Bionomia will be offline 2024-02-25 13:00 UTC for 1 hr to refresh data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.

Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Montana, K. O., V. Ramírez-Castañeda, and R. D. Tarvin. 2023. Are Pacific Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris regilla) Resistant to Tetrodotoxin (TTX)? Characterizing Potential TTX Exposure and Resistance in an Ecological Associate of Pacific Newts (Taricha). Journal of Herpetology 57. https://doi.org/10.1670/22-002

Animals that frequently encounter toxins often develop mechanisms of toxin resistance over evolutionary time. Both predators that consume toxic prey and organisms in physical contact with a toxin in their environment may experience natural selection for resistance. Based on observations that Pacific Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris regilla) sometimes eat and mistakenly amplect tetrodotoxin (TTX)-defended Taricha newts, we predicted that P. regilla may possess TTX resistance. We compared amino acid sequences of domain IV of the muscle voltage-gated sodium channel gene SCN4A (NaV1.4) in populations of P. regilla that are sympatric and allopatric with Taricha. We identified a single substitution in NaV1.4 of P. regilla at a conserved site in the pore loop where TTX binds. Although the role of this site in TTX resistance has not been functionally assessed, both allopatric and sympatric P. regilla had this substitution, along with several other reptiles and amphibians, suggesting that it may be unrelated to TTX exposure from Taricha. Thus, there is no conclusive evidence that P. regilla possesses TTX resistance encoded by amino acid substitutions in this domain. California occurrence data from the last 50 yr indicate that Taricha activity peaks in January while the activity of P. regilla peaks in April, with times where the species may come into contact. However, P. regilla may not be exposed to levels of TTX from Taricha high enough to select for mutations in NaV1.4. Other unidentified mechanisms of TTX resistance could be present in P. regilla and other species sympatric with toxic newts.

Hamer, M., M. Kgatla, and B. Petersen. 2023. An assessment of collection specimen data for South African mountain plants and invertebrates. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa: 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1080/0035919x.2023.2200742

South Africa is considered a megadiverse country, with exceptionally high plant and relatively high animal species richness and endemism. The country’s species have been surveyed and studied for over 200 years, resulting in extensive natural science collections and a vast number of scientific papers and books. This study assessed whether existing data portals provide access to occurrence data and investigated the extent of the data in Global Biodiversity Information Facility and its completeness for plants and selected invertebrate taxa. The main focus was preserved specimen data, but some observation data from iNaturalist were also considered for selected analyses. Records that include species-level identification and co-ordinates were mapped in QGIS to show the coverage of collection localities across the country. The records that fall within the mountain range spatial layer were then extracted and counted to identify density of records per mountain range for various taxa. Forty percent of plant records are from mountain localities, and the Atlantic Cape Fold Mountains had the highest density of records. Table Mountain has been extensively collected for plants and invertebrates. A large proportion of the records for invertebrates lacked species-level identification and co-ordinates, resulting in a low number of records for analyses. The accessible data are only a relatively small subset of existing collections, and digitisation and data upgrading is considered a high priority before collecting gaps can be addressed by targeted surveys.

Hedrick, B. P., A. Estrada, C. Sutherland, and A. M. Barbosa. 2023. Projected northward shifts in eastern red‐backed salamanders due to changing climate. Ecology and Evolution 13. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.9999

