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Family breakup is an important event in the life history of black bears (Ursus americanus Pallas), marking the initial dispersal and home range construction of yearling bears, and perhaps marking the timing of estrus and breeding opportunities for adult females. We monitored 6 black bear family groups with 12 yearlings (6M:6F) to determine the timing of family breakup; we intensely monitored 3 of the family groups to document home range establishment and movements by 5 yearling bears (2M:3F) following separation from their mothers. We calculated date of family breakup using 2 separate techniques as 28 May and 2 June, which occurred before peak dates of estrus. We detected 1 reassociation between a mother and her yearling offspring. Following family breakup, female yearlings (n = 3) remained within or near their mothers' home range while yearling males (n = 2) eventually dispersed. All yearlings (n = 5) shared > 50% of post-breakup home range with their mothers.
Sciurids have been poorly studied in the Acadian forests of eastern North America, yet they represent common and ecologically important members of the forest community in the region. I gathered data on capture success and general life history traits of northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) and red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) in mature forest at Fundy National Park in southern New Brunswick, Canada. Squirrels were live-trapped over 14 sampling periods between 1999 and 2001. Flying squirrel capture success was considerably greater in summer and fall than in winter and spring, while red squirrels were caught more often in spring and summer than fall and winter. Capture success for both species was positively correlated with maximum daily temperature. Breeding seasons of both species began with male testes developing in winter and spring, followed by female pregnancy and lactation in late spring and summer. Flying squirrels may have also had an additional fall breeding season in the second year of the study. My data also suggest that G. sabrinus is smaller in eastern North America compared with western North America, where most data pertaining to this species has been gathered. There was no sexual dimorphism apparent in either flying squirrels or red squirrels.
We investigated the occurrence of raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis) in common raccoons (Procyon lotor) in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia during spring (n = 9, April–June) and fall (n = 5, August–October) 2001 and spring (n = 7) and fall (n = 4) 2002. We found no evidence of B. procyonis infection in 25 raccoons sampled by fecal floatation and necropsy methodologies. However, we did detect Capillaria sp. eggs in 28% and Strongyloides sp. eggs in 64% of individual raccoons, respectively. Baylisascaris procyonis has been implicated in population declines of the Allegheny woodrat (Neotoma magister) in the northeastern United States. The low prevalence of B. procyonis in an area inhabited by what is believed to be a stable population of Allegheny woodrats supports conservation measures to continue to monitor anthropogenic activities that potentially may increase the prevalence of B. procyonis or raccoon interaction with Allegheny woodrats in the region.
Examination of 1693 birds mist netted in the central Maryland Piedmont during the nesting season revealed 14% (n = 232) infested with immature Ixodes scapularis Say. Ticks were removed from 40% of bird species examined (19 of 47 species). Regular collection of ticks established a temporal record of immature tick stages over 2 nesting seasons. Among birds with at least some immature ticks, hatch-year birds had more (62% of the ticks) than adult birds (38%), and a higher proportion of hatch-year than adult birds were infested. There were no differences between male and female birds of any species. One new bird species host record for immature I. scapularis was recorded. There were 13 records of recaptured birds from which ticks had been removed, which were subsequently reinfested. Ten recaptured birds from which ticks had been removed were not reinfested. Small numbers of immature Haemaphysalis leporispalustris (Packard) and two I. muris Bishop and Smith were collected.
Insular Newfoundland lacks native amphibians, however four species have been successfully introduced. We surveyed 90 sites in western Newfoundland to determine current species distribution and to evaluate the influence of aquatic and terrestrial habitat characteristics on anuran distribution and dispersal potential. Wood frog (Rana sylvatica) presence (19 sites) was not significantly related to any measured variable. American Toad (Bufo americanus) (52 sites) and Green Frog (Rana clamitans) presence (25 sites) was significantly related to dissolved oxygen. Toad presence was also related to marsh abundance, while Green Frog presence was related to site permanence and presence of human residences. Mink frog (Rana septentrionalis) was found at one site only.
