Journal of Zoology

Cover image for Vol. 299 Issue 1

Early View (Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue)

Edited By: Nigel Bennett (Editor-in-Chief), Matt Hayward, Andrew Kitchener, Mark-Oliver Roedel, Jean-Nicolas Volff, Gabriele Uhl. Reviews Editor: Trish Fleming

Impact Factor: 1.883

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 37/154 (Zoology)

Online ISSN: 1469-7998

Associated Title(s): Animal Conservation, International Zoo Yearbook, Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation


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  1. Original Articles

    1. Comparative assessment of metrics for monitoring the body condition of polar bears in western Hudson Bay

      L. Sciullo, G. W. Thiemann and N. J. Lunn

      Version of Record online: 25 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12354

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      We assessed multiple metrics of body condition in polar bears Ursus maritimus in western Hudson Bay with particular focus on bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and its feasibility in the field. We also monitored body condition across a broad temporal scale (2004–2013) in conjunction with sea ice breakup and freeze-up date. Although BIA found similar patterns across age and sex class as other established metrics, this method had several limitations when used in the field and may not be as efficient as other modelled metrics that require only morphological measurements (i.e., energy density). We also found body condition to decline across a broad temporal scale in adult and subadult males and females, suggesting a potential link to fluctuations in sea ice habitat. This highlights the importance of continuous monitoring of polar bear body condition and allows for better understanding of the interaction between environmental change and species response in the Arctic.

    2. Small, rare and trendy: traits and biogeography of lizards described in the 21st century

      S. Meiri

      Version of Record online: 24 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12356

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      New lizard species are described with greater pace than ever before. In this study, I examine the traits of newly described lizard taxa, and compare them to those of species described earlier, to predict where new species will be found, what traits they have, and whether they are likely to be more extinction-prone than well-known species. I showed that newly described lizards are more likely smaller, tropical and more threatened than previously described species. This work contributes to predicting what types of species are likely to be found in future and where.

  2. Response

    1. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Fundamental problems with the cooperative breeding hypothesis. A reply to Burkart & Van Schaik

      A. Thornton, K. McAuliffe, S. R. X. Dall, E. Fernandez-Duque, P. A. Garber and A. J. Young

      Version of Record online: 24 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12351

  3. Original Articles

    1. You have free access to this content
      Unleashing the Kraken: on the maximum length in giant squid (Architeuthis sp.)

      C. G. M. Paxton

      Version of Record online: 17 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12347

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      Statistical investigation of various measures of body length and beak size in Architeuthis suggests that giant squid of at least 2.69 m (99.9% prediction interval: 1.60–3.83 m) mantle length (ML) may be handled by large bull sperm whales but perhaps not females. Given the relationship of squid ML to standard (from tip of mantle to end of arms) and total (from tip of mantle to end of tentacles) length, the observed spread of individual lengths, along with a longest reliably measured ML of 2.79 m, purported squid of 10 m standard length and even 20 m total length are eminently plausible.

    2. Morphology of the nucho-dorsal glands and related defensive displays in three species of Asian natricine snakes

      A. Mori, T. Jono, H. Takeuchi, L. Ding, A. de Silva, D. Mahaulpatha and Y. Tang

      Version of Record online: 16 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12357

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      We describe the detailed morphological features of unique defensive organs, called mucho-dorsal glands, in three species of Asian natricine snakes, Rhabdophis nuchalis, R. pentasupralabialis and Macropisthodon plumbicolor. We also report a novel display, body lift, which is considered to enhance the defensive function of the glands. Correlated evolution of these morphological and behavioural traits are discussed.

    3. Rate of short-term colonization and distribution of leeches (Clitellata: Hirudinida) on artificial substrates

      Ż. Adamiak-Brud, A. Bielecki, J. Kobak and I. Jabłońska-Barna

      Version of Record online: 16 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12341

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      We studied patterns of leech colonization and distribution on artificial substrates, which have become increasingly common in aquatic ecosystems. The first colonizers were Erpobdellidae species and Helobdella sp. (after 2 days of exposure), whereas the rest of taxa from the Glossiphoniidae family appeared later (7–14 days). Our study shows that leeches are fast colonizers of artificial substrates, with the most important factors affecting their recruitment and distribution including movement and feeding modes, occurrence of other leech individuals on the plates, taxonomic composition of leeches in the surrounding area, substrate orientation and the presence of surface irregularities (edges).