Many species' distributions are being impacted by the acceleration of climate change. Amphibians in particular serve numerous ecosystem functions and are useful indicators of environmental change. Understanding how their distributions have been impacted by climate change and will continue to be impacted is thus important to overall ecosystem health. Plethodon cinereus (Eastern Red‐Backed Salamander) is a widespread species of lungless salamander (Plethodontidae) that ranges across northeastern North America. To better understand future potential lungless salamander range shifts, we quantify environmental favorability, the likelihood of membership in a set of sites where environmental conditions are favorable for a species, for P. cinereus in multiple time periods, and examine shifts in the species' distribution. First, utilizing a large data set of georeferenced records, we assessed which bioclimatic variables were associated with environmental favorability in P. cinereus. We then used species distribution modeling for two time periods (1961–1980 and 2001–2020) to determine whether there was a regional shift in environmental favorability in the past 60 years. Models were then used to project future distributions under eight climate change scenarios to quantify potential range shifts. Shifts were assessed using fuzzy logic, avoiding thresholds that oversimplify model predictions into artificial binary outputs. We found that P. cinereus presence is strongly associated with environmental stability. There has been a substantial northward shift in environmental favorability for P. cinereus between 1961–1980 and 2001–2020. This shift is predicted to continue by 2070, with larger shifts under higher greenhouse gas emission scenarios. As climate change accelerates, it is differentially impacting species but has especially strong impacts on dispersal‐limited species. Our results show substantial northward shifts in climatic favorability in the last 60 years for P. cinereus, which are likely to be exacerbated by ongoing climate change. Since P. cinereus is dispersal‐limited, these models may imply local extirpations along the southern modern range with limited northward dispersal. Continued monitoring of amphibians in the field will reveal microclimatic effects associated with climate change and the accuracy of the model predictions presented here.

Huber, B. A., G. Meng, J. Král, I. M. Ávila Herrera, M. A. Izquierdo, and L. S. Carvalho. 2023. High and dry: integrative taxonomy of the Andean spider genus Nerudia (Araneae: Pholcidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. https://doi.org/10.1093/zoolinnean/zlac100

Abstract Ninetinae are a group of poorly known spiders that do not fit the image of ‘daddy long-legs spiders’ (Pholcidae), the family to which they belong. They are mostly short-legged, tiny and live in arid environments. The previously monotypic Andean genus Nerudia exemplifies our poor knowledge of Ninetinae: only seven adult specimens from two localities in Chile and Argentina have been reported in the literature. We found representatives of Nerudia at 24 of 52 localities visited in 2019, mostly under rocks in arid habitats, up to 4450 m a.s.l., the highest known record for Pholcidae. With now more than 400 adult specimens, we revise the genus, describing ten new species based on morphology (including SEM) and COI barcodes. We present the first karyotype data for Nerudia and for its putative sister-genus Gertschiola. These two southern South American genera share a X1X2X3Y sex chromosome system. We model the distribution of Nerudia, showing that the genus is expected to occur in the Atacama biogeographic province (no record so far) and that its environmental niche is phylogenetically conserved. This is the first comprehensive revision of any Ninetinae genus. It suggests that focused collecting may uncover a considerable diversity of these enigmatic spiders.

Hausdorf, B. 2023. Distribution patterns of established alien land snail species in the Western Palaearctic Region. NeoBiota 81: 1–32. https://doi.org/10.3897/neobiota.81.96360

AbstractEstablished alien land snail species that were introduced into the Western Palaearctic Region from other regions and their spread in the Western Palaearctic are reviewed. Thirteen of the 22 species came from North America, three from Sub-Saharan Africa, two from the Australian region, three probably from the Oriental Region and one from South America. The establishment of outdoor populations of these species was usually first seen at the western or southern rims of the Western Palearctic. Within Europe, the alien species usually spread from south to north and from west to east. The latitudinal ranges of the alien species significantly increased with increasing time since the first record of introduction to the Western Palearctic. The latitudinal mid-points of the Western Palaearctic and native ranges of the species are significantly correlated when one outlier is omitted. There is a general trend of poleward shifts of the ranges of the species in the Western Palaearctic compared to their native ranges. There are three reasons for these shifts: (1) the northward expansion of some species in Western Europe facilitated by the oceanic climate, (2) the impediment to the colonisation of southern latitudes in the Western Palaearctic due to their aridity and (3) the establishment of tropical species in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Most of the species are small, not carnivorous and unlikely to cause serious ecological or economic damage. In contrast, the recently introduced large veronicellid slugs from Sub-Saharan Africa and the giant African snail Lissachatinafulica could cause economic damage in irrigated agricultural areas or greenhouses in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Radomski, T., S. R. Kuchta, and K. H. Kozak. 2022. Post‐Pleistocene dispersal explains the Rapoport effect in North American salamanders. Journal of Biogeography 49: 1048–1060. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14361

