• The increased sensitivity of qPCR in comparison to Kato-Katz is required for the accurate assessment of the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth infection in settings that have received multiple rounds of mass drug administration

      Dunn, JC; PAPAIAKOVOU, MARINA; Han, KT; Chooneea, D; Bettis, AA; Wyine, NY; Lwin, AMM; Maung, NS; Misra, Raju; Littlewood, T; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-06-24)
      Background The most commonly used diagnostic tool for soil-transmitted helminths (STH) is the Kato-Katz (KK) thick smear technique. However, numerous studies have suggested that the sensitivity of KK can be problematic, especially in low prevalence and low intensity settings. An emerging alternative is quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Methods In this study, both KK and qPCR were conducted on stool samples from 648 participants in an STH epidemiology study conducted in the delta region of Myanmar in June 2016. Results Prevalence of any STH was 20.68% by KK and 45.06% by qPCR. Prevalence of each individual STH was also higher by qPCR than KK, the biggest difference was for hookworm with an approximately 4-fold increase between the two diagnostic techniques. Prevalence of Ancylostoma ceylanicum, a parasite predominately found in dogs, was 4.63%, indicating that there is the possibility of zoonotic transmission in the study setting. In individuals with moderate to high intensity infections there is evidence for a linear relationship between eggs per gram (EPG) of faeces, derived from KK, and DNA copy number, derived from qPCR which is particularly strong for Ascaris lumbricoides. Conclusions The use of qPCR in low prevalence settings is important to accurately assess the epidemiological situation and plan control strategies for the ‘end game’. However, more work is required to accurately assess STH intensity from qPCR results and to reduce the cost of qPCR so that is widely accessible in STH endemic countries.
    • XIX International Botanical Congress, Shenzhen: report of the Nomenclature Section, 17th to 21st July 2017

      Lindon, HL; Hartley, H; Knapp, S; M. Monro, A; Turland, NJ (Pensoft Publishers, 2020-06-08)
    • The potential of the solitary parasitoid Microctonus brassicae for the biological control of the adult cabbage stem flea beetle, Psylliodes chrysocephala

      Jordan, A; Broad, G; Stigenberg, J; Hughes, J; Stone, J; Bedford, I; Penfield, S; Wells, R (Wiley, 2020-05-15)
      The cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB), Psylliodes chrysocephala L. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), is a major pest of oilseed rape, Brassica napus L. (Brassicaceae), within the UK and continental Europe. Following the withdrawal of many broad‐spectrum pesticides, most importantly neonicotinoids, and with increased incidence of pyrethroid resistance, few chemical control options remain, resulting in the need for alternative pest management strategies. We identified the parasitoid wasp Microctonus brassicae (Haeselbarth) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) within CSFB collected from three independent sites in Norfolk, UK. Parasitism of adult CSFB was confirmed, and wasp oviposition behaviour was described. Moreover, we show that within captive colonies parasitism rates are sufficient to generate significant biological control of CSFB populations. A sequence of the M. brassicae mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase 1 (MT‐CO1) gene was generated for rapid future identification. Moroccan specimens of Microctonus aethiopoides (Loan), possessing 90% sequence similarity, were the closest identified sequenced species. This study represents the first description published in English of this parasitoid of the adult cabbage stem flea beetle.
    • Molecular circumscription of new species of Gyrocotyle Diesing, 1850 (Cestoda) from deep-sea chimaeriform holocephalans in the North Atlantic

      Bray, RA; Waeschenbach, A; Littlewood, T; Halvorsen, O; Olson, PD (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-04-23)
      Chimaeras, or ratfishes, are the only extant group of holocephalan fishes and are the sole host group of gyrocotylidean cestodes, which represent a sister group of the true tapeworms (Eucestoda). These unique, non-segmented cestodes have been known since the 1850s and multiple species and genera have been erected despite a general agreement that the delineation of species on the basis of morphology is effectively impossible. Thus, in the absence of molecular studies, the validity of gyrocotylid taxa and their specific host associations has remained highly speculative. Here we report the presence of Gyrocotyle spp. from rarely-caught deep-sea chimaeras collected in the North-East Atlantic, and describe two new species: G. haffii n. sp. from the bent-nose chimaera, Harriota raleighana Goode & Bean, and G. discoveryi n. sp. from the large-eyed rabbit fish, Hydrolagus mirabilis (Collett). Nuclear ribosomal sequence data were generated for individual parasites taken from different host species collected on different dates and from different localities and were combined with previously published sequences. Phylogenetic analyses supported the recognition of independent lineages and clusters, indicative of species, but were indecisive in recovering the root of the tree in analyses that included non-gyrocotylid outgroup taxa. The molecular data reveal variation not reflected in morphology and point to a complex picture of genetic divergence shaped by both isolation and migration in the deep-sea environment.
    • Environmental control on the distribution of metabolic strategies of benthic microbial mats in Lake Fryxell, Antarctica

