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Bibliography on: Corvids: Behavior

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Robert J. Robbins is a biologist, an educator, a science administrator, a publisher, an information technologist, and an IT leader and manager who specializes in advancing biomedical knowledge and supporting education through the application of information technology. More About:  RJR | OUR TEAM | OUR SERVICES | THIS WEBSITE

RJR: Recommended Bibliography 29 Sep 2022 at 01:47 Created: 

Corvids: Behavior

Audubon Magazine: Members of the crow family, known as the corvids, are among the smartest birds in the world. Some are capable of using tools, playing tricks, teaching each other new things, even holding "funerals." And yet there's still much we don't know about these fascinating, sometimes confounding creatures. All corvids have relatively big brains for their size. But while a seed storer like a Pinyon Jay or a nutcracker has a huge hippocampus — a region involved in memory — crows and ravens are more like primates. They have exceptionally large forebrains, the domain of analytical thought, higher-level sensory processing, and flexible behavior.

Created with PubMed® Query: (behavior OR behaviour OR ethology) AND \(corvus[TIAB] OR corvid[TIAB] OR OR corvids[TIAB] OR corvidae[TIAB] OR crow[TIAB] OR crows[TIAB] OR raven[TIAB] OR ravens[TIAB] OR jay[TIAB] OR jays[TIAB] OR magpie[TIAB] OR magpies[TIAB] OR jackdaw[TIAB] OR jackdaws[TIAB]) NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)

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RevDate: 2022-09-20

Loth A, Güntürkün O, von Fersen L, et al (2022)

Through the looking glass: how do marked dolphins use mirrors and what does it mean?.

Animal cognition [Epub ahead of print].

Mirror-guided self-inspection is seen as a cognitive hallmark purportedly indicating the existence of self-recognition. Only a few species of great apes have been reported to pass a standard mark test for mirror self-recognition in which animals attempt to touch a mark. In addition, evidence for passing the mark test was also reported for Asian elephants, two species of corvids, and a species of cleaner fish. Mirror self-recognition has also been claimed for bottlenose dolphins, using exposure of marked areas to a mirror as evidence. However, what counts as self-directed behaviour to see the mark and what does not has been debated. To avoid this problem, we marked the areas around both eyes of the animals at the same time, one with visible and the other with transparent dye to control for haptic cues. This allowed the animal to see the mark easily and us to investigate what side was exposed to the mirror as an indicator for mark observation. We found that the animals actively chose to inspect their visibly marked side while they did not show an increased interest in a marked conspecific in the pool. These results demonstrate that dolphins use the mirror to inspect their marks and, therefore, likely recognise a distinction between self and others.

RevDate: 2022-09-20

Ashton BJ, Thornton A, Speechley EM, et al (2022)

Does trappability and self-selection influence cognitive performance?.

Royal Society open science, 9(9):220473.

Recent research has highlighted how trappability and self-selection-the processes by which individuals with particular traits may be more likely to be caught or to participate in experiments-may be sources of bias in studies of animal behaviour and cognition. It is crucial to determine whether such biases exist, and if they do, what effect they have on results. In this study, we investigated if trappability (quantified through 'ringing status'-whether or not a bird had been trapped for ringing) and self-selection are sources of bias in a series of associative learning experiments spanning 5 years in the Western Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen dorsalis). We found no evidence of self-selection, with no biases in task participation associated with sex, age, group size or ringing status. In addition, we found that there was no effect of trappability on cognitive performance. These findings give us confidence in the results generated in the animal cognition literature and add to a growing body of literature seeking to determine potential sources of bias in studies of animal behaviour, and how they influence the generalizability and reproducibility of findings.

RevDate: 2022-08-30

Jain V, Bugnyar T, Cunningham SJ, et al (2022)

The spatial and temporal exploitation of anthropogenic food sources by common ravens (Corvus corax) in the Alps.

Movement ecology, 10(1):35.

BACKGROUND: Anthropogenic food sources (AFSs) are widespread in human-transformed landscapes and the current scale at which they occur drives ecological change at the individual, population, and community levels. AFSs are exploited extensively by common ravens, Corvus corax. Understanding how raven populations use AFSs can provide insight into their ecological responses to AFSs.

METHODS: We equipped 81 ravens in the Austrian Alps with GPS-transmitters over a period of 2.75 years. Using these tracking data, we investigated how cohort differences (i.e., age, sex, and origin) and seasonal changes influence raven movement patterns (i.e., occurrence distribution and maximum daily displacement) and AFS-use (i.e., number of AFSs visited and probability of being present at any AFS) at 45 extensively exploited sites.

RESULTS: We found that proxies for experience and dominance, inferred by age (i.e., juvenile versus adult) and origin (i.e., wild-caught versus captive-bred-released) cohorts, influenced movement patterns and the number of AFSs visited. However, all individuals were equally likely to be present at AFSs, highlighting the importance of AFSs for non-breeders in the study population. Seasonal changes in environmental conditions that affect energetic demands, the availability of natural and anthropogenic food, and foraging competition, influenced individuals' occurrence distributions and AFS-use. We found that under harsher conditions in autumn and winter, individuals ranged wider and depended on AFSs to a larger degree. However, contrary to expectation, they were less likely to be present at AFSs in these seasons compared to spring and summer, suggesting a trade-off between time spent moving and exploiting resources. We attribute the small ranging movements exhibited by non-breeders in spring and summer to the presence of highly territorial and socially dominant breeders. As breeders mostly stay and forage within their territories during these seasons, competition at AFSs decrease, thereby increasing the likelihood of individuals being present at any AFS.

CONCLUSIONS: We emphasize that movement and AFS-use differ according to cohort differences and the seasonality of the environment. Our results highlight that predictable AFSs affect foraging strategies among non-breeding ravens. The extent of AFS-exploitation among non-breeding ravens in our study emphasize the potential of AFSs in shaping raven movement and resource-use.

RevDate: 2022-08-12

Forbes SL, Samson C, CJ Watson (2022)

Seasonal impact of scavenger guilds as taphonomic agents in central and northern Ontario, Canada.

Journal of forensic sciences [Epub ahead of print].

The process of human decomposition is driven by biological decomposers, mainly bacteria, vertebrates, and invertebrate scavengers. When vertebrate scavengers have access to a body, they can considerably accelerate decomposition through consumption of soft tissue and dispersal of skeletal elements. Presently, there are limited data available on vertebrate scavenging activity in Canada, particularly in densely populated provinces such as Ontario. This study aimed to determine which vertebrate species belong to the scavenger guilds in central and northern Ontario, and the impact of season and habitat on these taphonomic agents. Seasonal trials were conducted in summer, fall, and spring of 2020/2021 with pig carcasses placed in open (grassland) and closed (forest) sites. Vertebrate scavenger activity was recorded continuously using cellular and non-cellular trail cameras. Photographs were analyzed to identify species, quantify feeding intensity, and document scavenging behavior. We identified four mammalian scavengers, namely coyote, red fox, fisher, and pine marten, and three avian scavengers, namely bald eagle, turkey vulture, and American crows/northern ravens (grouped as corvids) across the trials. Season impacted scavenger presence with feeding and loss of soft tissue occurring more quickly in the summer, followed by spring and fall. None of the scavengers demonstrated a clear preference for the open versus closed sites. Our findings have identified the most prevalent vertebrate scavengers in central and northern Ontario and their taphonomic impact on soft and hard tissues. It is important to consider these agents and their ability to degrade and disperse remains during the search and recovery of human remains.

RevDate: 2022-07-31
CmpDate: 2022-07-28

Bhuiyan R, Abdullah J, Hashim N, et al (2022)

Deep Dilated Convolutional Neural Network for Crowd Density Image Classification with Dataset Augmentation for Hajj Pilgrimage.

Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), 22(14):.

Almost two million Muslim pilgrims from all around the globe visit Mecca each year to conduct Hajj. Each year, the number of pilgrims grows, creating worries about how to handle such large crowds and avoid unpleasant accidents or crowd congestion catastrophes. In this paper, we introduced deep Hajj crowd dilated convolutional neural network (DHCDCNNet) for crowd density analysis. This research also presents augmentation technique to create additional dataset based on the hajj pilgrimage scenario. We utilized a single framework to extract both high-level and low-level features. For creating additional dataset we divide the process of images augmentation into two routes. In the first route, we utilized magnitude extraction followed by the polar magnitude. In the second route, we performed morphological operation followed by transforming the image into skeleton. This paper presented a solution to the challenge of measuring crowd density using a surveillance camera pointed at a distance. An FCNN-based technique for crowd analysis is included in the proposed methodology, particularly for classifying crowd density. There are several obstacles in video analysis when there are a large number of pilgrims moving around the tawaf area, with densities of between 7 and 8 per square meter. The proposed DHCDCNNet method has achieved accuracy of 97%, 89% and 100% for the JHU-CROWD dataset, the UCSD dataset and the proposed Hajj-Crowd dataset, respectively. The proposed Hajj-Crowd dataset, the UCSD dataset, and the JHU-CROW dataset all had accuracy of 98%, 97% and 97%, respectively, using the VGGNet approach. Using the ResNet50 approach, the proposed Hajj-Crowd dataset, the UCSD dataset, and the JHU-CROW dataset all had an accuracy of 99%, 91% and 97%, respectively.

RevDate: 2022-07-29

Ręk P, RD Magrath (2022)

Reality and illusion: the assessment of angular separation of multi-modal signallers in a duetting bird.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 289(1978):20220680.

The spatial distribution of cooperating individuals plays a strategic role in territorial interactions of many group-living animals, and can indicate group cohesion. Vocalizations are commonly used to judge the distribution of signallers, but the spatial resolution of sounds is poor. Many species therefore accompany calls with movement; however, little is known about the role of audio-visual perception in natural interactions. We studied the effect of angular separation on the efficacy of multimodal duets in the Australian magpie-lark, Grallina cyanoleuca. We tested specifically whether conspicuous wing movements, which typically accompany duets, affect responses to auditory angular separation. Multimodal playbacks of duets using robotic models and speakers showed that birds relied primarily on acoustic cues when visual and auditory angular separations were congruent, but used both modalities to judge separation between the signallers when modalities were spatially incongruent. The visual component modified the effect of acoustic separation: robotic models that were apart weakened the response when speakers were together, while models that were together strengthened responses when speakers were apart. Our results show that responses are stronger when signallers are together, and suggest that males were are able to bind information cross-modally on the senders' spatial location, which is consistent with a multisensory illusion.

RevDate: 2022-08-09

Ram B, R Thakur (2022)

Epidemiology and Economic Burden of Continuing Challenge of Infectious Diseases in India: Analysis of Socio-Demographic Differentials.

Frontiers in public health, 10:901276.

Unlike other low- and middle-income countries, infectious diseases are still predominant, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are emerging without replacing the burden of infectious diseases in India, where it is imposing a double burden of diseases on households in the country. This study aimed to analyse the socio-economic and demographic differentials in the magnitude of economic burden and coping strategies associated with health expenditure on infectious diseases in India. National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) data on "Key Indicators of Social Consumption in India: Health, (2017-18)" have been employed in this study. The findings of the study revealed that more than 33% of the individuals are still suffering from infectious diseases out of the total ailing population in India. Based on the various socio-economic and demographic covariates, infectious diseases are highly prevalent among individuals with marginalized characteristics, such as individuals residing in rural areas, females, 0-14 age groups, Muslims, illiterates, scheduled tribes (STs), and scheduled castes (SCs), large family households, and economically poor people in the country. The per capita out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditure on infectious diseases is INR 7.28 and INR 29.38 in inpatient and outpatient care, respectively. Whereas, monthly per patient OOP expenditure on infectious diseases by infection-affected populations is INR 881.56 and INR 1,156.34 in inpatient and outpatient care in India. The study found that people residing in rural areas, SCs followed by other backward classes (OBCs), illiterates, poor, and very poor are more dependent on borrowings, sale of assets, and other distressed sources of financing. However, under National Health Policy 2017, many initiatives, such as "Ayushman Bharat," PM-JAY, and National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) in 2021, have been launched by the government of India in the recent years. These initiatives are holistically launched for ensuring better health facilities, but it is early to make any prediction regarding its outcomes; hopefully, the time will define it over the passing of a few more years. Finally, the study proposed the need for proper implementations of policy initiatives, awareness against unhygienic conditions and contamination of illnesses, immunisations/vaccination campaigns, subsidized medical facilities, and the country's expansion of quality primary health-care facilities.

RevDate: 2022-08-24

Mack C, N Uomini (2022)

Modulation of behavioural laterality in wild New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides): Vocalization, age and function.

Laterality [Epub ahead of print].

The New Caledonian crow (Corvus moneduloides) is known for displaying a unique set of tool-related behaviours, with the bird's bill acting as an individually consistently lateralized effector. However, we still fail to understand how such laterality develops, is modulated or even if its expression is consistent across other behavioural categories. Creating the first ethogram for this species allowed us to examine laterality and vocalisations in a population of wild, free-flying New Caledonian crows using detailed analyses of close-up video footage. We revealed the existence of an overall strong left-sided bias during object manipulation only and which was driven by the adult crows of our focal population, the stabilization of individual preferences occurring during the birds' juvenile years. Individually, at least one crow showed consistent side biases to the right and left within different behavioural categories. Our findings highlight previously unknown variability in behavioural laterality in this species, thus advocating for further investigation. Specifically, we argue that a better understanding of the New Caledonian crow's biology and ecology is required if one wishes to pursue the promising comparative road that laterality could be connected to the evolution of tool-making.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-07-06

Khosrozadeh M, Ghadimi S, Kazemzadeh Gharghabi M, et al (2022)

The Correlation between Children's Intelligence Quotient and Their Behavior in Dental Setting: A Cross-Sectional Study.

BioMed research international, 2022:2299215.

Children with high intelligence quotient (IQ) are more capable of managing adverse situations. These children may show more cooperation to receive dental treatments. This study assessed the effect of intelligence quotient (IQ) of 5-10-year-old children on their cooperation during dental treatments. Eighty children without previous dental history and in need of pulpotomy and stainless steel crowns in one tooth were selected. A written consent was obtained from the parents, and after the children's IQ was measured by Raven intelligence test, the treatments were performed and their cooperation level was determined using Frankl's behavior rating scale with rating 1 to rating 4 (definitely negative, negative, positive, and definitely positive). In this cross-sectional study, the relationship between IQ and cooperation level was analyzed by one-way ANOVA test while the effect of age and gender on IQ and cooperation level was studied by ordinal regression test. Out of the total samples, 5% had definitely negative, 16.2% had negative, 56.3% had positive, and 22.5% had definitely positive level of cooperation according to Frankl criteria. There was a significant and positive correlation between IQ and level of cooperation (r = 0.87, p < 0.001). According to the results of the linear regression analysis, to examine the effect of age, sex, and IQ variables on cooperation, children's age (p value = 0.003) had a positive effect on their cooperation, but gender had no effect on predicting IQ and cooperation level (p value = 0.557). Regarding significant relationship between IQ scores and cooperation level, dentists can predict cooperation in pediatric patients to deliver better treatments and increase patients' satisfaction.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Gallego-Abenza M, Boucherie PH, T Bugnyar (2022)

Early social environment affects attention to social cues in juvenile common ravens, Corvus corax.

Royal Society open science, 9(6):220132.

Social competence, i.e. defined as the ability to adjust the expression of social behaviour to the available social information, is known to be influenced by early-life conditions. Brood size might be one of the factors determining such early conditions, particularly in species with extended parental care. We here tested in ravens whether growing up in families of different sizes affects the chicks' responsiveness to social information. We experimentally manipulated the brood size of 13 captive raven families, creating either small or large families. Simulating dispersal, juveniles were separated from their parents and temporarily housed in one of two captive non-breeder groups. After five weeks of socialization, each raven was individually tested in a playback setting with food-associated calls from three social categories: sibling, familiar unrelated raven they were housed with, and unfamiliar unrelated raven from the other non-breeder aviary. We found that individuals reared in small families were more attentive than birds from large families, in particular towards the familiar unrelated peer. These results indicate that variation in family size during upbringing can affect how juvenile ravens value social information. Whether the observed attention patterns translate into behavioural preferences under daily life conditions remains to be tested in future studies.

RevDate: 2022-09-13
CmpDate: 2022-09-13

Baciadonna L, Jerwood GM, Farrar BG, et al (2022)

Investigation of mirror-self recognition in ravens (Corvus corax).

Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983), 136(3):194-198.

Large-brained birds, such as corvids and parrots, tend to fail tests for self-recognition (mirror self-recognition [MSR]), but the limited positive evidence for MSR in these species has been questioned due to methodological limitations. In the present study, we aimed to investigate MSR in ravens by performing three mirror tests: a mirror exposure test, a mirror preference test, and a mark test. Across all three tests, the ravens' behavior was not consistent with MSR. Three out of six ravens infrequently interacted with the mirror and the nonmirror surfaces. Two birds explored the mirror and occasionally displayed contingent behaviors. Finally, the ravens made very few social displays toward the mirror, suggesting that at this stage they did not treat their reflection as a conspecific. These findings, along with the current evidence available, raise further questions on the validity of relying on one test to establish self-recognition and call for the development of methods beyond mirror tests to explore self-recognition in nonhuman animals. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2022-06-17

Zhang Y, Zhang Z, Zhao L, et al (2022)

Azure-winged Magpies would rather avoid losses than strive for benefits based on reciprocal altruism.

Animal cognition [Epub ahead of print].

