Overwintering Period (overwintering + period)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Responses of Snow Voles, Chionomys nivalis, Towards Conspecific Cues Reflect Social Organization during Overwintering Periods

ETHOLOGY, Issue 11 2002
Juan J. Luque-Larena
Among microtine rodents, reaction to chemical cues from conspecifics is assumed to reflect social and spatial relationships. Generally, strong attraction of particular odours correlates with non-aggressive behaviour and high spatial tolerance towards odour donors, whereas weak attraction correlates with greater levels of aggression and spatial segregation. In the present study, we examined whether winter odour preferences of the snow vole Chionomys nivalis, a rock-dwelling microtine principally found at high-mountainous regions, differ from that of other vole species, owing to their different social organization during overwintering periods. The social structure of C. nivalis over the winter period is relatively unusual among vole species in that they become nomadic and solitary. In odour choice trials under laboratory conditions, we found that both males and females avoided zones with conspecific odours of both sexes in comparison with unscented control zones or own odours. These results are consistent with the elevated levels of intraspecific aggression and spatial isolation of C. nivalis during overwintering periods. Furthermore, scent-elicited self-grooming increased when their own odour was offered against conspecific cues. This, in combination with an active avoidance of conspecific odours, might functionally contribute to minimize direct confrontations between solitary individuals, thereby reducing the risks of aggressive encounters during overwintering periods. [source]

Associations between host migration and the prevalence of a protozoan parasite in natural populations of adult monarch butterflies

Sonia M. Altizer
Summary 1. Monarch butterflies Danaus plexippus (L.) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) are susceptible to infection by the obligate protozoan parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (McLaughlin and Myers) (Apicomplexa: Neogregarinida). Because monarchs form resident and migratory populations in different parts of the world, this host,parasite system provides the opportunity to examine how variation in parasite prevalence relates to host movement patterns. 2. Parasite prevalence was evaluated using 14 790 adult monarchs captured between 1968 and 1997. Comparison of three populations in North America indicated that parasite prevalence is associated negatively with host dispersal distances. A continuously breeding, nonmigratory population in southern Florida showed high prevalence (over 70% heavily infected). The western population migrates moderate distances to overwintering sites on the Pacific Coast and has intermediate prevalence (30% heavily infected). The eastern migratory population, which travels the longest distance to Mexican overwintering sites, has exhibited less than 8% infection throughout the past 30 years. 3. Variation in parasite loads within North American migratory populations was investigated to determine whether the prevalence of heavy infection and average parasite loads declined during migration or overwintering. Average parasite loads of summer-breeding adults in western North America decreased with increasing distance from overwintering sites. This suggests that heavily infected monarchs are less likely to remigrate long distances in spring. No differences in the frequency of heavily infected adults were found among eastern or western North American monarchs throughout the overwintering period, however, suggesting that this parasite does not affect overwintering mortality. 4. Changes in the prevalence of monarchs with low parasite loads demonstrate that spore transfer occurs during migration and overwintering, possibly when adult butterflies contact each other as a result of their clustering behaviour. 5. This study of geographical and temporal variation in O. elektroscirrha among populations of D. plexippus demonstrates the potential role of seasonal migration in mediating interactions between hosts and parasites, and suggests several mechanisms through which migratory behaviour may influence parasite prevalence. [source]

Identification of Low Molecular Weight Diapause-Associated Proteins of Two-Spotted Spider Mite, Tetranychus urticae

JUNG Duck-Oung
ABSTRACT Proteins in whole bodies of two-spotted spider mites, Tetranchus urticae, were compared between non-diapause and diapause conditions using one- and two-dimensional electrophoresis. At one-dimensional analysis diapausing mites synthesized several unique proteins that are higher in their quantity than non-diapausing ones. Overall protein numbers in two-dimensional gel show that diapause mites expressed fewer proteins than non-diapausing ones. However, 25 proteins that have higher quantity in diapause were selected at the range of low molecular weight (5-20 kDa). Among them 13 proteins were only present in diapause mites. Our results thus indicate some proteins uniquely expressed during diapause and may have specifie roles during long overwintering period. [source]

Nest Hydrocarbons as Cues for Philopatry in a Paper Wasp

ETHOLOGY, Issue 5 2005
A. Sumana
Philopatric behavior has been demonstrated in a wide taxonomic spread of animals. In temperate environments, overwintered Polistes wasp foundresses often return to their natal nest prior to initiating colony construction. Previous research has shown that these spring foundresses can identify the natal nest in the absence of landmark and gross morphological cues. Hydrocarbons are essential recognition cues for Polistes nest and nestmate discrimination, but cuticular hydrocarbon profiles can become homogenized when foundresses overwinter in mixed colony groups. We examined the hydrocarbon profiles of Polistes dominulus foundresses and nests before and after an overwintering period, and found that the hydrocarbon profiles of nests remain unique over time and that this uniqueness is influenced by the original foundresses. Our data raise the possibility that in returning to the natal nest, foundresses reacquire their colony-specific signature, which may play a role in the formation of cooperative associations. [source]

Ontogenetic changes in the drifting of four species of elmid beetles elucidate the complexity of drift-benthos relationships in a small stream in Northwest England