      Dillon, ML; Hawes, I; Jungblut, Anne D.; Mackey, TJ; Eisen, JA; Doran, PT; Sumner, DY (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2020-04-13)
      Ecological theories posit that heterogeneity in environmental conditions greatly affects community structure and function. However, the degree to which ecological theory developed using plant- and animal-dominated systems applies to microbiomes is unclear. Investigating the metabolic strategies found in microbiomes are particularly informative for testing the universality of ecological theories because microorganisms have far wider metabolic capacity than plants and animals. We used metagenomic analyses to explore the relationships between the energy and physicochemical gradients in Lake Fryxell and the metabolic capacity of its benthic microbiome. Statistical analysis of the relative abundance of metabolic marker genes and gene family diversity shows that oxygenic photosynthesis, carbon fixation, and flavin-based electron bifurcation differentiate mats growing in different environmental conditions. The pattern of gene family diversity points to the likely importance of temporal environmental heterogeneity in addition to resource gradients. Overall, we found that the environmental heterogeneity of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and oxygen concentration ([O2]) in Lake Fryxell provide the framework by which metabolic diversity and composition of the community is structured, in accordance with its phylogenetic structure. The organization of the resulting microbial ecosystems are consistent with the maximum power principle and the species sorting model.
    • New names and status for Pacific spiny species of Solanum (Solanaceae, subgenus Leptostemonum Bitter; the Leptostemonum Clade)

      McClelland, DHR; Nee, M; Knapp, S (Pensoft Publishers, 2020-04-10)
      Five new species of spiny solanums (Solanum subgenus Leptostemonum Bitter; the Leptostemonum Clade) are described from the islands of the Pacific. Two of the new species are from Fiji (S. pseudopedunculatum D.McClelland, sp. nov. and S. ratale D.McClelland, sp. nov.), two from New Caledonia (S. memoayanum D.McClelland, sp. nov. and S. semisucculentum D.McClelland, sp. nov.), one from Papua New Guinea (S. labyrinthinum D.McClelland, sp. nov.) and another from Vanuatu (S. vanuatuense D.McClelland, sp. nov.). A new status and combination is provided for the rare Hawaiian endemic S. caumii (F.Br.) D.McClelland, comb. et stat. nov. and a new type designated for S. peekelii Bitter of Papua New Guinea, for which a description is also provided. All species are illustrated with digitized herbarium specimens, mapped and have been assigned a preliminary conservation status using current IUCN guidelines. Details of all specimens examined are provided in a Suppl. materials 1: file SM1.
    • The mitogenome of a Malagasy butterfly Malaza fastuosus (Mabille, 1884) recovered from the holotype collected over 140 years ago adds support for a new subfamily of Hesperiidae (Lepidoptera)

      Zhang, J; Lees, David; Shen, J; Cong, Q; Huertas, B; Martin, G; Grishin, NV (Canadian Science Publishing, 2020-04)
      Malaza fastuosus is a lavishly patterned skipper butterfly from a genus that has three described species, all endemic to the mainland of Madagascar. To our knowledge, M. fastuosus has not been collected for nearly 50 years. To evaluate the power of our techniques to recover DNA, we used a single foreleg of an at least 140-year-old holotype specimen from the collection of the Natural History Museum London with no destruction of external morphology to extract DNA and assemble a complete mitogenome from next generation sequencing reads. The resulting 15 540 bp mitogenome contains 13 protein-coding genes, 22 transfer RNA genes, two ribosomal RNA genes, and an A+T rich region, similarly to other Lepidoptera mitogenomes. Here we provide the first mitogenome also for Trapezitinae (Rachelia extrusus). Phylogenetic analysis of available skipper mitogenomes places Malaza outside of Trapezitinae and Barcinae + Hesperiinae, with a possible sister relationship to Heteropterinae. Of these, at least Heteropterinae, Trapezitinae, and almost all Hesperiinae have monocot-feeding caterpillars. Malaza appears to be an evolutionarily highly distinct ancient lineage, morphologically with several unusual hesperiid features. The monotypic subfamily Malazinae Lees & Grishin subfam. nov. (type genus Malaza) is proposed to reflect this morphological and molecular evidence.
    • Marine hotspots of activity inform protection of a threatened community of pelagic species in a large oceanic jurisdiction

