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Sample records for krait bungarus caeruleus

  1. Comparison of proteomic profiles of the venoms of two of the 'Big Four' snakes of India, the Indian cobra (Naja naja) and the common krait (Bungarus caeruleus), and analyses of their toxins.

    Choudhury, Manisha; McCleary, Ryan J R; Kesherwani, Manish; Kini, R Manjunatha; Velmurugan, Devadasan

    2017-09-01

    Snake venoms are mixtures of biologically-active proteins and peptides, and several studies have described the characteristics of some of these toxins. However, complete proteomic profiling of the venoms of many snake species has not yet been done. The Indian cobra (Naja naja) and common krait (Bungarus caeruleus) are elapid snake species that are among the 'Big Four' responsible for the majority of human snake envenomation cases in India. As understanding the composition and complexity of venoms is necessary for successful treatment of envenomation in humans, we utilized three different proteomic profiling approaches to characterize these venoms: i) one-dimensional SDS-PAGE coupled with in-gel tryptic digestion and electrospray tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-LC-MS/MS) of individual protein bands; ii) in-solution tryptic digestion of crude venoms coupled with ESI-LC-MS/MS; and iii) separation by gel-filtration chromatography coupled with tryptic digestion and ESI-LC-MS/MS of separated fractions. From the generated data, 81 and 46 different proteins were identified from N. naja and B. caeruleus venoms, respectively, belonging to fifteen different protein families. Venoms from both species were found to contain a variety of phospholipases A 2 and three-finger toxins, whereas relatively higher numbers of snake venom metalloproteinases were found in N. naja compared to B. caeruleus venom. The analyses also identified less represented venom proteins including L-amino acid oxidases, cysteine-rich secretory proteins, 5'-nucleotidases and venom nerve growth factors. Further, Kunitz-type serine protease inhibitors, cobra venom factors, phosphodiesterases, vespryns and aminopeptidases were identified in the N. naja venom, while acetylcholinesterases and hyaluronidases were found in the B. caeruleus venom. We further analyzed protein coverage (Lys/Arg rich and poor regions as well as potential glycosylation sites) using in-house software. These studies expand our

  2. In-vitro Neurotoxicity of Two Malaysian Krait Species (Bungarus candidus and Bungarus fasciatus Venoms: Neutralization by Monovalent and Polyvalent Antivenoms from Thailand

    Muhamad Rusdi Ahmad Rusmili

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Bungarus candidus and Bungarus fasciatus are two species of krait found in Southeast Asia. Envenoming by these snakes is often characterized by neurotoxicity and, without treatment, causes considerable morbidity and mortality. In this study, the in vitro neurotoxicity of each species, and the effectiveness of two monovalent antivenoms and a polyvalent antivenom, against the neurotoxic effects of the venoms, were examined in a skeletal muscle preparation. Both venoms caused concentration-dependent inhibition of indirect twitches, and attenuated responses to exogenous nicotinic receptor agonists, in the chick biventer preparation, with B. candidus venom being more potent than B. fasciatus venom. SDS-PAGE and western blot analysis indicated different profiles between the venoms. Despite these differences, most proteins bands were recognized by all three antivenoms. Antivenom, added prior to the venoms, attenuated the neurotoxic effect of the venoms. Interestingly, the respective monovalent antivenoms did not neutralize the effects of the venom from the other Bungarus species indicating a relative absence of cross-neutralization. Addition of a high concentration of polyvalent antivenom, at the t90 time point after addition of venom, partially reversed the neurotoxicity of B. fasciatus venom but not B. candidus venom. The monovalent antivenoms had no significant effect when added at the t90 time point. This study showed that B. candidus and B. fasciatus venoms display marked in vitro neurotoxicity in the chick biventer preparation and administration of antivenoms at high dose is necessary to prevent or reverse neurotoxicity.

  3. A Pharmacological Examination of the Cardiovascular Effects of Malayan Krait (Bungarus candidus Venoms

    Janeyuth Chaisakul

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available Cardiovascular effects (e.g., tachycardia, hypo- and/or hypertension are often clinical outcomes of snake envenoming. Malayan krait (Bungarus candidus envenoming has been reported to cause cardiovascular effects that may be related to abnormalities in parasympathetic activity. However, the exact mechanism for this effect has yet to be determined. In the present study, we investigated the in vivo and in vitro cardiovascular effects of B. candidus venoms from Southern (BC-S and Northeastern (BC-NE Thailand. SDS-PAGE analysis of venoms showed some differences in the protein profile of the venoms. B. candidus venoms (50 µg/kg–100 µg/kg, i.v. caused dose-dependent hypotension in anaesthetised rats. The highest dose caused sudden hypotension (phase I followed by a return of mean arterial pressure to baseline levels and a decrease in heart rate with transient hypertension (phase II prior to a small decrease in blood pressure (phase III. Prior administration of monovalent antivenom significantly attenuated the hypotension induced by venoms (100 µg/kg, i.v.. The sudden hypotensive effect of BC-NE venom was abolished by prior administration of hexamethonium (10 mg/kg, i.v. or atropine (5 mg/kg, i.v.. BC-S and BC-NE venoms (0.1 µg/kg–100 µg/ml induced concentration-dependent relaxation (EC50 = 8 ± 1 and 13 ± 3 µg/mL, respectively in endothelium-intact aorta. The concentration–response curves were markedly shifted to the right by pre-incubation with L-NAME (0.2 mM, or removal of the endothelium, suggesting that endothelium-derived nitric oxide (NO is likely to be responsible for venom-induced aortic relaxation. Our data indicate that the cardiovascular effects caused by B. candidus venoms may be due to a combination of vascular mediators (i.e., NO and autonomic adaptation via nicotinic and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors.

  4. Enzymatic and biochemical characterization of Bungarus sindanus snake venom acetylcholinesterase

    M Ahmed

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available This study analyses venom from the elapid krait snake Bungarus sindanus, which contains a high level of acetylcholinesterase (AChE activity. The enzyme showed optimum activity at alkaline pH (8.5 and 45ºC. Krait venom AChE was inhibited by substrate. Inhibition was significantly reduced by using a high ionic strength buffer; low ionic strength buffer (10 mM PO4 pH 7.5 inhibited the enzyme by 1. 5mM AcSCh, while high ionic strength buffer (62 mM PO4 pH 7.5 inhibited it by 1 mM AcSCh. Venom acetylcholinesterase was also found to be thermally stable at 45ºC; it only lost 5% of its activity after incubation at 45ºC for 40 minutes. The Michaelis-Menten constant (Km for acetylthiocholine iodide hydrolysis was found to be 0.068 mM. Krait venom acetylcholinesterase was also inhibited by ZnCl2, CdCl2, and HgCl2 in a concentrationdependent manner. Due to the elevated levels of AChE with high catalytic activity and because it is more stable than any other sources, Bungarus sindanus venom is highly valuable for biochemical studies of this enzyme.

  5. Ceruleotoxin: identification in the venom of Bungarus fasciatus, molecular properties and importance of phospholipase A2 activity for neurotoxicity.

    Bon, C; Saliou, B

    1983-01-01

    Ceruleotoxin is a potent neurotoxin which was originally purified from a batch of venom labelled Bungarus caeruleus, from the Pasteur Institute. Since NOBLE et al. have shown that this batch differs in its protein composition from that of B. caeruleus provided by Miami Serpentarium, we decided to clarify this point by comparing the composition of venoms from various Bungarus species of several origins. Although individual variations exist between samples of the same species, the venom from B. multicinctus, B. caeruleus and B. fasciatus possess characteristic protein compositions which allowed us to identify the batch used to purify ceruleotoxin as a B. fasciatus venom. We identified and purified ceruleotoxin from each of the five samples of B. fasciatus venoms tested. We failed to find this neurotoxin in either B. multicinctus or B. caeruleus venoms. Purified ceruleotoxin is a slightly basic protein with an isoelectric point of 7.4 which possesses a significant phospholipase A2 activity (200 mumoles lecithin hydrolyzed per min per mg) and a high lethal potency (i.v. LD50 in mice 0.03-0.07 mg/kg). It is composed of two identical subunits of 13,000 mol. wt. which resemble pancreas and snake venom phospholipases in their amino acid composition. Like crotoxin, ceruleotoxin irreversibly blocks the postsynaptic response of Torpedo and Electrophorus electroplaques to cholinergic agonists without preventing the binding of acetylcholine to its receptor. By hydrolyzing critical lipids of the postsynaptic membrane, it stabilizes the acetylcholine receptor - ionophore assembly in a desensitized state.

  6. Abundance of sea kraits correlates with precipitation.

    Harvey B Lillywhite

    Full Text Available Recent studies have shown that sea kraits (Laticauda spp.--amphibious sea snakes--dehydrate without a source of fresh water, drink only fresh water or very dilute brackish water, and have a spatial distribution of abundance that correlates with freshwater sites in Taiwan. The spatial distribution correlates with sites where there is a source of fresh water in addition to local precipitation. Here we report six years of longitudinal data on the abundance of sea kraits related to precipitation at sites where these snakes are normally abundant in the coastal waters of Lanyu (Orchid Island, Taiwan. The number of observed sea kraits varies from year-to-year and correlates positively with previous 6-mo cumulative rainfall, which serves as an inverse index of drought. Grouped data for snake counts indicate that mean abundance in wet years is nearly 3-fold greater than in dry years, and this difference is significant. These data corroborate previous findings and suggest that freshwater dependence influences the abundance or activity of sea kraits on both spatial and temporal scales. The increasing evidence for freshwater dependence in these and other marine species have important implications for the possible impact of climate change on sea snake distributions.

  7. Coastal Nurseries and Their Importance for Conservation of Sea Kraits

    Bonnet, Xavier; Brischoux, François; Bonnet, Christophe; Plichon, Patrice; Fauvel, Thomas

    2014-01-01

    Destruction and pollution of coral reefs threaten these marine biodiversity hot stops which shelter more than two thirds of sea snake species. Notably, in many coral reef ecosystems of the Western Pacific Ocean, large populations of sea kraits (amphibious sea snakes) have drastically declined during the past three decades. Protecting remaining healthy populations is thus essential. In New Caledonia, coral reefs shelter numerous sea krait colonies spread throughout an immense lagoon (24,000 km2). Sea kraits feed on coral fish but lay their eggs on land. However, ecological information on reproduction and juveniles is extremely fragmentary, precluding protection of key habitats for reproduction. Our 10 years mark recapture study on Yellow sea kraits (L. saintgironsi >8,700 individuals marked) revealed that most neonates aggregate in highly localized coastal sites, where they feed and grow during several months before dispersal. Hundreds of females emigrate seasonally from remote populations (>50 km away) to lay their eggs in these coastal nurseries, and then return home. Protecting these nurseries is a priority to maintain recruitment rate, and to retain sea krait populations in the future. PMID:24670985

  8. Coastal nurseries and their importance for conservation of sea kraits.

    Xavier Bonnet

    Full Text Available Destruction and pollution of coral reefs threaten these marine biodiversity hot stops which shelter more than two thirds of sea snake species. Notably, in many coral reef ecosystems of the Western Pacific Ocean, large populations of sea kraits (amphibious sea snakes have drastically declined during the past three decades. Protecting remaining healthy populations is thus essential. In New Caledonia, coral reefs shelter numerous sea krait colonies spread throughout an immense lagoon (24,000 km2. Sea kraits feed on coral fish but lay their eggs on land. However, ecological information on reproduction and juveniles is extremely fragmentary, precluding protection of key habitats for reproduction. Our 10 years mark recapture study on Yellow sea kraits (L. saintgironsi >8,700 individuals marked revealed that most neonates aggregate in highly localized coastal sites, where they feed and grow during several months before dispersal. Hundreds of females emigrate seasonally from remote populations (>50 km away to lay their eggs in these coastal nurseries, and then return home. Protecting these nurseries is a priority to maintain recruitment rate, and to retain sea krait populations in the future.

  9. SNAKE BITE WITH TOXIC DEMYELINATION – A CASE REPORT

    Justin

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available INTRODUCTION Snakebite is an important cause of mortality and morbidity in India. India has the highest number of deaths due to snake bite1 Neurotoxicity due to snakebite is well-known with varied presentation.2 Common cases of snakebites are of saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus, Russell’s viper (a viperidae, krait (Bungarus caeruleus, common cobra (Naja naja king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah.3

  10. Thermal biology of sea snakes and sea kraits.

    Heatwole, Harold; Grech, Alana; Monahan, John F; King, Susan; Marsh, Helene

    2012-08-01

    Temperature probably had no direct effect on the evolution of sea kraits within their center of origin, a geologically stable thermal zone straddling the equator, but may have indirectly affected expansions and contractions in distributions beyond that zone through global fluctuations that caused alternation of higher and lower sea levels. The northern limit of the Laticauda colubrina complex seems to be the 20°C isotherm; in the south, the range does not reach that isotherm because there is no land (also a habitat requirement of sea kraits) within the zone of suitable temperature. The relationship of temperature to the pattern of geographic variation in morphology supports either the hypothesis of peripheral convergence or the developmental hypothesis but does not distinguish between them. Quadratic surfaces relating cumulative scores for coloration and morphological characters to global position showed a strong latitudinal component and an even stronger longitudinal one in which the direction of the latitudinal effect was reversed between east and west. A multivariate analysis revealed that while morphological characters vary significantly by location and climate when tested separately, when the influence of location on morphology is taken into account, no residual relationship between climate and morphology remains. Most marine snakes have mean upper temperature tolerances between 39°C and 40°C and operate at temperatures much nearer their upper thermal limits than their lower limits but still avoid deleterious extremes by diving from excessively hot water to deeper, cooler strata, and by surfacing when water is cold. At the surface in still water in sunlight, Pelamis can maintain its body temperature slightly above that of the water, but whether this is significant in nature is questionable. As temperature falls below 18-20°C, survival time is progressively reduced, accompanied by the successive occurrence of cessation of feeding, cessation of swimming, and

  11. Biochemistry of snake venom neurotoxins and their application to the study of synapse. [Neurotoxins isolated from venom of the Formosan banded krait

    Hanley, M.R.

    1978-11-01

    The crude venom of the Formosan banded krait, Bungarus multicinctus, was separated into eleven lethal protein fractions. Nine fractions were purified to final homogeneous toxins, designated ..cap alpha..-bungarotoxin, ..beta..-bungarotoxin, and toxins 7, 8, 9A, 11, 12, 13, and 14. Three of the toxins, ..cap alpha..-bungarotoxin, 7, and 8, were identified as post-synaptic curarimimetic neurotoxins. The remaining toxins were identified as pre-synaptic neurotoxins. ..cap alpha..-Bungarotoxin, toxin 7, and toxin 8 are all highly stable basic polypeptides of approx. 8000 daltons molecular weight. The pre-synaptic toxins fell into two structural groups: toxin 9A and 14 which were single basic chains of approx. 14,000 daltons, and ..beta..-bungarotoxin, and toxins 11 thru 13 which were composed of two chains of approx. 8000 and approx. 13,000 daltons covalently linked by disulfides. All the pre-synaptic neurotoxins were shown to have intrinsic calcium-dependent phospholipase A activities. Under certain conditions, intact synaptic membranes were hydrolyzed more rapidly than protein-free extracted synaptic-lipid liposomes which, in turn, were hydrolyzed more rapidly than any other tested liposomes. It was speculated that cell-surface arrays of phosphatidyl serine/glycolipids created high affinity target sites for ..beta..-bungarotoxin. Single-chain toxins were found to be qualitatively different from the two-chain toxins in their ability to block the functioning of acetylcholine receptors, and were quantitatively different in their enzymatic and membrane disruptive activities. ..beta..-Bungarotoxin was shown to be an extremely potent neuronal lesioning agent. There was no apparent selectivity for cholinergic over non-cholinergic neurons, nor for nerve terminals over cell bodies. It was suggested that ..beta..-bungarotoxin can be considered a useful new histological tool, which may exhibit some regional selectivity.

  12. Behavioral and physiological correlates of the geographic distributions of amphibious sea kraits (Laticauda spp.)

    Brischoux, François; Tingley, Reid; Shine, Richard; Lillywhite, Harvey B.

    2013-02-01

    The physiological costs of living in seawater likely influenced the secondary evolutionary transitions to marine life in tetrapods. However, these costs are alleviated for species that commute between the land and the sea, because terrestrial habitats can provide frequent access to fresh water. Here, we investigate how differences in the ecology and physiology of three sea krait species (Laticauda spp.) interact to determine their environmental tolerances and geographic distributions. These three species vary in their relative use of terrestrial versus marine environments, and they display concomitant adaptations to life on land versus at sea. A species with relatively high dehydration rates in seawater (Laticauda colubrina) occupied oceanic areas with low mean salinities, whereas a species with comparatively high rates of transcutaneous evaporative water loss on land (Laticauda semifasciata) occupied regions with low mean temperatures. A third taxon (Laticauda laticaudata) was intermediate in both of these traits, and yet occupied the broadest geographic range. Our results suggest that the abilities of sea kraits to acquire fresh water on land and tolerate dehydration at sea determine their environmental tolerances and geographic distributions. This finding supports the notion that speciation patterns within sea kraits have been driven by interspecific variation in the degree of reliance upon terrestrial versus marine habitats. Future studies could usefully examine the effects of osmotic challenges on diversification rates in other secondarily marine tetrapod species.

  13. Conspecific brood parasitism and egg quality in blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus

    Vedder, Oscar; Kingma, Sjouke-Anne; Engelhardt, Nikolaus von; Korsten, Peter; Groothuis, Ton G.G.; Komdeur, Jan

    Laying eggs in nests of unrelated conspecific pairs to parasitize their parental care is a common phenomenon in birds. In blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus such conspecific brood parasitism (CBP) has never been reported in the literature. However, in a situation where breeding density was extremely

  14. Inhibitory and enzyme-kinetic investigation of chelerythrine and lupeol isolated from Zanthoxylum rhoifolium against krait snake venom acetylcholinesterase

    Ahmad, Mustaq, E-mail: mushtaq213@yahoo.com [University of Science and Technology, Bannu, (Pakistan). Department of Biotechnology; Weber, Andrea D.; Zanon, Graciane; Tavares, Luciana de C.; Ilha, Vinicius; Dalcol, Ionara I.; Morel, Ademir F., E-mail: ademirfariasm@gmail.com [Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, RS (Brazil). Dept. de Quimica

    2014-01-15

    The in vitro activity of chelerythrine and lupeol, two metabolites isolated from Zanthoxylum rhoifolium were studied against the venom of the snake Bungarus sindanus (Elapidae). The venom, which is highly toxic to humans, consists mainly by the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE). Both compounds showed activity against the venom, and the alkaloid chelerythrine presented higher activity than did triterpene lupeol. (author)

  15. Effect of tree logging on reproductive performance in Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus)

    Amininasab, Seyed Mehdi; Xu, Charles C. Y.; Kingma, Sjouke A.; Komdeur, Jan

    2017-01-01

    For birds, habitat quality is largely determined by local vegetation, and reproductive performance can therefore be negatively influenced by anthropogenic activities. A tree logging event enabled us to examine the effect of removing trees of different maturities and types on the reproductive performance of Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus). Against expectations, only the logging of small coniferous trees, but not larger and deciduous trees, was associated with a reduction in the number of eggs ...

  16. Aromatic plants in blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus nests: no negative effect on blood-sucking Protocalliphora blow fly larvae

    Mennerat, A.; Perret, P.; Caro, S.P.; Heeb, P.; Lambrechts, M.M.

    2008-01-01

    Nesting birds use several behavioural or physiological defence mechanisms against parasites. On Corsica, female blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus incorporate fresh fragments of a limited number of aromatic plants in the nest cup, from the end of nest construction until fledging. Some of these plants

  17. Breeding performance of blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) and great tits (Parus major) in a heavy metal polluted area

    Eeva, T., E-mail: tapio.eeva@utu.f [Section of Ecology, University of Turku, FIN-20014 Turku (Finland); Ahola, M.; Lehikoinen, E. [Section of Ecology, University of Turku, FIN-20014 Turku (Finland)

    2009-11-15

    We compared heavy metal levels, calcium levels, breeding parameters and condition of nestling and adult Cyanistes caeruleus and Parus major along a heavy metal pollution gradient. Both species started laying earlier and showed inferior nestling growth and smaller fledging probability in the polluted areas, which are phenologically advanced in spring due to sparse forests. The major inter-specific difference in the responses was that the clutch size and hatching success were decreased in the polluted area in P. major, but not in C. caeruleus. Heavy metal profiles in nestling feces were relatively similar in the two species, though Ni and Pb levels were higher in C. caeruleus than in P. major. However, the latter species showed markedly higher fecal calcium concentrations. Lower calcium levels and higher levels of some heavy metals in C. caeruleus suggest that in Ca-deficient environments this species might be more susceptible to negative pollution effects than P. major. - Breeding performance in two Parid species near a Cu smelter.

  18. Breeding performance of blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) and great tits (Parus major) in a heavy metal polluted area

    Eeva, T.; Ahola, M.; Lehikoinen, E.

    2009-01-01

    We compared heavy metal levels, calcium levels, breeding parameters and condition of nestling and adult Cyanistes caeruleus and Parus major along a heavy metal pollution gradient. Both species started laying earlier and showed inferior nestling growth and smaller fledging probability in the polluted areas, which are phenologically advanced in spring due to sparse forests. The major inter-specific difference in the responses was that the clutch size and hatching success were decreased in the polluted area in P. major, but not in C. caeruleus. Heavy metal profiles in nestling feces were relatively similar in the two species, though Ni and Pb levels were higher in C. caeruleus than in P. major. However, the latter species showed markedly higher fecal calcium concentrations. Lower calcium levels and higher levels of some heavy metals in C. caeruleus suggest that in Ca-deficient environments this species might be more susceptible to negative pollution effects than P. major. - Breeding performance in two Parid species near a Cu smelter.

  19. Migratory and resident blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus differ in their reaction to a novel object

    Nilsson, Anna L. K.; Nilsson, Jan-Åke; Alerstam, Thomas; Bäckman, Johan

    2010-11-01

    Individuals differ consistently in their behavioural reactions towards novel objects and new situations. Reaction to novelty is one part of a suit of individually consistent behaviours called coping strategies or personalities and is often summarised as bold or shy behaviour. Coping strategies could be particularly important for migrating birds exposed to novel environments on their journeys. We compared the average approach latencies to a novel object among migrants and residents in partially migratory blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus. In this test, we found migrating blue tits to have shorter approach latencies than had resident ones. Behavioural reactions to novelty can affect the readiness to migrate and short approach latency may have an adaptive value during migration. Individual behaviour towards novelty might be incorporated among the factors associated with migratory or resident behaviour in a partially migratory population.

  20. The intensity threshold of colour vision in a passerine bird, the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus).

    Gomez, Doris; Grégoire, Arnaud; Del Rey Granado, Maria; Bassoul, Marine; Degueldre, David; Perret, Philippe; Doutrelant, Claire

    2014-11-01

    Many vertebrates use colour vision for vital behaviour but their visual performance in dim light is largely unknown. The light intensity threshold of colour vision is known only for humans, horses and two parrot species. Here, we first explore this threshold in a passerine bird, the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). Using classic conditioning of colour cues to food rewards in three individuals, we find a threshold ranging from 0.05 to 0.2 cd m(-2). Results are comparable to the two previously tested bird species. For tits, nest light conditions probably exceed that threshold, at least after sunrise. These results shed new light on the lively debate questioning the visual performance of cavity nesters and the evolutionary significance of egg and chick coloration. Although this needs further investigation, it is possible that blue tits exploit both colour and brightness cues when viewing their eggs, chicks or conspecifics in their nests. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  1. Dietary antioxidants, lipid peroxidation and plumage colouration in nestling blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus

    Larcombe, Stephen D.; Mullen, William; Alexander, Lucille; Arnold, Kathryn E.