It is no doubt that the reciprocal altruism of humans is unparalleled in the animal world. However, how strong altruistic behavior in the non-human animal is still very controversial. Almost all previous researches allowed only one individual in the dyad for action or dyad to accomplish tasks and obtain rewards simultaneously. Here, we designed current study based on the prisoner's dilemma to investigate reciprocal altruism under interactions of Azure-winged Magpies (Cyanopica cyanus), which is direct reciprocity of allowing subjects obtain rewards, respectively. The results suggest that Azure-winged Magpies failed to show continuously altruistic behavior due to the empiricism that stemmed from interactions, that is, avoiding losses. Meanwhile, the resource exchange game paradigm, which is designed in our study, is worthwhile to study the evolution of cooperation in more species in the future.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Gallup AC, Schild AB, Ühlein MA, et al (2022)

No Evidence for Contagious Yawning in Juvenile Ravens (Corvus corax): An Observational Study.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 12(11):.

The overt and reflexive matching of behaviors among conspecifics has been observed in a growing number of social vertebrates, including avian species. In general, behavioral contagion-such as the spread of yawning-may serve important functions in group synchronization and vigilance behavior. Here, we performed an exploratory study to investigate yawn contagion among 10 captive juvenile ravens (Corvus corax), across two groups. Using observational methods, we also examined the contagiousness of three other distinct behaviors: stretching, scratching, and shaking. A total of 44 20 min observations were made across both groups, including 28 in the morning and 16 in the afternoon. The time and occurrence of all the behaviors from each bird were coded, and the temporal pattern of each behavior across both groups was then analyzed to assess the degree of social contagion. Overall, we found no evidence for contagious yawning, stretching, scratching, or shaking. However, yawns were relatively infrequent per observation (0.052 ± 0.076 yawns/bird) and thus experimental methods should be used to support this finding.

RevDate: 2022-08-15
CmpDate: 2022-05-26

Farine DR (2022)

Collective behaviour: Jackdaws vote to leave with their voice.

Current biology : CB, 32(10):R467-R469.

Making a decision as a group requires not only choosing where to go but also when to go. A new study provides experimental evidence that, in jackdaws, vocalisations facilitate synchronous early morning departures from communal roosts.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Moyer RA, Beck CJ, Van Atter N, et al (2022)

Advocacy services for survivors of intimate partner violence: Pivots and lessons learned during the COVID-19 quarantine in Tacoma, Washington.

Family court review, 60(2):288-302.

The Crystal Judson Family Justice Center (CJFJC), like many advocacy programs for survivors of intimate partner violence, transformed its structure and operating procedures amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States was in Washington State, where CJFJC is located, and Governor Jay Inslee acted quickly with a strict stay-at-home order. This paper describes the pre-pandemic, in-person service model used at CJFJC and then the transition to a fully online service model utilizing phone, email and online procedures and platforms. The rapid transition posed many opportunities to learn how to provide services during public pandemics, and how to provide services virtually. We conclude with detailed lessons learned from the experiences of filing domestic violence protection orders online, Zoom court hearings, innovation surrounding community partnerships, and information technology development.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Kövér L, Paládi P, Benmazouz I, et al (2022)

Is the Hitchcock Story Really True? Public Opinion on Hooded Crows in Cities as Input to Management.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 12(9):.

In recent years, the Hooded crow (Corvus cornix) has become one of the most successful wild bird species in urban environments across Europe. Hooded crows can cause several problems in cities, including trash scattering, noise disturbance, and aggressive behavior toward humans or pets, and they can be potential vectors of pathogens. To find effective solutions, the public has to be involved in the decision-making process in urban planning management, managed by the city administration. In this study, we surveyed the attitude of people in Hungary towards crows and crow management by collecting information using an online questionnaire containing 65 questions published in 14 Facebook groups. We found that many people were familiar with corvid species and had personal experience with them. In most cases, these experiences were not negative, so the crows were not or only rarely perceived to cause problems to people, such as aggressive behavior, damage to cars or stealing something. Most respondents recognized that the presence of large numbers of hooded crows is a problem to be solved and acknowledged that they do not know how to resolve it. The majority of people expressed their interest in raising public awareness of crows but not in their management actions, which they believe should be implemented by experts. Most respondents preferred passive, harmless methods. More direct methods such as egg/chick removal from the nest, control by trapping, poisoned baits or firearms, or oral contraceptives were the least acceptable. These results express the difficulty in identifying a control method for managing hooded crow populations that is both acceptable to most people and effective at the same time. This study demonstrates the importance of involving public opinion in wildlife management and providing more information to citizens to reduce human-crow conflicts.

RevDate: 2022-08-27
CmpDate: 2022-08-09

Brynychová K, Sládeček M, Pešková L, et al (2022)

Aggressiveness in a subtropical shorebird's nest defense is adjusted to the predator species and shared by conspecifics.

Aggressive behavior, 48(5):475-486.

Aggression is an important component of an animal's defense when protecting offspring from predators. Ground nesting birds use a variety of defense strategies. However, their choice according to situation context is poorly known, especially in nonpasserines and in the subtropics and tropics. The ability to distinguish between differently dangerous predator species and the opportunity to share defense with conspecifics are potentially important but little-studied aspects of nest defense strategy. We experimentally studied the nest defense of Red-Wattled Lapwing in an individually marked population in a desert area near Dubai, UAE. We used three stuffed models representing 1) a predator dangerous both to adults and to nests (a cat), 2) a nest predator (a raven), and 3) a harmless reference model (a moorhen). We confirmed that the lapwings distinguished between predator species (being most aggressive toward the cat, and least aggressive toward the moorhen) and adjusted their defense strategy accordingly. In addition, conspecific visitors play a variety of roles in parents' defense strategy. They can strengthen the parental reaction, or they can assist in distracting a predator. The visitors included not only nesting neighbors but also nonbreeding floaters. Both parents participated in nest defense to a similar extent, regardless of incubation stage and ambient temperature. This study provides new insight into the complexity of the defensive patterns in ground-nesting birds inhabiting a hot environment. Comparative experimental research on a range of environments, with various bird species and predator models, can help us to understand the drivers of these defensive behavioral patterns.

RevDate: 2022-04-27

Ocañas AR, Danoff-Burg JA, Mulroe K, et al (2022)

Addressing the raven food subsidy challenge by engaging restaurants to close their dumpsters.

Zoo biology [Epub ahead of print].

Ravens have benefitted from resource subsidies provided by humans so much that their population has increased by over 800% in the western Mojave desert over the last 50 years. Our food waste is an especially large subsidy. Raven predation is one of the greatest threats to desert tortoise survival in the California desert. We sought to create and evaluate a behavioral change program among restaurants in Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms, California in the western Mojave with elevated raven populations. Half of the 60 restaurants in these two communities received an intervention encouraging them to close their dumpsters while the other half served as controls with no intervention. Treatment restaurants received two in-person visits to discuss the manifold importance of dumpster closure and laminated information signs to display and extend communication to staff. We surveyed all dumpsters for open/closed status five times before the intervention and five times again 3 months after the intervention. We found a significant increase in closure rates among treatment restaurants due to the interventions, with an average of 9.5% increase toward maximum possible lid closure. Restaurants achieving 80%+ closure received "Gold Star Awards" to further stimulate community-wide behavior change by publicly recognizing and encouraging desired behaviors. We summarize dumpster closure rates from similar interventions in nearby Joshua Tree and across the Coachella Valley to illustrate how local social norms may influence behavior.

RevDate: 2022-05-19
CmpDate: 2022-05-19

Bravo C, Sarasa M, Bretagnolle V, et al (2022)

Detectability and predator strategy affect egg depredation rates: Implications for mitigating nest depredation in farmlands.

The Science of the total environment, 829:154558.

Predation is a major evolutionary force in animal ecology. Mechanisms by which prey coloration provides camouflage has been widely studied. However, predator response to prey camouflage and concealment has received less attention. Understanding vegetation structure effect on depredation success could help managers design strategies to mitigate the depredation of managed species (e.g., threatened or hunted). We aimed to investigate the relationship between depredation rate, nest camouflage and concealment in ground-nesting birds of farmlands, and their predators. We set up an experiment of 2576 artificial ground nests to assess the role of egg coloration (white, light green, and dark green), egg size (small, medium, and large), and vegetation structure (vegetation height and land use) in nest survival rates. We also explored the role of predator searching strategies by analysing clumped depredation and multiple depredation events. Of the nests, 34.0% were depredated, with corvids as the predators 78.5% of the time. Corvid depredation decreased by 40-60% in grasslands and spring crops above a vegetation height of 30 cm. In contrast, vegetation height and land use may be of far less importance in avoiding depredation by other predators. The probability of depredation was spatially clumped, suggesting that predators increase search effort in areas where a nest was previously encountered. Neighboring depredation and depredation repetition were more frequent in corvids than in other predators. Our study indicates that nests in vegetation higher than 30 cm had a drastic reduction in depredation rates by corvids. Management of vegetation structure is a key tool to mitigate depredation risk, and improving the availability of alternative food resources may be a complementary tool.

RevDate: 2022-03-09

Nittono H, Ohashi A, M Komori (2022)

Creation and Validation of the Japanese Cute Infant Face (JCIF) Dataset.

Frontiers in psychology, 13:819428.

Research interest in cuteness perception and its effects on subsequent behavior and physiological responses has recently been increasing. The purpose of the present study was to produce a dataset of Japanese infant faces that are free of portrait rights and can be used for cuteness research. A total of 80 original facial images of 6-month-old infants were collected from their parents. The cuteness level of each picture was rated on a 7-point scale by 200 Japanese people (100 men and 100 women in their 20s-60s). Prototypical high- and low-cuteness faces were created by averaging the top 10 and bottom 10 faces according to the mean cuteness ratings. Then, 50 composite faces were made by mixing two faces randomly chosen from the 60 unused middle-cuteness faces. The normative cuteness ratings of these composite faces were obtained from 229 Japanese men and women in their 20s-60s. The shape of each composite face was transformed to be cuter (+50%) or less cute (-50%) along a continuum between the high- and low-cuteness prototypical faces. A two-alternative forced-choice task (N = 587) confirmed that cuteness discrimination was better than the chance level for all 50 face pairs. Moreover, the results showed that young men had poorer sensitivity to cuteness differences in infant faces than older men and women of any age. This Japanese Cute Infant Face (JCIF, "jay-sif") dataset, including composite face images and normative rating scores, is publicly available online.

RevDate: 2022-05-17
CmpDate: 2022-05-17

Abdel Maksoud MKM, Ibrahim AAH, Nabil TM, et al (2022)

Histomorphological, histochemical and scanning electron microscopic investigation of the proventriculus (Ventriculus glandularis) of the hooded crow (Corvus cornix).

Anatomia, histologia, embryologia, 51(3):380-389.

The current investigation aimed to clarify the histomorphological features, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and histochemistry of the proventriculus in the adult hooded crow (Corvus cornix). Twenty-two adult birds of both sexes were collected from El-Fayoum and Beni-Suef governorates, Egypt; ten were used for anatomical investigation, two were scanned using SEM, and ten were subjected to routine histological technique. The obtained anatomical results revealed a small-sized spindle-shaped proventriculus obliquely located in the left ventral part of the body cavity with an average body weight, length and diameter of 1.689 ± 0.231 gm, 1.54 ± 0.383cm and 3.51 ± 0.416cm, respectively. The histological examination revealed a typical tubular organ. The mucosa exhibited several plicae and sulci that were lined with simple columnar cells. The lamina propria was composed of collagenous connective tissue infiltrated by lymphocytes, lymphatic aggregations and tubular glands. The submucosa consisted of collagenic fibres and compound tubuloalveolar glandular lobules lined with oxynticopeptic cells and enteroendocrine cells. The oxynticopeptic cells reacted negatively with PAS and Alcian Blue stains, whereas the ductal cells reacted positively with PAS only. Enteroendocrine cells were seen singly in the lamina epithelialis mucosae and were abundant in submucosal glands. The tunica musclaris was arranged in two layers covered by serosa. The proventricular glands' openings were noticed by SEM as raised tubes with regular circular outlines surrounded by anastomosed microscopic folds. The obtained histomorphological structure of the hooded crow's proventriculus revealed some shared morphological features with most species of birds and some variations that might be attributed to their diet and feeding behaviour.

RevDate: 2022-03-14
CmpDate: 2022-03-14

McCune KB, Valente JJ, Jablonski PG, et al (2022)

Social behavior mediates the use of social and personal information in wild jays.

Scientific reports, 12(1):2494.

The factors favoring the evolution of certain cognitive abilities in animals remain unclear. Social learning is a cognitive ability that reduces the cost of acquiring personal information and forms the foundation for cultural behavior. Theory predicts the evolutionary pressures to evolve social learning should be greater in more social species. However, research testing this theory has primarily occurred in captivity, where artificial environments can affect performance and yield conflicting results. We compared the use of social and personal information, and the social learning mechanisms used by wild, asocial California scrub-jays and social Mexican jays. We trained demonstrators to solve one door on a multi-door task, then measured the behavior of naïve conspecifics towards the task. If social learning occurs, observations of demonstrators will change the rate that naïve individuals interact with each door. We found both species socially learned, though personal information had a much greater effect on behavior in the asocial species while social information was more important for the social species. Additionally, both species used social information to avoid, rather than copy, conspecifics. Our findings demonstrate that while complex social group structures may be unnecessary for the evolution of social learning, it does affect the use of social versus personal information.

RevDate: 2022-05-19
CmpDate: 2022-04-15

Seguchi A, Mogi K, EI Izawa (2022)

Measurement of urinary mesotocin in large-billed crows by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

The Journal of veterinary medical science, 84(4):520-524.

Mesotocin (MT) is an avian homologue of oxytocin (OT). Behavioral pharmacological studies in birds have suggested the involvement of MT in socially affiliative behavior. However, investigations of peripheral MT levels associated with social behavior are lacking because non-invasive methods to measure surrogate plasma MT have yet to be established. This study aimed to measure urinary MT in crows using a commercially available OT enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. Urine samples were collected after intravenous injection of MT and centrifuged to separate urine and fecal components. We found that urinary MT was significantly elevated 15-30 min after MT injection. These results validate our method for the use of urine samples for the measurement of peripheral MT levels in crows.

RevDate: 2022-07-13
CmpDate: 2022-05-06

Suh YH, Bowman R, JW Fitzpatrick (2022)

Staging to join non-kin groups in a classical cooperative breeder, the Florida scrub-jay.

The Journal of animal ecology, 91(5):970-982.

Why unrelated members form groups in animal societies remains a pertinent topic in evolutionary biology because benefits for group members often are not obvious. We studied subordinates that disperse to join unrelated social groups in the Florida scrub-jay Aphelocoma coerulescens, a cooperative breeding species mainly composed of kin-based groups. We evaluated potential adaptive benefits of dispersing to become an unrelated helper (staging) versus remaining home and dispersing only to pair and breed (direct dispersal) to understand why non-kin-based groups form. Using 35 years of demographic data, we quantified life-history aspects of staging individuals and tested associations between social and ecological factors on the natal and staging territories. We compared fitness outcomes between dispersal strategies by analysing survival, breeding recruitment and direct reproductive output. We tested for sexual asymmetry potentially driven by differences in territory acquisition patterns and female-biased dispersal for this species. Of birds that reached 1 year, 28% staged at a non-natal territory before breeding or disappearing. Staging dispersers departed at younger ages and moved greater distances than direct dispersers. When looking at proximate factors on the natal territory associated with staging, males left groups with many same-sex helpers, while females often left when their father disappeared. For both sexes, staging individuals more likely came from high-quality territories and joined groups with fewer same-sex helpers than in their natal group. While staging and direct dispersers did not differ in survival or likelihood of becoming a breeder, staging males became breeders later and had lower lifetime reproductive success than direct dispersers. In Florida scrub-jays, staging appears to be an alternative strategy for female helpers, but a best-of-a-bad-situation for males. This sexual asymmetry is consistent with males having more options than females to achieve higher reproductive success by breeding near home. Trade-offs in cost-benefits of departing the natal territory and joining unrelated groups as a helper seem to best explain alternative dispersal patterns, with optimal social queues primarily driving the benefits. This research highlights plasticity in dispersal behaviour in response to social and environmental conditions and offers a new perspective in our understanding of non-kin-based social groups.

RevDate: 2022-04-22
CmpDate: 2022-04-22

Boucherie PH, Gallego-Abenza M, Massen JJM, et al (2022)

Dominance in a socially dynamic setting: hierarchical structure and conflict dynamics in ravens' foraging groups.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 377(1845):20200446.

Dominance hierarchies typically emerge in systems where group members regularly encounter and compete for resources. In birds, the 'open' and dynamic structure of foraging groups may prevent the emergence of structured hierarchies, although this assumption have hardly been tested. We report on agonistic data for ravens Corvus corax, collected over two 18-month periods for 183 marked individuals of a wild (fluid) population and 51 birds from six captive (stable) groups. We show that the dominance structure (steep and transitive) in wild foraging groups is strikingly similar to that found in captivity. In the wild, we found that higher ranks are mainly occupied by males, older and more aggressive individuals that also tend to receive fewer aggressions. Exploring the mechanisms sustaining the wild dominance structure, we confirmed that males are more aggressive than females and, with age, tend to receive fewer aggressions than females. Males that are about to leave the foraging groups for some months are less aggressive than newcomers or locals, while newcomers are specifically targeted by aggressions in their first year (as juveniles). Taken together, our results indicate that the socially dynamic conditions ravens face during foraging do not hinder, but provide opportunities for, using (advanced) social cognition. This article is part of the theme issue 'The centennial of the pecking order: current state and future prospects for the study of dominance hierarchies'.

RevDate: 2022-04-20
CmpDate: 2022-04-20

LaFave SE, Suen JJ, Seau Q, et al (2022)

Racism and Older Black Americans' Health: a Systematic Review.

Journal of urban health : bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 99(1):28-54.

