Acta Theriologica

Published by Polskiej Akademii Nauk, Zakładu Badania Ssaków
Online ISSN: 0001-7051
Publications
Significance of differences between metal concentrations in different fox bone materials Metal Parameter C vs. CB C vs. SB CB vs. SB C + CB vs. SB
Comparison of metal concentrations in analagous materials between immature and adult foxes
Concentrations of trace elements (in mg/kg) in bone material of species from order Carnivova
Article
In this study we determined the levels of trace elements (zinc, copper, lead, cadmium and mercury) in three layers of bones of the hip joint (cartilage, compact bone and spongy bone) of 30 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from north-western Poland. Concentrations of Cu, Zn, Pb and Cd were determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry (ICP-AES) in inductively coupled argon plasma using a Perkin-Elmer Optima 2000 DV. Determination of Hg concentration was performed by atomic absorption spectroscopy. In cartilage, compact bone and spongy bone samples from the red fox, median concentrations of the metals studied could be arranged in the following descending series: Zn > Cu > Pb > Cd > Hg, the values ranging from 142 to 0.002 mg/kg dw. There was a significant difference in Cu concentrations, among all the materials analyzed, with much more Cu found in spongy bone than in compact bone. Significant differences were also noted in the case of Hg concentrations in cartilage with compact bone and the spongy bone, and between concentrations of this metal in compact bone and spongy bone. In males, the concentration of Hg in spongy bone was greater than in females. Younger foxes had a higher concentration of this metal in cartilage than adults. The strongest synergistic relationships were observed in spongy bone between the Zn and Cu, Zn and Cd, as well as between Cu and Cd. Statistically significant antagonistic relationships were detected between zinc and lead in compact bone. In addition to monitoring studies conducted on the abiotic environment, an urgent need exists for long-term monitoring of concentrations of heavy metals with long-term effects on living organisms. An important addition is provided by biomonitoring studies on domesticated and free-living mammals, including Canidae.
 
Article
An examination was made of fluoride content in the mandibular first molars of the permanent teeth of the red fox Vulpes vulpes living in north-west (NW) Poland. The teeth were first dried to a constant weight at 105°C and then ashed. Fluorides were determined potentiometrically, and their concentrations were expressed in dry weight (DW) and ash. The results were used to perform an indirect estimation of fluoride pollution in the examined region of Poland. The collected specimens (n = 35) were classified into one of the three age categories: immature (im, 6-12 months), subadult (subad, from 12 to 20 months) and adult (ad, >20 months). The mean concentrations (geometric mean) of fluoride were similar in the im and subad groups (230 and 296 mg/kg DW and 297 and 385 mg/kg ash, respectively), and significantly smaller than in the ad group (504 and 654 mg/kg, respectively, in DW and ash). Basing on other reports that the ∼400 mg/kg DW concentration of fluoride in bones in the long-lived wild mammals generally reflects the geochemical background, it was found that 57% of the foxes in NW Poland exceeded this value by 9% to 170%. This indirectly reflects a moderate fluoride contamination in the tested region.
 
Article
Ciezarne samice zająca szaraka znajdowano padle przez 7 do 12 miesiecy kazdego roku. Zwykle jednak okres rozrodu wynosi od 8 do 11 miesiecy roku (Tabela 1). Ilośc ciezarnych samic w stosunku do wszystkich zbadanych samic wynosi 11% w styczniu a w kwietniu i maju az 90%, po czym zniza sie ponownie do 11% w listopadzie (Tabela 2).
 
Article
Zbadano 79 norek amerykanskich, w tym osobniki 1-10 dniowe, 3-6 tygodniowe, 7-7,5 i 10 miesieczne oraz 11 miesieczne (tylko samice). Uzyskane wyniki wskazują, ze proces rozwoju gonad nie jest zakonczony w momencie urodzenia sie norek i trwa jeszcze u 10-11 miesiecznych zwierząt.
 
Observed heterozygosities (H O ) per locus ranged
Article
This study investigated a chromosome hybrid zone between two chromosomal races of the common shrew (Sorex araneus). Gene flow and genetic structure of the hybrid zone, located in the northeast of Poland, were studied using seven polymorphic autosomal microsatellite loci (L9, L14, L33, L45, L67, L68, L97) and a Y-linked microsatellite locus (L8Y). Seventy-five animals (46 of the Łęgucki Młyn race and 29 of the Popielno race) from nine different localities were examined and the data were analyzed using hierarchical AMOVA and F-statistic. The studied microsatellite loci and races (divided into nine geographical populations) were characterized by observed heterozygosity (H O), expected heterozygosities within (H S), and between (H T) populations, inbreeding coefficient (F IS), fixation index (F ST), and average allelic richness (A). We found that genetic structuring within and between the two chromosome races were weak and non-significant. This finding and unconstrained gene flow between the races indicates a high level of migration within the Łęgucki Młyn/Popielno hybrid zone, suggesting that evolutionarily important genetic structuring does not occur in interracial zones where races which are not genetically distinct come into contact.
 
Article
Badania prowadzono w latach 1966-1969 na 4 ha wyspie na jeziorze Beldany. Informacje zbierano stosując metode CMR w czasie serii polowow przeprowadzanych peciokrotnie w ciągu kazdego roku badan. Stan liczebności populacji określano metodą "spisu powszechnego".
 
Article
Przedstawiono sekwencje zmian zachodzących w narządach plciowych w trakcie ciązy oraz zmiany w ciezarze, dlugości i w morfologii zarodkow nornicy rudej, Clethrionomys glareolus (Schreber, 1780) pomiedzy 9 dniem ciązy a porodem. Stwierdzono, ze ciezar i dlugośc ciemieniowo-pośladkowa jest dobrą cechą dla ustalenia stadium zaawansowania ciązy pomiedzy 10 a 15 dniem ciązy (Tabela 1). Ustalono pewne cechy morfologiczne, ktore pozwalają na określenie wieku zarodka pomiedzy 9 a 16 dniem rozwoju (Tabela 2, Tablice V i VI).
 