    2010-10-01

    Carotenoid pigments are responsible for many of the red, yellow and orange plumage and integument traits seen in birds. One idea suggests that since carotenoids can act as antioxidants, carotenoid-mediated colouration may reveal an individual's ability to resist oxidative damage. In fact, there is currently very little information on the effects of most dietary-acquired antioxidants on oxidative stress in wild birds. Here, we assessed the impacts on oxidative damage, plasma antioxidants, growth and plumage colouration after supplementing nestling blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus with one of three diets; control, carotenoid treatment or α-tocopherol treatment. Oxidative damage was assessed by HPLC analysis of plasma levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), a by-product of lipid peroxidation. Contrary to predictions, we found no differences in oxidative damage, plumage colouration or growth rate between treatment groups. Although plasma lutein concentrations were significantly raised in carotenoid-fed chicks, α-tocopherol treatment had no effect on concentrations of plasma α-tocopherol compared with controls. Interestingly, we found that faster growing chicks had higher levels of oxidative damage than slower growing birds, independent of treatment, body mass and condition at fledging. Moreover, the chromatic signal of the chest plumage of birds was positively correlated with levels of MDA but not plasma antioxidant concentrations: more colourful nestlings had higher oxidative damage than less colourful individuals. Thus, increased carotenoid-mediated plumage does not reveal resistance to oxidative damage for nestling blue tits, but may indicate costs paid, in terms of oxidative damage. Our results indicate that the trade-offs between competing physiological systems for dietary antioxidants are likely to be complex in rapidly developing birds. Moreover, interpreting the biological relevance of different biomarkers of antioxidant status represents a challenge for evolutionary

  2. Characterization of MHC-I in the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) reveals low levels of genetic diversity and trans-population evolution across European populations

    Schut, Elske; Rivero-de Aguilar, Juan; Merino, Santiago; Magrath, Michael J. L.; Komdeur, Jan; Westerdahl, Helena

    The major histcompatibility complex (MHC) is a vital component of the adaptive immune system in all vertebrates. This study is the first to characterize MHC class I (MHC-I) in blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus), and we use MHC-I exon 3 sequence data from individuals originating from three locations

  3. Venomous snake bites, scorpions, and spiders.

    Kularatne, S A M; Senanayake, Nimal

    2014-01-01

    Neurologic dysfunction due to natural neurotoxins is an important, but neglected, public health hazard in many parts of the world, particularly in the tropics. These toxins are produced by or found among a variety of live forms that include venomous snakes, arthropods such as scorpions, spiders, centipedes, stinging insects (Hymenoptera), ticks, certain poisonous fish, shellfish, crabs, cone shells, skin secretions of dart-poison frogs, and bacterial poisons such as botulinum toxin. These toxins commonly act on neuromuscular transmission at the neuromuscular junction where acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter, but in certain situations the toxins interfere with neurotransmitters such as GABA, noradrenaline, adrenaline, dopamine, and γ-aminobutyrate. Of the toxins, α-toxins and κ-toxins (e.g., Chinese krait, Bungarus multicinctus) act on the postsynaptic membrane, blocking the receptors, whilst β-toxin (e.g., common krait, B. caeruleus) acts on the presynaptic membrane, causing impairment of acetylcholine release. Conversely, dendrotoxins of the African mamba enhance acetylcholine release. The toxins of scorpions and spiders commonly interfere with voltage-gated ion channels. Clinically, the cardinal manifestation is muscle paralysis. In severe cases respiratory paralysis could be fatal. Effective antivenoms are the mainstay of treatment of envenoming, but their lack of availability is the major concern in the regions of the globe where they are desperately needed. Interestingly, some toxins have proved to be valuable pharmaceutical agents, while some others are widely exploited to study neuromuscular physiology and pathology. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Heterozygosity-based assortative mating in blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus): implications for the evolution of mate choice

    García-Navas, Vicente; Ortego, Joaquín; Sanz, Juan José

    2009-01-01

    The general hypothesis of mate choice based on non-additive genetic traits suggests that individuals would gain important benefits by choosing genetically dissimilar mates (compatible mate hypothesis) and/or more heterozygous mates (heterozygous mate hypothesis). In this study, we test these hypotheses in a socially monogamous bird, the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). We found no evidence for a relatedness-based mating pattern, but heterozygosity was positively correlated between social mates, suggesting that blue tits may base their mating preferences on partner's heterozygosity. We found evidence that the observed heterozygosity-based assortative mating could be maintained by both direct and indirect benefits. Heterozygosity reflected individual quality in both sexes: egg production and quality increased with female heterozygosity while more heterozygous males showed higher feeding rates during the brood-rearing period. Further, estimated offspring heterozygosity correlated with both paternal and maternal heterozygosity, suggesting that mating with heterozygous individuals can increase offspring genetic quality. Finally, plumage crown coloration was associated with male heterozygosity, and this could explain unanimous mate preferences for highly heterozygous and more ornamented individuals. Overall, this study suggests that non-additive genetic traits may play an important role in the evolution of mating preferences and offers empirical support to the resolution of the lek paradox from the perspective of the heterozygous mate hypothesis. PMID:19474042

  5. Nesting biology of Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) in oil palm landscape in Carey Island, Peninsular Malaysia.

    Ramli, Rosli; Fauzi, Aimi

    2018-03-01

    Black-shouldered Kite ( Elanus caeruleus ) is a well-known raptor that inhabits open areas such as oil palm plantation or paddy field. To determine preferable habitat and nesting site of Black-shouldered Kite in oil palm landscape, we conducted a study on Black-shouldered Kite's nesting biology in Carey Island, Selangor, Malaysia. We divided the island into six types of habitat and conducted road-side count of Black-shouldered Kite from April 2009 to February 2011. Whenever the Black-shouldered Kite was detected, we thoroughly searched the surrounding area for their nest. In total, we have recorded forty nests. The nests were built on 15 species of trees but most of the trees shared common physical characteristics. Some novice breeders also used oil palm tree as their nesting site. Structure and building materials of nests constructed on oil palm trees were different from nests built on other trees. Of all breeding attempts, only four nests which were located in residential area adjacent to young oil palm habitat were successful. Among important characteristics of successful nesting site include taller trees with strong branches and good leaf coverage. These trees not only protect nests from predator detection (except from other predatory birds) and physical environment but also facilitate Black-shouldered Kite's foraging activities by providing good vantage point.

  6. Nesting biology of Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus in oil palm landscape in Carey Island, Peninsular Malaysia

    Rosli Ramli

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus is a well-known raptor that inhabits open areas such as oil palm plantation or paddy field. To determine preferable habitat and nesting site of Black-shouldered Kite in oil palm landscape, we conducted a study on Black-shouldered Kite’s nesting biology in Carey Island, Selangor, Malaysia. We divided the island into six types of habitat and conducted road-side count of Black-shouldered Kite from April 2009 to February 2011. Whenever the Black-shouldered Kite was detected, we thoroughly searched the surrounding area for their nest. In total, we have recorded forty nests. The nests were built on 15 species of trees but most of the trees shared common physical characteristics. Some novice breeders also used oil palm tree as their nesting site. Structure and building materials of nests constructed on oil palm trees were different from nests built on other trees. Of all breeding attempts, only four nests which were located in residential area adjacent to young oil palm habitat were successful. Among important characteristics of successful nesting site include taller trees with strong branches and good leaf coverage. These trees not only protect nests from predator detection (except from other predatory birds and physical environment but also facilitate Black-shouldered Kite’s foraging activities by providing good vantage point. Keywords: Road-side counts, Direct observation, Breeding raptors, Nesting tree, Habitat selection

  7. Sparrowhawk movement, calling, and presence of dead conspecifics differentially impact blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) vocal and behavioral mobbing responses.

    Carlson, Nora V; Pargeter, Helen M; Templeton, Christopher N

    2017-01-01

    Many animals alter their anti-predator behavior in accordance to the threat level of a predator. While much research has examined variation in mobbing responses to different predators, few studies have investigated how anti-predator behavior is affected by changes in a predator's own state or behavior. We examined the effect of sparrowhawk ( Accipiter nisus ) behavior on the mobbing response of wild blue tits ( Cyanistes caeruleus ) using robotic taxidermy sparrowhawks. We manipulated whether the simulated predator moved its head, produced vocalizations, or held a taxidermy blue tit in its talons. When any sparrowhawk model was present, blue tits decreased foraging and increased anti-predator behavior and vocalizations. Additionally, each manipulation of the model predator's state (moving, vocalizing, or the presence of a dead conspecific) impacted different types of blue tit anti-predator behavior and vocalizations. These results indicate that different components of mobbing vary according to the specific state of a given predator-beyond its presence or absence-and suggest that each might play a different role in the overall mobbing response. Last, our results indicate that using more life-like predator stimuli-those featuring simple head movements and audio playback of vocalizations-changes how prey respond to the predator; these 'robo-raptor' models provide a powerful tool to provide increased realism in simulated predator encounters without sacrificing experimental control. Anti-predatory behavior is often modulated by the threat level posed by a particular predator. While much research has tested how different types of predators change prey behavior, few experiments have examined how predator behavior affects anti-predatory responses of prey. By experimentally manipulating robotic predators, we show that blue tits not only respond to the presence of a sparrowhawk, by decreasing feeding and increasing anti-predator behavior and vocalizations, but that they vary

  8. Characterization of MHC-I in the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) reveals low levels of genetic diversity and trans-population evolution across European populations.

    Schut, Elske; Aguilar, Juan Rivero-de; Merino, Santiago; Magrath, Michael J L; Komdeur, Jan; Westerdahl, Helena

    2011-08-01

    The major histcompatibility complex (MHC) is a vital component of the adaptive immune system in all vertebrates. This study is the first to characterize MHC class I (MHC-I) in blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus), and we use MHC-I exon 3 sequence data from individuals originating from three locations across Europe: Spain, the Netherlands to Sweden. Our phylogeny of the 17 blue tit MHC-I alleles contains one allele cluster with low nucleotide diversity compared to the remaining more diverse alleles. We found a significant evidence for balancing selection in the peptide-binding region in the diverse allele group only. No separation according to geographic location was found in the phylogeny of alleles. Although the number of MHC-I loci of the blue tit is comparable to that of other passerine species, the nucleotide diversity of MHC-I appears to be much lower than that of other passerine species, including the closely related great tit (Parus major) and the severely inbred Seychelles warbler (Acrocephalus sechellensis). We believe that this initial MHC-I characterization in blue tits provides an important step towards understanding the mechanisms shaping MHC-I diversity in natural populations.

  9. Vegetative anatomy and relationships of Setchellanthus caeruleus (Setchellanthaceae)

    Sherwin Carlquist; Regis B. Miller

    1999-05-01

    On account of its distinctive features, Setchellanthus cannot be included within any of the families of glucosinolate-producing plants. Features unknown in any of these families include abundant vasicentric tracheids, abaxial axial parenchyma, and only short uniseriate rays (composed of upright cells) in wood: and the presence of wide-helix tracheary elements in leaves...

  10. Toxicological effect of herbicides (diuron and bentazon) on snake venom and electric eel acetylcholinesterase.

    Ahmed, Mushtaq; Latif, Nadia; Khan, Rehmat Ali; Ahmad, Akhlaq

    2012-08-01

    The toxicological effects of the active ingredients of the herbicides diuron and bentazon on the activity of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) of krait (Bungarus sindanus) venom and electric eel (Electrophorus electricus) were studied. The diuron and entazon caused non-competitive inhibition of AChE from both species. For the venom AChE, the calculated IC50 for diuron and bentazon were found to be 3.25 and 0.14 μM, while for eel AChE, the respective IC50 values were 3.6 and 0.135 μM. In comparison, bentazon was a more potent inhibitor than diuron of AChE from both species. The insecticide lindane did not have any inhibitory effect on AChE activity in either species, even when tested at high concentrations (200-800 μM).

  11. Diversity of Snakes in Rajegwesi Tourism Area, Meru Betiri National Park

    Aji Dharma Raharjo

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available Rajegwesi tourism area is one of the significant tourism areas in Meru Betiri National Park, East Java, Indonesia. The area rich in term of biodiversity which are potential for developed as natural tourism attraction.  The aim of this study is to identify snakes species diversity and its distribution in Rajegwesi tourism area. Field survey was done in Rajegwesi area, namely swamps forest, residential area, rice fields, agriculture area (babatan, resort area, and Plengkang cliff. This study found some snakes, encompasses Colubridae (10 species, Elapidae (four species, and Phytonidae (one species. There are Burmese Python (Python reticulatus, Red-necked Keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus, Painted Bronzeback Snake (Dendrelaphis Pictus, Black Copper Rat Snake (Coelognathus flavolineatus, Radiated Rat Snake (C. radiatus, Striped Keelback (Xenochrophis vittatus, Checkered Keelback (X. piscator, Spotted Ground Snake (Gongyosoma balioderius, Gold-ringed Cat Snake (Boiga dendrophila, Common Wolf Snake (Lycodon capucinus, Banded Wolf snake (L. subcinctus, Cobra (Naja sputatrix, King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah, Malayan Krait (Bungarus candidus, and Banded Krait (B. fasciatus was found. These snake habitats distributes at 21 coordinate points. Keywords: conservation, ecotourism, snakes.

  12. Northward dispersal of sea kraits (Laticauda semifasciata beyond their typical range.

    Jaejin Park

    Full Text Available Marine reptiles are declining globally, and recent climate change may be a contributing factor. The study of sea snakes collected beyond their typical distribution range provides valuable insight on how climate change affects marine reptile populations. Recently, we collected 12 Laticauda semifasciata (11 females, 1 male from the waters around southern South Korea-an area located outside its typical distribution range (Japan, China including Taiwan, Philippines and Indonesia. We investigated the genetic origin of Korean specimens by analyzing mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (Cytb sequences. Six individuals shared haplotypes with a group found in Taiwan-southern Ryukyu Islands, while the remaining six individuals shared haplotypes with a group encompassing the entire Ryukyu Archipelago. These results suggest L. semifasciata moved into Korean waters from the Taiwan-Ryukyu region via the Taiwan Warm Current and/or the Kuroshio Current, with extended survival facilitated by ocean warming. We highlight several contributing factors that increase the chances that L. semifasciata establishes new northern populations beyond the original distribution range.

  13. Female and male Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) sing in response to experimental predator exposition

    Mahr, K.; Seifert, Carlo Lutz; Hoi, H.

    2016-01-01

    Roč. 157, č. 3 (2016), s. 907-911 ISSN 0021-8375 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : defence behaviour * female song * passerines Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 1.468, year: 2016 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10336-016-1345-3

  14. Sperm depletion does not account for undeveloped eggs in blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus

    Schut, Elske; Vedder, Oscar; Komdeur, Jan; Magrath, Michael J. L.

    Hatching failure negatively impacts reproductive success in birds. One reason why eggs fail to hatch is that they are not fertilized, which may be because they receive insufficient sperm. In most passerines, copulation declines in frequency or ceases altogether after the laying of the first egg, so

  15. Ultraviolet reflectance affects male-male interactions in the blue tit (Parus caeruleus ultramarinus)

    Carlos Alonso-Alvarez; Claire Doutrelant; Gabriele Sorci

    2004-01-01

    Several animal species have been shown to use phenotypic traits to assess the competitive ability of opponents and adjust their aggressiveness depending on the likelihood to win the contest. In birds, these phenotypic traits usually involve patches of colored feathers. The benefit to harbor honest signals of male quality is the avoidance of wasteful aggressive interactions. Recent work has shown that ultraviolet (UV) plumage reflectance is an important signal used by females during mate choic...

  16. Effect of tree logging on reproductive performance in Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus)

    Amininasab, Seyed Mehdi; Xu, Charles C. Y.; Kingma, Sjouke A.; Komdeur, Jan

    For birds, habitat quality is largely determined by local vegetation, and reproductive performance can therefore be negatively influenced by anthropogenic activities. A tree logging event enabled us to examine the effect of removing trees of different maturities and types on the reproductive

  17. Systemic Responses of Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii Following Exposure to the Antimicrobial Peptide Cathelicidin-BF Imply Multiple Intracellular Targets

    Cunbao Liu

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Cathelicidin-BF, derived from the banded krait (Bungarus fasciatus, is a typically cationic, amphiphilic and α-helical antimicrobial peptide (AMP with 30 amino acids that exerts powerful effects on multidrug-resistant (MDR clinical isolates, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Klebsiella pneumoniae, but whether it targets plasma membranes or intracellular targets to kill bacteria is still controversial. In the present study, we demonstrated that the disruption of bacterial membranes with high concentrations of cathelicidin-BF was the cause of bacterial death, as with conventional antibiotics at high concentrations. At lower concentrations, cathelicidin-BF did not cause bacterial plasma membrane disruption, but it was able to cross the membrane and aggregate at the nucleoid regions. Functional proteins of the transcription processes of P. aeruginosa and A. baumannii were affected by sublethal doses of cathelicidin-BF, as demonstrated by comparative proteomics using isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification and subsequent gene ontology (GO analysis. Analysis using the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes showed that cathelicidin-BF mainly interferes with metabolic pathways related to amino acid synthesis, metabolism of cofactors and vitamins, metabolism of purine and energy supply, and other processes. Although specific targets of cathelicidin-BF must still be validated, our study offers strong evidence that cathelicidin-BF may act upon intracellular targets to kill superbugs, which may be helpful for further efforts to discover novel antibiotics to fight against them.

  18. New and already known acanthocephalans from amphibians and reptiles in Vietnam, with keys to species of Pseudoacanthocephalus Petrochenko, 1956 (Echinorhynchidae) and Sphaerechinorhynchus Johnston and Deland, 1929 (Plagiorhynchidae).

    Amin, Omar M; Ha, Ngyuen Van; Heckmann, Richard A

    2008-02-01

    Adults of 2 new species in 2 orders of acanthocephalans obtained from the intestines of terrestrial amphibians and reptiles collected between 1998 and 2004 in Vietnam are described here. Pseudoacanthocephalus nguyenthileae n. sp. (Palaeacnthocephala: Echinorhynchidae) was collected from 5 species of terrestrial amphibians: (1) the common Sunda toad Bufo melanostictus Schneider (Bufonidae); (2) Paa verucospinosa (Bourret); (3) Gunther's Amoy frog Rana guentheri Boulenger; (4) Taipei frog R. taipehensis Denburgh (Ranidae), and (5) the Burmese whipping frog Polypedates mutus (Smith) (Racophoridae); as well as from the Chinese cobra Naja atra Cantor (Reptilia: Elapidae) and house gecko Hemidactylus frenatus Dumeril and Bibron (Reptilia: Gekkonidae). Sphaerechinorhynchus maximesospinus n. sp. (Plagiorhynchidae: Sphaerechinorhynchinae) was isolated from a king cobra Ophiophagus hannah (cantor) (Reptilia: Elapidae). Cystacanths of Porrorchis houdemeri (Joyeux and Baer, 1935) Schmidt and Kuntz, 1967 (Plagiorhynchidae: Porrorchinae) obtained from the mesenteries of banded krait Bungarus fasciatus (Schneider) (Reptilia: Elapidae), a paratenic host, are reported for the first time. Keys to the species of Pseudoacanthocephalus and Sphaerechinorhynchus are included. Characteristic features distinguishing the new species from related taxa include: P. nguyenthileae has 15-19 (usually 16-18) proboscis hook rows, each with 5-6 hooks that progressively increase in length and size posteriorly. The largest, intermediate, and smallest proboscis hooks of S. maximesospinus are the middle, anterior, and posterior hooks, respectively; the proboscis and neck are enclosed in a membrane. Morphometric characteristics of P. nguyenthileae show host-related variability.

  19. Early birds are sexy: male age, dawn song and extrapair paternity in blue tits, Cyanistes (formerly Parus) caeruleus

    Poesel, Angelika; Kunc, H.P.; Foerster, K.

    2006-01-01

    Sexual selection theory predicts that signals reflecting the relative quality of individuals should be used in mate choice. Females could base their choice of copulation partners on male secondary sexual traits that honestly signal male age, as predicted by the age-based indicator mechanism....... Studies have shown that female blue tits prefer older males and that aspects of dawn song reflect male quality, but it remains unknown whether dawn song characteristics correlate with male age. We compared dawn song characteristics of second-year (SY) and older (ASY) male blue tits (cross......-sectional analysis), and tested for age-related changes within individuals (longitudinal analysis) and differential overwinter survival of SY males. We further investigated the relation between dawn song and paternity gain and loss. We found that ASY male blue tits began to sing earlier relative to sunrise than did...

  20. Implications of conspecific background noise for features of blue tit, Cyanistes caeruleus , communication networks at dawn

    Poesel, Angelika; Dabelsteen, Torben; Pedersen, Simon Boel

    2007-01-01

    Abstract  Communication among animals often comprises several signallers and receivers within the signal's transmission range. In such communication networks, individuals can extract information about differences in relative performance of conspecifics by eavesdropping on their signalling...... interactions. In songbirds, information can be encoded in the timing of signals, which either alternate or overlap, and both male and female receivers may utilise this information when engaging in territorial interactions or making reproductive decisions, respectively. We investigated how conspecific...... may potentially constrain the perception of singing patterns and may constitute costs for eavesdroppers. On the other hand, signallers may position themselves strategically and privatise their interactions....

  1. Interrelaciones entre el estrés, inmunidad y parasitismo en el herrerillo común (Parus caeruleus).

    Tomás Gutiérrez, Gustavo

    2005-01-01

    RESUMEN Cada vez es mayor el conocimiento existente sobre las interacciones entre parásitos y hospedadores en condiciones naturales. Sin embargo, aún no están bien establecidos los costes y compromisos a que se enfrentan los hospedadores que padecen infecciones parasitarias crónicas. Los parásitos sanguíneos pueden causar estrés fisiológico a sus hospedadores mediante la destrucción celular y el consumo de hemoglobina. El importante papel que las proteínas de estrés (heat shock proteins, H...