We reviewed research that examines racism as an independent variable and one or more health outcomes as dependent variables in Black American adults aged 50 years and older in the USA. Of the 43 studies we reviewed, most measured perceived interpersonal racism, perceived institutional racism, or residential segregation. The only two measures of structural racism were birth and residence in a "Jim Crow state." Fourteen studies found associations between racism and mental health outcomes, five with cardiovascular outcomes, seven with cognition, two with physical function, two with telomere length, and five with general health/other health outcomes. Ten studies found no significant associations in older Black adults. All but six of the studies were cross-sectional. Research to understand the extent of structural and multilevel racism as a social determinant of health and the impact on older adults specifically is needed. Improved measurement tools could help address this gap in science.

RevDate: 2022-04-05
CmpDate: 2022-04-04

Martin RJ, Dick MF, DF Sherry (2022)

Canada jays (Perisoreus canadensis) balance protein and energy targets simultaneously in both consumed and cached food.

Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology, 266:111142.

Food scarce periods pose serious physiological challenges for birds, especially in energetically demanding conditions. For species in the northern hemisphere, a decrease in available resources during winter adds further physiological stress to the energetic demands of life at low temperatures. Some species cache food to provide a reliable energy and nutrient resource during scarcity. Canada Jays are a year-round food-caching resident of the North American boreal forest. Canada Jays also rear their young prior to spring green up, making food caching not only essential for adult winter survival, but also potentially important for meeting the requirements of growing offspring in late winter and early spring. We examined the diet choices of Canada Jays immediately prior to winter, and the macronutrient composition of the foods Canada Jay consumed and cached at this time. We found that Canada Jays cache the same relative amounts of macronutrients as they consume but did not vary macronutrients seasonally. The similarities in the macronutrient proportions cached and consumed suggest a consistent nutrient intake pattern, and that Canada Jays are foraging to simultaneously meet similar minimum energy and minimum protein targets for both the present and future. These simultaneous targets constrain the caching decisions of jays when presented with dietary choices.

RevDate: 2022-01-25
CmpDate: 2022-01-25

Klump BC, St Clair JJ, C Rutz (2021)

New Caledonian crows keep 'valuable' hooked tools safer than basic non-hooked tools.

eLife, 10:.

The temporary storage and re-use of tools can significantly enhance foraging efficiency. New Caledonian crows in one of our study populations use two types of stick tools - hooked and non-hooked - which differ in raw material, manufacture costs, and foraging performance. Using a large sample of wild-caught, temporarily captive New Caledonian crows, we investigated experimentally whether individuals prefer one tool type over the other when given a choice and whether they take better care of their preferred tools between successive episodes of use, safely storing them underfoot or in nearby holes. Crows strongly preferred hooked stick tools made from Desmanthus virgatus stems over non-hooked stick tools. Importantly, this preference was also reflected in subsequent tool-handling behaviour, with subjects keeping hooked stick tools safe more often than non-hooked stick tools sourced from leaf litter. These results suggest that crows 'value' hooked stick tools, which are both costlier to procure and more efficient to use, more than non-hooked stick tools. Results from a series of control treatments suggested that crows altered their tool 'safekeeping' behaviour in response to a combination of factors, including tool type and raw material. To our knowledge, our study is the first to use safekeeping behaviour as a proxy for assessing how non-human animals value different tool types, establishing a novel paradigm for productive cross-taxonomic comparisons.

RevDate: 2022-01-24
CmpDate: 2022-01-24

Martin RJ, Martin GK, Roberts WA, et al (2021)

No evidence for future planning in Canada jays (Perisoreus canadensis).

Biology letters, 17(12):20210504.

In the past 20 years, research in animal cognition has challenged the belief that complex cognitive processes are uniquely human. At the forefront of these challenges has been research on mental time travel and future planning in jays. We tested whether Canada jays (Perisoreus canadensis) demonstrated future planning, using a procedure that has produced evidence of future planning in California scrub-jays. Future planning in this procedure is caching in locations where the bird will predictably experience a lack of food in the future. Canada jays showed no evidence of future planning in this sense and instead cached in the location where food was usually available, opposite to the behaviour described for California scrub-jays. We provide potential explanations for these differing results adding to the recent debates about the role of complex cognition in corvid caching strategies.

RevDate: 2021-11-30

Schneider S, Goettlich S, Diercks C, et al (2021)

Discrimination of Acoustic Stimuli and Maintenance of Graded Alarm Call Structure in Captive Meerkats.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 11(11):.

Animals living in human care for several generations face the risk of losing natural behaviors, which can lead to reduced animal welfare. The goal of this study is to demonstrate that meerkats (Suricata suricatta) living in zoos can assess potential danger and respond naturally based on acoustic signals only. This includes that the graded information of urgency in alarm calls as well as a response to those alarm calls is retained in captivity. To test the response to acoustic signals with different threat potential, meerkats were played calls of various animals differing in size and threat (e.g., robin, raven, buzzard, jackal) while their behavior was observed. The emitted alarm calls were recorded and examined for their graded structure on the one hand and played back to them on the other hand by means of a playback experiment to see whether the animals react to their own alarm calls even in the absence of danger. A fuzzy clustering algorithm was used to analyze and classify the alarm calls. Subsequently, the features that best described the graded structure were isolated using the LASSO algorithm and compared to features already known from wild meerkats. The results show that the graded structure is maintained in captivity and can be described by features such as noise and duration. The animals respond to new threats and can distinguish animal calls that are dangerous to them from those that are not, indicating the preservation of natural cooperative behavior. In addition, the playback experiments show that the meerkats respond to their own alarm calls with vigilance and escape behavior. The findings can be used to draw conclusions about the intensity of alertness in captive meerkats and to adapt husbandry conditions to appropriate welfare.

RevDate: 2022-06-15
CmpDate: 2022-02-14

Leopold SS (2022)

A Conversation with … Jay Nordlinger, the Writer Who Sees Both Sides.

Clinical orthopaedics and related research, 480(2):217-219.

RevDate: 2022-04-11
CmpDate: 2022-04-11

Miller R, Lambert ML, Frohnwieser A, et al (2022)

Socio-ecological correlates of neophobia in corvids.

Current biology : CB, 32(1):74-85.e4.

Behavioral responses to novelty, including fear and subsequent avoidance of novel stimuli, i.e., neophobia, determine how animals interact with their environment. Neophobia aids in navigating risk and impacts on adaptability and survival. There is variation within and between individuals and species; however, lack of large-scale, comparative studies critically limits investigation of the socio-ecological drivers of neophobia. In this study, we tested responses to novel objects and food (alongside familiar food) versus a baseline (familiar food alone) in 10 corvid species (241 subjects) across 10 labs worldwide. There were species differences in the latency to touch familiar food in the novel object and novel food conditions relative to the baseline. Four of seven socio-ecological factors influenced object neophobia: (1) use of urban habitat (versus not), (2) territorial pair versus family group sociality, (3) large versus small maximum flock size, and (4) moderate versus specialized caching (whereas range, hunting live animals, and genus did not), while only maximum flock size influenced food neophobia. We found that, overall, individuals were temporally and contextually repeatable (i.e., consistent) in their novelty responses in all conditions, indicating neophobia is a stable behavioral trait. With this study, we have established a network of corvid researchers, demonstrating potential for further collaboration to explore the evolution of cognition in corvids and other bird species. These novel findings enable us, for the first time in corvids, to identify the socio-ecological correlates of neophobia and grant insight into specific elements that drive higher neophobic responses in this avian family group. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

RevDate: 2021-11-09
CmpDate: 2021-11-09

Kas JJ, Vila FD, Pemmaraju CD, et al (2021)

Advanced calculations of X-ray spectroscopies with FEFF10 and Corvus.

Journal of synchrotron radiation, 28(Pt 6):1801-1810.

The real-space Green's function code FEFF has been extensively developed and used for calculations of X-ray and related spectra, including X-ray absorption (XAS), X-ray emission (XES), inelastic X-ray scattering, and electron energy-loss spectra. The code is particularly useful for the analysis and interpretation of the XAS fine-structure (EXAFS) and the near-edge structure (XANES) in materials throughout the periodic table. Nevertheless, many applications, such as non-equilibrium systems, and the analysis of ultra-fast pump-probe experiments, require extensions of the code including finite-temperature and auxiliary calculations of structure and vibrational properties. To enable these extensions, we have developed in tandem a new version FEFF10 and new FEFF-based workflows for the Corvus workflow manager, which allow users to easily augment the capabilities of FEFF10 via auxiliary codes. This coupling facilitates simplified input and automated calculations of spectra based on advanced theoretical techniques. The approach is illustrated with examples of high-temperature behavior, vibrational properties, many-body excitations in XAS, super-heavy materials, and fits of calculated spectra to experiment.

RevDate: 2022-04-06
CmpDate: 2022-04-06

Séguin K, Durand-Guévin A, Lavallée C, et al (2022)

The taphonomic impact of scavenger guilds in southern Quebec during summer and fall in two distinct habitats.

Journal of forensic sciences, 67(2):460-470.

Decomposition of human remains is a complex process impacted by many intrinsic and extrinsic factors. A less-studied extrinsic factor in forensic taphonomy are the scavengers that consume soft and hard tissue. Scavengers physically degrade and remove soft tissue, disperse, and destroy skeletal elements, which can make locating remains challenging. While invertebrate activity has been largely investigated, there is limited quantitative data available on vertebrate activity, particularly in Canada. This study aimed to determine which species (vertebrate and invertebrate) belong to the scavenger guilds in southern Quebec, and their potential taphonomic impact on the decomposition process. Two independent trials were conducted in 2020 using pig carcasses: one during summer in a forest habitat and one during fall in a grassland habitat. Each carcass was placed a minimum 100 m apart in semi-rural land. Vertebrate scavenger activity was recorded by continuous surveillance using trail cameras. Carcasses were also regularly visited to monitor the decomposition process and the activity of invertebrate scavengers. Overall, the vertebrate scavenger guilds included a narrow range of corvids, turkey vultures, coyotes, and skunks. The intensity of vertebrate scavengers was greater in the grassland habitat (fall), while the intensity of invertebrate scavengers was greater in the forest habitat (summer). With the exception of invertebrate scavengers, very few species visited during the fresh stage of decomposition, and the probability of body displacement increased as decomposition progressed. These results identify which scavengers have the greatest taphonomic impact and highlight the importance of incorporating scavenger impact when searching for human remains.

RevDate: 2021-11-07
CmpDate: 2021-11-05

Zeiträg C, I Jacobs (2021)

The elusive perspective of a food thief.

eLife, 10:.

Eurasian jays fail to take into account the point of view and desire of other jays when hiding food they can eat later.

RevDate: 2022-01-28
CmpDate: 2022-01-28

Baciadonna L, Solvi C, La Cava S, et al (2021)

Cross-modal individual recognition in the African penguin and the effect of partnership.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1960):20211463.

An animal's ability to recognize another individual by matching their image to their voice suggests they form internal representations of other individuals. To what extent this ability, termed cross-modal individual recognition, extends to birds other than corvids is unknown. Here, we used an expectancy violation paradigm to determine whether a monogamous territorial seabird (Spheniscus demersus) can cross-modally recognize familiar conspecifics (partners or colony-mates). After pairs of penguins spent time together in an isolated area, one of the penguins was released from the area leaving the focal penguin alone. Subsequently, we played contact calls of the released penguin (congruent condition) or a different penguin (incongruent condition). After being paired with a colony-mate, focal penguins' response latency to the auditory stimulus was faster in the incongruent compared to congruent condition, indicating the mismatch violated their expectations. This behavioural pattern was not observed in focal penguins after being paired with their partner. We discuss these different results in the light of penguins' natural behaviour and the evolution of social communication strategies. Our results suggest that cross-modal individual recognition extends to penguins and reveals, in contrast with previously thought, that social communication between members of this endangered species can also use visual cues.

RevDate: 2021-10-28
CmpDate: 2021-10-28

Tomita K (2021)

Camera traps reveal interspecific differences in the diel and seasonal patterns of cicada nymph predation.

Die Naturwissenschaften, 108(6):52.

Cicadas, a group of large-bodied insects, are preyed upon at both nymphal and adult stages by diverse range of vertebrates such as birds and mammals. Although the behavior of predators toward adult cicadas is well documented, there is a lack of research on the predation on cicada nymphs. In this study, camera traps deployed in conifer plantations, in which high population densities of cicadas Lyristes bihamatus emerge, were used to evaluate the seasonal and diel patterns of predation upon cicada nymphs by three predator species, namely brown bears, red foxes, and jungle crows, from May to September in 2018 and 2019 in northern Japan. Among all three species, cicada nymph predation occurred until early August when the final instar nymphs fully emerged. Bears were observed to constantly dig for cicada nymphs until early August, whereas foxes and crows were frequently observed foraging from late July to early August, during the season of L. bihamatus emergence. In contract to the powerful digging ability of bears, which facilitates efficient predation upon subterranean cicada nymphs, it is generally difficult for foxes and crows with limited or no digging ability to gain access these nymphs until the period of emergence. Cicada nymph predation by bears and crows was observed primarily during the daytime, despite the typical crepuscular/nocturnal emergence schedules of these insects. Contrastingly, the predatory activities of foxes tended to be nocturnal during the period prior to the beginning of cicada emergence, although subsequently became diurnal during the cicada emergence period. These observations indicate that the temporal activity patterns of cicada nymph predators are determined by interspecific differences in predation abilities and cicada emergence schedules. Accordingly, the findings of this study provide evidence to indicate that the timing and duration of trophic interactions between above- and belowground communities might vary among predator species, depending on their predation abilities.

RevDate: 2021-10-28
CmpDate: 2021-10-28

Delamater AR, EA Wasserman (2021)

Comparative cognition-Conceptual and methodological advancements.

Journal of experimental psychology. Animal learning and cognition, 47(3):219-222.

This special issue originally placed a Call for Papers that emphasized the importance of "Conceptual and Methodological" advances in the field of Comparative Cognition. Represented here is a collection of 14 papers that helps to display some of the diversity of ideas and approaches within this flourishing research area. The first paper in this issue, by Gazes and Lazareva (2021), discusses transitive inference learning from the perspectives of: identifying the problems of contextual variables in studying different species; whether associative processes can or cannot fully account for the behavior and, if not, what alternative representational mechanisms might be at work; and, finally, how ecological considerations may support comparative research by suggesting novel theoretical and empirical questions. The next paper, by Loy et al. (2021) investigates questions related to the complexity of learning in invertebrate species, single-celled organisms, and plants. The paper by Rawlings et al. (2021) reviews the literature on cumulative cultural evolution, primarily in nonhuman primate species, and critically evaluates the importance of identifying the essential conceptual and methodological issues in what many have deemed to be a uniquely human form of behavior. The paper by Goto and Watanabe (2021) explores whether the mouse visual system is sensitive to Gestalt principles, using operant discrimination learning tasks similar to those used previously to document Gestalt processing in chimpanzees and humans. Qadri and Cook (2021) use the innovative approach of "adaptive genetic algorithms" to assess the relative importance of different features of a stimulus in controlling organisms' discrimination learning performance. Wittek et al. (2021) introduce a novel method for studying the importance of visual accumulation processes in pigeons when information is presented to a single hemisphere at a time. The paper by Cowie et al. (2021) focuses on a misallocation model of two-step sequence learning in young children and explores from a behavioranalytic viewpoint the implications of assuming that reinforcement might be misattributed to a misremembered response at the beginning of the behavioral sequence. The paper by López-Tolsa and Pellón (2021) explores whether the opportunity to display schedule-induced drinking as an early response within a behavioral sequence might alter the accuracy of temporal control in different-length fixed-interval schedule tasks with rats. Crystal (2021) reviews the literature examining episodic memory in nonhuman species and considers a variety of criteria and methods thought to be crucial for establishing empirical evidence for episodic memory in nonhumans, in general, and rats, in particular. Vila et al. (2021) discuss the use a novel 'hide-and-seek' task in preschool age children to study episodic-like memory; their work illustrates how memory dynamics can change over time in a manner not very unlike what has been demonstrated in other nonhuman research paradigms. The paper by Krichbaum et al. (2021) discusses some of the methodological difficulties one faces in studying spatial cognition in canines. The paper by Castro et al. (2021) uses a complex categorization learning task in which different sets of display features are diagnostic, or not, of category mastery depending upon context. The paper by Vernouillet et al. (2021) explores the formation of same/different concept learning in two species of corvids (pinyon jays and California scrub jays). The final paper, by Lazarowski et al. (2021) examines the possibility of abstract same/different learning in canines using a trial-unique training matching-to-sample procedure with olfactory stimuli. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2021-11-26
CmpDate: 2021-11-26

Raymond S, Schwartz ALW, Thomas RJ, et al (2021)

Temporal patterns of wildlife roadkill in the UK.

PloS one, 16(10):e0258083.

Wildlife-vehicle collisions are one of the main causes of mortality for wild mammals and birds in the UK. Here, using a dataset of 54,000+ records collated by a citizen science roadkill recording scheme between 2014-2019, we analyse and present temporal patterns of wildlife roadkill of the 19 most commonly reported taxa in the UK (84% of all reported roadkill). Most taxa (13 out of 19) showed significant and consistent seasonal variations in road mortality and fitted one of two seasonal patterns; bimodal or unimodal: only three species (red fox Vulpes vulpes, European polecat Mustela putorius and Reeves' muntjac deer Muntiacus reevesi) showed no significant seasonality. Species that increase movement in spring and autumn potentially have bimodal patterns in roadkill due to the increase in mate-searching and juvenile dispersal during these respective time periods (e.g. European badger Meles meles). Unimodal patterns likely represent increased mortality due to a single short pulse in activity associated with breeding (e.g. birds) or foraging (e.g. grey squirrels Sciurus carolinensis in autumn). Importantly, these patterns also indicate periods of increased risk for drivers, potentially posing a greater threat to human welfare. In addition to behaviour-driven annual patterns, abiotic factors (temperature and rainfall) explained some variance in roadkill. Notably, high rainfall was associated with decreased observations of two bird taxa (gulls and Eurasian magpies Pica pica) and European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus. By quantifying seasonal patterns in roadkill, we highlight a significant anthropogenic impact on wild species, which is important in relation to conservation, animal welfare, and human safety.