    4. Reevaluating geographic variation in life-history traits of a widespread Nearctic amphibian

      J. M. Davenport and B. R. Hossack

      Version of Record online: 13 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12352

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      Body size can vary across climatic gradients and this variation can have implications for reproduction. We found that wood frog adult size and egg size decrease as latitude increases and mean annual temperature decreases. This implies that a limit to adaptation may exist for some populations which is important as accelerating climate change will expose populations to novel environmental conditions.

    5. Population recovery highlights spatial organization dynamics in adult leopards

      J. Fattebert, G. A. Balme, H. S. Robinson, T. Dickerson, R. Slotow and L. T. B. Hunter

      Version of Record online: 11 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12344

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      Polygynous species follow sex-specific spacing patterns to maximize reproductive success, and changes in population density under otherwise stable environmental conditions likely provoke sex-specific responses in spacing patterns. We used 11 years of telemetry data to assess the response of spacing patterns in adult leopards to the release of harvest pressure. Under increasing population density, females relinquished part of their home range to philopatric daughters to form matrilineal clusters, whereas males maintained stable large home ranges in order to maximize mating opportunities. The spacing dynamics in adult leopards was consistent with sex-specific, dispersal-regulated reproductive strategies.

    6. Understanding the coexistence of competing raptors by Markov chain analysis enhances conservation of vulnerable species

      M. Sarà, R. Mascara and P. López-López

      Version of Record online: 11 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12340

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      Understanding ecological interactions among protected species is crucial for correct management to avoid conflicting outcomes of conservation planning. First, we measured the coexistence of two ecologically equivalent falcon species – the lanner and the peregrine – through null models and randomization algorithms on body sizes and ecological niche traits, and then we examined the pattern of inter-specific transitions in 88 sites that were studied for 14 years using a MC occupancy state model. Markovian analysis suggested that temporal and spatial segregation of habitat during reproduction might prevail over anatomical specialization for hunting and diet, allowing species coexistence, despite the prediction that peregrines will outnumber the lanners in future projections. Our approach combining niche-overlap analysis and species occupancy modelling led to practical information about conservation options available for the threatened lanner. Lanners are very sensitive to site abandonment, and measures increasing adult persistence in occupied territories could be more rewarding than those encouraging juvenile dispersal and colonization of new sites.

    7. Lion proximity, not moon phase, affects the nocturnal movement behaviour of zebra and wildebeest

      L. W. Traill, J. Martin and N. Owen-Smith

      Version of Record online: 9 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12343

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      Among African ungulates, a number of studies have found animals to be more active during nights of full moon. Here, we use GPS-derived movement data to test for the influence of moon phase and lion Panthera leo proximity on plains zebra Equus quagga and blue wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus nocturnal activity in Kruger National Park, South Africa. We found that lion proximity largely determined the nocturnal movements of zebra and wildebeest, not moon phase.

    8. Virtual plaster cast: digital 3D modelling of lion paws and tracks using close-range photogrammetry

      A. F. J. Marchal, P. Lejeune and P. J. N. de Bruyn

      Version of Record online: 5 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12342

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      The ecological monitoring of threatened species is vital for their survival as it provides the baseline for conservation, research and management strategies. Wildlife studies using tracks are controversial mainly due to unreliable recording techniques limited to two dimensions (2D). We assess close-range photogrammetry as a low-cost, rapid, practical and reliable field technique for the digital three-dimensional (3D) modelling of lion Panthera leo paws and tracks.

    9. Evolutionary history and conservation significance of the Javan leopard Panthera pardus melas

      A. Wilting, R. Patel, H. Pfestorf, C. Kern, K. Sultan, A. Ario, F. Peñaloza, S. Kramer-Schadt, V. Radchuk, D. W. Foerster and J. Fickel

      Version of Record online: 3 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12348

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      The leopard Panthera pardus is widely distributed across Africa and Asia; however, there is a gap in its natural distribution in Southeast Asia, where it occurs on the mainland and on Java but not on the interjacent island of Sumatra. We used mtDNA sequences and Pleistocene distribution modelling of leopards to gain further insights into the evolutionary history of leopards in Southeast Asia. Our data confirmed that Javan leopards are evolutionarily distinct from other Asian leopards, and that they have been present on Java since the Middle Pleistocene. Our study therefore emphasizes the need for greater conservation efforts for this critically endangered leopard subspecies, as its extinction would greatly reduce the natural diversity of leopards.