Differentiation of the common hamster populations in the Małopolska Upland as shown by the Principal Components Analysis (PCA) based on the data set of 17 microsatellite loci in six sampling sites (1 E1-3 E1 and 1 P3-3 P3 ) in that region. The scores shown are those on the first and second principal coordinates. Sampling site labels as in Table 1 and Fig. 1b
Pairwise comparison of Fst values between genetic clusters of the common hamster in the Małopolska Upland. All comparisons are statistically significant
Article
In anthropogenically disturbed habitats, natural barriers still exist and have to be recognized, as they are important for conservation measures. Areas of phylogeographic breaks within a species are often stabilized in inhospitable regions which act as natural barriers. An area of contact between phylogeographic lineages of the common hamster (Cricetus cricetus) was found in the Małopolska Upland in Poland. A total of 142 common hamsters were captured between 2005 and 2009. All hamsters were genotyped at 17 microsatellite loci and partial sequences of the mitochondrial (mtDNA) control region were obtained. No mixed populations with mtDNA haplotypes of both lineages were found. The distance between marginal populations was about 20 km; no hamsters were found in the area between. A principal components analysis (PCA) was performed on microsatellite data and the greatest change in PC1 scores was found between marginal samples. To define the habitat components responsible for the phylogeographic break, we compared the habitat composition of sites occupied by hamsters with those from which hamsters were absent. We found that hamsters avoided forested areas and sandy soils. The area of the potential barrier was characterized by a high proportion of woodland and unfavorable soils in comparison with neighboring areas inhabited by hamsters. They cannot settle in this area due to their high winter mortality in shallow burrows and high predation in the fields adjacent to forests.
 
Article
Przystosowano metode pobierania, ustalania i barwienia rozmazow pochwowych, mających sluzyc w celu dokladnego poznania cytologii pochwy i faz cyklu rujowego u samic bobra europejskiego. Do pobierania wydzieliny pochwowej posluzyly cienkie lyzeczki szklane umieszczone w szklanych oslonach.
 
Geographic information and the GenBank accession numbers of M. oeconomus mitochondrial cytb gene haplotypes in Europe. Data are divided into two phylogroups following Brunhoff et al. (2003)
Median-joining network of 53 cytochrome b gene sequences (from this study and GenBank accessions) which, after the elimination of replicates, represents 39 haplotypes of M. oeconomus found in
Temporal persistence (a) and frequency distribution (b) of eight mitochondrial cytochrome b gene haplotypes in the local root vole population in a plot situated on open sedgeland in Bialowieza Primeval Forest. Black males and white females
Article
Based on published information about the glacial, postglacial, and recent distribution of the root vole, Microtus oeconomus, we hypothesized that a population inhabiting the pristine wetland in eastern Poland (Bialowieza Primeval Forest) might comprise a high diversity of haplotypes. The support for this hypothesis was provided by an analysis of partial cytb gene sequences from 149 voles sampled within a two-hectare plot during a nine-year study. In this population, we identified eight haplotypes (PLB1-PLB8), four of which were new to the root vole. These haplotypes were characterized by low nucleotide diversity (π = 0.0054, SE = 0.0019), the absence of transversional differences between sequences, and no changes in the encoded amino acid sequence: features suggesting a lack of immigration from the distant populations. The haplotype number and their frequency distribution in males and females did not differ significantly. An assessment of the persistence of matrilines in the local population throughout the study period revealed that the haplotype composition was relatively stable for only about 3 years. A more complete haplotype network for root voles in Europe was constructed by combining the newly identified haplotypes with the 45 previously described haplotypes. Two of the haplotypes detected in this study occupy key positions in this network: PLB5, as the closest link to the North European group, and PLB8, as an ancestor to many other Central European haplotypes.
 
Article
European red deer are known to show a conspicuous phylogeographic pattern with three distinct mtDNA lineages (western, eastern and North-African/Sardinian). The western lineage, believed to be indicative of a southwestern glacial refuge in Iberia and southern France, nowadays covers large areas of the continent including the British Isles, Scandinavia and parts of central Europe, while the eastern lineage is primarily found in southeast-central Europe, the Carpathians and the Balkans. However, large parts of central Europe and the whole northeast of the continent were not covered by previous analyses. To close this gap, we produced mtDNA control region sequences from more than 500 red deer from Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and western Russia and combined our data with sequences available from earlier studies to an overall sample size of almost 1,100. Our results show that the western lineage extends far into the European east and is prominent in all eastern countries except for the Polish Carpathians, Ukraine and Russia where only eastern haplotypes occurred. While the latter may actually reflect the natural northward expansion of the eastern lineage after the last ice age, the present distribution of the western lineage in eastern Europe may in large parts be artificial and a result of translocations and reintroduction of red deer into areas where the species became extinct in historical times.
 
Partial correlation coefficients (r p ) between hare density and three variables describing landscape structure in relation to the average value of these variables in five study areas in Germany (G) and Poland (P) in 2006 (crop borders: r00.036, df03, p00.95; wild vegetation without trees: r 0−0.839, df 03, p 00.08; wild vegetation with trees: r0−0.658, df03, p00.2)
Article
Habitat management should be an important part of the brown hare (Lepus europaeus) conservation, but the habitat requirements of this species are not fully recognised. The aim of our research was to estimate these requirements by analysing the effect of various agricultural landscape structure features on the distribution of hares in five agricultural areas in Germany and Poland. The local density of hares was assessed in the spring and autumn of 2006 by using the method of spotlight-strip counts on 9-15 subareas in each research region. The structure of agricultural landscape has been described for each subarea: the share of grain, other crops and grasses as well as the density of crop edges and uncultivated places with wild vegetation. The density of hares was considerably higher in Germany than in Poland (18.8-48.4 vs. 4.1-9.5 indiv./km(2)). The hare density was positively correlated with non-grain crops in an area, with crop edges in two areas and with wild vegetation without trees in two areas, and negatively correlated with grassfields in two areas. The occurrence of wild vegetation without trees affected the hare density only in the study areas, where this habitat was relatively rare (<3 km/km(2)). It was suggested that proper projects aimed at habitat management for brown hares should be elastic, i.e. the projects should be modified depending on the structure of local landscapes. Moreover, the protection and creation of structures with wild vegetation among cropland seem to be considerable methods of brown hare or generally wildlife conservation; therefore, such measures should be an important part of agro-environmental packages.
 
Species composition of wolf prey found between 2001 and 2005 in NE Hungary 
Article
At the end of the nineteenth century, the wolf Canis lupus was extinct in Hungary and in recent decades has returned to the northern highland area of the country. The diet of wolves living in groups in Aggteleki National Park was investigated using scat analysis (n = 81 scats) and prey remains (n = 31 carcasses). Throughout the year wolves (average, minimum two wolves per year) consumed mostly wild-living ungulates (mean percent of biomass consumed, B% 97.2%; relative frequency of occurrence, %O 74.0%). The wild boar Sus scrofa was the most common prey item found in wolf scat (%B 35.6%) and is also the most commonly occurring ungulate in the study areas. The second most commonly occurring prey item in wolf scat was red deer Cervus elaphus (B% 32.8%). Conversely, prey remain analyses revealed wild boar as the second most commonly utilised prey species (%O 16.1%) after red deer (%O 67.7%). The roe deer Capreolus capreolus that occurs at lower population densities was the third most commonly utilised prey species. The importance of low population density mouflon Ovis aries, livestock and other food types was low. The results are similar to those found in the northern part of the Carpathian Mountains.
 