      Requena, S; Oppel, S; Bond, AL; Hall, J; Cleeland, J; Crawford, RJM; Davies, D; Dilley, BJ; Glass, T; Makhado, A; et al. (Wiley, 2020-03-25)
      Remote oceanic islands harbour unique biodiversity, especially of species that rely on the marine trophic resources around their breeding islands. Identifying marine areas used by such species is essential to manage and limit processes that threaten these species. The Tristan da Cunha territory in the South Atlantic Ocean hosts several endemic and globally threatened seabirds, and pinnipeds; how they use the waters surrounding the islands must be considered when planning commercial activities. To inform marine management in the Tristan da Cunha Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), we identified statistically significant areas of concentrated activity by collating animal tracking data from nine seabirds and one marine mammal. We first calculated the time that breeding adults of the tracked species spent in 10 × 10 km cells within the EEZ, for each of four seasons to account for temporal variability in space use. By applying a spatial aggregation statistic over these grids for each season, we detected areas that are used more than expected by chance. Most of the activity hotspots were either within 100 km of breeding colonies or were associated with seamounts, being spatially constant across several seasons. Our simple and effective approach highlights important areas for pelagic biodiversity that will benefit conservation planning and marine management strategies.
    • Annotated and illustrated world checklist of Microgastrinae parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera, Braconidae)

