Hide and flirt: observed behavior of female jaguars (Panthera onca) to protect their young cubs from adult males

Abstract

Common across various taxa, infanticide is a highly variable phenomenon present from insects to birds to mammals. In felids, antagonistic sexual coevolution led to the development of female counterstrategies to infanticide spanning particular sexual behavior, physiology, and social strategies. Numerous protective behaviors are well documented for large felids such as lions, cheetahs, and pumas that rely on cooperative defenses and polyandrous mating to protect their cubs from infanticide. Nevertheless, little is known about other wildcat species adopting such behaviors. Solitary and enigmatic, jaguars (Panthera onca) are the largest cat existing in the Americas. Little is known about this big cats’ reproductive and rearing behavior, mainly due to its secretive nature. Here, field observations in two major wetland ecosystems of South America show new and unique findings on female jaguar counterstrategies towards male infanticide. Our findings suggest that, like their big cat relatives in Africa, jaguars have evolved behavioral counterstrategies to protect their young in response to antagonistic sexual coevolution.

Invasive Italian wall lizards outcompete native congeneric species in finding food in a Y-maze

Abstract

Though biological invasions constitute one of the biggest threats for global biodiversity, our understanding of the mechanisms that enable invasive species to outperform native species is still limited, especially, in terms of behavior. Most available studies have examined behavioral traits which favor invasive species on the later stages of invasion, however, our knowledge on earlier stages, namely, when alien species face novel environments and must exploit new resources, remains obscure. Here, we focus on one crucial behavioral trait, finding food. The Italian wall lizard (Podarcis siculus) has been widely introduced and established viable populations in S. Europe and N. America. We examined whether P. siculus has enhanced exploratory behavior and abilities to find food compared to two native congeneric species with which it may come in contact in the near future, an insular endemic (P. milensis) and a widely distributed lizard (P. erhardii). We performed a Y-maze experiment, in which we varied arm markings in a standard way to prevent learning. Podarcis siculus was more efficient than its congenerics in finding and consuming food. This exploitative superiority was persistent, more frequent and repetitive. Interesting behavioral differences were also detected within the native species. Some P. milensis individuals showed no interest in exploring the maze, while few P. erhardii individuals remained rather indifferent to food even after detecting it. Our results suggest that the invasive P. siculus displays behavioral traits that could provide better opportunities for survival in the new environment and thus facilitate establishment even in the presence of congenerics. This provides further support to the idea that behavior plays a crucial role in animal invasions.

Time-activity budget of urban-adapted free-ranging dogs

Abstract

The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is known to have evolved from gray wolves, about 15,000 years ago. They frequently exist as free-ranging populations across the world. They are typically scavengers and well adapted to living among humans. Most canids living in and around urban habitats tend to avoid humans and show crepuscular activity peaks. In this study, we carried out a detailed population-level survey on free-ranging dogs in West Bengal, India, to understand the activity patterns of free-ranging dogs in relation to human activity. Using 5669 sightings of dogs, over a period of 1 year, covering the 24 h of the day, we carried out an analysis of the time activity budget of free-ranging dogs to conclude that they are generalists in their habit. They remain active when humans are active. Their activity levels are affected significantly by age class and time of the day. In addition, we provide a detailed ethogram of free-ranging dogs. This, to our knowledge, is the first study of this kind, which might be used to further study the eco-ethology of these dogs.

Interspecific nest destruction in the Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus: kleptoparasitism or competition?

Abstract

Bird nest destruction and nest material kleptoparasitism (i.e., the theft of nest material from other bird’s nests) are poorly documented behaviors, and little is known about the parasite species and their hosts. Here, I present the first account of nest material kleptoparasitism in the Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) followed by nest destruction, which occurred on a Variegated Flycatcher nest (Empidonomus varius). I explore the implications of these behaviors for both the kleptoparasite and the victim species and, due to the lack of basic information on the general behavior of both species, I point out some directions to guide future researches on the subject.

Primary nectar robbing by Apis mellifera (Apidae) on Pyrostegia venusta (Bignoniaceae): behavior, pillaging rate, and its consequences

Abstract

The interactions between plants and their pollinators are the result of convergent evolution of floral attributes reflecting pressure exerted by pollinators. Nonetheless, the strategies employed by floral visitors to collect floral resources are extremely complex, and commonly involve theft or robbery in addition to pollination. We describe here the behavioral repertory of Apis mellifera during the collection of the floral resources, and evaluated the robbing rates of A. mellifera on the buds and flowers of Pyrostegia venusta during periods of intense and sparse flowering. We recorded the behaviors exhibited by foraging bees while collecting floral resources, quantified the numbers of floral buds and flowers with perforations in their corolla tissues, and determined whether that damage reduced nectar production. The evaluations were conducted during two distinct periods: during the period of intense flowering of P. venusta, and during the period of sparse flowering. Nectar robbing was observed during 93.4% of the visits of foraging A. mellifera bees, while nectar theft was observed during only 0.7% of the visits, and pollen theft during 5.9%. The robbing of floral buds and flowers was most intense during the period of heavy flowering. Flowers that had been intensely robbed secreted significantly less nectar than those non-robbed. The unusual nectar robbing activities of A. mellifera, especially during the period of intense flowering indicates an optimization of access to larger volumes of food resources. Our results therefore point to a major limitation of nectar per floral unit during the intense flowering period of P. venusta due to the high activity of nectar robbing by A. mellifera bees.