  2. Timing of reproduction and clutch size in Parus major and P. caeruleus in Kharkiv and Sumy regions

    D. I. Bondarets

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Under our supervision were on average 450 artificial nesting in different years. Studies were conducted in 2006–2014 in the conditions ofoak forestin national natural park “Homilshanski forests” (Kharkiv region (49°38' north latitude, 36°18' east longitude, pine forests in National natural park “Hetmansky” (50°22' north latitude, 35°01' east longitude and broadleaf forest natural boundary Vakalivschyna (Sumyregion (51°01' north latitude, 34°55' east longitude. We investigated 164 layings of great tits and 38 laying of blue tits. Terms of breeding of birds were determined by the date of laying of the first egg. It was found that tits began to lay eggs at steady transition of the average daily temperature over +4 ºC. Maximum amount of started layings was observed in great tits and blue tits in the conditions of the national natural park “Homilshanski forests” (average size – 12.3 ± 1.50 and 12.8 ± 1.75 eggs, respectively at +15 ºC, with the size of laying gradually decreasing with higher temperatures. Sizes of full layings in great tits (n = 164 and blue tits (n = 38 inSumyand Kharkiv regions were found. With regard to the great tit, it varies from 5 to 15 eggs being on average 10.8 ±1.93 inthe conditions of NNP “Homilshanski forests”, at natural boundary Vakalivschyna – 9.3 ± 2.33 and at NNP “Hetmansky” – 9.1 ± 2.28, while for blue tits it is equal to 5–15 eggs, i.e. 11.4 ± 2.09 on average in the conditions of NNP “Homilshanski forests”, at natural boundary Vakalivschyna – 9.3 ± 2.81 and at NNP “Hetmansky” – 10.5. Size of laying for great tits and blue tits, which prevails for each territory, has been established. The largest sizes for great tits are: 11-egg laying (10.9% in the conditions of NNP “Homilshanski forests”, 11-egg laying (12.7% dominating at the natural boundary Vakalivschyna and 9- and 10-egg laying (by 3.0% at NNP “Hetmansky”. 12-egg laying (21.0% was often found in the nests of blue tits in conditions of NNP “Homilshanski forests”, size of laying which would be dominating in blue tits at the natural boudary Vakalivschyna and NNP “Hetmansky” was not found. The largest number of laying by great tits was started at NNP “Homilshanski forests” in the second decade of April (n = 28, at natural boundary Vakalivschyna – in early May (n = 25, while blue tits started laying eggs at NNP “Homilshanski forests” in the third decade of April (n = 17, at natural boundary Vakalivschyna – in the first (n = 2 and second (n = 2 week in May. Overwhelming number of layings were started by great tits and blue tits at NNP “Hetmansky” in the third week of April.

  3. Syndromic approach to treatment of snake bite in Sri Lanka based on results of a prospective national hospital-based survey of patients envenomed by identified snakes.

    Ariaratnam, Christeine A; Sheriff, Mohamed H Rezvi; Arambepola, Carukshi; Theakston, R David G; Warrell, David A

    2009-10-01

    Of 860 snakes brought to 10 hospitals in Sri Lanka with the patients they had bitten, 762 (89%) were venomous. Russell's vipers (Daboia russelii) and hump-nosed pit vipers (Hypnale hypnale) were the most numerous and H. hypnale was the most widely distributed. Fifty-one (6%) were misidentified by hospital staff, causing inappropriate antivenom treatment of 13 patients. Distinctive clinical syndromes were identified to aid species diagnosis in most cases of snake bite in Sri Lanka where the biting species is unknown. Diagnostic sensitivities and specificities of these syndromes for envenoming were 78% and 96% by Naja naja, 66% and 100% by Bungarus caeruleus, 14% and 100% by Daboia russelii, and 10% and 97% by Hypnale hypnale, respectively. Although only polyspecific antivenoms are used in Sri Lanka, species diagnosis remains important to anticipate life-threatening complications such as local necrosis, hemorrhage and renal and respiratory failure and to identify likely victims of envenoming by H. hypnale who will not benefit from existing antivenoms. The technique of hospital-based collection, labeling and preservation of dead snakes brought by bitten patients is recommended for rapid assessment of a country's medically-important herpetofauna.

  4. Fasxiator, a novel factor XIa inhibitor from snake venom, and its site-specific mutagenesis to improve potency and selectivity.

    Chen, W; Carvalho, L P D; Chan, M Y; Kini, R M; Kang, T S

    2015-02-01

    Bleeding remains a major limitation of standard anticoagulant drugs that target the extrinsic and common coagulation pathways. Recently, intrinsic coagulation factors are increasingly being investigated as alternative targets for developing anticoagulant drugs with lower bleeding risk. Goals were to (i) identify novel anticoagulants selectively targeting intrinsic coagulation pathway and (ii) characterize and further improve the properties of the identified anticoagulants. We have isolated and sequenced a specific factor XIa (FXIa) inhibitor, henceforth named Fasxiator, from the venom of the banded krait snake, Bungarus fasciatus. It is a Kunitz-type protease inhibitor that prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time without significant effects on prothrombin time. Fasxiator was recombinantly expressed (rFasxiator), purified, and characterized to be a slow-type inhibitor of FXIa that exerts its anticoagulant activities (doubled activated partial thromboplastin time at ~ 3 μmol L(-1) ) by selectively inhibiting human FXIa in in vitro assays. A series of mutants were subsequently generated to improve the potency and selectivity of recombinant rFasxiator. rFasxiatorN17R,L19E showed the best balance between potency (IC50 ~ 1 nmol L(-1) ) and selectivity (> 100 times). rFasxiatorN17R,L19E is a competitive slow-type inhibitor of FXIa (Ki  = 0.86 nmol L(-1) ), possesses anticoagulant activity that is ~ 10 times stronger in human plasma than in murine plasma, and prolonged the occlusion time of mice carotid artery in FeCl3 -induced thrombosis models. We have isolated an exogenous FXIa specific inhibitor, engineered it to improve its potency by ~ 1000 times and demonstrated its in vitro and in vivo efficacy. These proof-of-principle data supported the further development of Fasxiator as a novel anticoagulant candidate. © 2014 International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

  5. Hemostatic interference of Indian king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) Venom. Comparison with three other snake venoms of the subcontinent.

    Gowtham, Yashonandana J; Kumar, M S; Girish, K S; Kemparaju, K

    2012-06-01

    Unlike Naja naja, Bungarus caeruleus, Echis carinatus, and Daboia/Vipera russellii venoms, Ophiophagus hannah venom is medically ignored in the Indian subcontinent. Being the biggest poisonous snake, O. hannah has been presumed to inject several lethal doses of venom in a single bite. Lack of therapeutic antivenom to O. hannah bite in India makes any attempt to save the victim a difficult exercise. This study was initiated to compare O. hannah venom with the above said venoms for possible interference in hemostasis. Ophiophagus hannah venom was found to actively interfere in hemostatic stages such as fibrin clot formation, platelet activation/aggregation, and fibrin clot dissolution. It decreased partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), prothrombin time (PT), and thrombin clotting time (TCT). These activities are similar to that shown by E. carinatus and D. russellii venoms, and thus O. hannah venom was found to exert procoagulant activity through the common pathway of blood coagulation, while N. naja venom increased aPTT and TCT but not PT, and hence it was found to exert anticoagulant activity through the intrinsic pathway. Venoms of O. hannah, E. carinatus, and D. russellii lack plasminogen activation property as they do not hydrolyze azocasein, while they all show plasmin-like activity by degrading the fibrin clot. Although N. naja venom did not degrade azocasein, unlike other venoms, it showed feeble plasmin-like activity on fibrin clot. Venom of E. carinatus induced clotting of human platelet rich plasma (PRP), while the other three venoms interfered in agonist-induced platelet aggregation in PRP. Venom of O. hannah least inhibited the ADP induced platelet aggregation as compared to D. russellii and N. naja venoms. All these three venoms showed complete inhibition of epinephrine-induced aggregation at varied doses. However, O. hannah venom was unique in inhibiting thrombin induced aggregation.

  6. Comparing prey composition and prey size delivered to nestlings by great tits, Parus major, and blue tits, Cyanistes caeruleus, in a Mediterranean sclerophyllous mixed forest

    Navalpotro, H.; Pagani-Nuñez, E.; Hernandez-Gomez, S.; Senar, J.C.

    2016-01-01

    Resource partitioning is a central issue in ecology because it can establish to which point similar species can coexist in the same habitat. Great tits and blue tits have been classical model species in studies of trophic competence. However, most studies on the topic have been conducted at localities where caterpillars are by far the most relevant prey brought to the nestlings. In Mediterranean mixed forests, nevertheless, the abundance of caterpillars is relatively low and it is spiders that play a key role in the diet of great tits, at least for nestlings. The aim of this paper was to study nest food provisioning to establish the degree of diet overlap of these two tit species in a Mediterranean forest. Our results showed that blue tit feeding rates were higher than those of great tits, probably to compensate for the smaller prey delivered to nestlings by blue tits. Blue tits brought more spiders than great tits, while grey tits brought larger prey and more caterpillars. This may be because larger great tits can prey upon larger prey items than blue tits. As a main result, this study supports the view of resource partitioning by great and blue tits in sclerophyllous Mediterranean forest ecosystem. (Author)

  7. Comparing prey composition and prey size delivered to nestlings by great tits, Parus major, and blue tits, Cyanistes caeruleus, in a Mediterranean sclerophyllous mixed forest

    Navalpotro, H.

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Resource partitioning is a central issue in ecology because it can establish to which point similar species can coexist in the same habitat. Great tits and blue tits have been classical model species in studies of trophic competence. However, most studies on the topic have been conducted at localities where caterpillars are by far the most relevant prey brought to the nestlings. In Mediterranean mixed forests, nevertheless, the abundance of caterpillars is relatively low and it is spiders that play a key role in the diet of great tits, at least for nestlings. The aim of this paper was to study nest food provisioning to establish the degree of diet overlap of these two tit species in a Mediterranean forest. Our results showed that blue tit feeding rates were higher than those of great tits, probably to compensate for the smaller prey delivered to nestlings by blue tits. Blue tits brought more spiders than great tits, while grey tits brought larger prey and more caterpillars. This may be because larger great tits can prey upon larger prey items than blue tits. As a main result, this study supports the view of resource partitioning by great and blue tits in sclerophyllous Mediterranean forest ecosystem.

  8. Comparing prey composition and prey size delivered to nestlings by great tits, Parus major, and blue tits, Cyanistes caeruleus, in a Mediterranean sclerophyllous mixed forest

    Navalpotro, H.; Pagani-Nuñez, E.; Hernandez-Gomez, S.; Senar, J.C.

    2016-07-01

    Resource partitioning is a central issue in ecology because it can establish to which point similar species can coexist in the same habitat. Great tits and blue tits have been classical model species in studies of trophic competence. However, most studies on the topic have been conducted at localities where caterpillars are by far the most relevant prey brought to the nestlings. In Mediterranean mixed forests, nevertheless, the abundance of caterpillars is relatively low and it is spiders that play a key role in the diet of great tits, at least for nestlings. The aim of this paper was to study nest food provisioning to establish the degree of diet overlap of these two tit species in a Mediterranean forest. Our results showed that blue tit feeding rates were higher than those of great tits, probably to compensate for the smaller prey delivered to nestlings by blue tits. Blue tits brought more spiders than great tits, while grey tits brought larger prey and more caterpillars. This may be because larger great tits can prey upon larger prey items than blue tits. As a main result, this study supports the view of resource partitioning by great and blue tits in sclerophyllous Mediterranean forest ecosystem. (Author)

  9. Ophiotaenia bungari n. sp. (Cestoda), a parasite of Bungarus fasciatus (Schneider) (Ophidia: Elapidae) from Vietnam, with comments on relative ovarian size as a new and potentially useful diagnostic character for proteocephalidean tapeworms

    de Chambrier, A.; Binh, T. T.; Scholz, Tomáš

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 81, č. 1 (2012), s. 39-50 ISSN 0165-5752 R&D Projects: GA MŠk LC522; GA ČR GA524/08/0885 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60220518 Keywords : PALEARCTIC REGION * EUCESTODA * identification * COLUBRIDAE * PHYLOGENY * EVOLUTION * PARAGUAY * FISHES Subject RIV: GJ - Animal Vermins ; Diseases, Veterinary Medicine Impact factor: 1.260, year: 2012

  10. 40 CFR 725.421 - Introduced genetic material.

    2010-07-01

    ... fever toxins, pyrogenic exotoxins) Yersinia enterocolitica Heat-stable enterotoxins (ST) ... Neurotoxin Staphylococcus aureus Alpha toxin (alpha lysin) Yersinia pestis Murine toxin Snake toxins Bungarus...

  11. Use of immunoturbidimetry to detect venom-antivenom binding using snake venoms.

    O'Leary, M A; Maduwage, K; Isbister, G K

    2013-01-01

    Immunoturbidimetry studies the phenomenon of immunoprecipitation of antigens and antibodies in solution, where there is the formation of large, polymeric insoluble immunocomplexes that increase the turbidity of the solution. We used immunoturbidimetry to investigate the interaction between commercial snake antivenoms and snake venoms, as well as cross-reactivity between different snake venoms. Serial dilutions of commercial snake antivenoms (100μl) in water were placed in the wells of a microtitre plate and 100μl of a venom solution (50μg/ml in water) was added. Absorbance readings were taken at 340nm every minute on a BioTek ELx808 plate reader at 37°C. Limits imposed were a 30minute cut-off and 0.004 as the lowest significant maximum increase. Reactions with rabbit antibodies were carried out similarly, except that antibody dilutions were in PBS. Mixing venom and antivenom/antibodies resulted in an immediate increase in turbidity, which either reached a maximum or continued to increase until a 30minute cut-off. There was a peak in absorbance readings for most Australian snake venoms mixed with the corresponding commercial antivenom, except for Pseudonaja textilis venom and brown snake antivenom. There was cross-reactivity between Naja naja venom from Sri Lanka and tiger snake antivenom indicated by turbidity when they were mixed. Mixing rabbit anti-snake antibodies with snake venoms resulted in increasing turbidity, but there was not a peak suggesting the antibodies were not sufficiently concentrated. The absorbance reading at pre-determined concentrations of rabbit antibodies mixed with different venoms was able to quantify the cross-reactivity between venoms. Indian antivenoms from two manufacturers were tested against four Sri Lankan snake venoms (Daboia russelli, N. naja, Echis carinatus and Bungarus caeruleus) and showed limited formation of immunocomplexes with antivenom from one manufacturer. The turbidity test provides an easy and rapid way to compare

  12. BISA ULAR MENINGKATKAN DAYA FAGOSITOSIS MAKROFAG PERITONEUM MENCIT TERHADAP KUMAN STREPTOKOKUS GRUP B SNAKE VENOM ENHANCES THE PHAGOCYTIC CAPABILITY OF PERITONEAL MACROPHAGES OF MICE AGAINST THE GROUP B STREPTOCOCCUS

    Chandramaya Siska Damayanti

    2007-06-01

    Full Text Available Penelitian ini bertujuan mengetahui efek pemberian bisa ular tanah (Calloselasma rhodostoma, ular kobra (Naja naja sputatrix, dan ular welang Bungarus fasciatus pada daya fagositosis makrofag peritoneal mencit terhadap kuman streptokokus grup B. Mencit diberi berbagai dosis bisa ular secara peroral selama 7 hari atau secara intravena sebanyak 3 kali dengan selang waktu penyuntikan 3 hari sekali. Di akhir percobaan

  13. New progress in snake mitochondrial gene rearrangement.

    Chen, Nian; Zhao, Shujin

    2009-08-01

    To further understand the evolution of snake mitochondrial genomes, the complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences were determined for representative species from two snake families: the Many-banded krait, the Banded krait, the Chinese cobra, the King cobra, the Hundred-pace viper, the Short-tailed mamushi, and the Chain viper. Thirteen protein-coding genes, 22-23 tRNA genes, 2 rRNA genes, and 2 control regions were identified in these mtDNAs. Duplication of the control region and translocation of the tRNAPro gene were two notable features of the snake mtDNAs. These results from the gene rearrangement comparisons confirm the correctness of traditional classification schemes and validate the utility of comparing complete mtDNA sequences for snake phylogeny reconstruction.

  14. The status of taxonomy and venom in sea snakes

    Redsted Rasmussen, Arne; Sanders, Kate L.

    2017-01-01

    The status of taxonomy and venom in sea snakesArne R Rasmussen1, Kate L Sanders21 The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, Design & Conservation, Copenhagen, Denmark2 School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5000, AustraliaSea...... snakes form two aquatic groups of snakes with a flat vertically paddle-form tail (sea kraits and viviparous sea snakes). Sea snakes belong to the same family Elapidae, which also includes the terrestrial mambas, cobra, kraits, taipan and brown snake. All elapids are characterized by the anterior position...... of the poison-fangs on the maxillary bone (proteroglyphous). Globally there are some 70 species of sea snake found in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Most species are found in the Indo-Malayan Archipelago, the China Sea, Indonesia, and the Australian region...

  15. Mass awareness regarding snake bite induced early morning neuroparalysis can prevent many deaths in North India

    Sharma, Rupinder; Dogra, Varundeep; Sharma, Gurudutt; Chauhan, Vivek

    2016-01-01

    Introduction: In North India snake bite deaths are predominantly seen with neurotoxic envenomations (NEs) whereas in South India the hemotoxic envenomation (HE) is more common. Krait is responsible for most deaths in North India. It bites people sleeping on the floors, mostly at night. We describe the profile of venomous snake bites over 1 year in 2013. Materials and Methods: The study was conducted in a rural tertiary care hospital in North India. Demographics, circumstances of bite, envenom...

  16. Mass awareness regarding snake bite induced early morning neuroparalysis can prevent many deaths in North India.

    Sharma, Rupinder; Dogra, Varundeep; Sharma, Gurudutt; Chauhan, Vivek

    2016-01-01

    In North India snake bite deaths are predominantly seen with neurotoxic envenomations (NEs) whereas in South India the hemotoxic envenomation (HE) is more common. Krait is responsible for most deaths in North India. It bites people sleeping on the floors, mostly at night. We describe the profile of venomous snake bites over 1 year in 2013. The study was conducted in a rural tertiary care hospital in North India. Demographics, circumstances of bite, envenomation, first aid, delay, consultation, treatment, anti-venom, and outcomes were recorded for all victims of snake bite. We included all consecutive adult (>18 years) venomous snake bite victims admitted from January to December 2013. A total of 91 patients with venomous snake bites were included in the study. Pure NEs were 41 (45.1%), pure HE in 31 (34.1%), 7 (7.7%) had mixed NE + HE, and 12 (13.2%) had only local swelling. Forty patients (44%) were bitten during sleep presenting as NE (92.5%), NE + HE (5%), and HE (2.5%). Findings in the 51 patients (56%) bitten during activity were HE (58.8%), local swelling (23.5%), NE + HE (9.8%), and NE (7.8%) ( P NE patients out of which 23 (96%) went to alternate practitioners or religious healers. Almost all (97.5%) bites during sleep resulted in NE in our study. About 96% of NE sought first aid from alternate practitioners or religious healers in hope of some magical treatment. Thus, a deadly combination of krait bite during sleep and wrong health seeking behavior is responsible for high mortality krait bites in this region. Mass public awareness regarding krait bites can prevent mortality in many such cases.

  17. Spatial variation in age structure among colonies of a marine snake: the influence of ectothermy.

    Bonnet, Xavier; Brischoux, François; Pinaud, David; Michel, Catherine Louise; Clobert, Jean; Shine, Richard; Fauvel, Thomas

    2015-07-01

    Several tetrapod lineages that have evolved to exploit marine environments (e.g. seals, seabirds, sea kraits) continue to rely upon land for reproduction and, thus, form dense colonies on suitable islands. In birds and mammals (endotherms), the offspring cannot survive without their parents. Terrestrial colonies contain all age classes. In reptiles (ectotherms), this constraint is relaxed, because offspring are independent from birth. Hence, each age class has the potential to select sites with characteristics that favour them. Our studies of sea snakes (sea kraits) in the lagoon of New Caledonia reveal marked spatial heterogeneity in age structure among colonies. Sea krait colonies exhibit the endothermic 'seal-seabird' pattern (mixed-age classes within populations) only where the lagoon is narrow. Where the lagoon is wide, most snake colonies are comprised primarily of a single age cohort. Nurseries are located near the coast, adult colonies offshore and mixed colonies in-between. We suggest that ectothermy allows individuals to utilize habitats that are best suited to their own ecological requirements, a flexibility not available to endothermic marine taxa with obligate parental care. © 2015 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2015 British Ecological Society.

  18. MHC class II B diversity in blue tits : A preliminary study

    Rivero-de Aguilar, Juan; Schut, Elske; Merino, Santiago; Martinez, Javier; Komdeur, Jan; Westerdahl, Helena

    In this study, we partly characterize major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II B in the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). A total of 22 individuals from three different European locations: Spain, The Netherlands, and Sweden were screened for MHC allelic diversity. The MHC genes were

  19. Greater food availability reduces tarsus assymmetry in nestling Blue Tits

    Grieco, F.

    2003-01-01

    Previous work has shown that the quantity or quality of food affects the degree of asymmetry in bilateral body traits in adult birds, but so far there is no evidence that this is the case in early phases of growth too. I studied asymmetry of tarsus length of nestling Blue Tits (Parus caeruleus) in

  20. Egg morphology fails to identify nests parasitized by conspecifics in common pochard: a test based on protein fingerprinting and including female relatedness

    Petrželková, A.; Pöysä, H.; Klvaňa, P.; Albrecht, Tomáš; Hořák, D.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 48, č. 2 (2017), s. 229-234 ISSN 0908-8857 R&D Projects: GA AV ČR KJB601110803 Institutional support: RVO:68081766 Keywords : Intraspecific brood parasitism * Clutch size * Bucephala islandica * Cyanistes caeruleus * Aythya ferina * Wood ducks * Birds * Goldeneye * Population * Clangula Subject RIV: EG - Zoology OBOR OECD: Ornithology Impact factor: 2.228, year: 2016

  1. Distribution and hosts of Stellicola (Copepoda, Cyclopoida) associated with Linckia (Asteroidea) in the Indo-West Pacific

    Humes, Arthur G.

    1976-01-01

    Five lichomolgid copepods belonging to the genus Stellicola are reported from three species of the sea star genus Linckia in the Moluccas: Stellicola flexilis n. sp. from Linckia guildingi. L. laevigata, and L. multiflora, S. caeruleus (Stebbing, 1900) from L. laevigata, L. guildingi, and L.

  2. Early Birds by Light at Night: Effects of Light Color and Intensity on Daily Activity Patterns in Blue Tits

    de Jong, Maaike; Caro, Samuel P.; Gienapp, Phillip; Spoelstra, Kamiel; Visser, Marcel E.

    2017-01-01

    Artificial light at night disturbs the daily rhythms of many organisms. To what extent this disturbance depends on the intensity and spectral composition of light remain obscure. Here, we measured daily activity patterns of captive blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) exposed to similar intensities of

  3. Early Birds by Light at Night

    Jong, De Maaike; Caro, Samuel P.; Gienapp, Phillip; Spoelstra, Kamiel; Visser, Marcel E.

    2017-01-01

    Artificial light at night disturbs the daily rhythms of many organisms. To what extent this disturbance depends on the intensity and spectral composition of light remain obscure. Here, we measured daily activity patterns of captive blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) exposed to similar intensities of

  4. Age and sex dimorphism in the Canary Blue Tit Cyanistes teneriffae ...

    The Canary Blue Tit Cyanistes teneriffae has recently been split off from the Common Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus as a separate species. Live biometrics from across the entire distribution on the island of Tenerife (subspecies teneriffae teneriffae) are reported. Results suggest that first-year birds had similar bill shape to ...

  5. Solar activity affects avian timing of reproduction

    Visser, M.E.; Sanz, J.J.

    2009-01-01

    Avian timing of reproduction is strongly affected by ambient temperature. Here we show that there is an additional effect of sunspots on laying date, from five long-term population studies of great and blue tits (Parus major and Cyanistes caeruleus), demonstrating for the first time that solar

  6. Early learning affects social dominance: interspecifically cross-fostered tits become subdominant

    Bo Terning Hansen; Tore Slagsvold

    2004-01-01

    Social dominance influences the outcome of competitive interactions over limited resources, and may hence be important for individual fitness. Theory thus predicts that its heritability will be low and that non-genetic determinants of dominance should prevail. In this field experiment we reciprocally cross-fostered great tits (Parus major) to blue tits (Parus caeruleus) to investigate the impact of early social experience on dominance status in competition over food during winter. Controlling...

