|A test for studying sociability of the common shrew, Sorex araneus|
Shchipanov N.A., Demidova T.B.
The common shrew Sorex araneus is one of the least social mammals with chiefly aggressive interactions. Although this species is usually considered territorial, the behavioral mechanisms of the social system are not entirely clear. Sociability is the motivation to engage in social contact, the conflict in the case of the common shrew, in the presence of both situational and individual differences, can be an important factor in the use of space in this species. This aspect of behavior of shrews was not studied. We propose a simplified preference test which could be used in field studies. In contrast to the classic Crawley three chamber test we performed trials in one-chamber arena. The test implies assay of preference of an area adjoined to wire-net container with a stimulus animal versus an area-adjoined empty container. The distance, the velocity, and the duration were considered the principal variables. Indexes permitting assay the mobility in a zone and preference of an area is suggested. This publication is devoted to the description of the test and discussing of the preliminary results.
|Does the Mediterranean water shrew Neomys anomalus (Soricidae, Eulipotyphla) expand the eastern part of the distribution range?|
Ermakov O.A., Mishta A.V., Sheftel B.I., Obolenskaya E.V., Lada G.A., Bystrakova N.V., Ruchin A.B., Lissovsky A.A.
The Mediterranean water shrew Neomys anomalus is sparsely distributed across the major part of Eastern Europe. There is a large amount of new information about the enlargement of the distribution range of the species during last 2 to 3 decades. We analysed species distribution, variation of cytochrome b gene and character of appearance of new records on species distribution. We suggest that the “expansion” of the Mediterranean water shrew is rather a result of more thorough faunal studies than of a natural expansion of the species range.
|Development and characterization of new polymorphic microsatellite markers for Eurasian ground squirrel Spermophilus fulvus (Lichtenstein, 1823)|
Titov S.V., Batova O.N., Vasilieva N.A., Savinetskaya L.E., Tchabovsky A.V.
Ground squirrels are ecosystem engineers and keystone species in many open landscapes of Eurasia, America, and Africa. They are model objects for population studies, behavioural ecology, life-history theory, and conservation biology, the research areas where microsatellite analysis is widely applied and fruitful. So far, microsatellite markers have been developed for only few Palearctic ground squirrels. We tested and characterized 14 markers previously developed for ground squirrels and 10 new loci with tri-, tetra-, and five-nucleotide repeats in the yellow ground squirrel, Spermophilus fulvus, a species widely distributed in Eurasia and endangered in some regions. We found polymorphism in 10 loci, five of them were highly polymorphic (5–14 alleles). These markers will benefit studies of the population genetic structure, parentage, mating system, reproductive success, and interspecific hybridization as well as conservation efforts in S. fulvus and other close-related Eurasian ground squirrels.
|Diet selection by the social vole Microtus socialis (Pallas, 1773) in the Northwest Caspian Lowland|
Scopin A.E., Dzhapova V.V., Bembeeva O.G., Ayusheva E.Ch., Dzhapova R.R., Abaturov B.D.
The article presents the research results the food selection and preferences of the social vole Microtus socialis in the dry steppes (northern subzone of the deserts) in the Chernye Zemli State Biosphere Reserve (north-western part of the Caspian Lowland). It is the first time when the data on seasonal variability of food composition of social voles in their permanent settlements has been obtained by means of cuticular microhistological feces analysis. The diet of the voles consists of 31 plant species. The basis of the diet is grasses (55–95%), mainly Poa bulbosa. Forbs are consumed in smaller amounts, but they play an important role in the summer life of the rodent. In spring, the tulip bulbs (Tulipa biebersteiniana) and the terrestrial parts of Chorispora tenella are of greatest importance in the nutrition of the vole. These herbivores do not eat Bassia hyssopifolia, Phlomis pungens, Carduus acanthoides at all. Voles maximize the use of forage diversity in the area of their settlements. The trophic interactions of rodents to certain plant species were evaluated through the preferences of baits containing plant extracts. The social voles consume baits with extracts from different plant species in varying degrees. In general, the consumption of baits containing grass extracts is higher than that of baits containing extracts from most species of forbs. In the group of forbs, the social vole unequivocally prefer baits containing tulip extracts. The baits with other forbs are consumed by two or more times less than those with grass extracts. The social vole gives the least preference to baits with extracts from Senecio vernalis and Tanacetum achilleifolium. Most likely, a high concentration of toxic secondary metabolites is the main reason for voles avoiding certain baits with plant extracts.