    10. You have free access to this content
      Experiments on ostrich decomposition and opisthotonus with implications for theropod dinosaurs

      T. Lingham-Soliar

      Version of Record online: 3 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12345

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      To investigate decomposition and the opisthotonic posture in fossils, ostrich cadavers were allowed to decompose in a natural environment over 120 h with fly maggots – the primary agent of decay. In two of the severely degraded cadavers, considerable retraction of the neck occurred although not classic opisthotonus. In the cadaver partially submerged in a natural pool of water, classic opisthotonus occurred. The study has implications for the famous small Chinese theropod dinosaur, Sinosauropteryx (so-called ‘feathered dinosaur’).

    11. You have free access to this content
      Polyploid unisexual salamanders have higher tissue regeneration rates than diploid sexual relatives

      M. J. Saccucci, R. D. Denton, M. L. Holding and H. L. Gibbs

      Version of Record online: 28 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12339

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      Understanding phenotypic differences between polyploid and diploid competitors can help illuminate the drivers of coexistence within these communities. We compare a biologically relevant trait (tail regeneration rate) between an all-female polyploid lineage of salamander and a closely related diploid species. Similar to other polyploid taxa, polyploid salamanders regenerate tail tissue at approximately twice the rate of a sympatric diploid species.

    12. Incubation temperature affects development order of morphological features and staging criteria in turtle embryos

      J. Dormer, J. M. Old, J. U. Van Dyke and R.-J. Spencer

      Version of Record online: 27 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12346

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      We tested the effects of temperature on embryological development in a turtle. We found that incubation temperature impacts the order of development of morphological features. This has potential to complicate the use of published embryological staging series.

    13. Sticklebacks show consistent prey share hierarchies within but not between patchy and sequential prey distributions

      D. E. F. Taylor, D. Cownden and M. M. Webster

      Version of Record online: 25 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12350

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      If the outcome of prey competition under different conditions is dependent upon different sets of attributes, then we may expect to see domain-specific prey share hierarchies emerge. Here, we report that within shoals of sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus individual prey share was correlated across pairs of patch- and pairs of drift-foraging trials, but not between the two conditions, suggesting that separate repeatable but independent prey share hierarchies do indeed arise for each type of prey distribution.

    14. Trophic ecology shapes gastrointestinal helminth communities of two sympatric mesopredatory sharks in the Adriatic Sea

      R. Gračan, M. Čulinović, I. Mladineo, G. Lacković and B. Lazar

      Version of Record online: 3 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12336

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      We investigated and compared the structure of parasite communities in two sympatric, commercially exploited sharks. We analysed 188 gastrointestinal tracts from a crustacean-feeder Mustelus punctulatus and 157 gastrointestinal tracts from a piscivorous Squalus acanthias. The overall prevalence of helminth parasites was very high (84.0%) for M. punctulatus with nematode Cucullanus micropapillatus as the most abundant species (mean abundance 13.96) and Anisakis spp. larvae as the most prevalent taxa (47.9%). In contrast, only 21.7% of S. acanthias specimens were infected, with Anisakis spp. larvae as the most prevalent (17.8%) and abundant taxa (mean abundance 0.39). Significant variations in helminth abundance were recorded among size classes and sampling seasons for M. punctulatus, whereas differences in helminth abundance were found only in respect to sex for S. acanthias. Comparison of helminth communities between two species showed greater parasite burden, higher species richness and higher diversity in M. punctulatus than in S. acanthias.

    15. Your tools disappear when you stop eating: phenotypic variation in gizzard mass of eiders

      K. Laursen and A. P. Møller

      Version of Record online: 30 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12337

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      Animals show phenotypic flexibility in their digestive system in response to seasonal changes in diet, activity, metabolic rate and reproduction. Here, we analyzed the mass of the gizzard (gizzard mass without content) in 885 male and 348 female adult common eiders Somateria mollissima shot by Danish hunters during winter and spring in relation to alternating periods of foraging and fasting during reproduction. Individual adult females with large gizzard mass that had larger numbers of mussels in their gizzards were in superior body condition. (Photo credit: Jan Skriver).