      Fernandez-Triana, J; Shaw, MR; Boudreault, C; Beaudin, M; Broad, G (Pensoft Publishers, 2020-03-23)
      A checklist of world species of Microgastrinae parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is provided. A total of 81 genera and 2,999 extant species are recognized as valid, including 36 nominal species that are currently considered as species inquirendae. Two genera are synonymized under Apanteles. Nine lectotypes are designated. A total of 318 new combinations, three new replacement names, three species name amendments, and seven species status revised are proposed. Additionally, three species names are treated as nomina dubia, and 52 species names are considered as unavailable names (including 14 as nomina nuda). A total of three extinct genera and 12 extinct species are also listed. Unlike in many previous treatments of the subfamily, tribal concepts are judged to be inadequate, so genera are listed alphabetically. Brief diagnoses of all Microgastrinae genera, as understood in this paper, are presented. Illustrations of all extant genera (at least one species per genus, usually more) are included to showcase morphological diversity. Primary types of Microgastrinae are deposited in 108 institutions worldwide, although 76% are concentrated in 17 collections. Localities of primary types, in 138 countries, are reported. Recorded species distributions are listed by biogeographical region and by country. Microgastrine wasps are recorded from all continents except Antarctica; specimens can be found in all major terrestrial ecosystems, from 82°N to 55°S, and from sea level up to at least 4,500 m a.s.l. The Oriental (46) and Neotropical (43) regions have the largest number of genera recorded, whereas the Palaearctic region (28) is the least diverse. Currently, the highest species richness is in the Palearctic region (827), due to more historical study there, followed by the Neotropical (768) and Oriental (752) regions, which are expected to be the most species rich. Based on ratios of Lepidoptera and Microgastrinae species from several areas, the actual world diversity of Microgastrinae is expected to be between 30,000–50,000 species; although these ratios were mostly based on data from temperate areas and thus must be treated with caution, the single tropical area included had a similar ratio to the temperate ones. Almost 45,000 specimens of Microgastrinae from 67 different genera (83% of microgastrine genera) have complete or partial DNA barcode sequences deposited in the Barcode of Life Data System; the DNA barcodes represent 3,545 putative species or Barcode Index Numbers (BINs), as estimated from the molecular data. Information on the number of sequences and BINs per genus are detailed in the checklist. Microgastrinae hosts are here considered to be restricted to Eulepidoptera, i.e., most of the Lepidoptera except for the four most basal superfamilies (Micropterigoidea, Eriocranioidea, Hepialoidea and Nepticuloidea), with all previous literature records of other insect orders and those primitive Lepidoptera lineages being considered incorrect. The following nomenclatural acts are proposed: 1) Two genera are synonymyzed under Apanteles: Cecidobracon Kieffer & Jörgensen, 1910, new synonym and Holcapanteles Cameron, 1905, new synonym; 2) Nine lectotype designations are made for Alphomelon disputabile (Ashmead, 1900), Alphomelon nigriceps (Ashmead, 1900), Cotesia salebrosa (Marshall, 1885), Diolcogaster xanthaspis (Ashmead, 1900), Dolichogenidea ononidis (Marshall, 1889), Glyptapanteles acraeae (Wilkinson, 1932), Glyptapanteles guyanensis (Cameron, 1911), Glyptapanteles militaris (Walsh, 1861), and Pseudapanteles annulicornis Ashmead, 1900; 3) Three new replacement names are a) Diolcogaster aurangabadensis Fernandez-Triana, replacing Diolcogaster indicus (Rao & Chalikwar, 1970) [nec Diolcogaster indicus (Wilkinson, 1927)], b) Dolichogenidea incystatae Fernandez-Triana, replacing Dolichogenidea lobesia Liu & Chen, 2019 [nec Dolichogenidea lobesia Fagan-Jeffries & Austin, 2019], and c) Microplitis vitobiasi Fernandez-Triana, replacing Microplitis variicolor Tobias, 1964 [nec Microplitis varicolor Viereck, 1917]; 4) Three names amended are Apanteles irenecarrilloae Fernandez-Triana, 2014, Cotesia ayerzai (Brèthes, 1920), and Cotesia riverai (Porter, 1916); 5) Seven species have their status revised: Cotesia arctica (Thomson, 1895), Cotesia okamotoi (Watanabe, 1921), Cotesia ukrainica (Tobias, 1986), Dolichogenidea appellator (Telenga, 1949), Dolichogenidea murinanae (Capek & Zwölfer, 1957), Hypomicrogaster acarnas Nixon, 1965, and Nyereria nigricoxis (Wilkinson, 1932); 6) New combinations are given for 318 species: Alloplitis congensis, Alloplitis detractus, Apanteles asphondyliae, Apanteles braziliensis, Apanteles sulciscutis, Choeras aper, Choeras apollion, Choeras daphne, Choeras fomes, Choeras gerontius, Choeras helle, Choeras irates, Choeras libanius, Choeras longiterebrus, Choeras loretta, Choeras recusans, Choeras sordidus, Choeras stenoterga, Choeras superbus, Choeras sylleptae, Choeras vacillatrix, Choeras vacillatropsis, Choeras venilia, Cotesia asavari, Cotesia bactriana, Cotesia bambeytripla, Cotesia berberidis, Cotesia bhairavi, Cotesia biezankoi, Cotesia bifida, Cotesia caligophagus, Cotesia cheesmanae, Cotesia compressithorax, Cotesia delphinensis, Cotesia effrena, Cotesia euphobetri, Cotesia elaeodes, Cotesia endii, Cotesia euthaliae, Cotesia exelastisae, Cotesia hiberniae, Cotesia hyperion, Cotesia hypopygialis, Cotesia hypsipylae, Cotesia jujubae, Cotesia lesbiae, Cotesia levigaster, Cotesia lizeri, Cotesia malevola, Cotesia malshri, Cotesia menezesi, Cotesia muzaffarensis, Cotesia neptisis, Cotesia nycteus, Cotesia oeceticola, Cotesia oppidicola, Cotesia opsiphanis, Cotesia pachkuriae, Cotesia paludicolae, Cotesia parbhanii, Cotesia parvicornis, Cotesia pratapae, Cotesia prozorovi, Cotesia pterophoriphagus, Cotesia radiarytensis, Cotesia rangii, Cotesia riverai, Cotesia ruficoxis, Cotesia