Danilo E F L Flôres
Full Text Available Subterranean rodents spend most of the day inside underground tunnels, where there is little daily change in environmental variables. Our observations of tuco-tucos (Ctenomys aff. knighti in a field enclosure indicated that these animals perceive the aboveground light-dark cycle by several bouts of light-exposure at irregular times during the light hours of the day. To assess whether such light-dark pattern acts as an entraining agent of the circadian clock, we first constructed in laboratory the Phase Response Curve for 1 h light-pulses (1000lux. Its shape is qualitatively similar to other curves reported in the literature and to our knowledge it is the first Phase Response Curve of a subterranean rodent. Computer simulations were performed with a non-linear limit-cycle oscillator subjected to a simple model of the light regimen experienced by tuco-tucos. Results showed that synchronization is achieved even by a simple regimen of a single daily light pulse scattered uniformly along the light hours of the day. Natural entrainment studies benefit from integrated laboratory, field and computational approaches.
Juan Pablo Amaya
Full Text Available The underground environment poses particular communication challenges for subterranean rodents. Some loud and low-pitched acoustic signals that can travel long distances are appropriate for long-range underground communication and have been suggested to be territorial signals. Long-range vocalizations (LRVs are important in long-distance communication in Ctenomys tuco-tucos. We characterized the LRV of the Anillaco Tuco-Tuco (Ctenomys sp. using recordings from free-living individuals and described the behavioral context in which this vocalization was produced during laboratory staged encounters between individuals of both sexes. Long-range calls of Anillaco tuco-tucos are low-frequency, broad-band, loud, and long sounds composed by the repetition of two syllable types: series (formed by notes and soft-notes and individual notes. All vocalizations were initiated with series, but not all had individual notes. Males were heavier than females and gave significantly lower-pitched vocalizations, but acoustic features were independent of body mass in males. The pronounced variation among individuals in the arrangement and number of syllables and the existence of three types of series (dyads, triads, and tetrads, created a diverse collection of syntactic patterns in vocalizations that would provide the opportunity to encode multiple types of information. The existence of complex syntactic patterns and the description of soft-notes represent new aspects of the vocal communication of Ctenomys. Long-distance vocalizations by Anillaco Tuco-Tucos appear to be territorial signals used mostly in male-male interactions. First, emission of LRVs resulted in de-escalation or space-keeping in male-male and male-female encounters in laboratory experiments. Second, these vocalizations were produced most frequently (in the field and in the lab by males in our study population. Third, males produced LRVs with greater frequency during male-male encounters compared to
Caraballo, Diego A; Abruzzese, Giselle A; Rossi, María Susana
Tuco-tucos (small subterranean rodents of the genus Ctenomys) that inhabit sandy soils of the area under the influence of the second largest wetland of South America, in Northeastern Argentina (Corrientes province), are a complex of species and forms whose taxonomic status were not defined, nor are the evolutionary relationships among them. The tuco-tuco populations of this area exhibit one of the most ample grades of chromosomal variability within the genus. In order to analyze evolutionary relationships within the Corrientes group and its chromosomal variability, we completed the missing karyotypic information and performed a phylogenetic analysis. We obtained partial sequences of three mitochondrial markers: D-loop, cytochrome b and cytochrome oxidase I. The Corrientes group was monophyletic and split into three main clades that grouped related karyomorphs. The phylogeny suggested an ancestral condition of the karyomorph with diploid number (2n) 70 and fundamental number (FN) 84 that has evolved mainly via reductions of the FN although amplifications occurred in certain lineages. We discuss the relationship between patterns of chromosomal variability and species and groups boundaries. From the three main clades the one named iberá exhibited a remarkable karyotypic homogeneity, and could be considered as an independent and cohesive evolutionary lineage. On the contrary, the former recognized species C. dorbignyi is a polyphyletic lineage and hence its systematic classification should be reviewed.