Article
Here, we present the morphotypic variety of the m1 and M3 teeth diagnostics for the recently formed isolated population of the sibling vole in Far Eastern Russia. In the Far Eastern population, the prevalence of the individuals with m1 with a complicated crown of the forward unpaired loop of the paraconid is characteristic. Namely, m1 in these individuals shows well-expressed sixth exterior and fifth interior salient angles. The structure of the M3 morphotypes is also unique in the sibling voles in Far Eastern Russia. The dominant morphotypes were typica (47 %) and simplex (45 %), whereas the abundance of the duplicata morphotype was 0.08 %. The frequencies of various m1 and M3 morphotypes found in casually introduced sibling voles in the Far East are not typical of any previously studied Microtus rossiaemeridionalis population.
 
Parameter estimates (odds ratio and their 95 % confidence intervals) and their significance of the generalized linear model explaining occurrence of the Eurasian otter in the studied sites in Central Poland
Article
The increase in Eurasian otter Lutra lutra populations in their natural range and recolonization processes are recently observed in several European countries. We address the process of otter recolonization and habitat utilization in Central Poland over 14 years. Field surveys in 1998 and 2007 documented increase in occurrence of the species. The frequency of positive sites denoted 15 % in 1993, 38 % in 1998, and 89 % in 2007. Otter occurrence at study sites was positively affected by river width while negatively affected by presence of buildings at the site and river regulation. During the most intensive colonization process in the 1990s, the habitat preferences of the otter did not change. However, the sites inhabited by otters after 1998 were characterized by lower river width and tree cover and were more often located on regulated river sections, suggesting change in habitat tolerance during expansion. The otter abundance in transformed habitats is a result of increasing population numbers and the necessity to inhabit suboptimal sections of watercourses. Thus, it seems that presence-absence data for otter populations cannot be considered a reliable indicator of habitat quality, being depended of the population density.
 
Article
Although drive counts are frequently used to estimate the size of deer populations in forests, little is known about how counting methods or the density and social organization of the deer species concerned influence the accuracy of the estimates obtained, and hence their suitability for informing management decisions. As these issues cannot readily be examined for real populations, we conducted a series of 'virtual experiments' in a computer simulation model to evaluate the effects of block size, proportion of forest counted, deer density, social aggregation and spatial auto-correlation on the accuracy of drive counts. Simulated populations of red and roe deer were generated on the basis of drive count data obtained from Polish commercial forests. For both deer species, count accuracy increased with increasing density, and decreased as the degree of aggregation, either demographic or spatial, within the population increased. However, the effect of density on accuracy was substantially greater than the effect of aggregation. Although improvements in accuracy could be made by reducing the size of counting blocks for low-density, aggregated populations, these were limited. Increasing the proportion of the forest counted led to greater improvements in accuracy, but the gains were limited compared with the increase in effort required. If it is necessary to estimate the deer population with a high degree of accuracy (e.g. within 10% of the true value), drive counts are likely to be inadequate whatever the deer density. However, if a lower level of accuracy (within 20% or more) is acceptable, our study suggests that at higher deer densities (more than ca. five to seven deer/100 ha) drive counts can provide reliable information on population size.
 
Structure of the small mammal community in the open habitats of Białowieża Primeval Forest 
PRCF for the detrended time series of population dynamics of the three most common species of small mammals. The dashed horizontal line is Bartlett's significance band  
Article
Cyclic population dynamics of small mammals are not restricted to the boreal and arctic zones of Eurasia and North America, but long-term data series from lower latitudes are still less common. We demonstrated here the presence of periodic oscillations in small mammal populations in eastern Poland using 22-year (1986-2007) trapping data from marginal meadow and river valley grasslands located in the extensive temperate woodland of Białowieża Primeval Forest. The two most common species inhabiting meadows and river valleys, root vole Microtus oeconomus and common shrew Sorex araneus, exhibited synchronous periodic changes, characterised by a 3-year time lag as indicated by an autocorrelation function. Moreover, the cycles of these two species were synchronous within both habitats. Population dynamics of the striped field mouse Apodemus agrarius was not cyclic. However, this species regularly reached maximum density 1 year before the synchronized peak of root voles and common shrews, which may suggest the existence of interspecific competition. Dynamics of all three species was dominated by direct density-dependent process, whereas delayed density dependent feedback was significant only in the root vole and common shrew. Climatic factors acting in winter and spring (affecting mainly survival and initial reproduction rates) were more important than those acting in summer and autumn and affected significantly only the common shrew. High temperatures in winter and spring had positive effects on autumn-to-autumn changes in abundance of this species, whereas deep snow in combination with high rainfall in spring negatively affected population increase rates in common shrew.
 
Article
Metodą elektroejakulacji pobrano nasienie od ośmioletniego samca jelenia szlachetnego we wrześniu, bez stosowania trankwiliny. Uzyskano dwie porcje nasienia. Objetośc pierwszej wynosila 23,5 ml, koncentracja plemnikow 70 000/mm3. Objetośc drugiej wynosila 19 ml, koncentracja plemnikow 50 000/mm. Te samą metode stosowano dwukrotnie u piecioletniego samca jelenia szlachetnego w marcu.
 
Suitable wolf patches within Poland and least cost paths (LCP) connecting these patches. Patches are defined following the analyses by Jędrzejewski et al. (2008), using the same number assignation for patches. Dotted lines in the south-east indicate “genetic boundaries”
Article
Determining ecological corridors is crucial for conservation efforts in fragmented habitats. Commonly employed least cost path (LCP) analysis relies on the underlying cost matrix. By using Ecological Niche Factor Analysis, we minimized the problems connected with subjective cost assessment or the use of presence/absence data. We used data on the wolf presence/absence in Poland to identify LCPs connecting patches of suitable wolf habitat, factors that influence patch occupancy, and compare LCPs between different genetic subpopulations. We found that a lower proportion of cities and roads surrounds the most densely populated patches. Least cost paths between areas where little dispersal takes place (i.e., leading to unpopulated patches or between different genetic subpopulations) ran through a higher proportion of roads and human settlements. They also crossed larger maximal distances over deforested areas. We propose that, apart from supplying the basis for direct conservation efforts, LCPs can be used to determine what factors might facilitate or hinder dispersal by comparing different subsets of LCPs. The methods employed can be widely applicable to gain more in-depth information on potential dispersal barriers for large carnivores.
 
