.

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    Shigeru Watanabe


    Full Text Available Most nonhuman animals do not show selective preference for types of music, but researchers have typically employed only Western classical music in such studies. Thus, there has been bias in music choice. Degus (Octodon degus, originally from the mountain areas of Chile, have highly developed vocal communication. Here, we examined music preference of degus using not only Western classical music (music composed by Bach and Stravinsky, but also South American folk music (Chilean and Peruvian. The degus preferred the South American music to the Western classical music but did not show selective preference between the two Western classical music choices. Furthermore, the degus preferred the Chilean to the Peruvian music to some extent. In the second experiment, we examined preference for music vs. silence. Degus overall showed a preference for Chilean music over silence, but preferred silence over Western music. The present results indicate that the previous negative data for musical preference in nonhuman animals may be due to biased music selection (Krause, 2012. Our results suggest the possibility that the soundscape of an environment influences folk music created by native peoples living there and the auditory preference of other resident animals there.

  4. Octodon Degus: A Strong Attractor for Alzheimer Research

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    Rafael Castro-Fuentes


    Full Text Available   The most popular animal models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD are transgenic mice expressing human genes with known mutations which do not represent the most abundant sporadic form of the disease. An increasing number of genetic, vascular and psychosocial data strongly support that the Octodon degus, a moderate-sized and diurnal precocial rodent, provides a naturalistic model for the study of the early neurodegenerative process associated with sporadic AD. In this minireview we describe and analyze the risk factors that contribute to Alzheimer-like characteristics in the degus, following recent publications, and establish some guidelines for future studies in this model of natural aging associated with the disease. Given the heterogeneity of current data derived from the diverse transgenic animal models of AD, now may be the time for the degus to become a strong attractor for academic research labs and companies involved with AD. This may help to understand the mechanisms responsible for the early neurodegenerative process associated with this devastating disease.

  5. Octodon Degus: A Strong Attractor for Alzheimer Research

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    Rafael Castro-Fuentes


    Full Text Available The most popular animal models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD are transgenic mice expressing human genes with known mutations which do not represent the most abundant sporadic form of the disease. An increasing number of genetic, vascular and psychosocial data strongly support that the Octodon degus, a moderate-sized and diurnal precocial rodent, provides a naturalistic model for the study of the early neurodegenerative process associated with sporadic AD. In this minireview we describe and analyze the risk factors that contribute to Alzheimer-like characteristics in the degus, following recent publications, and establish some guidelines for future studies in this model of natural aging associated with the disease. Given the heterogeneity of current data derived from the diverse transgenic animal models of AD, now may be the time for the degus to become a strong attractor for academic research labs and companies involved with AD. This may help to understand the mechanisms responsible for the early neurodegenerative process associated with this devastating disease.

  6. Early olfactory environment influences social behaviour in adult Octodon degus. (United States)

    Márquez, Natalia; Martínez-Harms, Jaime; Vásquez, Rodrigo A; Mpodozis, Jorge


    We evaluated the extent to which manipulation of early olfactory environment can influence social behaviours in the South American Hystricognath rodent Octodon degus. The early olfactory environment of newborn degus was manipulated by scenting all litter members with eucalyptol during the first month of life. The social behaviour of sexually mature animals (5-7 months old) towards conspecifics was then assessed using a y-maze to compare the response of control (naïve) and treated animals to two different olfactory configurations (experiment 1): (i) a non-familiarized conspecific impregnated with eucalyptol (eucalyptol arm) presented against (ii) a non-familiarized unscented conspecific (control arm). In addition, in dyadic encounters, we assessed the behaviour of control and eucalyptol treated animals towards a non-familiarized conspecific scented with eucalyptol (experiment 2). We found that control subjects explored and spent significantly less time in the eucalyptol arm, indicating neophobic behaviours towards the artificially scented conspecific. Treated subjects explored and spent similar time in both arms of the maze, showing the same interest for both olfactory stimuli presented. During dyadic encounters in experiment 2, an interaction effect between early experience and sex was observed. Control males escaped and avoided their scented partner more frequently than eucalyptol treated male subjects and than females. Both groups did not differ in the exploration of their scented partners, suggesting that avoidance within agonistic context does not relate to neophobic behaviours. Our results suggest that the exposure to eucalyptol during early ontogeny decreases evasive behaviours within an agonistic context as a result of olfactory learning. Altogether, these results indicate that olfactory cues learned in early ontogeny can influence olfactory-guided behaviours in adult degus.

  7. A time-energy analysis of daytime surface activity in degus, Octodon degus Análisis del uso de tiempo y energía en la actividad superficial diaria en degus, Octodon degus

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    G.J. Kenagy


    Full Text Available We present an analysis of time and energy allocation in a day-active caviomorph rodent, the degu, Octodon degus, in central Chile. We quantified components of surface activity in the field on a daily basis in individual degus near the time of the summer solstice, when conditions of heat and aridity were also at a seasonal extreme, in order to answer the following questions. Does the absolute time available for surface activity limit performance? Does the allocation of time and energy for locomotion place a functionally significant limitation on overall energy balance and performance? Degus spent about 2/3 of their above-ground time foraging; they remained stationary about 88 % of the time, walked around slowly about 10 %, and were running rapidly from one point to another only about 2 % of the time. Net locomotion costs (for walking and running combined were computed to be only 2.2 % of total daily energy expenditure. This low net allocation of time and energy to locomotion, taken together with abundant distribution of plant food over the extremely small home range, suggests that the daily performance of degus is not limited by the absolute amount of time available under normal conditions at the summer solstice (seasonal extreme of day length, heat, and aridity. Total energy demands can be met by as little as 4.5 h surface activity per day. Our empirical observations, together with a simple computational model of time and energy expenditure, provide a useful validation of the impact of activity on the overall energy balance of a free-living rodent. The small impact of locomotion on the total energy budget is an economy of the behavior of these animals, and the rapid mode of locomotion allows them to minimize predation risks. We believe that this kind of quantitative analysis of energy expenditure associated with behavior in the field can contribute a useful basis for theoretically based time-energy modelingPresentamos un análisis de la asignaci

  8. On cognitive ecology and the environmental factors that promote Alzheimer disease: lessons from Octodon degus (Rodentia: Octodontidae). (United States)

    Rivera, Daniela S; Inestrosa, Nibaldo C; Bozinovic, Francisco


    Cognitive ecologist posits that the more efficiently an animal uses information from the biotic and abiotic environment, the more adaptive are its cognitive abilities. Nevertheless, this approach does not test for natural neurodegenerative processes under field or experimental conditions, which may recover animals information processing and decision making and may explain, mechanistically, maladaptive behaviors. Here, we call for integrative approaches to explain the relationship between ultimate and proximate mechanisms behind social behavior. We highlight the importance of using the endemic caviomorph rodent Octodon degus as a valuable natural model for mechanistic studies of social behavior and to explain how physical environments can shape social experiences that might influence impaired cognitive abilities and the onset and progression of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer disease. We consequently suggest neuroecological approaches to examine how key elements of the environment may affect neural and cognitive mechanisms associated with learning, memory processes and brain structures involved in social behavior. We propose the following three core objectives of a program comprising interdisciplinary research in O. degus, namely: (1) to determine whether diet types provided after weaning can lead to cognitive impairment associated with spatial memory, learning and predisposing to develop Alzheimer disease in younger ages; (2) to examine if early life social experience has long term effects on behavior and cognitive responses and risk for development Alzheimer disease in later life and (3) To determine if an increase of social interactions in adult degu reared in different degree of social stressful conditions alter their behavior and cognitive responses.

  9. On cognitive ecology and the environmental factors that promote Alzheimer disease: lessons from Octodon degus (Rodentia: Octodontidae

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    Daniela S. Rivera

    Full Text Available Cognitive ecologist posits that the more efficiently an animal uses information from the biotic and abiotic environment, the more adaptive are its cognitive abilities. Nevertheless, this approach does not test for natural neurodegenerative processes under field or experimental conditions, which may recover animals information processing and decision making and may explain, mechanistically, maladaptive behaviors. Here, we call for integrative approaches to explain the relationship between ultimate and proximate mechanisms behind social behavior. We highlight the importance of using the endemic caviomorph rodent Octodon degus as a valuable natural model for mechanistic studies of social behavior and to explain how physical environments can shape social experiences that might influence impaired cognitive abilities and the onset and progression of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer disease. We consequently suggest neuroecological approaches to examine how key elements of the environment may affect neural and cognitive mechanisms associated with learning, memory processes and brain structures involved in social behavior. We propose the following three core objectives of a program comprising interdisciplinary research in O. degus, namely: (1 to determine whether diet types provided after weaning can lead to cognitive impairment associated with spatial memory, learning and predisposing to develop Alzheimer disease in younger ages; (2 to examine if early life social experience has long term effects on behavior and cognitive responses and risk for development Alzheimer disease in later life and (3 To determine if an increase of social interactions in adult degu reared in different degree of social stressful conditions alter their behavior and cognitive responses.

  10. Females of the communally breeding rodent, Octodon degus, transfer antibodies to their offspring during pregnancy and lactation. (United States)

    Becker, María Inés; De Ioannes, Alfredo E; León, Cecilia; Ebensperger, Luis A


    Females in numerous rodent species engage in communal nesting and breeding, meaning that they share a nest to rear their young together. One potential benefit to communally nesting mothers is that infants improve their immunocompetence. Thus, suckling from two or more females might provide newborns with a more diverse array of antibodies and defensive cells. As a first step toward testing the immunocompetence hypothesis, we assessed whether female degus (Octodon degus), a communally nesting and breeding caviomorph rodent, transfer immunoglobulins to their young through the yolk sac or placenta while in the uterus and, during lactation, through milk. With this aim, adult degu females were immunized with four antigens, including two mollusk hemocyanins from Concholepas and Megathura (CCH and KLH, respectively), porcine thyroglobulin and tetanus toxoid. Specific antibodies against the experimental antigens were used to track the origin of antibodies in the young. To establish the presence of specific antibodies of IgG and IgA isotypes in sera and milk of animals, an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed. Degu females produced specific antibodies against antigens not found in their natural environment, and mothers were able to transfer the induced antibodies to their litters during pregnancy (IgG) and during lactation (IgA). However, we recorded only limited evidence of degu offspring acquiring antibodies from lactating mothers other than their own, giving little support to the increased immunocompetence hypothesis.