Summary 1. This study aimed to quantify ontogenetic changes in the drifting of Elmis aenea, Oulimnius tuberculatus, Esolus parallelepipedus and Limnius volkmari (Coleoptera: Elmidae), and to relate their drift to benthic density. Monthly samples were taken over 39 months, using three surface nets at each of two contrasting sites in a small stream: one in a deep section with abundant macrophytes, and the other in a shallow stony section. 2. Most larvae and adults were taken in the drift at night with little variation between catches in the three nets at each site. Day catches were very low, often zero. No significant relationships could be established between mean numbers in the drift catches and benthic densities. 3. When night catches were converted to drift densities (number caught per 100 m3 of water sampled), the latter were positively related to monthly losses in the benthos, but not to benthic densities. A linear regression described the relationship, and equations for the different life-stages within each species were not significantly different from the equation for all life-stages combined. However, drift losses were only about 0.07% of total losses in the benthos. A severe spate in October 1967 increased the number of larvae and adults in the drift, but not drift densities, except for immature adults of E. aenea, O. tuberculatus and E. parallelepipedus. 4. Key life-stages with the highest drift density were the earliest life-stage soon after egg hatching for E. aenea, the start of the larval overwintering period for O. tuberculatus and L. volkmari, and mature adults during the mating season for all three species. Drift density for E. parallelepipedus was too low to identify a key life-stage. These key life-stages corresponded with critical periods for survival in the life cycle, as identified in an earlier study in the same stream. Mortality was high during these critical periods, hence the strong relationship between drift density and benthic losses. The latter relationship was very consistent for different life-stages within each species, and partially supported the rarely-tested hypothesis that drift represents surplus production in the benthos. [source]

Critical periods in the life cycle and the effects of a severe spate vary markedly between four species of elmid beetles in a small stream

Summary 1. The chief objectives were: (i) to describe quantitatively the life cycles of four species of Elmidae, Elmis aenea, Esolus parallelepipedus, Oulimnius tuberculatus and Limnius volkmari; (ii) to use life tables to identify critical periods for survival in the life cycle of each species; (iii) to evaluate the immediate and longer-term effects of a severe spate on densities of the four species. Monthly samples were taken over 63 months at two contrasting sites in a small stream: one in a deep section with macrophytes abundant, and the other in a shallow stony section. 2. There were five larval instars for O. tuberculatus, seven for L. volkmari and six for the other two species. The life cycle of each species took 1 year from egg hatching (chiefly in June for E. aenea and O. tuberculatus, and July for the other species) to pupation in the stream bank and a further year before the adults in the stream matured and laid their eggs. Mature adults were present in most months, but were rare or absent in January and February and attained maximum densities in April for O. tuberculatus and May for the other species. 3. Laboratory experiments provided data on egg hatching and pupation periods and the number of eggs laid per female. Life tables compared maximum numbers per square metre for key life-stages. Within each species, mortality rates between adjacent life-stages were fairly constant among six cohorts and between sites, in spite of large differences in numbers. The only exception for all species was the high adult, but not larval, mortality during a severe spate. 4. Standardised life tables, starting with 1000 eggs, identified key life-stages with the highest mortality, namely the early life-stages for E. aenea (36% mortality), start of the overwintering period to pupation for O. tuberculatus (41%) and L. volkmari (51%), start of pupation to the maximum number of immature adults for E. parallelepipedus (41%) and between the maximum numbers of immature and mature adults for O. tuberculatus (41%). Therefore, critical periods for survival in the life cycle differed between species, presumably because of their different ecological requirements. Similarly, the effects of the spate on adult mortality, and hence egg production, varied between species, being most severe and long-term for E. aenea and O. tuberculatus, less severe for E. parallelepipedus and least severe with a rapid recovery for L. volkmari. Possible reasons for these discrepancies are discussed, but more data are required on the food and microhabitat requirements of the elmids before satisfactory explanations can be found. [source]

Climatic variability and the evolution of insect freeze tolerance

ABSTRACT Insects may survive subzero temperatures by two general strategies: Freeze-tolerant insects withstand the formation of internal ice, while freeze-avoiding insects die upon freezing. While it is widely recognized that these represent alternative strategies to survive low temperatures, and mechanistic understanding of the physical and molecular process of cold tolerance are becoming well elucidated, the reasons why one strategy or the other is adopted remain unclear. Freeze avoidance is clearly basal within the arthropod lineages, and it seems that freeze tolerance has evolved convergently at least six times among the insects (in the Blattaria, Orthoptera, Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Diptera and Lepidoptera). Of the pterygote insect species whose cold-tolerance strategy has been reported in the literature, 29% (69 of 241 species studied) of those in the Northern Hemisphere, whereas 85%(11 of 13 species) in the Southern Hemisphere exhibit freeze tolerance. A randomization test indicates that this predominance of freeze tolerance in the Southern Hemisphere is too great to be due to chance, and there is no evidence of a recent publication bias in favour of new reports of freeze-tolerant species. We conclude from this that the specific nature of cold insect habitats in the Southern Hemisphere, which are characterized by oceanic influence and climate variability must lead to strong selection in favour of freeze tolerance in this hemisphere. We envisage two main scenarios where it would prove advantageous for insects to be freeze tolerant. In the first, characteristic of cold continental habitats of the Northern Hemisphere, freeze tolerance allows insects to survive very low temperatures for long periods of time, and to avoid desiccation. These responses tend to be strongly seasonal, and insects in these habitats are only freeze tolerant for the overwintering period. By contrast, in mild and unpredictable environments, characteristic of habitats influenced by the Southern Ocean, freeze tolerance allows insects which habitually have ice nucleators in their guts to survive summer cold snaps, and to take advantage of mild winter periods without the need for extensive seasonal cold hardening. Thus, we conclude that the climates of the two hemispheres have led to the parallel evolution of freeze tolerance for very different reasons, and that this hemispheric difference is symptomatic of many wide-scale disparities in Northern and Southern ecological processes. [source]