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The Danube crested newt Triturus dobrogicus has been proposed to comprise two subspecies: T. d. dobrogicus and T. d. macrosoma. Uncertainty exists in the literature over their distribution and diagnosability. We conduct a multilocus phylogeographical survey and review published data to determine whether a two taxon treatment is warranted. Newly produced and published nuclear DNA data suggest intraspecific variation in the Pannonian Plain part of the range, but with extensive genetic admixture, whereas mitochondrial DNA data shows a lack of geographical structuring in T. dobrogicus altogether. None of the studied morphological characters suggest the presence of two geographical groups in T. dobrogicus unequivocally. Although Danube Delta newts do have relatively short bodies compared to the remainder of the range (the Pannonian and Lower Danube Plains and the Dnepr Delta), we argue that this finding can be explained by phenotypic plasticity – particularly in light of the incongruent evolutionary scenario suggested by genetic data. We conclude that the total body of evidence does not support the two subspecies hypothesis and recommend that T. dobrogicus is treated as a monotypic species.

In: Amphibia-Reptilia

Abstract

The integration of multilocus datasets and species distribution modelling in phylogeography allows for the reconstruction of more detailed historical biogeographical scenarios than based on mtDNA data alone. We here combine these approaches to investigate the range dynamics of the crested newt Triturus karelinii, an amphibian species endemic to the Pontocaspian region, whose range comprises three allopatric range sections: a Crimean, a Caucasian and a Caspian range section. In a previous mtDNA phylogeographical survey it was suggested that the Caucasian range section was colonized from the Caspian one and that the Crimean range section was subsequently colonized from the Caucasian one. Newly collected nuclear DNA data reveal little genetic differentiation between the three range sections and species distribution modelling suggests that they only recently became isolated. Taken together, our analyses agree with a recent colonization of the Crimean range section, but rather suggest long-term persistence in both the Caspian and Caucasian range sections, with extensive gene flow between the two.

Open Access
In: Amphibia-Reptilia

In the recently published New Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles of Europe (Sillero et al., 2014a), the distribution of the newt genus Triturus was not resolved at the level of the species. The main reason for this was the lack of high quality distribution data from in and around the parapatric contact zones between species, where interspecific hybridization occurs. We are working extensively on Triturus and the (particularly genetic) data we have accumulated allow us to map the individual Triturus species at the appropriate scale. We here provide a database composed of distribution data for the individual species, at generally high resolution, particularly from in and around contact zones. Based on this database we produce maps at the 50 × 50 km UTM grid resolution as used in the new atlas and highlight those grid cells in which more than one Triturus species occurs.

In: Amphibia-Reptilia

Dispersal in birds can have an important influence on the genetic structure of populations by affecting gene flow. In birds that learn their songs, dispersal can affect the ability of male birds to share songs in song dialects and may influence mate attraction. We used Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) trace element analysis on the body feathers of birds to assess dispersal among four song dialects. We found that (1) most males had a feather element profile typical of only one dialect location; (2) males singing non-local (‘foreign’) dialects in a focal population often learned their foreign songs outside the dialect; and (3) females often dispersed among dialects. We estimated 5% dispersal per year by yearling males between the site of moulting and breeding. Our estimate is consistent with genetic estimates of widespread gene flow between dialects in this subspecies of the white-crowned sparrow.

In: Behaviour
Paul, John, and Apocalyptic Eschatology offers fresh studies by leading New Testament scholars. It considers Paul’s use of tradition, his views on Christian life in the light of mysticism and eschatology. It also discusses the identity formation of the “Johannine community” and the role of “exaltation” in the Fourth Gospel. The focus on apocalyptic eschatology is broadened by studies on the reception of Pauline eschatology, the dating of Revelation, and chiliasm. The collection is complemented by a study on the text of John 3:13 and one on the coinage of the name “Ambrosiaster.”

Individual natal dispersal behaviour is often difficult to predict as it can be influenced by multiple extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Individual differences in personality have been shown to be an important correlate of dispersal behaviour. However, the relationships between personality traits and dispersal are often inconsistent within and across studies and the causes of these discrepancies are often unknown. Here we sought to determine how individual differences in activity and aggression, as measured in an open-field trial, were related to natal dispersal distance in a wild population of North American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus). For 14 cohorts, while individual aggression consistently had no association with dispersal distance, the association between activity and dispersal fluctuated through time, mediated by population density. The environmental-dependence of the relationship between personality and dispersal in this population is indicative of the importance of considering external conditions when predicting dispersal behaviour.

In: Behaviour