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We studied morphology (shell, penis and flagellum, female reproductive organs) and 395 partial sequences of mtDNA COI and 93 of ITS-1 in Bythinella from continental Greece. Molecular techniques inferred ten molecularly distinct species: two in the Peloponnese; one in the Parnassus and Attica; two sympatric/parapatric at Volos; one in the Lefkas; four in northern Greece. The differentiation was probably not older than 3.5 MYA, most species originated in the last 2 MYA (Pleistocene). Haplotype diversity, nucleotide diversity and mismatch distribution indicated common bottlenecks followed by fluctuations in population size. A nested-clade analysis indicated allopatric fragmentation with instances of long distance colonization, and restricted gene flow with isolation by distance. The decrease in Bythinella species richness from the north to the south was due to the geological history, colonization and recolonization, and short and long-distance dispersal, to survive in the unstable environment.
The past two decades have witnessed an explosion of interest in nonindependent mate choice, i.e. female choice that is influenced by the choices of other females. This research has focused overwhelmingly on mate choice copying, which occurs when a female is more likely to mate with a previously mated male and reject a previously rejected male. I review the theoretical constructs of nonindependent mate choice and mate choice copying, and evaluate the general hypotheses that have been proposed to account for the adaptive significance of mate choice copying, namely that it serves to bypass the costs of mate choice or improve the discrimination accuracy of females. I discuss the standard experimental protocols that are employed in the study of mate choice copying and review empirical studies that have been conducted to date. Strengths and weaknesses of the mate choice copying research program are highlighted, as well as possible directions for future research.
The diet of the golden jackal (Canis aureus) was studied in 2002 and 2003 in Park Britannia (ca. 4000 ha) in central Israel. The aim of the study was to understand the kinds of anthropogenic food that allow jackals to be present at a high density. The scats (396 in total) were classified by season: summer (June–September) or autumn (October–November) as well as by origin from either the southern or northern part of the study area, which experience different levels of human pressure. The main food category was ungulates (39.4% frequency of occurrence), 80% of which were domestic animals — which we assume were mostly consumed as carrion. Other common food types included fruit (31.3%), birds (30%), small mammals (23.5%) and invertebrates (21.2%), while garbage was found in only 9.1% of the scats. Biomass of the jackal diet was dominated by ungulates (67.3%), with domestic ungulates consumed mostly as carrion, comprising 84% of the total. Jackal diet did not differ by season or level of human pressure. However, there was remarkable micro-scale variability in food composition as the summer jackal diet differed significantly among the dens. Our results suggest that the high availability of domestic animal carcasses due to the local carrion disposal system may be responsible for the present jackal density in Israel.
The Hong Kong newt (Paramesotriton hongkongensis) has a restricted distribution in Hong Kong and its adjacent coastal area in China. We employed amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) DNA markers to examine the genetic diversity and differentiation of P. hongkongensis populations (101 individuals) from three streams. Two mainland populations are separated by Tai Mo Shan, the highest peak in Hong Kong. On Hong Kong Island, there is only one population. We investigated whether the marine barrier would affect the population genetic structure and diversification of Hong Kong newts more than an upland peak barrier. With seven selected primer combinations, 476 AFLP markers with 102 polymorphic loci indicated that newt populations exhibited considerable genetic differentiation. Our results indicate that the two mainland populations, separated by the mountain ridge, were genetically more distant from each other than from the island population separated by the sea barrier that was created about 6000 years ago. The terrestrial biogeographic barrier appears to be crucial in influencing genetic divergence of Hong Kong newt populations.