Article
The diet of the red fox Vulpes vulpes was investigated in five regions of northeastern Poland by stomach content analysis of 224 foxes collected from hunters. The red fox is expected to show the opportunistic feeding habits. Our study showed that foxes preyed mainly on wild prey, with strong domination of Microtus rodents, regardless of sex, age, month and habitat. Voles Microtus spp. were found in 73% of stomachs and constituted 47% of food volume consumed. Other food items were ungulate carrion (27% of volume), other mammals (11%), birds (9%), and plant material (4%). Sex- and age-specific differences in dietary diversity were found. Adult males and juvenile foxes had larger food niche breadths than adult females and their diets highly overlapped. Proportion of Microtus voles increased from autumn to late winter. Significant habitat differences between studied regions were found. There was a tendency among foxes to decrease consumption of voles with increasing percentage of forest cover. Based on our findings, red foxes in northeastern Poland can be recognized as a generalist predators, consuming easily accessible and abundant prey. However, high percentage of voles consumed regardless of age, sex, month, or habitats may indicate red fox specialization in preying on Microtus rodents.
 
Basic description of the study sites
Number of reproductive events and number of female lynx included in this study
AIC values for models evaluating the variation in lynx breeding proportion and litter sizes in the study sites included in this study
Map showing the location of the study sites across Scandinavia. a Sarek, b Hedmark, c Akershus, d Bergslagen
Article
Detailed knowledge of the variation in demographic rates is central for our ability to understand the evolution of life history strategies and population dynamics, and to plan for the conservation of endangered species. We studied variation in reproductive output of 61 radio-collared Eurasian lynx females in four Scandinavian study sites spanning a total of 223 lynx-years. Specifically, we examined how the breeding proportion and litter size varied among study areas and age classes (2-year-old vs. >2-year-old females). In general, the breeding proportion varied between age classes and study sites, whereas we did not detect such variation in litter size. The lack of differences in litter sizes among age classes is at odds with most findings in large mammals, and we argue that this is because the level of prenatal investment is relatively low in felids compared to their substantial levels of postnatal care.
 
Article
Edible dormice Glis glis Linnaeus, 1766 were monitored from 1996–2008 inclusive. This has been the first population study of this non-native species since its introduction to Britain in 1902. Dormice were present in nest boxes from May or June until October or November. Numbers recorded varied greatly from year to year, and breeding failure occurred in 6 of the 13 years, apparently in response to environmental cues such as food availability. Litter sizes declined with growth of the young but some of the largest litters resulted from females aggregating their offspring. Males used more nest boxes than females, some of whom showed clear site fidelity from year to year. Survival rates were high and some individual lifespans exceeded 9 years. Longevity, compensating for periodic reproductive failure, and an extremely short active season, make the life history of edible dormice exceptional among small rodents, perhaps unique. Population density, rate of population increase and evidence for local emigration in non-breeding years are discussed, issues of particular significance in populations of recently-established introduced species such as this. Key wordsdormice-Gliridae-introduced species-longevity-reproduction
 
Article
Subspecific relationships of the European beaverCastor fiber have been obscured by failure to follow the rules of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature and remain an open issue. Inconsequence in the use of subspecies names caused a nomenclatural as well as a taxonomic confusion. We discuss these controversial and incorrect nomenclatural decisions, and recognize 9 nominal subspecies of European beaver, bearing 9 available names:C. f. fiber Linnaeus, 1758,C. f. galliae Geoffroy, 1803, C. f. albicus Matschie, 1907,C. f. vistulanus Matschie, 1907,C. f. pohlei Serebrennikov, 1929,C. f. birulai Serebrennikov, 1929,C. f. tuvinicus Lavrov, 1969,C. f. belorussicus Lavrov, 1981, andC. f. orientoeuropaeus Lavrov, 1981. Key words Castor fiber -subspecies-systematics-nomenclature
 
Location of study area, Águas Emendadas Ecological Station (AEES), Northern Federal District, Brazil. The highlighted area represents the cerrado biome extent, the square represents the city of Brasília, DF, and the star is the location of AEES
Precipitation amount and population structure and reproductive condition of T. lasiotis Thomas 1916 in AEES, Federal District, Brazil
Article
Hairy-eared cerrado mouse Thalpomys lasiotis is an endemic species of the cerrado biome. It can be found in open habitats, but its distribution is patchy and population numbers are unknown. In this paper, we describe, for the first time, aspects related to the ecology and natural history of T. lasiotis, detailing demographic parameters such as population densities, reproduction, home range, and longevity of this endemic and rare species. We captured, marked, and recaptured 55 individuals of T. lasiotis in Águas Emendadas Ecological Station, located in the northeast of the Federal District, Brazil. We found significant differences on population numbers and densities between the dry and wet seasons. Densities and population numbers apparently are affected by the seasonality of food resources. Moreover, the breeding season is seasonal, and both males and females were reproductively active during the wet season. T. lasiotis showed a permanence time ranging from 2–9months, which means that individuals can survive for at least 9months in natural habitats. The home ranges of males and females of T. lasiotis were not significantly different. However, males have larger home ranges than females and the mean distance moved by males was higher than the distance moved by females, which is consistent with the hypothesis that males belonging to polygynous species tend to move greater distances to avoid agonistic encounters and to search sexual partners. Keywords Thalpomys –Akodontini–Cerrado–Population parameters–Ecology
 
Article
The red foxVulpes vulpes (Linnaeus, 1758) density and habitat use were studied in open farmland of western Poland, where forests covered only 6% of the area. During 1997-2000, nocturnal spotlight counts (in spring and early winter), the location of breeding sites and snow tracking were carried out, and the feeding habitat was described based on the stomach content of shot individuals. The average fox density estimated on the ground of spotlight counts was 1.02 individuals/km2 in spring and 1.63 ind./km2 in early winter, while the winter density obtained from the results of track counts was 1.26 ind./km2. The average breeding population density, calculated as the double density of breeding sites (mean 0.31/km2), amounted to 61% of the average total spring density, which indicates the occurrence of surplus individuals in the population. The searching intensity of farmland by foxes did not changed with the increasing distance from forests, but relatively larger number of individuals was observed <0.5 km than 0.5–1.0 km away from settlements. Out of 81 identified breeding sites, 17% were located in forests and 83% in farmland. The predominant ingredients of the fox’s diet were farm livestock and small rodents (44.4 and 43.8% of the stomach content volume, respectively). The fox density in the study area was 5.4 times higher, compared with the turn of the 1970s, and changes in the habitat use consisted of more intensive occupation of open farmland and the use of human-produced food. Thus, these changes may have been among reasons of the increase in the fox density in western Poland. Key words Vulpes vulpes -population density-habitat use-feeding habitat-farmland
 