RevDate: 2021-10-14

Bauch C, Boonekamp JJ, Korsten P, et al (2021)

High heritability of telomere length and low heritability of telomere shortening in wild birds.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Telomere length and telomere shortening predict survival in many organisms. This raises the question of the contribution of genetic and environmental effects to variation in these traits, which is still poorly known, particularly for telomere shortening. We used experimental (cross-fostering) and statistical (quantitative genetic "animal models") means to disentangle and estimate genetic and environmental contributions to telomere length variation in pedigreed free-living jackdaws (Corvus monedula). Telomere length was measured twice in nestlings, at ages 4 (n = 715) and 29 days (n = 474), using telomere restriction fragment (TRF) analysis, adapted to exclude interstitial telomeric sequences. Telomere length shortened significantly over the nestling period (10.4 ± 0.3 bp day-1) and was highly phenotypically (rP = 0.95 ± 0.01) and genetically (rG > 0.99 ± 0.01) correlated within individuals. Additive genetic effects explained a major part of telomere length variation among individuals, with its heritability estimated at h2 = 0.74 on average. We note that TRF-based studies reported higher heritabilities than qPCR-based studies, and we discuss possible explanations. Parent-offspring regressions yielded similar heritability estimates for mothers and fathers when accounting for changes in paternal telomere length over life. Year effects explained a small but significant part of telomere length variation. Heritable variation for telomere shortening was low (h2 = 0.09 ± 0.11). The difference in heritability between telomere length (high) and telomere shortening (low) agrees with evolutionary theory, in that telomere shortening has stronger fitness consequences in this population. Despite the high heritability of telomere length, its evolvability, which scales the additive genetic variance by mean telomere length, was on average 0.48%. Hence, evolutionary change of telomere length due to selection is likely to be slow.

RevDate: 2022-05-06
CmpDate: 2022-05-06

Rodríguez JM, Bae B, Geronimus AT, et al (2022)

The Political Realignment of Health: How Partisan Power Shaped Infant Health in the United States, 1915-2017.

Journal of health politics, policy and law, 47(2):201-224.

The US two-party system was transformed in the 1960s when the Democratic Party abandoned its Jim Crow protectionism to incorporate the policy agenda fostered by the civil rights movement, and the Republican Party redirected its platform toward socioeconomic and racial conservatism. The authors argue that the policy agendas promoted by the two parties through presidents and state legislatures codify a racially patterned access to resources and power detrimental to the health of all. To test the hypothesis that fluctuations in overall and race-specific infant mortality rates (IMRs) shift between the parties in power before and after the political realignment (PR), the authors apply panel data analysis methods to state-level data from the National Center for Health Statistics for the period 1915 through 2017. Net of trend, overall, and race-specific IMRs were not statistically different between presidential parties before the PR. This pattern, however, changed after the PR, with Republican administrations consistently underperforming Democratic ones. Net of trend, non-Southern state legislatures controlled by Republicans underperform Democratic ones in overall and racial IMRs in both periods.

RevDate: 2022-01-19
CmpDate: 2021-12-03

Amodio P, Farrar BG, Krupenye C, et al (2021)

Little evidence that Eurasian jays protect their caches by responding to cues about a conspecific's desire and visual perspective.

eLife, 10:.

Eurasian jays have been reported to protect their caches by responding to cues about either the visual perspective or current desire of an observing conspecific, similarly to other corvids. Here, we used established paradigms to test whether these birds can - like humans - integrate multiple cues about different mental states and perform an optimal response accordingly. Across five experiments, which also include replications of previous work, we found little evidence that our jays adjusted their caching behaviour in line with the visual perspective and current desire of another agent, neither by integrating these social cues nor by responding to only one type of cue independently. These results raise questions about the reliability of the previously reported effects and highlight several key issues affecting reliability in comparative cognition research.

RevDate: 2022-09-10
CmpDate: 2021-11-04

Boeckle M, Schiestl M, Frohnwieser A, et al (2021)

New Caledonian crows' planning behaviour: a reply to de Mahy et al.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1958):20211271.

RevDate: 2022-09-10
CmpDate: 2021-11-02

de Mahy D, Esteve NA, A Santariello (2021)

New test, old problems: comment on 'New Caledonian crows plan for specific future tool use'.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1958):20210186.

RevDate: 2022-03-24
CmpDate: 2022-03-24

Veselý P, Syrová M, Voháňková M, et al (2022)

Cowards or clever guys: an alternative nest defence strategy employed by shrikes against magpies.

Animal cognition, 25(2):307-317.

Red-backed shrikes (Lanius collurio) show a substantial variability in their nest defence behaviour, which usually follows the rules of optimal parental behaviour, vigorously attacking egg and chick predators and only passively guarding against harmless animals. Nevertheless, shrikes hesitate to attack the Eurasian magpie (Pica pica), which specializes in plundering passerine nests. Our previous studies have suggested that this behaviour may be the result of an alternative defence strategy, relying on nest crypsis. To test this hypothesis, at the shrike nests, we presented a magpie dummy associated with playbacks drawing the predators' attention to the presence of the nest. We predicted that the presentation of a magpie dummy associated with shrike alarm calls moves the parents to action, causing them to chase the magpie away from the nest. We showed that the presence of a magpie dummy associated with shrike alarm calls elicits a significantly more active response in shrike parents compared to a magpie dummy associated with neutral song. Parents actively moved around the dummy and produced alarm calls; nevertheless, most of the tested pairs hesitated to attack the dummy. We may conclude that the low nest defence activity of shrike parents towards magpie dummy was partly the result of an alternative strategy, which may be cancelled out by alerting the predator to the location of the nest; nevertheless, shrikes seem to be afraid of the magpie and hesitate to attack it physically.

RevDate: 2021-11-26
CmpDate: 2021-11-26

Wang H, JJ Parris (2021)

Popular media as a double-edged sword: An entertainment narrative analysis of the controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.

PloS one, 16(8):e0255610.

13 Reasons Why is a Netflix original series adapted from Jay Asher's 2007 young adult novel with the same title. Season 1 premiered on March 31, 2017 and featured the sensitive issue of teen suicide along with bullying, substance use, depression, and sexual assault. Unlike the typical teen dramas on popular streaming platforms, this show was created not only for entertainment, but also to stimulate conversations about taboo topics that people often shy away from. However, it also caused significant controversy, especially criticism around the main character Hannah's suicide scene. More than three years into the initial controversy and at least two dozen scholarly publications later, this study is the first to examine the entertainment narrative content of 13 Reasons Why Season 1 to better understand how these health and social issues were portrayed in the show, what specific examples we could identify as potential behavioral modeling, and to what degree it complied with the 2017 WHO guidelines for media professionals. We used the framing theory and social cognitive theory in communication research and media studies as our guiding conceptual frameworks and a narrative analysis approach to investigate a total of 660 cut scenes in all 13 episodes. Our findings provided empirical evidence, along with contextual information and detailed examples, to demonstrate that a popular entertainment program like the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why serves as a double-edged sword. The production team's good will and due diligence are commendable. Yet, additional steps can be taken in the future to effectively promote professional resources and reduce viewers' risks, especially the most vulnerable groups.

RevDate: 2022-02-14
CmpDate: 2022-02-14

Tobari Y, Masuzawa A, Harada N, et al (2021)

Noradrenergic alpha-2A receptor activation suppresses courtship vocalization in male Japanese quail.

Behavioural brain research, 414:113513.

Male Japanese quail produce high-frequency crow vocalizations to attract females during the breeding season. The nucleus of intercollicularis (ICo) is the midbrain vocal center in birds and electrical stimulation of the ICo produces calls that include crowing. Noradrenaline plays a significant role in sexual behavior but the contribution of noradrenaline in the control of courtship vocalizations in quail has not been well established. Using dose-dependent intracerebroventricular injection of clonidine, an α2-adrenergic receptor-specific agonist, crowing vocalization was immediately suppressed. At the same time as crow suppression by clonidine there was a reduction of immediate early gene, zenk mRNA, in the ICo; no zenk mRNA expression was detected in the dorsomedial division of the nucleus. Using histochemistry, we determined that the ICo receives noradrenergic innervation and expresses α2A-adrenergic receptor mRNA. Taken together, these data suggest that noradrenaline regulates courtship vocalization in quail, possibly via the α2A-adrenergic receptor expressed on ICo neurons.

RevDate: 2022-03-17
CmpDate: 2022-03-01

Berry OO (2022)

Editorial: Race-Based Traumatic Stress and Vicarious Racism Within the Parent-Child Dyad: Opportunities for Intervention.

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 61(3):362-363.

With every disaster, there are fault lines that deepen our understanding of what has happened and what needs to come. The events over the past 18 months including the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic as well as the murder of George Floyd and the associated protests throughout the United States brought those fault lines into stark relief by highlighting the history of systemic racism that has fostered marginalization and discrimination against Black Americans. These clouds of systemic racism and discrimination-encompassing 250 years of slavery, 100 years of Jim Crow, police brutality, redlining, and the resulting high rates of poverty and poorer health outcomes-have created systems in which Black Americans face unequal and unequitable stressful situations. The medical community is now beginning to take notice of this race-based traumatic stress, a term coined by Carter in 2007,1 to describe how social determinants of health impacted by racial discrimination can "get under the skin" through the accumulative effects of ongoing exposure to toxic stress.2.

RevDate: 2022-05-31
CmpDate: 2022-04-06

Roberts WA (2022)

An operant analog of food caching in the pigeon (Columba livia).

Learning & behavior, 50(1):82-88.

Although pigeons do not naturally cache and recover food items as found in members of the corvid and parid families, an operant analog of food caching and recovery in pigeons was studied in four experiments. Pigeons were trained to peck a caching key that added a fixed increment of time to the final duration of reinforcement obtained by pecking a payoff key. The same key served as the caching and payoff keys in Experiment 1, but separate caching and payoff keys were used in Experiments 2-4. In Experiments 2-3, each peck on a left red caching key added 0.5 s of reinforcement earned by pecking a right white payoff key. In Experiment 4, red or green caching keys appeared on different trials, with 0.5 s of reinforcement earned for pecking the red key and 1.0 s of reinforcement earned for pecking the green key. Pigeons showed an increased number of pecks on the caching key over ten sessions in Experiments 1-3 and more pecks on the green caching key than on the red caching key in Experiment 4.

RevDate: 2021-07-22
CmpDate: 2021-07-16

Breen AJ (2021)

Animal culture research should include avian nest construction.

Biology letters, 17(7):20210327.

Material culture-that is, group-shared and socially learned object-related behaviour(s)-is a widespread and diverse phenomenon in humans. For decades, researchers have sought to confirm the existence of material culture in non-human animals; however, the main study systems of interest-namely, tool making and/or using non-human primates and corvids-cannot provide such confirmatory evidence: because long-standing ethical and logistical constraints handicap the collection of necessary experimental data. Synthesizing evidence across decades and disciplines, here, I present a novel framework for (mechanistic, developmental, behavioural, and comparative) study on animal material culture: avian nest construction.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-08

Steele MP, Neaves LE, Klump BC, et al (2021)

DNA barcoding identifies cryptic animal tool materials.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(29):.

Some animals fashion tools or constructions out of plant materials to aid foraging, reproduction, self-maintenance, or protection. Their choice of raw materials can affect the structure and properties of the resulting artifacts, with considerable fitness consequences. Documenting animals' material preferences is challenging, however, as manufacture behavior is often difficult to observe directly, and materials may be processed so heavily that they lack identifying features. Here, we use DNA barcoding to identify, from just a few recovered tool specimens, the plant species New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides) use for crafting elaborate hooked stick tools in one of our long-term study populations. The method succeeded where extensive fieldwork using an array of conventional approaches-including targeted observations, camera traps, radio-tracking, bird-mounted video cameras, and behavioral experiments with wild and temporarily captive subjects-had failed. We believe that DNA barcoding will prove useful for investigating many other tool and construction behaviors, helping to unlock significant research potential across a wide range of study systems.

RevDate: 2021-11-16
CmpDate: 2021-11-16

Nahid MI, Fossøy F, Stokke BG, et al (2021)

No evidence of host-specific egg mimicry in Asian koels.

PloS one, 16(7):e0253985.

Avian brood parasitism is costly for the host, in many cases leading to the evolution of defenses like discrimination of parasitic eggs. The parasite, in turn, may evolve mimetic eggs as a counter-adaptation to host egg rejection. Some generalist parasites have evolved host-specific races (gentes) that may mimic the eggs of their main hosts, while others have evolved 'jack-of-all-trades' egg phenotypes that mimic key features of the eggs of several different host species. The Asian koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) is a widely distributed generalist brood parasite that exploits a wide range of host species. Based on human vision, previous studies have described Asian koel eggs as resembling those of its main host, the house crow (Corvus splendens). Using measurements of egg length and breadth, digital image analysis, reflectance spectrophotometry and avian visual modelling, we examined Asian koel egg variation and potential mimicry in egg size and shape, and eggshell pattern and color in three sympatrically occurring host species in Bangladesh: the common myna (Acridotheres tristis), house crow, and long-tailed shrike (Lanius schach). We found some differences among Asian koel eggs laid in different host nests: a) Asian koel eggs in long-tailed shrike nests were larger than those laid in common myna and house crow nests, and b) Asian koel eggs in house crow nests were less elongated than those in common myna nests. However, these changes in Asian koel egg volume and shape were in the opposite direction with respect to their corresponding host egg characteristics. Thus, our study found no evidence for Asian koel host-specific egg mimicry in three sympatrically occurring host species.

RevDate: 2021-09-30
CmpDate: 2021-09-30

Amor N, Noman MT, Petru M, et al (2021)

Neural network-crow search model for the prediction of functional properties of nano TiO2 coated cotton composites.

Scientific reports, 11(1):13649.

This paper presents a new hybrid approach for the prediction of functional properties i.e., self-cleaning efficiency, antimicrobial efficiency and ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), of titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2 NPs) coated cotton fabric. The proposed approach is based on feedforward artificial neural network (ANN) model called a multilayer perceptron (MLP), trained by an optimized algorithm known as crow search algorithm (CSA). ANN is an effective and widely used approach for the prediction of extremely complex problems. Various studies have been proposed to improve the weight training of ANN using metaheuristic algorithms. CSA is a latest and an effective metaheuristic method relies on the intelligent behavior of crows. CSA has been never proposed to improve the weight training of ANN. Therefore, CSA is adopted to optimize the initial weights and thresholds of the ANN model, in order to improve the training accuracy and prediction performance of functional properties of TiO2 NPs coated cotton composites. Furthermore, our proposed algorithm i.e., multilayer perceptron with crow search algorithm (MLP-CSA) was applied to map out the complex input-output conditions to predict the optimal results. The amount of chemicals and reaction time were selected as input variables and the amount of titanium dioxide coated on cotton, self-cleaning efficiency, antimicrobial efficiency and UPF were evaluated as output results. A sensitivity analysis was carried out to assess the performance of CSA in prediction process. MLP-CSA provided excellent result that were statistically significant and highly accurate as compared to standard MLP model and other metaheuristic algorithms used in the training of ANN reported in the literature.

RevDate: 2021-11-17
CmpDate: 2021-11-17

Laumer IB, Massen JJM, Boehm PM, et al (2021)

Individual Goffin´s cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana) show flexible targeted helping in a tool transfer task.

PloS one, 16(6):e0253416.

Flexible targeted helping is considered an advanced form of prosocial behavior in hominoids, as it requires the actor to assess different situations that a conspecific may be in, and to subsequently flexibly satisfy different needs of that partner depending on the nature of those situations. So far, apart from humans such behaviour has only been experimentally shown in chimpanzees and in Eurasian jays. Recent studies highlight the prosocial tendencies of several bird species, yet flexible targeted helping remained untested, largely due to methodological issues as such tasks are generally designed around tool-use, and very few bird species are capable of tool-use. Here, we tested Goffin's cockatoos, which proved to be skilled tool innovators in captivity, in a tool transfer task in which an actor had access to four different objects/tools and a partner to one of two different apparatuses that each required one of these tools to retrieve a reward. As expected from this species, we recorded playful object transfers across all conditions. Yet, importantly and similar to apes, three out of eight birds transferred the correct tool more often in the test condition than in a condition that also featured an apparatus but no partner. Furthermore, one of these birds transferred that correct tool first more often before transferring any other object in the test condition than in the no-partner condition, while the other two cockatoos were marginally non-significantly more likely to do so. Additionally, there was no difference in the likelihood of the correct tool being transferred first for either of the two apparatuses, suggesting that these birds flexibly adjusted what to transfer based on their partner´s need. Future studies should focus on explanations for the intra-specific variation of this behaviour, and should test other parrots and other large-brained birds to see how this can be generalized across the class and to investigate the evolutionary history of this trait.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-09

Agrawal AA, X Zhang (2021)

The evolution of coevolution in the study of species interactions.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 75(7):1594-1606.

The study of reciprocal adaptation in interacting species has been an active and inspiring area of evolutionary research for nearly 60 years. Perhaps owing to its great natural history and potential consequences spanning population divergence to species diversification, coevolution continues to capture the imagination of biologists. Here we trace developments following Ehrlich and Raven's classic paper, with a particular focus on the modern influence of two studies by Dr. May Berenbaum in the 1980s. This series of classic work presented a compelling example exhibiting the macroevolutionary patterns predicted by Ehrlich and Raven and also formalized a microevolutionary approach to measuring selection, functional traits, and understanding reciprocal adaptation between plants and their herbivores. Following this breakthrough was a wave of research focusing on diversifying macroevolutionary patterns, mechanistic chemical ecology, and natural selection on populations within and across community types. Accordingly, we breakdown coevolutionary theory into specific hypotheses at different scales: reciprocal adaptation between populations within a community, differential coevolution among communities, lineage divergence, and phylogenetic patterns. We highlight progress as well as persistent gaps, especially the link between reciprocal adaptation and diversification.