Full Text Available The tuco-tuco Ctenomys aff. knighti is a subterranean rodent which inhabits a semi-arid area in Northwestern Argentina. Although they live in underground burrows where environmental cycles are attenuated, they display robust, 24 h locomotor activity rhythms that are synchronized by light/dark cycles, both in laboratory and field conditions. The underground environment also poses energetic challenges (e.g. high-energy demands of digging, hypoxia, high humidity, low food availability that have motivated thermoregulation studies in several subterranean rodent species. By using chronobiological protocols, the present work aims to contribute towards these studies by exploring day-night variations of thermoregulatory functions in tuco-tucos, starting with body temperature and its temporal relationship to locomotor activity. Animals showed daily, 24 h body temperature rhythms that persisted even in constant darkness and temperature, synchronizing to a daily light/dark cycle, with highest values occurring during darkness hours. The range of oscillation of body temperature was slightly lower than those reported for similar-sized and dark-active rodents. Most rhythmic parameters, such as period and phase, did not change upon removal of the running wheel. Body temperature and locomotor activity rhythms were robustly associated in time. The former persisted even after removal of the acute effects of intense activity on body temperature by a statistical method. Finally, regression gradients between body temperature and activity were higher in the beginning of the night, suggesting day-night variation in thermal conductance and heat production. Consideration of these day-night variations in thermoregulatory processes is beneficial for further studies on thermoregulation and energetics of subterranean rodents.
Barbara M Tomotani
Full Text Available South American subterranean rodents (Ctenomys aff. knighti, commonly known as tuco-tucos, display nocturnal, wheel-running behavior under light-dark (LD conditions, and free-running periods >24 h in constant darkness (DD. However, several reports in the field suggested that a substantial amount of activity occurs during daylight hours, leading us to question whether circadian entrainment in the laboratory accurately reflects behavior in natural conditions. We compared circadian patterns of locomotor activity in DD of animals previously entrained to full laboratory LD cycles (LD12:12 with those of animals that were trapped directly from the field. In both cases, activity onsets in DD immediately reflected the previous dark onset or sundown. Furthermore, freerunning periods upon release into DD were close to 24 h indicating aftereffects of prior entrainment, similarly in both conditions. No difference was detected in the phase of activity measured with and without access to a running wheel. However, when individuals were observed continuously during daylight hours in a semi-natural enclosure, they emerged above-ground on a daily basis. These day-time activities consisted of foraging and burrow maintenance, suggesting that the designation of this species as nocturnal might be inaccurate in the field. Our study of a solitary subterranean species suggests that the circadian clock is entrained similarly under field and laboratory conditions and that day-time activity expressed only in the field is required for foraging and may not be time-dictated by the circadian pacemaker.
Gisele Guiomara Stein
As análises hematológicas e bioquímicas são de extrema, auxiliando no diagnóstico de doenças e estados nutricionais dos animais. O perfil hematológico e valores bioquímicos sanguíneos foram determinados em três populações de vida livre de Ctenomys lami (tuco-tuco), de três regiões distintas: Região A (Distrito de Itapuã), Região B (Município de Viamão) e Região C (Município de Viamão, Unidade de Conservação Refúgio de Vida Silvestre Banhado dos Pachecos, distrito de Águas Claras), sendo as ár...
Echeverría, Alejandra Isabel; Becerra, Federico; Vassallo, Aldo Iván
Burrow construction in the subterranean Ctenomys talarum (Rodentia: Ctenomyidae) primarily occurs by scratch-digging. In this study, we compared the limbs of an ontogenetic series of C. talarum to identify variation in bony elements related to fossorial habits using a morphometrical and biomechanical approach. Diameters and functional lengths of long bones were measured and 10 functional indices were constructed. We found that limb proportions of C. talarum undergo significant changes throughout postnatal ontogeny, and no significant differences between sexes were observed. Five of six forelimb indices and two of four hindlimb indices showed differences between ages. According to discriminant analysis, the indices that contributed most to discrimination among age groups were robustness of the humerus and