  7. Can eggs in a cavity be a female secondary sexual signal? Male nest visits and modelling of egg visual discrimination in blue tits

    Holveck, Marie-Jeanne; Doutrelant, Claire; Guerreiro, Romain; Perret, Philippe; Gomez, Doris; Grégoire, Arnaud

    2010-01-01

    Eggshell colouration is thought to function as a female-specific secondary sexual trait. While tests of this idea are rapidly accumulating in cavity-nesting birds, some fundamental underlying assumptions remain rarely investigated: namely, can males see eggshell coloration and perceive colour differences between the eggs of different females? We tested these two key assumptions in a natural population of blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus). Using transponders, we tracked male nest visits and foun...

  8. Salida de campo al Sotillo (Valladolid) el 5 de febrero de 1952

    Valverde Gómez, José Antonio, 1926-2003

    2008-01-01

    Salida de campo al "Sotillo", en Valladolid capital, el 5 de febrero de 1952, de la que se anotaron observaciones sobre las siguientes aves: Accipiter nisus (Gavilán común, también llamado Astur palumbarius por el autor), Aegithalos caudatus (Mito), Alectoris rufa (Perdiz roja), Cettia cetti (Ruiseñor bastardo), Corvus frugilegus (Graja), Corvus monedula (Grajilla, llamada Coloeus por el autor), Cyanistes caeruleus (Herrerillo común, llamado Parus coeruleus por el autor), Emberiza cirlus (Es...

  9. Parental prey selection affects risk-taking behaviour and spatial learning in avian offspring

    Arnold, Kathryn E; Ramsay, Scot L; Donaldson, Christine; Adam, Aileen

    2007-01-01

    Early nutrition shapes life history. Parents should, therefore, provide a diet that will optimize the nutrient intake of their offspring. In a number of passerines, there is an often observed, but unexplained, peak in spider provisioning during chick development. We show that the proportion of spiders in the diet of nestling blue tits, Cyanistes caeruleus, varies significantly with the age of chicks but is unrelated to the timing of breeding or spider availability. Moreover, this parental pre...

  10. Utility of sea snakes as bio-indicators for diverse marine environments including coral reefs

    Redsted Rasmussen, Arne

    2016-01-01

    be a valuable tool to accomplish this goal. Recent research shows that a group of sea snakes (the sea kraits Laticauda spp.) specialised on eels as prey, bears the promise of being useful bio-indicators for surveying the Anguilliform fish (eel like fish) in coral reefs(Brischoux, Bonnet, & Legagneux, 2009...... including coral reefs. Choosing sea snakes as bio-indicators in a broader sense is not possible with the present knowledge on the group today. It is therefore most needed to get more knowledge on sea snake biology to make it possible to use them as marine indicator species to measure e.g. biodiversity...

  11. Origin and evolutionary history of freshwater Rhodophyta: further insights based on phylogenomic evidence.

    Nan, Fangru; Feng, Jia; Lv, Junping; Liu, Qi; Fang, Kunpeng; Gong, Chaoyan; Xie, Shulian

    2017-06-07

    Freshwater representatives of Rhodophyta were sampled and the complete chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes were determined. Characteristics of the chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes were analyzed and phylogenetic relationship of marine and freshwater Rhodophyta were reconstructed based on the organelle genomes. The freshwater member Compsopogon caeruleus was determined for the largest chloroplast genome among multicellular Rhodophyta up to now. Expansion and subsequent reduction of both the genome size and GC content were observed in the Rhodophyta except for the freshwater Compsopogon caeruleus. It was inferred that the freshwater members of Rhodophyta occurred through diverse origins based on evidence of genome size, GC-content, phylogenomic analysis and divergence time estimation. The freshwater species Compsopogon caeruleus and Hildenbrandia rivularis originated and evolved independently at the inland water, whereas the Bangia atropurpurea, Batrachospermum arcuatum and Thorea hispida are derived from the marine relatives. The typical freshwater representatives Thoreales and Batrachospermales are probably derived from the marine relative Palmaria palmata at approximately 415-484 MYA. The origin and evolutionary history of freshwater Rhodophyta needs to be testified with more organelle genome sequences and wider global sampling.

  12. The North-South divide in snake bite envenomation in India

    Vivek Chauhan

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Snake bite envenomations are common in rural areas and the incidence peaks during monsoons in India. Prominent venomous species have been traditionally labeled as the ′big four′ that includes Cobra, Krait, Russel′s viper and Saw scaled viper. Systematic attempts for identification and classification of prevalent snakes in various states of India are missing till now and there is no concrete data on this aspect. The published literature however shows that some species of snakes are more prevalent in a particular region than the other parts of India e.g. Saw scaled vipers in Rajasthan. We reviewed the published literature from various parts of India and found that there is a North-South divide in the snake bite profile from India. Neurotoxic envenomations are significantly higher in North India compared to South India where Hematotoxic envenomations are prevalent. Russel′s viper causes local necrosis, gangrene and compartment syndrome. These manifestations have never been reported in North Indian snake bite profile in the published literature. Early morning neuroparalysis caused by Krait is a common problem in North India leading to high mortality after snake bite. This review presents supporting evidence for the North-South divide and proposes a way forward in formulation and revision of guidelines for snake bite in India.

  13. Isolation and cloning of a metalloproteinase from king cobra snake venom.

    Guo, Xiao-Xi; Zeng, Lin; Lee, Wen-Hui; Zhang, Yun; Jin, Yang

    2007-06-01

    A 50 kDa fibrinogenolytic protease, ohagin, from the venom of Ophiophagus hannah was isolated by a combination of gel filtration, ion-exchange and heparin affinity chromatography. Ohagin specifically degraded the alpha-chain of human fibrinogen and the proteolytic activity was completely abolished by EDTA, but not by PMSF, suggesting it is a metalloproteinase. It dose-dependently inhibited platelet aggregation induced by ADP, TMVA and stejnulxin. The full sequence of ohagin was deduced by cDNA cloning and confirmed by protein sequencing and peptide mass fingerprinting. The full-length cDNA sequence of ohagin encodes an open reading frame of 611 amino acids that includes signal peptide, proprotein and mature protein comprising metalloproteinase, disintegrin-like and cysteine-rich domains, suggesting it belongs to P-III class metalloproteinase. In addition, P-III class metalloproteinases from the venom glands of Naja atra, Bungarus multicinctus and Bungarus fasciatus were also cloned in this study. Sequence analysis and phylogenetic analysis indicated that metalloproteinases from elapid snake venoms form a new subgroup of P-III SVMPs.

  14. Protein profile analysis of Malaysian snake venoms by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis

    J Vejayan

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Snake venoms comprise a highly complex mixture of proteins, which requires for their characterization the use of versatile two-dimensional electrophoresis techniques. In the present study, venoms obtained from eight snakes (Ophiophagus hannah, Naja kaouthia, Naja sumatrana, Bungarus fasciatus, Trimeresurus sumatranus, Tropidolaemus wagleri, Enhydrina schistosa and Calloselasma rhodostoma commonly found in Malaysia were separated based on two independent properties, isoelectric point (pI and molecular weight (MW. Many differences in snake venoms at the inter-family, inter-subfamily, inter-genus and inter-species levels were revealed. Notably, proteins from individuals of the Viperidae family - Trimeresurus sumatranus, Tropidolaemus wagleri and Calloselasma rhodostoma - were found to be numerous and scattered by the two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DE specifically in regions between 37 and 100 kDa compared to the Elapidae venom proteins. The latter were clustered at the basic and lower molecular mass region (less than 20 kDa. Trains of spots were commonly observed, indicating that these proteins may be derived from post-translational modifications. Ophiophagus hannah (Elapidae revealed a great amount of protein spots in the higher molecular mass range when compared to Enhydrina schistosa, Naja kaouthia, Naja sumatrana and Bungarus fasciatus. Overall 2DE showed large differences in the venom profile of each species, which might be employed as an ancillary tool to the identification of venomous snake species.

  15. Anelídeos poliquetos associados a um briozoário: III. Polynoidae Polychaetous annelids associated to a bryozoan: III. Polynoidae

    Eloisa H Morgado

    1981-06-01

    Full Text Available Four species of Polynoidae, found in colonies of the bryozoan Schizoporella unicorns (Johnston, are here described. Among these Scalisetosus gracilis is a new species for science, and Halosdna glabra Hartman and Harmathöe macginitiei Pettibone, cited by the first time for Brazilian coast. Lepisdonotus caeruleus was the most abundant species of the family. Scalisetosus gracilis sp. nov. is characterized by the elytra with long and bifid papillae scattered on the surface as well as on external borders and distinct notosetae and neurosetae.

  16. The taxonomic status of the white-tailed kite

    Clark, W.S.; Banks, R.C.

    1992-01-01

    The White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) of the Americas has been merged with the Black-shouldered (or Black-winged) Kite (E. caeruleus) of the Old World and the Australian Black-shouldered Kite (E. axillaris) by North American authorities (but not elsewhere), primarily because of similarity in plumage. However, American kites differ from Old World kites in greater size and weight, in proportions (relatively longer tail and smaller bill and feet), plumage pattern (particularly of juveniles), and in behavior. Here we argue that these characters are sufficiently distinctive to warrant recognition of E. leucurus at the species level.

  17. Presence of melatonin in various cat brainstem nuclei determined by radioimmunoassay

    Sallanon, M.; Touret, M.; Claustrat, B.

    1982-01-01

    Microdissected samples of juvenile cat brain tissue were assayed for melatonin content using a double antibody radioimmunoassay. Immunoreactive melatonin was consistently detected, albeit in variable amounts, in pineal, habenula, the region of the nucleus gracilis, gigantocellular reticular formation of the pons and medulla oblongata. Among the negative areas were raphe nuclei, substantia nigra dn locus caeruleus. These findings suggest that melatonin may play a role in some structures of the central nervous system outside the pineal-hypothalamo-pituitary axis. This immunoreactive melatonin could reflect a local synthesis, or a tissular uptake of melatonin from blood or cerebrospinal fluid. (author)

  18. An antemortem guide for the assessment of stranded Australian sea snakes (Hydrophiinae).

    Gillett, Amber K; Flint, Mark; Mills, Paul C

    2014-12-01

    Marine snakes of the subfamily Hydrophiinae are obligate ocean dwellers, unlike their amphibious counterparts, the sea kraits (Laticaudinae), and as such they are often referred to as 'true' sea snakes. This specialization means that the presence of a true sea snake on a beach is atypical and likely indicates disease or injury. Traumatic injuries such as eye, jaw, and spinal lesions have been observed in stranded sea snakes and may present as acute injury or progress to chronic debilitation. Diseases, such as neoplasia, leukemia, and parasite overburden, have also been seen in wild sea snakes, and these animals may present similarly. Sick, moribund, or deceased sea snakes are intermittently found washed ashore along Australian beaches, and these specimens may prove valuable as bioindicators of marine health. This review is intended as a guide to the diagnostic investigation of sick or injured sea snakes by suitably qualified people.

  19. In vitro screening of snake venom against multidrug-resistant tuberculosis

    Sujay Kumar Bhunia

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available The re-emergence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB has brought to light the importance of screening effective novel drugs. In the present study, in vitro activities of different snake (Naja naja, Bungarus fasciatus, Daboia russelli russelli, Naja kaouthia venoms have been investigated against clinical isolate of MDR-TB strains. The treatment with all the venoms inhibited the mycobacterial growth for at least a week in common and two of them (Naja naja and Naja kaouthia showed significantly longer inhibition up to two weeks against the MDR-TB strain with single dose and a repetition of those two venoms exhibited inhibition up to more than four weeks.

  20. [Application of rapid PCR to authenticate medicinal snakes].

    Chen, Kang; Jiang, Chao; Yuan, Yuan; Huang, Lu-Qi; Li, Man

    2014-10-01

    To obtained an accurate, rapid and efficient method for authenticate medicinal snakes listed in Chinese Pharmacopoeia (Zaocysd humnades, Bungarus multicinctus, Agkistrodon acutus), a rapid PCR method for authenticate snakes and its adulterants was established based on the classic molecular authentication methods. DNA was extracted by alkaline lysis and the specific primers were amplified by two-steps PCR amplification method. The denatured and annealing temperature and cycle numbers were optimized. When 100 x SYBR Green I was added in the PCR product, strong green fluorescence was visualized under 365 nm UV whereas adulterants without. The whole process can complete in 30-45 minutes. The established method provides the technical support for authentication of the snakes on field.

  1. Breeding performance of blue tits (Cyanistes cæruleus ultramarinus) in relation to lead pollution and nest failure rates in rural, intermediate, and urban sites in Algeria.

    Brahmia, Zahra; Scheifler, Renaud; Crini, Nadia; Maas, Samuel; Giraudoux, Patrick; Benyacoub, Slim

    2013-03-01

    The breeding parameters and the egg and nestling morphology of Cyanistes caeruleus populations from rural, intermediate, and urban sites in Algeria and the relationships of those variables with lead contamination were studied during three consecutive years. Breeding success was explained only by predation and vandalism rates. Predation was higher in the rural area, whereas vandalism was higher in the urban site. The other measured breeding parameters and egg characteristics were relatively insensitive to study site. The morphology of urban nestlings exhibited a trend toward smaller body size and mass compared to individuals from intermediate and rural sites. Although lead concentrations were higher in the tissues of urban birds than in intermediate and rural individuals, we did not detect a clear influence of this variable on nestling morphology. We conclude that urbanization influenced blue tit breeding parameters through predation and vandalism and nestling morphology through mechanisms other than lead pollution. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Asymmetries in commitment in an avian communication network

    Randler, Christoph; Vollmer, Christian

    2013-02-01

    Mobbing of predators occurs within a conspecific and heterospecific context but has not been quantified within the framework of a communication network and analysed with respect to heterospecific reciprocity. Here, we used playbacks of mobbing calls to show that mobbing is unequally distributed within a community of deciduous forest birds. Five species (great tit Parus major, blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus, marsh tit Poecile palustris, nuthatch Sitta europaea and chaffinch Fringilla coelebs) responded to each other's playbacks of mobbing calls. Commitment to mob was measured by minimum distance, response latency and uttering of calls. Commitment was higher when conspecific calls were broadcast. Yet, responses to heterospecific calls were significantly different between the five species. Chaffinches had the lowest commitment, and blue tits tended to have the highest. The communication network is asymmetric. Some species invest more than they receive from other species. As mobbing might incur costs, these are unequally distributed across the community.

  3. Breeding performance of blue tits (Cyanistes cæruleus ultramarinus) in relation to lead pollution and nest failure rates in rural, intermediate, and urban sites in Algeria

    Brahmia, Zahra; Scheifler, Renaud; Crini, Nadia; Maas, Samuel; Giraudoux, Patrick; Benyacoub, Slim

    2013-01-01

    The breeding parameters and the egg and nestling morphology of Cyanistes caeruleus populations from rural, intermediate, and urban sites in Algeria and the relationships of those variables with lead contamination were studied during three consecutive years. Breeding success was explained only by predation and vandalism rates. Predation was higher in the rural area, whereas vandalism was higher in the urban site. The other measured breeding parameters and egg characteristics were relatively insensitive to study site. The morphology of urban nestlings exhibited a trend toward smaller body size and mass compared to individuals from intermediate and rural sites. Although lead concentrations were higher in the tissues of urban birds than in intermediate and rural individuals, we did not detect a clear influence of this variable on nestling morphology. We conclude that urbanization influenced blue tit breeding parameters through predation and vandalism and nestling morphology through mechanisms other than lead pollution. -- Highlights: ► Life history traits in relation to lead contamination were studied in blue tits from rural, industrial and urban sites. ► The study took place in Annaba, the fourth most populated city of Algeria, during 3 consecutive years. ► Breeding success depended on predation and vandalism, which were high in the rural and urban sites, respectively. ► Urban nestlings exhibited a trend toward smaller body size and mass, which was not explained by lead contamination. ► Urbanization influences breeding success and nestling morphology in blue tits through other mechanisms than lead pollution. -- Urbanization modifies the nestling morphology and breeding success of populations of the Algerian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus ultramarinus) through mechanisms other than lead pollution

  4. Neurological manifestations of snake bite in Sri Lanka.

    Seneviratne U

    2002-10-01

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Snake bite is an important cause of mortality and morbidity in certain parts of Sri Lanka. This study was designed to determine the offending snakes, neurological manifestations, disease course, and outcome in neurotoxic envenomation. METHODS AND MATERIAL: Fifty six consecutive patients admitted with neurological manifestations following snake bite were studied prospectively. Data were obtained regarding the offending snakes, neurological symptoms, time taken for onset of symptoms, neurological signs, and time taken for recovery. RESULTS: The offending snake was Russell′s viper in 27(48.2%, common and Sri Lankan krait in 19(33.9%, cobra in 3(5.4%, and unidentified in 7(12.5%. Ptosis was the commonest neurological manifestation seen in 48(85.7% followed by ophthalmoplegia (75%, limb weakness (26.8%, respiratory failure (17.9%, palatal weakness (10.7%, neck muscle weakness (7.1%, and delayed sensory neuropathy (1.8%. Neurological symptoms were experienced usually within 6 hours after the bite. Following administration of antivenom, the signs of recovery became evident within a few hours to several days. The duration for complete recovery ranged from four hours to two weeks. CONCLUSIONS: Complete recovery of neuromuscular weakness was observed in all patients except for one who died with intracerebral haemorrhage shortly after admission.

  5. In Vitro and In Vivo Evaluation of Polyherbal Formulation against Russell's Viper and Cobra Venom and Screening of Bioactive Components by Docking Studies

    Sakthivel, G.; Dey, Amitabha; Nongalleima, Kh.; Chavali, Murthy; Rimal Isaac, R. S.; Singh, N. Surjit; Deb, Lokesh

    2013-01-01

    The present study emphasizes to reveal the antivenom activity of Aristolochia bracteolata Lam., Tylophora indica (Burm.f.) Merrill, and Leucas aspera S. which were evaluated against venoms of Daboia russelli russelli (Russell's viper) and Naja naja (Indian cobra). The aqueous extracts of leaves and roots of the above-mentioned plants and their polyherbal (1 : 1 : 1) formulation at a dose of 200 mg/kg showed protection against envenomed mice with LD50 doses of 0.44 mg/kg and 0.28 mg/kg against Russell's viper and cobra venom, respectively. In in vitro antioxidant activities sample extracts showed free radical scavenging effects in dose dependent manner. Computational drug design and docking studies were carried out to predict the neutralizing principles of type I phospholipase A2 (PLA2) from Indian common krait venom. This confirmed that aristolochic acid and leucasin can neutralize type I PLA2 enzyme. Results suggest that these plants could serve as a source of natural antioxidants and common antidote for snake bite. However, further studies are needed to identify the lead molecule responsible for antidote activity. PMID:23533518

  6. Assessing mixed trace elements in groundwater and their health risk of residents living in the Mekong River basin of Cambodia

    Phan, Kongkea; Phan, Samrach; Huoy, Laingshun; Suy, Bunseang; Wong, Ming Hung; Hashim, Jamal Hisham; Mohamed Yasin, Mohamed Salleh; Aljunid, Syed Mohamed; Sthiannopkao, Suthipong; Kim, Kyoung-Woong

    2013-01-01

    We investigated the potential contamination of trace elements in shallow Cambodian groundwater. Groundwater and hair samples were collected from three provinces in the Mekong River basin of Cambodia and analyzed by ICP-MS. Groundwater from Kandal (n = 46) and Kraite (n = 12) were enriched in As, Mn, Ba and Fe whereas none of tube wells in Kampong Cham (n = 18) had trace elements higher than Cambodian permissible limits. Risk computations indicated that 98.7% and 12.4% of residents in the study areas of Kandal (n = 297) and Kratie (n = 89) were at risk of non-carcinogenic effects from exposure to multiple elements, yet none were at risk in Kampong Cham (n = 184). Arsenic contributed 99.5%, 60.3% and 84.2% of the aggregate risk in Kandal, Kratie and Kampong Cham, respectively. Sustainable and appropriate treatment technologies must therefore be implemented in order for Cambodian groundwater to be used as potable water. -- Highlights: •We investigated the potential contamination of trace elements in Cambodian groundwater. •Residents of Kandal (98.7%) and Kratie (12.4%) were at risk of non-carcinogenic effects. •Significant positive correlation between As, Mn and Ba in groundwater and hair were found. -- Risk assessment indicated that 98.7% of residents in Kandal and 12.4% of Kratie study areas were at risk of non-carcinogenic effects of multiple elements in groundwater

  7. Identification and characterization of novel reptile cathelicidins from elapid snakes.

    Zhao, Hui; Gan, Tong-Xiang; Liu, Xiao-Dong; Jin, Yang; Lee, Wen-Hui; Shen, Ji-Hong; Zhang, Yun

    2008-10-01

    Three cDNA sequences coding for elapid cathelicidins were cloned from constructed venom gland cDNA libraries of Naja atra, Bungarus fasciatus and Ophiophagus hannah. The open reading frames of the cloned elapid cathelicidins were all composed of 576bp and coded for 191 amino acid residue protein precursors. Each of the deduced elapid cathelicidin has a 22 amino acid residue signal peptide, a conserved cathelin domain of 135 amino acid residues and a mature antimicrobial peptide of 34 amino acid residues. Unlike the highly divergent cathelicidins in mammals, the nucleotide and deduced protein sequences of the three cloned elapid cathelicidins were remarkably conserved. All the elapid mature cathelicidins were predicted to be cleaved at Valine157 by elastase. OH-CATH, the deduced mature cathelicidin from king cobra, was chemically synthesized and it showed strong antibacterial activity against various bacteria with minimal inhibitory concentration of 1-20microg/ml in the presence of 1% NaCl. Meanwhile, the synthetic peptide showed no haemolytic activity toward human red blood cells even at a high dose of 200microg/ml. Phylogenetic analysis of cathelicidins from vertebrate suggested that elapid and viperid cathelicidins were grouped together in the tree. Snake cathelicidins were evolutionary closely related to the neutrophilic granule proteins (NGPs) from mouse, rat and rabbit. Snake cathelicidins also showed a close relationship with avian fowlicidins (1-3) and chicken myeloid antimicrobial peptide 27. Elapid cathelicidins might be used as models for the development of novel therapeutic drugs.

  8. Immunoreactivity between venoms and commercial antiserums in four Chinese snakes and venom identification by species-specific antibody.

