2011 Vol. 32, No. 2

Display Method:
Birds and other animals are frequently killed by cars, causing the death of many million individuals per year. Why some species are killed more often than others has never been investigated. In this work hypothesized that risk taking behavior may affect the probability of certain kinds of individuals being killed disproportionately often. Furthermore, behavior of individuals on roads, abundance, habitat preferences, breeding sociality, and health status may all potentially affect the risk of being killed on roads. We used information on the abundance of road kills and the abundance in the surrounding environment of 50 species of birds obtained during regular censuses in 2001−2006 in a rural site in Denmark to test these predictions. The frequency of road kills increased linearly with abundance, while the proportion of individuals sitting on the road or flying low across the road only explained little additional variation in frequency of road casualties. After having accounted for abundance, we found that species with a short flight distance and hence taking greater risks when approached by a potential cause of danger were killed disproportionately often. In addition, solitary species, species with a high prevalence of Plasmodium infection, and species with a large bursa of Fabricius for their body size had a high susceptibility to being killed by cars. These findings suggest that a range of different factors indicative of risk-taking behavior, visual acuity and health status cause certain bird species to be susceptible to casualties due to cars.
We report that Western Sandpipers (Calidris mauri) on Alaska’s Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta exhibited aggregated breeding behavior at a relatively small spatial scale. Prior to clutch initiation, males performing song flight displays on a 36 ha plot were aggregated as were subsequent initial nesting attempts on the plot. We tested three hypotheses commonly invoked to explain aggregated breeding in territorial species (social mate choice, predation, and material resources hypotheses), and found support for the material resources hypothesis, as dispersed individuals were more often associated with tundra habitat patches, and aggregated individuals nested more often in undulating-tundra habitat patches compared to patch availability. The pattern of habitat occupancy conformed to an ideal despotic distribution with aggregated nesting birds in undulating-tundra patches experiencing lower reproductive success. On our study plot, older, more aggressive males solicited females more often, and defended larger, more dispersed sites in tundra habitat patches, compared to younger, less aggressive males that were aggregated in undulating-tundra habitat patches. Breeding aggregations are often concentrated on or near a critical resource. In contrast, Western Sandpiper breeding aggregations occur when dominant and/or older individuals exclude younger, subordinate individuals from preferred habitat. Although many taxa of non-colonial birds have been reported to aggregate breeding territories, this is the first quantitative report of aggregated breeding behavior in a non-colonial monogamous shorebird species prior to hatch.
The songs of Japanese marsh warblers (Megalurus pryeri) were recorded during May to July in 2009 at Shuangtaihekou Nature Reserve, Liaoning, China. Based on song characteristics, songs were divided into three types: courtship songs, alarm calls or contact calls. We analyzed and measured four parameters from 543 verses recorded from 20 males. The parameters were: duration of verse, number of syllables, duration of syllable, and interval of syllable. Verses of courtship song are formed of two verses, the first part’s rhythm is more and more quick with time; the main body part is formed with complex syllables. Alarm calls and contact calls are simple, and formed with simple and repeat syllables. All songs contained 38 syllable types (six syllable types of the first part included). Acoustic features of the courtship song were statistically different, as was the calls of each individual.
From November 2009 to April 2010, roosting-site characteristics of black-necked cranes (Grus nigricollis) were observed at Napahai Provincial Nature Reserve, Shangri-La, Yunnan, China. The positions of roosting-sites were determined by triangulation with markers and field correction. All of the 63 roosting-sites observed were located in patchy marshes with water, which contained some mud on the bottom and 81% of the roosting-sites were covered by plants. They also had a certain distance to areas of human activities and had a certain distance to the shore. A comparison of roosting sites and random sites showed that roosting-sites had thicker mud layers, a higher ratio of open water, longer distance to roads, villages, and farmland, and water depth. Another comparison of before and after usage of roosting-sites found a significant difference in area of marsh patch. Principal component analysis indicated that the usage of roosting-site of black-necked cranes was affected by human disturbance, area of marsh patch, and the condition of the shallow water environment.