ulna, relative epicondylar width, crural and brachial indices, and index of fossorial ability (IFA). Particularly, pups could be differentiated from juveniles and adults by more robust humeri and ulnae, wider epicondyles, longer middle limb elements, and a proportionally shorter olecranon. Greater robustness indicated a possible compensation for lower bone stiffness while wider epicondyles may be associated to improved effective forces in those muscles that originate onto them, compensating the lower muscular development. The gradual increase in the IFA suggested a gradual enhancement in the scratch-digging performance due to an improvement in the mechanical advantage of forearm extensors. Middle limb indices were higher in pups than in juveniles-adults, reflecting relatively more gracile limbs in their middle segments, which is in accordance with their incipient fossorial ability. In sum, our results show that in C. talarum some scratch-digging adaptations are already present during early postnatal ontogeny, which suggests that they are prenatally shaped, and other traits develop progressively. The role of early digging behavior as a factor influencing on
ANA P CUTRERA
Full Text Available En este trabajo se evaluaron los cambios en densidad y longitud del pelaje dorsal y ventral en el roedor subterráneo Ctenomys talarum, como posible mecanismo compensatorio frente a cambios de temperatura estacionales en el ambiente de la cueva, en especial durante la época estival, y durante el período de preñez en las hembras, ya que ambas etapas representan desafíos para la termorregulación en esta especie. Se observó que el pelaje ventral fue significativamente más corto y menos denso que el dorsal en machos, hembras preñadas y hembras no preñadas en las dos estaciones evaluadas. La longitud del pelaje tanto dorsal como ventral en los tres grupos fue significativamente menor durante la estación de temperaturas más cálidas. En la estación cálida, las hembras preñadas exhibieron un pelaje ventral significativamente más corto que el pelaje ventral de machos y de hembras no preñadas. Se discuten las posibles ventajas térmicas que podrían representar las modificaciones observadas en las características del pelaje de esta especie, con énfasis en las restricciones que impone el ambiente subterráneo en cuanto a los mecanismos disponibles de disipación del calor corporalIn this work, the changes in fur density and length in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum were evaluated as a possible compensatory mechanism during seasonal temperature changes in their burrow environment and during pregnancy in females, both situations being thermoregulatory challenging in this species. The ventral fur was shorter and less dense than the dorsal fur in the three groups (males, non-pregnant females and pregnant females and in the two seasons evaluated. Ventral and dorsal furs were significantly shorter during the warm seasons in the three groups. In the warm season, pregnant females had a ventral fur significantly shorter than that of males and non-pregnant females. The possible thermal advantages that the observed fur changes might
Tomotani, Barbara Mizumo; Amaya, Juan Pablo; Oda, Gisele Akemi; Valentinuzzi, Veronica Sandra
Abstract South American subterranean rodents are mainly described as solitary and mutual synchronization was never observed among individuals maintained together in laboratory. We report that a single birth event was capable of disrupting the robust nocturnal activity rhythm of singly housed
Tachinardi, Patricia; Valentinuzzi, Verónica S; Oda, Gisele A; Buck, C Loren
The tuco-tuco (Ctenomys aff. knighti) is among the rodent species known to be nocturnal under standard laboratory conditions and diurnal under natural conditions. The circadian thermoenergetics (CTE) hypothesis postulates that switches in activity timing are a response to energetic challenges; daytime activity reduces thermoregulatory costs by consolidating activity to the warmest part of the day. Studying wild animals under both captive and natural conditions can increase understanding of how temporal activity patterns are shaped by the environment and could serve as a test of the CTE hypothesis. We estimated the effects of activity timing on energy expenditure for the tuco-tuco by combining laboratory measurements of metabolic rate with environmental temperature records in both winter and summer. We showed that, in winter, there would be considerable energy savings if activity is allocated at least partially during daylight, lending support to the CTE hypothesis. In summer, the impact of activity timing on energy expenditure is small, suggesting that during this season other factors, such as predation risk, water balance, and social interaction, may have more important roles than energetics in the determination of activity time.
