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Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata, an herbivorous coccinellid beetle of Eurasian origin, is now established in New England, as evidenced by the persistence of two central Connecticut populations from 1997–2001. The beetle's pupal surface bears glandular hairs that produce a secretion known to consist principally of three polyazamacrolide alkaloids. We demonstrate that the secretion serves as a potent antipredator defense: contact with it elicited pronounced cleaning activity by the predatory ant Crematogaster lineolata. Additionally, application of the secretion to palatable food items rendered them unacceptable to the ant. This is one of few studies to examine the chemical defense of an introduced animal vis à vis a predator native to its new environment.
We conducted the first systematic inventory of ant species richness in pitcher-plant bogs of Massachusetts. Twenty-six species were collected in 18 bogs during 1999 and 2000. We collected the bog-specialist Myrmica lobifrons for the first time in Massachusetts and found that it occurred in bogs from the Berkshire Mountains to Nantucket. Ant species composition in bogs displayed a nested subsets pattern, in which the species composition of a bog with few species was generally a subset of the species composition of bogs with more species. This pattern appears to result from different colonization histories of the different bogs. We tested whether ant species richness differed among bog types, ecological subregions, or geographic regions of the state (mainland, Cape Cod, Islands), and whether ant species richness was correlated with variables measured at each bog including: latitude, longitude, elevation, bog mat area; vegetation composition and the density of the carnivorous plant Sarracenia purpurea; and nutrient availability. Among Massachusetts bogs, species richness of ants was predicted best by tree species richness within bogs and by the concentration of ammonium in bog pore-water. Ant species richness was highest in bogs of the Connecticut River Valley and the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border. These are also areas identified by the Massachusetts BioMap project as core areas for biodiversity in the state.
Sampling in several habitat types (sand/mud, eelgrass, sand, gravel, macroalgae/mud) during all seasons with a variety of gears in Nauset Marsh, Massachusetts during 1985–1987 found a fauna consisting of 35 fish and 10 decapod crustacean species. Although most of the abundant species were found in several habitat types, species richness and habitat use appeared to be highest for vegetated habitats (eelgrass, macroalgae). The fishes and decapods were numerically dominated by cold-water taxa; however, numerous fish species, represented by rare individuals of predominantly southern forms, enriched the fauna. Species composition of Nauset Marsh could be distinguished from estuaries south of Cape Cod and even from the south shore of the cape. Both fishes and decapods were most abundant during the summer, apparently due to the contributions from spring and summer spawning in the estuary and the adjacent Atlantic Ocean. The location of Nauset Marsh and other estuaries on Cape Cod provide a unique opportunity to evaluate the importance of this region as a faunal boundary to estuarine species.
The Richibucto Estuary, located in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, is rearing habitat for a population of white perch (Morone americana), as well as for young-of-the-year striped bass (M. saxatilis) which immigrate from the nearby Miramichi Estuary. In this study we compared the diet of white perch caught in the Richibucto Estuary to a previously published account of the diet of young-of-the-year striped bass in the Miramichi Estuary. One hundred and fifteen white perch of 26–168 mm total length (TL) were collected from the Richibucto Estuary between 25 June and 10 October 1998 by onshore beach seining at 10 sites. Eighty-nine percent of their stomachs contained food. Sand shrimp (Crangon septemspinosa) were found in 69–79% of stomachs and constituted at least 80% of total dietary weight for white perch = 50 mm TL. Copepods (cyclopoids and the large calanoid Eurytemora sp.) constituted almost all of the diet of small white perch (<50 mm TL) found in low salinity but in higher salinities (11–20‰) mysids and sand shrimp were also important components of the diet. Polychaete worms and amphipods (Gammarus sp.) were minor constituents of the diet of both size categories of white perch. The diet of young-of-the-year white perch in the Richibucto Estuary was found to be similar to that of young-of-the-year striped bass studied previously in the Miramichi Estuary.
In 2000 and 2001, the only known North American breeding colony of Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) on Middle Lawn Island, Newfoundland was visited. Breeding was first confirmed in 1977 and by 1981, a minimum of 13 pairs laid eggs. In 2000, a complete assessment of all burrows was undertaken, and only 2 eggs were found; a third female had an egg in her oviduct. Based on female call rates, capture of birds, and offshore observations, the numbers of non-breeding shearwaters around Middle Lawn Island was comparable to the early 1980s, in the low 100s. The growth of a nearby large gull colony, changing marine ecosystems, and a short breeding season in the northwest Atlantic are possible explanations for why this colony has not become better established. Similar conditions could also be keeping the small Northern Fulmar (Fulmaris glacialis) and Common Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus) breeding populations in Atlantic Canada from expanding.
Two kleptoparasitic scorpionflies, Panorpa rufescens Rambur (Mecoptera: Panorpidae), were observed stealing food from Araneus bicentenarius (McCook) (Araneae: Araneidae) at Waterboro Barrens Preserve, York County, Maine. The spider's ensnared prey was a larva of Lapara sp. (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae), which provided food for both spider and kleptoparasites. This is the first recorded instance of kleptoparasitism by scorpionflies on an orb-weaving spider in Maine.
Harp seals (Phoca groenlandica) whelp on the North Atlantic pack ice in early spring, move north in the summer and then, historically, return as far south as Nova Scotia in the fall. Because recent reports document increased sightings in the northern Gulf of Maine, we reviewed records of harp seal sightings between Kittery and Rockland, Maine to determine if this increase is also occurring in the southern Gulf. From 1997 to 2001 we found 357 confirmed reports of harp seal sightings. Most (85%) occurred in the first quarter of the year and almost all (96%) were juveniles. The total sightings for 2001 (N=238) greatly exceeded the number in any other year. The weight and health status of the seals sighted in 2001 was no different from those of previous study years. Thus, harp seals are sighted in substantial numbers in both the southern and northern Gulf of Maine. The reason for this general increase, as well as the reason for the spike in 2001, is unknown.
Williamsonia lintneri is a rare dragonfly species restricted to southern New England and some northern states. In 1999, I tested the hypothesis that upland development around wetlands reduces habitat suitability for W. lintneri through increased nutrient runoff. I examined 27 wetlands and analyzed water quality and depth data, the composition of aquatic invertebrate assemblages, and land use patterns. Sites where W. lintneri was present did not differ in water quality from sites where it was absent (i.e., null sites). However, W. lintneri sites had significantly deeper levels of water throughout the summer, were dry for shorter periods of time, and had significantly lower levels of development in the surrounding uplands than did null sites. These results suggest that both hydrologic cycle and upland development are important in limiting the local distribution of this species.
As part of a larger study, we investigated the intensity and duration of association between 2 adult male coyotes (Canis latrans) in an agrarian landscape in west-central Indiana. Home-range size and overlap and the intensity of association varied with time. Home-range sizes averaged 7.9 ± 1.1 (SE) and 11.8 ± 0.9 km2, and spatial overlap was substantial. Activity patterns and habitat preferences were similar for the coyotes whether together or apart, and there was no evidence of temporal or spatial avoidance. The 2 males were together most frequently during the pup-rearing and dispersal seasons, suggesting provisioning of pups and vigilance at diurnal resting sites as possible mechanisms for the dyad formation.