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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

A Threat To New Zealand's Tuatara Heats Up, Kristine L. Grayson, Nicola J. Mitchell, Nicola J. Nelson Sep 2014

A Threat To New Zealand's Tuatara Heats Up, Kristine L. Grayson, Nicola J. Mitchell, Nicola J. Nelson

Biology Faculty Publications

No matter how many times we head to one of New Zealand's offshore islands, the feelings are always a mix of sheer awe at the beauty and biodiversity preserved in these special refuges and lingering nerves. Did we remember all the gear? Do we have enough food and water in case we get stuck? Can the helicopter land on the side of a cliff in these winds? These epic journeys are in pursuit of a lone remnant of the reptile evolutionary tree, with a unique ecology that has big implications under climate change.


Systematics Of The Neotropical Genus Leptodactylus Fitzinger, 1826 (Anura: Leptodactylidae): Phylogeny, The Relevance Of Non-Molecular Evidence, And Species Accounts, Rafael O. De Sá, Taran Grant, Arley Camargo, W. R. Heyer, María Laura Ponssa, Edward Stanley Sep 2014

Systematics Of The Neotropical Genus Leptodactylus Fitzinger, 1826 (Anura: Leptodactylidae): Phylogeny, The Relevance Of Non-Molecular Evidence, And Species Accounts, Rafael O. De Sá, Taran Grant, Arley Camargo, W. R. Heyer, María Laura Ponssa, Edward Stanley

Biology Faculty Publications

A phylogeny of the species-rich clade of the Neotropical frog genus Leptodactylus sensu stricto is presented on the basis of a total evidence analysis of molecular (mitochondrial and nuclear markers) and non-molecular (adult and larval morphological and behavioral characters) sampled from > 80% of the 75 currently recognized species. Our results support the monophyly of Leptodactylus sensu stricto, with Hydrolaetare placed as its sister group. The reciprocal monophyly of Hydrolaetare and Leptodactylus sensu stricto does not require that we consider Hydrolaetare as either a subgenus or synonym of Leptodactylus sensu lato. We recognize Leptodactylus sensu stricto, Hydrolaetare, Adenomera, and Lithodytes as ...


Oh No! Something Is Eating My Coral Honeysuckle!, W. John Hayden Aug 2014

Oh No! Something Is Eating My Coral Honeysuckle!, W. John Hayden

Biology Faculty Publications

Let’s imagine a situation that could happen in your own backyard. Suppose you have a healthy specimen of 2014’s Virginia Native Plant Society Wildflower of the Year, coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens). Suppose further that this plant rewards you every spring with a flush of flashy red flowers that you treasure all the more because they consistently bring hummingbirds to your yard. Now imagine that one fine morning you notice some little green caterpillars voraciously eating the leaves of your beloved coral honeysuckle. What do you do?


Coral Honeysuckle Easy To Propagate With Cuttings, W. John Hayden Jul 2014

Coral Honeysuckle Easy To Propagate With Cuttings, W. John Hayden

Biology Faculty Publications

One of my earliest botanical/horticultural memories involves time spent with my dad taking cuttings of ornamental plants. Every spring, he would start several dozen new chrysanthemums from carefully overwintered stock plants. He was also fond of long yew hedges that he developed by taking numerous cuttings from just a few original shrubs in our yard. And, from time to time, both my grandmothers would propagate, via cuttings, house plants like geraniums, African violets, and Christmas cacti. But I think it was my dad’s comparatively larger scale operation that fascinated me; with just a little effort, a single shrub ...


A New Species Of Chiasmocleis (Microhylidae, Gastrophryninae) From The Atlantic Forest Of Espírito Santo State, Brazil, João Filipe Tonini, Maruicio Forlani, Rafael O. De Sá Jul 2014

A New Species Of Chiasmocleis (Microhylidae, Gastrophryninae) From The Atlantic Forest Of Espírito Santo State, Brazil, João Filipe Tonini, Maruicio Forlani, Rafael O. De Sá

Biology Faculty Publications

Among Neotropical microhylids, the genus Chiasmocleis is exceptionally diverse. Most species ofChiasmocleis were described in recent years based on external morphology, but recent studies using molecular data did not support the monophyly of the species groups clustered based on feet webbing. Furthermore, a phylogeographic study of C. lacrimae estimated high genetic divergence and low gene flow among populations across small geographic ranges. Increasing the molecular and geographic sampling, and incorporating morphological data, we identified new cryptic species. Herein, we used novel genetic and morphological data to describe a new species of Chiasmocleis.


The Neotropical Genus Austrolebias: An Emerging Model Of Annual Killifishes, Nibia Berois, María J. Arezo, Rafael O. De Sá Jun 2014

The Neotropical Genus Austrolebias: An Emerging Model Of Annual Killifishes, Nibia Berois, María J. Arezo, Rafael O. De Sá

Biology Faculty Publications

Annual fishes are found in both Africa and South America occupying ephemeral ponds that dried seasonally. Neotropical annual fishes are members of the family Rivulidae that consist of both annual and non-annual fishes. Annual species are characterized by a prolonged embryonic development and a relatively short adult life.

Males and females show striking sexual dimorphisms, complex courtship, and mating behaviors. The prolonged embryonic stage has several traits including embryos that are resistant to desiccation and undergo up to three reversible developmental arrests until hatching. These unique developmental adaptations are closely related to the annual fish life cycle and are the ...