ANA L. MONSERRAT
Full Text Available Los depredadores de marcada respuesta funcional pueden poseer la capacidad de estabilizar las poblaciones de sus presas, lo cual es destacable en el caso de presas introducidas, que suelen causar impactos negativos en los ecosistemas nativos y las actividades agropecuarias. La situación actual de la Patagonia es crítica respecto a la introducción de especies. Estudios previos indican que los depredadores nativos exhiben un cambio general en sus dietas debido a la introducción de presas exóticas que están reemplazando a sus presas originales. Determinamos los hábitos alimenticios del águila (Geranoaetus melanoluecus, el búho magallánico (Bubo magellanicus y el aguilucho común (Buteo polyosoma, tres de las principales aves depredadoras de la liebre europea (Lepus europaeus, introducida en el noroeste de Patagonia. Para esto analizamos 321, 115 y 78 egagrópilas de águila, búho y aguilucho respectivamente. Evaluamos las respuestas funcionales a la densidad de liebre europea y comparamos las dietas entre sitios diferentes. Las principales presas del aguilucho y del búho fueron los roedores sigmodontinos y en segundo lugar los tuco-tucos (Ctenomys spp.. El águila consumió principalmente liebres y en segundo lugar tuco-tucos, presentando una respuesta funcional significativa para la presa introducida. La dieta de este rapaz fue diferente entre sitios con alta y baja densidad de liebres. Para los otros dos rapaces no encontramos una respuesta funcional significativa para la liebre europea, pero la dieta del aguilucho varió en función del sitio geográfico. Concluimos que tanto el águila mora como el aguilucho se alimentan de manera generalista, siendo el búho el único de los tres rapaces con tendencia especialista sobre pequeños roedores. Por otra parte, la variación de la dieta del águila en función de la densidad de liebre europea le brinda el potencial de contribuir a la regulación de las poblaciones de la misma
Stolz, J F B; Gonçalves, G L; Leipnitz, L; Freitas, T R O
The genus Ctenomys (Rodentia: Ctenomyidae) shows several taxonomic inconsistencies. In this study, we used an integrative approach including DNA sequences, karyotypes, and geometric morphometrics to evaluate the taxonomic validity of a nominal species, Ctenomys bicolor, which was described based on only one specimen in 1912 by Miranda Ribeiro, and since then neglected. We sampled near the type locality assigned to this species and collected 10 specimens. A total of 820 base pairs of the cytochrome b gene were sequenced and analyzed together with nine other species and four morphotypes obtained from GenBank. Bayesian analyses showed that C. bicolor is monophyletic and related to the Bolivian-Matogrossense group, a clade that originated about 3 mya. We compared the cranial shape through morphometric geometrics of C. bicolor, including the specimen originally sampled in 1912, with other species representative of the same phylogenetic group (C. boliviensis and C. steinbachi). C. bicolor shows unique skull traits that distinguish it from all other currently known taxa. Our findings confirm that the specimen collected by Miranda Ribeiro is a valid species, and improve the knowledge about Ctenomys in the Amazon region.
Tachinardi, Patricia; Tøien, Øivind; Valentinuzzi, Veronica S.; Buck, C. Loren; Oda, Gisele A.
Several rodent species that are diurnal in the field become nocturnal in the lab. It has been suggested that the use of running-wheels in the lab might contribute to this timing switch. This proposition is based on studies that indicate feed-back of vigorous wheel-running on the period and phase of circadian clocks that time daily activity rhythms. Tuco-tucos (Ctenomys aff. knighti) are subterranean rodents that are diurnal in the field but are robustly nocturnal in laboratory, with or without access to running wheels. We assessed their energy metabolism by continuously and simultaneously monitoring rates of oxygen consumption, body temperature, general motor and wheel running activity for several days in the presence and absence of wheels. Surprisingly, some individuals spontaneously suppressed running-wheel activity and switched to diurnality in the respirometry chamber, whereas the remaining animals continued to be nocturnal even after wheel removal. This is the first report of timing switches that occur with spontaneous wheel-running suppression and which are not replicated by removal of the wheel. PMID:26460828
Full Text Available Several rodent species that are diurnal in the field become nocturnal in the lab. It has been suggested that the use of running-wheels in the lab might contribute to this timing switch. This proposition is based on studies that indicate feed-back of vigorous wheel-running on the period and phase of circadian clocks that time daily activity rhythms. Tuco-tucos (Ctenomys aff. knighti are subterranean rodents that are diurnal in the field but are robustly nocturnal in laboratory, with or without access to running wheels. We assessed their energy metabolism by continuously and simultaneously monitoring rates of oxygen consumption, body temperature, general motor and wheel running activity for several days in the presence and absence of wheels. Surprisingly, some individuals spontaneously suppressed running-wheel activity and switched to diurnality in the respirometry chamber, whereas the remaining animals continued to be nocturnal even after wheel removal. This is the first report of timing switches that occur with spontaneous wheel-running suppression and which are not replicated by removal of the wheel.