  11. Hippocampus lesions induced deficits in social and spatial recognition in Octodon degus. (United States)

    Uekita, Tomoko; Okanoya, Kazuo


    Previous studies of rodents reported that the hippocampus plays an important role in social behavior as well as spatial behavior. However, there are inconsistencies between reports of the effects of hippocampal lesions on social behavior. The present study sought to clarify the aspects of social behavior in which the hippocampus plays a role in the degu, Octodon degus, a social rodent. We examined the effects of hippocampal lesions on social behavior in the degu using familiar and novel partners. When placed in a familiar environment with a familiar partner after surgery, sham operation control (S.Cont) degus exhibited affinitive behavior longer compared with hippocampal lesioned (HPC) degus. In a novel environment, S.Cont degus exhibited longer aggressive behavior toward novel partners, and longer affinitive behavior with familiar partners compared with HPC degus. HPC degus did not show evidence of differentiation in social behavior, regardless of partner's novelty. The results of an anxiety test confirmed that these findings could not be attributed to changes in emotional state. We conducted an object-recognition test with the same subjects. HPC degus showed an impairment in spatial recognition but not object recognition. Taken together, these results suggest that the degu hippocampus plays an important role not only in spatial recognition but also social recognition. The changes in social behavior resulting from hippocampal lesions were interpreted as due to an impairment of social recognition rather than an impairment in novelty detection. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. Seasonal variation in the range areas of the diurnal rodent Octodon degus. (United States)

    Quirici, Verónica; Castro, Rodrigo A; Ortiz-Tolhuysen, Liliana; Chesh, Adrian S; Burger, Joseph Robert; Miranda, Eduardo; Cortés, Arturo; Hayes, Loren D; Ebensperger, Luis A


    Both breeding activity and abundance and quality of available food are expected to influence daily movements of animals. Animals are predicted to range over large areas to meet high energy demands associated with reproduction (females) or to increase mating success (males). However, animals should expand their range areas whenever food conditions deteriorate. To examine the extent to which breeding activity versus food availability influence space use, we compared the size and location of range areas (home ranges) of the degu (Octodon degus), a diurnal rodent from semiarid environments of north-central Chile, during the austral winter and summer seasons. Degus produce young during the austral spring (September-October) when high-quality food is readily available. In contrast, degus do not breed during the austral summer (January-March) when food is scarce and of low quality. We predicted that degus would range over smaller areas in winter if the availability of food has a greater influence on space than breeding activity. Individuals were radiotracked in winter and the following summer over a 3-year period. Surveys of herbaceous cover were conducted during winter and summer to determine seasonal changes in the abundance and quality of primary food. In summer degus expanded and moved the location of their range areas to locations with available food. Given that preferred food was less abundant in summer than winter, we suggest that degu range areas are strongly influenced by food conditions.

  13. REM Sleep Phase Preference in the Crepuscular Octodon degus Assessed by Selective REM Sleep Deprivation (United States)

    Ocampo-Garcés, Adrián; Hernández, Felipe; Palacios, Adrian G.


    Study Objectives: To determine rapid eye movement (REM) sleep phase preference in a crepuscular mammal (Octodon degus) by challenging the specific REM sleep homeostatic response during the diurnal and nocturnal anticrepuscular rest phases. Design: We have investigated REM sleep rebound, recovery, and documented REM sleep propensity measures during and after diurnal and nocturnal selective REM sleep deprivations. Subjects: Nine male wild-captured O. degus prepared for polysomnographic recordings Interventions: Animals were recorded during four consecutive baseline and two separate diurnal or nocturnal deprivation days, under a 12:12 light-dark schedule. Three-h selective REM sleep deprivations were performed, starting at midday (zeitgeber time 6) or midnight (zeitgeber time 18). Measurements and Results: Diurnal and nocturnal REM sleep deprivations provoked equivalent amounts of REM sleep debt, but a consistent REM sleep rebound was found only after nocturnal deprivation. The nocturnal rebound was characterized by a complete recovery of REM sleep associated with an augment in REM/total sleep time ratio and enhancement in REM sleep episode consolidation. Conclusions: Our results support the notion that the circadian system actively promotes REM sleep. We propose that the sleep-wake cycle of O. degus is modulated by a chorus of circadian oscillators with a bimodal crepuscular modulation of arousal and a unimodal promotion of nocturnal REM sleep. Citation: Ocampo-Garcés A; Hernández F; Palacios AG. REM sleep phase preference in the crepuscular Octodon degus assessed by selective REM sleep deprivation. SLEEP 2013;36(8):1247-1256. PMID:23904685

  14. Estrus- and steroid-induced changes in circadian rhythms in a diurnal rodent, Octodon degus. (United States)

    Labyak, S E; Lee, T M


    Diurnal Octodon degus exhibited marked alterations in activity and temperature in conjunction with the 3 wk estrous cycle when housed in LD12:12 light cycle. On the day of estrus, mean daily activity increases 109%, mean core temperature rises .4 degree C, activity onset is advanced 2 h, and amplitudes of both rhythms decline compared with the 3 days prior to estrus. On the day following estrus, activity onset was delayed 4.9 h, and mean activity and core temperature fell below that of the preestrus period. Ovariectomy significantly reduced mean temperature (.98 degree C) but did not significantly alter mean activity, and eliminated cyclic effects of estrus. Estrogen replacement led to a nonsignificant elevation in mean activity and core temperature with no change in the phase angle of entrainment. Progesterone replacement significantly reduced mean core temperature and mean activity, while only the phase angle difference between temperature minimum and activity onset was significantly altered. Intact degus maintained in constant darkness displayed only transient fluctuations in activity onset and temperature minimum during and after estrus. Estrogen or progesterone treatment of ovariectomized, free-running degus altered mean temperature and activity levels, but did not influence tau. Changes in phase angle of entrainment during estrus are not the result of hormone effects on the circadian clock but likely reflect increased or decreased levels of activity.

  15. Cognitive Impairment After Sleep Deprivation Rescued by Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Application in Octodon degus. (United States)

    Estrada, C; López, D; Conesa, A; Fernández-Gómez, F J; Gonzalez-Cuello, A; Toledo, F; Tunez, I; Blin, O; Bordet, R; Richardson, J C; Fernandez-Villalba, E; Herrero, M T


    Sleep is indispensable for maintaining regular daily life activities and is of fundamental physiological importance for cognitive performance. Sleep deprivation (SD) may affect learning capacity and the ability to form new memories, particularly with regard to hippocampus-dependent tasks. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive procedure of electromagnetic induction that generates electric currents, activating nearby nerve cells in the stimulated cortical area. Several studies have looked into the potential therapeutic use of TMS. The present study was designed to evaluate how TMS could improve learning and memory functions following SD in Octodon degus. Thirty juvenile (18 months old) females were divided into three groups (control, acute, and chronic TMS treatment-with and without SD). TMS-treated groups were placed in plastic cylindrical cages designed to keep them immobile, while receiving head magnetic stimulation. SD was achieved by gently handling the animals to keep them awake during the night. Behavioral tests included radial arm maze (RAM), Barnes maze (BM), and novel object recognition. When TMS treatment was applied over several days, there was significant improvement of cognitive performance after SD, with no side effects. A single TMS session reduced the number of errors for the RAM test and improved latency and reduced errors for the BM test, which both evaluate spatial memory. Moreover, chronic TMS treatment brings about a significant improvement in both spatial and working memories.

  16. Transcranial magnetic stimulation and aging: Effects on spatial learning and memory after sleep deprivation in Octodon degus. (United States)

    Estrada, C; Fernández-Gómez, F J; López, D; Gonzalez-Cuello, A; Tunez, I; Toledo, F; Blin, O; Bordet, R; Richardson, J C; Fernandez-Villalba, E; Herrero, M T


    The benefits of neuromodulatory procedures as a possible therapeutic application for cognitive rehabilitation have increased with the progress made in non-invasive modes of brain stimulation in aged-related disorders. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive method used to examine multiple facets of the human brain and to ameliorate the impairment in cognition caused by Alzheimer's disease (AD). The present study was designed to evaluate how a chronic TMS treatment could improve learning and memory functions after sleep deprivation (SD) in old Octodon degus. SD was executed by gently handling to keep the animals awake throughout the night. Thirty young and twenty-four old O. degus females were divided in six groups (control, acute and chronic TMS treatment). Behavioral tests included; Radial Arm Maze (RAM), Barnes Maze (BM) and Novel Object Recognition (NOR). Although learning and memory functions improved in young animals with only one session of TMS treatment, a significant improvement in cognitive performance was seen in old animals after 4 and 7days of TMS, depending on the task that was performed. No side effects were observed following, which showed therapeutic potential for improving age-related cognitive performance. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. Immunocompetence of breeding females is sensitive to cortisol levels but not to communal rearing in the degu (Octodon degus). (United States)

    Ebensperger, Luis A; León, Cecilia; Ramírez-Estrada, Juan; Abades, Sebastian; Hayes, Loren D; Nova, Esteban; Salazar, Fabián; Bhattacharjee, Joydeep; Becker, María Inés


    One hypothesis largely examined in social insects is that cooperation in the context of breeding benefits individuals through decreasing the burden of immunocompetence and provide passive immunity through social contact. Similarly, communal rearing in social mammals may benefit adult female members of social groups by reducing the cost of immunocompetence, and through the transfer of immunological compounds during allonursing. Yet, these benefits may come at a cost to breeders in terms of a need to increase investment in individual immunocompetence. We examined how these potential immunocompetence costs and benefits relate to reproductive success and survival in a natural population of the communally rearing rodent, Octodon degus. We related immunocompetence (based on ratios of white blood cell counts, total and specific immunoglobulins of G isotype titers) and fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGC) levels of adults immunized with hemocyanin from the mollusk Concholepas concholepas to measures of sociality (group size) and communal rearing (number of breeding females). Offspring immunocompetence was quantified based on circulating levels of the same immune parameters. Neither female nor offspring immunocompetence was influenced by communal rearing or sociality. These findings did not support that communal rearing and sociality enhance the ability of females to respond to immunological challenges during lactation, or contribute to enhance offspring condition (based on immunocompetence) or early survival (i.e., to 3months of age). Instead, levels of humoral and cellular components of immunocompetence were associated with variation in glucorcorticoid levels of females. We hypothesize that this covariation is driven by physiological (life-history) adjustments needed to sustain breeding. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  18. Paternal deprivation during infancy results in dendrite- and time-specific changes of dendritic development and spine formation in the orbitofrontal cortex of the biparental rodent Octodon degus. (United States)

    Helmeke, C; Seidel, K; Poeggel, G; Bredy, T W; Abraham, A; Braun, K


    The aim of this study in the biparental rodent Octodon degus was to assess the impact of paternal deprivation on neuronal and synaptic development in the orbitofrontal cortex, a prefrontal region which is essential for emotional and cognitive function. On the behavioral level the quantitative comparison of parental behaviors in biparental and single-mother families revealed that (i) degu fathers significantly participate in parental care and (ii) single-mothers do not increase their maternal care to compensate the lack of paternal care. On the brain structural level we show in three-week-old father-deprived animals that layer II/III pyramidal neurons in the orbitofrontal cortex displayed significantly lower spine densities on apical and basal dendrites. Whereas biparentally raised animals have reached adult spine density values at postnatal day 21, fatherless animals seem "to catch up" by a delayed increase of spine density until reaching similar values as biparentally raised animals in adulthood. However, in adulthood reduced apical spine numbers together with shorter apical dendrites were observed in father-deprived animals, which indicates that dendritic growth and synapse formation (seen in biparental animals between postnatal day 21 and adulthood) were significantly suppressed. These results demonstrate that paternal deprivation delays and partly suppresses the development of orbitofrontal circuits. The retarded dendritic and synaptic development of the apical dendrites of layer II/III pyramidal neurons in the orbitofrontal cortex of adult fatherless animals may reflect a reduced excitatory connectivity of this cortical subregion.