The European green crab, Carcinus maenas, and the Asian shore crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, are two introduced crab species that co-occur in the rocky intertidal zone of New England. Carcinus maenas has been established for over 100 years and has primarily been characterized as a molluscan predator, while H. sanguineus is new to the region and has an omnivorous diet. We compared the feeding rates of these two introduced crab species on the native blue mussel, Mytilus edulis, to determine their relative impacts on this important prey species. We utilized three size classes of mussels: small (4.5–5.5 mm shell length), medium (9.5–10.5 mm) and large (14.5–21.5 mm). Because feeding rates are expected to vary with biomass, we attempted to match the two crab species by weight rather than by carapace width. The two crab species had similar feeding rates on the smallest size class of mussel, while H. sanguineus had significantly higher feeding rates on the two larger mussel size classes. The higher feeding rate of Hemigrapsus sanguineus implies that it may have a larger per capita impact on prey populations than C. maenas did when it was established. The consequences of the increasing populations of H. sanguineus in northern New England are discussed.
The introduction of the rusty crayfish, Orconectes rusticus, has large effects on freshwater communities by displacing native crayfish species and altering macroinvertebrate communities. We used laboratory studies of aggression, shelter use, and feeding to examine the relationship between O. rusticus and a crayfish native to the Northeast, Orconectes limosus, along with these species' consumption of native bivalves. Orconectes rusticus dominated O. limosus in aggression trials, and shelter trials showed that dominant crayfish obtained shelter over subordinate crayfish. Both species of crayfish consumed freshwater mussels (Unionidae) and fingernail clams (Sphaeriidae), preferring prey of smaller size and those that were not buried. These findings suggest that the invasion of O. rusticus may pose a threat to native crayfish and the already threatened bivalves of the Northeast.
Recently collected specimens document the presence of the Mudpuppy at the mouths of tributaries draining into the tidal Hudson River in Columbia and Greene Counties, NY. In this study, we summarize historic records of Mudpuppy from the Hudson River. Examination of these records, Mudpuppy distribution elsewhere, and the distribution of riverine New York reptiles leads us to conclude that Mudpuppy should be considered native to the Hudson Valley.
In July 1999, unusually high trap success was recorded for a species of fly in the genus Anthomyia in Grand Pré, Nova Scotia. The fly was identified morphologically as A. pluvialis L., which has not been reported previously from mainland Nova Scotia. Some members of the genus Anthomyia are coprophagous and it is possible that these flies were feeding on large sources of composting chicken manure. Preliminary phylogenetic analysis based on mitochondrial COI sequence data suggests that the Nova Scotia population is more closely related to A. pluvialis from England than to A. pluvialis from Germany or A. parapluvialis from Africa. Somewhat confusing, however, was the observation that A. procellaris from England clustered with the Nova Scotia-England A. pluvialis clade. Larger sampling with broader geographic coverage will be required to document patterns of relatedness among European A. pluvialis and to confirm the phylogenetic relationship of A. procellaris and A. pluvialis. The COI gene appears to be sufficiently variable to be useful in this context.
In the early 1940s, Maine's Norman Wallace Lermond (1861–1944) commenced writing his autobiography, which included his encounters with a number of historically prominent individuals. The autobiography was never completed, being cut short by Lermond's death. For over half a century, this document has lain undisturbed (and unread) among the files of the Department of Mollusks of Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology. Lermond's unfinished autobiography, dealing primarily with his boyhood and his involvement with socialism, is reproduced here, with limited editing, as an historical document. Lermond was noteworthy for two reasons. First, he was one of the foremost naturalists in New England and labored tirelessly to interest and organize both professionals and amateurs alike to study the natural history of Maine. Second, Lermond was among the vanguard in the development of socialism in this country and once even ran for governor of Maine (in 1900) on the Socialist ticket. Supplemental material is provided herein of Lermond's contributions to natural history, including a list of his scientific publications.
Three Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina Linnaeus) hatchlings and one Wood Turtle (Clemmys insculpta LeConte) hatchling appear to have overwintered in their nests in southwestern Vermont and were detected emerging in the spring of 2002. These species have not been previously reported overwintering terrestrially in Vermont and rarely do so in the northern portion of their range. The dry conditions during 2001, coupled with the mild winter of 2001/2002, may have provided unusual conditions that allowed successful overwintering in the nest.