Parâmetros hematológicos do roedor fossorial Ctenomys lami (Rodentia, Ctenomidae no estado do Rio Grande do Sul Hematological parameters of fossorial rodent Ctenomys lami (Rodentia, Ctenomidae in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Gisele G. Stein
Full Text Available O perfil hematológico sanguíneo foi determinado em três populações de Ctenomys lami, em áreas denominadas A e B, impactadas pela bovinocultura, e C, sem impacto antrópico, ambas no sul do Brasil. Sessenta e dois animais foram coletados ao total. Os valores de hematócrito (Ht, hemoglobina (Hb e eritrócitos apresentaram diferenças significativas entre machos e fêmeas. Os valores médios de Ht e a Hb encontrados na espécie foram mais baixos em comparação com os de outras espécies de roedores subterrâneos, podendo estes valores estarem relacionados ao habitat de forrageio ou às características do solo. Também foram encontradas diferenças significativas nas médias de hemoglobina, CHCM e linfócitos em animais das áreas A e B em relação à área C. O valor da média dos hematócritos dos animais entre as áreas foi mais elevado nas áreas A e B, porém significativamente diferentes entre A e C. Algumas dessas alterações sugerem a relação dos valores encontrados com o estresse dos animais em relação a áreas impactadas. Variações significativas no VCM foram encontradas entre os animais das áreas A e C, e também nas plaquetas destes entre as áreas A e B. Não foram observados Corpúsculo de Kurloff no sangue dos animais analisados. Os valores hematológicos encontrados nesses espécimes de Ctenomys lami fornecem informações importantes sobre a espécie e podem ser úteis em outras pesquisas.The hematological profile was determined in three populations of Ctenomys lami that inhabits three different areas nominated as A and B, affected by cattle production, and C, without human impact, all of them in southern Brazil, under the same geologic formation. Sixty two individuals were collected. The packed cell volume (PCV values, hemoglobin (Hb and red blood cell (RBC count presents statistic significant differences between males and females. PCV and Hb values were lower in comparison with other subterranean rodents, which
Mora, Matías Sebastián; Mapelli, Fernando J; López, Aldana; Gómez Fernández, María Jimena; Mirol, Patricia M; Kittlein, Marcelo J
Studies of genetic differentiation in fragmented environments help us to identify those landscape features that most affect gene flow and dispersal patterns. Particularly, the assessment of the relative significance of intrinsic biological and environmental factors affecting the genetic structure of populations becomes crucial. In this work, we assess the current dispersal patterns and population structure of Ctenomys "chasiquensis", a vulnerable and endemic subterranean rodent distributed on a small area in Central Argentina, using 9 polymorphic microsatellite loci. We use landscape genetics approaches to assess the relationship between genetic connectivity among populations and environmental attributes. Our analyses show that populations of C. "chasiquensis" are moderately to highly structured at a regional level. This pattern is most likely the outcome of substantial gene flow on the more homogeneous sand dune habitat of the Northwest of its distributional range, in conjunction with an important degree of isolation of eastern and southwestern populations, where the optimal habitat is surrounded by a highly fragmented landscape. Landscape genetics analysis suggests that habitat quality and longitude were the environmental factors most strongly associated with genetic differentiation/uniqueness of populations. In conclusion, our results indicate an important genetic structure in this species, even at a small spatial scale, suggesting that contemporary habitat fragmentation increases population differentiation.
Quintana, Carlos A
Se analizó la tafonomía y la diversidad de los restos óseos de microvertebrados (mamíferos, peces, aves y ofidios) del Holoceno tardío final del sitio Cueva El Abra, Tandilia oriental (Buenos Aires, Argentina). Los atributos tafonómicos indican que la acumulación de la muestra se debe a la actividad de aves rapaces nocturnas Strigiformes (roedores cricétidos, didélfidos, Ctenomys talarum y algunas aves), a la muerte ocasional en el sitio (ofidios) y a la actividad humana (roedores cávidos, pe...