Skull measurements of the samples studied (see Material and methods for explanation of symbols).
Values of Nei's (1978) unbiased genetic distance (below diagonal) and identity (above diagonal), based on 21 gene loci, observed among three species of the genus Sorex from Italy.
Distinction of Sorex arunchi and S. araneus on the basis of the Complex Index (A) and the Odonto-Rostral Index (B). 
Linear correlation existing between the Odonto-Rostral Index (ORI) and the Complex Index (CI). #-Sorex arunchi, ´-S. araneus.
Article
The results of allozymic, morphologic and morphometric studies performed on three parapatric shrews of the genusSorex from northern Italy are presented. These data clearly indicate: (1)Sorex samniticus is genetically well differentiated from S. araneus andS. arunchi, displaying a high mean value of genetic distance in comparison with the other two species (D=0.463). (2)S. araneus andS. arunchi display low values of genetic distance (D=0.007) and the latter shows lower levels of genetic variability. Altough no fixed allele difference was observed, an exclusive allele (Lap-2 96) is present inS. arunchi at low frequence, another one (Pgm-1 96) is rare inS. araneus and quite frequent inS. arunchi, and several alleles (12) ofS. araneus are missing in S. arunchi. In S. araneus some of these alleles are quite frequent. (3) Strong morphometric differences betweenS. araneus andS. arunchi permit to distinguish these parapatric shrews with great accuracy, also in some cases of marginal sympatry. These evidences support the hypothesis thatS. arunchi might be a recent (end of Pleistocene-lower Holocene) relict of the subgenusSorex s. s.
 
Number of carcasses removed by vertebrates at the Savannah River Site, SC, during the winter of 2000-2001. Sixty-two of 96 (65%) carcasses were removed during the course of this study; 26 were assigned to a specific scavenger species (A). Dark bars represent rats, hatched bars represent mice. The mean elapsed time for carcass removal was 5.6 days (B). Latin names are as follows: bobcat Lynx rufus, cotton mouse Peromyscus gossypinus, domestic dog Canis familiaris, Virginia opossum Didelphis virginiana, striped skunk Mephitis mephitis, red-tailed hawk Buteo jamaicensis, eastern coyote Canis latrans, eastern gray squirrel Sciurus carolinensis, feral pig Sus scrofa, gray fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus, raccoon Procyon lotor.
Number of carcasses removed by scavengers per round in relation to average temperature (°C) during the round. The regression model was significant: R 2 = 0.95, p = 0.001, y = 4.91 + 0.76x.
Article
We identified vertebrate scavengers of small mammal carcasses at the 780-km2 Savannah River Site during the winter of 2000–2001. Rodent carcasses, differing in size and visual conspicuousness, were placed in upland pine forests and bottomland hardwood forests during six 2-week periods. Sixty-two of the 96 carcasses (65%) were removed by vertebrates. With the aid of remote photography, we identified 11 species of scavengers removing carcasses. RaccoonsProcyon lotor, gray foxesUrocyon cinereoargenteus, and feral pigsSus scrofa scavenged most frequently. The mean elapsed time for carcass removal was 5.6 days. The number of carcasses removed by vertebrates did not differ significantly with respect to carcass size, visual conspicuousness, or habitat type; however, air temperature was strongly correlated (positively) with carcass removal. Our study demonstrates that many mammal species are capable of utilizing small carrion items as a food resource, and suggests that scavenging may account for a higher proportion of the diet of some facultative scavengers than is now widely assumed. Key wordscarrion-diet-food habits-remote photography-scavenging
 
Ventral (upper) and dorsal view (bottom) o f t h e skull o f (A) Octodon sp. MLP 12.VII.88.2 ( l . l x ) , (B) Abalosia castellanosi MMP 1439-M (1.2~1, (C) Tympanoctomys barrerae MACN 39949 ( 1 . 2 ~ ) .  
External view of right mandible (A-C) and occlusal view of dP,-M, (D-E) of' (A) Octodon sp. MLP 12.VII.88.1 (1.3~1, (B) Abalosia caslellanosi MMP 1439-M ( 1 . 8 ~ 1 , (C) Tympanoclomys barrerae LP 213 ( 1 . 8 ~ 1 , (Dl T barrerae L P s/N"l2x), and (El Abalosia caslellanosi MMP 1439-M ( 1 2 ~ ) .  
Article
South American octodontid rodents of the subfamily Octodontinae currently show low species richness but great morphological and chromosomal diversity. This diversity is interpreted alternatively as the remnant of a wider past radiation or as the result of saltational evolution. These hypotheses are discussed in relation to a phylogenetic analysis of the Late Pliocene octodontineAbalosia castellanosi. My results suggest thatAbalosia, together withTympanoctomys andOctomys, is part of a clade of desert specialist propalinal octodontids, which would have differentiated east of the Andes in the emergent semi-deserts of western Argentina. The presence ofAbalosia in the coastal region of central Argentina during the Upper Marplatan Age (Late Pliocene) suggests a pulse of expansion of such arid environments, probably coeval with the global climatic deterioration detected around the transition Gauss-Matuyama magnetic ages. The phylogenetic position ofA. castellanosi suggests that extinction events affected the clade of the octodontine desert specialists. Accordingly, regardless of how rough or gradual the differentiation of the octodontine’s diversity has been, the living representatives seem to be remnants of a wider radiation. Key wordsOctodontinae-rodents-morphology-phylogeny-biogeography
 
Article
The purpose of the present study was to examine the relative influence of different habitat factors on ottersLutra lutra (Linnaeus, 1758) and to develop a predictive model to better understand the distribution of the otter in Denmark. During the National Otter Survey in 1991 data were collected on 19 variables which reflected aspects of habitat structure, composition, organic pollution and human disturbance. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to estimate probabilities of the presence of otters as a function of one or more explanatory variables. Six variables (county, pH, water depth, presence of trees, bottom substrate and Saprobien-Index) were identified. In Denmark, otter habitat typically consists of water courses with depths > 1 m over a varied bottom, with pH > 7.0, Saprobien-Index on II–III to III (indicating slight organic pollution) with no trees on the banks. Some of these variables reflect highly productive waters. The use of the otter as an indicator of good water quality and/or aquatic habitat should be used with care. Key words Lutra lutra -habitat structure-organic pollution-human disturbance-spraint survey
 
