263 research outputs found

    Social Organization of the Eastern Rock Elephant-Shrew (\u3cem\u3eElephantulus myurus\u3c/em\u3e): The Evidence for Mate Guarding

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    Understanding the costs and benefits of defending solitary females, or mate guarding, may be the key to understanding the evolution of monogamy in most mammals. Elephant-shrews, or sengis, are a unique clade of small mammals that are particularly attractive for studies of mate guarding. We studied the spatial organization of Eastern Rock Sengis (Elephantulus myurus) in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, from August – December 2000. Our objectives were to describe the home ranges of males and females using radiotelemetry, noting the sizes and overlap of adjacent ranges and how the spatial organization changes through time. Males and females were spatially associated in monogamous pairs despite the fact that males contributed no obvious direct care to offspring. These monogamous associations persisted despite the fact that some males had home ranges large enough to encompass multiple females. Males also had more variable ranges, perhaps because they spent more time at the periphery of their ranges exploring for the presence of additional females. There was likely competition for females, as range shifts were observed when male territory holders died or disappeared. It seems likely that this species is a model study organism to investigate the costs and benefits of mate guarding

    Relative Intestine Length and Feeding Ecology of Freshwater Fishes

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    There is a significant relationship between the intestine length (Y) and total body length (X) for 11 species of freshwater fish (Y = 0.08X1.42). Sufficient variation exists about this relationship to indicate important differences among the species\u27 diets. The diets for each species, ranked on a Trophic Index scale determined from literature data, are negatively rank order correlated with the mean relative intestine lengths (rs = -0.67). There is no significant rank order correlation between the Trophic Indices determined from data on stomach contents and the mean relative intestine lengths for fish from a single creek

    Long-Range PCR Amplification of DNA by DNA Polymerase III Holoenzyme From Thermus Thermophilus

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    DNA replication in bacteria is accomplished by a multicomponent replicase, the DNA polymerase III holoenzyme (pol III HE). The three essential components of the pol III HE are the α polymerase, the β sliding clamp processivity factor, and the DnaX clamp-loader complex. We report here the assembly of the functional holoenzyme from Thermus thermophilus (Tth), an extreme thermophile. The minimal holoenzyme capable of DNA synthesis consists of α, β and DnaX ( and γ), and components of the clamp-loader complex. The proteins were each cloned and expressed in a native form. Each component of the system was purified extensively. The minimum holoenzyme from these five purified subunits reassembled is sufficient for rapid and processive DNA synthesis. In an isolated form the α polymerase was found to be unstable at temperatures above 65°C. We were able to increase the thermostability of the pol III HE to 98°C by addition and optimization of various buffers and cosolvents. In the optimized buffer system we show that a replicative polymerase apparatus, Tth pol III HE, is capable of rapid amplification of regions of DNA up to 15,000 base pairs in PCR reactions

    Phylogenetic Analysis of the Socioecology of Neotomine-Peromyscine Rodents

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    This chapter focuses on the breeding systems of Neotomine-Peromyscine rodents. There are three specific objectives to this chapter. First, we describe the patterns for major Neotomine-Peromyscine clades using data collected from the literature (table 6.1). Second, we examine data from the literature on the following breeding behaviors: male spacing, female spacing, relative intersexual home range/territory size, paternal care, and juvenile dispersal patterns. We examine breeding behavior data in a phylogenetic framework to test if any phylogenetic patterns emerge in the observed variation in these breeding behaviors and if relationships occur among these behaviors. Third, we examine in a phylogenetic framework whether dietary, physiological, or life-history characteristics of the taxa are able to explain the observed variation in these breeding behaviors

    Differences in Ultrasonic Vocalizations Between Wild and Laboratory California Mice (\u3cem\u3ePeromyscus californicus\u3c/em\u3e)

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    Background: Ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) emitted by muroid rodents, including laboratory mice and rats, are used as phenotypic markers in behavioral assays and biomedical research. Interpretation of these USVs depends on understanding the significance of USV production by rodents in the wild. However, there has never been a study of muroid rodent ultrasound function in the wild and comparisons of USVs produced by wild and laboratory rodents are lacking to date. Here, we report the first comparison of wild and captive rodent USVs recorded from the same species, Peromyscus californicus. Methodology and Principal Findings: We used standard ultrasound recording techniques to measure USVs from California mice in the laboratory (Peromyscus Genetic Stock Center, SC, USA) and the wild (Hastings Natural History Reserve, CA, USA). To determine which California mouse in the wild was vocalizing, we used a remote sensing method that used a 12- microphone acoustic localization array coupled with automated radio telemetry of all resident Peromyscus californicus in the area of the acoustic localization array. California mice in the laboratory and the wild produced the same types of USV motifs. However, wild California mice produced USVs that were 2–8 kHz higher in median frequency and significantly more variable in frequency than laboratory California mice. Significance: The similarity in overall form of USVs from wild and laboratory California mice demonstrates that production of USVs by captive Peromyscus is not an artifact of captivity. Our study validates the widespread use of USVs in laboratory rodents as behavioral indicators but highlights that particular characteristics of laboratory USVs may not reflect natural conditions