    16. Urban population genetics of the invasive black rats in Franceville, Gabon

      J. B. Mangombi, C. Brouat, A. Loiseau, O. Banga, E. M. Leroy, M. Bourgarel and J.-M. Duplantier

      Version of Record online: 30 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12334

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      The invasive black rat Rattus rattus has established commensal populations in most cities of the world. As a reservoir of zoonotic diseases, this species is considered an urban pest and a threat to human health. We characterize for the first time the genetic structure of an urban population of the black rat in Gabon. Our results suggest the occurrence of a large population that is continuously distributed at the scale of the city, which could have implications for control strategies. Effective dispersal is spatially limited to a few hundred meters.

    17. Sexual dimorphism and physiological correlates of horn length in a South African isopod crustacean

      D. S. Glazier, S. Clusella-Trullas and J. S. Terblanche

      Version of Record online: 20 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12338

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      The dorsal horns of the South African horned isopod Deto echinata are significantly longer and scale with body size more steeply in adult males than in adult females and juveniles. Body-length adjusted correlations of male horn length with body condition and resting metabolic rate are consistent with the hypothesis that the sexual dimorphism of horn length in D. echinata is the result of sexual selection and that horn length is a reliable indicator of the ability of a male to acquire and process resources, which in turn may be critical to female mate choice and (or) male-male competition for mates. However, this hypothesis requires further testing based on direct observations of female mate choice and male-male behavioral interactions, which have not yet been carried out.

    18. Blue tales of a blue-tailed lizard: ecological correlates of tail autotomy in Micrablepharus atticolus (Squamata, Gymnophthalmidae) in a Neotropical savannah

      H. C. Sousa, B. M. Costa, C. J. S. Morais, D. L. Pantoja, T. A. de Queiroz, C. R. Vieira and G. R. Colli

      Version of Record online: 17 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12335

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      The lizard Micrablepharus atticolus, endemic to the Brazilian Cerrado, sheds its brightly blue tail to evade predator attacks, a dramatic adaptation to enhance survival. Long-term capture-recapture data indicates that tail autotomy rates in M. atticolus are lower than in many other species with brightly colored tails. Further, rates of tail autotomy covaried with mortality rates, suggesting a more prominent role of predation intensity than predator efficiency, and increased with age, suggesting cumulative effects of predation attempts along the ontogeny. There were no intersexual differences or any effect of breeding activity on autotomy rates. Surprisingly, the energetic costs of tail autotomy were low and individuals compensate tail loss with increased foraging rates. This suite of traits seems tightly associated with M. atticolus small body size, fossorial lifestyle and very short life span.

    19. Does a mouse have a friend? Mixed evidence for individual recognition in the African striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio)

      P. Brunner, I. Schoepf, C. H. Yuen, B. König and C. Schradin

      Version of Record online: 14 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12333

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      Individual recognition, the ability to discriminate between members of a social group according to their distinctive characteristics, has rarely been demonstrated in free-living animals. We show that free-living African striped mice have one preferred social partner, indicating that they have individualized relationships. Future studies will have to test the adaptive function of individualized relationships in African striped mice.

    20. Significance of mate selection and adult sex ratio in tiger reintroduction/reinforcement programs

      P. Anuradha Reddy, K. Ramesh, M. Shekhar Sarkar, A. Srivastava, M. Bhavanishankar and S. Shivaji

      Version of Record online: 11 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12331

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      Reintroduction and reinforcement of locally extinct or declining populations are very important conservation measures for carnivore species like the tiger, in the face of increasingly damaging human activities. Parameters like prey abundance, number of adult females, genetic diversity, physiological stress, efficient execution of translocations and management of anthropogenic activities are mainly taken into consideration, while overlooking the crucial albeit cryptic role of mate selection and sex ratio in the success of such programs. During the course of reintroducing tigers in Panna Tiger Reserve, India, we used a combination of radio-telemetry and genetic data to assess mating interactions and paternity of offspring born in Panna. Our study gives vital insights into the reproductive behavior of tigers and their outcomes, which are extremely relevant to future reintroduction programs.