What do we know about flamingo behaviors? A systematic review of the ethological research on the Phoenicopteridae (1978–2020)

Abstract

We provide a systematic review of the current scope of published behavioral research on flamingos (Phoenicopteridae), to answer the following questions: (1) what is the profile of ethology and behavioral research on flamingos, (2) which are the behaviors displayed by flamingos already observed and described in nature and captivity, and (3) what are the prospects in the ethological research of the group? Eighty-eight studies, from 1978 to 2020, met our inclusion criteria and were analyzed. Most involved maintenance and social behaviors in the context of ecology and welfare. Furthermore, most studies were performed on animals in captivity and controlled conditions, but there was a recent trend of studies in the field, mainly in South America and the Caribbean. The most studied species were greater and American flamingos, but there is a recent rise in studies on Chilean and Andean flamingos in Latin America. Most ethological studies on this group included quantitative analyses, ignoring a more qualitative perspective of the individuals’ displays. Behavior description can also help in comparative studies between flamingo species and other water birds. Expanding research to Andean, James’s, and lesser flamingos is a priority, since their populations are more vulnerable. Ethological research can help identify the threats and measure the impacts on these species, which can be useful for setting up management plans and conservation actions to mitigate the damage and avoid extinction.

Lateralization at the individual and population levels of European green lizard in Slovak Karst

Abstract

Lateralization is one of the specific characteristics of animals, occurring in both invertebrates and vertebrates. Lateralization exists at two levels, individual level and population level. This research is focused on the individual- and population-level lateralization of the European green lizard (Lacerta viridis) under laboratory conditions. Lateralization was observed experimentally in a modified T-maze without the possibility of visual control by lizards. Lizards were stimulated by a piston from the caudal side to simulate a predator attack from behind. The numbers of left and right choices were evaluated. Statistical analysis confirmed no statistically significant difference in lateralization at both the individual and population levels. The absence or presence of autotomy suggests that non-biased lizards have a better chance of escape from a predator than left- or right-biased individuals. In the population of L. viridis studied by us, it seems that to be non-biased could be the best strategy to survive predator attacks.

Limited effects of traffic noise on behavioural responses to conspecific mating calls in the eastern sedge frog Litoria fallax

Abstract

Anthropogenic noise is a pervasive environmental feature across both urban and non-urban habitats and presents a novel challenge especially for acoustically communicating species. While it is known that some species adjust acoustic signals to communicate more effectively in noisy habitats, we know very little about how the receivers of these signals might be impacted by anthropogenic noise. Here, we investigated female and male Litoria fallax frogs’ ability to distinguish between high- and low-quality acoustic signals during the presence of background traffic noise and without. We performed a controlled behavioural experiment whereby frogs were presented with simultaneously broadcasted attractive and unattractive calls from opposing directions, once with background traffic noise and once without. We found that females in particular chose the unattractive call significantly more often (and males significantly less often) when noise was being broadcast. This indicates that anthropogenic noise potentially affects receiver responses to acoustic signals, even when calls are not acoustically masked, with potential consequences for maladaptive mating behaviours and population outcomes.

Using predator feces as a repellent for free-ranging urban capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)

Abstract

Biological repellents have been used as a control method to mitigate human-wildlife conflict worldwide. We aimed to evaluate the effect of jaguar (Panthera onca) feces as a repellent for a free-living urban population of capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), which are considered a vertebrate pest in some regions of their range. Observational data were collected during two consecutive 5-day periods: control and treatment. Scan samples within a 2-h observational session were carried out, recording capybara incursions into a 15 m × 15 m marked perimeter and alertness behavioral state. During the treatment period, 30 g of jaguar feces were added daily every 5.0 m around the perimeter in four selected areas (around Lake Paranoa, Brasilia, Brazil) frequented by capybara. The presence of predator feces induced changes in capybaras’ behavior as there was a decrease in actual presence at the sites as a whole with the presence of jaguar feces. Of those capybaras that did continue to visit a site, incursions into the marked perimeter were initially greatly reduced, but did rebound relatively rapidly over the trial period. Although our results showed that capybaras recognize jaguar’s feces as a predator threat, odor habituation may limit the repellent’s efficacy at a local level, but appeared to have a longer term effect on the overall numbers of capybara visiting a site in general. Improvements in this technique will be required for it to become practicable, to reinforce capybaras’ aversion to predators, to decrease their habituation to predator’s feces, and to provide more humanitarian control.