RevDate: 2021-11-26
CmpDate: 2021-10-12

Wheeler SS, Taff CC, Reisen WK, et al (2021)

Mosquito blood-feeding patterns and nesting behavior of American crows, an amplifying host of West Nile virus.

Parasites & vectors, 14(1):331.

BACKGROUND: Although American crows are a key indicator species for West Nile virus (WNV) and mount among the highest viremias reported for any host, the importance of crows in the WNV transmission cycle has been called into question because of their consistent underrepresentation in studies of Culex blood meal sources. Here, we test the hypothesis that this apparent underrepresentation could be due, in part, to underrepresentation of crow nesting habitat from mosquito sampling designs. Specifically, we examine how the likelihood of a crow blood meal changes with distance to and timing of active crow nests in a Davis, California, population.

METHODS: Sixty artificial mosquito resting sites were deployed from May to September 2014 in varying proximity to known crow nesting sites, and Culex blood meal hosts were identified by DNA barcoding. Genotypes from crow blood meals and local crows (72 nestlings from 30 broods and 389 local breeders and helpers) were used to match mosquito blood meals to specific local crows.

RESULTS: Among the 297 identified Culex blood meals, 20 (6.7%) were attributable to crows. The mean percentage of blood meals of crow origin was 19% in the nesting period (1 May-18 June 2014), but 0% in the weeks after fledging (19 June-1 September 2014), and the likelihood of a crow blood meal increased with proximity to an active nest: the odds that crows hosted a Culex blood meal were 38.07 times greater within 10 m of an active nest than > 10 m from an active nest. Nine of ten crow blood meals that could be matched to a genotype of a specific crow belonged to either nestlings in these nests or their mothers. Six of the seven genotypes that could not be attributed to sampled birds belonged to females, a sex bias likely due to mosquitoes targeting incubating or brooding females.

CONCLUSION: Data herein indicate that breeding crows serve as hosts for Culex in the initial stages of the WNV spring enzootic cycle. Given their high viremia, infected crows could thereby contribute to the re-initiation and early amplification of the virus, increasing its availability as mosquitoes shift to other moderately competent later-breeding avian hosts.

RevDate: 2021-11-01
CmpDate: 2021-11-01

Stocker M, Prosl J, Vanhooland LC, et al (2021)

Measuring salivary mesotocin in birds - Seasonal differences in ravens' peripheral mesotocin levels.

Hormones and behavior, 134:105015.

Oxytocin is involved in a broad array of social behaviours. While saliva has been used regularly to investigate the role of oxytocin in social behaviour of mammal species, so far, to our knowledge, no-one has tried to measure its homolog, mesotocin, in birds' saliva. Therefore, in this study we measured salivary mesotocin in common ravens (Corvus corax), and subsequently explored its link to three aspects of raven sociality. We trained ravens (n = 13) to voluntarily provide saliva samples and analysed salivary mesotocin with a commercial oxytocin enzyme-immunoassay kit, also suitable for mesotocin. After testing parallelism and recovery, we investigated the effect of bonding status, sex and season on mesotocin levels. We found that mesotocin was significantly more likely to be detected in samples taken during the breeding season (spring) than during the mating season (winter). In those samples in which mesotocin was detected, concentrations were also significantly higher during the breeding than during the mating season. In contrast, bonding status and sex were not found to relate to mesotocin detectability and concentrations. The seasonal differences in mesotocin correspond to behavioral patterns known to be associated with mesotocin/oxytocin, with ravens showing much more aggression during the mating season while being more tolerant of conspecifics in the breeding season. We show for the first time that saliva samples can be useful for the non-invasive determination of hormone levels in birds. However, the rate of successfully analysed samples was very low, and collection and analysis methods will benefit from further improvements.

RevDate: 2021-11-09
CmpDate: 2021-11-09

Freeman NE, Norris DR, Sutton AO, et al (2021)

Early-Life Corticosterone Body Condition Influence Social Status and Survival in a Food-Caching Passerine.

Integrative and comparative biology, 61(1):9-19.

Individuals undergo profound changes throughout their early life as they grow and transition between life-history stages. As a result, the conditions that individuals experience during development can have both immediate and lasting effects on their physiology, behavior, and, ultimately, fitness. In a population of Canada jays in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, we characterized the diet composition and physiological profile of young jays at three key time points during development (nestling, pre-fledge, and pre-dispersal) by quantifying stable-carbon (δ13C) and -nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes and corticosterone concentrations in feathers. We then investigated the downstream effects of early-life diet composition, feather corticosterone, and environmental conditions on a juvenile's social status, body condition, and probability of being observed in the fall following hatch. Across the three time points, the diet of Canada jay young was composed primarily of vertebrate tissue and human food with the proportion of these food items increasing as the jays neared dispersal. Feather corticosterone concentrations also shifted across the three time points, decreasing from nestling to pre-dispersal. Dominant juveniles had elevated corticosterone concentrations in their feathers grown pre-dispersal compared with subordinates. High body condition as nestlings was associated with high body condition as juveniles and an increased probability of being observed in the fall. Together, our results demonstrate that nestling physiology and body condition influence the social status and body condition once individuals are independent, with potential long-term consequences on survival and fitness.

RevDate: 2021-10-21
CmpDate: 2021-10-21

Chakarov N, Veiga J, Ruiz-Arrondo I, et al (2021)

Atypical behavior of a black fly species connects cavity-nesting birds with generalist blood parasites in an arid area of Spain.

Parasites & vectors, 14(1):298.

BACKGROUND: The feeding behavior of bloodsucking insects determines the transmission, distribution, host spectrum and evolution of blood parasites in the wild. Conventional wisdom suggests that some vector groups (e.g. black flies, family Simuliidae) are consistently exophagous daytime biters. We aimed to understand more about the exceptions to this pattern by combining targeted trapping and molecular identification of parasites in vectors.

METHODS: In this study, we collected black flies in nest boxes used by European rollers Coracias garrulus in southeastern Spain. We molecularly analyzed 434 individual insects, identifying the black fly species caught in the nest boxes, their potential vertebrate blood meals, and the haemosporidian parasite lineages that they carried.

RESULTS: Only one black fly species, Simulium rubzovianum, appeared to enter the nest boxes of rollers. Among the trapped specimens, 15% contained vertebrate DNA, which always belonged to rollers, even though only half of those specimens were visibly engorged. Furthermore, 15% of all black flies contained Leucocytozoon lineages, indicating previous feeding on avian hosts but probably not on infected adult rollers. The known vertebrate hosts of the recorded Leucocytozoon lineages suggested that large and/or abundant birds are their hosts. Particularly represented were cavity-nesting species breeding in the vicinity, such as pigeons, corvids and owls. Open-nesting species such as thrushes and birds of prey were also represented.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data strongly suggest that S. rubzovianum bites uninfected roller nestlings and infected individuals of other species, potentially incubating adults, inside nest boxes and natural cavities. This simuliid does not appear to have a strong preference for specific host clades. Contrary to the general pattern for the group, and possibly enhanced by the harsh environmental conditions in the study area, this black fly appeared to intensively use and may even have a preference for confined spaces such as cavities for feeding and resting. Preferences of vectors for atypical microhabitat niches where hosts are less mobile may enable social and within-family transmission and parasite speciation in the long term. At the same time, a lack of host preference in concentrated multispecies communities can lead to host switches. Both processes may be underappreciated driving forces in the evolution of avian blood parasites.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-03

Garcia-Pelegrin E, Schnell AK, Wilkins C, et al (2021)

Exploring the perceptual inabilities of Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius) using magic effects.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(24):.

In recent years, scientists have begun to use magic effects to investigate the blind spots in our attention and perception [G. Kuhn, Experiencing the Impossible: The Science of Magic (2019); S. Macknik, S. Martinez-Conde, S. Blakeslee, Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions (2010)]. Recently, we suggested that similar techniques could be transferred to nonhuman animal observers and that such an endeavor would provide insight into the inherent commonalities and discrepancies in attention and perception in human and nonhuman animals [E. Garcia-Pelegrin, A. K. Schnell, C. Wilkins, N. S. Clayton, Science 369, 1424-1426 (2020)]. Here, we performed three different magic effects (palming, French drop, and fast pass) to a sample of six Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius). These magic effects were specifically chosen as they utilize different cues and expectations that mislead the spectator into thinking one object has or has not been transferred from one hand to the other. Results from palming and French drop experiments suggest that Eurasian jays have different expectations from humans when observing some of these effects. Specifically, Eurasian jays were not deceived by effects that required them to expect an object to move between hands when observing human hand manipulations. However, similar to humans, Eurasian jays were misled by magic effects that utilize fast movements as a deceptive action. This study investigates how another taxon perceives the magician's techniques of deception that commonly deceive humans.

RevDate: 2021-07-09

Horn L, Zewald JS, Bugnyar T, et al (2021)

Carrion Crows and Azure-Winged Magpies Show No Prosocial Tendencies When Tested in a Token Transfer Paradigm.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 11(6):.

To study the evolution of humans' cooperative nature, researchers have recently sought comparisons with other species. Studies investigating corvids, for example, showed that carrion crows and azure-winged magpies delivered food to group members when tested in naturalistic or simple experimental paradigms. Here, we investigated whether we could replicate these positive findings when testing the same two species in a token transfer paradigm. After training the birds to exchange tokens with an experimenter for food rewards, we tested whether they would also transfer tokens to other birds, when they did not have the opportunity to exchange the tokens themselves. To control for the effects of motivation, and of social or stimulus enhancement, we tested each individual in three additional control conditions. We witnessed very few attempts and/or successful token transfers, and those few instances did not occur more frequently in the test condition than in the controls, which would suggest that the birds lack prosocial tendencies. Alternatively, we propose that this absence of prosociality may stem from the artificial nature and cognitive complexity of the token transfer task. Consequently, our findings highlight the strong impact of methodology on animals' capability to exhibit prosocial tendencies and stress the importance of comparing multiple experimental paradigms.

RevDate: 2022-04-15

Cunha FCR, M Griesser (2021)

Who do you trust? Wild birds use social knowledge to avoid being deceived.

Science advances, 7(22):.

Many species give deceptive warning calls, enabled by the high risk of ignoring them. In Siberian jays, a territorial, group-living bird, individuals give warning calls toward perched predators and mob them. However, intruding neighbors can emit these warning calls in the absence of predators to access food, but breeders often ignore these calls. Playback field experiments show that breeders flee sooner and return later after warning calls of former group members than those of neighbors or unknown individuals. Thus, breeders respond appropriately only to warning calls of previous cooperation partners. This mechanism facilitates the evolution and maintenance of communication vulnerable to deceptive signaling. This conclusion also applies to human language because of its cooperative nature and thus, its vulnerability to deception.

RevDate: 2021-10-28
CmpDate: 2021-10-28

Fielding MW, Buettel JC, Brook BW, et al (2021)

Roadkill islands: Carnivore extinction shifts seasonal use of roadside carrion by generalist avian scavenger.

The Journal of animal ecology, 90(10):2268-2276.

Global road networks facilitate habitat modification and are integral to human expansion. Many animals, particularly scavengers, use roads as they provide a reliable source of food, such as carrion left after vehicle collisions. Tasmania is often cited as the 'roadkill capital of Australia', with the isolated offshore islands in the Bass Strait experiencing similar, if not higher, levels of roadkill. However, native mammalian predators on the islands are extirpated, meaning the remaining scavengers are likely to experience lower interference competition. In this study, we used a naturally occurring experiment to examine how the loss of mammalian carnivores within a community impacts roadside foraging behaviour by avian scavengers. We monitored the locations of roadkill and forest ravens Corvus tasmanicus, an abundant scavenger species, on eight road transects across the Tasmanian mainland (high scavenging competition) and the Bass Strait islands (low scavenging competition). We represented raven observations as one-dimensional point patterns, using hierarchical Bayesian models to investigate the dependence of raven spatial intensity on habitat, season, distance to roadkill and route location. We found that roadkill carcasses were a strong predictor of raven presence along road networks. The effect of roadkill was amplified on roads on the Bass Strait islands, where roadside carrion was a predictor of raven presence across the entire year. In contrast, ravens were more often associated with roadkill on Tasmanian mainland roads in the autumn, when other resources were low. This suggests that in the absence of competing mammalian scavengers, ravens choose to feed on roadside carrion throughout the year, even in seasons when other resources are available. This lack of competition could be disproportionately benefiting forest ravens, leading to augmented raven populations and changes to the vertebrate community structure. Our study provides evidence that scavengers modify their behaviour in response to reduced scavenger species diversity, potentially triggering trophic shifts and highlighting the importance of conserving or reintroducing carnivores within ecosystems.

RevDate: 2021-10-07
CmpDate: 2021-10-07

Bladon AJ, Donald PF, Collar NJ, et al (2021)

Climatic change and extinction risk of two globally threatened Ethiopian endemic bird species.

PloS one, 16(5):e0249633.

Climate change is having profound effects on the distributions of species globally. Trait-based assessments predict that specialist and range-restricted species are among those most likely to be at risk of extinction from such changes. Understanding individual species' responses to climate change is therefore critical for informing conservation planning. We use an established Species Distribution Modelling (SDM) protocol to describe the curious range-restriction of the globally threatened White-tailed Swallow (Hirundo megaensis) to a small area in southern Ethiopia. We find that, across a range of modelling approaches, the distribution of this species is well described by two climatic variables, maximum temperature and dry season precipitation. These same two variables have been previously found to limit the distribution of the unrelated but closely sympatric Ethiopian Bush-crow (Zavattariornis stresemanni). We project the future climatic suitability for both species under a range of climate scenarios and modelling approaches. Both species are at severe risk of extinction within the next half century, as the climate in 68-84% (for the swallow) and 90-100% (for the bush-crow) of their current ranges is predicted to become unsuitable. Intensive conservation measures, such as assisted migration and captive-breeding, may be the only options available to safeguard these two species. Their projected disappearance in the wild offers an opportunity to test the reliability of SDMs for predicting the fate of wild species. Monitoring future changes in the distribution and abundance of the bush-crow is particularly tractable because its nests are conspicuous and visible over large distances.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2021-10-26

Hancock ZB, Lehmberg ES, GS Bradburd (2021)

Neo-darwinism still haunts evolutionary theory: A modern perspective on Charlesworth, Lande, and Slatkin (1982).

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 75(6):1244-1255.

The Modern Synthesis (or "Neo-Darwinism"), which arose out of the reconciliation of Darwin's theory of natural selection and Mendel's research on genetics, remains the foundation of evolutionary theory. However, since its inception, it has been a lightning rod for criticism, which has ranged from minor quibbles to complete dismissal. Among the most famous of the critics was Stephen Jay Gould, who, in 1980, proclaimed that the Modern Synthesis was "effectively dead." Gould and others claimed that the action of natural selection on random mutations was insufficient on its own to explain patterns of macroevolutionary diversity and divergence, and that new processes were required to explain findings from the fossil record. In 1982, Charlesworth, Lande, and Slatkin published a response to this critique in Evolution, in which they argued that Neo-Darwinism was indeed sufficient to explain macroevolutionary patterns. In this Perspective for the 75th Anniversary of the Society for the Study of Evolution, we review Charlesworth et al. in its historical context and provide modern support for their arguments. We emphasize the importance of microevolutionary processes in the study of macroevolutionary patterns. Ultimately, we conclude that punctuated equilibrium did not represent a major revolution in evolutionary biology - although debate on this point stimulated significant research and furthered the field - and that Neo-Darwinism is alive and well.

RevDate: 2021-07-26
CmpDate: 2021-07-26

Sharma S, Singh G, M Sharma (2021)

A comprehensive review and analysis of supervised-learning and soft computing techniques for stress diagnosis in humans.

Computers in biology and medicine, 134:104450.

Stress is the most prevailing and global psychological condition that inevitably disrupts the mood and behavior of individuals. Chronic stress may gravely affect the physical, mental, and social behavior of victims and consequently induce myriad critical human disorders. Herein, a review has been presented where supervised learning (SL) and soft computing (SC) techniques used in stress diagnosis have been meticulously investigated to highlight the contributions, strengths, and challenges faced in the implementation of these methods in stress diagnostic models. A three-tier review strategy comprising of manuscript selection, data synthesis, and data analysis was adopted. The issues in SL strategies and the potential possibility of using hybrid techniques in stress diagnosis have been intensively investigated. The strengths and weaknesses of different SL (Bayesian classifier, random forest, support vector machine, and nearest neighbours) and SC (fuzzy logic, nature-inspired, and deep learning) techniques have been presented to obtain clear insights into these optimization strategies. The effects of social, behavioral, and biological stresses have been highlighted. The psychological, biological, and behavioral responses to stress have also been briefly elucidated. The findings of the study confirmed that different types of data/signals (related to skin temperature, electro-dermal activity, blood circulation, heart rate, facial expressions, etc.) have been used in stress diagnosis. Moreover, there is a potential scope for using distinct nature-inspired computing techniques (Genetic Algorithm, Particle Swarm Optimization, Ant Colony Optimization, Whale Optimization Algorithm, Butterfly Optimization, Harris Hawks Optimizer, and Crow Search Algorithm) and deep learning techniques (Deep-Belief Network, Convolutional-Neural Network, and Recurrent-Neural Network) on multimodal data compiled using behavioral testing, electroencephalogram signals, finger temperature, respiration rate, pupil diameter, galvanic-skin-response, and blood pressure. Likewise, there is a wider scope to investigate the use of SL and SC techniques in stress diagnosis using distinct dimensions such as sentiment analysis, speech recognition, handwriting recognition, and facial expressions. Finally, a hybrid model based on distinct computational methods influenced by both SL and SC techniques, adaption, parameter tuning, and the use of chaos, levy, and Gaussian distribution may address exploration and exploitation issues. However, factors such as real-time data collection, bias, integrity, multi-dimensional data, and data privacy make it challenging to design precise and innovative stress diagnostic systems based on artificial intelligence.

