Anti-predator behaviour is common among birds, but little research exists on whether differences in the predator landscape between urban and rural habitats results in differential anti-predator behaviour. We compared nest-defence behaviour of mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli) in urban and rural habitats in Kamloops, BC, Canada to a simulated predator model (snake) on top of nest boxes while incubating females were away from nests on foraging bouts. Upon their return, we recorded proximity to the predator model, latency to contact the nest box and enter the nest, and number of gargle and chick-a-dee calls as measures of anti-predator behaviour and compared multivariate “predator aversion scores” across birds occupying either rural or urban landscapes. Rural-nesting birds had more aversive reactions to the predator model than the urban-nesting birds, which may suggest differences in perceived threat of the model, in combination with increased boldness associated with urban-nesting birds.
The present review provides a compilation of the published data on the ecology and social behaviour of Mongolian gerbils. Behavioural observations in the wild show that the Mongolian gerbil is a diurnal social rodent living in extended family groups. Seasonal breeding is typical of Mongolian gerbils in their natural habitat. Social monogamy seems to be characteristic of the Mongolian gerbil reproductive strategy, which however does not exclude facultative polygyny and promiscuity. A typical feature of the space use system in this species is territoriality. Social relationships in family groups may be defined as a subordination hierarchy. The hierarchy order is primarily determined by the age of the animals and maintained chiefly by the subordinates’ behaviour patterns. The complex social organisation in the Mongolian gerbil is characterised by cooperation in different activities. Cooperation appears to enhance the survival of family groups of this species under the extreme climatic conditions of Central Asia.
Increasingly we are discovering that the interactions between individuals within social groups can be quite complex and flexible. Social network analysis offers a toolkit to describe and quantify social structure, the patterns we observe, and evaluate the social and environmental factors that shape group dynamics. Here, we used 14 Gunnison’s prairie dogs networks to evaluate how resource availability and network size influenced four global properties of the networks (centralization, clustering, average path length, small word index). Our results suggest a positive correlation between overall network cohesion and resource availability, such that networks became less centralized and cliquish as biomass/m2 availability decreased. We also discovered that network size modulates the link between social interactions and resource availability and is consistent with a more ‘decentralized’ group. This study highlights the importance of how individuals modify social cohesions and network connectedness as a way to reduce intragroup competition under different ecological conditions.
A taxonomic list of macro marine algae (seaweeds) described in the literature for the Red Sea during the years 1756–2020 is presented. The list was prepared using existing published studies, local monitoring reports, as well as “grey” or unpublished lists of seaweeds for the area. Altogether, we examined more than 300 publications and compiled more than 900 taxonomic names, of which 576 correspond to valid species, whilst 355 names were considered synonyms for these species. The phylum Chlorophyta (green seaweeds) was represented by 37 currently accepted genera and 133 species (including 74 species synonyms). The phylum Ochrophyta (Phaeophyceae only; brown seaweeds) was represented by 52 genera, 157 species and 99 synonyms; and the phylum Rhodophyta (red seaweeds) by 130 genera, 286 species and 182 synonyms. The brown seaweed Sargassum appears to be a particularly biodiverse genus in the area represented by 58 species and 26 synonyms. Our study shows the inconsistency and lack of long-term taxonomic studies and recent molecular investigations of seaweeds from nearly the whole Red Sea.
Aggression is costly, and animals have evolved tactics to mitigate these costs. Submission signals are an underappreciated example of such adaptations. Here we review submissive behaviour, with an emphasis on non-primates. We highlight the design of submission signals and how such signals can reduce costs. Animal societies necessitate frequent social interactions, which can increase the probability of conflict. Where maintaining group proximity is essential, animals cannot avoid aggression by fleeing. Mutual interest between group members may also select for efficient conflict avoidance and resolution mechanisms. As a result, submission signals may be especially well developed among group living species, helping social animals to overcome potential costs of recurring conflict that could otherwise counter the benefits of group living. Therefore, submission signalling can be a crucial aspect of social living and is deserving of specific attention within the broader context of social evolution and communication.
A new species, Syzygium guipingensis sp. nov. (Myrtaceae), is described based on mummified fossil wood from the Miocene Erzitang Formation of Guiping Basin, Guangxi, South China. This species represents the most ancient reliable fossil record of the genus Syzygium in eastern Asia, showing the greatest similarity to the extant species S. buxifolium Hook. et Arnott. Its occurrence in the Miocene is consistent with the diversification age of the Asian lineage within Syzygium as estimated by molecular dating (11.4 Ma). The fossil record of Syzygium suggests that this genus migrated from Australia to eastern Asia in the Miocene, coincidently with the formation of island chains between these continents.