  19. Distribution of aquaporins in the nasal passage of Octodon degus, a South-American desert rodent and its implications for water conservation Distribución de acuaporinas en los pasajes nasales de Octodon degus, un roedor de ambientes desérticos sudamericanos: implicaciones en la conservación de agua

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    Full Text Available Rodents from arid and semiarid environments live under conditions where the spatial and temporal availability of water is limited. Octodon degus is a South-American desert-dwelling rodent inhabiting arid and semiarid habitats of central and northern Chile. Its survival depends on morphological, physiological and behavioral adaptations that allow water conservation. This rodent has a high urine concentrating ability, high capacity of fecal dehydration and low evaporative water loss, related to the ability of the nasal passages to condense water from the exhaled air; this water must be absorbed in order to avoid its accumulation in the nasal passages and potential loss through the nostrils. We hypothesize that aquaporins (AQPs might be present in the nasal mucosa; therefore, we studied the distribution of AQP-1, AQP-2, AQP-3 and AQP-4 through immunocytochemistry. Intense AQP-1 labeling was observed throughout the subepithelial vascular network; no AQP-1 immunoreactivity was detected in olfactory and non-olfactory epithelial cells. No signal was detected for AQP-2 and 4. AQP-3 distribution was restricted to the surface non-olfactory epithelial cells lining the turbinates in narrow passages and blind spaces. Therefore, AQP-1 and AQP-3 coincided at the level of the turbinates, although in different cell types which suggest a pathway for water removal from the nasal surface first through AQP-3 in non-olfactory epithelial cells and then into the capillary lumen through AQP-1Los roedores de ambientes áridos y semiáridos viven bajo una disponibilidad limitada de agua tanto espacial como temporal. Octodon degus es un roedor sudamericano que habita ambientes áridos y semiáridos del norte y zona central de Chile. Su supervivencia depende de adaptaciones morfológicas, fisiológicas y conductuales que permiten optimizar la conservación de agua. Este tiene una alta capacidad de concentración urinaria y de deshidratación de la fecas además de una baja

  20. Free and total testosterone levels in field males of Octodon degus (Rodentia, Octodontidae: accuracy of the hormonal regulation of behavior Niveles de testosterona libre y totales en machos silvestres de Octodon degus (Rodentia, Octodontidae: exactitud de la regulación hormonal del comportamiento

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    Full Text Available Animals exhibit continuous seasonal changes in physiological, morphological and behavioral traits associated to their natural annual cycles. One of the most important changes in the organism occurs at the initiation of breeding season. In males these changes include activation of spermatogenesis, enhance of sexual secondary characters and an increase of aggressiveness. All of theses changes are basically regulated by testosterone, but the physiological basis of this testosterone regulation and the effective hormone proportion that acts in target tissues are unknown. In this work I evaluated the relationship between total testosterone, free testosterone associated to aggressive behavior in wild males of Octodon degus. I compared hormonal levels and aggressive behavior during pre, middle and post breeding periods. Results showed that behavioral aggressiveness was correlated with both total and free testosterone in June, during the beginning of breeding season, but not at other times. Results also indicated a lack of relationship between free and total testosterone in most of breeding period. I discuss the importance of this behavior-hormonal regulation (determined by free testosterone and the physiological importance of this mechanism to the organismLos animales presentan variaciones estacionales continuas que incluyen cambios fisiológicos, morfológicos y conductuales, asociados al ciclo anual. Estos cambios generalmente están activados por factores endógenos o exógenos, pero son regulados por el sistema endocrino de organismo. Uno de los cambios más importantes ocurre en el inicio del periodo reproductivo. Durante este periodo los machos presentan cambios asociados a la producción de esperatozoides, exacerbación de caracteres sexuales secundarios y un aumento de la agresividad. Todos estos cambios son regulados en parte por los niveles de testosterona, sin embargo, los mecanismos fisiológicos de esta regulación son desconocidos. En este

  1. Daily and seasonal limits of time and temperature to activity of degus Limitaciones diarias y estacionales de tiempo y temperatura sobre la actividad de degus

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    Full Text Available We present an analysis of behavioral flexibility in a day-active caviomorph rodent, the degu, Octodon degus, in response to temporal (daily and seasonal, spatial, and thermal heterogeneity of its environment. We quantified activity and foraging behavior in a population, together with thermal conditions, in an open habitat in the seasonally hot and arid matorral of central Chile. Summer activity was bimodal, with a gap of more than 8 h between the morning bout of 2.5 h of intensive foraging and the afternoon bout of 2 h. More than half of the 4.5 h of summer activity occurred in the shade of early morning or late afternoon when the sun was below the local skyline. Autumn and spring activity were also bimodal, but with greater proportions of activity under direct solar radiation, and with a shorter midday gap between the two major bouts. Winter activity was unimodal and all occurred under direct solar radiation. In summer, autumn, and spring the activity of degus was curtailed as our index of operative temperature, Te, moved above 40 ºC. We used a single measurement of Te (measured in a thermal mannequin representing degu size, shape and surface properties as an index of the interactive effects of solar radiation and convection on body temperature. At the winter solstice (June, when degus remained fully exposed to solar radiation throughout the day, Te generally remained below 30 ºC. Flexibility in the timing of surface activity allows degus to maintain thermal homeostasis and energy balance throughout the year. Degus shift the times of daily onset and end of activity and the number of major bouts (unimodal or bimodal over the course of the year. They remain active on the surface under a much narrower range or "window" of thermal conditions than those that occur over the entire broad range of the day and yearPresentamos un análisis de la flexibilidad conductual en la actividad diaria del degu (Octodon degus, un roedor caviomorfo, en respuesta a

  2. Cost of living in free-ranging degus (Octodon degus) : seasonal dynamics of energy expenditure

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bozinovic, F; Bacigalupe, LD; Vasquez, RA; Visser, GH; Veloso, C; Kenagy, GJ

    Animals process and allocate energy at different seasons at variable rates, depending on their breeding season and changes in environmental conditions and resulting physiological demands. Overall total energy expenditure, in turn, should either increase in some seasons due to special added demands

  3. Locomotion in degus on terrestrial substrates varying in orientation - implications for biomechanical constraints and gait selection. (United States)

    Schmidt, André


    To gain new insights into running gaits on sloped terrestrial substrates, metric and selected kinematic parameters of the common degu (Octodon degus) were examined. Individuals were filmed at their maximum voluntary running speed using a high-speed camera placed laterally to the terrestrial substrate varying in orientations from -30° to +30°, at 10° increments. Degus used trotting, lateral-sequence (LS) and diagonal-sequence (DS) running gaits at all substrate orientations. Trotting was observed across the whole speed range whereas DS running gaits occurred at significantly higher speeds than LS running gaits. Metric and kinematic changes on sloped substrates in degus paralleled those noted for most other mammals. However, the timing of metric and kinematic locomotor adjustments differed significantly between individual degus. In addition, most of these adjustments took place at 10° rather than 30° inclines and declines, indicating significant biomechanical demands even on slightly sloped terrestrial substrates. The results of this study suggest that DS and LS running gaits may represent an advantage in small to medium-sized mammals for counteracting some level of locomotor instability. Finally, changes in locomotor parameters of the forelimbs rather than the hindlimbs seem to play an important role in gait selection in small to medium-sized mammals. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  4. Prevalence of dental disorders in degus and evaluation of diagnostic methods to determine dental disease and its prognosis. (United States)

    van Bolhuis, Hester; van Hoffen, Lotte; van Zijll Langhout, Martine; van Engeldorp Gastelaars, Heleen; Hendriks, Wouter; Lamberts, Marnix; Kik, Marja


    Degus ( Octodon degus ) are prone to develop dental disease with deleterious health effects. The two studies reported here aimed to determine the prevalence of dental disorders in degus and to identify and evaluate diagnostic tools for determination of prognosis of these disorders. In study A, health data from 225 degus at AAP, Rescue Center for Exotic Animals in the Netherlands, were collated and the prevalence of dental disorders and differences in sex and age at clinical onset of symptoms associated with dental disorders were described. The prevalence was 34.7 per cent and higher (P<0.01) in males than in females. The occurrence of cheek teeth malocclusion was highly positively (P<0.0001) correlated to mortality. In study B, 36 skulls were examined by macroscopic evaluation, radiography and histology. Additionally, the calcium:phosphorus (Ca:P) of mandibular bone in degus with and without dental disorders were determined. There was no significant (P=0.10) difference in Ca:P between the two groups. Quantifying mandibular apical cheek teeth elongation via macroscopic evaluation was highly correlated (P<0.01) to the results obtained via radiography. Examination for apical elongation by palpation and diagnostic imaging should be included in routine health monitoring of degus. Apical elongation appeared to develop before coronal elongation and when cheek teeth malocclusion occurred, prognosis for recovery of dental disease was poor. © British Veterinary Association (unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2017. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted.