Abstract: Wild animals respond differently to nonconsumptive human activity and such variation depends on multiple factors. We explored the behaviors of Pseudois naynaur and recorded the distance of their responses in Suyu Kou National Forest Park, Helan Mountain, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. We categorized their behavioural responses as no response, vigilance and flight and recorded the response initiation distance. We compared distances according to disturbance source, group size, group type and sex. Our results showed that Pseudois naynaur showed stronger responses to humans than vehicles. The distance at which the subject of the group was vigilant in small group (group size less than three) was significantly more than that of larger groups (group size more than three). The flight initiation distance in small groups (less than five) was significantly more than bigger groups. The distance of no response behavior did not vary between all male, female or mixed groups. The distance of vigilance behavior when the subject of the group first encountered the disturbance in male groups was significantly greater for female and mix groups, flight initiation distance in female groups was greater than that of mixed groups. In the mixed group, no significant variation on sex was found among all three types of behaviors.
We investigated food (insect) availability in foraging areas utilized by the long-fingered bat Miniopterus fuliginosus using light traps, fish netting and fecal analysis. The dominant preys of M. fuliginosus were Lepidoptera (55%, by volume percent) and Coleoptera (38%) of a relatively large body size. M. fuliginosus has relatively long, narrow wings and a wing span of 6.58 ± 0.12 and high wing loading of 9.85 ± 0.83 N/m2. The echolocation calls of free flying M. fuliginosus were FM signals, with a pulse duration of 1.45 ± 0.06 ms, interpulse interval of 63.08 ± 21.55 ms, and low dominant frequency of 44.50 ± 2.26 kHz. This study shows that the morphological characteristics and echolocation calls of long-fingered bats are closely linked to their predatory behavior.
The northern Amazon Basin in Peru is one of the most diverse areas for small mammals in the world. In this work, I present information related to the diversity of bat species in the Amazonian region of Iquitos, Peru, where nearly 60% of the 152 bat species known to Peru recorded. Unlike in previous investigations in this area, bat surveys were designed to detect species living in urban and rural areas. The results have added a new bat species (Eumops delticus) to the Peruvian fauna, eight new species for the region around Iquitos (Peropteryx macrotis, Peropteryx pallidoptera, Anoura caudifer, Lionycteris spurrelli, Vampyrum spectrum, Thyroptera lavali, Cynomops planirostris, and Molossus coibensis), and a new species for Northeast Peru (Eumops maurus).
To date, the genetic structure and genetic diversity of Lepus capensis in Xinjiang has not been systematically studied at the molecular level, and its subspecies taxonomic status has been under debate for years. According to traditional morphology, there are three subspecies of L. capensis distributed in Xinjiang: L.c. centrasiaticus, L.c. lehmanni and L.c. pamirensis. In this study, we determined 592 bp D-loop sequences of 87 cape hares from Xinjiang Province. Forty-four haplotypes were defined based on 148 polymorphic sites. Both the haplotype diversity (0.977 ± 0.005) and nucleotide diversity (0.064 ± 0.031) are high. FST P values are significantly high and no haplotype was shared among the four geographic populations, indicating that genetic differentiation among populations is significant. AMOVA shows that most of the genetic differentiation occurred among geographic groups, indicating that geographic isolation such as mountains and deserts might make an effective barrier against gene flow. Both the phylogenetic tree and median-joining network grouped 44 haplotypes into four distinct clades corresponding to four geographic areas, indicating an obvious phylogeographic pattern. Our data supported the subspecies status of L. c. lehmanni. The fact that haplotypes of L. c . centrasiaticus were grouped into two distinct clades suggests that this traditional subspecies should be considered as two subspecies. In addition, L. c. pamirensis shows a significantly higher sequence divergence compared to other subspecies, and the difference even reached the level of species.
