• Early colonisation of urban indoor carcasses by blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae): An experimental study from central Spain

      Martin-Vega, D; Martín Nieto, C; Cifrián, B; Baz, A; Díaz-Aranda, LM (Elsevier, 2017-09-01)
      Due to their ubiquity and synanthropy, blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) are generally the first colonisers of cadavers and, therefore, frequently used to estimate a minimum post-mortem interval (minPMI). Whereas in outdoor situations blow flies are expected to locate and colonise exposed cadavers within hours or even minutes after death, it is usually assumed that the colonisation of a cadaver indoors might be delayed for an uncertain period of time. This uncertainty severely limits the informativity of minPMI estimates based on entomological evidence. Moreover, these limitations are emphasised by the lack of experimental data on insect colonisation of indoor carrion and by the fact that most of the forensic cases involving entomological evidence have been reported to occur indoors. In this study we investigate the early colonisation of pig carcasses placed indoors in a building located in the centre of an urban environment in central Spain. Three carcasses were placed in three equal rooms with a window half opened during five experimental trials: summer 2013, autumn 2013, winter 2014, spring 2014 and summer 2014. The species composition and their contribution to the carrion colonisation differed among seasons. Calliphora vicina Robineau–Desvoidy was the sole coloniser of carcasses in winter and colonised the carcasses within the first 24–48 h in every season, although Lucilia sericata (Meigen) was the first coloniser of most summer carcasses. On the other hand, Calliphora vomitoria (L.) and Chrysomya albiceps (Wiedemann) colonised the carcasses significantly later in spring and in spring and summer, respectively, with a delay of several days. In autumn, however, there were no significant differences in the colonisation times by C. vicina, L. sericata and Ch. albiceps. C. vicina and L. sericata showed a clear preference for ovipositing in the natural orifices of the carcasses, whereas Ch. albiceps oviposited more frequently on the trunk and legs.
    • Early consequences of allopolyploidy alter floral evolution in Nicotiana (Solanaceae)

      McCarthy, EW; Landis, JB; Kurti, A; Lawhorn, AJ; Chase, MW; Knapp, S; Le Comber, SC; Leitch, AR; Litt, A (BMC, 2019-04-27)
      Background: Polyploidy has played a major role in angiosperm evolution. Previous studies have examined polyploid phenotypes in comparison to their extant progenitors, but not in context of predicted progenitor phenotypes at allopolyploid origin. In addition, differences in the trends of polyploid versus diploid evolution have not been investigated. We use ancestral character-state reconstructions to estimate progenitor phenotype at allopolyploid origin to determine patterns of polyploid evolution leading to morphology of the extant species. We also compare trends in diploid versus allopolyploid evolution to determine if polyploidy modifies floral evolutionary patterns. Results: Predicting the ancestral phenotype of a nascent allopolyploid from reconstructions of diploid phenotypes at the time of polyploid formation generates different phenotype predictions than when extant diploid phenotypes are used, the outcome of which can alter conclusions about polyploid evolution; however, most analyses yield the same results. Using ancestral reconstructions of diploid floral phenotypes indicate that young polyploids evolve shorter, wider corolla tubes, but older polyploids and diploids do not show any detectable evolutionary trends. Lability of the traits examined (floral shape, corolla tube length, and corolla tube width) differs across young and older polyploids and diploids. Corolla length is more evolutionarily labile in older polyploids and diploids. Polyploids do not display unique suites of floral characters based on both morphological and color traits, but some suites of characters may be evolving together and seem to have arisen multiple times within Nicotiana, perhaps due to the influence of pollinators. Conclusions: Young polyploids display different trends in floral evolution (shorter, wider corolla tubes, which may result in more generalist pollination) than older polyploids and diploids, suggesting that patterns of divergence are impacted by the early consequences of allopolyploidy, perhaps arising from genomic shock and/or subsequent genome stabilization associated with diploidization. Convergent evolution in floral morphology and color in Nicotiana can be consistent with pollinator preferences, suggesting that pollinators may have shaped floral evolution in Nicotiana.
    • The easternmost record of Macratriinae LeConte, 1862 (Coleoptera: Anthicidae), with a new species from Fiji and a genus-rank synonymy in Macratriini LeConte, 1862