RevDate: 2021-05-04

Parishar P, Mohapatra AN, S Iyengar (2021)

Investigating Behavioral Responses to Mirrors and the Mark Test in Adult Male Zebra Finches and House Crows.

Frontiers in psychology, 12:637850.

Earlier evidence suggests that besides humans, some species of mammals and birds demonstrate visual self-recognition, assessed by the controversial "mark" test. Whereas, there are high levels of inter-individual differences amongst a single species, some species such as macaques and pigeons which do not spontaneously demonstrate mirror self-recognition (MSR) can be trained to do so. We were surprised to discover that despite being widely used as a model system for avian research, the performance of zebra finches (Taenopygia guttata) on the mark test had not been studied earlier. Additionally, we studied the behavioral responses of another species of passerine songbirds (Indian house crows; Corvus splendens) to a mirror and the MSR mark test. Although a small number of adult male zebra finches appeared to display heightened responses toward the mark while observing their reflections, we could not rule out the possibility that these were a part of general grooming rather than specific to the mark. Furthermore, none of the house crows demonstrated mark-directed behavior or increased self-exploratory behaviors when facing mirrors. Our study suggests that self-directed behaviors need to be tested more rigorously in adult male zebra finches while facing their reflections and these findings need to be replicated in a larger population, given the high degree of variability in mirror-directed behaviors.

RevDate: 2021-09-28
CmpDate: 2021-05-24

Shrader-Frechette K, AM Biondo (2021)

Health Misinformation about Toxic-Site Harm: The Case for Independent-Party Testing to Confirm Safety.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(8):.

Health misinformation can cause harm if regulators or private remediators falsely claim that a hazardous facility is safe. This misinformation especially threatens the health of children, minorities, and poor people, disproportionate numbers of whom live near toxic facilities. Yet, perhaps because of financial incentives, private remediators may use safety misinformation to justify reduced cleanup. Such incentives exist in nations like the United States, where most toxic-site testing/remediation is semi-privatized or voluntary, conducted by private parties, commercial redevelopers, who can increase profits by underestimating health harm, thus decreasing required testing/remediation. Our objective is to begin to determine whether or not interested parties misrepresent health harm (at hazardous facilities that they test/remediate/redevelop) when they use traditional and social media to claim that these sites are safe. Our hypothesis is that, contrary to the safety claims of the world's largest commercial developer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate/Trammell Crow (CBRE/TCC), the authors' screening assessment, especially its lab-certified, toxic-site, indoor-air tests, show violations of all three prominent government, cancer-safety benchmarks. If so, these facilities require additional testing/remediation, likely put site renters at risk, and may reveal problems with privatized hazardous cleanup. To our knowledge, we provide the first independent tests of privatized, toxic-site assessments before cancer reports occur. Our screening assessment of this hypothesis tests indoor air in rental units on a prominent former weapons-testing site (the US Naval Ordnance Testing Station, Pasadena, California (NOTSPA) that is subject to carcinogenic vapor intrusion by volatile organic compounds, VOCs), then compares test results to the redeveloper's site-safety claims, made to government officials and citizens through traditional and social media. Although NOTSPA toxic soil-gas concentrations are up to nearly a million times above allowed levels, and indoor air was never tested until now, both the regulator and the remediator (CBRE/TCC) have repeatedly claimed on social media that "the site is safe at this time." We used mainly Method TO-17 and two-week sampling with passive, sorbent tubes to assess indoor-air VOCs. Our results show that VOC levels at every location sampled-all in occupied site-rental units-violate all three government-mandated safety benchmarks: environmental screening levels (ESLs), No Significant Risk Levels (NSRLs), and inhalation risks based on the Inhalation Unit Risk (IUR); some violations are two orders of magnitude above multiple safety benchmarks. These results support our hypothesis and suggest a need for independent assessment of privatized cleanups and media-enhanced safety claims about them. If our results can be replicated at other sites, then preventing health misinformation and toxic-facility safety threats may require new strategies, one of which we outline.

RevDate: 2021-05-11

Pendergraft LT, Lehnert AL, JM Marzluff (2020)

Individual and social factors affecting the ability of American crows to solve and master a string pulling task.

Ethology : formerly Zeitschrift fur Tierpsychologie, 126(2):229-245.

Crows and other birds in the family Corvidae regularly share information to learn the identity and whereabouts of dangerous predators, but can they use social learning to solve a novel task for a food reward? Here we examined the factors affecting the ability of 27 wild-caught American crows to solve a common string-pulling task in a laboratory setting. We split crows into two groups; one group was given the task after repeatedly observing a conspecific model the solution, the other solved in the absence of conspecific models. We recorded the crows' estimated age, sex, size, body condition, level of nervousness, and brain volume using DICOM images from a CT scan. Although none of these variables were statistically significant, crows without a conspecific model and large brain volumes consistently mastered the task in the minimum number of days, whereas those with conspecific models and smaller brain volumes required varying and sometimes a substantial number of days to master the task. We found indirect evidence that body condition might also be important for motivating crows to solve the task. Crows with conspecific models were no more likely to initially solve the task than those working the puzzle without social information, but those that mastered the task usually copied the method most frequently demonstrated by their knowledgeable neighbors. These findings suggest that brain volume and possibly body condition may be factors in learning new tasks, and that crows can use social learning to refine their ability to obtain a novel food source, although they must initially learn to access it themselves.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-07

Kolkert HL, Smith R, Rader R, et al (2021)

Prey removal in cotton crops next to woodland reveals periodic diurnal and nocturnal invertebrate predation gradients from the crop edge by birds and bats.

Scientific reports, 11(1):5256.

Factors influencing the efficacy of insectivorous vertebrates in providing natural pest control services inside crops at increasing distances from the crop edge are poorly understood. We investigated the identity of vertebrate predators (birds and bats) and removal of sentinel prey (mealworms and beetles) from experimental feeding trays in cotton crops using prey removal trials, camera traps and observations. More prey was removed during the day than at night, but prey removal was variable at the crop edge and dependent on the month (reflecting crop growth and cover) and time of day. Overall, the predation of mealworms and beetles was 1-times and 13-times greater during the day than night, respectively, with predation on mealworms 3-5 times greater during the day than night at the crop edge compared to 95 m inside the crop. Camera traps identified many insectivorous birds and bats over crops near the feeding trays, but there was no evidence of bats or small passerines removing experimental prey. A predation gradient from the crop edge was evident, but only in some months. This corresponded to the foraging preferences of open-space generalist predators (magpies) in low crop cover versus the shrubby habitat preferred by small passerines, likely facilitating foraging away from the crop edge later in the season. Our results are in line with Optimal Foraging Theory and suggest that predators trade-off foraging behaviour with predation risk at different distances from the crop edge and levels of crop cover. Understanding the optimal farm configuration to support insectivorous bird and bat populations can assist farmers to make informed decisions regarding in-crop natural pest control and maximise the predation services provided by farm biodiversity.

RevDate: 2021-08-02
CmpDate: 2021-08-02

Brooks J, Onishi E, Clark IR, et al (2021)

Uniting against a common enemy: Perceived outgroup threat elicits ingroup cohesion in chimpanzees.

PloS one, 16(2):e0246869.

Outgroup threat has been identified as an important driver of ingroup cohesion in humans, but the evolutionary origin of such a relationship is unclear. Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in the wild are notably aggressive towards outgroup members but coordinate complex behaviors with many individuals in group hunting and border patrols. One hypothesis claims that these behaviors evolve alongside one another, where outgroup threat selects for ingroup cohesion and group coordination. To test this hypothesis, 5 groups of chimpanzees (N = 29 individuals) were observed after hearing either pant-hoots of unfamiliar wild chimpanzees or control crow vocalizations both in their typical daily environment and in a context of induced feeding competition. We observed a behavioral pattern that was consistent both with increased stress and vigilance (self-directed behaviors increased, play decreased, rest decreased) and increased ingroup cohesion (interindividual proximity decreased, aggression over food decreased, and play during feeding competition increased). These results support the hypothesis that outgroup threat elicits ingroup tolerance in chimpanzees. This suggests that in chimpanzees, like humans, competition between groups fosters group cohesion.

RevDate: 2021-11-29
CmpDate: 2021-11-29

Rinnert P, A Nieder (2021)

Neural Code of Motor Planning and Execution during Goal-Directed Movements in Crows.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 41(18):4060-4072.

The planning and execution of head-beak movements are vital components of bird behavior. They require integration of sensory input and internal processes with goal-directed motor output. Despite its relevance, the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying action planning and execution outside of the song system are largely unknown. We recorded single-neuron activity from the associative endbrain area nidopallium caudolaterale (NCL) of two male carrion crows (Corvus corone) trained to plan and execute head-beak movements in a spatial delayed response task. The crows were instructed to plan an impending movement toward one of eight possible targets on the left or right side of a touchscreen. In a fraction of trials, the crows were prompted to plan a movement toward a self-chosen target. NCL neurons signaled the impending motion direction in instructed trials. Tuned neuronal activity during motor planning categorically represented the target side, but also specific target locations. As a marker of intentional movement preparation, neuronal activity reliably predicted both target side and specific target location when the crows were free to select a target. In addition, NCL neurons were tuned to specific target locations during movement execution. A subset of neurons was tuned during both planning and execution period; these neurons experienced a sharpening of spatial tuning with the transition from planning to execution. These results show that the avian NCL not only represents high-level sensory and cognitive task components, but also transforms behaviorally-relevant information into dynamic action plans and motor execution during the volitional perception-action cycle of birds.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Corvid songbirds have become exciting new models for understanding complex cognitive behavior. As a key neural underpinning, the endbrain area nidopallium caudolaterale (NCL) represents sensory and memory-related task components. How such representations are converted into goal-directed motor output remained unknown. In crows, we report that NCL neurons are involved in the planning and execution of goal-directed movements. NCL neurons prospectively signaled motion directions in instructed trials, but also when the crows were free to choose a target. NCL neurons showed a target-specific sharpening of tuning with the transition from the planning to the execution period. Thus, the avian NCL not only represents high-level sensory and cognitive task components, but also transforms relevant information into action plans and motor execution.

RevDate: 2021-02-19

Lozano-Ruiz A, Fasfous AF, Ibanez-Casas I, et al (2021)

Cultural Bias in Intelligence Assessment Using a Culture-Free Test in Moroccan Children.

Archives of clinical neuropsychology : the official journal of the National Academy of Neuropsychologists pii:6144703 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: Previous research has shown that cognitive tests can lead to misclassification when applying non-representative norms to measure cognitive performance. The objective of this study was to investigate whether this misclassification also occurs with a non-verbal so-called "culture-free" intelligence test administered to different age groups.

METHOD: The intelligence of a sample of healthy Moroccan children (N = 147) ages 7, 9, and 11 was assessed using the Coloured Raven's Progressive Matrices (CPM). Raw scores were used to study age differences, as well as misclassifications when applying the norms of three countries culturally different from Morocco (United Kingdom, Spain, and Oman).

RESULTS: Intelligence performance was not within the normal range when non-representative norms were applied to the Moroccan raw scores. Misclassifications accounted for a large percentage of the participants that supposedly displayed intelligence deficits, especially when applying the British norms. Up to 15.68% of the healthy children fell within the "intellectually impaired" range, and up to 62.5% fell "below average," with these percentages especially higher at older ages.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings confirm that "culture-free" tests should be adapted to each culture and applied together with their culture's specific norms to prevent misclassification and allow for a better, unbiased neuropsychological assessment.

RevDate: 2021-08-26
CmpDate: 2021-08-26

Zappa G, LoMauro A, Baranello G, et al (2021)

Intellectual abilities, language comprehension, speech, and motor function in children with spinal muscular atrophy type 1.

Journal of neurodevelopmental disorders, 13(1):9.

BACKGROUND: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a chronic, neuromuscular disease characterized by degeneration of spinal cord motor neurons, resulting in progressive muscular atrophy and weakness. SMA1 is the most severe form characterized by significant bulbar, respiratory, and motor dysfunction. SMA1 prevents children from speaking a clearly understandable and fluent language, with their communication being mainly characterized by eye movements, guttural sounds, and anarthria (type 1a); severe dysarthria (type 1b); and nasal voice and dyslalia (type 1c). The aim of this study was to analyze for the first time cognitive functions, language comprehension, and speech in natural history SMA1 children according to age and subtypes, to develop cognitive and language benchmarks that provide outcomes for the clinical medication trials that are changing SMA1 course/trajectory.

METHODS: This is a retrospective study including 22 children with SMA1 (10 affected by subtype 1a-1b: AB and 12 by 1c: C) aged 3-11 years in clinical stable condition with a coded way to communicate "yes" and "no". Data from the following assessments have been retrieved from patient charts: one-dimensional Raven test (RCPM), to evaluate cognitive development (IQ); ALS Severity Score (ALSSS) to evaluate speech disturbances; Brown Bellugy modified for Italian standards (TCGB) to evaluate language comprehension; and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Infant Test of Neuromuscular Disorders (CHOP-INTEND) to assess motor functioning.

RESULTS: SMA 1AB and 1C children were similar in age, with the former characterized by lower CHOP-INTEND scores compared to the latter. All 22 children had collaborated to RCPM and their median IQ was 120 with no difference (p = 0.945) between AB and C. Global median score of the speech domain of the ALSSS was 5; however, it was 2 in AB children, being significantly lower than C (6.5, p < 0.001). TCGB test had been completed by 13 children, with morphosyntactic comprehension being in the normal range (50). Although ALSSS did not correlate with both IQ and TCGB, it had a strong (p < 0.001) correlation with CHOP-INTEND described by an exponential rise to maximum.

CONCLUSIONS: Although speech and motor function were severely compromised, children with SMA1 showed general intelligence and language comprehension in the normal range. Speech impairment was strictly related to global motor impairment.

RevDate: 2021-12-22
CmpDate: 2021-12-22

Roelofs A (2021)

How attention controls naming: Lessons from Wundt 2.0.

Journal of experimental psychology. General, 150(10):1927-1955.

When models of the attentional control of vocal naming, applied to color-word Stroop and picture-word interference, were first computationally implemented and examined in 1990, an implementable model proposed by Wundt (1880, 1902) was not considered. Although these modern computer models, and more recent ones, clarify many aspects of the interference, most models fail to explain its time course, as outlined in Roelofs (2003). Wundt's (1902) model assigns a key role to top-down inhibition, which is absent in most of the modern models. Here, an implementation of his model is presented, called Wundt 2.0. The necessity of perceptual inhibition was demonstrated by computer simulations of the interference and its time course, and supported by existing evidence from oscillatory brain activity in the alpha frequency band. Moreover, a new empirical study showed that Raven scores measuring the general intelligence factor g, discovered by Wundt's student Spearman (1904), predict the magnitude of the Stroop effect in fast errors, in line with the model and evidence on alpha band activity. Also, the study provided evidence that response inhibition is absent during vocal naming in the Stroop task. To conclude, Wundt's model has stood the test of time and provides a number of enduring lessons for our understanding of attention and performance. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2021-04-30
CmpDate: 2021-04-30

Boone JD, Witt C, EM Ammon (2021)

Behavior-specific occurrence patterns of Pinyon Jays (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) in three Great Basin study areas and significance for pinyon-juniper woodland management.

PloS one, 16(1):e0237621.

The Pinyon Jay is a highly social, year-round inhabitant of pinyon-juniper and other coniferous woodlands in the western United States. Range-wide, Pinyon Jays have declined ~ 3-4% per year for at least the last half-century. Occurrence patterns and habitat use of Pinyon Jays have not been well characterized across much of the species' range, and obtaining this information is necessary for better understanding the causes of ongoing declines and determining useful conservation strategies. Additionally, it is important to better understand if and how targeted removal of pinyon-juniper woodland, a common and widespread vegetation management practice, affects Pinyon Jays. The goal of this study was to identify the characteristics of areas used by Pinyon Jays for several critical life history components in the Great Basin, which is home to nearly half of the species' global population, and to thereby facilitate the inclusion of Pinyon Jay conservation measures in the design of vegetation management projects. To accomplish this, we studied Pinyon Jays in three widely separated study areas using radio telemetry and direct observation and measured key attributes of their locations and a separate set of randomly-selected control sites using the U. S. Forest Service's Forest Inventory Analysis protocol. Data visualizations, principle components analysis, and logistic regressions of the resulting data indicated that Pinyon Jays used a distinct subset of available pinyon-juniper woodland habitat, and further suggested that Pinyon Jays used different but overlapping habitats for seed caching, foraging, and nesting. Caching was concentrated in low-elevation, relatively flat areas with low tree cover; foraging occurred at slightly higher elevations with generally moderate but variable tree cover; and nesting was concentrated in slightly higher areas with high tree and vegetation cover. All three of these Pinyon Jay behavior types were highly concentrated within the lower-elevation band of pinyon-juniper woodland close to the woodland-shrubland ecotone. Woodland removal projects in the Great Basin are often concentrated in these same areas, so it is potentially important to incorporate conservation measures informed by Pinyon Jay occurrence patterns into existing woodland management paradigms, protocols, and practices.

RevDate: 2022-01-31
CmpDate: 2022-01-31

Kersten Y, Friedrich-Müller B, A Nieder (2021)

A histological study of the song system of the carrion crow (Corvus corone).

The Journal of comparative neurology, 529(10):2576-2595.