    Gao, Jian-Fang; Wang, Jin; Qu, Yan-Fu; Ma, Xiao-Mei; Ji, Xiang

    2013-01-31

    We studied the immunoreactivity between venoms and commercial antiserums in four Chinese venomous snakes, Bungarus multicinctus, Naja atra, Deinagkistrodon acutus and Gloydius brevicaudus. Venoms from the four snakes shared common antigenic components, and most venom components expressed antigenicity in the immunological reaction between venoms and antiserums. Antiserums cross-reacted with heterologous venoms. Homologous venom and antiserum expressed the highest reaction activity in all cross-reactions. Species-specific antibodies (SSAbs) were obtained from four antiserums by immunoaffinity chromatography: the whole antiserum against each species was gradually passed through a medium system coated with heterologous venoms, and the cross-reacting components in antiserum were immunoabsorbed by the common antigens in heterologous venoms; the unbound components (i.e., SSAbs) were collected, and passed through Hitrap G protein column and concentrated. The SSAbs were found to have high specificity by western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A 6-well ELISA strip coated with SSAbs was used to assign a venom sample and blood and urine samples from the envenomed rats to a given snake species. Our detections could differentiate positive and negative samples, and identify venoms of a snake species in about 35 min. The ELISA strips developed in this study are clinically useful in rapid and reliable identification of venoms from the above four snake species. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. KEANEKARAGAMAN SPESIES ULAR DI DESA PERING, KECAMATAN BLAHBATUH, KABUPATEN GIANYAR, BALI

    I GEDE MADE ARIUS HADY BUDIADA

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Snakes are cold-blooded reptiles belong to the Order Squamata, Suborder Serpentes. Snakes often found in lowlands, highlands, trees, soil, water and swamps. People in the Pering village especially in Banjar Perang Sada have less knowledge about venomous and non-venomous snakes. Therefore, it is important to investigate the diversity of snakes in the Pering village, Blahbatuh, Gianyar. This study was conducted on 28 January – 4 February 2015. Data collection was performed by direct observation along the potential snake habitats in two plots rice field near residential area and near the Pura Beji. Data collection was performed during night time from at 7:00 to 11:00 PM with sampling focused on Banjar Perang Sada. Individual snake found was cought and identified in situ. This research found 9 species of snakes namely, Ahaetulla prasina, Boiga cynodon, Dendrelaphis pictus, Pareas carinatus, Ptyas korros, Rhabdophis chrysargos, Xenochrophis piscator, Bungarus fasciatus, and Trimeresurus insularis, the most commonly found was Dendrelaphis pictus.

  10. Water exchange and permeability properties of the skin in three species of amphibious sea snakes (Laticauda spp.).

    Lillywhite, H B; Menon, J G; Menon, G K; Sheehy, C M; Tu, M C

    2009-06-01

    Evolutionary transitions between different environmental media such as air and water pose special problems with respect to skin permeability because of the dramatic changes in the driving gradients and nature of water exchange processes. Also, during the transitional periods prior to complete adaptation to a new medium, the skin is exposed to two very different sets of environmental conditions. Here, we report new data for transepidermal evaporative water loss (TEWL) and cutaneous resistance to evaporative water loss (R(s)) of sea snakes that are transitional in the sense of being amphibious and semi-terrestrial. We investigated three species of sea kraits (Elapidae: Laticaudinae) that are common to Orchid Island (Lanyu), Taiwan. Generally, R(s) of all three species is lower than that characteristic of terrestrial/xeric species of snakes measured in other taxa. Within Laticauda, R(s) is significantly greater (TEWL lower) in the more terrestrial species and lowest (TEWL highest) in the more aquatic species. Previously reported losses of water from snakes kept in seawater exhibit a reversed trend, with lower rates of loss in the more aquatic species. These data suggest selection for adaptive traits with respect to increasing exposure to the marine environment. Thus, a countergradient of traits is reflected in decreased TEWL in aerial environments and decreased net water efflux in marine environments, acting simultaneously in the three species. The pattern for TEWL correlates with ultrastructural evidence for increased lipogenesis in the stratum corneum of the more terrestrial species. The skin surfaces of all three species are hydrophobic. Species differences in this property possibly explain the pattern for water efflux when these snakes are in seawater, which remains to be investigated.

  11. Human Disturbance during Early Life Impairs Nestling Growth in Birds Inhabiting a Nature Recreation Area.

    Remacha, Carolina; Delgado, Juan Antonio; Bulaic, Mateja; Pérez-Tris, Javier

    2016-01-01

    Nature recreation conflicts with conservation, but its impacts on wildlife are not fully understood. Where recreation is not regulated, visitors to natural areas may gather in large numbers on weekends and holidays. This may increase variance in fitness in wild populations, if individuals whose critical life cycle stages coincide with periods of high human disturbance are at a disadvantage. We studied nestling development of blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) in a natural area where recreation activities intensify during weekends and other public holidays at picnic and leisure facilities, but not in the surrounding woods. In nests located near recreation facilities, blue tit nestlings that hatched during holidays developed slowly, and fledged with low body mass and poor body condition. However, nestlings that hatched outside of holidays and weekends in these nest boxes developed normally, eventually attaining similar phenotypes as those hatching in the surrounding woods. Within-brood variance in body mass was also higher in broods that began growing during holidays in disturbed areas. Our results show that early disturbance events may have negative consequences for wild birds if they overlap with critical stages of development, unveiling otherwise cryptic impacts of human activities. These new findings may help managers better regulate nature recreation.

  12. Human Disturbance during Early Life Impairs Nestling Growth in Birds Inhabiting a Nature Recreation Area.

    Carolina Remacha

    Full Text Available Nature recreation conflicts with conservation, but its impacts on wildlife are not fully understood. Where recreation is not regulated, visitors to natural areas may gather in large numbers on weekends and holidays. This may increase variance in fitness in wild populations, if individuals whose critical life cycle stages coincide with periods of high human disturbance are at a disadvantage. We studied nestling development of blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus in a natural area where recreation activities intensify during weekends and other public holidays at picnic and leisure facilities, but not in the surrounding woods. In nests located near recreation facilities, blue tit nestlings that hatched during holidays developed slowly, and fledged with low body mass and poor body condition. However, nestlings that hatched outside of holidays and weekends in these nest boxes developed normally, eventually attaining similar phenotypes as those hatching in the surrounding woods. Within-brood variance in body mass was also higher in broods that began growing during holidays in disturbed areas. Our results show that early disturbance events may have negative consequences for wild birds if they overlap with critical stages of development, unveiling otherwise cryptic impacts of human activities. These new findings may help managers better regulate nature recreation.

  13. MHC class II B diversity in blue tits: a preliminary study.

    Aguilar, Juan Rivero-de; Schut, Elske; Merino, Santiago; Martínez, Javier; Komdeur, Jan; Westerdahl, Helena

    2013-07-01

    In this study, we partly characterize major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II B in the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). A total of 22 individuals from three different European locations: Spain, The Netherlands, and Sweden were screened for MHC allelic diversity. The MHC genes were investigated using both PCR-based methods and unamplified genomic DNA with restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and southern blots. A total of 13 different exon 2 sequences were obtained independently from DNA and/or RNA, thus confirming gene transcription and likely functionality of the genes. Nine out of 13 alleles were found in more than one country, and two alleles appeared in all countries. Positive selection was detected in the region coding for the peptide binding region (PBR). A maximum of three alleles per individual was detected by sequencing and the RFLP pattern consisted of 4-7 fragments, indicating a minimum number of 2-4 loci per individual. A phylogenetic analysis, demonstrated that the blue tit sequences are divergent compared to sequences from other passerines resembling a different MHC lineage than those possessed by most passerines studied to date.

  14. Population Densities of Birds Breeding in Urbanized Habitats in the Grabiszyn District in the City of Wrocław

    Kopij Grzegorz

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Studies were carried out in 2010 by mean of simplified version of the mapping method. The study area (395 ha was located close to the city centre. It comprised a mosaic of urbanized habitats, with a clear dominance of green areas, such as parks (41.1 ha, gardens, cemeteries and tree clumps. A total of 48 breeding bird species were recorded in the whole study area. The most common (<25 pairs/100 ha were Passer domesticus, Passer montanus, Sturnus vulgaris, Parus caeruleus, Parus major, Apus apus and Columba livia. Numerous (7-15 pairs/100 ha were also the following species: Columba palumbus, Turdus pilaris, Sylvia atricapilla, Serinus serinus, Turdus merula and Pica pica. Insectivorous birds were the most common birds constituting 63.3%, and granivorous -32.6% of all pairs recorded. Most birds nested in tree holes (39.3%, in/on buildings (30.2% and in trees/shrubs (25.6%. Distribution of breeding pairs of 23 bird species was presented on maps. Population trends for 17 species were documented. Rapid increase in numbers of Turdus pilaris, Corvus cornix and Phoenicurus phoenicurus and decrease of Pica pica were recorded.

  15. Fish larvae from the Gulf of California

    Gerardo Aceves-Medina

    2003-03-01

    Full Text Available Taxonomic composition of fish larvae was analysed from 464 plankton samples obtained during 10 oceanographic surveys in the Gulf of California between 1984 and 1988. We identified 283 taxa: 173 species, 57 genera, and 53 families. Tropical and subtropical species predominated except during the winter, when temperate-subarctic species were dominant. The most abundant species were the mesopelagic Benthosema panamense, Triphoturus mexicanus and Vinciguerria lucetia, but the coastal pelagic species Engraulis mordax, Opisthonema spp., Sardinops caeruleus and Scomber japonicus were also prominent. The taxonomic composition of the ichthyoplankton shows the seasonality of the Gulf as well as environmental changes that occurred between the 1984-1987 warm period and the 1956-1957 cool period previously reported. The presence of E. mordax larvae as one of the most abundant species in the Gulf provides evidence of the reproduction of this species two years before the development of the northern anchovy fishery and the decline of the sardine fishery in the Gulf of California.

  16. Parental risk management in relation to offspring defence: bad news for kids.

    Mahr, Katharina; Riegler, Georg; Hoi, Herbert

    2015-01-07

    Do parents defend their offspring whenever necessary, and do self-sacrificing parents really exist? Studies recognized that parent defence is dynamic, mainly depending on the threat predators pose. In this context, parental risk management should consider the threat to themselves and to their offspring. Consequently, the observed defence should be a composite of both risk components. Surprisingly, no study so far has determined the influence of these two threat components on parental decision rules. In a field experiment, we investigated parental risk taking in relation to the threat posed to themselves and their offspring. To disentangle the two threat components, we examined defence behaviours of parent blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus towards three different predators and during different nestling developmental stages. Nest defence strategies in terms of alarm call intensity and nearest predator approach differed between the three predators. Defence intensity was only partly explained by threat level. Most importantly, parental risk management varied in relation to their own, but not offspring risk. Parent defence investment was independent of nestling risk when parents followed a high-risk strategy. However, parents considered nestling as well as parental risk when following a low-risk strategy. Our findings could have general implications for the economy of risk management and decision-making strategies in living beings, including humans. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  17. Early Birds by Light at Night: Effects of Light Color and Intensity on Daily Activity Patterns in Blue Tits.

    de Jong, Maaike; Caro, Samuel P; Gienapp, Phillip; Spoelstra, Kamiel; Visser, Marcel E

    2017-08-01

    Artificial light at night disturbs the daily rhythms of many organisms. To what extent this disturbance depends on the intensity and spectral composition of light remain obscure. Here, we measured daily activity patterns of captive blue tits ( Cyanistes caeruleus) exposed to similar intensities of green, red, or white light at night. Birds advanced their onset of activity in the morning under all light colors but more under red and white light than under green light. Offset of activity was slightly delayed in all light colors. The total activity over a 24-h period did not change but birds moved a part of their daily activity into the night. Since the effect of red and white lights are comparable, we tested the influence of light intensity in a follow-up experiment, where we compared the activity of the birds under different intensities of green and white light only. While in the higher range of intensities, the effects of white and green light were comparable; at lower intensities, green light had a less disturbing effect as compared with white light on daily rhythms in blue tits. Our results show that the extent of this disturbance can be mitigated by modulating the spectral characteristics and intensity of outdoor lighting, which is now feasible through the use of LED lighting.

  18. What prevents phenological adjustment to climate change in migrant bird species? Evidence against the ``arrival constraint'' hypothesis

    Goodenough, Anne E.; Hart, Adam G.; Elliot, Simon L.

    2011-01-01

    Phenological studies have demonstrated changes in the timing of seasonal events across multiple taxonomic groups as the climate warms. Some northern European migrant bird populations, however, show little or no significant change in breeding phenology, resulting in synchrony with key food sources becoming mismatched. This phenological inertia has often been ascribed to migration constraints (i.e. arrival date at breeding grounds preventing earlier laying). This has been based primarily on research in The Netherlands and Germany where time between arrival and breeding is short (often as few as 9 days). Here, we test the arrival constraint hypothesis over a 15-year period for a U.K. pied flycatcher ( Ficedula hypoleuca) population where laying date is not constrained by arrival as the period between arrival and breeding is substantial and consistent (average 27 ± 4.57 days SD). Despite increasing spring temperatures and quantifiably stronger selection for early laying on the basis of number of offspring to fledge, we found no significant change in breeding phenology, in contrast with co-occurring resident blue tits ( Cyanistes caeruleus). We discuss possible non-migratory constraints on phenological adjustment, including limitations on plasticity, genetic constraints and competition, as well as the possibility of counter-selection pressures relating to adult survival, longevity or future reproductive success. We propose that such factors need to be considered in conjunction with the arrival constraint hypothesis.

  19. Conserved G-matrices of morphological and life-history traits among continental and island blue tit populations.

    Delahaie, B; Charmantier, A; Chantepie, S; Garant, D; Porlier, M; Teplitsky, C

    2017-08-01

    The genetic variance-covariance matrix (G-matrix) summarizes the genetic architecture of multiple traits. It has a central role in the understanding of phenotypic divergence and the quantification of the evolutionary potential of populations. Laboratory experiments have shown that G-matrices can vary rapidly under divergent selective pressures. However, because of the demanding nature of G-matrix estimation and comparison in wild populations, the extent of its spatial variability remains largely unknown. In this study, we investigate spatial variation in G-matrices for morphological and life-history traits using long-term data sets from one continental and three island populations of blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) that have experienced contrasting population history and selective environment. We found no evidence for differences in G-matrices among populations. Interestingly, the phenotypic variance-covariance matrices (P) were divergent across populations, suggesting that using P as a substitute for G may be inadequate. These analyses also provide the first evidence in wild populations for additive genetic variation in the incubation period (that is, the period between last egg laid and hatching) in all four populations. Altogether, our results suggest that G-matrices may be stable across populations inhabiting contrasted environments, therefore challenging the results of previous simulation studies and laboratory experiments.

  20. Genome-scale data suggest reclassifications in the Leisingera-Phaeobacter cluster including proposals for Sedimentitalea gen. nov. and Pseudophaeobacter gen. nov.

    Sven eBreider

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Earlier phylogenetic analyses of the marine Rhodobacteraceae (class Alphaproteobacteria genera Leisingera and Phaeobacter indicated that neither genus might be monophyletic. We here used phylogenetic reconstruction from genome-scale data, MALDI-TOF mass-spectrometry analysis and a re-assessment of the phenotypic data from the literature to settle this matter, aiming at a reclassification of the two genera. Neither Phaeobacter nor Leisingera formed a clade in any of the phylogenetic analyses conducted. Rather, smaller monophyletic assemblages emerged, which were phenotypically more homogeneous, too. We thus propose the reclassification of Leisingera nanhaiensis as the type species of a new genus as Sedimentitalea nanhaiensis gen. nov., comb. nov., the reclassification of Phaeobacter arcticus and Phaeobacter leonis as Pseudophaeobacter arcticus gen. nov., comb. nov. and Pseudophaeobacter leonis comb. nov., and the reclassification of Phaeobacter aquaemixtae, Phaeobacter caeruleus and Phaeobacter daeponensis as Leisingera aquaemixtae comb. nov., Leisingera caerulea comb. nov. and Leisingera daeponensis comb. nov. The genera Phaeobacter and Leisingera are accordingly emended.

  1. Mate preference of female blue tits varies with experimental photoperiod.

    Laura B Reparaz

    Full Text Available Organisms use environmental cues to time their life-cycles and among these cues, photoperiod is the main trigger of reproductive behaviours such as territory defence or song activity. Whether photoperiod is also important for another behaviour closely associated with reproduction, mate choice, is unknown. In many bird species, mate choice occurs at two different times during the annual cycle that strongly differ in daylength: in late winter when photoperiod is short and social mates are chosen, and again around egg-laying when photoperiod is longer and extra-pair mates are chosen. This duality makes the role that photoperiod plays on mate choice behaviours intriguing. We investigated the effect of photoperiod on mate choice using three experimental photoperiodic treatments (9 L:15 D, 14 L:10 D, 18 L:6 D, using blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus as a biological model. We show that female choice was stronger under long photoperiods. In addition, female blue tits spent significantly more time near males with long tarsi and long wings. This latter preference was only expressed under long photoperiods, suggesting that some indices of male quality only become significant to females when they are strongly photostimulated, and therefore that females could select their social and extra-pair mates based on different phenotypic traits. These results shed light on the roles that photoperiod may play in stimulating pair-bonding and in refining female selectivity for male traits.

  2. Fluctuating selection on basal metabolic rate.

    Nilsson, Johan F; Nilsson, Jan-Åke

    2016-02-01

    BMR (Basal metabolic rate) is an important trait in animal life history as it represents a significant part of animal energy budgets. BMR has also been shown to be positively related to sustainable work rate and maximal thermoregulatory capacity. To this date, most of the studies have focused on the causes of interspecific and intraspecific variation in BMR, and fairly little is known about the fitness consequences of different metabolic strategies. In this study, we show that winter BMR affects local survival in a population of wild blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus), but that the selection direction differs between years. We argue that this fluctuating selection is probably a consequence of varying winter climate with a positive relation between survival and BMR during cold and harsh conditions, but a negative relation during mild winters. This fluctuating selection can not only explain the pronounced variation in BMR in wild populations, but will also give us new insights into how energy turnover rates can shape the life-history strategies of animals. Furthermore, the study shows that the process of global warming may cause directional selection for a general reduction in BMR, affecting the general life-history strategy on the population level.

  3. Insectivorous birds eavesdrop on the pheromones of their prey.

    Saavedra, Irene; Amo, Luisa

    2018-01-01

    Chemical cues play a fundamental role in mate attraction and mate choice. Lepidopteran females, such as the winter moth (Operophtera brumata), emit pheromones to attract males in the reproductive period. However, these chemical cues could also be eavesdropped by predators. To our knowledge, no studies have examined whether birds can detect pheromones of their prey. O. brumata adults are part of the winter diet of some insectivorous tit species, such as the great tit (Parus major) and blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). We performed a field experiment aimed to disentangle whether insectivorous birds can exploit the pheromones emitted by their prey for prey location. We placed artificial larvae and a dispenser on branches of Pyrenean oak trees (Quercus pyrenaica). In half of the trees we placed an O. brumata pheromone dispenser and in the other half we placed a control dispenser. We measured the predation rate of birds on artificial larvae. Our results show that more trees had larvae with signs of avian predation when they contained an O. brumata pheromone than when they contained a control dispenser. Furthermore, the proportion of artificial larvae with signs of avian predation was greater in trees that contained the pheromone than in control trees. Our results indicate that insectivorous birds can exploit the pheromones emitted by moth females to attract males, as a method of prey detection. These results highlight the potential use of insectivorous birds in the biological control of insect pests.

  4. Structural (UV) and carotenoid-based plumage coloration - signals for parental investment?

    Lucass, Carsten; Iserbyt, Arne; Eens, Marcel; Müller, Wendt

    2016-05-01

    Parental care increases parental fitness through improved offspring condition and survival but comes at a cost for the caretaker(s). To increase life-time fitness, caring parents are, therefore, expected to adjust their reproductive investment to current environmental conditions and parental capacities. The latter is thought to be signaled via ornamental traits of the bearer. We here investigated whether pre- and/or posthatching investment of blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) parents was related to ornamental plumage traits (UV crown coloration and carotenoid-based plumage coloration) expressed by either the individual itself (i.e. "good parent hypothesis") or its partner (i.e. "differential allocation hypothesis"). Our results show that neither prehatching (that is clutch size and offspring begging intensity) nor posthatching parental investment (provisioning rate, offspring body condition at fledging) was related to an individual's UV crown coloration or to that of its partner. Similar observations were made for carotenoid-based plumage coloration, except for a consistent positive relationship between offspring begging intensity and maternal carotenoid-based plumage coloration. This sex-specific pattern likely reflects a maternal effect mediated via maternally derived egg substances, given that the relationship persisted when offspring were cross-fostered. This suggests that females adjust their offspring's phenotype toward own phenotype, which may facilitate in particular mother-offspring co-adaptation. Overall, our results contribute to the current state of evidence that structural or pigment-based plumage coloration of blue tits are inconsistently correlated with central life-history traits.

  5. Interspecific and intraspecific spatial separation by birds breeding in nest boxes

    Denis C. Deeming

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Nest boxes can be seen as a conservation tool for improving low-grade nesting habitat but it is unclear how sympatric species using boxes establish a spatial distribution relative to conspecifics and heterospecifics. This study determined the distances between nest boxes occupied by Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus and Great Tits (Parus major in two British woodlands to ascertain whether spatial distribution was affected by species and, if it was, whether there were reproductive consequences of this breeding distribution. Occupancy of nest boxes at two woodland sites were recorded on an annual basis between 2010 and 2014, inclusive. Distances between nest boxes, and reproductive activity, were recorded. Even if nest boxes showed a clumped distribution in the woodlands, the occupancy of the boxes was random. Not all boxes were used and the minimum distance between occupied boxes was at least twice the distance between boxes in general. Blue Tits tended to have greater distances between boxes containing conspecifics but distances between boxes containing heterospecifics were generally of comparable lengths. Reproductive output was only affected in relation to clutch size for Blue Tits nesting at one site. Nest boxes that aim to improve habitats that lack suitable nesting sites should be placed to reflect actual dispersal distances of the focal bird species.

  6. Hatching delays in great tits and blue tits in response to an extreme cold spell: a long-term study

    Glądalski, Michał; Bańbura, Mirosława; Kaliński, Adam; Markowski, Marcin; Skwarska, Joanna; Wawrzyniak, Jarosław; Zieliński, Piotr; Bańbura, Jerzy

    2018-04-01

    Variation in ambient temperature affects various life stages of organisms. It has been suggested that climate change not only implies higher global temperatures but also more unpredictable weather and more frequent extreme weather events. Temperature has a major influence on the optimal laying-incubation-hatching dates of insectivorous passerines, because it poses energetic constraints and affects the timing of food abundance. We have been studying breeding characteristics of great tits Parus major and blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus in two areas, an urban parkland and a deciduous forest, around the city of Łódź since 2002. During the egg-laying period in 2017, both tit species at both study areas faced an unusual cold spell as reflected by a sudden decrease in the mean ambient temperature to ca. 2-3 °C for about 5 days, which caused mean hatching delays of up to 6 days. Since flexibility of behavior plays a major role in adjusting to unpredictable weather conditions, examining its limits may be an important goal for future research.

  7. What prevents phenological adjustment to climate change in migrant bird species? Evidence against the "arrival constraint" hypothesis.

    Goodenough, Anne E; Hart, Adam G; Elliot, Simon L

    2011-01-01

    Phenological studies have demonstrated changes in the timing of seasonal events across multiple taxonomic groups as the climate warms. Some northern European migrant bird populations, however, show little or no significant change in breeding phenology, resulting in synchrony with key food sources becoming mismatched. This phenological inertia has often been ascribed to migration constraints (i.e. arrival date at breeding grounds preventing earlier laying). This has been based primarily on research in The Netherlands and Germany where time between arrival and breeding is short (often as few as 9 days). Here, we test the arrival constraint hypothesis over a 15-year period for a U.K. pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) population where laying date is not constrained by arrival as the period between arrival and breeding is substantial and consistent (average 27 ± 4.57 days SD). Despite increasing spring temperatures and quantifiably stronger selection for early laying on the basis of number of offspring to fledge, we found no significant change in breeding phenology, in contrast with co-occurring resident blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus). We discuss possible non-migratory constraints on phenological adjustment, including limitations on plasticity, genetic constraints and competition, as well as the possibility of counter-selection pressures relating to adult survival, longevity or future reproductive success. We propose that such factors need to be considered in conjunction with the arrival constraint hypothesis.