      Telnov, Dmitry (Magnolia Press, 2021-04-27)
      The easternmost record of Macratria Newman, 1838 from Fiji is presented, and M. fijiana sp. nov. is described and illustrated. Biogeographical patterns and diversity of Pacific Macratriinae are briefly discussed. Additionally, a new genus rank synonymy in Macratriinae is proposed: Thambospasta Werner, 1974 syn. nov. of Salimuzzamania Abdullah, 1968. New combination is made for Salimuzzamania howdeni (Werner, 1974) comb. nov. (from Thambospasta).
    • Ecological traits affect the sensitivity of bees to land-use pressures in European agricultural landscapes

      De Palma, A; Kuhlmann, M; Roberts, SPM; Potts, SG; Boerger, L; Hudson, L; Lysenko, I; Newbold, T; Purvis, A; Kaplan, I (2015-12)
    • Ecology and biogeography of megafauna and macrofauna at the first known deep-sea hydrothermal vents on the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge

      Copley, JT; Marsh, L; Glover, AG; Hühnerbach, V; Nye, VE; Reid, WDK; Sweeting, CJ; Wigham, BD; Wiklund, H (2016-12)
    • The effect of polyploidy and hybridization on the evolution of floral colour in Nicotiana (Solanaceae)

      McCarthy, EW; Arnold, SEJ; Chittka, L; Le Comber, SC; Verity, R; Dodsworth, S; Knapp, S; Kelly, LJ; Chase, MW; Baldwin, IT; et al. (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2015-05-15)
      Background and Aims - Speciation in angiosperms can be accompanied by changes in floral colour that may influence pollinator preference and reproductive isolation. This study investigates whether changes in floral colour can accompany polyploid and homoploid hybridization, important processes in angiosperm evolution. Methods - Spectral reflectance of corolla tissue was examined for 60 Nicotiana (Solanaceae) accessions (41 taxa) based on spectral shape (corresponding to pigmentation) as well as bee and hummingbird colour perception in order to assess patterns of floral colour evolution. Polyploid and homoploid hybrid spectra were compared with those of their progenitors to evaluate whether hybridization has resulted in floral colour shifts. Key Results- Floral colour categories in Nicotiana seem to have arisen multiple times independently during the evolution of the genus. Most younger polyploids displayed an unexpected floral colour, considering those of their progenitors, in the colour perception of at least one pollinator type, whereas older polyploids tended to resemble one or both of their progenitors. Conclusions - Floral colour evolution in Nicotiana is weakly constrained by phylogeny, and colour shifts do occur in association with both polyploid and homoploid hybrid divergence. Transgressive floral colour in N. tabacum has arisen by inheritance of anthocyanin pigmentation from its paternal progenitor while having a plastid phenotype like its maternal progenitor. Potentially, floral colour evolution has been driven by, or resulted in, pollinator shifts. However, those polyploids that are not sympatric (on a regional scale) with their progenitor lineages are typically not divergent in floral colour from them, perhaps because of a lack of competition for pollinators.
    • The effect of polyploidy and hybridization on the evolution of floral colour inNicotiana(Solanaceae)

      McCarthy, EW; Arnold, SEJ; Chittka, L; Le Comber, SC; Verity, R; Dodsworth, S; Knapp, S; Kelly, LJ; Chase, MW; Baldwin, IT; et al. (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2015-06-01)
      Background and Aims: Speciation in angiosperms can be accompanied by changes in floral colour that may influence pollinator preference and reproductive isolation. This study investigates whether changes in floral colour can accompany polyploid and homoploid hybridization, important processes in angiosperm evolution. Methods: Spectral reflectance of corolla tissue was examined for 60 Nicotiana (Solanaceae) accessions (41 taxa) based on spectral shape (corresponding to pigmentation) as well as bee and hummingbird colour perception in order to assess patterns of floral colour evolution. Polyploid and homoploid hybrid spectra were compared with those of their progenitors to evaluate whether hybridization has resulted in floral colour shifts. Key Results: Floral colour categories in Nicotiana seem to have arisen multiple times independently during the evolution of the genus. Most younger polyploids displayed an unexpected floral colour, considering those of their progenitors, in the colour perception of at least one pollinator type, whereas older polyploids tended to resemble one or both of their progenitors. Conclusions: Floral colour evolution in Nicotiana is weakly constrained by phylogeny, and colour shifts do occur in association with both polyploid and homoploid hybrid divergence. Transgressive floral colour in N. tabacum has arisen by inheritance of anthocyanin pigmentation from its paternal progenitor while having a plastid phenotype like its maternal progenitor. Potentially, floral colour evolution has been driven by, or resulted in, pollinator shifts. However, those polyploids that are not sympatric (on a regional scale) with their progenitor lineages are typically not divergent in floral colour from them, perhaps because of a lack of competition for pollinators.
    • Effects of storage temperature on the change in size of Calliphora vicina larvae during preservation in 80% ethanol