Article
Small mammals (shrews and rodents) were surveyed along an elevational transect in the Udzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve, in the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. Trap lines and pitfall lines were installed at 600, 910, 1460, and 2000 m a.s.l. In a total of 10341 sample nights (7448 trap-nights and 2893 bucket-nights) 343 specimens (148 shrews, 205 rodents) were captured representing 9 shrew and 14 rodent species for a total of 23 species. While overall species diversity generally increased with elevation, this pattern was not constant for each group sampled. For rodents, both species richness and abundance were lowest at 600 m and greatest at 2000 m a.s.l., and were significantly correlated with elevation. While the highest species number and abundance for shrews was at 2000 m, there was no correlation of these two values with elevation. Rainfall appears to have affected the capture of shrews, but not rodents, and capture success of individual buckets and traps indicated a lack of capture independence. Eastern Arc endemics such asCrocidura desperata Hutterer, Jenkins and Verheyen, 1991 andMyosorex kihaulei Stanley and Hutterer, 2000 were more abundant at 2000 m a.s.l., than at lower elevations. Implications of results of this survey for analyses of future biotic surveys are discussed. Key wordsEastern Arc Mountains-elevational transects-rodents-shrews-Tanzania-Udzungwa Mountains
 
Article
We examined the potential of hare sightings data, collected during hunts by the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles, as a possible monitoring tool for the European brown hare Lepus europaeus. The relationship between land use and both temporal trends, and spatial patterns, in brown hare sightings across England and Wales was examined using data collected between the 1985/86 and 2004/05 hunting seasons. Hare sightings increased significantly during this period, with an average increase of 2.81 hare sightings per hunting day across all hunts since 1985. Sightings were more frequent in eastern England, where arable land is abundant, than in the rest of England and Wales which is predominantly pastoral. There was no correlation between temporal trends in hare sightings and land use change. Patterns observed using the hunt sighting data are similar to those reported by other concurrent studies that used different methods. We conclude that hunt sightings could contribute useful data to a national monitoring scheme. KeywordsEuropean brown hare– Lepus europaeus –Hunt sightings–Population trends
 
Description of the habitats recorded along transects
Abundance (number of individuals per square kilometer) of the prey of tiger in the Chitwan National Park and its buffer zone area 
Article
Studies on the relationship between habitat heterogeneity and animal abundance are essential for understanding what determines biodiversity. Transect-based direct observations of eight principal prey species of tiger in the Chitwan National Park (CNP) were used to determine their abundances and habitat preferences. Chital was the most abundant prey species of tiger (Panthera tigris). Each of the prey species had significantly different habitat preferences except sambar deer and chital. Habitat preference was measured using Manly’s preference index, which revealed that short grassland, mixed forest, and riverine forest were the most preferred habitats of the prey species. The results indicate that large species of deer tend to be found in more diverse habitats than small species, except muntjac. The abundance of the principal prey species of tiger was positively correlated with habitat heterogeneity. The habitat, which contributes significantly to the heterogeneity of the landscape, is grassland in large patches of forest. The ongoing increase of forest cover in the CNP has led to a reduction in the area of grassland, which may negatively affect the abundance of the prey species of tiger. Hence, it is suggested that the restoration of landscape heterogeneity is the best way to manage the habitats in the CNP. KeywordsUngulates–Prey–Heterogeneity–Habitat selection–Abundance–Preference–Resource selection
 
The unbiased 
Article
We introduced a technique based on ground-based track counts in snow for simultaneously estimating the abundance and distribution of Japanese macaques Macaca fuscata (Blyth, 1875) and evaluated its efficiency by conducting a field trial in northern Japan. Within the 50-km2 area, we selected five transects with consideration of the spatial distribution of vegetation, local climate, and geographical conditions contained in the entire area. Five trained researchers recorded the track counts three times in those geolocations that intersected with each transect. We estimated the macaque abundance by the line-intercept sampling (LIS) technique using the number of tracks and predicted its distribution by ecological-niche factor analysis (ENFA) using the tracks as a proof of macaques’ presence. We confirmed that the LIS-based technique could yield reasonably accurate estimates of the number of individuals and troops, compared with the population estimates of macaques based on the home-range method. We successfully used ENFA in constructing a macaque distribution model that had a high predictive performance; this was verified by comparing the predicted macaque distribution with the actual use of habitat obtained by tracking radio-tagged troops in the study area. KeywordsCost saving–Ecological-niche factor analysis–Line-intercept sampling–Population density–Primates
 
Article
The recent Europe-wide increase in wild boarSus scrofa, Linnaeus, 1758 abundance is undoubtedly due to many different factors, the relative importance of which differs from region to region. In Aragón (northeastern Spain), wild boar enlarged its distribution area eight times in the 1990s as compared with the century before, occupying the whole region. We studied wild boar abundance along an environmental gradient in Aragón to determine which factors are most responsible for its variation. Relative abundance of wild boars was estimated by catch-effort methods in 134 hunting estates (sampling units) for 5 consecutive hunting seasons. To characterise the environmental conditions, we quantified landscape composition and structure, topographical factors and climatic factors. Hunting pressure indices were also calculated for our sampling units. The average wild boar catch per hunting activity and per 100 km2 ranged from 0.72 to 16.31. Our results suggest thatwild boar abundances are affected by landscape structure, mainly by landscape diversity. In addition, lowland arid agrosystems (characterized by high temperatures and open juniper woodlands with little food availability) constrain the abundance of wild boar populations in spite of their wide plasticity to colonize new habitats. Key wordslandscape-fragstats-catch-effort-density-suids
 
Variations in Microtus arvalis abundance with distance from (a) hedgerows, (b) copses, and (c) forests. In these box-and-whisker plots, squares represent extreme data points; a box is drawn from the first and the third quartile; in the box the horizontal line represents the median and whiskers are located at 1.5´IQR (interquartile range) below the first quartile and at 1.5´IQR above the third quartile.
Article
Vole demographics are often modified close to wooded environments. Population monitoring in such settings reveals substantial edge effects, although these have seldom been quantified. This study compares the abundance of common voleMicrotus arvalis (Pallas, 1778) populations at various distances from three types of wooded environment (hedgerow, copse and forest) and in two types of habitat (temporary and permanent grassland). In temporary grassland, substantial edge effects were detected along the boundaries of forests and hedgerows. At 100 m from the forest edge, voles were twice more abundant than at 50 m, four times more than at 25 m and eight times more than at 5 m. In permanent grassland, the edge effect was such that voles were practically absent up to 100 m from the forest edge. For both types of grassland, the edge effect was more pronounced for forest habitat than for hedgerows, that is, for elements with a large surface area of wooded environment. Our results suggest that landscape context may greatly affect the local abundance of voles. Given the considerable damage done byM. arvalis, the presence of wooded patches in grassland areas leads to lower vole densities in adjacent areas and this might be an alternative method to controlM. arvalis as a pest species. Key wordsedge type-habitat quality-landscape ecology-landscape composition-predation risk
 
