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We conducted a statewide study, in June and July 2016, of feral colonies and domesticated hives to understand the current and potential impacts of invasive parasites and pests on honey bee (Apis mellifera) populations in Texas. We identify the subspecies for each colony sampled in addition to reporting the presence of parasites. The most common subspecies found were Apis mellifera scutellata, Apis mellifera carnica, and Apis mellifera ligustica. We confirmed the presence of Apis mellifera syriaca and Apis mellifera macedonica in Texas. Varroa destructor and Nosema ceranae were the most common parasites, found in eight and nine ecoregions, respectively. Aethina tumida was found in only 4 of the 10 ecoregions.
The sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) congregates in large numbers during its annual spring migrations in Colorado. The Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in southwestern Colorado celebrates this regular congregation of cranes with an annual spring birdwatching festival that attracts thousands of birdwatchers who observe the cranes at close range. To study how these birdwatchers affect crane behavior at this important migratory stopover, we used focal animal sampling techniques in March 2010 and 2011 at sites both on and off the Monte Vista NWR. Sandhill cranes spent significantly less time foraging at designated crane viewing sites on the refuge during the festival compared with sites on private lands off the refuge.
We used spool-and-line tracking and habitat suitability modeling to delineate mobility and the environmental factors that influence the seasonal distribution and abundance of Lacey's white-ankled mouse (Peromyscus laceianus). Using trapping data from a 21-month period (February 2013–October 2014) in Val Verde County, Texas, we used MaxEnt modeling and a jackknife test of variable importance to determine that vegetation series and slope were the highest contributing variables in isolation. Using generalized linear modeling we found positive correlations with higher abundance indices in winter, spring, and fall among a variety of season-specific vegetation series. Using spool-and-line tracking, we determined P. laceianus to be highly mobile, indicating that this species is capable of dispersing to seasonally suitable habitats. Additionally, we observed higher degrees of arboreality in this region than reported from similar studies. Data suggest that vegetative habitat selection of this species varies seasonally and is likely dependent on the degree of seasonal resource availability within each vegetation type and the trophic ecology of P. laceianus.
To date, only one record of mineral licking exists for sloths (i.e., Choloepus didactylus) from Ecuador. Here we present the first record of mineral licking for C. hoffmanni from a tropical rainforest in Costa Rica. This behavior has been mainly associated with detoxification in herbivores, but no evidence exists for such needs in sloths.
We collected reproductive data from six female Deirochelys reticularia miaria in northeastern Louisiana that were collected in January 1999, June 2001, and May of both 2002 and 2003. One female collected in late January was dissected and found to contain two size classes of enlarged ovarian follicles. Five additional females collected on land in May or June were all gravid; three of them were caught while digging a nest. Mean clutch size was 10.6 and mean egg size was 37.68 × 22.88 mm, with a mass of 11.69 g. The mean incubation period for 32 eggs was 84 days, and hatchling measurements were mean carapace length of 31.67 mm and mass of 8.32 g.
I observed a nest of a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) for 13.5 h over a 4-day period in April 2012 along the Mexican border in southwestern Arizona. I documented prey items (N = 7) brought into the nest, including six representing the following three previously undocumented species of reptiles: Yuman Desert fringe-toed lizard (Uma rufopunctata), sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes), and western shovel-nosed snake (Chionactis occipitalis).
Humpback chub, Gila cypha, is an endangered warm water fish endemic to the Colorado River basin of southwestern North America. In Grand Canyon National Park, cold hypolimnetic water-release temperatures from Glen Canyon Dam have largely precluded successful spawning and recruitment of humpback chub in the mainstem Colorado River. Therefore, the species has utilized the warmer, more saline, and free-flowing Little Colorado River for its primary spawning habitat and continued existence. Based on long-term fish sampling efforts, we document local recruitment and population expansion of humpback chub in the western Grand Canyon and hypothesize that this is a result of recent warmer mainstem water temperatures. Continued recruitment and population expansion of humpback chub in the western Grand Canyon could potentially reduce extinction risk by providing population redundancy and less reliance upon the Little Colorado River for the species survival in the Grand Canyon.
Our study of Apistonema pyrenigerum Pascher, a member of the haptophyte algal order Prymnesiales, collected from the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, Stafford County, Kansas, includes data on its ecology, reproduction, and updated classification. Its habitat was saline and in laboratory cultures its growth indicated its ability to grow in a wide range of salinities, 6–85%. Previous reports for the alga are from Europe: Austria, Britain, Czech Republic, France, and Italy. Each cell possesses two parietal chloroplasts, although sometimes a single one is present. Each chloroplast contains a pyrenoid. The remainder of the cell consists of a large chrysolaminarin (leucosin) droplet and numerous small droplets. Zoospores are triflagellate, suggesting taxonomic placement in the family Prymnesiaceae.
We summarize the history, current distribution, and status of Egyptian geese (Alopochen aegyptiaca) in the contiguous United States, using published records and the eBird database of bird observations. The area of occupancy for the Egyptian goose has increased throughout the contiguous United States. The species has three populations that appear to be strongholds throughout the United States: Florida, California, and Texas. The potential ecological and economic consequences of an apparent increase in the United States warrant further research on a number of aspects of Egyptian goose biology.
Xyleborus glabratus is an invasive, small, ambrosia beetle that has been present in the United States since 2002. It is a known to live in Lauraceae plants and is a vector of the fungal plant disease, laurel wilt, Raffaelea lauricola. In 2015, the United States Forest Service discovered X. glabratus and laurel wilt in Texas; its presence in Texas made this species a priority target for our exotic woodboring beetle survey in 2016. This survey documents the spread of X. glabratus across southeast Texas and reports its presence in three new Texas counties (Anderson, Grimes, and Jefferson).
We reviewed museum collections and the literature and found that published sources underreport the locality-level distribution of the elegant coralsnake, Micrurus elegans, a species known from Mexico and Guatemala. Here, we present 42 localities for M. elegans, announce a northwestern range extension, and briefly discuss the morphology and conservation of this species.
The opportunistic foraging behavior and wide dietary niche breadth of coyotes (Canis latrans) allows them to inhabit a variety of environments. Behavioral observations of wild animals are often logistically difficult, making remotely triggered cameras a valuable tool to document behavior. I placed cameras across a desert woodland ecosystem in western Colorado, USA, 2015–2016, to document mammalian species distributions. Through these cameras I observed coyotes foraging on a previously undocumented food item, pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) nuts; a nutritious seed with a hard exterior. This feeding behavior was verified by observations of coyote scat composed of these seeds. Coyotes fed on pine nuts with greater frequency, longer durations, and in larger groups during 2015 compared with 2016, which coincided with a pine nut masting event. These observations support the hypothesis that coyotes consume prey in relation to availability and increase our understanding of the foraging ecology of an opportunistic canid.
Previous studies have shown the mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) to be euryhaline, but it is not known whether inland freshwater populations show this attribute, and no studies have examined whether sexes or sizes respond differently to increasingly salty environments. Allowing fishes to gradually acclimate to increasing salinity, I found no effects of sex or size, that most mosquitofish from an inland population can tolerate salinities equal to seawater, and that most individuals can survive much saltier conditions. Tolerance to salinity may be a residual attribute of ancestors that dispersed through marine environments from Central America.