  5. Observational fear learning in degus is correlated with temporal vocalization patterns. (United States)

    Lidhar, Navdeep K; Insel, Nathan; Dong, June Yue; Takehara-Nishiuchi, Kaori


    Some animals learn to fear a situation after observing another individual come to harm, and this learning is influenced by the animals' social relationship and history. An important but sometimes overlooked factor in studies of observational fear learning is that social context not only affects observers, but may also influence the behavior and communications expressed by those being observed. Here we sought to investigate whether observational fear learning in the degu (Octodon degus) is affected by social familiarity, and the degree to which vocal expressions of alarm or distress contribute. 'Demonstrator' degus underwent contextual fear conditioning in the presence of a cagemate or stranger observer. Among the 15 male pairs, observers of familiar demonstrators exhibited higher freezing rates than observers of strangers when returned to the conditioning environment one day later. Observer freezing during testing was, however, also related to the proportion of short- versus long- inter-call-intervals (ICIs) in vocalizations recorded during prior conditioning. In a regression model that included both social relationship and ICI patterns, only the latter was significant. Further investigation of vocalizations, including use of a novel, directed k-means clustering approach, suggested that temporal structure rather than tonal variations may have been responsible for communicating danger. These data offer insight into how different expressions of distress or fear may impact an observer, adding to the complexity of social context effects in studies of empathy and social cognition. The experiments also offer new data on degu alarm calls and a potentially novel methodological approach to complex vocalizations. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. Bone morphology of the hind limbs in two caviomorph rodents. (United States)

    de Araújo, F A P; Sesoko, N F; Rahal, S C; Teixeira, C R; Müller, T R; Machado, M R F


    In order to evaluate the hind limbs of caviomorph rodents a descriptive analysis of the Cuniculus paca (Linnaeus, 1766) and Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris (Linnaeus, 1766) was performed using anatomical specimens, radiography, computed tomography (CT) and full-coloured prototype models to generate bone anatomy data. The appendicular skeleton of the two largest rodents of Neotropical America was compared with the previously reported anatomical features of Rattus norvegicus (Berkenhout, 1769) and domestic Cavia porcellus (Linnaeus, 1758). The structures were analyzed macroscopically and particular findings of each species reported. Features including the presence of articular fibular projection and lunulae were observed in the stifle joint of all rodents. Imaging aided in anatomical description and, specifically in the identification of bone structures in Cuniculus paca and Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris. The imaging findings were correlated with the anatomical structures observed. The data may be used in future studies comparing these animals to other rodents and mammalian species. © 2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

  7. The hip adductor muscle group in caviomorph rodents: anatomy and homology. (United States)

    García-Esponda, César M; Candela, Adriana M


    Anatomical comparative studies including myological data of caviomorph rodents are relatively scarce, leading to a lack of use of muscular features in cladistic and morphofunctional analyses. In rodents, the hip adductor muscles constitute an important group of the hindlimb musculature, having an important function during the beginning of the stance phase. These muscles are subdivided in several distinct ways in the different clades of rodents, making the identification of their homologies hard to establish. In this contribution we provide a detailed description of the anatomical variation of the hip adductor muscle group of different genera of caviomorph rodents and identify the homologies of these muscles in the context of Rodentia. On this basis, we identify the characteristic pattern of the hip adductor muscles in Caviomorpha. Our results indicate that caviomorphs present a singular pattern of the hip adductor musculature that distinguishes them from other groups of rodents. They are characterized by having a single m. adductor brevis that includes solely its genicular part. This muscle, together with the m. gracilis, composes a muscular sheet that is medial to all other muscles of the hip adductor group. Both muscles probably have a synergistic action during locomotion, where the m. adductor brevis reinforces the multiple functions of the m. gracilis in caviomorphs. Mapping of analyzed myological characters in the context of Rodentia indicates that several features are recovered as potential synapomorphies of caviomorphs. Thus, analysis of the myological data described here adds to the current knowledge of caviomorph rodents from anatomical and functional points of view, indicating that this group has features that clearly differentiate them from other rodents. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  8. Organisation and tyrosine hydroxylase and calretinin immunoreactivity in the main olfactory bulb of paca (Cuniculus paca): a large caviomorph rodent. (United States)

    Sasahara, Tais Harumi de Castro; Leal, Leonardo Martins; Spillantini, Maria Grazia; Machado, Márcia Rita Fernandes


    The majority of neuroanatomical and chemical studies of the olfactory bulb have been performed in small rodents, such as rats and mice. Thus, this study aimed to describe the organisation and the chemical neuroanatomy of the main olfactory bulb (MOB) in paca, a large rodent belonging to the Hystricomorpha suborder and Caviomorpha infraorder. For this purpose, histological and immunohistochemical procedures were used to characterise the tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and calretinin (CR) neuronal populations and their distribution. The paca MOB has eight layers: the olfactory nerve layer (ONL), the glomerular layer (GL), the external plexiform layer (EPL; subdivided into the inner and outer sublayers), the mitral cell layer (MCL), the internal plexiform layer (IPL), the granule cell layer (GCL), the periventricular layer and the ependymal layer. TH-ir neurons were found mostly in the GL, and moderate numbers of TH-ir neurons were scattered in the EPL. Numerous varicose fibres were distributed in the IPL and in the GCL. CR-ir neurons concentrated in the GL, around the base of the olfactory glomeruli. Most of the CR-ir neurons were located in the MCL, IPL and GCL. Some of the granule cells had an apical dendrite with a growth cone. The CR immunoreactivity was also observed in the ONL with olfactory nerves strongly immunostained. This study has shown that the MOB organisation in paca is consistent with the description in other mammals. The characterisation and distribution of the population of TH and CR in the MOB is not exclusively to this species. This large rodent shares common patterns to other caviomorph rodent, as guinea pig, and to the myomorph rodents, as mice, rats and hamsters.

  9. Circadian chronotypes among wild-captured west Andean octodontids

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    Full Text Available Rest activity pattern was studied in wild-captured males of Octodon degus (n=9, Octodon bridgesi (n=3, and Spalacopus cyanus (n=6 (Rodentia: Octodontidae. Ten-minute resolution actograms were constructed from data obtained by an automated acquisition system. After two months of habituation to a stable light-dark schedule, recordings were performed in isolation chambers under a 12: 12 Light Dark schedule. A free-running period (constant darkness was recorded for O. bridgesi and S. cyanus. O. degus displayed a crepuscular pattern of rest activity rhythm. Entrained O. bridgesi and S. cyanus displayed nocturnal preference, with rest anticipating light phase and without crepuscular activity bouts. Under constant darkness, active phase occurred at subjective night in O. bridgesi and S. cyanus. Wild-captured O. bridgesi and S. cyanus possess a circadian driven nocturnal preference, while wild O. degus displays a crepuscular profile. Diurnal active phase preference of wild S. cyanus colonies observed in the field could not be explained solely by photic entrainment, since social and/or masking processes appear to be operative. The genus Octodon includes species with diverse chronotypes. We propose that crepuscular diurnal pattern observed in O. degus is a recent acquisition among the octodontid lineage

  10. Small mammals as indicators of cryptic plant species diversity in the central Chilean plant endemicity hotspot

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    Meredith Root-Bernstein


    Full Text Available Indicator species could help to compensate for a shortfall of knowledge about the diversity and distributions of undersampled and cryptic species. This paper provides background knowledge about the ecological interactions that affect and are affected by herbaceous diversity in central Chile, as part of the indicator species selection process. We focus on the ecosystem engineering role of small mammals, primarily the degu Octodon degus. We also consider the interacting effects of shrubs, trees, avian activity, livestock, slope, and soil quality on herbaceous communities in central Chile. We sampled herbaceous diversity on a private landholding characterized by a mosaic of savanna, grassland and matorral, across a range of degu disturbance intensities. We find that the strongest factors affecting endemic herbaceous diversity are density of degu runways, shrub cover and avian activity. Our results show that the degu, a charismatic and easily identifiable and countable species, could be used as an indicator species to aid potential conservation actions such as private protected area uptake. We map areas in central Chile where degus may indicate endemic plant diversity. This area is larger than expected, and suggests that significant areas of endemic plant communities may still exist, and should be identified and protected. Keywords: Cryptic species, Diversity, Endemic, Indicator species, Octodon degus, Plant

  11. Parvovirus-derived endogenous viral elements in two South American rodent genomes. (United States)

    Arriagada, Gloria; Gifford, Robert J


    We describe endogenous viral elements (EVEs) derived from parvoviruses (family Parvoviridae) in the genomes of the long-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera) and the degu (Octodon degus). The novel EVEs include dependovirus-related elements and representatives of a clearly distinct parvovirus lineage that also has endogenous representatives in marsupial genomes. In the degu, one dependovirus-derived EVE was found to carry an intact reading frame and was differentially expressed in vivo, with increased expression in the liver. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  12. Experimental infection of two South American reservoirs with four distinct strains of Trypanosoma cruzi (United States)

    Roellig, Dawn M.; McMillan, Katherine; Ellis, Angela E.; Vandeberg, John L.; Champagne, Donald E.; Yabsley, Michael J.