    21. Socio-genetic structure of short-beaked common dolphins in southern Australia

      N. Zanardo, K. Bilgmann, G. J. Parra and L. M. Möller

      Version of Record online: 11 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12330

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      This study investigated biparental genetic relatedness and potential maternal kinship structure in schools of short-beaked common dolphins Delphinus delphis from southern Australian waters. The results suggest that both biparental relatedness and potentially maternal kinship have an impact on school associations, similar to social traits reported to other dolphin species inhabiting shallow coastal environments. The information provided by this study contributes to our understanding of social evolution in delphinids. It also suggests that dolphin bycatch and deaths in fisheries from this region could lead to a reduction in the genetic diversity of this population, particularly if related individuals are simultaneously killed in the nets.

    22. Distributions of oxytocin and vasopressin 1a receptors in the Taiwan vole and their role in social monogamy

      A. R. Chappell, S. M. Freeman, Y. K. Lin, J. L. LaPrairie, K. Inoue, L. J. Young and L. D. Hayes

      Version of Record online: 1 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12332

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      Neuroanatomical distributions of oxytocin receptor (OTR) and vasopressin 1a receptor (V1aR) binding sites were characterized in naturally occurring populations of Taiwan voles Microtus kikuchii, which allegedly display social monogamy. We live-trapped at two sites in 2009–2010 and preformed receptor autoradiography for OTR and V1aR on brains from 24 animals. OTR binding in two brain regions where OTR signaling regulates pair-bonding were directly compared with that of prairie voles Microtus ochrogaster, the model organism for social monogamy. We found several similarities between Taiwan voles and prairie voles in OTR binding, supporting the hypothesis that Taiwan voles are socially monogamous.

    23. Potential syndromes linking dispersal and reproduction in the hermaphrodite land snail Cornu aspersum

      M. Dahirel, A. Ansart and L. Madec

      Version of Record online: 16 FEB 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12328

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      Energy investment trade-offs between dispersal and reproduction are common in animals with separated sexes. Here, we showed that a hermaphrodite land snail also makes such trade-offs, but only at the expense of the female function, which may affect the evolutionary stability of hermaphroditism. In addition, we found indication that this snail is protandric, going through a male-biased phase during development before becoming hermaphrodite.

  4. Reviews

    1. You have free access to this content
      Revisiting the consequences of cooperative breeding

      J. M. Burkart and C. P. van Schaik

      Version of Record online: 3 FEB 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12322

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      Thornton & McAuliffe (2015) recently questioned the cooperative breeding hypothesis (CBH), i.e. that cooperative breeding has a variety of socio-cognitive consequences. However, the CBH is not merely a modified version of the social brain hypothesis as implied by Thornton & McAuliffe, since it does not claim that a species would have to be particularly smart to engage in cooperative breeding. Rather, the CBH posits that the immediate tasks associated with extensive allomaternal care require motivational proximate mechanisms, such as increased social tolerance and proactive prosociality, which, as a side effect also can facilitate performance in socio-cognitive tasks. Eventually, over evolutionary times this constellation may also, under specific conditions, facilitate increases in brain size. We first clarify these conceptual issues and then address the criticism of the empirical evidence. We conclude that the evidence for the CBH is strong for primates, and future work on other lineages will reveal its generality.

  5. Original Articles

    1. Hatching plasticity in response to salinity levels in a rhacophorid frog inhabiting a coastal area

      T. Haramura

      Version of Record online: 25 JAN 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12323

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      Buergeria japonica is a ground-dwelling rhacophorid frog, and is known to breed in coastal areas. Salinity is a major mortality risk for amphibian eggs, and eggs of this frog are exposed to unexpected salinity fluctuation. To examine whether embryos are able to detect the risk level of egg mortality (salinity) and adjust hatching timing accordingly, embryos are exposed within egg capsules of B. japonica to different salinity levels. When exposed to high salinity, embryos of B. japonica hatched earlier than those exposed to low salinity. Especially, when transferred to salinity levels of 5‰ or more, embryos hatched almost immediately. The present study demonstrated that salinity is one of triggers that induce early hatching in amphibians, and embryos of B. japonica adjust hatching timing based on salinity differences accordingly.


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