    Differences in Ultrasonic Vocalizations between Wild and Laboratory California Mice (Peromyscus californicus)

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    BACKGROUND: Ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) emitted by muroid rodents, including laboratory mice and rats, are used as phenotypic markers in behavioral assays and biomedical research. Interpretation of these USVs depends on understanding the significance of USV production by rodents in the wild. However, there has never been a study of muroid rodent ultrasound function in the wild and comparisons of USVs produced by wild and laboratory rodents are lacking to date. Here, we report the first comparison of wild and captive rodent USVs recorded from the same species, Peromyscus californicus. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We used standard ultrasound recording techniques to measure USVs from California mice in the laboratory (Peromyscus Genetic Stock Center, SC, USA) and the wild (Hastings Natural History Reserve, CA, USA). To determine which California mouse in the wild was vocalizing, we used a remote sensing method that used a 12-microphone acoustic localization array coupled with automated radio telemetry of all resident Peromyscus californicus in the area of the acoustic localization array. California mice in the laboratory and the wild produced the same types of USV motifs. However, wild California mice produced USVs that were 2-8 kHz higher in median frequency and significantly more variable in frequency than laboratory California mice. SIGNIFICANCE: The similarity in overall form of USVs from wild and laboratory California mice demonstrates that production of USVs by captive Peromyscus is not an artifact of captivity. Our study validates the widespread use of USVs in laboratory rodents as behavioral indicators but highlights that particular characteristics of laboratory USVs may not reflect natural conditions

    Production of ultrasonic vocalizations by Peromyscus mice in the wild

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    BACKGROUND: There has been considerable research on rodent ultrasound in the laboratory and these sounds have been well quantified and characterized. Despite the value of research on ultrasound produced by mice in the lab, it is unclear if, and when, these sounds are produced in the wild, and how they function in natural habitats. RESULTS: We have made the first recordings of ultrasonic vocalizations produced by two free-living species of mice in the genus Peromyscus (P. californicus and P. boylii) on long term study grids in California. Over 6 nights, we recorded 65 unique ultrasonic vocalization phrases from Peromyscus. The ultrasonic vocalizations we recorded represent 7 different motifs. Within each motif, there was considerable variation in the acoustic characteristics suggesting individual and contextual variation in the production of ultrasound by these species. CONCLUSION: The discovery of the production of ultrasonic vocalizations by Peromyscus in the wild highlights an underappreciated component in the behavior of these model organisms. The ability to examine the production of ultrasonic vocalizations in the wild offers excellent opportunities to test hypotheses regarding the function of ultrasound produced by rodents in a natural context

    Is Promiscuity Associated with Enhanced Selection on MHC-DQα in Mice (genus Peromyscus)?

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    Reproductive behavior may play an important role in shaping selection on Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) genes. For example, the number of sexual partners that an individual has may affect exposure to sexually transmitted pathogens, with more partners leading to greater exposure and, hence, potentially greater selection for variation at MHC loci. To explore this hypothesis, we examined the strength of selection on exon 2 of the MHC-DQα locus in two species of Peromyscus. While the California mouse (P. californicus) is characterized by lifetime social and genetic monogamy, the deer mouse (P. maniculatus) is socially and genetically promiscuous; consistent with these differences in mating behavior, the diversity of bacteria present within the reproductive tracts of females is significantly greater for P. maniculatus. To test the prediction that more reproductive partners and exposure to a greater range of sexually transmitted pathogens are associated with enhanced diversifying selection on genes responsible for immune function, we compared patterns and levels of diversity at the Class II MHC-DQα locus in sympatric populations of P. maniculatus and P. californicus. Using likelihood based analyses, we show that selection is enhanced in the promiscuous P. maniculatus. This study is the first to compare the strength of selection in wild sympatric rodents with known differences in pathogen milieu
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