Article
The European wild rabbitOryctolagus cuniculus (Linnaeus, 1758) populations in the Iberian Peninsula has suffered a serious decline. Therefore, the knowledge about the factors that influence rabbit distribution and abundance is of major interest for conservation and management programmes. Rabbit relative abundance was evaluated by pellet counting in relation to herbaceous ground cover, shelter availability (tall scrub cover and gaps in rocks) and land cover structure in the Peneda-Gerês National Park (PGNP), NW Portugal. Rabbit abundance was higher at intermediate levels of herbaceous cover, but no significant statistical differences were detected. A strong association between the abundance index and tall scrub cover was verified, and when this cover was rare, an association with gaps in rocks was observed. At the land cover level, rabbit abundance was associated with high interspersion sites of rocks with matorral and high interspersion sites of tall scrubland. Evidence from this study highlighted the importance of shelter and the interspersion of open/shelter habitats for rabbits. This pattern could be interpreted as an anti-predator strategy. Therefore, management actions should favour the growing and establishing of tall scrub patches and the selective cutting in highly continuous areas of tall scrub vegetation. Key words ctolagus cuniculus -shelter, abundance, food, interspersion
 
Re la tion ship be tween rel a tive abun dance of mice and struc tural com plex ity of understory veg e ta tion for patches in 1999–2001.  
Data on monthly pre cip i ta tion over three years from the Ohio Ag ri cul tural Re search & De vel op ment Cen ter weather sta tion on Mi ami Uni ver sity's Ox ford cam pus in Ohio.  
Re la tion ship be tween rel a tive abun dance of P. leucopus and for est patch area (log-trans formed) for patches in 1999–2001.  
Article
Greater structural complexity of understory vegetation may be one factor that contributes to the negative relation ship between density of generalist rodents (eg,Peromyscus leucopus Rafinesque, 1818) and forest patch area; however, this hypothesis is difficult to test. We removed the problem of multicollinearity among variables by analyzing changes in structural complexity and relative abundance ofP. leucopus in 15 forest patches (1.3–200 ha) over a 3-yr period. We found that an in crease in the relative abundance ofP. leucopus was associated with an increase in structural complexity of understory vegetation in the same patches between years. Structural complexity of the understory was greater in smaller forest patches which we speculate may be influenced by moisture. It is possible that understory vegetation provides greater food availability and/or cover from some predators in small patches, but the specific mechanism(s) remains unclear. Multiple factors can potentially influence populations ofP. leucopus, but our results provide strong evidence that structural complexity of understory vegetation positively in fluences relative abundance ofP. leucopus in fragmented habitats. Key wordsdensity-fragmen tation-forest patch size-vegetation structure-white-footed mouse
 
Article
The main aim of this study was to determine the numbers, population structure and seasonal changes in group structure of argali Ovis ammon karelini Severtzov, 1873 in the Tian-Shan of Kyrgyzstan. The study was carried out within two adjoining areas: the Baralbas River region, and the Ak-Tash River region. Data were collected during three seasons: winter, spring and summer. This population consisted of 42.3% females, 22.2% males, 13.4% yearlings, and 22.1% lambs. Composition and numbers of groups were seasonally changing. Argali occurred predominantly in mixed groups during winter and exclusively in separated groups during summer. The maximum group size decreased from 25% from winter to spring, however, increased during summer. Key wordsargali-population structure-Tian-Shan-group structure-sexual segregation
 
Weasel activity in Kielder Forest. Bars show the percentage of 15-minute intervals at which weasels were found to be active plotted by hour of the day. The dotted line represents expected number of fixes active if activity was evenly spread over the day. Points connected by a solid line represent the sample size of periods gained per given hour. Hour 0 includes fixes at 23:15, 23:30, 23:45 and 00:00.
AIC values for the different models including noise variables and fixed factors. DAIC gives the difference of the each models' AIC to the AIC value of the best model.
Overview of existing studies on small mustelid activity.
Results of logistic regression testing factors influencing weasel activity. Habitat 5 and rainy weather are reference points included in the intercept of the model. Coefficients and interaction terms for the other levels of habitat and weather variables denote the amount by which they deviate from the reference levels.
Article
WeaselsMustela nivalis Linnaeus, 1766 in Kielder Forest, UK showed a diurnal rhythm of activity in summer and we argue that this is the prevailing rhythm found in weasels under natural conditions. Climatic conditions influenced weasel activity with weasels decreasing activity under rainy conditions, but we found no influence of month or weasel weight. In certain habitat types levels of weasel activity increased with increasing field voleMicrotus agrestis density. This result stands in contrast to results from studies carried out in the laboratory and may reflect a greater proportion of time spent in reproductive activity and intra-specific interactions in areas where vole density, and hence conspecific density is high. Key words Mustela nivalis -activity-prey density-predation risk
 
Article
Using a large body of observational data on the occurrence ofSorex shrews in boreal forests, we test two models that predict the structure of small mammal communities along a gradient of increasing habitat productivity. Tilman’s (1982) model predicts a humped curve of species richness along productivity gradients. In contrast, we found a linear increase in species richness with increasing logarithm of the pooled density of shrews, which we use as a measure of habitat productivity for shrews. The model of Hanski and Kaikusalo (1989) assumes a trade-off between exploitative and interference competitive abilities, and it predicts that the size structure of small mammal communities should shift from the dominance of small species (superior in exploitative competition) in unproductive habitats to the dominance of large species (superior in interference competition) in productive habitats. Shrew assemblages show such a shift. Though it is not possible to draw definite conclusions about the role of interspecific competition from our observational data, the changing size structure of local shrew assemblages with increasing habitat productivity is a predictable feature of their community structure. Key words:species richness-humped species richness curve- Sorex shrew-habitat productivity-biodiversity
 
Article
To determine the accuracy of radio-tracking estimates of activity and distances walked by European bisonBison bonasus (Linnaeus, 1758), we observed bison while simultaneously conducting radio-tracking in the Bialowieża Forest (Poland). Single radio-tracking estimates often did not represent the actual activity of the bison, but the mean time spent active calculated from radio-tracking and direct observations did not differ significantly. Radio-tracking provided overestimates of the distances walked by bison when the animals walked between 0 and 25 m and underestimated the distances walked by bison if they walked further than 25 m in a radio-tracking interval. Activity was best estimated when radio-trackers were between 200 and 300 m from the bison. The mean activity calculated with a sampling interval of 15 min needed about 8 days of radio-tracking and the mean of distances walked about 35 tracking days to stabilise. We concluded that collars without activity sensors can measure the mean activity of bison but cannot represent the length of their activity bouts or the type of their activity and that our radio-tracking estimates of distances walked by bison needed to be corrected before further analyses. Key words Bison bonasus -radio-tracking-error-sample size-sampling interval
 