Hydroelectric developments can result in a number of negative environmental consequences. Conservation aquaculture is a branch of science derived from conservation and population recovery studies on endangered fishes. Here we discuss the impacts on fishes caused by hydropower projects in Lixianjiang, and evaluate effects and problems on the propagation of Parazacco spilurus, Hemibagrus pluriradiatus, Neolissochilus benasi and Semilabeo obscurus. A successful propagation project includes foraging ecology in fields, pond cultivation, juvenile fish raising, prevention and curing on fish disease, genetic management, artificial releasing and population monitoring. Artificial propagation is the practicable act on genetic intercommunication, preventing population deterioration for fishes in upper and lower reaches of the dam. For long-term planning, fish stocks are not suitable for many kind of fishes, but can prevent fishes from going extinct in the wild. Basic data collection on fish ecology, parent fish hunting, prevention on fish disease are the most important factors on artificial propagation. Strengthening the genetic management of stock population for keeping a higher genetic diversity can increase the success of stock enhancement. The works on Lixianjiang provide a new model for river fish protection. To make sure the complicated project works well, project plans, commission contracts, base line monitoring and techniques on artificial reproduction must be considered early. Last, fishery conservation should be considered alongside location development.
Broodstock management, fecundity and egg size of the golden-line barbel Sinocyclocheilus grahami were studied from 2007 to 2010. The induced spawning success of female S. grahami was 25.2% in 2007 and dramatically increased to 91.3% in 2010. The nucleus deviation rate and hatching success were 61.5% and 30.4%, respectively, in 2007 and increased to 85.2% and 44.5%, respectively, in 2010. Providing nutritious food for broodstocks of S. grahami can ensure optimum breeding conditions as well as high-quality eggs and fingerlings. There also seems to be a relationship between absolute fecundity (F) and standard length (SL), as described by the power-exponent function F=0.0004826SL3.166 (R2=0.6424,P<0.05). The average of number of spawn egg was 2118.4±899.1 from 2007 to 2010, the average of absolute fecundity was 2402.9±881.9 from 2007 to 2010, and the average of relative fecundity was 70.4±20.8 from 2007 to 2010. The number of spawn egg, absolute fecundity and relative fecundity increased in individuals with a longer body length. Additionally, egg size contributed to the survival rate of embryos. The different batches reached an asymptotic, low or stable embryonic mortality during the first two days; the balance was broken in the subsequent seven days, as high embryonic mortality was observed in smaller eggs. The mortality of embryos from eggs larger than 2.0 mm was, contrastingly, rather stable. Embryos from bigger eggs have stronger survival potential, as bigger eggs can provide more energy and thus, a more favorable environment for early development.
A new species, Sinocyclocheilus huangtianensis, is found from a cave of Hejiang River, Hezhou, Guangxi, China. This river is a tributary of the Pearl River. It is similar to S. jii, distributed in Hejiang and S. guilinensis distributed in Lijiang by having a soft dorsal spine without serration and normal eyes. The combination of the following characteristics makes this new species different to S. jii and S. guilinensis: (1) the lateral line scales 52–59, up lateral line scales 17–23, the down lateral line cales 16–17, the circumpeduncular scales 40–46; (2) gill raker 9–10; (3) eye diameter/SL 4.3–5.4%; (4) interorbital width/SL 9.2–9.6%; and (5) mouth width/SL 6.0–7.3%.
A cave-dwelling loach, Oreonectes luochengensis sp. nov. has been described based on collections from a cave in Tianhe town, Luocheng, Guangxi, China in September 2008. It can be distinguished from all known Oreonectes species by the following combination of characters: dorsal-fin rays 3, 7; anal-fin rays 2, 5; pectoral-fin rays 1, 11−12; pelvic-fin rays 1, 7 and 14−16 branched caudal-fin rays; head compressed; eyes present; surface of lower lip covered with shallow longitudinal groove; dorsal-fin origin posterior to vertical line of pelvic-fin origin; caudal peduncle without caudal-adipose keels; edge of caudal fin truncation; tiny scales present under skin; no cephalic lateral-line system; body pink in living status, without pigments in adult, after fixed in formalin, body yellowish, non-transparent, no markings on body side.
