285 research outputs found

    Medium-sized exotic prey create novel food webs: the case of predators and scavengers consuming lagomorphs

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    Food web interactions are key to community structure. The introduction of species can be seen as an uncontrolled experiment of the addition of species. Introduced species lead to multiple changes, frequently threatening the native biodiversity. However, little is known about their direct effect on the upper level of the food web. In this study we review empirical data on the predator prey relationship between the introduced lagomorphs and their consumers, and use meta-analytical tools to quantify the strength of their interactions. We expect that exotic lagomorphs will destabilize food webs, affect ecological processes and compromise the conservation of the invaded regions. We found 156 studies on the diet of 43 species of predators that consume lagomorphs as exotic preys in South America and Oceania. We found an average exotic lagomorphspredator link of 20% which indicates a strong interaction, given that the average for the strongest links with native prey (when lagomorphs are not included in the predator diet) is about 24%. Additionally, this last link decreases to 17% when lagomorphs are present. When lagomorphs arrive in a new environment they may become the most important resource for predators, producing an unstable equilibrium in the novel food web. Any disruption of this interaction could have catastrophic consequences for the native diversity by directly impacting predators or indirectly impacting native preys by apparent competition. Eradication or any change in their abundances should be carefully considered in conservation actions since those will have great impacts on predator populations and ultimately in the whole communitiesPeer reviewe

    Efectos de radio-emisores de cola en cernícalos primilla adultos

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    [ENG]The behavior,b reeding successa nd survivalo f radio-taggeda nd non-radio-tagged (control) Lesser Kestrels (Falco naumanni) in southern Spain in 1989-1990 were compared. The copulation period, copulation rates and prey delivery rates to both mates and nestlings did not differ significantlyb etween radio-taggeda nd control individuals.I n addition, there were no differences in annual survival rates or breeding success between radio-tagged and control birds.[ESP]-Sec ompararon aspectosd e comportamiento,6 xito reproductor y supervivencia entre cernlcalosp rimillas (Falco naumanni) portadores de radiotransmisorese n la cola y otros marcados finicamente con anillas (controles) en el sur de Espafia en 1989-1990. E1 periodo de c6pulas, la frecuencia de las mismas, asi como las tasas de cebas de pareja y a los pollos no se diferenci6 significativamentee ntre los individuosp ortadoresd e radiotransmisoresy los controles.T ampoco se detectaron diferenciase n las tasasd e supervivenciaa nual y 6xito reproductivo entre los dos grupos comparados.Peer reviewe

    The paradox of the Long-Term positive effects of a north american crayfish on a european community of predators

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    Invasions of non-native species are one of the major causes of losses of native species. In some cases, however, non-natives may also have positive effects on native species. We investigated the potential facilitative effects of the North American red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) on the community of predators in southwestern Spain. To do so, we examined the diets of predators in the area and their population trends since introduction of the crayfish. Most predator species consumed red swamp crayfish, which sometimes occurred in over 50% of their diet samples. Moreover, the abundance of species preying on crayfish increased significantly in the area as opposed to the abundance of herbivores and to predator populations in other areas of Europe, where those predators are even considered threatened. Thus, we report the first case in which one non-native species is both beneficial because it provides prey for threatened species and detrimental because it can drive species at lower trophic levels to extinction. Increases in predator numbers that are associated with non-native species of prey, especially when some of these predators are also invasive non-natives, may increase levels of predation on other species and produce cascading effects that threaten native biota at longer temporal and larger spatial scales. Future management plans should include the complexity of interactions between invasive non-natives and the entire native community, the feasibility of successful removal of non-native species, and the potential social and economic interests in the area. © 2010 Society for Conservation Biology.Peer Reviewe

    Opportunistic or Non-RandomWildlife Crime? Attractiveness Rather Than Abundance in theWild Leads to Selective Parrot Poaching

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    Illegal wildlife trade, which mostly focuses on high-demand species, constitutes a major threat to biodiversity. However, whether poaching is an opportunistic crime within high-demand taxa such as parrots (i.e., harvesting proportional to species availability in the wild), or is selectively focused on particular, more desirable species, is still under debate. Answering this question has important conservation implications because selective poaching can lead to the extinction of some species through overharvesting. However, the challenges of estimating species abundances in the wild have hampered studies on this subject. We conducted a large-scale survey in Colombia to simultaneously estimate the relative abundance of wild parrots through roadside surveys (recording 10,811 individuals from 25 species across 2221 km surveyed) and as household, illegally trapped pets in 282 sampled villages (1179 individuals from 21 species). We used for the first time a selectivity index to test selection on poaching. Results demonstrated that poaching is not opportunistic, but positively selects species based on their attractiveness, defined as a function of species size, coloration, and ability to talk, which is also reflected in their local prices. Our methodological approach, which shows how selection increases the conservation impacts of poaching for parrots, can be applied to other taxa also impacted by harvesting for trade or other purposesPeer reviewe

    Habitat, world geographic range, and embryonic development of hosts explain the prevalence of avian hematozoa at small spatial and phylogenetic scales