Full Text Available In recent decades, scientific understanding of the many roles of oxytocin in social behavior has advanced tremendously. The focus of this research has been on maternal attachments and reproductive pair-bonds, and much less is known about the substrates of sociality outside of reproductive contexts. It is now apparent that oxytocin influences many aspects of social behavior including recognition, trust, empathy, and other components of the behavioral repertoire of social species. This review provides a comparative perspective on the contributions of oxytocin to life in mammalian social groups. We provide background on the functions of oxytocin in maternal attachments and the early social environment, and give an overview of the role of oxytocin circuitry in support of different mating systems. We then introduce peer relationships in group-living rodents as a means for studying the importance of oxytocin in non-reproductive affiliative behaviors. We review species differences in oxytocin receptor distributions in solitary and group-living species of South American tuco-tucos and in African mole-rats, as well as singing mice. We discuss variation in oxytocin receptor levels with seasonal changes in social behavior in female meadow voles, and the effects of oxytocin manipulations on peer huddling behavior. Finally, we discuss avenues of promise for future investigation, and relate current findings to research in humans and non-human primates. There is growing evidence that oxytocin is involved in social selectivity, including increases in aggression toward social outgroups and decreased huddling with unfamiliar individuals, which may support existing social structures or relationships at the expense of others. Oxytocin’s effects reach beyond maternal attachment and pair bonds to play a role in affiliative behavior underlying friendships, organization of broad social structures, and maintenance of established social relationships with individuals
Bruno Busnello Kubiak
Full Text Available Subterranean rodents of the genus Ctenomys usually present an allopatric or parapatric distribution. Currently, two cases of sympatry have been recognized for the genus in the coastal dunes of southern Argentina and southern Brazil. In this context, they are ideal models to test hypotheses about the factors that delimit the patterns of space use and to understand interspecific interactions in small mammals. We investigated the vegetation structure, plant biomass and soil hardness selected by two species of subterranean rodents (Ctenomys flamarioni and C. minutus when distributed in sympatry and allopatry from nine different areas along the line of coastal dunes in southern Brazil. In addition, our work presents a new record of a third area of sympatry for the genus Ctenomys. Ctenomys flamarioni and C. minutus show habitat segregation in the area where they occur in sympatry. These species show segregation in their selection of microhabitats, differing in relation to soil hardness, plant biomass, and plant cover. Ctenomys flamarioni showed a distinction in habitat selection when occurring in allopatry and sympatry, whereas C. minutus selected the same habitat characteristics under both conditions. A possible explanation to the observed pattern is that these species have acquired different adaptations over time which allows them the ability to exploit different resources and thus avoid competitive interactions all together.
Moreira, G. J.
Full Text Available The genus Actenomys is registered from Plioceno sediments of Buenos Aires province, Argentina. Anatomy of skull and dentition of the genus is described, giving special emphasis to the origin and insertion points of the masticatory musculature. Actenomys is compared with the extant fossorial rodent of the genus Ctenomys, and the development of the masticatory muscles and their degree of functionality are inferred. It is concluded that Actenomys presents a less robust skull, with a masticatory musculature in agreement and incisives with great procumbency. This evidence could explain a possible adaptation of Actenomys to dig using the incisives and an adaptation to live in habitats of higher humidity than the extant forms.Se describe la anatomía cráneo-dentaria del género Actenomys, registrado en sedimentos del Plioceno de la provincia de Buenos Aires (República Argentina, con especial énfasis los puntos de origen e inserción de la musculatura masticatoria; se lo compara con el roedor fosorial viviente del género Ctenomys, infiriéndose el desarrollo de los músculos masticatorios y su grado de funcionalidad. Se concluye que Actenomys presenta un cráneo menos robusto, con una musculatura masticatoria acorde e incisivos procumbentes, lo que podría explicar una posible adaptación para cavar con los mismos, y que estaría adaptado a vivir en ambientes con un porcentaje de humedad mayor que las formas actuales.
Gómez Fernández, María Jimena; Boston, Emma S M; Gaggiotti, Oscar E; Kittlein, Marcelo J; Mirol, Patricia M
In this study we combine information from landscape characteristics, demographic inference and species distribution modelling to identify environmental factors that shape the genetic distribution of the fossorial rodent Ctenomys. We sequenced the mtDNA control region and amplified 12 microsatellites from 27 populations distributed across the Iberá wetland ecosystem. Hierarchical Bayesian modelling was used to construct phylogenies and estimate divergence times. We developed species distribution models to determine what climatic variables and soil parameters predicted species presence by comparing the current to the historic and predicted future distribution of the species. Finally, we explore the impact of environmental variables on the genetic structure of Ctenomys based on current and past species distributions. The variables that consistently correlated with the predicted distribution of the species and explained the observed genetic differentiation among populations included the distribution of well-drained sandy soils and temperature seasonality. A core region of stable suitable habitat was identified from the Last Interglacial, which is projected to remain stable into the future. This region is also the most genetically diverse and is currently under strong anthropogenic pressure. Results reveal complex demographic dynamics, which have been in constant change in both time and space, and are likely linked to the evolution of the Paraná River. We suggest that any alteration of soil properties (climatic or anthropic) may significantly impact the availability of suitable habitat and consequently the ability of individuals to disperse. The protection of this core stable habitat is of prime importance given the increasing levels of human disturbance across this wetland system and the threat of climate change.