    SUMMARY Trypanosoma cruzi (Tc), the causative agent of Chagas disease, is a diverse species with 2 primary genotypes, TcI and TcII, with TcII further subdivided into 5 subtypes (IIa–e). This study evaluated infection dynamics of 4 genetically and geographically diverse T. cruzi strains in 2 South American reservoirs, degus (Octodon degus) and grey short-tailed opossums (Monodelphis domestica). Based on prior suggestions of a genotype-host association, we hypothesized that degus (placental) would more readily become infected with TcII strains while short-tailed opossums (marsupial) would be a more competent reservoir for a TcI strain. Individuals (n = 3) of each species were intraperitoneally inoculated with T. cruzi trypomastigotes of TcIIa [North America (NA)-raccoon (Procyon lotor) origin], TcI [NA-Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana)], TcIIb [South America (SA)-human], TcIIe (SA-Triatoma infestans), or both TcI and TcIIa. Parasitaemias in experimentally infected degus peaked earlier (7–14 days post-inoculation (p.i.)) compared with short-tailed opossums (21–84 days p.i.). Additionally, peak parasitaemias were higher in degus; however, the duration of detectable parasitaemias for all strains, except TcIIa, was greater in short-tailed opossums. Infections established in both host species with all genotypes, except for TcIIa, which did not establish a detectable infection in short-tailed opossums. These results indicate that both South American reservoirs support infections with these isolates from North and South America; however, infection dynamics differed with host and parasite strain. PMID:20128943

  13. Tool-use training in a species of rodent: the emergence of an optimal motor strategy and functional understanding.

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    Kazuo Okanoya

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Tool use is defined as the manipulation of an inanimate object to change the position or form of a separate object. The expansion of cognitive niches and tool-use capabilities probably stimulated each other in hominid evolution. To understand the causes of cognitive expansion in humans, we need to know the behavioral and neural basis of tool use. Although a wide range of animals exhibit tool use in nature, most studies have focused on primates and birds on behavioral or psychological levels and did not directly address questions of which neural modifications contributed to the emergence of tool use. To investigate such questions, an animal model suitable for cellular and molecular manipulations is needed. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We demonstrated for the first time that rodents can be trained to use tools. Through a step-by-step training procedure, we trained degus (Octodon degus to use a rake-like tool with their forelimbs to retrieve otherwise out-of-reach rewards. Eventually, they mastered effective use of the tool, moving it in an elegant trajectory. After the degus were well trained, probe tests that examined whether they showed functional understanding of the tool were performed. Degus did not hesitate to use tools of different size, colors, and shapes, but were reluctant to use the tool with a raised nonfunctional blade. Thus, degus understood the functional and physical properties of the tool after extensive training. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our findings suggest that tool use is not a specific faculty resulting from higher intelligence, but is a specific combination of more general cognitive faculties. Studying the brains and behaviors of trained rodents can provide insights into how higher cognitive functions might be broken down into more general faculties, and also what cellular and molecular mechanisms are involved in the emergence of such cognitive functions.

  14. Evaluation of the Chagas Stat-Paktm Assay for Detection of Trypanosoma cruzi Antibodies in Wildlife Reservoirs (United States)

    Yabsley, Michael J.; Brown, Emily L.; Roellig, Dawn M.


    An immunochromatographic assay (Chagas Stat-Pak™) was evaluated for the detection of Trypanosoma cruzi antibodies in 4 species of wildlife reservoirs. Antibodies to T. cruzi were detected in raccoons (Procyon lotor) (naturally and experimentally infected) and degus (Octodon degu) (experimentally-infected) using the Chagas Stat-Pak. In naturally exposed wild raccoons, the Chagas Stat-Pak had a sensitivity and specificity of 66.7–80.0% and 96.3%, respectively. Compared with indirect immunofluorescent antibody assay results, serocon-version as determined by Chagas Stat-Pak was delayed for experimentally infected raccoons, but occurred sooner in experimentally infected degus. The Chagas Stat-Pak did not detect antibodies in naturally or experimentally infected Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) or in experimentally infected short-tailed opossums (Monodelphis domestica). These data suggest that the Chagas Stat-Pak might be useful in field studies of raccoons and degus when samples would not be available for more-conventional serologic assays. Because this assay did not work on either species of marsupial, the applicability of the assay should be examined before it is used in other wild species. PMID:19016578

  15. Early life stress induces attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-like behavioral and brain metabolic dysfunctions: functional imaging of methylphenidate treatment in a novel rodent model. (United States)

    Bock, J; Breuer, S; Poeggel, G; Braun, K


    In a novel animal model Octodon degus we tested the hypothesis that, in addition to genetic predisposition, early life stress (ELS) contributes to the etiology of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder-like behavioral symptoms and the associated brain functional deficits. Since previous neurochemical observations revealed that early life stress impairs dopaminergic functions, we predicted that these symptoms can be normalized by treatment with methylphenidate. In line with our hypothesis, the behavioral analysis revealed that repeated ELS induced locomotor hyperactivity and reduced attention towards an emotionally relevant acoustic stimulus. Functional imaging using ( 14 C)-2-fluoro-deoxyglucose-autoradiography revealed that the behavioral symptoms are paralleled by metabolic hypoactivity of prefrontal, mesolimbic and subcortical brain areas. Finally, the pharmacological intervention provided further evidence that the behavioral and metabolic dysfunctions are due to impaired dopaminergic neurotransmission. Elevating dopamine in ELS animals by methylphenidate normalized locomotor hyperactivity and attention-deficit and ameliorated brain metabolic hypoactivity in a dose-dependent manner.

  16. Daily rhythms of food intake and feces reingestion in the degu, an herbivorous Chilean rodent: optimizing digestion through coprophagy. (United States)

    Kenagy, G J; Veloso, C; Bozinovic, F


    Animals must match their foraging and digestion to seasonal changes in availability and quality of food. When these parameters decline, the animal's performance limits for extracting energy and nutrients may be challenged. In the laboratory, we investigated daily patterns of food processing on a low-quality (high-fiber) diet of alfalfa in an herbivorous, day-active rodent, the degu (Octodon degus), which inhabits semiarid central Chile. We manipulated timing of food availability, from continuous availability down to as little as 5 h/d. Degus maintained weight while digesting only 53% of dry-matter consumption. With food continuously available in a metabolic cage, the animals ate more food and deposited about twice as much feces in the day as at night. Continuous 24-h behavioral observation revealed that degus were actually defecating at the same rate both night and day but then ingesting most of the feces they produced at night. Further experimental treatments challenged animals with limited periods of food availability that matched natural foraging patterns. With either 11 h of daytime food availability or only 5 h (in morning and afternoon periods of 2.5 h each), degus consumed as much food as those with 24-h food availability. Continuous 24-h behavioral observations revealed in the 11-h group that nearly all feces produced at night were reingested and nearly none were reingested in the day, whereas the 5-h group resorted to further coprophagy during the 6-h midday interval with no food. Despite these differences in timing of food intake and coprophagy in response to the three experimental treatments, the degus were defecating at the same rate both night and day, which indicated a constant rate of output from the colon. This suggests a range of adjustments of digestive physiology to the timing of gut function by balancing coprophagy with ingestion of food. Overall, 38% of 24-h feces production was reingested, and 87% of this coprophagy occurred at night. The

  17. Long-term research in Bosque Fray Jorge National Park: Twenty years studying the role of biotic and abiotic factors in a Chilean semiarid scrubland Investigación de largo plazo en el Parque Nacional Bosque Fray Jorge: Veinte años estudiando el rol de los factores bióticos y abióticos en un matorral chileno semiárido

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    Full Text Available Since 1989, we have conducted a large-scale ecological experiment in semiarid thorn scrub of a national park in north-central Chile. Initially, we focused on the role of biotic interactions including predation, interspecific competition, and herbivory in small mammal and plant components of the community. We utilized a reductionist approach with replicated 0.56 ha fenced grids that selectively excluded vertebrate predators and/or larger small mammal herbivores such as the degu, Octodon degus. Although we detected small transitory effects of predator exclusions on degu survival and numbers, other species failed to show responses. Similarly, interspecific competition (i.e., degus with other small mammals had no detectable numerical effects (although some behavioral responses occurred, and degu-exclusions had relatively small effects on various plant components. Modeling approaches indicate that abiotic factors play a determining role in the dynamics of principal small mammal species such as O. degus and the leaf-eared mouse (Phyllotis darwini. In turn, these are mainly related to aperiodic pulses of higher rainfall (usually during El Niño events which trigger ephemeral plant growth; a food addition experiment in 1997-2000 verified the importance of precipitation as a determinant of food availability. Since 2004, we have expanded long-term monitoring efforts to other important community components including birds and insects in order to understand effects of abiotic factors on them; we report some of the first results of comprehensive surveys on the former in this region. Finally, we recently shifted focus to documenting effects of exotic lagomorphs in the park. We installed additional treatments selectively excluding small mammals, lagomorphs, or both, from replicated grids in order to evaluate putative herbivore impacts. In conjunction with increased annual rainfall since 2000, we predict that introduced lagomorphs will have increasing impacts

  18. Diet, dietary selectivity and density of South American grey fox, Lycalopex griseus, in Central Chile. (United States)

    Muñoz-Pedreros, Andrés; Yáñez, José; Norambuena, Heraldo V; Zúñiga, Alfredo


    The South American grey fox Lycalopex griseus is a canid widely distributed in southern South America; however, some aspects of its biology are still poorly known. We studied the diet and density of L. griseus in the Lago Peñuelas Biosphere Reserve, in Central Chile. The trophic niche breadth was B = 6.16 (B sta = 0.47) and prey diversity was H' = 2.46 (H max ' = 3.17, J' = 0.78). The highest proportions of prey consumed in the diet were Oryctolagus cuniculus (52.21%) and other mammals (32.78%). We compared these results with a latitudinal gradient of diet results for this species in Chile. L. griseus eats mostly mammals (>90% of total prey), consuming the rodent Phyllotis darwini and reptiles in the northern zone; Oryctolagus cuniculus, Octodon degus and Abrocoma bennetti in the central zone; Abrothrix spp. and lagomorphs in the southern zone; and Lepus capensis and Ovis aries in the austral zone. The estimated density of L. griseus in Lago Peñuelas NR was 1.3 foxes/km 2 . © 2017 International Society of Zoological Sciences, Institute of Zoology/Chinese Academy of Sciences and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.

  19. Bottom-up control of consumers leads to top-down indirect facilitation of invasive annual herbs in semiarid Chile. (United States)

    Madrigal, Jaime; Kelt, Douglas A; Meserve, Peter L; Gutierrez, Julio R; Squeo, Francisco A


    The abundance of exotic plants is thought to be limited by competition with resident species (including plants and generalist herbivores). In contrast, observations in semiarid Chile suggest that a native generalist rodent, the degu (Octodon degus), may be facilitating the expansion of exotic annual plants. We tested this hypothesis with a 20-year data set from a World Biosphere Reserve in mediterranean Chile. In this semiarid environment, rainfall varies annually and dramatically influences cover by both native and exotic annual plants; degu population density affects the composition and cover of exotic and native annual plants. In low-rainfall years, cover of both native and exotic herbs is extremely low. Higher levels of precipitation result in proportional increases in cover of all annual plants (exotic and native species), leading in turn to increases in degu population densities, at which point they impact native herbs in proportion to their greater cover, indirectly favoring the expansion of exotic plants. We propose that bottom-up control of consumers at our site results in top-down indirect facilitation of invasive annual herbs, and that this pattern may be general to other semiarid ecosystems.