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    The factors explaining interspecific differences in prevalences of blood parasites in birds are poorly known. We simultaneously assessed 20 social, ecological, life history, and sampling-related variables that could influence hemoparasite prevalences among diurnal birds of prey in Spain. Our results show that multiple factors are responsible for the studied host-parasite association. We confirmed for the first time that prevalence is inversely correlated to the embryonic development period, and thus probably to immune performance, even among closely related birds. Macrohabitat features related to vector availability are also important, prevalences being higher in species breeding in forested habitats. Finally, prevalence is positively correlated with the host's world geographic range. We hypothesize that larger geographic ranges offered more opportunities for host-vector-hemoparasite associations to become established. The results from our multivariate analyses differ from those obtained through univariate ones, showing that all potential factors should be assessed jointly when testing any ecological or evolutionary hypothesis dealing with parasites.Peer Reviewe

    Seed dispersal by macaws shapes the landscape of an Amazonian ecosystem

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    Seed dispersal is one of the most studied plant–animal mutualisms. It has been proposed that the dispersal of many large-seeded plants from Neotropical forests was primarily conducted by extinct megafauna, and currently by livestock. Parrots can transport large fruits using their beaks, but have been overlooked as seed dispersers. We demonstrate that three macaws (Ara ararauna, A. glaucogularis and A. severus) are the main dispersers of the large-seeded motacú palm Attalea princeps, which is the biomass-dominant tree in the Bolivian Amazonian savannas. Macaws dispersed fruits at high rates (75– 100% of fruits) to distant (up to 1200 m) perching trees, where they consumed the pulp and discarded entire seeds, contributing to forest regeneration and connectivity between distant forests islands. The spatial distribution of immature palms was positively associated to the proximity to macaws’ perching trees and negatively to the proximity to cattle paths. The disperser role of livestock, presumably a substitute for extinct megafauna, had little effect due to soil compaction, trampling and herbivory. Our results underscore the importance of macaws as legitimate, primary dispersers of large-seeded plants at long distances and, specifically, their key role in shaping the landscape structure and functioning of this Amazonian biomePeer reviewe

    Endangered plant-parrot mutualisms: seed tolerance to predation makes parrots pervasive dispersers of the Parana pine

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    Parrots are largely considered plant antagonists as they usually destroy the seeds they feed on. However, there is evidence that parrots may also act as seed dispersers. We evaluated the dual role of parrots as predators and dispersers of the Critically Endangered Parana pine (Araucaria angustifolia). Eight of nine parrot species predated seeds from 48% of 526 Parana pines surveyed. Observations of the commonest parrot indicated that 22.5% of the picked seeds were dispersed by carrying them in their beaks. Another five parrot species dispersed seeds, at an estimated average distance of c. 250 m. Dispersal distances did not differ from those observed in jays, considered the main avian dispersers. Contrary to jays, parrots often dropped partially eaten seeds. Most of these seeds were handled by parrots, and the proportion of partially eaten seeds that germinated was higher than that of undamaged seeds. This may be explained by a predator satiation effect, suggesting that the large seeds of the Parana pine evolved to attract consumers for dispersal. This represents a thus far overlooked key plant-parrot mutualism, in which both components are threatened with extinction. The interaction is becoming locally extinct long before the global extinction of the species involvedPeer reviewe

    The effects of spatial survey bias and habitat suitability on predicting the distribution of threatened species living in remote areas

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    Knowledge of a species’ potential distribution and the suitability of available habitat are fundamental for effective conservation planning and management. However, the quality of information on the distribution of species and their required habitats is highly variable in terms of accuracy and availability across taxa and regions, particularly in tropical landscapes where accessibility is especially challenging. Species distribution models (SDMs) provide predictive tools for addressing gaps for poorly surveyed species, but they rarely consider biases in geographical distribution of records and their consequences. We applied SDMs and variation partitioning analyses to investigate the relative importance of habitat characteristics, human accessibility, and their joint effects in the global distribution of the Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaw Ara glaucogularis, a species endemic to the Amazonian flooded savannas of Bolivia. The probability of occurrence was skewed towards more accessible areas, mostly secondary roads. Variability in observed occurrence patterns was mostly accounted for by the pure effect of habitat characteristics (76.2%), indicating that bias in the geographical distribution of occurrences does not invalidate species-habitat relationships derived from niche models. However, observed spatial covariation between land-use at a landscape scale and accessibility (joint contribution: 22.3%) may confound the independent role of land-use in the species distribution. New surveys should prioritise collecting data in more remote (less accessible) areas better distributed with respect to land-use composition at a landscape scale. Our results encourage wider application of partitioning methods to quantify the extent of sampling bias in datasets used in habitat modelling for a better understanding of species-habitat relationships, and add insights into the potential distribution of our study species and opportunities for its conservation

    Revista de Vertebrados de la Estación Biológica de Doñana

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    Dimorfismo sexual en Microtus cabrerae en base a los caracteres de su pelvis.Notas sobre la distribución y ecología de Microtus cabreae, Thomas, 1906.Alimentación de la culebra bastarda (Malpolon monspessulanus, Ophidia, Colubridae) en el S. O. de España.Selectividad en la predación de la lechuza común (Tyto alba) sobre Rano ridibunda.Variations in the food habits of the european Eagle Owl. (Bubo bubo)Contaminación en huevos de aves silvestres de lSuroeste de España por residuos organoclorados (Insecticidas y bifenilos policlorados)Sobre el status taxonómico del águila imperial ibéricaEstudio filogenético y comparativo de Microtus cabrerae y Microtus brecciensisDescripción de una nueva especie de liebre (Lepus castroviejoi), endémica de la Cordillera CantábricaPeer reviewe
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