Aims In many taxa, the latitudinal span of species' geographic ranges are positively correlated with median latitude (the Rapoport effect). This correlation is frequently explained as adaptation to contemporary climate; however, variability in post-glacial range expansion among species could also explain this observation. We analyse geographic data for North American salamanders to test the potential causes of Rapoport effects. Location Temperate North America. Taxon Salamanders (order Caudata). Methods We tested for a Rapoport effect by estimating correlations between the latitudinal midpoint and latitudinal range among species. Next, we manipulated species' latitudinal ranges by removing post-glacial habitat and assessing the impact of species demonstrating post-glacial range expansion in forming a Rapoport effect. We built ecological niche models for species found south of the Wisconsin Ice Sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum and transferred these models to post-glacial areas. If dispersal is important in forming a Rapoport effect, then some species may tolerate northern climates but have not expanded northward as a result of variation in geographic access to post-glacial habitats. We created binary ecological niche models by thresholding using the equal sensitivity and specificity value. Results We recovered a Rapoport effect that was robust to the null models we tested. Analyses that manipulated ranges and species pools supported a role for variation in post-glacial range expansion among species, especially for eastern North America. Results from transferring ecological niche models indicated that species have suitable habitat north of their range limit. Main conclusions Variation in post-glacial range expansion is important in shaping geographic range size clines among species in areas where climates changed rapidly, though we also found support for the climatic variability hypothesis. Post-glacial colonization and range expansion likely plays an important role in forming latitudinal biodiversity gradients in northern taxa. While ecophysiology and biotic interactions have been emphasized as important contributors to diversity gradients, our study indicates that post-glacial colonization also plays a key role in forming latitudinal gradients.

Deka, M. A. 2022. Predictive Risk Mapping of Schistosomiasis in Madagascar Using Ecological Niche Modeling and Precision Mapping. Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease 7: 15. https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed7020015

Schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) found throughout tropical and subtropical Africa. In Madagascar, the condition is widespread and endemic in 74% of all administrative districts in the country. Despite the significant burden of the disease, high-resolution risk maps have yet to b…

López González, C. A., N. Hernández-Camacho, G. Aguilar-Tipacamú, S. Zamora-Ledesma, A. M. Olvera-Ramírez, and R. W. Jones. 2021. Gap Analysis of the Habitat Interface of Ticks and Wildlife in Mexico. Pathogens 10: 1541. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10121541

Mexico is a highly diverse country where ticks and tick-borne diseases (TBD) directly impact the health of humans and domestic and wild animals. Ticks of the genera Rhipicephalus spp., Amblyomma spp., and Ixodes spp. represent the most important species in terms of host parasitism and geographical d…

Sharifian, S., E. Kamrani, and H. Saeedi. 2021. Insights toward the future potential distribution of mangrove crabs in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 59: 1620–1631. https://doi.org/10.1111/jzs.12532

Mangroves are an ideal habitat for brachyuran crabs because of nutritional and shelter support. Using maximum entropy (MaxEnt) modeling technique, we projected the potential global distributions of 10 dominant species of mangrove crabs from the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman under future climate c…

Arfianti, T., and M. J. Costello. 2021. The distribution of benthic amphipod crustaceans in Indonesian seas. PeerJ 9: e12054. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.12054

Amphipod crustaceans are an essential component of tropical marine biodiversity. However, their distribution and biogeography have not been analysed in one of the world’s largest tropical countries nested in the Coral Triangle, Indonesia. We collected and identified amphipod crustaceans from eight s…