  20. Spatial distribution of an infectious disease in a small mammal community (United States)

    Correa, Juana P.; Bacigalupo, Antonella; Fontúrbel, Francisco E.; Oda, Esteban; Cattan, Pedro E.; Solari, Aldo; Botto-Mahan, Carezza


    Chagas disease is a zoonosis caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted by insect vectors to several mammals, but little is known about its spatial epidemiology. We assessed the spatial distribution of T. cruzi infection in vectors and small mammals to test if mammal infection status is related to the proximity to vector colonies. During four consecutive years we captured and georeferenced the locations of mammal species and colonies of Mepraia spinolai, a restricted-movement vector. Infection status on mammals and vectors was evaluated by molecular techniques. To examine the effect of vector colonies on mammal infection status, we constructed an infection distance index using the distance between the location of each captured mammal to each vector colony and the average T. cruzi prevalence of each vector colony, weighted by the number of colonies assessed. We collected and evaluated T. cruzi infection in 944 mammals and 1976 M. spinolai. We found a significant effect of the infection distance index in explaining their infection status, when considering all mammal species together. By examining the most abundant species separately, we found this effect only for the diurnal and gregarious rodent Octodon degus. Spatially explicit models involving the prevalence and location of infected vectors and hosts had not been reported previously for a wild disease.

  1. Fruit Size Determines the Role of Three Scatter-Hoarding Rodents as Dispersers or Seed Predators of a Fleshy-Fruited Atacama Desert Shrub (United States)

    Loayza, Andrea P.; Squeo, Francisco A.


    Scatter-hoarding rodents can act as both predators and dispersers for many large-seeded plants because they cache seeds for future use, but occasionally forget them in sites with high survival and establishment probabilities. The most important fruit or seed trait influencing rodent foraging behavior is seed size; rodents prefer large seeds because they have higher nutritional content, but this preference can be counterbalanced by the higher costs of handling larger seeds. We designed a cafeteria experiment to assess whether fruit and seed size of Myrcianthes coquimbensis, an endangered desert shrub, influence the decision-making process during foraging by three species of scatter-hoarding rodents differing in body size: Abrothrix olivaceus, Phyllotis darwini and Octodon degus. We found that the size of fruits and seeds influenced foraging behavior in the three rodent species; the probability of a fruit being harvested and hoarded was higher for larger fruits than for smaller ones. Patterns of fruit size preference were not affected by rodent size; all species were able to hoard fruits within the entire range of sizes offered. Finally, fruit and seed size had no effect on the probability of seed predation, rodents typically ate only the fleshy pulp of the fruits offered and discarded whole, intact seeds. In conclusion, our results reveal that larger M. coquimbensis fruits have higher probabilities of being harvested, and ultimately of its seeds being hoarded and dispersed by scatter-hoarding rodents. As this plant has no other dispersers, rodents play an important role in its recruitment dynamics. PMID:27861550

  2. Differential changes of metabolic brain activity and interregional functional coupling in prefronto-limbic pathways during different stress conditions: Functional imaging in freely behaving rodent pups

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    Joerg eBock


    Full Text Available The trumpet-tailed rat or degu (Octodon degus is an established model to investigate the consequences of early stress on the development of emotional brain circuits and behaviour. The aim of this study was to identify brain circuits, that respond to different stress conditions and to test if acute stress alters functional coupling of brain activity among prefrontal and limbic regions. Using functional imaging (2-Fluoro-deoxyglucose method in 8 day old male degu pups the following stress conditions were compared: (A pups together with parents and siblings (control, (B separation of the litter from the parents, (C individual separation from parents and siblings, (D individual separation and presentation of maternal calls. Condition (B significantly downregulated brain activity in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, nucleus accumbens and sensory areas compared to controls. Activity decrease was even more pronounced during condition (C, where, in contrast to all other regions, activity in the PAG was increased. Interestingly, brain activity in stress-associated brain regions such as the amygdala and habenula was not affected. In condition (D maternal vocalizations reactivated brain activity in the cingulate and precentral medial cortex, nucleus accumbens and striatum and in sensory areas. In contrast, reduced activity was measured in the prelimbic and infralimbic cortex and in the hippocampus and amygdala. Correlation analysis revealed complex, region- and situation-specific changes of interregional functional coupling among prefrontal and limbic brain regions during stress exposure. We show here for the first time that early life stress results in a widespread reduction of brain activity in the infant brain and changes interregional functional coupling. Moreover, maternal vocalizations can partly buffer stress-induced decrease in brain activity in some regions and evoked very different functional coupling patterns compared to the three other

  3. Development of Some Organs Derived from the Three Embryonic Germ Layer in a Degus Ectopic Pregnancy and Presence of a Cytotrophoblast That Mimics Human Chorionic Placenta

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    C. Bosco


    Full Text Available This report describes a case of abdominal pregnancy in an adult female degu from which we recovered two large tissular masses from the peritoneal cavity. The bigger one showed a number of thin vascular connections to the serosa layer of the small intestine. It was also directly connected to the smaller mass by a thin membranous process. The surface of the bigger mass facing the small intestine wall showed the presence of chorionic villous that resembled a villous human chorionic placenta, rather than the hemomonochorial labyrinthine placenta, characteristic of this species. This unusual finding leads us to postulate that in the degu’s uterus the cytotrophoblast is exposed to a number of factors that will activate cascades of cellular and molecular events that ultimately will be signaling the cytotrophoblast to develop into a labyrinthine hemomonochorial placenta. In absence of the proper uterine environment, as is the case of the abdominal pregnancy in the peritoneal cavity reported here, the lack of signaling will lead the cytotrophoblast to develop into a villous chorionic placenta, similar to that observed in human.

  4. A comparative analysis of the distribution of immunoreactive orexin A and B in the brains of nocturnal and diurnal rodents

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    Nixon Joshua P


    Full Text Available Abstract Background The orexins (hypocretins are a family of peptides found primarily in neurons in the lateral hypothalamus. Although the orexinergic system is generally thought to be the same across species, the orexins are involved in behaviors which show considerable interspecific variability. There are few direct cross-species comparisons of the distributions of cells and fibers containing these peptides. Here, we addressed the possibility that there might be important species differences by systematically examining and directly comparing the distribution of orexinergic neurons and fibers within the forebrains of species with very different patterns of sleep-wake behavior. Methods We compared the distribution of orexin-immunoreactive cell bodies and fibers in two nocturnal species (the lab rat, Rattus norvegicus and the golden hamster, Mesocricetus auratus and two diurnal species (the Nile grass rat, Arvicanthis niloticus and the degu, Octodon degus. For each species, tissue from the olfactory bulbs through the brainstem was processed for immunoreactivity for orexin A and orexin B (hypocretin-1 and -2. The distribution of orexin-positive cells was noted for each species. Orexin fiber distribution and density was recorded and analyzed using a principal components factor analysis to aid in evaluating potential species differences. Results Orexin-positive cells were observed in the lateral hypothalamic area of each species, though there were differences with respect to distribution within this region. In addition, cells positive for orexin A but not orexin B were observed in the paraventricular nucleus of the lab rat and grass rat, and in the supraoptic nucleus of the lab rat, grass rat and hamster. Although the overall distributions of orexin A and B fibers were similar in the four species, some striking differences were noted, especially in the lateral mammillary nucleus, ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus and flocculus. Conclusion The orexin

  5. Vocal complexity and sociality in spotted paca (Cuniculus paca). (United States)

    Lima, Stella G C; Sousa-Lima, Renata S; Tokumaru, Rosana S; Nogueira-Filho, Sérgio L G; Nogueira, Selene S C


    The evolution of sociality is related to many ecological factors that act on animals as selective forces, thus driving the formation of groups. Group size will depend on the payoffs of group living. The Social Complexity Hypothesis for Communication (SCHC) predicts that increases in group size will be related to increases in the complexity of the communication among individuals. This hypothesis, which was confirmed in some mammal societies, may be useful to trace sociality in the spotted paca (Cuniculus paca), a Neotropical caviomorph rodent reported as solitary. There are, however, sightings of groups in the wild, and farmers easily form groups of spotted paca in captivity. Thus, we aimed to describe the acoustic repertoire of captive spotted paca to test the SCHC and to obtain insights about the sociability of this species. Moreover, we aimed to verify the relationship between group size and acoustic repertoire size of caviomorph rodents, to better understand the evolution of sociality in this taxon. We predicted that spotted paca should display a complex acoustic repertoire, given their social behavior in captivity and group sightings in the wild. We also predicted that in caviomorph species the group size would increase with acoustic repertoire, supporting the SCHC. We performed a Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) based on acoustic parameters of the vocalizations recorded. In addition, we applied an independent contrasts approach to investigate sociality in spotted paca following the social complexity hypothesis, independent of phylogeny. Our analysis showed that the spotted paca's acoustic repertoire contains seven vocal types and one mechanical signal. The broad acoustic repertoire of the spotted paca might have evolved given the species' ability to live in groups. The relationship between group size and the size of the acoustic repertoires of caviomorph species was confirmed, providing additional support for the SCHC in yet another group of diverse mammals-caviomorph

  6. Craniodental morphology and systematics of a new family of hystricognathous rodents (Gaudeamuridae from the late eocene and early oligocene of Egypt.

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    Hesham M Sallam

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Gaudeamus is an enigmatic hystricognathous rodent that was, until recently, known solely from fragmentary material from early Oligocene sites in Egypt, Oman, and Libya. Gaudeamus' molars are similar to those of the extant cane rat Thryonomys, and multiple authorities have aligned Gaudeamus with Thryonomys to the exclusion of other living and extinct African hystricognaths; recent phylogenetic analyses have, however, also suggested affinities with South American caviomorphs or Old World porcupines (Hystricidae. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we describe the oldest known remains of Gaudeamus, including largely complete but crushed crania and complete upper and lower dentitions. Unlike younger Gaudeamus species, the primitive species described here have relatively complex occlusal patterns, and retain a number of plesiomorphic features. Unconstrained parsimony analysis nests Gaudeamus and Hystrix within the South American caviomorph radiation, implying what we consider to be an implausible back-dispersal across the Atlantic Ocean to account for Gaudeamus' presence in the late Eocene of Africa. An analysis that was constrained to recover the biogeographically more plausible hypothesis of caviomorph monophyly does not place Gaudeamus as a stem caviomorph, but rather as a sister taxon of hystricids. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We place Gaudeamus species in a new family, Gaudeamuridae, and consider it likely that the group originated, diversified, and then went extinct over a geologically brief period of time during the latest Eocene and early Oligocene in Afro-Arabia. Gaudeamurids are the only known crown hystricognaths from Afro-Arabia that are likely to be aligned with non-phiomorph members of that clade, and as such provide additional support for an Afro-Arabian origin of advanced stem and basal crown members of Hystricognathi.