senegalensis, Cotesia seyali, Cotesia sphenarchi, Cotesia sphingivora, Cotesia transuta, Cotesia turkestanica, Diolcogaster abengouroui, Diolcogaster agama, Diolcogaster ambositrensis, Diolcogaster anandra, Diolcogaster annulata, Diolcogaster bambeyi, Diolcogaster bicolorina, Diolcogaster cariniger, Diolcogaster cincticornis, Diolcogaster cingulata, Diolcogaster coronata, Diolcogaster coxalis, Diolcogaster dipika, Diolcogaster earina, Diolcogaster epectina, Diolcogaster epectinopsis, Diolcogaster grangeri, Diolcogaster heterocera, Diolcogaster homocera, Diolcogaster indica, Diolcogaster insularis, Diolcogaster kivuana, Diolcogaster mediosulcata, Diolcogaster megaulax, Diolcogaster neglecta, Diolcogaster nigromacula, Diolcogaster palpicolor, Diolcogaster persimilis, Diolcogaster plecopterae, Diolcogaster plutocongoensis, Diolcogaster psilocnema, Diolcogaster rufithorax, Diolcogaster semirufa, Diolcogaster seyrigi, Diolcogaster subtorquata, Diolcogaster sulcata, Diolcogaster torquatiger, Diolcogaster tristiculus, Diolcogaster turneri, Diolcogaster vulcana, Diolcogaster wittei, Distatrix anthedon, Distatrix cerales, Distatrix cuspidalis, Distatrix euproctidis, Distatrix flava, Distatrix geometrivora, Distatrix maia, Distatrix tookei, Distatrix termina, Distatrix simulissima, Dolichogenidea agamedes, Dolichogenidea aluella, Dolichogenidea argiope, Dolichogenidea atreus, Dolichogenidea bakeri, Dolichogenidea basiflava, Dolichogenidea bersa, Dolichogenidea biplagae, Dolichogenidea bisulcata, Dolichogenidea catonix, Dolichogenidea chrysis, Dolichogenidea coffea, Dolichogenidea coretas, Dolichogenidea cyane, Dolichogenidea diaphantus, Dolichogenidea diparopsidis, Dolichogenidea dryas, Dolichogenidea earterus, Dolichogenidea ensiger, Dolichogenidea eros, Dolichogenidea evadne, Dolichogenidea falcator, Dolichogenidea gelechiidivoris, Dolichogenidea gobica, Dolichogenidea hyalinis, Dolichogenidea iriarte, Dolichogenidea lakhaensis, Dolichogenidea lampe, Dolichogenidea laspeyresiella, Dolichogenidea latistigma, Dolichogenidea lebene, Dolichogenidea lucidinervis, Dolichogenidea malacosomae, Dolichogenidea maro, Dolichogenidea mendosae, Dolichogenidea monticola, Dolichogenidea nigra, Dolichogenidea olivierellae, Dolichogenidea parallelis, Dolichogenidea pelopea, Dolichogenidea pelops, Dolichogenidea phaenna, Dolichogenidea pisenor, Dolichogenidea roepkei, Dolichogenidea scabra, Dolichogenidea statius, Dolichogenidea stenotelas, Dolichogenidea striata, Dolichogenidea wittei, Exoryza asotae, Exoryza belippicola, Exoryza hylas, Exoryza megagaster, Exoryza oryzae, Glyptapanteles aggestus, Glyptapanteles agynus, Glyptapanteles aithos, Glyptapanteles amenophis, Glyptapanteles antarctiae, Glyptapanteles anubis, Glyptapanteles arginae, Glyptapanteles argus, Glyptapanteles atylana, Glyptapanteles badgleyi, Glyptapanteles bataviensis, Glyptapanteles bistonis, Glyptapanteles borocerae, Glyptapanteles cacao, Glyptapanteles cadei, Glyptapanteles cinyras, Glyptapanteles eryphanidis, Glyptapanteles euproctisiphagus, Glyptapanteles eutelus, Glyptapanteles fabiae, Glyptapanteles fulvigaster, Glyptapanteles fuscinervis, Glyptapanteles gahinga, Glyptapanteles globatus, Glyptapanteles glyphodes, Glyptapanteles guierae, Glyptapanteles horus, Glyptapanteles intricatus, Glyptapanteles lamprosemae, Glyptapanteles lefevrei, Glyptapanteles leucotretae, Glyptapanteles lissopleurus, Glyptapanteles madecassus, Glyptapanteles marquesi, Glyptapanteles melanotus, Glyptapanteles melissus, Glyptapanteles merope, Glyptapanteles naromae, Glyptapanteles nepitae, Glyptapanteles nigrescens, Glyptapanteles ninus, Glyptapanteles nkuli, Glyptapanteles parasundanus, Glyptapanteles penelope, Glyptapanteles penthocratus, Glyptapanteles philippinensis, Glyptapanteles philocampus, Glyptapanteles phoebe, Glyptapanteles phytometraduplus, Glyptapanteles propylae, Glyptapanteles puera, Glyptapanteles seydeli, Glyptapanteles siderion, Glyptapanteles simus, Glyptapanteles speciosissimus, Glyptapanteles spilosomae, Glyptapanteles subpunctatus, Glyptapanteles thespis, Glyptapanteles thoseae, Glyptapanteles venustus, Glyptapanteles wilkinsoni, Hypomicrogaster samarshalli, Iconella cajani, Iconella detrectans, Iconella jason, Iconella lynceus, Iconella pyrene, Iconella tedanius, Illidops azamgarhensis, Illidops lamprosemae, Illidops trabea, Keylimepie striatus, Microplitis adisurae, Microplitis mexicanus, Neoclarkinella ariadne, Neoclarkinella curvinervus, Neoclarkinella sundana, Nyereria ituriensis, Nyereria nioro, Nyereria proagynus, Nyereria taoi, Nyereria vallatae, Parapanteles aethiopicus, Parapanteles alternatus, Parapanteles aso, Parapanteles atellae, Parapanteles bagicha, Parapanteles cleo, Parapanteles cyclorhaphus, Parapanteles demades, Parapanteles endymion, Parapanteles epiplemicidus, Parapanteles expulsus, Parapanteles fallax, Parapanteles folia, Parapanteles furax, Parapanteles hemitheae, Parapanteles hyposidrae, Parapanteles indicus, Parapanteles javensis, Parapanteles jhaverii, Parapanteles maculipalpis, Parapanteles maynei, Parapanteles neocajani, Parapanteles neohyblaeae, Parapanteles nydia, Parapanteles prosper, Parapanteles prosymna, Parapanteles punctatissimus, Parapanteles regalis, Parapanteles sarpedon, Parapanteles sartamus, Parapanteles scultena, Parapanteles transvaalensis, Parapanteles turri, Parapanteles xanthopholis, Pholetesor acutus, Pholetesor brevivalvatus, Pholetesor extentus, Pholetesor ingenuoides, Pholetesor kuwayamai, Promicrogaster apidanus, Promicrogaster briareus, Promicrogaster conopiae, Promicrogaster emesa, Promicrogaster grandicula, Promicrogaster orsedice, Promicrogaster repleta, Promicrogaster typhon, Sathon bekilyensis, Sathon flavofacialis, Sathon laurae, Sathon mikeno, Sathon ruandanus, Sathon rufotestaceus, Venanides astydamia, Venanides demeter, Venanides parmula, and Venanides symmysta.
    • Oil Vulnerability Index, Impact on Arctic Bird Populations (Proposing a Method for Calculating an Oil Vulnerability Index for the Arctic Seabirds)