The song system of songbirds (oscines) is one of the best studied neuroethological model systems. So far, it has been treated as a relatively constrained sensorimotor system. Songbirds such as crows, however, are also known for their capability to cognitively control their audio-vocal system. Yet, the neuroanatomy of the corvid song system has never been explored systematically. We aim to close this scientific gap by presenting a stereotactic investigation of the extended song system of the carrion crow (Corvus corone), an oscine songbird of the corvid family that has become an interesting model system for cognitive neuroscience. In order to identify and delineate the song nuclei, the ascending auditory nuclei, and the descending vocal-motor nuclei, four stains were applied. In addition to the classical Nissl-, myelin-, and a combination of Nissl-and-myelin staining, staining for tyrosine hydroxylase was used to reveal the distribution of catecholaminergic neurons (dopaminergic, noradrenergic, and adrenergic) in the song system. We show that the crow brain contains the important song-related nuclei, including auditory input and motor output structures, and map them throughout the brain. Fiber-stained sections reveal putative connection patterns between the crow's song nuclei comparable to other songbirds.

RevDate: 2021-03-11
CmpDate: 2021-03-11

Rial-Berriel C, Acosta-Dacal A, Cabrera Pérez MÁ, et al (2021)

Intensive livestock farming as a major determinant of the exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides in raptors of the Canary Islands (Spain).

The Science of the total environment, 768:144386.

The Canary Islands (Spain) is a biodiversity hotspot, with more than 4500 registered endemic species. However, it is subject to high anthropogenic pressure that threatens its wildlife in various ways. In the context of forensic toxicological surveys, the presence of anticoagulant rodenticides (AR) has been investigated in the liver of 831 animal carcasses with georeferenced data from 2011 to May 2020. The high concentrations of toxic pesticides in carcasses and in baits found close to the corpses indicated that all the reptiles and most of the mammals tested positive for AR were intentionally poisoned, although mainly by other substances. The frequency of detection of AR in non-raptor birds (n = 343) was only 4.1%, being the Canary raven the most frequently affected species (7/97, 7.2%). On the contrary, in raptors (n = 308) the detection frequency was almost 60%, with an average of more than 2 ARs per animal. The highest concentrations were found in the common kestrel. We present for the first-time results of AR contamination in two species of raptors that are very rare in Europe, Eleonora's falcon (n = 4) and Barbary falcon (n = 13). The temporal trend of positive cases remains stable, but since the entry into force of the restriction to the concentration of the active ingredient in baits (<30 ppm), a decrease in the concentrations of these compounds in the raptors' liver has been detected. Conversely, we registered an increase in the number of ARs per animal. From the study of the geographic information system (GIS) it can be deduced that intensive livestock farms are an important determinant in the exposure of raptors to ARs. Those birds that have their territory near intensive production farms have higher levels of exposure than those of birds that live far from such facilities.

RevDate: 2021-10-28
CmpDate: 2021-10-28

Tornick J, B Gibson (2021)

Clark's nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbiana) use a visual barrier for cache protection.

Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983), 135(2):170-175.

Previous work with corvids such as scrub jays (Aphelocoma californica) and ravens (Corvus corax) suggests that many social corvids alter their caching behavior when observed by conspecifics to protect their caches. We examined whether the Clark's nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana), an asocial corvid, can utilize a barrier to conceal its caching activities from a conspecific observer. Nutcrackers were allowed to cache nuts in a visible or concealed location in either the presence or absence of an observer. Nutcrackers were also given experience of having their caches pilfered. The nutcrackers cached significantly more nuts in the concealed compared to a visible location when observed. Importantly, nutcrackers also recovered a larger percentage of their nuts 24 hr later from a visible cache location but when the observer was no longer present. The results extend recent work suggesting that relatively nonsocial corvids, similar to their more social relatives, also engage in multiple forms of cache protection. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2021-08-25
CmpDate: 2021-08-25

Zhang Y, Yu C, Chen L, et al (2021)

Performance of Azure-winged magpies in Aesop's fable paradigm.

Scientific reports, 11(1):804.

In this study, the improved Aesop's fable paradigm-a series of experiments originally used to test whether some animals understand the causality associated with water replacement-was used to explore the cognitive ability of Azure-winged magpies (Cyanopica cyanus). Experimental results on causal cue tasks showed that the Azure-winged magpies prefer water-filled tubes over sand-filled tubes, heavy objects over light objects, and solid objects over hollow objects. However, they failed to notice the diameter and water level of the tubes. They also failed to pass the counterintuitive U-shaped tube task in arbitrary cue tasks. Our results demonstrated that Azure-winged magpies have a certain cognitive ability but not an understanding of causality, a characteristic comparable to that of other corvids. Moreover, Azure-winged magpies exhibited the ability of training transfer and analogical problem solving from the perspective of cognitive psychology. We believe that object-bias has little effect on Azure-winged magpies in this study. We can conclude that the Azure-winged magpies partially completed the tasks by trial-and-error learning.

RevDate: 2021-07-14
CmpDate: 2021-06-30

Wenig K, Boucherie PH, T Bugnyar (2021)

Early evidence for emotional play contagion in juvenile ravens.

Animal cognition, 24(4):717-729.

Perceiving, evaluating and reacting towards conspecifics' emotional states are important challenges of social group living. Emotional contagion describes an alignment of emotional states between individuals and is widely believed to be based on behavioral synchronization, i.e., behavioral contagion. As basic empathy-like processes, the occurrence of both forms of contagion seems to underlie early ontogenetic trajectories in humans and non-human species. In the present study, we assessed play as a context for studying the development of emotional contagion and its interlink with behavioral contagion in ten juvenile common ravens. Ravens are exceptional players that engage in all three forms of play: object, locomotion and social play. To assess potential ontogenetic patterns of both behavioral and emotional contagion, we tested juvenile ravens at two different periods of early development, at three- and six-month post-hatching. We elicited object play in one or several ravens (demonstrators) in a standardized experimental environment, using a playground setup. At both test ages, we found evidence for emotional contagion as observer ravens showed an increase of locomotion and social play after we provided the demonstrator(s) with the playground setup, but no significant changes in the amount of object play. Hence, observers did not copy motor patterns from demonstrator(s) but engaged in other forms of play. Our findings speak for a transfer of a general mood state in the context of play in ravens as young as 3 months and against behavioral mimicry as a precondition for emotional contagion.

RevDate: 2022-05-31
CmpDate: 2021-04-12

Gallego-Abenza M, Blum CR, T Bugnyar (2021)

Who is crying wolf? Seasonal effect on antipredator response to age-specific alarm calls in common ravens, Corvus corax.

Learning & behavior, 49(1):159-167.

Communication about threats including those posed by the presence of predators occurs mainly through acoustic signals called alarm calls. The comprehension of these calls by receivers and their rapid antipredator response are crucial in terms of survival. However, to avoid overreaction, individuals should evaluate whether or not an antipredator response is needed by paying attention to who is calling. For instance, we could expect adults to be more experienced with predator encounters than juveniles and thus elicit stronger antipredator responses in others when alarming. Similarly, we could expect a stronger response to alarm calls when more than one individual is calling. To test these assumptions, we applied a playback experiment to wild ravens, in which we manipulated the age class (adult or juvenile) and the number (one or two) of the callers. Our results revealed a seasonal effect of age class but no effect of number of callers. Specifically, the ravens responded with stronger antipredator behaviour (vigilance posture) towards alarm calls from adults as compared to juveniles in summer and autumn, but not in spring. We discuss alternative interpretations for this unexpected seasonal pattern and argue for more studies on call-based communication in birds to understand what type of information is relevant under which conditions.

RevDate: 2021-06-22
CmpDate: 2021-06-22

Blakey ML (2021)

Understanding racism in physical (biological) anthropology.

American journal of physical anthropology, 175(2):316-325.

The mainstream of American physical anthropology began as racist and eugenical science that defended slavery, restricted "non-Nordic" immigration, and justified Jim Crow segregation. After World War II, the field became more anti-racial than anti-racist. It has continued as a study of natural influences on human variation and thus continues to evade the social histories of inequitable biological variation. Also reflecting its occupancy of white space, biological anthropology continues to deny its own racist history and marginalizes the contributions of Blacks. Critical disciplinary history and a shift toward biocultural studies might begin an anti-racist human biology.

RevDate: 2020-12-29

Kaplan G (2020)

Of Great Apes and Magpies: Initiations into Animal Behaviour.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 10(12):.

This paper presents three case studies of exceptional human encounters with animals. These particular examples were selected because they enabled analysis of the underlying reasons that led the human participants to respond in new ways to their animal counterparts. The question asked here is whether sudden insights into the needs and abilities of an animal arises purely from an anthropocentric position as empathy because of genetic closeness (e.g., chimpanzees) or is something else and whether new insights can be applied to other phylogenetic orders not close to us, e.g., birds, and change research questions and implicit prejudices and stereotypes. Particularly in avian species, phylogenetically distant from humans, the prejudices (anthroprocentric position) and the belief in human uniqueness (human exceptionalism) might be greater than in the reactions to primates. Interestingly, in studies of great apes, contradictory opinions and controversies about cognitive abilities, especially when compared with humans, tend to be pronounced. Species appropriateness in test designs are desirable present and future goals but here it is suggested how different experiences can also lead to different questions that explode the myth of human uniqueness and then arrive at entirely different and new results in cognitive and affective abilities of the species under investigation.

RevDate: 2020-12-15
CmpDate: 2020-12-15

Mori A, R Bertani (2020)

Revision and cladistic analysis of Psalistops Simon, 1889, Trichopelma Simon, 1888 and Cyrtogrammomma Pocock, 1895 (Araneae: Theraphosidae) based on a cladistic analysis of relationships of Theraphosidae, Barychelidae and Paratropididae.

Zootaxa, 4873(1):zootaxa.4873.1.1 pii:zootaxa.4873.1.1.

The genera Psalistops Simon, 1889, Trichopelma, Simon, 1888 and Cyrtogrammomma Pocock, 1895 are revised and included in cladistics analyses including almost all species of these genera. In order to test previous morphological hypotheses on the relationships of Barychelidae, Paratropididae and Theraphosidae and because of the controversial taxonomic position of Psalistops and Trichopelma, a set of terminal taxa representing all subfamilies of Paratropididae (Paratropidinae, Glabropelmatinae), Barychelidae (Barychelinae, Sasoninae, Trichopelmatinae) and most theraphosid subfamilies were included, as well as a diplurid, a nemesiid, and a pycnothelid, the later used to root the cladogram. The matrix with 66 terminal taxa, 2 continuous and 93 discrete characters was analysed with TNT 1.5. We found that Trichopelmatinae is not a monophyletic group, and Psalistops is transferred to Theraphosidae, as well as the barychelid genus Cyrtogrammomma and the paratropidid genus Melloina Brignoli. Cyrtogrammomma was retrieved as the sister group of Trichopelma, and Melloina as the sister group of Holothele Karsch. Psalistops was retrieved as the sister group of Reichlingia Rudloff, and the clade with these two genera is the most basal in Theraphosidae. Barychelidae was found to be monophyletic and the sister group of Theraphosidae. Paratropididae was retrieved as the sister group of Barychelidae + Theraphosidae. The relationship and possible synapomorphies of the three families are herein discussed. This is the first time since Raven (1985) that representatives of all barychelid (Barychelinae, Sasoninae, Trichopelmatinae), paratropidid (Paratropidinae, Glabropelmatinae) and most theraphosid subfamilies have been included in a morphological cladistic analysis. Psalistops comprises two species, P. melanopygius Simon, 1889 (type species) and P. colombianus sp. nov. Psalistops montigena Simon, 1889, P. tigrinus Simon, 1889 and P. zonatus Simon, 1889 are synonymized with P. melanopygius Simon, 1889. Psalistops fulvus Bryant, 1948, P. hispaniolensis Wunderlich, 1988 (fossil), P. maculosus Bryant, 1948, P. venadensis Valerio, 1986 and P. steini (Simon, 1889) are transferred to Trichopelma. Psalistops gasci Maréchal, 1996 is transferred to Hapalopus Ausserer (Theraphosidae); P. opifex (Simon, 1889) and P. solitarius (Simon, 1889) are transferred to Schismatothele Karsch, 1879 (Theraphosidae). Schismatothele solitarius (Simon, 1889) n. comb. is synonymized with Schismatothele lineata Karsch, 1879, n. syn. Psalistops nigrifemuratus Mello-Leitão, 1939 is probably a nemesiid or pycnothelid, and herein considered as nomen dubium in Pycnothelidae. Trichopelma comprises 22 species: Trichopelma nitidum Simon, 1888 (type species), T. coenobita (Simon, 1889), T. steini (Simon, 1889), T. affine (Simon, 1892), T. cubanum (Simon, 1903), T. maculatum (Banks, 1906), T. zebra (Petrunkevitch, 1925), T. banksia Özdikmen Demir, 2012, T. insulanum (Petrunkevitch, 1926), T. fulvus (Bryant, 1948) n. comb., T. laselva Valerio, 1986, T. venadensis (Valerio, 1986) n. comb., T. huffi sp. nov., T. gabrieli sp. nov., T. tostoi sp. nov., T. goloboffi sp. nov., T. juventud sp. nov., T. laurae sp. nov., T.bimini sp. nov., T. loui sp. nov., T. platnicki sp. nov., and T. hispaniolensis Wunderlich, 1988 n. comb. (fossil). Trichopelma maculosus (Bryant, 1948) n. comb. is synonymized with P. fulvus Bryant, 1948; T. corozalis (Petrunkevitch, 1929) is synonymized with T. insulanum (Petrunkevitch, 1926). Trichopelma astutum Simon, 1889 is transferred to Euthycaelus Simon, 1889, and T. maddeni Esposito Agnarsson, 2014 to Holothele Karsch, 1879 (Theraphosidae). Trichopelma flavicomum Simon, 1891 is transferred to Neodiplothele (Barychelidae, Sasoninae). The species T. illetabile Simon, 1888, T. spinosum (Franganillo, 1926), T. scopulatum (Fischel, 1927) and T. eucubanum Özdikmen Demir, 2012 are considered as nomina dubia. Cyrtogrammomma comprises two species: C. monticola Pocock, 1895 (type species) and C. raveni sp. nov.

RevDate: 2021-06-21
CmpDate: 2021-06-21

Dussex N, Kutschera VE, Wiberg RAW, et al (2021)

A genome-wide investigation of adaptive signatures in protein-coding genes related to tool behaviour in New Caledonian and Hawaiian crows.

Molecular ecology, 30(4):973-986.

Very few animals habitually manufacture and use tools. It has been suggested that advanced tool behaviour co-evolves with a suite of behavioural, morphological and life history traits. In fact, there are indications for such an adaptive complex in tool-using crows (genus Corvus species). Here, we sequenced the genomes of two habitually tool-using and ten non-tool-using crow species to search for genomic signatures associated with a tool-using lifestyle. Using comparative genomic and population genetic approaches, we screened for signals of selection in protein-coding genes in the tool-using New Caledonian and Hawaiian crows. While we detected signals of recent selection in New Caledonian crows near genes associated with bill morphology, our data indicate that genetic changes in these two lineages are surprisingly subtle, with little evidence at present for convergence. We explore the biological explanations for these findings, such as the relative roles of gene regulation and protein-coding changes, as well as the possibility that statistical power to detect selection in recently diverged lineages may have been insufficient. Our study contributes to a growing body of literature aiming to decipher the genetic basis of recently evolved complex behaviour.

RevDate: 2021-05-20
CmpDate: 2021-05-20

Pika S, Sima MJ, Blum CR, et al (2020)

Ravens parallel great apes in physical and social cognitive skills.

Scientific reports, 10(1):20617.

Human children show unique cognitive skills for dealing with the social world but their cognitive performance is paralleled by great apes in many tasks dealing with the physical world. Recent studies suggested that members of a songbird family-corvids-also evolved complex cognitive skills but a detailed understanding of the full scope of their cognition was, until now, not existent. Furthermore, relatively little is known about their cognitive development. Here, we conducted the first systematic, quantitative large-scale assessment of physical and social cognitive performance of common ravens with a special focus on development. To do so, we fine-tuned one of the most comprehensive experimental test-batteries, the Primate Cognition Test Battery (PCTB), to raven features enabling also a direct, quantitative comparison with the cognitive performance of two great ape species. Full-blown cognitive skills were already present at the age of four months with subadult ravens' cognitive performance appearing very similar to that of adult apes in tasks of physical (quantities, and causality) and social cognition (social learning, communication, and theory of mind). These unprecedented findings strengthen recent assessments of ravens' general intelligence, and aid to the growing evidence that the lack of a specific cortical architecture does not hinder advanced cognitive skills. Difficulties in certain cognitive scales further emphasize the quest to develop comparative test batteries that tap into true species rather than human specific cognitive skills, and suggest that socialization of test individuals may play a crucial role. We conclude to pay more attention to the impact of personality on cognitive output, and a currently neglected topic in Animal Cognition-the linkage between ontogeny and cognitive performance.

RevDate: 2021-04-12
CmpDate: 2021-04-12

Vernouillet A, Casidsid HJM, DM Kelly (2021)

Conspecific presence, but not pilferage, influences pinyon jays' (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) caching behavior.

Learning & behavior, 49(1):23-35.

Caching species store food when plentiful to ensure availability when resources are scarce. These stores may be at risk of pilferage by others present at the time of caching. Cachers may reduce the risk of loss by using information from the social environment to engage in behaviors to secure the resource-cache protection strategies. Here, we examined whether pinyon jays, a highly social corvid, use information from the social environment to modify their caching behavior. Pinyon jays were provided with pine seeds to cache in two visually distinct trays. The cacher could be observed by a non-pilfering conspecific, a pilfering conspecific, or an inanimate heterospecific located in an adjoining cage compartment, or the cacher could be alone. After caching, the pilfered tray was placed in the adjoining compartment where caches were either pilfered (pilfering conspecific and inanimate heterospecific conditions) or remained intact (non-pilfering conspecific and alone conditions). The safe tray was placed in a visible, but inaccessible, location. Overall, pinyon jays reduced the number of pine seeds cached in the pilfered tray when observed, compared with caching alone. However, their caching behavior did not differ between the pilfering conspecific and the non-pilfering conspecific conditions. These results suggest that either pinyon jays were unable to discriminate between the pilfering and non-pilfering conspecifics, or they generalized their experience of risk from the pilfering conspecific to the non-pilfering conspecific. Thus, we report evidence that pinyon jays use cache protection strategies to secure their resources when observed, but respond similarly when observed by pilfering and non-pilfering conspecifics.