      Richards, CS; Rowlinson, CC; Hall, MJR (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2012-03-08)
      The size of immature blowflies is a common measure to estimate the minimum time between death and the discovery of a corpse, also known as the minimum post-mortem interval. This paper investigates the effects of preservation, in 80% ethanol, on the length and weight of first instar, second instar, feeding third instar, and post-feeding third instar Calliphora vicina larvae, at three different storage temperatures. For each larval stage, the length of larvae was recorded after 0 h, 3 h, 6 h, 9 h, 12 h, 24 h, 72 h, 7 days, 14 days, 30 days, 91 days, 182 days, 273 days, and 365 days of storage in 80% ethanol, at −25°C, 6°C and 24°C. Storage temperature had no statistically significant effect on the change in larval length and weight for all larval stages, but larval length and weight were significantly affected by the duration of preservation for first, second, and feeding third instar larvae, but not for post-feeding larvae. Generally, first and second instar larvae reduced in size over time, while feeding third instar larvae increased slightly in size, and post-feeding larvae did not change in size over time. The length of blowfly larvae preserved in 80% ethanol is not affected by constant storage temperatures between −25°C and +24°C, but we recommend that forensic entomologists should use the models provided to correct for changes in larval length that do become apparent over time.
    • The eggs of the extinct Egyptian population of White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla.

      Maurer, G; RUSSELL, DGD; Woog, F; Cassey, P (British Ornithologists' Club, 2010)
      Little is known concerning the biology of the now extinct Egyptian population of White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla, and few specimens remain in museums to assess its alleged subspecific status. Here we describe three eggs collected near Lake Manzala and review the collection data and anecdotal reports about this species, to provide a better understanding of the biology of White-tailed Eagles in this southernmost part of their former breeding range.
    • Eggshell pigment composition covaries with phylogeny but not with life history or with nesting ecology traits of British passerines

      Brulez, K; Mikšík, I; Cooney, CR; Hauber, ME; Lovell, PG; Maurer, G; Portugal, SJ; Russell, D; Reynolds, SJ; Cassey, P (2016-03)
    • Eight urgent, fundamental and simultaneous steps needed to restore ocean health, and the consequences for humanity and the planet of inaction or delay

      Laffoley, D; Baxter, JM; Amon, Diva; Currie, DEJ; Downs, CA; Hall‐Spencer, JM; Harden‐Davies, H; Page, R; Reid, CP; Roberts, CM; et al. (Wiley, 2019-07-23)
      The ocean crisis is urgent and central to human wellbeing and life on Earth; past and current activities are damaging the planet's main life support system for future generations. We are witnessing an increase in ocean heat, disturbance, acidification, bio‐invasions and nutrients, and reducing oxygen levels. Several of these act like ratchets: once detrimental or negative changes have occurred, they may lock in place and may not be reversible, especially at gross ecological and ocean process scales. Each change may represent a loss to humanity of resources, ecosystem function, oxygen production and species. The longer we pursue unsuitable actions, the more we close the path to recovery and better ocean health and greater benefits for humanity in the future. We stand at a critical juncture and have identified eight priority issues that need to be addressed in unison to help avert a potential ecological disaster in the global ocean. They form a purposely ambitious agenda for global governance and are aimed at informing decision‐makers at a high level. They should also be of interest to the general public. Of all the themes, the highest priority is to rigorously address global warming and limit surface temperature rise to 1.5°C by 2100, as warming is the pre‐eminent factor driving change in the ocean. The other themes are establishing a robust and comprehensive High Seas Treaty, enforcing existing standards for Marine Protected Areas and expanding their coverage, especially in terms of high levels of protection, adopting a precautionary pause on deep‐sea mining, ending overfishing and destructive fishing practices, radically reducing marine pollution, putting in place a financing mechanism for ocean management and protection, and lastly, scaling up science/data gathering and facilitating data sharing. By implementing all eight measures in unison, as a coordinated strategy, we can build resilience to climate change, help sustain fisheries productivity, particularly for low‐income countries dependent on fisheries, protect coasts (e.g. via soft‐engineering/habitat‐based approaches), promote mitigation (e.g. carbon storage) and enable improved adaptation to rapid global change.
    • Elevational richness patterns of sphingid moths support area effects over climatic drivers in a near‐global analysis