      O’Hanlon, NJ; Bond, AL; James, NA; Masden, EA (Springer International Publishing, 2020-03-07)
      In recent decades, political and commercial interest in the Arctic’s resources has increased dramatically. With the projected increase in shipping activity and hydrocarbon extraction, there is an increased risk to marine habitats and organisms. This comes with concomitant threats to the fragile Arctic environment especially from oil, whether from shipping accidents, pipeline leaks, or sub-surface well blowouts. Seabirds are among the most threatened group of birds, and the main threats to these species at-sea are commercial fishing and pollution. Seabirds are vulnerable to oil pollution, which can result in mass mortality events. Species are affected to a differing extent, therefore it is important to objectively predict which species are most at risk from oil spills and where. Assessing the vulnerability of seabirds to oil is achieved through establishing an index for the sensitivity of seabirds to oil – Oil Vulnerability Index (OVI). This incorporates spatial information on the distribution and density of birds as well as on species specific behaviours and other life history characteristics. This chapter focuses on the threat of oil to seabirds, especially in the Arctic, and how an OVI can be used to highlight which species are most at risk and where within the Arctic region.
    • Relationships between mercury burden, sex, and sexually selected feather ornaments in crested auklet (Aethia cristatella)

      Bond, AL; Jones, IL (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-03-04)
      Individuals with higher contaminant burdens are expected to be in poorer physical health and be of lower individual body condition and energetic status, potentially resulting in reduced ornamentation or increased asymmetry in bilateral features. The degree and magnitude of this effect also would be expected to vary by sex, as female birds depurate contaminants into eggs. We tested for relationships among mercury in feathers, sex, and elaborate feather ornaments that relate to individual quality in crested auklets (Aethia cristatella), small planktivorous seabirds in the North Pacific Ocean. We found no relationships between mercury and the size of individuals’ forehead crest or degree of measurement asymmetry in auricular plumes, both of which are favoured by intersexual selection. Females had significantly greater mercury concentrations than males (females. 1.02 ± 0.39 μg/g; males, 0.75 ± 0.32 μg/g); but concentrations were below that known to have physiological effects, as expected for a secondary consumer. Sex differences in overwintering area for this long-distance migrant species (more females in the Kuroshio Current Large Marine Ecosystem than males) could be the reason for this seemingly counterintuitive result between sexes. Further research relating mercury burden to overwintering ecology and diet contents would build on our results and further elucidate interrelationships between sex, sexually selected feather ornaments and contaminant burden.
    • A revision of Peltariosilis Wittmer (Coleoptera: Cantharidae), a surprisingly diverse Amazonian radiation