|Mating behavior of house mice of Trans-Caucasian hybrid zone: a comparative study with parent species Mus musculus|
Ambaryan A.V., Kotenkova E.V.
The functional significance of the different types of social behavior in total as well as distinct elements of these behavior, are shaped by factors derived mainly from individual, gender and species specific characteristics. We analyzed which of these factors (or all of them) affect features of mating behavior in dyadic encounters of conand heterospecific partners in two closely related forms of house mice — Mus musculus and mice from hybrid zone of Trans-Caucasia. There are two sources of the polymorphism in the gene pool of Trans-Caucasian mice: the ancient (stemmed from relict origin of the genetic pool) and evolutionarily new (derived from gene flows from differentiated taxa: M. domesticus and M. musculus). We revealed that sex is the main factor determining the level of aggression during dyadic encounters of sexual partners. It has been shown that species-specific behavioral patterns are the only factor that determines some of the main quantitative parameters of the male’s sexual behavior. These include the frequency of ejaculation and the rate of mounts with intromission, which are definitive for the successful copulation. As we have shown earlier species-specific features in the patterns of sexual behavior, which appear during encounters of heterospecific males and females belonging to the closely related taxa of house mice, may provoke the incomplete or the unsuccessful copulation. This means that differences in the main quantitative parameters of male’s mating behavior may represent (on an evolutionary scale) one of the driving forces behind the reproductive isolation of Trans-Caucasian mice of hybrid origin from M. musculus.
|Comparative study of erythrocyte morphology and size in relation to ecophysiological adaptations in Rodentia species|
Kizhina A.G., Kalinina S.N., Uzenbaeva L.B., Panchenko D.V., Łapiński S., Ilyukha V.A., Pechorina E.F., Fokina V.O.
The size of erythrocytes varies widely across mammals. Previously, deviations from allometric relationships and existence of factors regulating erythrocyte size other than body mass have been shown. The contribution of factors such as habitat and taxonomy are still under discussion. In the present study we examined the morphology of erythrocytes in rodent species and determined their diameter, and for Ondatra zibethicus and Sciurus vulgaris this was done for the first time. We discovered that erythrocyte diameter of the investigated rodent species ranged from 5.5 to 8.4 μm, varying by a factor of more than 1.5. We analyzed our own data obtained for 10 species as well as data from the literature for 22 species. We found that the size of erythrocytes depended on the phylogenetic position, environmental conditions and body mass.
|The function of the dewclaw in the Scandinavian red fox (Vulpes vulpes)|
In foxes, Vulpes vulpes, the dewclaw sits on the forelimb a bit up from the ground. It is usually thought to be functionless. The length of metacarpal 1 and metacarpal 3, as well as the relation between them (Mc1 / Mc3), increases northwards from Denmark to northern Sweden. If it were the same physio- logical system regulating the growth of all the metacarpal bones, they would increase at the same ratio and the long metacarpal 3 (43–64 mm) would therefore increase northwards in absolute length more than the shorter metacarpal 1 (13–20 mm). In this case the dewclaw in northern foxes would be set higher above the ground than in southern ones. If measured as a percentage, however, the mean length of metacarpal 1 shows a larger increase northwards than that of the other metacarpal bones. The tip of the nail of the dewclaw in foxes is shown to be 12–15 mm above the ground in all areas in Scandinavia, and the dewclaw is therefore considered to have an important function. It is believed to increase the effectiveness of hunting voles, when the dewclaws will hit the back of the prey.
|Note on consumption of fox bait by alien raccoons in eastern Hokkaido, Japan|
Arisawa H., Uraguchi K., Kouguchi H., Oshida T.