Sex Ratio Bias And Extinction Risk In An Isolated Population Of Tuatara (Sphenodon Punctatus), Kristine L. Grayson, Nicola J. Mitchell, Joanne M. Monks, Susan N. Keall, Joanna N. Wilson, Nicola J. Nelson Apr 2014

Sex Ratio Bias And Extinction Risk In An Isolated Population Of Tuatara (Sphenodon Punctatus), Kristine L. Grayson, Nicola J. Mitchell, Joanne M. Monks, Susan N. Keall, Joanna N. Wilson, Nicola J. Nelson

Biology Faculty Publications

Understanding the mechanisms underlying population declines is critical for preventing the extinction of endangered populations. Positive feedbacks can hasten the process of collapse and create an ‘extinction vortex,’ particularly in small, isolated populations. We provide a case study of a male-biased sex ratio creating the conditions for extinction in a natural population of tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) on North Brother Island in the Cook Strait of New Zealand. We combine data from long term mark-recapture surveys, updated model estimates of hatchling sex ratio, and population viability modeling to measure the impacts of sex ratio skew. Results from the mark-recapture surveys show ...


Humming Birds: Pollination Facts And Fancy, W. John Hayden Apr 2014

Humming Birds: Pollination Facts And Fancy, W. John Hayden

Biology Faculty Publications

Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), the 2014 VNPS Wildflower of the Year, is a classic example of a hummingbird-pollinated flower: bright red petals, often with contrasting yellow tones in the corolla throat, provide visual attraction, drawing hummingbirds to the flowers, where they are rewarded with a rich supply of nectar. Whereas hummingbirds have good color vision, they have a poor sense of smell. So it is not surprising that coral honeysuckle flowers are nearly scentless, at least to the human nose; even modern analytical instruments detect only traces of volatile molecules emanating from them. And open coral honeysuckle flowers, like those ...


Evolutionary Relationships Of The Critically Endangered Frog Ericabatrachus Baleensis Largen, 1991 With Notes On Incorporating Previously Unsampled Taxa Into Large-Scale Phylogenetic Analyses, Karen Siu-Ting, David J. Gower, Davide Pisani, Roman Kassahun, Fikirte Gebresenbet, Michele Menegon, Abebe A. Mengistu, Samy A. Saber, Rafael O. De Sá, Mark Wilkinson, Simon P. Loader Mar 2014

Evolutionary Relationships Of The Critically Endangered Frog Ericabatrachus Baleensis Largen, 1991 With Notes On Incorporating Previously Unsampled Taxa Into Large-Scale Phylogenetic Analyses, Karen Siu-Ting, David J. Gower, Davide Pisani, Roman Kassahun, Fikirte Gebresenbet, Michele Menegon, Abebe A. Mengistu, Samy A. Saber, Rafael O. De Sá, Mark Wilkinson, Simon P. Loader

Biology Faculty Publications

Background: The phylogenetic relationships of many taxa remain poorly known because of a lack of appropriate data and/or analyses. Despite substantial recent advances, amphibian phylogeny remains poorly resolved in many instances. The phylogenetic relationships of the Ethiopian endemic monotypic genus Ericabatrachus has been addressed thus far only with phenotypic data and remains contentious.

Results: We obtained fresh samples of the now rare and Critically Endangered Ericabatrachus baleensis and generated DNA sequences for two mitochondrial and four nuclear genes. Analyses of these new data using de novo and constrained-tree phylogenetic reconstructions strongly support a close relationship between Ericabatrachus and Petropedetes ...


Two Honeysuckles: A Tale Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, W. John Hayden Feb 2014

Two Honeysuckles: A Tale Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, W. John Hayden

Biology Faculty Publications

There are about 180 species of Lonicera (honeysuckles) widely distributed in the north temperate zone. These are mostly shrubby plants, but in Virginia, we have two species that are woody vines (lianas). These two lianous honeysuckles should be familiar to all Virginia Native Plant Society members. One is this year’s VNPS Wildflower of the Year, Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle), and the other is Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle), widely and deservedly reviled as one of our most aggressive invasive exotic species. Together, these two plants make an odd pair, a sort of botanical Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. What is ...


2014 Virginia Wildflower Of The Year: Coral Honeysuckle, Lonicera Sempervirens, W. John Hayden Jan 2014

2014 Virginia Wildflower Of The Year: Coral Honeysuckle, Lonicera Sempervirens, W. John Hayden

Biology Faculty Publications

The flashy red flowers of coral honeysuckle beckon hummingbirds to their sweet nectar. Coral honeysuckle is a twining woody vine, usually climbing on other vegetation but sometimes trailing along the ground; older stems have papery-brown exfoliating bark.


First Report Of Satellite Males During Breeding In Leptodactylus Latrans (Amphibia, Anura), Gabriel Laufer, Noelia Gobel, José M. Mautone, María Galán, Rafael O. De Sá Jan 2014

First Report Of Satellite Males During Breeding In Leptodactylus Latrans (Amphibia, Anura), Gabriel Laufer, Noelia Gobel, José M. Mautone, María Galán, Rafael O. De Sá

Biology Faculty Publications

Individual males can adopt alternative mating tactics. The occurrence of satellite males is a common behaviour across anuran taxa (e.g., Lithobates clamitans, Wells, 1977; Anaxyrus cognatus, Krupa, 1989; Dendropsophus ebraccatus, Miyamoto and Cane, 1980; Rhinella crucifer, Forester and Lynken, 1986). Satellite males take peripheral positions to calling males, and adopt alternate mating tactics in an attempt to intercept females that are attracted to calling males (Wells, 2007) to increase their own mating success. Satellite males could have an inexpensive form of mate-locating, avoiding predators, and saving energy (Arak, 1983). Furthermore, this strategy could play an important role in the ...