  8. Nest ectoparasites increase physiological stress in breeding birds: an experiment.

    Martínez-de la Puente, Josué; Merino, Santiago; Tomás, Gustavo; Moreno, Juan; Morales, Judith; Lobato, Elisa; Martínez, Javier

    2011-02-01

    Parasites are undoubtedly a biotic factor that produces stress. Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are important molecules buffering cellular damage under adverse conditions. During the breeding season, blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus (L.) adults are affected by blood parasites, nest-dwelling parasites and biting flies, potentially affecting their HSP-mediated responses. Here, we treated females with primaquine to reduce blood parasites and fumigated nests with permethrin to reduce nest-dwelling parasites to test whether these treatments affect HSP60 level during the breeding season. Medicated females, but not controls, had a significant reduction of the intensity of infection by Haemoproteus spp. blood parasites. However, final intensity of infection did not differ significantly between groups, and we did not find an effect of medication on change in HSP60 level. Fumigation reduced the abundance of nest-dwelling parasites (mites, fleas and blowfly larvae) and engorged biting midges in nests. Females breeding in non-fumigated nests increased HSP60 levels during the season more than those breeding in fumigated nests. Furthermore, the change in HSP60 level was positively correlated with the abundance of biting midges. These results show how infections by nest ectoparasites during the breeding period can increase the level of HSPs and suggest that biting midges impose physiological costs on breeding female blue tits. Although plausible, the alternative that biting midges prefer to feed on more stressed birds is poorly supported by previous studies.

  9. Determinants of abundance and effects of blood-sucking flying insects in the nest of a hole-nesting bird.

    Tomás, Gustavo; Merino, Santiago; Martínez-de la Puente, Josué; Moreno, Juan; Morales, Judith; Lobato, Elisa

    2008-05-01

    Compared to non-flying nest-dwelling ectoparasites, the biology of most species of flying ectoparasites and its potential impact on avian hosts is poorly known and rarely, if ever, reported. In this study we explore for the first time the factors that may affect biting midge (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) and black fly (Diptera: Simuliidae) abundances in the nest cavity of a bird, the hole-nesting blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus, and report their effects on adults and nestlings during reproduction. The abundance of biting midges was positively associated with nest mass, parental provisioning effort and abundance of blowflies and black flies, while negatively associated with nestling condition. Furthermore, a medication treatment to reduce blood parasitaemias in adult birds revealed that biting midges were more abundant in nests of females whose blood parasitaemias were experimentally reduced. This finding would be in accordance with these insect vectors attacking preferentially uninfected or less infected hosts to increase their own survival. The abundance of black flies in the population was lower than that of biting midges and increased in nests with later hatching dates. No significant effect of black fly abundance on adult or nestling condition was detected. Blood-sucking flying insects may impose specific, particular selection pressures on their hosts and more research is needed to better understand these host-parasite associations.

  10. Breeding Bird Assemblage in a Mosaic of Urbanized Habitats in a Central European City

    Kopij Grzegorz

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available There is a lack of data on the population densities of birds breeding in a mosaic of typical urbanized habitats. This study was undertaken to partly fulfil this gap in our knowledge. Counts were conducted in 2008 by means of simplified territory mapping method in a fragment (1197 ha of a large Central European city (Wrocław, SW Poland. In total, 50 bird species were breeding in the study area in 2008. The House Sparrow Passer domesticus, Common Swift Apus apus and Rock Dove comprised about 3/5 of all breeding pairs. The other group of species, each one with a density between 6 and 13 pairs per 100 ha, included seven species, namely the Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, Greenfinch, Carduelis chloris, House Martin, Delichon urbica, Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus, Great Tit, Parus major, Blue Tit, Parus caeruleus, and Jackdaw, Corvus monedula. They comprised together about 1/5. The remaining 40 species nested in a density between 0.1 and 3.5 pairs per 100 ha. The most numerous feeding guild were granivores (53.8% and insectivores (37.9 %. Birds nesting on buildings comprised together 74 % of all breeding pairs. For a few species (Luscinia megarhynchos, Saxicola torquata, Corvus cornix and Turdus pilaris an increase in their numbers in the last three decades has been evidenced.

  11. Ornithological Fauna of the Waste Water Treatment Plants in the Northern Left Bank Ukraine (Chernihiv and Kyiv Regions: Winter Populations and Ecological Structure

    Fedun О. М.

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available The article discusses winter bird populations of the waste water treatment plants (WWTP located in the North of Left -bank Ukraine. The said population comprises 12 orders and 29 families. The most numerous are Passeriformes (37 species, Аnsеriformes (16 species and Falconiformes (6 species. Parus major was registered at all types of facilities while most of the others house Passer montanus, Carduelis carduelis, Turdus pilaris, and Parus caeruleus. The largest number of wintering birds was registered at Bortnychi aeration station, Chernihiv municipal WWTP and Chernihiv wool processing factory - 79. 51 and 15 species respectively. The nuclear part of the bird numbers are the species residing at the facilities all year around (65.8 %; species occurring there in winter only account for 34.2 %. Dendrophilous (38 species and hydrophilous (35 species dominate among them. The primary role in forming the winter fauna of the waste water treatment plants belongs to the zones of water bodies and dams.

  12. Opportunistic nectar-feeding birds are effective pollinators of bird-flowers from Canary Islands: experimental evidence from Isoplexis canariensis (Scrophulariaceae).

    Rodríguez-Rodríguez, María C; Valido, Alfredo

    2008-11-01

    Insular floras, characterized by simple pollination networks, sometimes include novel mutualistic agents such as nonspecialist nectarivores. In this study we confirmed the effective pollination of Isoplexis canariensis by opportunistic nectar-feeding birds in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. This plant is among the ornithophilous species of the Canarian flora that lack past and present specialist nectarivorous birds. Experimental hand pollinations revealed self-compatibility, but cross-pollinated flowers produced a greater percentage of viable seeds than self-pollinated ones. Flowers were visited by five species of birds (Phylloscopus canariensis, Parus caeruleus, Sylvia melanocephala, Serinus canarius, and Fringilla coelebs) and by the endemic lizard (Gallotia galloti, Lacertidae). Insect pollination was absent, and the few insect visitors acted as nectar thieves or secondary nectar robbers. Birds represented 93.1% of total visits, with the Canarian Chiffchaff, Ph. canariensis, being the most frequent visitor. Flowers visited by birds set more, larger, and heavier fruit than flowers from which birds were excluded. Bird visitation also enhanced seed viability. These results demonstrate the active role of these opportunistic birds as effective pollinators of this Canarian bird-flower species. Further, the results reveal the need to consider the effect of these birds on the evolution of ornithophilous floral traits in absence of specialist nectarivores.

  13. Porphyrins and pheomelanins contribute to the reddish juvenal plumage of black-shouldered kites.

    Negro, Juan J; Bortolotti, Gary R; Mateo, Rafael; García, Isabel M

    2009-07-01

    Porphyrins are a widespread group of pigments in nature, but, contrary to melanins and carotenoids, their occurrence as plumage colorants seems to be anecdotal and their function, if any, is unknown. Using thin-layer chromatography and high pressure liquid chromatography, we have found coproporphyrin III, the same porphyrin type previously reported in owls, in the plumage of nestling black-shouldered kites (Elanus caeruleus). The first plumage grown at the nest in this species includes reddish-brown contour feathers in the upperparts, and particularly in the breast area, which fade during the weeks-long post-fledging period to become either gray or white consistent with the definitive adult plumage. In these reddish feathers, we have also found small amounts of pheomelanins and traces of eumelanin. The contribution of each pigment to the final colour perceived by birds or other animals is unknown. In white and grey feathers of the same species no porphyrin was found, and only traces of eumelanin were detected in the grey ones. The fact that the reddish feathers are only found in the juvenal plumage, when individuals are vulnerable in an open nest, leads us to hypothesize a camouflage role for this ephemeral plumage. As porphyrins are involved, although not exclusively, we can for the first time ascribe them a function in the plumage of birds.

  14. Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) is crucial for brain development and motor functions.

    Shih, De-Fen; Hsiao, Chung-Der; Min, Ming-Yuan; Lai, Wen-Sung; Yang, Chianne-Wen; Lee, Wang-Tso; Lee, Shyh-Jye

    2013-01-01

    Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) deficiency is a rare pediatric neuro-metabolic disease in children. Due to the lack of an animal model, its pathogenetic mechanism is poorly understood. To study the role of AADC in brain development, a zebrafish model of AADC deficiency was generated. We identified an aadc gene homolog, dopa decarboxylase (ddc), in the zebrafish genome. Whole-mount in situ hybridization analysis showed that the ddc gene is expressed in the epiphysis, locus caeruleus, diencephalic catecholaminergic clusters, and raphe nuclei of 36-h post-fertilization (hpf) zebrafish embryos. Inhibition of Ddc by AADC inhibitor NSD-1015 or anti-sense morpholino oligonucleotides (MO) reduced brain volume and body length. We observed increased brain cell apoptosis and loss of dipencephalic catecholaminergic cluster neurons in ddc morphants (ddc MO-injected embryos). Seizure-like activity was also detected in ddc morphants in a dose-dependent manner. ddc morphants had less sensitive touch response and impaired swimming activity that could be rescued by injection of ddc plasmids. In addition, eye movement was also significantly impaired in ddc morphants. Collectively, loss of Ddc appears to result in similar phenotypes as that of ADCC deficiency, thus zebrafish could be a good model for investigating pathogenetic mechanisms of AADC deficiency in children.

  15. Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC is crucial for brain development and motor functions.

    De-Fen Shih

    Full Text Available Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC deficiency is a rare pediatric neuro-metabolic disease in children. Due to the lack of an animal model, its pathogenetic mechanism is poorly understood. To study the role of AADC in brain development, a zebrafish model of AADC deficiency was generated. We identified an aadc gene homolog, dopa decarboxylase (ddc, in the zebrafish genome. Whole-mount in situ hybridization analysis showed that the ddc gene is expressed in the epiphysis, locus caeruleus, diencephalic catecholaminergic clusters, and raphe nuclei of 36-h post-fertilization (hpf zebrafish embryos. Inhibition of Ddc by AADC inhibitor NSD-1015 or anti-sense morpholino oligonucleotides (MO reduced brain volume and body length. We observed increased brain cell apoptosis and loss of dipencephalic catecholaminergic cluster neurons in ddc morphants (ddc MO-injected embryos. Seizure-like activity was also detected in ddc morphants in a dose-dependent manner. ddc morphants had less sensitive touch response and impaired swimming activity that could be rescued by injection of ddc plasmids. In addition, eye movement was also significantly impaired in ddc morphants. Collectively, loss of Ddc appears to result in similar phenotypes as that of ADCC deficiency, thus zebrafish could be a good model for investigating pathogenetic mechanisms of AADC deficiency in children.

  16. Persepsi Masyarakat Terhadap Ular sebagai Upaya Konservasi Satwa Liar Pada Masyarakat Dusun Kopendukuh, Desa Grogol, Kecamatan Giri, Kabupaten Banyuwangi

    Ajeng Sabrina Kemala Asri

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available Ular sering dianggap sebagai hal yang membahayakan oleh masyarakat sehingga keberadaannya tidak disukai. Hal itu menyebabkan beberapa spesies ular menjadi terancam punah. Untuk itu, tujuan penelitian ini adalah mengetahui spesies ular yang hidup di Dusun Kopendukuh dan untuk mengetahui persepsi masyarakat terhadap ular secara umum. Sampel ular diperoleh melalui sampling langsung dan tak langsung. Sampling langsung dengan melakukan jelajah di area kebun dan pekarangan rumah penduduk, sedangkan sampling tak langsung dengan melakukan wawancara dengan penduduk. Kemudian sampel didokumentasi dan diidentifikasi. Kajian persepsi diperoleh melalui wawancara semi terstruktur dan kuisioner kepada responden yang diambil secara acak dengan usia minimum 10 tahun sebanyak 30 orang. Hasil wawancara dan kuisioner dianalisis menggunakan skala Likert dan analisis deskriptif. Hasil penelitian menunjukkan bahwa ditemukan dua spesies dengan metode langsung yaitu ular piton (Phyton reticulatus Schneider dan ular kacang (Dendrelaphis pictus Gmelin, sedangkan dengan metode tak langsung didapatkan sepuluh spesies ular, yaitu ular piton (Phyton reticulatus Schneider, ular sanca (Python molurus L.innaeus, ular kacang (Dendrelaphis pictus Gmelin, ular kayu (Ptyas korros Schlegel, ular irus (Naja sputatrix F. Boie, ular siloro (Boiga dendrophylla Boie, ular lajing (Chrysopelea paradise Boie, ular jali (Bungarus candidus Linnaeus, ular hijau (Gonyosoma oxycephallum F. Boie, dan ular gadung (Ahaetulla prasina Boie. Masyarakat memperoleh pengetahuan tentang peran ular dalam ekosistem dari pengalaman kehidupan sehari-hari sehingga masyarakat dapat bersikap arif terhadap keberadaan ular dalam ekosistem. Masyarakat bersedia untuk menerima dan menyampaikan informasi yang diterima dari kalangan yang dianggap memiliki kredibilitas tinggi. Oleh karena itu tindakan konservasi ular dapat dilakukan dengan baik melalui pendekatan kearifan tradisional yang ada di wilayah tersebut. Kata

  17. Analysis of the efficacy of Taiwanese freeze-dried neurotoxic antivenom against Naja kaouthia, Naja siamensis and Ophiophagus hannah through proteomics and animal model approaches.

    Liu, Chien-Chun; You, Chen-Hsien; Wang, Po-Jung; Yu, Jau-Song; Huang, Guo-Jen; Liu, Chien-Hsin; Hsieh, Wen-Chin; Lin, Chih-Chuan

    2017-12-01

    In Southeast Asia, envenoming resulting from cobra snakebites is an important public health issue in many regions, and antivenom therapy is the standard treatment for the snakebite. Because these cobras share a close evolutionary history, the amino acid sequences of major venom components in different snakes are very similar. Therefore, either monovalent or polyvalent antivenoms may offer paraspecific protection against envenomation of humans by several different snakes. In Taiwan, a bivalent antivenom-freeze-dried neurotoxic antivenom (FNAV)-against Bungarus multicinctus and Naja atra is available. However, whether this antivenom is also capable of neutralizing the venom of other species of snakes is not known. Here, to expand the clinical application of Taiwanese FNAV, we used an animal model to evaluate the neutralizing ability of FNAV against the venoms of three common snakes in Southeast Asia, including two 'true' cobras Naja kaouthia (Thailand) and Naja siamensis (Thailand), and the king cobra Ophiophagus hannah (Indonesia). We further applied mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomic techniques to characterize venom proteomes and identify FNAV-recognizable antigens in the venoms of these Asian snakes. Neutralization assays in a mouse model showed that FNAV effectively neutralized the lethality of N. kaouthia and N. siamensis venoms, but not O. hannah venom. MS-based venom protein identification results further revealed that FNAV strongly recognized three-finger toxin and phospholipase A2, the major protein components of N. kaouthia and N. siamensis venoms. The characterization of venom proteomes and identification of FNAV-recognizable venom antigens may help researchers to further develop more effective antivenom designed to block the toxicity of dominant toxic proteins, with the ultimate goal of achieving broadly therapeutic effects against these cobra snakebites.

  18. Detection of Naja atra Cardiotoxin Using Adenosine-Based Molecular Beacon.

    Shi, Yi-Jun; Chen, Ying-Jung; Hu, Wan-Ping; Chang, Long-Sen

    2017-01-07

    This study presents an adenosine (A)-based molecular beacon (MB) for selective detection of Naja atra cardiotoxin (CTX) that functions by utilizing the competitive binding between CTX and the poly(A) stem of MB to coralyne. The 5'- and 3'-end of MB were labeled with a reporter fluorophore and a non-fluorescent quencher, respectively. Coralyne induced formation of the stem-loop MB structure through A₂-coralyne-A₂ coordination, causing fluorescence signal turn-off due to fluorescence resonance energy transfer between the fluorophore and quencher. CTX3 could bind to coralyne. Moreover, CTX3 alone induced the folding of MB structure and quenching of MB fluorescence. Unlike that of snake venom α-neurotoxins, the fluorescence signal of coralyne-MB complexes produced a bell-shaped concentration-dependent curve in the presence of CTX3 and CTX isotoxins; a turn-on fluorescence signal was noted when CTX concentration was ≤80 nM, while a turn-off fluorescence signal was noted with a further increase in toxin concentrations. The fluorescence signal of coralyne-MB complexes yielded a bell-shaped curve in response to varying concentrations of N. atra crude venom but not those of Bungarus multicinctus and Protobothrops mucrosquamatus venoms. Moreover, N. nigricollis venom also functioned as N. atra venom to yield a bell-shaped concentration-dependent curve of MB fluorescence signal, again supporting that the hairpin-shaped MB could detect crude venoms containing CTXs. Taken together, our data validate that a platform composed of coralyne-induced stem-loop MB structure selectively detects CTXs.

  19. Crystal structure of snake venom acetylcholinesterase in complex with inhibitory antibody fragment Fab410 bound at the peripheral site: evidence for open and closed states of a back door channel.

    Bourne, Yves; Renault, Ludovic; Marchot, Pascale

    2015-01-16

    The acetylcholinesterase found in the venom of Bungarus fasciatus (BfAChE) is produced as a soluble, non-amphiphilic monomer with a canonical catalytic domain but a distinct C terminus compared with the other vertebrate enzymes. Moreover, the peripheral anionic site of BfAChE, a surface site located at the active site gorge entrance, bears two substitutions altering sensitivity to cationic inhibitors. Antibody Elec410, generated against Electrophorus electricus acetylcholinesterase (EeAChE), inhibits EeAChE and BfAChE by binding to their peripheral sites. However, both complexes retain significant residual catalytic activity, suggesting incomplete gorge occlusion by bound antibody and/or high frequency back door opening. To explore a novel acetylcholinesterase species, ascertain the molecular bases of inhibition by Elec410, and document the determinants and mechanisms for back door opening, we solved a 2.7-Å resolution crystal structure of natural BfAChE in complex with antibody fragment Fab410. Crystalline BfAChE forms the canonical dimer found in all acetylcholinesterase structures. Equally represented open and closed states of a back door channel, associated with alternate positions of a tyrosine phenol ring at the active site base, coexist in each subunit. At the BfAChE molecular surface, Fab410 is seated on the long Ω-loop between two N-glycan chains and partially occludes the gorge entrance, a position that fully reflects the available mutagenesis and biochemical data. Experimentally based flexible molecular docking supports a similar Fab410 binding mode onto the EeAChE antigen. These data document the molecular and dynamic peculiarities of BfAChE with high frequency back door opening, and the mode of action of Elec410 as one of the largest peptidic inhibitors targeting the acetylcholinesterase peripheral site. © 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

  20. Fish community structure in San Agustín Bay, Huatulco, Mexico Estructura comunitaria de peces en bahía San Agustín, Huatulco, México

    MARTÍN RAMÍREZ-GUTIÉRREZ

    2007-12-01

    Full Text Available San Agustín bay is one of the most important bays in the Huatulco National Park because it includes the broadest coral reef surface of this park, which supports a great diversity of fish species. The importance of the present work is that describes quantitatively, for first time, the fish assemblage of this reef area. Visual censuses were realized on transects, according to the coral reef size, on coral and rocky reefs, and coral rubble environments. 64 species, 46 genus and 29 families were registered. Seasonal variation in fish assemblage was observed; reflecting the influence of pelagic shoaling species associated with the Gulf of Tehuantepec upwelling, during the dry season. Thus species were Selar crumenophthalmus, Caranx caninus, and Sardinops caeruleus. For species more closely associated to the reef habitat little seasonal variation was observed for each species, except Chromis atrilobata, which exhibited high density during the dry season. Pomacentrids exhibited more affinity for coral reef, labrids and haemulids for coral rubble environments. The highest diversity values were on coral rubble and the highest density was on the coral reef. Our study suggests that in this region, the Gulf of Tehuantepec upwelling is an important factor as well as the heterogeneity of habitats in shaping the fish assemblages, which must be protected to maintain the biodiversity of this important ecosystemLa bahía de San Agustín es una de las más importantes del Parque Nacional Huatulco debido a que incluye al arrecife coralino más grande de este parque, el cual alberga una gran diversidad de especies de peces. La importancia del presente trabajo es describir cuantitativamente, por primera vez, la comunidad de peces de este habitat de arrecifes. Para ello se realizaron censos visuales en transectos de acuerdo al tamaño de los ambientes coralino, rocoso y de escombros. 64 especies, 46 géneros y 29 familias fueron registrados. Se observaron cambios

  1. MHC-I affects infection intensity but not infection status with a frequent avian malaria parasite in blue tits.

    Helena Westerdahl

    Full Text Available Host resistance against parasites depends on three aspects: the ability to prevent, control and clear infections. In vertebrates the immune system consists of innate and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity is particularly important for preventing infection and eradicating established infections at an early stage while adaptive immunity is slow, but powerful, and essential for controlling infection intensities and eventually clearing infections. Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC molecules are central in adaptive immunity, and studies on parasite resistance and MHC in wild animals have found effects on both infection intensity (parasite load and infection status (infected or not. It seems MHC can affect both the ability to control infection intensities and the ability to clear infections. However, these two aspects have rarely been considered simultaneously, and their relative importance in natural populations is therefore unclear. Here we investigate if MHC class I genotype affects infection intensity and infection status with a frequent avian malaria infection Haemoproteus majoris in a natural population of blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus. We found a significant negative association between a single MHC allele and infection intensity but no association with infection status. Blue tits that carry a specific MHC allele seem able to suppress H. majoris infection intensity, while we have no evidence that this allele also has an effect on clearance of the H. majoris infection, a result that is in contrast with some previous studies of MHC and avian malaria. A likely explanation could be that the clearance rate of avian malaria parasites differs between avian malaria lineages and/or between avian hosts.

  2. MHC-I affects infection intensity but not infection status with a frequent avian malaria parasite in blue tits.

    Westerdahl, Helena; Stjernman, Martin; Råberg, Lars; Lannefors, Mimi; Nilsson, Jan-Åke

    2013-01-01

    Host resistance against parasites depends on three aspects: the ability to prevent, control and clear infections. In vertebrates the immune system consists of innate and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity is particularly important for preventing infection and eradicating established infections at an early stage while adaptive immunity is slow, but powerful, and essential for controlling infection intensities and eventually clearing infections. Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules are central in adaptive immunity, and studies on parasite resistance and MHC in wild animals have found effects on both infection intensity (parasite load) and infection status (infected or not). It seems MHC can affect both the ability to control infection intensities and the ability to clear infections. However, these two aspects have rarely been considered simultaneously, and their relative importance in natural populations is therefore unclear. Here we investigate if MHC class I genotype affects infection intensity and infection status with a frequent avian malaria infection Haemoproteus majoris in a natural population of blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus. We found a significant negative association between a single MHC allele and infection intensity but no association with infection status. Blue tits that carry a specific MHC allele seem able to suppress H. majoris infection intensity, while we have no evidence that this allele also has an effect on clearance of the H. majoris infection, a result that is in contrast with some previous studies of MHC and avian malaria. A likely explanation could be that the clearance rate of avian malaria parasites differs between avian malaria lineages and/or between avian hosts.