  7. Phylogeny and chronology of the major lineages of New World hystricognath rodents: insights on the biogeography of the Eocene/Oligocene arrival of mammals in South America. (United States)

    Voloch, Carolina M; Vilela, Julio F; Loss-Oliveira, Leticia; Schrago, Carlos G


    The hystricognath rodents of the New World, the Caviomorpha, are a diverse lineage with a long evolutionary history, and their representation in South American fossil record begins with their occurrence in Eocene deposits from Peru. Debates regarding the origin and diversification of this group represent longstanding issues in mammalian evolution because early hystricognaths, as well as Platyrrhini primates, appeared when South American was an isolated landmass, which raised the possibility of a synchronous arrival of these mammalian groups. Thus, an immediate biogeographic problem is posed by the study of caviomorph origins. This problem has motivated the analysis of hystricognath evolution with molecular dating techniques that relied essentially on nuclear data. However, questions remain about the phylogeny and chronology of the major caviomorph lineages. To enhance the understanding of the evolution of the Hystricognathi in the New World, we sequenced new mitochondrial genomes of caviomorphs and performed a combined analysis with nuclear genes. Our analysis supports the existence of two major caviomorph lineages: the (Chinchilloidea + Octodontoidea) and the (Cavioidea + Erethizontoidea), which diverged in the late Eocene. The Caviomorpha/phiomorph divergence also occurred at approximately 43 Ma. We inferred that all family-level divergences of New World hystricognaths occurred in the early Miocene. The molecular estimates presented in this study, inferred from the combined analysis of mitochondrial genomes and nuclear data, are in complete agreement with the recently proposed paleontological scenario of Caviomorpha evolution. A comparison with recent studies on New World primate diversification indicate that although the hypothesis that both lineages arrived synchronously in the Neotropics cannot be discarded, the times elapsed since the most recent common ancestor of the extant representatives of both groups are different.

  8. Development of the inverted visceral yolk sac in three species of caviids (Rodentia, Caviomorpha, Caviidae). (United States)

    Miglino, M A; Franciolli, A L R; de Oliveira, M F; Ambrósio, C E; Bonatelli, M; Machado, M R F; Mess, A


    Guinea pig related rodents possess numerous derived placental characters. We attempt to identify diversity within the visceral yolk sac and its association with the chorioallantoic placenta in three species of caviids, two of them possessing a capsule formed by the decidua that covers the chorioallantoic placenta. The results verify that in early pregnancy all three species have an inverted yolk sac placenta. In advanced pregnancy the species differ: Galea spixii, as representative without a capsule, bear a yolk sac in apposition to the chorioallantoic placenta with signs of exchange activity until term. Galea is similar to other caviomorphs in this respect. In Dasyprocta leporina and Cuniculus paca, the representatives possessing a capsule, the yolk sac endoderm lacks signs of substance exchange. Evidently, the presence of a capsule prevents such an interaction. The variations established here must be considered if animal models for human placentation are required which have restricted access to the chorioallantoic placenta from the outside.

  9. Conservation of placentation during the tertiary radiation of mammals in South America

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Carter, Anthony Michael; Mess, Andrea Maria


    The eutherian placenta is considered to possess great plasticity, but it is not clear how this variation reflects adaptation to different ecological niches. Because South America was isolated for most of the Tertiary, it represents a natural laboratory to examine this question. We here describe...... placentation in three South American groups: Xenarthra have been part of the fauna from at least the mid-Paleocene whereas caviomorph rodents and Neotropical primates are each derived from a single founder that reached South America in the Eocene and Oligocene, respectively. The common ancestor of Xenarthra....... This pattern was present before arrival of these rodents in South America and enabled a successful radiation especially during the spread of grasslands. Neotropical primates have haemochorial, trabecular placentas with a specialized maternal blood supply; a pattern that contrasts with that of Old World monkeys...

  10. Ritmo circadiano de atividade motora e distribuição diária dos comportamentos afiliativos ao longo da fase juvenil em saguis (callithrix jacchus)


    Melo, Paula Rocha de


    A alocação temporal da fase ativa em relação ao ciclo claro e escuro (CE) modifica-se durante a puberdade em humanos, degus, ratos e rhesus. Em sagui, modelo animal utilizado em diversas pesquisas biomédicas, há evidências de um avanço no início da fase ativa e um aumento no total diário da atividade após a entrada na puberdade. Entretanto, como este aspecto foi avaliado em animais mantidos em condições ambientais naturais, não foi possível distinguir entre os efeitos da puberd...

  11. Conservation of placentation during the tertiary radiation of mammals in South America. (United States)

    Carter, Anthony Michael; Mess, Andrea Maria


    The eutherian placenta is considered to possess great plasticity, but it is not clear how this variation reflects adaptation to different ecological niches. Because South America was isolated for most of the Tertiary, it represents a natural laboratory to examine this question. We here describe placentation in three South American groups: Xenarthra have been part of the fauna from at least the mid-Paleocene whereas caviomorph rodents and Neotropical primates are each derived from a single founder that reached South America in the Eocene and Oligocene, respectively. The common ancestor of Xenarthra had a villous, haemochorial placenta, from which the labyrinthine, endotheliochorial placenta of sloths later evolved. Placentation in Caviomorpha follows an extraordinary stable pattern, characterized by a haemomonochorial, labyrinthine and highly lobed structure with specialized growing areas. This pattern was present before arrival of these rodents in South America and enabled a successful radiation especially during the spread of grasslands. Neotropical primates have haemochorial, trabecular placentas with a specialized maternal blood supply; a pattern that contrasts with that of Old World monkeys and may have been present in the founder generation on arrival in South America. In conclusion, there is a dichotomy within Xenarthra but otherwise the ancient South American mammals do not show much variation in principal placental characters. Thus, the successful radiation of these three groups, and their adaptation to diverse ecological niches, did not require substantial alterations in placentation. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Amazonian phylogeography: mtDNA sequence variation in arboreal echimyid rodents (Caviomorpha). (United States)

    da Silva, M N; Patton, J L


    Patterns of evolutionary relationships among haplotype clades of sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b DNA gene are examined for five genera of arboreal rodents of the Caviomorph family Echimyidae from the Amazon Basin. Data are available for 798 bp of sequence from a total of 24 separate localities in Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Brazil for Mesomys, Isothrix, Makalata, Dactylomys, and Echimys. Sequence divergence, corrected for multiple hits, is extensive, ranging from less than 1% for comparisons within populations of over 20% among geographic units within genera. Both the degree of differentiation and the geographic patterning of the variation suggest that more than one species composes the Amazonian distribution of the currently recognized Mesomys hispidus, Isothrix bistriata, Makalata didelphoides, and Dactylomys dactylinus. There is general concordance in the geographic range of haplotype clades for each of these taxa, and the overall level of differentiation within them is largely equivalent. These observations suggest that a common vicariant history underlies the respective diversification of each genus. However, estimated times of divergence based on the rate of third position transversion substitutions for the major clades within each genus typically range above 1 million years. Thus, allopatric isolation precipitating divergence must have been considerably earlier than the late Pleistocene forest fragmentation events commonly invoked for Amazonian biota.

  13. Eocene primates of South America and the African origins of New World monkeys (United States)

    Bond, Mariano; Tejedor, Marcelo F.; Campbell, Kenneth E.; Chornogubsky, Laura; Novo, Nelson; Goin, Francisco


    The platyrrhine primates, or New World monkeys, are immigrant mammals whose fossil record comes from Tertiary and Quaternary sediments of South America and the Caribbean Greater Antilles. The time and place of platyrrhine origins are some of the most controversial issues in primate palaeontology, although an African Palaeogene ancestry has been presumed by most primatologists. Until now, the oldest fossil records of New World monkeys have come from Salla, Bolivia, and date to approximately 26 million years ago, or the Late Oligocene epoch. Here we report the discovery of new primates from the ?Late Eocene epoch of Amazonian Peru, which extends the fossil record of primates in South America back approximately 10 million years. The new specimens are important for understanding the origin and early evolution of modern platyrrhine primates because they bear little resemblance to any extinct or living South American primate, but they do bear striking resemblances to Eocene African anthropoids, and our phylogenetic analysis suggests a relationship with African taxa. The discovery of these new primates brings the first appearance datum of caviomorph rodents and primates in South America back into close correspondence, but raises new questions about the timing and means of arrival of these two mammalian groups.

  14. Mammal occurrence and roadkill in two adjacent ecoregions (Atlantic Forest and Cerrado in south-western Brazil

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    Nilton C. Cáceres


    Full Text Available This paper examines the frequencies of mammal roadkill in two adjacent biogeographic ecoregions (Atlantic Forest and Cerrado of Brazil. Mammals were recorded during a seven-year period and over 3,900 km of roads, in order to obtain data for frequencies of species in habitats (sites and frequencies of species killed by cars on roads. Sites (n = 80 within ecoregions (Cerrado, n = 57; Atlantic Forest, n = 23 were searched for records of mammals. Species surveyed in the entire region totaled 33, belonging to nine orders and 16 families. In the Cerrado, 31 species were recorded in habitats; of these, 25 were found dead on roads. In the Atlantic Forest ecoregions, however, we found 21 species in habitats, 16 of which were also found dead on roads. There was no overall significant difference between ecoregions for frequencies of occurrence in habitats or for roadkills, but there were differences between individual species. Hence, anteaters were mostly recorded in the Cerrado ecoregion, whereas caviomorph rodents tended to be more frequent in the Atlantic Forest ecoregion (seen mainly by roadkills. The greater number of species (overall and threatened and the greater abundance of species records in the Cerrado suggest that this ecoregion has a greater biodiversity and is better conserved than the Atlantic Forest ecoregion, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, south-western Brazil.

  15. X-Ray Processing of ChaMPlane Fields: Methods and Initial Results for Selected Anti-Galactic Center Fields (United States)

    Hong, JaeSub; van den Berg, Maureen; Schlegel, Eric M.; Grindlay, Jonathan E.; Koenig, Xavier; Laycock, Silas; Zhao, Ping


    We describe the X-ray analysis procedure of the ongoing Chandra Multiwavelength Plane (ChaMPlane) Survey and report the initial results from the analysis of 15 selected anti-Galactic center observations (90degusing custom-developed analysis tools appropriate for Galactic sources but also of general use: optimum photometry in crowded fields using advanced techniques for overlapping sources, rigorous astrometry and 95% error circles for combining X-ray images or matching to optical/IR images, and application of quantile analysis for spectral analysis of faint sources. We apply these techniques to 15 anti-Galactic center observations (of 14 distinct fields), in which we have detected 921 X-ray point sources. We present logN-logS distributions and quantile analysis to show that in the hard band (2-8 keV) active galactic nuclei dominate the sources. Complete analysis of all ChaMPlane anti-Galactic center fields will be given in a subsequent paper, followed by papers on sources in the Galactic center and bulge regions.