Alveolar echinococcosis is a zoonosis caused by tapeworm, Echinococcus multilocularis. The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is its principle definitive host. Effective decrease in E. multilocularis prevalence is a result of baiting red foxes with the anthelmintic praziquantel. Recently, introduced raccoons (Procyon lotor) are increasing in Hokkaido, Japan. If they frequently consume fox bait, the baiting campaign may not be effective on red foxes. With camera trap, we examined seasonal consumption of fox bait by raccoons in Memuro, Tokachi District, Hokkaido, Japan from May to October, 2018. Raccoons have been reported in Memuro since 2014. We photographed red foxes, raccoons, raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes viverrinus albus), domestic cats (Felis catus), weasels, murids, Eurasian red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris), sika deer (Cervus nippon), bats, and birds. Proportions of animal species photographed significantly differed among seasons. Red foxes, raccoons, raccoon dogs, domestic cats, and murids consumed fox bait. Proportions of animals consuming fox bait were significantly differed among seasons. In summer and autumn, raccoons frequently appeared at baiting sites and consumed fox bait. We recommend removing raccoons from the area, before baiting campaign.
|New data on distribution of musk ox Ovibos moschatus in the Late Pleistocene in the south-east of Western Siberia and the Minusinsk Depression|
Malikov D.G., Shpansky A.V., Svyatko S.V.
New data on the timing of the maximum distribution and diet of Ovibos moschatus in south Siberia in the Late Pleistocene are presented. The southern border of the range of musk ox in the West Siberian Plain during the Karginian time (Denekamp Interstadial, DEN) was located in the Tomsk Ob River region. During the maximum cooling of the Sartanian time (LGM), the southern boundary of the range was limited by the Minusinsk Depression and the foothill plain of the Altai Mountains. Musk oxen of Tomsk Ob River region had a normal diet similar to that of Pleistocene musk ox and reindeer, and slightly different from the diet of modern musk ox. The diet of musk ox from the Minusinsk Depression was different from that of both the Pleistocene and modern musk oxen, and it was close to that of horses and woolly rhinos. It is possible that the diet of musk ox from the Minusinsk Depression had higher content of in grass and willow.
|The first studies of small mammals of the Cham Chu and Bac Me Nature Reserves, north-eastern Vietnam|
Tham N.T., Tu L.N., Duong V.T., Hai B.T., Abramov A.V., Kruskop S.V., Minh L.D., Son N.T.
Field surveys of mammals in two protected areas of the north-eastern limestone region of Vietnam, the Cham Chu (Tuyen Quang Province) and Bac Me (Ha Giang Province) Nature Reserves were conducted in 2018 and 2019. Thirty-five species of small mammals were recorded based both on field observations and on morphological and/or molecular evidence, as follows: one Scandentia species, four Eulipotyphla species, 14 Chiroptera species, and 16 Rodentia species. New records of Aselliscus dongbacanus and Chiromyscus thomasi in north-eastern Vietnam have been confirmed. Interestingly, the mole specimens collected during this study resemble Euroscaptor orlovi morphologically but significantly differ from it genetically. The present study has revealed that Chiroptera (38.9%) and Rodentia (47.2%) are the dominant groups in terms of their species diversity. Yet, the number of bat species is much lower as compared to that revealed by the previous study conducted in the same region (16 vs. 35). Although a couple of abundant species — Aselliscus dongbacanus (40 of 176 specimens) and Hipposideros cf. larvatus (37 of 176 specimens) — have been found during the present survey, other common species, such as Callosciurus inornatus and Rhizomys pruinosus, were very scarce, suggesting the occurrence of a severe anthropogenic pressure on small mammal fauna. More studies to assess a conservation status of and anthropogenic threats to small mammals are needed to protect them from serious population decline in the future.