Effects of livestock on the feeding ecology of endemic culpeo foxes (Pseudalopex culpaeus smithersi in central Argentina Efectos del ganado sobre la ecología trófica del zorro culpeo (Pseudalopex culpaeus smithersi (Carnivora: Canidae endémico del centro de Argentina
MÓNICA V. PIA
Full Text Available Livestock can affect the feeding ecology of carnivores either directly, by becoming potential prey, or indirectly, by modifying selection of other prey. Selection of other prey is modified through the negative effects of livestock on food and cover, which reduces density and increases vulnerability of wild prey. Pseudalopex culpaeus smithersi is an endemic subspecies of culpeo fox of central Argentina that is persecuted due to predation on livestock. We studied the direct and indirect effects of livestock on P. c. smithersi's feeding ecology by evaluating its diet, prey availability, and prey selection in two areas with different livestock abundance-a national park and an adjacent sheep and cattle ranch in the Achala grassland plateau. We studied diets from feces and used conversion coefficients to estimate prey numbers and biomass consumed. Culpeos preyed primarily on native rodents (cavies and cricetines according to both prey numbers and biomass. The differences in culpeo diet, prey availability, and prey selection between sites were strongly associated with effects of livestock. Culpeos consumed more livestock carrion and birds at the ranch, and tucos (Ctenomys sp. only at the park. Livestock density was high at the ranch and low at the park, cricetine and tuco densities were significantly higher at the park, and European hare (Lepus europaeus densities were similar between sites. According to prey numbers consumed culpeos did not appear to be selective, but according to biomass they consumed cricetines more and hares less than expected at both sites and sheep more than expected at the park. Livestock may reduce densities and increase vulnerabilities of cricetines and fossorial tucos in Achala by soil trampling that destroys burrows, competition for forage, and reduction of grass coverEl ganado puede afectar la ecología trófica de los carnívoros en forma directa, siendo una presa potencial, e indirecta, modificando la selección de otras
Full Text Available We revise the large Neotropical genus Operclipygus Marseul, in the histerid tribe Exosternini (Histeridae: Histerinae. We synonymize 3 species, move 14 species from other genera, sink the genus Tribalister Horn into Operclipygus, and describe 138 species as new, bringing the total to 177 species of Operclipygus. Keys are provided for the identification of all species, and the majority of the species are illustrated by habitus and male genitalia illustrations. The species are diverse throughout tropical South and Central America, with only a few species extending into the temperate parts of North America. The majority of species can be recognized by the presence of a distinct stria or sulcus along the apical margin of the pygidium, though it is not exclusive to the genus. Natural history details for species of Operclipygus are scant, as most specimens have been collected through the use of passive flight interception traps. Many are probably generally associated with decaying vegetation and leaf litter, where they prey on small arthropods. But a small proportion are known inquilines, with social insects such as ants and termites, and also with some burrowing mammals, such as Ctenomys Blainville. The genus now includes the following species groups and species: Operclipygus sulcistrius group [O. lucanoides sp. n., O. schmidti sp. n., O. simplistrius sp. n., O. sulcistrius Marseul, 1870], O. mirabilis group [O. mirabilis (Wenzel & Dybas, 1941 comb. n., O. pustulifer sp. n., O. plaumanni sp. n., O. sinuatus sp. n., O. mutuca sp. n., O. carinistrius (Lewis, 1908 comb. n., O. parensis sp. n., O. schlingeri sp. n.], O. kerga group [O. kerga (Marseul, 1870, O. planifrons sp. n., O. punctistrius sp. n.], O. conquisitus group [O. bicolor sp. n., O. conquisitus (Lewis, 1902, O. friburgius (Marseul, 1864], O. impuncticollis group [O. bickhardti sp. n., O. britannicus sp. n., O. impuncticollis (Hinton, 1935], O. panamensis group [O. crenatus (Lewis, 1888, O