Historical records and data from yield surveys conducted in 2009 and 2010 were used to investigate macroinvertebrate community succession trends in Dianchi Lake. Species richness has declined from 57 in the 1980s to 32 in 2010, representing a species loss of 44%. Among the major benthic groups, the highest rate of loss was recorded for mollusks (75%) and aquatic insects (39%). Surveys in 2009 and 2010 across the lake revealed that the total density was 1776 ind/m2, comprising oligochaetes (1706 ind/m2) and chironomids (68 ind/m2). Over a nearly twenty-year span (1992 − 2010), the density and biomass of oligochaetes first increased sharply (1992 – 2002) and then declined gradually (2002 – 2010). Further, chironomids have decreased gradually while the proportion of abundant species has increased. Limnodrilus hoffmeisteri became the sole dominant species with an average relative abundance of 74.1%. Cosmopolitan species, such as Einfeldia sp., disappeared across the lake; instead, tolerant species such as Chironomus plumosus, Ch. attenuatus and Tanypus chinensis became the common. Mollusk community structure has become simpler and many native species have gone extinct. Species of concern include Margarya melanioides, M. mondi, M. mansugi and Cipangopaludina dianchiensis, all rated as critically endangered by the IUCN. We found that the Shannon-Wiener index declined in Dianchi Lake, particularly in Caohai Lake, from 2.70 in the 1950s to 0.30 in 2009 and 2010. Species richness and biodiversity was significantly negative correlated with total phosphorus and total nitrogen. Factors responsible for the benthic community retrogression described here include habitat destruction, lowering of water quality, outbreaks of blue-green algae, extinction of submerged plants and lack of germplasm resources.
To obtain a better understanding of the responses of soil ciliate communities to ecological restoration, a quarterly survey of the soil ciliate community and seasonal dynamics across five sampling sites of artificial spruce forest was undertaken. A contrast sampling site of wild grassland was used and live observation ciliates and the three level ten-fold dilution method was used in Huajialing, Dingxi, Gansu. A total of 127 species were identified, belonging to three classes, nine orders, 34 families and 50 genera. Results show that the species distribution had obvious differences across the sampling sites, the community structure of soil tended to be complicated and species comparability decreased gradually with the number of restoration years, and abundance, species richness and species diversity index showed an upward trend. The dominant groups of soil ciliates changed during ecological restoration. Colpodida was the dominant group in sampling site I and site II, whereas Hypotrichida was the dominant group in the late recovery sampling sites. This study shows that the dynamics of the soil ciliate community better respond to soil condition changes in the ecological restoration process. Although the soil ciliate community can be used to evaluate the effect of ecological restoration ofterrestrialecosystems, plenty of further systematic research to establish an effective and feasible evaluation index system is required.
To provide initial value for population restoration and management of wolves (Canis lupus) in the wild, line transect survey and fecal analysis method were used to study the population ecology of wolf at Saihanwula National Nature Reserve, Inner Mongolia. The results revealed that the population number was at least seven within the reserve and population density was 4.18±2.88 individual per 100 km2. The wolf population was mainly distributed in Shengshan and Qinyunshan core areas; active sites appeared mostly along mountain ridges, roads and valleys at Shengshan and mountain ridges at Qinyunshan. Hare (Lepus capensis) and plants occurred frequently in the food composition of wolf scats. Food types varied between years but not seasons (Winter-Spring and Summer-Autumn).
Food resources and energy budget affect the behaviors and time budgets of animals. To clarify the effects of a high-fiber diet on greater bandicoot rat (Bandicota indica) behavior, we compared B. indica under a high-fiber diet and a standard rat diet using video monitoring. Our results show that B. indica are mainly active and feed at night, typical of nocturnal animals. A high-fiber diet resulted in a longer time to feed and become active at night and reduced the time spent feeding during the day. These findings suggest that food quality plays an important role in the behavioral timing of B. indica; this helps to understand seasonal changes in behavior demonstrated by B. indica.