  3. Local individual preferences for nest materials in a passerine bird.

    Adèle Mennerat

    Full Text Available Variation in the behavioural repertoire of animals is acquired by learning in a range of animal species. In nest-building birds, the assemblage of nest materials in an appropriate structure is often typical of a bird genus or species. Yet plasticity in the selection of nest materials may be beneficial because the nature and abundance of nest materials vary across habitats. Such plasticity can be learned, either individually or socially. In Corsican populations of blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus, females regularly add in their nests fragments of several species of aromatic plants during the whole breeding period. The selected plants represent a small fraction of the species present in the environment and have positive effects on nestlings.We investigated spatiotemporal variations of this behaviour to test whether the aromatic plant species composition in nests depends on 1 plant availability in territories, 2 female experience or 3 female identity. Our results indicate that territory plays a very marginal role in the aromatic plant species composition of nests. Female experience is not related to a change in nest plant composition. Actually, this composition clearly depends on female identity, i.e. results from individual preferences which, furthermore, are repeatable both within and across years. A puzzling fact is the strong difference in plant species composition of nests across distinct study plots.This study demonstrates that plant species composition of nests results from individual preferences that are homogeneous within study plots. We propose several hypotheses to interpret this pattern of spatial variation before discussing them in the light of preliminary results. As a conclusion, we cannot exclude the possibility of social transmission of individual preferences for aromatic plants. This is an exciting perspective for further work in birds, where nest construction behaviour has classically been considered as a stereotypic behaviour.

  4. Artificial light at night affects sleep behaviour differently in two closely related songbird species.

    Sun, Jiachen; Raap, Thomas; Pinxten, Rianne; Eens, Marcel

    2017-12-01

    Artificial light at night (ALAN) or light pollution is an increasing and worldwide problem. There is growing concern that because of the disruption of natural light cycles, ALAN may pose serious risks for wildlife. While ALAN has been shown to affect many aspects of animal behaviour and physiology, few studies have experimentally studied whether individuals of different species in the wild respond differently to ALAN. Here, we investigated the effect of ALAN on sleep behaviour in two closely related songbird species inhabiting the same study area and roosting/breeding in similar nest boxes. We experimentally exposed free-living great tits (Parus major) and blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) to artificial light inside their nest boxes and observed changes in their sleep behaviour compared to the previous night when the nest boxes were dark. In line with previous studies, sleep behaviour of both species did not differ under dark conditions. ALAN disrupted sleep in both great and blue tits. However, compared to blue tits, great tits showed more pronounced effects and more aspects of sleep were affected. Light exposed great tits entered the nest boxes and fell asleep later, woke up and exited the nest boxes earlier, and the total sleep amount and sleep percentage were reduced. By contrast, these changes in sleep behaviour were not found in light exposed blue tits. Our field experiment, using exactly the same light manipulation in both species, provides direct evidence that two closely related species respond differently to ALAN, while their sleep behaviour under dark conditions was similar. Our research suggests that findings for one species cannot necessarily be generalised to other species, even closely-related species. Furthermore, species-specific effects could have implications for community dynamics. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Colour change in a structural ornament is related to individual quality, parasites and mating patterns in the blue tit

    Badás, E. P.; Martínez, J.; Rivero-de Aguilar, J.; Ponce, C.; Stevens, M.; Merino, S.

    2018-02-01

    Carry-over effects refer to processes that occur in one season and influence fitness in the following. In birds, two costly activities, namely reproduction and moult, are restricted to a small time window, and sometimes overlap. Thus, colour in newly moulted feathers is likely to be affected by the costs of reproduction. Using models of bird vision we investigated male colour change in a free-living population of blue tits ( Cyanistes caeruleus) in three sampling occasions: spring 1, winter and spring 2. We related crown, tail, breast and cheek feather colouration after the moult (winter) to the intensity of infections by blood parasites during reproduction (spring 1). In the following spring (spring 2), we explored mating patterns with respect to changes in feather colour (springs 1 vs. 2). Males that were less intensely infected by the malaria parasite Plasmodium while breeding showed purer white cheek feathers in winter, which may indicate higher feather quality. Increased brightness in the white cheek was associated with better body condition during reproduction. In the following season, males with brighter cheeks paired with females that had noticeably brighter cheek patches compared to the male's previous mate. These results suggest that the conditions experienced during reproduction are likely to affect moult and thus feather colouration, at least in the white patch. High quality individuals may allocate resources efficiently during reproduction increasing future reproductive success through variation in mating patterns. Carry-over effects from reproduction might extend not only to the non-breeding phase, but also to the following breeding season.

  6. Species-Dependent Effects of the Urban Environment on Fatty Acid Composition and Oxidative Stress in Birds

    Caroline Isaksson

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Ecological impacts of urbanization include the loss of biodiversity and changes in species composition and population densities. However, how the urban environment affects fundamental physiological parameters is largely unknown. Here, we investigated physiological components related to health and nutrition, namely, plasma fatty acids (FA and lipid peroxidation at inter-habitat and interspecific levels. Specifically, we compared four passerine bird species—the great tit (Parus major, the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus, the house sparrow (Passer domesticus, and the tree sparrow (P. montanus—from urban and rural environments. Significant interactions between species and habitat were revealed for the majority of the FAs. Interestingly, the observed inter-habitat variation in FAs was frequently in opposite directions when comparing species from the two families (tits, Paridae; sparrows, Passeridae. These patterns suggest that sparrows and tits feed on different food sources, or modulate their FA metabolism differently, across the urban-rural gradient. By using canonical discriminant analyses (CDA, we further demonstrated species-specific signals in FA composition, with misclassification of species being <1% within habitats and <7% between habitats. Finally, the urban-rural FA differences between species and families were manifested in two indices of health. Firstly, urban blue tits had a higher total ω-6/ω-3 polyunsaturated FA ratio than rural conspecifics, which is believed to increase inflammatory responses. Secondly, urban sparrows of both species showed higher lipid peroxidation indices (indicating a higher susceptibility to lipid peroxidation if exposed to pro-oxidants, and consequently, a higher level of lipid peroxidation compared to their rural conspecifics. Collectively, the species- and habitat-specific differences in plasma FA composition, which are linked to nutrition and metabolism, suggest that the urban environment affect tits and

  7. Energy Reserves, Information Need and a Pinch of Personality Determine Decision-Making on Route in Partially Migratory Blue Tits.

    Anna L K Nilsson

    Full Text Available In facultative partial migrants some individuals in a population are migratory and others are resident and individuals decide each year anew which strategy to choose. While the proportion of birds migrating is in part determined by environmental conditions and competitive abilities, the timing of individual departure and behaviours on route are little understood. Individuals encounter different environmental conditions when migrating earlier or later. Based on cost/ benefit considerations we tested whether behaviours on route were affected by time constraints, personality and/or age in a partially migrating population of Blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus. We captured female Blue tits on migration at the Southern tip of Sweden during early, peak and late migration and measured latency to feed in an unfamiliar environment, exploration of a novel object and hesitation to feed beside a novel object (neophobia. Lean birds and birds with long wings started feeding earlier when released into the cage indicating that foraging decisions were mainly determined by energetic needs (lean and large birds. However, juveniles commenced feeding later with progression of the migratory season in concordance with predictions about personality effects. Furthermore, lean birds started to explore earlier than birds with larger fat reserves again indicating an effect of maintaining threshold energy reserves. Moreover, late migrating juveniles, started to explore earlier than early migrating juveniles possibly due to time constraints to find high-quality foraging patches or a suitable winter home. Finally, neophobia did not change over the migratory season indicating that this behaviour is not compromised by time constraints. The results overall indicate that decisions on route are mainly governed by energetic requirements and current needs to learn about the environment and only to a small extent by differences in personality.

  8. Local individual preferences for nest materials in a passerine bird.

    Mennerat, Adèle; Perret, Philippe; Lambrechts, Marcel M

    2009-01-01

    Variation in the behavioural repertoire of animals is acquired by learning in a range of animal species. In nest-building birds, the assemblage of nest materials in an appropriate structure is often typical of a bird genus or species. Yet plasticity in the selection of nest materials may be beneficial because the nature and abundance of nest materials vary across habitats. Such plasticity can be learned, either individually or socially. In Corsican populations of blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus, females regularly add in their nests fragments of several species of aromatic plants during the whole breeding period. The selected plants represent a small fraction of the species present in the environment and have positive effects on nestlings. We investigated spatiotemporal variations of this behaviour to test whether the aromatic plant species composition in nests depends on 1) plant availability in territories, 2) female experience or 3) female identity. Our results indicate that territory plays a very marginal role in the aromatic plant species composition of nests. Female experience is not related to a change in nest plant composition. Actually, this composition clearly depends on female identity, i.e. results from individual preferences which, furthermore, are repeatable both within and across years. A puzzling fact is the strong difference in plant species composition of nests across distinct study plots. This study demonstrates that plant species composition of nests results from individual preferences that are homogeneous within study plots. We propose several hypotheses to interpret this pattern of spatial variation before discussing them in the light of preliminary results. As a conclusion, we cannot exclude the possibility of social transmission of individual preferences for aromatic plants. This is an exciting perspective for further work in birds, where nest construction behaviour has classically been considered as a stereotypic behaviour.

  9. Nest site preference depends on the relative density of conspecifics and heterospecifics in wild birds.

    Samplonius, Jelmer M; Kromhout Van Der Meer, Iris M; Both, Christiaan

    2017-01-01

    Social learning allows animals to eavesdrop on ecologically relevant knowledge of competitors in their environment. This is especially important when selecting a habitat if individuals have relatively little personal information on habitat quality. It is known that birds can use both conspecific and heterospecific information for social learning, but little is known about the relative importance of each information type. If provided with the choice between them, we expected that animals should copy the behaviour of conspecifics, as these confer the best information for that species. We tested this hypothesis in the field for Pied Flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca arriving at their breeding grounds to select a nest box for breeding. We assigned arbitrary symbols to nest boxes of breeding pied flycatchers (conspecifics) and blue and great tits, Cyanistes caeruleus and Parus major (heterospecifics), in 2014 and 2016 in two areas with different densities of tits and flycatchers. After ca 50% of flycatchers had returned and a flycatcher symbol was assigned to their nest box, we gave the later arriving flycatchers the choice between empty nest boxes with either a conspecific (flycatcher) or a heterospecific (tit) symbol. As expected, Pied Flycatchers copied the perceived nest box choice of conspecifics, but only in areas that were dominated by flycatchers. Against our initial expectation, flycatchers copied the perceived choice of heterospecifics in the area heavily dominated by tits, even though conspecific minority information was present. Our results confirm that the relative density of conspecifics and heterospecifics modulates the propensity to copy or reject novel behavioural traits. By contrasting conspecific and heterospecific ecology in the same study design we were able to draw more general conclusions about the role of fluctuating densities on social information use.

  10. Eggshell spottiness reflects maternally transferred antibodies in blue tits.

    Marie-Jeanne Holveck

    Full Text Available Blue-green and brown-spotted eggshells in birds have been proposed as sexual signals of female physiological condition and egg quality, reflecting maternal investment in the egg. Testing this hypothesis requires linking eggshell coloration to egg content, which is lacking for brown protoporphyrin-based pigmentation. As protoporphyrins can induce oxidative stress, and a large amount in eggshells should indicate either high female and egg quality if it reflects the female's high oxidative tolerance, or conversely poor quality if it reflects female physiological stress. Different studies supported either predictions but are difficult to compare given the methodological differences in eggshell-spottiness measurements. Using the blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus as a model species, we aimed at disentangling both predictions in testing if brown-spotted eggshell could reflect the quality of maternal investment in antibodies and carotenoids in the egg, and at improving between-study comparisons in correlating several common measurements of eggshell coloration (spectral and digital measures, spotted surface, pigmentation indices. We found that these color variables were weakly correlated highlighting the need for comparable quantitative measurements between studies and for multivariate regressions incorporating several eggshell-color characteristics. When evaluating the potential signaling function of brown-spotted eggshells, we thus searched for the brown eggshell-color variables that best predicted the maternal transfer of antibodies and carotenoids to egg yolks. We also tested the effects of several parental traits and breeding parameters potentially affecting this transfer. While eggshell coloration did not relate to yolk carotenoids, the eggs with larger and less evenly-distributed spots had higher antibody concentrations, suggesting that both the quantity and distribution of brown pigments reflected the transfer of maternal immune compounds in egg yolks

  11. Costs and benefits of experimentally induced changes in the allocation of growth versus immune function under differential exposure to ectoparasites.

    Natalia Pitala

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Ecological immunology has focused on the costs of investment in immunocompetence. However, understanding optimal resource allocation to immune defence requires also identification of its benefits, which are likely to occur only when parasites are abundant.We manipulated the abundance of parasitic hen fleas in blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus nests, and supplemented their hosts, the nestlings, with methionine (a sulphur amino acid enhancing cell-mediated immunity during day 3-6. We found a significant interaction between these two experimental factors on the development of immune defences and growth rates. Only in parasitized nests did methionine supplementation boost immune (PHA response, and did nestling with experimentally increased immunocompetence show a relatively faster growth rate than control nestlings between days 6-9. Hence, the allocation of resources into immune defence and its growth-benefits are apparent only in presence of parasites. The main cost of methionine-induced increased allocation to the immune system was an increase in mortality, independently of ectoparasites. Nestlings in all treatments compensated initial growth reduction and all reached equal body size at day 16 (just prior to fledging, indicating a lack of long-term benefits. In addition, methionine treatment tended (P = 0.09 to lower circulating plasma immunoglobulin levels, possibly indicating a trade-off between the cell-mediated and humoral components of the immune system.We found no strong benefits of an increased investment in immunocompetence in a parasite-rich environment. Any deviation from the growth trajectory (due to changes in allocation induced by methionine is largely detrimental for survival. Hence, while costs are apparent identifying the benefits of investment in immunocompetence during ontogeny is challenging.

  12. Maternal condition but not corticosterone is linked to offspring sex ratio in a passerine bird.

    Lindsay J Henderson

    Full Text Available There is evidence of offspring sex ratio adjustment in a range of species, but the potential mechanisms remain largely unknown. Elevated maternal corticosterone (CORT is associated with factors that can favour brood sex ratio adjustment, such as reduced maternal condition, food availability and partner attractiveness. Therefore, the steroid hormone has been suggested to play a key role in sex ratio manipulation. However, despite correlative and causal evidence CORT is linked to sex ratio manipulation in some avian species, the timing of adjustment varies between studies. Consequently, whether CORT is consistently involved in sex-ratio adjustment, and how the hormone acts as a mechanism for this adjustment remains unclear. Here we measured maternal baseline CORT and body condition in free-living blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus over three years and related these factors to brood sex ratio and nestling quality. In addition, a non-invasive technique was employed to experimentally elevate maternal CORT during egg laying, and its effects upon sex ratio and nestling quality were measured. We found that maternal CORT was not correlated with brood sex ratio, but mothers with elevated CORT fledged lighter offspring. Also, experimental elevation of maternal CORT did not influence brood sex ratio or nestling quality. In one year, mothers in superior body condition produced male biased broods, and maternal condition was positively correlated with both nestling mass and growth rate in all years. Unlike previous studies maternal condition was not correlated with maternal CORT. This study provides evidence that maternal condition is linked to brood sex ratio manipulation in blue tits. However, maternal baseline CORT may not be the mechanistic link between the maternal condition and sex ratio adjustment. Overall, this study serves to highlight the complexity of sex ratio adjustment in birds and the difficulties associated with identifying sex biasing mechanisms.

  13. Parental prey selection affects risk-taking behaviour and spatial learning in avian offspring.

    Arnold, Kathryn E; Ramsay, Scot L; Donaldson, Christine; Adam, Aileen

    2007-10-22

    Early nutrition shapes life history. Parents should, therefore, provide a diet that will optimize the nutrient intake of their offspring. In a number of passerines, there is an often observed, but unexplained, peak in spider provisioning during chick development. We show that the proportion of spiders in the diet of nestling blue tits, Cyanistes caeruleus, varies significantly with the age of chicks but is unrelated to the timing of breeding or spider availability. Moreover, this parental prey selection supplies nestlings with high levels of taurine particularly at younger ages. This amino acid is known to be both vital and limiting for mammalian development and consequently found in high concentrations in placenta and milk. Based on the known roles of taurine in mammalian brain development and function, we then asked whether by supplying taurine-rich spiders, avian parents influence the stress responsiveness and cognitive function of their offspring. To test this, we provided wild blue tit nestlings with either a taurine supplement or control treatment once daily from the ages of 2-14 days. Then pairs of size- and sex-matched siblings were brought into captivity for behavioural testing. We found that juveniles that had received additional taurine as neonates took significantly greater risks when investigating novel objects than controls. Taurine birds were also more successful at a spatial learning task than controls. Additionally, those individuals that succeeded at a spatial learning task had shown intermediate levels of risk taking. Non-learners were generally very risk-averse controls. Early diet therefore has downstream impacts on behavioural characteristics that could affect fitness via foraging and competitive performance. Fine-scale prey selection is a mechanism by which parents can manipulate the behavioural phenotype of offspring.

  14. Energy Reserves, Information Need and a Pinch of Personality Determine Decision-Making on Route in Partially Migratory Blue Tits.

    Nilsson, Anna L K; Nilsson, Jan-Åke; Mettke-Hofmann, Claudia

    2016-01-01

    In facultative partial migrants some individuals in a population are migratory and others are resident and individuals decide each year anew which strategy to choose. While the proportion of birds migrating is in part determined by environmental conditions and competitive abilities, the timing of individual departure and behaviours on route are little understood. Individuals encounter different environmental conditions when migrating earlier or later. Based on cost/ benefit considerations we tested whether behaviours on route were affected by time constraints, personality and/or age in a partially migrating population of Blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus). We captured female Blue tits on migration at the Southern tip of Sweden during early, peak and late migration and measured latency to feed in an unfamiliar environment, exploration of a novel object and hesitation to feed beside a novel object (neophobia). Lean birds and birds with long wings started feeding earlier when released into the cage indicating that foraging decisions were mainly determined by energetic needs (lean and large birds). However, juveniles commenced feeding later with progression of the migratory season in concordance with predictions about personality effects. Furthermore, lean birds started to explore earlier than birds with larger fat reserves again indicating an effect of maintaining threshold energy reserves. Moreover, late migrating juveniles, started to explore earlier than early migrating juveniles possibly due to time constraints to find high-quality foraging patches or a suitable winter home. Finally, neophobia did not change over the migratory season indicating that this behaviour is not compromised by time constraints. The results overall indicate that decisions on route are mainly governed by energetic requirements and current needs to learn about the environment and only to a small extent by differences in personality.

  15. The Frequency of Rapid Pupil Dilations as a Measure of Linguistic Processing Difficulty.

    Vera Demberg

    Full Text Available While it has long been known that the pupil reacts to cognitive load, pupil size has received little attention in cognitive research because of its long latency and the difficulty of separating effects of cognitive load from the light reflex or effects due to eye movements. A novel measure, the Index of Cognitive Activity (ICA, relates cognitive effort to the frequency of small rapid dilations of the pupil. We report here on a total of seven experiments which test whether the ICA reliably indexes linguistically induced cognitive load: three experiments in reading (a manipulation of grammatical gender match/mismatch, an experiment of semantic fit, and an experiment comparing locally ambiguous subject versus object relative clauses, all in German, three dual-task experiments with simultaneous driving and spoken language comprehension (using the same manipulations as in the single-task reading experiments, and a visual world experiment comparing the processing of causal versus concessive discourse markers. These experiments are the first to investigate the effect and time course of the ICA in language processing. All of our experiments support the idea that the ICA indexes linguistic processing difficulty. The effects of our linguistic manipulations on the ICA are consistent for reading and auditory presentation. Furthermore, our experiments show that the ICA allows for usage within a multi-task paradigm. Its robustness with respect to eye movements means that it is a valid measure of processing difficulty for usage within the visual world paradigm, which will allow researchers to assess both visual attention and processing difficulty at the same time, using an eye-tracker. We argue that the ICA is indicative of activity in the locus caeruleus area of the brain stem, which has recently also been linked to P600 effects observed in psycholinguistic EEG experiments.

  16. The evolutionary history of Afrocanarian blue tits inferred from genomewide SNPs.

    Gohli, Jostein; Leder, Erica H; Garcia-Del-Rey, Eduardo; Johannessen, Lars Erik; Johnsen, Arild; Laskemoen, Terje; Popp, Magnus; Lifjeld, Jan T

    2015-01-01

    A common challenge in phylogenetic reconstruction is to find enough suitable genomic markers to reliably trace splitting events with short internodes. Here, we present phylogenetic analyses based on genomewide single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of an enigmatic avian radiation, the subspecies complex of Afrocanarian blue tits (Cyanistes teneriffae). The two sister species, the Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) and the azure tit (Cyanistes cyanus), constituted the out-group. We generated a large data set of SNPs for analysis of population structure and phylogeny. We also adapted our protocol to utilize degraded DNA from old museum skins from Libya. We found strong population structuring that largely confirmed subspecies monophyly and constructed a coalescent-based phylogeny with full support at all major nodes. The results are consistent with a recent hypothesis that La Palma and Libya are relic populations of an ancient Afrocanarian blue tit, although a small data set for Libya could not resolve its position relative to La Palma. The birds on the eastern islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are similar to those in Morocco. Together they constitute the sister group to the clade containing the other Canary Islands (except La Palma), in which El Hierro is sister to the three central islands. Hence, extant Canary Islands populations seem to originate from multiple independent colonization events. We also found population divergences in a key reproductive trait, viz. sperm length, which may constitute reproductive barriers between certain populations. We recommend a taxonomic revision of this polytypic species, where several subspecies should qualify for species rank. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  17. Observations on the anterior testicular ducts in snakes with emphasis on sea snakes and ultrastructure in the yellow-bellied sea snake, Pelamis platurus.