      Bärtschi, F; McCain, CM; Ballesteros‐Mejia, L; Kitching, I; Beerli, N; Beck, J (Wiley, 2019-03-03)
      Aim We test hypotheses on the environmental control of elevational richness patterns of sphingid moths for their global applicability and generality. Specifically, we compare effects of area with climate‐related drivers, such as primary productivity and temperature, while also considering direct effects of precipitation. Major taxa Sphingid moths (Lepidoptera). Location Eighty‐six mountain ranges of the Old World and the Australia/Pacific region, from Scandinavia and Siberia through the African and Australasian tropics to South Africa and Southern Australia. Methods We used a large compilation of point locality records for 744 species, in addition to fine‐grained range maps derived from species distribution modelling of these records, to characterize the elevational pattern of species richness in 86 custom‐delineated mountain regions. For both types of data, we compared the effects of environmental drivers on richness by comparing standardized coefficients of multivariate models for pooled data after accounting for between‐region variation in richness. Results We observed varying patterns of elevational richness across the research region, with a higher prevalence of midpeaks in arid regions. We found overwhelming support for area as a main determinant of richness, modulated by temperature and productivity, whereas we detected no effect of precipitation. Main conclusions Area, productivity and temperature are the main environmental predictors explaining a large proportion of variability in sphingid richness. This is consistent not only with other elevational studies, but also with empirical and theoretical biodiversity research in a non‐elevational context (with the caveat of some unresolved issues in elevational area effects). However, distinct differences in elevational patterns remain even within the same mountain ranges when comparing with other Lepidoptera, that is, geometrid moths, which highlights the importance of understanding higher clade differentiation in ecological responses, within insects and in other groups.
    • Ensuring tests of conservation interventions build on existing literature

      Sutherland, WJ; Alvarez‐Castañeda, ST; Amano, T; Ambrosini, R; Atkinson, P; Baxter, JM; Bond, AL; Boon, PJ; Buchanan, KL; Barlow, J; et al. (Wiley, 2020-08-11)
    • Entomological aspects and the role of human behaviour in malaria transmission in a highland region of the Republic of Yemen

      Al-Eryani, SMA; Kelly-Hope, L; Harbach, RE; Briscoe, AG; Barnish, G; Azazy, A; McCall, PJ (2016-12)
    • Entrapment in plastic debris endangers hermit crabs

      Lavers, JL; Sharp, PB; Stuckenbrock, S; Bond, AL (Elsevier BV, 2019-11-16)
      Significant quantities of plastic debris pollute nearly all the world’s ecosystems, where it persists for decades and poses a considerable threat to flora and fauna. Much of the focus has been on the marine environment, with little information on the hazard posed by debris accumulating on beaches and adjacent vegetated areas. Here we investigate the potential for beach debris to disrupt terrestrial species and ecosystems on two remote islands. The significant quantities of debris on the beaches, and throughout the coastal vegetation, create a significant barrier which strawberry hermit crabs (Coenobita perlatus) encounter during their daily activities. Around 61,000 (2.447 crabs/m2) and 508,000 crabs (1.117 crabs/m2) are estimated to become entrapped in debris and die each year on Henderson Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, respectively. Globally, there is an urgent need to establish a clear link between debris interactions and population persistence, as loss of biodiversity contributes to ecosystem degradation. Our findings show accumulating debris on these islands has the potential to seriously impact hermit crab populations. This is important for countless other islands worldwide where crabs and debris overlap, as crabs play a crucial role in the maintenance of tropical ecosystems.