Sexual selection mediated by multimodal signals is common among polygynous species, including seasonally breeding mammals. Indirect benefit models provide plausible explanations for how and why mate selection can occur in the absence of direct benefits. Musth — an asynchronous reproductive state in male elephants — facilitates both inter- and intrasexual selection via indirect benefits, and it is further communicated through a multimodal signal. In this review, we synthesise existing evidence that supports the hypothesis that musth is a multimodal signal subject to sexual selection and that male elephants increase their direct fitness by propagating this signal while females accrue indirect benefits. Musth is characterised by a suite of physiological and behavioural changes, serving to facilitate copulation between the sexes, and via multisensory modalities musth conveys honest information about the condition of a male. Female elephants mate preferentially with musth males, increasing their own fitness in the absence of direct benefits. In addition, musth resolves dynamic dominance hierarchies among male elephants and often eliminates the need for costly physical combat. Future work in this field should investigate potential postcopulatory selection mechanisms in elephants, including sperm competition and cryptic female choice. These topics join other fundamental questions related to sexual selection, signalling, and indirect benefits that are still unanswered in elephants.
The bacterial decay of waterlogged archeological wood (WAW, hard pine spp.) taken from Daebudo shipwreck No. 2, which was buried in the intertidal zone in the mid-west coast (Yellow sea) of South Korea approximately 800 years ago, was investigated. The maximum moisture content of the outer parts (approx. 3 cm of depth) of WAW was approximately 4.2 times higher than that of undegraded reference pine wood. ATR-FTIR and solid-state 13C-NMR analysis indicated a relative increase of the lignin concentration in WAW caused by the degradation of cellulose and hemicelluloses across the board studied (31-cm-wide and 14.5-cm-thick board). Micromorphological studies also revealed that bacterial degradation was progressed to a depth of 15 cm (vertically 7.3 cm) from the surface, which is the innermost part of the board. Erosion bacteria (EB) were identified as the main degraders of WAW. Degradation by tunneling bacteria (TB) was occasionally detected. Decay resistance to bacterial attacks in WAW varied between cell types and between cell wall regions. Axial tracheids showed less resistance than ray tracheids, ray parenchyma cells, and axial intercellular canal cells, including strand tracheids, subsidiary parenchyma cells, and epithelial cells. Decay resistance was higher in ray tracheids and strand tracheids than in ray parenchyma cells and subsidiary parenchyma-/epithelial cells, respectively. Bordered- and cross-field pit membranes and the initial pit borders showed higher decay resistance than the tracheid cell walls. Overall, the S2 layer of the axial tracheids showed the weakest resistance to bacterial attacks.
Social interactions often require the simultaneous processing of emotions from facial expressions and speech. However, the development of the gaze behavior used for emotion recognition, and the effects of speech perception on the visual encoding of facial expressions is less understood. We therefore conducted a word-primed face categorization experiment, where participants from multiple age groups (six-year-olds, 12-year-olds, and adults) categorized target facial expressions as positive or negative after priming with valence-congruent or -incongruent auditory emotion words, or no words at all. We recorded our participants’ gaze behavior during this task using an eye-tracker, and analyzed the data with respect to the fixation time toward the eyes and mouth regions of faces, as well as the time until participants made the first fixation within those regions (time to first fixation, TTFF). We found that the six-year-olds showed significantly higher accuracy in categorizing congruently primed faces compared to the other conditions. The six-year-olds also showed faster response times, shorter total fixation durations, and faster TTFF measures in all primed trials, regardless of congruency, as compared to unprimed trials. We also found that while adults looked first, and longer, at the eyes as compared to the mouth regions of target faces, children did not exhibit this gaze behavior. Our results thus indicate that young children are more sensitive than adults or older children to auditory emotion word primes during the perception of emotional faces, and that the distribution of gaze across the regions of the face changes significantly from childhood to adulthood.
Non-avian reptiles have long been neglect in cognitive science due to their reputation as slow and inflexible learners, but fortunately, this archaic view on reptile cognition is changing rapidly. The last two decades have witnessed a renewed interest in the cognitive capacities of reptiles, and more ecologically relevant protocols have been designed to measure such abilities. Now, we appreciate that reptiles possess an impressive set of cognitive skills, including problem-solving abilities, fast and flexible learning, quantity discrimination, and even social learning. This special issue highlights current research on reptiles in cognitive biology and showcases the diversity of research questions that can be answered by using reptiles as study model. Here, we briefly address (the key results of) the contributing articles and their role in the endeavour for total inclusion of reptiles in cognitive biological research, which is instrumental for our understanding of the evolution of animal cognition. We also discuss and illustrate the promising potential of reptiles as model organisms in various areas of cognitive research.