    Sever, David M; Freeborn, Layla R

    2012-03-01

    The anterior testicular ducts of squamates transport sperm from the seminiferous tubules to the ductus deferens. These ducts consist of the rete testis, ductuli efferentes, and ductus epididymis. Many histological and a few ultrastructural studies of the squamate reproductive tract exist, but none concern the Hydrophiidae, the sea snakes and sea kraits. In this study, we describe the anterior testicular ducts of six species of hydrophiid snakes as well as representatives from the Elapidae, Homolapsidae, Leptotyphlopidae, and Uropeltidae. In addition, we examine the ultrastructure of these ducts in the yellow-bellied Sea Snake, Pelamis platurus, only the third such study on snakes. The anterior testicular ducts are similar in histology in all species examined. The rete testis is simple squamous or cuboidal epithelium and transports sperm from the seminiferous tubules to the ductuli efferentes in the extratesticular epididymal sheath. The ductuli efferentes are branched, convoluted tubules composed of simple cuboidal, ciliated epithelium, and many species possess periodic acid-Schiff+ granules in the cytoplasm. The ductus epididymis at the light microscopy level appears composed of pseudostratified columnar epithelium. At the ultrastructural level, the rete testis and ductuli efferentes of P. platurus possess numerous small coated vesicles and lack secretory vacuoles. Apocrine blebs in the ductuli efferentes, however, indicate secretory activity, possibly by a constitutive pathway. Ultrastructure reveals three types of cells in the ductus epididymis of P. platurus: columnar principal cells, squamous basal cells, and mitochondria-rich apical cells. This is the first report of apical cells in a snake. In addition, occasional principal cells possess a single cilium, which has not been reported in reptiles previously but is known in some birds. Finally, the ductus epididymis of P. platurus differs from other snakes that have been studied in possession of apical, biphasic

  18. Pancreatic and snake venom presynaptically active phospholipases A2 inhibit nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

    Vulfius, Catherine A; Kasheverov, Igor E; Kryukova, Elena V; Spirova, Ekaterina N; Shelukhina, Irina V; Starkov, Vladislav G; Andreeva, Tatyana V; Faure, Grazyna; Zouridakis, Marios; Tsetlin, Victor I; Utkin, Yuri N

    2017-01-01

    Phospholipases A2 (PLA2s) are enzymes found throughout the animal kingdom. They hydrolyze phospholipids in the sn-2 position producing lysophospholipids and unsaturated fatty acids, agents that can damage membranes. PLA2s from snake venoms have numerous toxic effects, not all of which can be explained by phospholipid hydrolysis, and each enzyme has a specific effect. We have earlier demonstrated the capability of several snake venom PLA2s with different enzymatic, cytotoxic, anticoagulant and antiproliferative properties, to decrease acetylcholine-induced currents in Lymnaea stagnalis neurons, and to compete with α-bungarotoxin for binding to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) and acetylcholine binding protein. Since nAChRs are implicated in postsynaptic and presynaptic activities, in this work we probe those PLA2s known to have strong presynaptic effects, namely β-bungarotoxin from Bungarus multicinctus and crotoxin from Crotalus durissus terrificus. We also wished to explore whether mammalian PLA2s interact with nAChRs, and have examined non-toxic PLA2 from porcine pancreas. It was found that porcine pancreatic PLA2 and presynaptic β-bungarotoxin blocked currents mediated by nAChRs in Lymnaea neurons with IC50s of 2.5 and 4.8 μM, respectively. Crotoxin competed with radioactive α-bungarotoxin for binding to Torpedo and human α7 nAChRs and to the acetylcholine binding protein. Pancreatic PLA2 interacted similarly with these targets; moreover, it inhibited radioactive α-bungarotoxin binding to the water-soluble extracellular domain of human α9 nAChR, and blocked acetylcholine induced currents in human α9α10 nAChRs heterologously expressed in Xenopus oocytes. These and our earlier results show that all snake PLA2s, including presynaptically active crotoxin and β-bungarotoxin, as well as mammalian pancreatic PLA2, interact with nAChRs. The data obtained suggest that this interaction may be a general property of all PLA2s, which should be proved by

  19. Alpha-bungarotoxin binding to target cell in a developing visual system by carboxylated nanodiamond

    Liu, K-K; Chen, P-Y; Lee, Tony J F; Chao, J-I; Chen, M-F; Cheng, C-L; Chang, C-C; Ho, Y-P

    2008-01-01

    Biological molecules conjugating with nanoparticles are valuable for applications including bio-imaging, bio-detection, and bio-sensing. Nanometer-sized diamond particles have excellent electronic and chemical properties for bio-conjugation. In this study, we manipulated the carboxyl group produced on the surface of nanodiamond (carboxylated nanodiamond, cND) for conjugating with alpha-bungarotoxin (α-BTX), a neurotoxin derived from Bungarus multicinctus with specific blockade of alpha7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7-nAChR). The electrostatic binding of cND-α-BTX was mediated by the negative charge of the cND and the positive charge of the α-BTX in physiological pH conditions. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel analysis and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI/TOF-MS) spectra displayed that α-BTX proteins were conjugated with cND particles via non-covalent bindings. The green fluorescence of the cND particles combining with the red fluorescence of tetramethylrhodamine-labeled α-BTX presented a yellow color at the same location, which indicated that α-BTX proteins were conjugated with cND particles. Xenopus laevis's oocytes expressed the human α7-nAChR proteins by microinjection with α7-nAChR mRNA. The cND-α-BTX complexes were bound to α7-nAChR locating on the cell membrane of oocytes and human lung A549 cancer cells analyzed by laser scanning confocal microscopy. The choline-evoked α7-nAChR-mediated inward currents of the oocytes were blocked by cND-α-BTX complexes in a concentration-dependent manner using two-electrode voltage-clamp recording. Furthermore, the fluorescence intensity of cND-α-BTX binding on A549 cells could be quantified by flow cytometry. These results indicate that cND-conjugated α-BTX still preserves its biological activity in blocking the function of α7-nAChR, and provide a visual system showing the binding of α-BTX to α7-nAChR

  20. Pancreatic and snake venom presynaptically active phospholipases A2 inhibit nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

    Catherine A Vulfius

    Full Text Available Phospholipases A2 (PLA2s are enzymes found throughout the animal kingdom. They hydrolyze phospholipids in the sn-2 position producing lysophospholipids and unsaturated fatty acids, agents that can damage membranes. PLA2s from snake venoms have numerous toxic effects, not all of which can be explained by phospholipid hydrolysis, and each enzyme has a specific effect. We have earlier demonstrated the capability of several snake venom PLA2s with different enzymatic, cytotoxic, anticoagulant and antiproliferative properties, to decrease acetylcholine-induced currents in Lymnaea stagnalis neurons, and to compete with α-bungarotoxin for binding to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs and acetylcholine binding protein. Since nAChRs are implicated in postsynaptic and presynaptic activities, in this work we probe those PLA2s known to have strong presynaptic effects, namely β-bungarotoxin from Bungarus multicinctus and crotoxin from Crotalus durissus terrificus. We also wished to explore whether mammalian PLA2s interact with nAChRs, and have examined non-toxic PLA2 from porcine pancreas. It was found that porcine pancreatic PLA2 and presynaptic β-bungarotoxin blocked currents mediated by nAChRs in Lymnaea neurons with IC50s of 2.5 and 4.8 μM, respectively. Crotoxin competed with radioactive α-bungarotoxin for binding to Torpedo and human α7 nAChRs and to the acetylcholine binding protein. Pancreatic PLA2 interacted similarly with these targets; moreover, it inhibited radioactive α-bungarotoxin binding to the water-soluble extracellular domain of human α9 nAChR, and blocked acetylcholine induced currents in human α9α10 nAChRs heterologously expressed in Xenopus oocytes. These and our earlier results show that all snake PLA2s, including presynaptically active crotoxin and β-bungarotoxin, as well as mammalian pancreatic PLA2, interact with nAChRs. The data obtained suggest that this interaction may be a general property of all PLA2s, which

  1. Alpha-bungarotoxin binding to target cell in a developing visual system by carboxylated nanodiamond

    Liu, K-K; Chen, P-Y; Lee, Tony J F; Chao, J-I [Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Tzu Chi University, Hualien 970, Taiwan (China); Chen, M-F [Neuro-Medical Scientific Center, Tzu Chi General Hospital, Hualien 970, Taiwan (China); Cheng, C-L [Department of Physics, National Dong Hwa University, Hualien 974, Taiwan (China); Chang, C-C [Department of Biological Science and Technology, National Chiao Tung University, Hsin-Chu 300, Taiwan (China); Ho, Y-P [Department of Chemistry, National Dong Hwa University, Hualien 974, Taiwan (China)], E-mail: chaoji@mail.tcu.edu.tw

    2008-05-21

    Biological molecules conjugating with nanoparticles are valuable for applications including bio-imaging, bio-detection, and bio-sensing. Nanometer-sized diamond particles have excellent electronic and chemical properties for bio-conjugation. In this study, we manipulated the carboxyl group produced on the surface of nanodiamond (carboxylated nanodiamond, cND) for conjugating with alpha-bungarotoxin ({alpha}-BTX), a neurotoxin derived from Bungarus multicinctus with specific blockade of alpha7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor ({alpha}7-nAChR). The electrostatic binding of cND-{alpha}-BTX was mediated by the negative charge of the cND and the positive charge of the {alpha}-BTX in physiological pH conditions. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel analysis and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI/TOF-MS) spectra displayed that {alpha}-BTX proteins were conjugated with cND particles via non-covalent bindings. The green fluorescence of the cND particles combining with the red fluorescence of tetramethylrhodamine-labeled {alpha}-BTX presented a yellow color at the same location, which indicated that {alpha}-BTX proteins were conjugated with cND particles. Xenopus laevis's oocytes expressed the human {alpha}7-nAChR proteins by microinjection with {alpha}7-nAChR mRNA. The cND-{alpha}-BTX complexes were bound to {alpha}7-nAChR locating on the cell membrane of oocytes and human lung A549 cancer cells analyzed by laser scanning confocal microscopy. The choline-evoked {alpha}7-nAChR-mediated inward currents of the oocytes were blocked by cND-{alpha}-BTX complexes in a concentration-dependent manner using two-electrode voltage-clamp recording. Furthermore, the fluorescence intensity of cND-{alpha}-BTX binding on A549 cells could be quantified by flow cytometry. These results indicate that cND-conjugated {alpha}-BTX still preserves its biological activity in blocking the function of {alpha}7-nAChR, and provide a visual

  2. Oxidative stress in birds along a NOx and urbanisation gradient: An interspecific approach.

    Salmón, Pablo; Stroh, Emilie; Herrera-Dueñas, Amparo; von Post, Maria; Isaksson, Caroline

    2018-05-01

    Urbanisation is regarded as one of the most threatening global issues for wildlife, however, measuring its impact is not always straight forward. Oxidative stress physiology has been suggested to be a useful biomarker of health and therefore, a potentially important indicator of the impact that urban environmental stressors, especially air pollution, can have on wildlife. For example, nitrogen oxides (NO x ), released during incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, are highly potent pro-oxidants, thus predicted to affect either the protective antioxidants and/or cause oxidative damage to bio-molecules. To date, epidemiological modelling of the predicted association between oxidative stress and NO x exposure has not been performed in wild animals. Here, we address this short-coming, by investigating multiple oxidative stress markers in four common passerine bird species, the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), great tit (Parus major), house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and tree sparrow (Passer montanus), living along a gradient of NO x and urbanisation levels in southern Sweden. First of all, the results revealed that long- and medium-term (one month and one week, respectively) NO x levels were highly correlated with the level of urbanisation. This confirms that the commonly used urbanisation index is a reliable proxy for urban air pollution. Furthermore, in accordance to our prediction, individuals exposed to higher long- and medium-term NO x levels/urbanisation had higher plasma antioxidant capacity. However, only tree sparrows showed higher oxidative damage (protein carbonyls) in relation to NO x levels and this association was absent with urbanisation. Lipid peroxidation, glutathione and superoxide dismutase levels did not co-vary with NO x /urbanisation. Given that most oxidative stress biomarkers showed strong species-specificity, independent of variation in NO x /urbanisation, the present study highlights the need to study variation in oxidative stress across

  3. Elevated Immune Gene Expression Is Associated with Poor Reproductive Success of Urban Blue Tits

    Pablo Capilla-Lasheras

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Urban and forest habitats differ in many aspects that can lead to modifications of the immune system of wild animals. Altered parasite communities, pollution, and artificial light at night in cities have been associated with exacerbated inflammatory responses, with possibly negative fitness consequences, but few data are available from free-living animals. Here, we investigate how urbanization affects major immune pathways and experimentally test potentially contributing factors in blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus from an urban and forest site. We first compared breeding adults by quantifying the mRNA transcript levels of proteins associated with anti-bacterial, anti-malarial (TLR4, LY86 and anti-helminthic (Type 2 transcription factor GATA3 immune responses. Adult urban and forest blue tits differed in gene expression, with significantly increased TLR4 and GATA3, but not LY86, in the city. We then experimentally tested whether these differences were environmentally induced by cross-fostering eggs between the sites and measuring mRNA transcripts in nestlings. The populations differed in reduced reproductive success, with a lower fledging success and lower fledgling weight recorded at the urban site. This mirrors the findings of our twin study reporting that the urban site was severely resource limited when compared to the forest. Because of low urban survival, robust gene expression data were only obtained from nestlings reared in the forest. Transcript levels in these nestlings showed no (TLR4, LY86, or weak (GATA3, differences according to their origin from forest or city nests, suggesting little genetic or maternal contribution to nestling immune transcript levels. Lastly, to investigate differences in parasite pressure between urban and forest sites, we measured the prevalence of malaria in adult and nestling blood. Prevalence was invariably high across environments and not associated with the transcript levels of the studied immune genes. Our

  4. Effects of competition on great and blue tit reproduction: intensity and importance in relation to habitat quality.

    Dhondt, André A

    2010-01-01

    1. In studies on the effect of competition in plant communities two terms are used to describe its effects: the absolute reduction in growth of an individual as a consequence of the presence of another one is called intensity, while the relative impact of competition on an individual as a proportion of the impact of the whole environment is called importance. One school of thought is that the role of competition remains constant across productivity gradients, while the other is that it decreases with increasing severity. J.B. Grace (1991. A clarification of the debate between grime and tilman. Functional Ecology, 5, 583-587.) suggested that the apparent contradiction might be solved if we acknowledge that the two schools are discussing different aspects of competition: the intensity of competition might remain constant while its importance declines with increasing severity. 2. There are no studies that compare intensity and importance of competition in bird populations between areas that differ in quality or productivity and hence it is not possible to make predictions how intensity or importance of competition would vary between them. 3. I compared variation in intensity and importance of competition of three demographic variables between five plots that differ strongly in quality for great Parus major L. and blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus (L.). 4. Both intensity and importance of competition are larger in great than in blue tit populations meaning that the effect of competition on demographic variables is stronger in great than in blue tits and that the contribution of competition to variation in these variables is relatively higher in great than in blue tits. 5. Intensity of competition is higher in low quality than in high quality plots for both species, a result not expected from studies in plant communities. 6. Importance of competition varies strongly between plots. It is larger in oak-dominated plots than in mixed deciduous plots. 7. In birds breeding density

  5. Interspecific variation in the relationship between clutch size, laying date and intensity of urbanization in four species of hole-nesting birds.

    Vaugoyeau, Marie; Adriaensen, Frank; Artemyev, Alexandr; Bańbura, Jerzy; Barba, Emilio; Biard, Clotilde; Blondel, Jacques; Bouslama, Zihad; Bouvier, Jean-Charles; Camprodon, Jordi; Cecere, Francesco; Charmantier, Anne; Charter, Motti; Cichoń, Mariusz; Cusimano, Camillo; Czeszczewik, Dorota; Demeyrier, Virginie; Doligez, Blandine; Doutrelant, Claire; Dubiec, Anna; Eens, Marcel; Eeva, Tapio; Faivre, Bruno; Ferns, Peter N; Forsman, Jukka T; García-Del-Rey, Eduardo; Goldshtein, Aya; Goodenough, Anne E; Gosler, Andrew G; Grégoire, Arnaud; Gustafsson, Lars; Harnist, Iga; Hartley, Ian R; Heeb, Philipp; Hinsley, Shelley A; Isenmann, Paul; Jacob, Staffan; Juškaitis, Rimvydas; Korpimäki, Erkki; Krams, Indrikis; Laaksonen, Toni; Lambrechts, Marcel M; Leclercq, Bernard; Lehikoinen, Esa; Loukola, Olli; Lundberg, Arne; Mainwaring, Mark C; Mänd, Raivo; Massa, Bruno; Mazgajski, Tomasz D; Merino, Santiago; Mitrus, Cezary; Mönkkönen, Mikko; Morin, Xavier; Nager, Ruedi G; Nilsson, Jan-Åke; Nilsson, Sven G; Norte, Ana C; Orell, Markku; Perret, Philippe; Perrins, Christopher M; Pimentel, Carla S; Pinxten, Rianne; Richner, Heinz; Robles, Hugo; Rytkönen, Seppo; Senar, Juan Carlos; Seppänen, Janne T; Pascoal da Silva, Luis; Slagsvold, Tore; Solonen, Tapio; Sorace, Alberto; Stenning, Martyn J; Tryjanowski, Piotr; von Numers, Mikael; Walankiewicz, Wieslaw; Møller, Anders Pape

    2016-08-01

    The increase in size of human populations in urban and agricultural areas has resulted in considerable habitat conversion globally. Such anthropogenic areas have specific environmental characteristics, which influence the physiology, life history, and population dynamics of plants and animals. For example, the date of bud burst is advanced in urban compared to nearby natural areas. In some birds, breeding success is determined by synchrony between timing of breeding and peak food abundance. Pertinently, caterpillars are an important food source for the nestlings of many bird species, and their abundance is influenced by environmental factors such as temperature and date of bud burst. Higher temperatures and advanced date of bud burst in urban areas could advance peak caterpillar abundance and thus affect breeding phenology of birds. In order to test whether laying date advance and clutch sizes decrease with the intensity of urbanization, we analyzed the timing of breeding and clutch size in relation to intensity of urbanization as a measure of human impact in 199 nest box plots across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East (i.e., the Western Palearctic) for four species of hole-nesters: blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus), great tits (Parus major), collared flycatchers (Ficedula albicollis), and pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca). Meanwhile, we estimated the intensity of urbanization as the density of buildings surrounding study plots measured on orthophotographs. For the four study species, the intensity of urbanization was not correlated with laying date. Clutch size in blue and great tits does not seem affected by the intensity of urbanization, while in collared and pied flycatchers it decreased with increasing intensity of urbanization. This is the first large-scale study showing a species-specific major correlation between intensity of urbanization and the ecology of breeding. The underlying mechanisms for the relationships between life history and

  6. Gözeli yöresindeki (Elazığ meşe (Quercus sp . ormanlarına asılan yapay yuvalardaki böcekçil kuşların kuluçka faaliyetleri

    Özden YALÇIN

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Elazığ Orman Bölge Müdürlüğü sınırları içerisinde yer alan Elazığ ili Sivrice ilçesi Gözeli mevkiinde bulunan meşe ormanlarında, 2009-2013 yılları arasında gerçekleştirilen bu çalışma ile farklı bakılara asılan farklı renkteki küçük ve büyük yuva sandıklarında yuva yapan kuş türleri ve bu türlerin kuluçka faaliyetlerinin saptanması amaçlanmıştır. Kuluçkalarını başarı ile tamamlayan kuş türlerinin Otus scops haricindeki türlerin hepsi, hem küçük hem de büyük yuvaları kullanmıştır. Öncelikli yuva tercihleri şu şekilde olmuştur: Parus major küçük yuvaların %66,4’ünde, Cyanistes caeruleus büyük yuvaların %16,3’ünde, Sitta europaea büyük yuvaların %23,2’sinde, Petronia petronia küçük yuvaların %15,2’sinde, Passer domesticus büyük yuvaların %27,9’unda, Otus scops ise sadece büyük yuvaların %7’sinde yuvalanmıştır. Asılan yuvalarda başarılı kuluçka durumunun farklı kuş türlerine göre bakı tercihleri arasında farklılıklar bulunmaktadır. Büyük yuvalarda güney (%39,5, doğu (%34,9, kuzey (%16,3 ve batı (%9,3’dır. Küçük yuvalarda ise güney (%33,2, doğu (%27,2, batı (%20,8 ve kuzey (%18,8’dir.Farklı renklerde asılan kuş yuvalarında başarılı kuluçka yapan kuş türlerinin renk tercihleri değişmektedir. Büyük yuvalarda, Parus major yeşil yuvaları, Cyanistes caeruleus sarı yuvaları, Sitta europaea turuncu yuvaları, Petronia petronia sarı ve mavi yuvaları, Passer domesticus sarı, mavi ve boyanmamış yuvaları daha fazla tercih etmişlerdir. Kuşların yuva tercihinde yuva boyutu, renk ve bakının türler arası farklılık gösterdiği ortaya çıkmıştır. Bir türün daha yoğun bulunduğu alanda, o türe uygun yuva tercihinin gerçekleştirilerek asılması biyolojik mücadele kapsamında daha verimli sonuçlar elde edilmesini sağlayacaktır.

  7. Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve's 90-anniversary

    Anatoliy F. Kovshar

    2016-05-01

    whistling thrush (Myophonus caeruleus turcestanicus, paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi leucogaster and several species of highland finches, including Eurasian crimson-winged finch (Rhodopechys sanguinea, white-winged snowfinch (Montifringilla nivalis alpicola and Brandt's mountain finch (Leucosticte brandti; reptiles – Ophisaurus apodus, Elape dione and Coluber rhodorhachis. 18 Vertebrate and 26 invertebrate species are listed in the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan. In the 90 years of its existence a huge research was carried out and the scientific staff of field biologists, botanists and zoologists were prepared (N.K. Karmysheva, V.V. Shevchenko, F.D. Shaposhnikov, V.D. Utekhin, A.F. Kovshar, A.A. Ivaschenko, B.M. Gubin, Yu.A. Grachyov, etc.. At the same time dozens of expeditions were working on this territory from several scientific institutions – institutes of botany and zoology (Alma-Ata, Tashkent, Leningrad, Kiev, botanical gardens (Moscow, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, All-Union Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (Moscow, All-Union Institute of Pharmacology (Moscow, Institute of Plant Protection (Alma-Ata, Zoological Museum of Moscow State University (Moscow, Palaeontological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of USSR and many others. As a result from the material collected on the territory of the nature reserve, more than 900 scientific works were published, including 11 issues of Proceedings of the nature reserve, published since 1948 till 2016.

  8. The types of Palaearctic species of the families Apionidae, Rhynchitidae, Attelabidae and Curculionidae in the collection of Étienne Louis Geoffroy (Coleoptera, Curculionoidea

    Alonso-Zarazaga, M. A.

    2008-06-01

    Full Text Available The study of 131 more or less complete Curculionoid specimens of the collection Étienne Louis Geoffroy, conserved in the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris (Entomologie has permitted the identification of several nominal species that were nomina dubia and the establishment of several new synonymies and combinations, and, in some cases, the reversion of precedence following Art. 23.9 of the Code, declaring nomina protecta and nomina oblita. New synonymies are (the first term is the valid name: Lixus filiformis (Fabricius, 1781 = Curculio longus Gmelin, 1790; Lasiorhynchites cavifrons (Gyllenhal, 1833 nom. protectum = Rhinomacer viridis Geoffroy, 1785, nom. oblitum; Byctiscus betulae (Linnaeus, 1758 = Rhinomacer auratus Geoffroy, 1785; Neocoenorrhinus pauxillus (Germar, 1824 nom. protectum = Rhinomacer caeruleus Geoffroy, 1785, nom. oblitum; Deporaus betulae (Linnaeus, 1758 = Curculio nigrostriatus Goeze, 1777 = Rhinomacer niger Geoffroy, 1785 = Curculio fuliginosus Gmelin, 1790; Coniocleonus hollbergii (F√•hraeus, 1842 = Curculio sulcatus Goeze, 1777 = Curculio sulcatus Geoffroy, 1785 = Curculio sulcatus Gmelin, 1790; Larinus iaceae (Fabricius, 1775 = Curculio carduelis Goeze, 1777; Hypera postica (Gyllenhal, 1813, nom. protectum = Curculio fasciolatus Geoffroy, 1785, nom. oblitum; Charagmus griseus (Fabricius, 1775 = Curculio cupreosquamosus Goeze, 1777 = Curculio intersectus Geoffroy, 1785 = Curculio squamosus Gmelin, 1790; Sitona hispidulus (Fabricius, 1777 = Curculio griseus Goeze, 1777 = Curculio modestus Geoffroy, 1785 = Curculio geoffroaei Gmelin, 1790; Aulacobaris cuprirostris (Fabricius, 1787 = Curculio viridisericeus Goeze, 1777; Cleopomiarus plantarum (Germar, 1824, nom. protectum =