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Hybridization induced by human activities, such as crossbreeding between invasive and native species, can adversely affect the natural biodiversity of an ecosystem. In Japan, the endemic turtle species Mauremys japonica is known to hybridize with the alien species Mauremys reevesii, and putative hybrids have been encountered in the wild. If M. japonica × M. reevesii hybrids can readily crossbreed with M. japonica, the hybridization with M. reevesii could lead to the extinction of pure M. japonica populations. However, information on the reproductive ability of M. japonica × M. reevesii hybrids is limited. In this study, we collected wild-caught hybrids from across western Japan to assess their reproductive ability. We investigated the nesting season timing, clutch size, embryonic development, hatching success, and sperm viability. The results showed that female hybrids nested during the same months as the parental species and had similar clutch sizes and hatching success. No embryonic development abnormalities were detected, and viable sperm were observed in all hybrid male semen samples. In conclusion, the fertility of M. japonica × M. reevesii hybrids appears to be similar to the fertilities of the parental species, posing a potential challenge for M. japonica conservation.
A new species of Dalyelliidae, Gieysztoria pellucida Wang and You, is described based on material collected in southern China through an integrative approach combining morphological, histological, and molecular (18S and 28S rDNA) data. Gieysztoria pellucida sp. nov. is morphologically characterized by a fan-shaped (about 270° when pressed) stylet, consisting of 13 similar distal spines and a broad girdle without fenestrae region. This stylet is distinct from that of any other similar species in the Aequales group to which this species belongs. In addition, specimens identifiable as Gieysztoria garudae Van Steenkiste, Van Mulken, and Artois, 2012 were discovered from the same location as G. pellucida sp. nov. Gieysztoria garudae has previously been known only from India; the present study thus represents the first record of the species from China.
I report digenean metacercariae from Staurozoa, which were not previously known as digenean hosts. The host species, Haliclystus tenuis Kishinouye, 1910, was collected from algae in Oshoro Bay, Hokkaido, Japan, and contained metacercariae in the mesoglea. The metacercariae were encysted; cysts were oval, 93 µm long by 64 µm wide in one live individual. For the digenean, I generated partial sequences for the 18S rRNA (1585 bp) and 28S rRNA (1672 bp) genes, and the region spanning the 3′ end of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit gene and the 5′ end of the 16S rRNA gene, including the threonine tRNA gene (868 bp in total). Phylogenetic reconstructions based on combined 18S + 28S datasets showed the digenean to belong in Opecoelidae, members of which utilize marine or freshwater teleost fishes as definitive hosts, and placed it in Plagioporinae (sensu lato) clade C within Opecoelidae.
We conducted a quantitative dietary analysis of the Japanese dormouse (Glirulus japonicus) using fecal samples collected in the subalpine zone of the Yatsugatake Mountains, central Japan. Dormouse diets were dominated by insects (69.2%) in summer and both fruit (43.0%) and insects (33.4%) in autumn. Leaves accounted for a small proportion of the diet in all seasons. Dormice may be reliant on insects because fruits are scant in summer, and on fruits to accumulate body fat in autumn before hibernation.