  16. Deterioration of the Gαo vomeronasal pathway in sexually dimorphic mammals.

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    Rodrigo Suárez

    Full Text Available In mammals, social and sexual behaviours are largely mediated by the vomeronasal system (VNS. The accessory olfactory bulb (AOB is the first synaptic locus of the VNS and ranges from very large in Caviomorph rodents, small in carnivores and ungulates, to its complete absence in apes, elephants, most bats and aquatic species. Two pathways have been described in the VNS of mammals. In mice, vomeronasal neurons expressing Gαi2 protein project to the rostral portion of the AOB and respond mostly to small volatile molecules, whereas neurons expressing Gαo project to the caudal AOB and respond mostly to large non-volatile molecules. However, the Gαo-expressing pathway is absent in several species (horses, dogs, musk shrews, goats and marmosets but no hypotheses have been proposed to date to explain the loss of that pathway. We noted that the species that lost the Gαo pathway belong to Laurasiatheria and Primates lineages, both clades with ubiquitous sexual dimorphisms across species. To assess whether similar events of Gαo pathway loss could have occurred convergently in dimorphic species we studied G-protein expression in the AOB of two species that independently evolved sexually dimorphic traits: the California ground squirrel Spermophilus beecheyi (Rodentia; Sciurognathi and the cape hyrax Procavia capensis (Afrotheria; Hyracoidea. We found that both species show uniform expression of Gαi2-protein throughout AOB glomeruli, while Gαo expression is restricted to main olfactory glomeruli only. Our results suggest that the degeneration of the Gαo-expressing vomeronasal pathway has occurred independently at least four times in Eutheria, possibly related to the emergence of sexual dimorphisms and the ability of detecting the gender of conspecifics at distance.

  17. Effect of season on reproductive behaviors and fertilization success in cavies (Cavia aperea). (United States)

    Hribal, Romy; Rübensam, Kathrin; Bernhardt, Sandra; Jewgenow, Katarina; Guenther, Anja


    Finding the optimal timing for breeding is crucial for small mammals to ensure survival and maximize lifetime reproductive success. Species living in temperate regions therefore often restrict breeding to seasons with favorable food and weather conditions. Although caviomorph rodents such as guinea pigs are described as non-seasonal breeders, a series of recent publications has shown seasonal adaptations in litter size, offspring birth mass and maternal investment. Here, we aim to test if seasonal patterns of litter size variation found in earlier studies, are mediated by seasonal differences in female estrus length, fertilization rate and mating behavior. The female estrus period was longer in fall compared to all other seasons (p < 0.001), frequently lasting 7-9 days while estrus in spring usually lasted less than 2 days. In fall, females mated later during estrus (p < 0.001), resulting in reduced fertilization rates (p < 0.001). Fertilization rate was well above 95% in summer while it dropped to less than 85% in fall and winter. While none of the male mating characteristics such as number and duration of copulations differed across seasons, the number of mating bouts was reduced in fall (p = 0.04). Finally, the developmental stages of flushed embryos were more diverse in spring and summer compared to fall and winter. These results suggest that seasonal differences in fertilization rate and quality of implanted embryos are mediated by female estrus length and timing and intensity of mating behavior. Together, these effects contribute to the observed differences in litter size across seasons. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  18. Characterization of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone precursor cDNA in the Old World mole-rat Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae: high degree of identity with the New World guinea pig sequence. (United States)

    Kalamatianos, T; du Toit, L; Hrabovszky, E; Kalló, I; Marsh, P J; Bennett, N C; Coen, C W


    Regulation of pituitary gonadotrophins by the decapeptide gonadotrophin-releasing hormone 1 (GnRH1) is crucial for the development and maintenance of reproductive functions. A common amino acid sequence for this decapeptide, designated as 'mammalian' GnRH, has been identified in all mammals thus far investigated with the exception of the guinea pig, in which there are two amino acid substitutions. Among hystricognath rodents, the members of the family Bathyergidae regulate reproduction in response to diverse cues. Thus, highveld mole-rats (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae) are social bathyergids in which breeding is restricted to a particular season in the dominant female, but continuously suppressed in subordinate colony members. Elucidation of reproductive control in these animals will be facilitated by characterization of their GnRH1 gene. A partial sequence of GnRH1 precursor cDNA was isolated and characterized. Comparative analysis revealed the highest degree of identity (86%) to guinea pig GnRH1 precursor mRNA. Nevertheless, the deduced amino acid sequence of the mole-rat decapeptide is identical to the 'mammalian' sequence rather than that of guinea pigs. Successful detection of GnRH1-synthesizing neurones using either a guinea pig GnRH1 riboprobe or an antibody against the 'mammalian' decapeptide is consistent with the guinea pig-like sequence for the precursor and the classic 'mammalian' form for the decapeptide. The high degree of identity in the GnRH1 precursor sequence between this Old World mole-rat and the New World guinea pig is consistent with the theory that caviomorphs and phiomorphs originated from a common ancestral line in the Palaeocene to mid Eocene, some 63-45 million years ago.

  19. Thrichomys laurentius (Rodentia; Echimyidae as a putative reservoir of Leishmania infantum and L. braziliensis: patterns of experimental infection.

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    André Luiz Rodrigues Roque

    Full Text Available The importance of the genus Thrichomys in the retention of infection and transmission of Leishmania species is supported by previous studies that describe an ancient interaction between caviomorphs and trypanosomatids and report the natural infection of Thrichomys spp. Moreover, these rodents are widely dispersed in Brazil and recognized as important hosts of other tripanosomatids. Our main purpose was to evaluate the putative role of Thrichomys laurentius in the retention of infection and amplification of the transmission cycle of Leishmania infantum and L. braziliensis. Male and female T. laurentius (n = 24 born in captivity were evaluated for the retention of infection with these Leishmania species and followed up by parasitological, serological, hematological, biochemical, histological, and molecular assays for 3, 6, 9, or 12 months post infection (mpi. T. laurentius showed its competence as maintenance host for the two inoculated Leishmania species. Four aspects should be highlighted: (i re-isolation of parasites 12 mpi; (ii the low parasitic burden displayed by T. laurentius tissues; (iii the early onset and maintenance of humoral response, and (iv the similar pattern of infection by the two Leishmania species. Both Leishmania species demonstrated the ability to invade and maintain itself in viscera and skin of T. laurentius, and no rodent displayed any lesion, histological changes, or clinical evidence of infection. We also wish to point out the irrelevance of the adjective dermotropic or viscerotropic to qualify L. braziliensis and L. infantum, respectively, when these species are hosted by nonhuman hosts. Our data suggest that T. laurentius may act at least as a maintenance host of both tested Leishmania species since it maintained long-lasting infections. Moreover, it cannot be discarded that Leishmania spp. infection in free-ranging T. laurentius could result in higher parasite burden due the more stressing conditions in the wild

  20. Comparative Anatomy of the Bony Labyrinth (Inner Ear) of Placental Mammals (United States)

    Ekdale, Eric G.


    Background Variation is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is observable at all levels of morphology, from anatomical variations of DNA molecules to gross variations between whole organisms. The structure of the otic region is no exception. The present paper documents the broad morphological diversity exhibited by the inner ear region of placental mammals using digital endocasts constructed from high-resolution X-ray computed tomography (CT). Descriptions cover the major placental clades, and linear, angular, and volumetric dimensions are reported. Principal Findings The size of the labyrinth is correlated to the overall body mass of individuals, such that large bodied mammals have absolutely larger labyrinths. The ratio between the average arc radius of curvature of the three semicircular canals and body mass of aquatic species is substantially lower than the ratios of related terrestrial taxa, and the volume percentage of the vestibular apparatus of aquatic mammals tends to be less than that calculated for terrestrial species. Aspects of the bony labyrinth are phylogenetically informative, including vestibular reduction in Cetacea, a tall cochlear spiral in caviomorph rodents, a low position of the plane of the lateral semicircular canal compared to the posterior canal in Cetacea and Carnivora, and a low cochlear aspect ratio in Primatomorpha. Significance The morphological descriptions that are presented add a broad baseline of anatomy of the inner ear across many placental mammal clades, for many of which the structure of the bony labyrinth is largely unknown. The data included here complement the growing body of literature on the physiological and phylogenetic significance of bony labyrinth structures in mammals, and they serve as a source of data for future studies on the evolution and function of the vertebrate ear. PMID:23805251

  1. Hindlimb musculature of the largest living rodent Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris (Caviomorpha): Adaptations to semiaquatic and terrestrial styles of life. (United States)

    García-Esponda, César M; Candela, Adriana M


    The caviomorph species Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris (Cavioidea), or capybara, is the largest living rodent. This species is widely distributed, from northern South America to Uruguay and eastern Argentina, inhabiting in a wide variety of densely vegetated lowlands habitats in the proximity of water. Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris not only runs with agility, like other members of the Cavioidea, but it can also swim and dive easily. For these reasons, it has been classified as a cursorial as well as semiaquatic species. However, comprehensive anatomical descriptions of the osteology and myology of the capybara are not available in the literature and analyses on its swimming abilities are still required. We hypothesize that some of the characters of the hindlimb of H. hydrochaeris could reveal a unique morphological arrangement associated with swimming abilities. In this study, an anatomical description of the hindlimb musculature of H. hydrochaeris, and a discussion of the possible functional significance of the main muscles is provided. In addition, we explore the evolution of some myological and osteological characters of the capybara in the context of the cavioids. We concluded that most of the muscular and osteological features of the hindlimb of H. hydrochaeris are neither adaptations to a specialized cursoriality, nor major modifications for an aquatic mode of life. Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris share several features with other cavioids, being a generalized cursorial species in the context of this clade. However, it shows some adaptations of the hindlimb for enhancing propulsion through water, of which the most notable seems to be the shortening of the leg, short tendons of most muscles of the leg, and a well-developed soleus muscle. These adaptations to a semiaquatic mode of life could have been acquired during the most recent evolutionary history of the hydrochoerids. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.