RevDate: 2020-11-24

Wagener L, A Nieder (2020)

Categorical Auditory Working Memory in Crows.

iScience, 23(11):101737.

The ability to group sensory data into behaviorally meaningful classes and to maintain these perceptual categories active in working memory is key to intelligent behavior. Here, we show that carrion crows, highly vocal and cognitively advanced corvid songbirds, possess categorical auditory working memory. The crows were trained in a delayed match-to-category task that required them to flexibly match remembered sounds based on the upward or downward shift of the sounds' frequency modulation. After training, the crows instantaneously classified novel sounds into the correct auditory categories. The crows showed sharp category boundaries as a function of the relative frequency interval of the modulation. In addition, the crows generalized frequency-modulated sounds within a category and correctly classified novel sounds kept in working memory irrespective of other acoustic features of the sound. This suggests that crows can form and actively memorize auditory perceptual categories in the service of cognitive control of their goal-directed behaviors.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Blum CR, Fitch WT, T Bugnyar (2020)

Rapid Learning and Long-Term Memory for Dangerous Humans in Ravens (Corvus corax).

Frontiers in psychology, 11:581794.

Like many predatory species, humans have pronounced individual differences in their interactions with potential prey: some humans pose a lethal threat while others may provide valuable resources. Recognizing individual humans would thus allow prey species to maximize potential rewards while ensuring survival. Previous studies on corvids showed they can recognize and remember individual humans. For instance, wild American crows produced alarm calls toward specifically masked humans up to 2.7 years after those humans had caught and ringed them while wearing that mask. However, individual behavior of the crows or the impact of social features on their responses, was hardly examined. Here, we studied predator learning and social effects on responses, using a similar method, in captive common ravens (Corvus corax). We investigated learning and the impact of key social components on individual reactions to artificial predators. Human experimenters wore two types of masks while walking past two raven aviaries. In four training trials, the "dangerous" mask was presented while carrying a dead raven, whereas the "neutral" mask was presented empty-handed. Between every training trial and in all following trials, we presented both masks without dead ravens. We assessed the subjects' (i) learning speed, (ii) selective long-term response, and (iii) potential effects of social dynamics on individual alarm calling frequency. Ravens learned quickly (often based on the first trial), and some individuals distinguished the dangerous from the neutral mask for the next 4 years. Despite having received the same amount and quality of exposure to the dangerous mask, we found pronounced individual differences in alarm calling that were fairly consistent across test trials in socially stable situations: dominance, but not sex explained individual differences in alarm responses, indicating the potential use of alarm calls as "status symbols." These findings fit to those in wild bird populations and dominant individuals signaling their quality. Changes in the individuals' participation and intensity of alarm calling coincided with changes in group composition and pair formation, further supporting the role of social context on ravens' alarm calling.

RevDate: 2021-03-22
CmpDate: 2021-03-22

Shahhosseini N, Frederick C, Racine T, et al (2021)

Modeling host-feeding preference and molecular systematics of mosquitoes in different ecological niches in Canada.

Acta tropica, 213:105734.

Several mosquito-borne viruses (mobovirus) cause infections in Canada. Ecological data on mosquito species and host range in Canada remains elusive. The main aim of the current study is to determine the host range and molecular systematics of mosquito species in Canada. Mosquitoes were collected using BG-Sentinel traps and aspirators at 10 trapping sites in Canada during 2018 and 2019. Mosquitoes collected were identified via morphology and molecular techniques. Mosquito sequences were aligned by MUSCLE algorithm and evolutionary systematics were drawn using MEGA and SDT software. Moreover, the source of blood meals was identified using a DNA barcoding technique. A total of 5,708 female mosquitoes over 34 different taxa were collected. DNA barcodes and evolutionary tree analysis confirmed the identification of mosquito species in Canada. Of the total collected samples, 201 specimens were blood-fed female mosquitoes in 20 different taxa. Four mosquito species represented about half (51.47%) of all collected blood-fed specimens: Aede cinereus (39 specimens, 19.11%), Aedes triseriatus (23, 11.27%), Culex pipiens (22, 10.78%), and Anopheles punctipennis (21, 10.29%). The most common blood meal sources were humans (49 mosquito specimens, 24% of all blood-fed mosquito specimen), pigs (44, 21.5%), American red squirrels (28, 13.7%), white-tailed deers (28, 13.7%), and American crows (16, 7.8%). Here, we present the first analysis of the host-feeding preference of different mosquito species in Canada via molecular techniques. Our results on mosquito distribution and behavior will aid in the development of effective mitigation and control strategies to prevent or reduce human/animal health issues in regards to moboviruses.

RevDate: 2021-03-29
CmpDate: 2021-03-29

Armenteros JA, Caro J, SÁnchez-GarcÍa C, et al (2021)

Do non-target species visit feeders and water troughs targeting small game? A study from farmland Spain using camera-trapping.

Integrative zoology, 16(2):226-239.

Provision of food and water is a widespread tool implemented around the world for the benefit of game and other wildlife, but factors affecting the use of food and water by non-target species are poorly known. We evaluated visits to feeders and water troughs by non-game species using camera-traps in two separate areas of Spain. Feeders and water troughs were either "protected" (when surrounded by more than 50% of shrubs/forest) or "open" (in the opposite case). A total of 18 948 photos from 5344 camera-trapping days depicted animals, and 75 species were identified. Feeders and water troughs were visited by target species (partridges and lagomorphs, 55.3% of visits) and non-target species (44.7% of visits). Among the latter, corvids were the most common (46.1% of visits), followed by rodents (26.8%), other birds (23.6%, mainly passerines), columbids (1.9%), and other species at minor percentages. The highest proportion of visiting days to feeders and water troughs was from corvids (0.173) followed by other-birds (0.109) and rodents (0.083); the lowest proportion was recorded for columbids (0.016). Use intensity and visit frequency of water troughs tripled that recorded in feeders, and visits to open feeders/troughs were approximately twice those to protected ones. In summary: feeders and water troughs targeting small game species are also used regularly by non-target ones; they should be set close to cover to optimize their use by non-target species that are not competitors of target species (though corvids may visit them); water availability should be prioritized where drought periods are expected.

RevDate: 2021-11-02
CmpDate: 2021-01-04

Boeckle M, Schiestl M, Frohnwieser A, et al (2020)

New Caledonian crows plan for specific future tool use.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 287(1938):20201490.

The ability to plan for future events is one of the defining features of human intelligence. Whether non-human animals can plan for specific future situations remains contentious: despite a sustained research effort over the last two decades, there is still no consensus on this question. Here, we show that New Caledonian crows can use tools to plan for specific future events. Crows learned a temporal sequence where they were (a) shown a baited apparatus, (b) 5 min later given a choice of five objects and (c) 10 min later given access to the apparatus. At test, these crows were presented with one of two tool-apparatus combinations. For each combination, the crows chose the right tool for the right future task, while ignoring previously useful tools and a low-value food item. This study establishes that planning for specific future tool use can evolve via convergent evolution, given that corvids and humans shared a common ancestor over 300 million years ago, and offers a route to mapping the planning capacities of animals.

RevDate: 2021-03-03
CmpDate: 2021-03-03

Horn L, Bugnyar T, Griesser M, et al (2020)

Sex-specific effects of cooperative breeding and colonial nesting on prosociality in corvids.

eLife, 9:.

The investigation of prosocial behavior is of particular interest from an evolutionary perspective. Comparisons of prosociality across non-human animal species have, however, so far largely focused on primates, and their interpretation is hampered by the diversity of paradigms and procedures used. Here, we present the first systematic comparison of prosocial behavior across multiple species in a taxonomic group outside the primate order, namely the bird family Corvidae. We measured prosociality in eight corvid species, which vary in the expression of cooperative breeding and colonial nesting. We show that cooperative breeding is positively associated with prosocial behavior across species. Also, colonial nesting is associated with a stronger propensity for prosocial behavior, but only in males. The combined results of our study strongly suggest that both cooperative breeding and colonial nesting, which may both rely on heightened social tolerance at the nest, are likely evolutionary pathways to prosocial behavior in corvids.

RevDate: 2021-01-26
CmpDate: 2021-01-26

Themelin M, Ribic CA, Melillo-Sweeting K, et al (2020)

A new approach to the study of relationship quality in dolphins: Framework and preliminary results.

Behavioural processes, 181:104260.

Proximity and synchronous behaviours from surface observations have been used to measure association patterns within and between dolphin dyads. To facilitate an investigation of relationship quality in dolphins, we applied a method used for primates and ravens that examined three main components to describe relationships: value, security, and compatibility. Using pilot data from long-term research of two study populations for this preliminary assessment, these three components were extracted from PCA of eight behavioural variables with more than 80 % variance accounted for in both study groups. Only pair swim position differed between groups. Although value, security, and compatibility are abstract terms, each is based on behaviours identified as important in dolphin social life, at least for these two populations. Examining relationship quality in dolphins with a method used to illustrate dyadic differences for primates and ravens allows for a quantitative, comparative assessment of sociality across disparate taxa. Although these species are diverse in their anatomies and in their social habitats (e.g., aquatic, terrestrial, aerial), they may well share the basic societal building blocks in the factors affecting how relationships are formed. We discuss how an examination of these behavioural variables facilitates understanding relationship quality in dolphins, as well as how dolphin relationships fit into the context of social animals' society.

RevDate: 2021-12-04
CmpDate: 2020-12-14

Lin Y, Zhang X, Huang Q, et al (2020)

The Prevalence of Dyslexia in Primary School Children and Their Chinese Literacy Assessment in Shantou, China.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(19):.

The epidemiological studies of Chinese developmental dyslexia (DD) in China are still limited. In addition, literacy assessment has seldom been performed for children with dyslexia, due to lack of uniform assessment tools. This study was aimed at investigating the prevalence rate of children with dyslexia, and to evaluate their Chinese reading ability. A total of 2955 students aged 7-12 years were enrolled by randomized cluster sampling. The study was divided into three stages. In stage I, all participating students were asked to finish the Combined Raven Test (CRT) and Chinese Vocabulary Test and Assessment Scale. In stage II, the Chinese teachers and parents of the children with suspected dyslexia were interviewed by psychiatrists, and finished the Dyslexia Checklist for Chinese Children (DCCC). In stage III, these children were evaluated by child psychiatrists for the diagnosis with or without dyslexia, according to the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and their Chinese literacy was further evaluated by using the Chinese Reading Ability Test (CRAT). The prevalence rate of children with dyslexia was 5.4% in Shantou city, 8.4% in boys and 2.3% in girls, with a gender ratio of 3.7:1.0. Children with dyslexia scored lower in all the five subscales of the CRAT tests. including phonological awareness, morphological awareness, rapid automatized naming, orthographic awareness, and reading ability than the control group (all p < 0.001). This study suggested that the prevalence rate of Chinese dyslexia in Shantou city is roughly equivalent to that previously reported in China. Children with dyslexia have a relatively lower Chinese reading ability in all assessments.

RevDate: 2021-09-30
CmpDate: 2021-01-19

Massen JJM, Haley SM, T Bugnyar (2020)

Azure-winged magpies' decisions to share food are contingent on the presence or absence of food for the recipient.

Scientific reports, 10(1):16147.

Helping others is a key feature of human behavior. However, recent studies render this feature not uniquely human, and describe discoveries of prosocial behavior in non-human primates, other social mammals, and most recently in some bird species. Nevertheless, the cognitive underpinnings of this prosociality; i.e., whether animals take others' need for help into account, often remain obscured. In this study, we take a first step in investigating prosociality in azure-winged magpies by presenting them with the opportunity to share highly desired food with their conspecifics i) in a situation in which these conspecifics had no such food, ii) in a situation in which they too had access to that highly desired food, and iii) in an open, base-line, situation where all had equal access to the same food and could move around freely. We find that azure-winged magpies regularly share high-value food items, preferably with, but not restricted to, members of the opposite sex. Most notably, we find that these birds, and specifically the females, seem to differentiate between whether others have food or do not have food, and subsequently cater to that lack. Begging calls by those without food seem to function as cues that elicit the food-sharing, but the response to that begging is condition-dependent. Moreover, analyses on a restricted dataset that excluded those events in which there was begging showed exactly the same patterns, raising the possibility that the azure-winged magpies might truly notice when others have access to fewer resources (even in the absence of vocal cues). This sharing behavior could indicate a high level of social awareness and prosociality that should be further investigated. Further studies are needed to establish the order of intentionality at play in this system, and whether azure-winged magpies might be able to attribute desire states to their conspecifics.

RevDate: 2021-01-26
CmpDate: 2021-01-26

Hunt GR (2021)

New Caledonian crows' basic tool procurement is guided by heuristics, not matching or tracking probe site characteristics.

Animal cognition, 24(1):177-191.

Contrasting findings made it unclear what cognitive processes New Caledonian crows use to procure suitable tools to solve tool tasks. Most previous studies suggested that their tool procurement is achieved by either trial and error or a simple heuristic. The latter provides a fast and cognitively efficient method for stable, routinized behaviour based on past experience with little or no deliberate decision-making. However, early papers by Chappell and Kacelnik reported that two New Caledonian crows procured tools after closely assessing the tool characteristics required for the task, thus using deliberate decision-making, or a 'customized strategy'. Here, I tested eight New Caledonian crows to determine their default behaviour in basic tool procurement tasks as a check on whether or not they use customized strategies. I used two rigorous experiments closely based on Chappell and Kacelnik's experiments. The crows did not use a customized strategy in either experiment, but their behaviour was clearly consistent with tool procurement predominantly guided by a familiarity heuristic. I discuss potential methodological issues that may have led to different conclusions in Chappell and Kacelnik's studies. Heuristic-guided, routinized behaviour in tool procurement has potential implications for understanding how standardization occurs in the early evolution of complex tool manufacture, both in New Caledonian crows and early humans.

RevDate: 2021-12-04
CmpDate: 2021-04-27

Hswen Y, Qin Q, Williams DR, et al (2020)

The relationship between Jim Crow laws and social capital from 1997-2014: A 3-level multilevel hierarchical analysis across time, county and state.

Social science & medicine (1982), 262:113142.

INTRODUCTION: Jim Crow laws in the United States promoted racial prejudice, which may have reduced social capital. Our study tests the relationship between Jim Crow laws and social capital.

METHODS: We conducted 3-level multilevel hierarchical modeling to study differences in the stock of social capital for 1997, 2005, 2009 in Jim Crow states compared to states without Jim Crow laws. We examined the moderation effects of county level median income, percent Black and percent with high school education and Jim Crow laws on social capital.

RESULTS: Jim Crow laws significantly reduced stock of social capital across 1997, 2005, 2009. The model was robust to the inclusion of random county, states, time and fixed county and state level covariates for median income, percent Black and percent with high school education. The largest percent of between state variations explained for fixed variables was from the addition of Jim Crow laws with 2.86%. These results demonstrate that although Jim Crow laws were abolished in 1965, the effects of racial segregation appear to persist through lower social connectiveness, community and trust. A positive moderation effect was seen for median income and percent Black with Jim Crow laws on social capital.

DISCUSSION: Our study supports a negative association between Jim Crow laws and reduction in the stock of social capital. This may be attributed to the fracturing of trust, reciprocity and collective action produced by legal racial segregation. Findings from this study offer insight on the potential impacts of historical policies on the social structure of a community. Future research is necessary to further identify the mechanistic pathways and develop interventions to improve social capital.

RevDate: 2021-10-19
CmpDate: 2021-10-19

Gewaily MS, MMA Abumandour (2021)

Gross morphological, histological and scanning electron specifications of the oropharyngeal cavity of the hooded crow (Corvus cornix pallescens).

Anatomia, histologia, embryologia, 50(1):72-83.

The present study was carried out on the oropharyngeal cavity of the hooded crow to investigate the gross and microscopic structures via gross anatomy, light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The gross anatomy clarified the elongated triangular shape of the oropharyngeal cavity with a non-protruding tongue with a bifid apex. The lingual body contained median groove rostrally and separated caudally from the root by a transverse papillary crest. The laryngeal mound located posterior to the lingual root, contained midline laryngeal cleft and bounded caudally by a transverse row of pharyngeal papillae. The palate contained choanal cleft rostrally and infundibular slit caudally in addition to five palatine ridges. By light microscopy, the dorsal lingual epithelium was highly keratinised stratified squamous with a lingual nail in the most rostral part of the apex. Then, the thickness of the keratin layer decreased caudally, while in the ventral surface, the lining epithelium became non-keratinised. The entoglossum supported the lingual body and root, but not extended to the apex. The lining epithelium of the palate was also keratinised stratified squamous and became none-keratinised at the oral side of the choanal cleft. There were numerous lobules of polystomatic salivary glands in the lingual root and the palate. SEM revealed the arrangement of different types of papillae covering both the floor and the roof of the oropharynx besides numerous openings of salivary glands in the lingual root, laryngeal mound and the palate. These findings reflect the functional relationship of the oropharyngeal cavity of the hooded crow during feeding.

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Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.

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Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.

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Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.

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Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.

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While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.

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Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.

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Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.

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Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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This is a must read book for anyone with an interest in invasion biology. The full title of the book lays out the author's premise — The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature's Salvation. Not only is species movement not bad for ecosystems, it is the way that ecosystems respond to perturbation — it is the way ecosystems heal. Even if you are one of those who is absolutely convinced that invasive species are actually "a blight, pollution, an epidemic, or a cancer on nature", you should read this book to clarify your own thinking. True scientific understanding never comes from just interacting with those with whom you already agree. R. Robbins

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