      Biffi, G; Geiser, M (Universidade de São Paulo (USP), 2020-02-28)
      Peltariosilis Wittmer, 1952 is a South American Silinae genus characterised by the highly modified male pronotum and scutellum with a remarkable lamellar projection. Six species were previously recognised. The study of numerous specimens from previously unsampled localities and the revision of previously studied material shows that Peltariosilis is far more diverse than previously recognised. 15 species are here recognised as valid, nine of which are described as new: P. brancuccii, P. brunneoapicalis, P. cleidecostae, P. diversicollis, P. flavicornis, P. gracilicornis, P. major, P. orientalis and P. parviscutellaris spp. nov. A comparative study and new morphological terminologies are introduced for pronotum, scutellum and male genitalia. All Peltariosilis species are described and illustrated, including the first illustration of a female pronotum, and an identification key is provided. A map is given, including records of all known Peltariosilis, showing a distribution confined to the Amazonian subregion (Suriname, French Guiana, N Brazil, E Peru and NE Bolivia). The identity of the type species P. scutulata (Wittmer, 1952), hitherto considered as broadly distributed and highly variable, is addressed through study of their type series and additional specimens from widespread localities.
    • The genome sequence of the Eurasian river otter, Lutra lutra Linnaeus 1758

      Mead, D; Hailer, F; Chadwick, E; PORTELA MIGUEZ, ROBERTO; Smith, M; Corton, C; Oliver, K; Skelton, J; Betteridge, E; Doulcan, JD; et al. (F1000 Research Ltd, 2020-02-19)
      We present a genome assembly from an individual male Lutra lutra (the Eurasian river otter; Vertebrata; Mammalia; Eutheria; Carnivora; Mustelidae). The genome sequence is 2.44 gigabases in span. The majority of the assembly is scaffolded into 20 chromosomal pseudomolecules, with both X and Y sex chromosomes assembled.
    • Reproductive phenotype predicts adult bite-force performance in sex-reversed dragons (Pogona vitticeps )

      Jones, MEH; Pistevos, JCA; Cooper, N; Lappin, AK; Georges, A; Hutchinson, MN; Holleley, CE (Wiley, 2020-02-14)
      Sex‐related differences in morphology and behavior are well documented, but the relative contributions of genes and environment to these traits are less well understood. Species that undergo sex reversal, such as the central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps), offer an opportunity to better understand sexually dimorphic traits because sexual phenotypes can exist on different chromosomal backgrounds. Reproductively female dragons with a discordant sex chromosome complement (sex reversed), at least as juveniles, exhibit traits in common with males (e.g., longer tails and greater boldness). However, the impact of sex reversal on sexually dimorphic traits in adult dragons is unknown. Here, we investigate the effect of sex reversal on bite‐force performance, which may be important in resource acquisition (e.g., mates and/or food). We measured body size, head size, and bite force of the three sexual phenotypes in a colony of captive animals. Among adults, we found that males (ZZm) bite more forcefully than either chromosomally concordant females (ZWf) or sex‐reversed females (ZZf), and this difference is associated with having relatively larger head dimensions. Therefore, adult sex‐reversed females, despite apparently exhibiting male traits as juveniles, do not develop the larger head and enhanced bite force of adult male bearded dragons. This pattern is further illustrated in the full sample by a lack of positive allometry of bite force in sex‐reversed females that is observed in males. The results reveal a close association between reproductive phenotype and bite force performance, regardless of sex chromosome complement.
    • Darwin’s Fancy Revised: An Updated Understanding of the Genomic Constitution of Pigeon Breeds

      Pacheco, G; van Grouw, Hein; Shapiro, MD; Gilbert, MTP; Vieira, FG (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2020-02-13)
      Through its long history of artificial selection, the rock pigeon (Columba livia Gmelin, 1789) was forged into a large number of domestic breeds. The incredible amount of phenotypic diversity exhibited in these breeds has long held the fascination of scholars, particularly those interested in biological inheritance and evolution. However, exploiting them as a model system is challenging, as unlike with many other domestic species, few reliable records exist about the origins of, and relationships between, each of the breeds. Therefore, in order to broaden our understanding of the complex evolutionary relationships among pigeon breeds, we generated genome-wide data by performing the Genotyping-by-Sequencing (GBS) method on close to 200 domestic individuals representing over 60 breeds. We analyzed this GBS data alongside previously published Whole-Genome Sequencing (WGS) data, and this combined analysis allowed us to conduct the most extensive phylogenetic analysis of the group, including two feral pigeons and one outgroup. We improve previous phylogenies, find considerable population structure across the different breeds, and identify unreported interbreed admixture events. Despite the reduced number of loci relative to WGS, we demonstrate that GBS data provide sufficient analytical power to investigate intertwined evolutionary relationships, such as those that are characteristic of animal domestic breeds. Thus, we argue that future studies should consider sequencing methods akin to the GBS approach as an optimal cost-effective approach for addressing complex phylogenies.
    • The genome sequence of the eastern grey squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis Gmelin, 1788

      Mead, D; Fingland, K; Cripps, R; PORTELA MIGUEZ, ROBERTO; Smith, M; Corton, C; Oliver, K; Skelton, J; Betteridge, E; Doulcan, J; et al. (F1000 Research Ltd, 2020-02-13)
      We present a genome assembly from an individual male Sciurus carolinensis (the eastern grey squirrel; Vertebrata; Mammalia; Eutheria; Rodentia; Sciuridae). The genome sequence is 2.82 gigabases in span. The majority of the assembly (92.3%) is scaffolded into 21 chromosomal-level scaffolds, with both X and Y sex chromosomes assembled.
    • New insights from old eggs – the shape and thickness of Great Auk Pinguinus impennis eggs

      Birkhead, T; Russell, D; Garbout, A; Attard, M; Thompson, J; Jackson, D (Wiley, 2020-02-09)
      We compared the shape and eggshell thickness of Great Auk Pinguinus impennis eggs with those of its closest relatives, the Razorbill Alca torda, Common Guillemot Uria aalge and Brünnich's Guillemot Uria lomvia, in order to gain additional insights into the breeding biology of the extinct Great Auk. The egg of the Great Auk was most similar in shape to that of Brünnich's Guillemot. The absolute thickness of the Great Auk eggshell was greater than that of the Common Guillemot and Razorbill egg, which is as expected given its greater size, but the relative shell thickness at the equator and pointed end (compared with the blunt end) was more similar to that of the Common Guillemot. On the basis of these and other results we suggest that Great Auk incubated in an upright posture in open habitat with little or no nest, where its pyriform egg shape provided stability and allowed safe manoeuvrability during incubation. On the basis of a recent phylogeny of the Alcidae, we speculate that a single brood patch, a pyriform egg and upright incubation posture, as in the Great Auk and the two Uria guillemots, is the ancestral state, and that the Razorbill – the Great Auk's closest relative – secondarily evolved two brood patches and an elliptical egg as adaptations for horizontal incubation, which provides flexibility in incubation site selection, allowing breeding in enclosed spaces such as crevices, burrows or under boulders, as well as on open ledges.
    • The genome sequence of the Eurasian red squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris Linnaeus 1758

      Mead, D; Fingland, K; Cripps, R; PORTELA MIGUEZ, ROBERTO; Smith, M; Corton, C; Oliver, K; Skelton, J; Betteridge, E; Dolucan, J; et al. (F1000 Research Ltd, 2020-02-03)
      We present a genome assembly from an individual male Sciurus vulgaris (the Eurasian red squirrel; Vertebrata; Mammalia; Eutheria; Rodentia; Sciuridae). The genome sequence is 2.88 gigabases in span. The majority of the assembly is scaffolded into 21 chromosomal-level scaffolds, with both X and Y sex chromosomes assembled.
    • DeWorm 3: Charting a path towards STH elimination.

      DWorm3 (Natural History Museum, 2020-01-30)
    • Trace element concentrations in feathers from three seabird species breeding in the Timor Sea

      Lavers, JL; Humphreys-Williams, Emma; Crameri, NJ; Bond, AL (Elsevier BV, 2020-01-29)
      Mobile marine predators, such as seabirds, are frequently used as broad samplers of contaminants that are widespread in the marine environment. The Timor Sea off remote Western Australia is a poorly studied, yet rapidly expanding area of offshore development. To provide much needed data on contamination in this region, we quantified trace element concentrations in breast feathers of three seabird species breeding on Bedout Island. While adult Masked Boobies Sula dactylatra exhibited some of the highest concentrations, values for all species were below toxicology thresholds for seabirds and were comparable to those reported in other closely related species. The low concentrations detected in the birds provide a valuable baseline and suggest that the local marine environment around Bedout is in relatively good condition. However, careful monitoring is warranted in light increasing anthropogenic activity in this region.