Article
Litter size is an important component of life history contributing to reproductive success in many animals. Among muroid rodents, spiny mice of the genus Acomys are exceptional because they produce large precocial offspring after a long gestation. We analyzed data on 1,809 litters from laboratory colonies of spiny mice from the cahirinus-dimidiatus group: Acomys cahirinus, Acomys cilicicus, Acomys sp. (Iran), and Acomys dimidiatus. Generalized mixed-effect models revealed that litter size increased with maternal body weight and/or number of immature females present in the family group. Thus, both maternal body reserves and presence of immature descendants demonstrating previous reproductive success enhance further reproduction in this social rodent. Keywords Acomys –Rodents–Litter size–Maternal investment–Precocial life history
 
Habitat characteristics measured between eastern roe deer 'absence' versus 'presence' sites at patch and landscape scales using the Two Independent Samples t-Test, in Lesser Khingan Mountains, the China.
Article
Eastern roe deerCapreolus pygargus bedfordi Thomas, 1908 occurred throughout China historically, but today are only found in 7 provinces. Their populations in China have been greatly impacted by human disturbances. Little is known about what kinds of human disturbances impact their distribution and resource requirements for survival. A survey was conducted over 20 661 ha located at the Erkehe Forestry Farm in the Lesser Khingan Mountains, northeastern China. Field work lasted from January to March, 2006 and January to March, 2007, and a total of 613 plots were visited along 28 sampling transects. Predictive models of easter roe deer resource selection were developed with or without the inclusion of human disturbance factors. Whether human disturbance exists or not, eastern roe deer retained strong links to patch size and patch density of low shrub and swamp, and the probability of moose occurrence. Low shrub and swamps created after logging provide more abundant annual shoots for food, and were vital for survival in harsh winters. When human disturbance was not modeled, eastern roe deer avoided higher density of bothBetula platyphylla andLarix gmelinii patches at a landscape scale, and larger mixed coniferous and broad-leaf patchs at local scales. Once human disturbances existed, eastern roe deer occurred in areas with higher NDVI and they had a considerably lower probability of presence in areas associated with roads and with a forest harvest interval of 4 years. Consequently, to predict effects of human disturbance on eastern roe deer spatial distribution, models need to incorporate effects of other competitive species, multiple spatial scale resource variables respectively, which will provide more value information for management and use of eastern roe deer population. Key words Capreolus pygargus bedfordi -Eastern roe deer-human disturbances-Lesser Khingan Mountains-resource selection functions-spatial distribution-TSS
 
Relationship between the home range size (expressed as percentage increase of yearly average home range sizes for given sex/age class relative to the first year it was calculated) of Eurasian lynx and the density of roe deer (a) and total cervids' density (b – roe and red deer pooled) in the Bia³owie¿a Primeval Forest, Poland.  
Article
The distribution and abundance of food resources is a major factor influencing animal populations. I studied the effect of a roe and red deer population decline on diet composition, home range size and foraging pattern in the Eurasian lynxLynx lynx (Linnaeus, 1758) in the Białowieża Primeval Forest (BPF), eastern Poland. The population of cervids in BPF experienced a nearly two-fold reduction in size from 1991 through 2006 due to severe hunting pressure between 1991 and 1996. Comparison of published data on lynx diet during the high abundance of ungulates with new data obtained for the low abundance period showed that despite a significant decline in their availability, cervids (roe and red deer) continued to form the majority of the diet of lynx, with roe deer being most preferred in both periods. Home range sizes of lynx showed a tendency to increase with declining prey densities, as indicated by relative percentage increases in average yearly home range sizes amongst different sex/age groups. In response to lower availability of their main prey, lynx increased their daily straight-line movement distances by 44% and doubled the ranges covered in 5-day periods. This illustrated that, with declining prey abundance, the lynx increased their hunting efforts by either spending more time actively searching for prey or continuing foraging even after a successful hunt. Spatial analysis of the distribution of ungulates and lynx indicated that deer were evenly distributed throughout lynx ranges in BPF and spatial proximity of the predator to prey sites did not play an important role in the efficiency of hunting. Lynx may adapt to changing prey availability by increasing search effort, but this was not sufficient to prevent the negative influences of the prey decline on the lynx population. Prey depletion has an immediate effect on lynx spatial organization and, in consequence, on their density. This information has to be considered in prioritizing lynx conservation measures and management of ungulates. Key words Lynx lynx -Cervids-diet-home range-foraging-predator-prey relationships
 
Article
We examined the skulls of 72 bottlenose dolphins from the Indian and western Pacific Oceans to clarify the systematics in genusTursiops. We also examined type skulls ofTursiops aduncus (Ehrenberg, 1832),T. eurynome (Gray, 1846),T. catalania (Gray, 1862),Delphinus (Steno) gadamu Owen 1866,T. dawsoni Lydekker 1908, andT. truncatus (Montagu, 1821). The specimens were divided into two groups, A and B, based on rostrum length and characters of the basal part of the rostrum. The rostrum of group A was longer and tapered abruptly near the base, whereas that of group B was shorter and tapered more gradually throughout its length. Group A contained specimens from western, central, and eastern Asia, Africa, and Australasia. Group B contained specimens from central and eastern Asia and Australasia. The six type skulls were also clearly divided into two groups; the type skulls ofT. aduncus, T. catalania, andDelphinus (Steno) gadamu were included in group A, whereas the type skulls ofT. truncatus, T. eurynome, andT. dawsoni were included in group B. This grouping was consistent with the genetic status. Therefore, we identified group A specimens asT. aduncus and group B specimensT. truncatus, the oldest scientific names related to the two groups. Key words Tursiops aduncus - Tursiops truncatus -bottlenose dolphin-morphology-taxonomy
 
Lo ca tion of the study area. 
Mean abun dance in dex (log scale) of small mam mals dur ing the study pe riod. 
Article
Small mammal populations were studied during a 10 year multi-annual fluctuation of vole populations in marshes and adjacent grassland of the basin in the Jura mountains, France. Nine species were monitored:Microtus agrestis, Clethrionomys glareolus, Apodemus flavicollis, Sorex araneus Icoronatus, Neomys fodiens, Crocidura leucodon, Mustela nivalis in marshes andArvicola terrestris andMicrotus arvalis in grassland, using live-trapping and index methods during July from 1993 to 2002. Populations of A.terrestris, M. arvalis, M. agrestis, S. araneus I coronatus andM. nivalis exhibited a relatively strong inter-specific temporal synchrony in their multi-annual fluctuations.C. glareolus population fluctuations were not synchronous to theArvicola I Microtus I Sorex group, and were closer to those ofApodemus flavicollis, Neomys andCrocidura. Those results are discussed in the light of earlier studies carried out in the same region and in northern ecosystems. Key wordslong-term population survey-prédation-parasite-regulation-community
 
Article
The objective of this multidisciplinary project was to study the intra-specific morphometric and genetic variability between two adjacent populations ofMastomys natalensis Smith, 1834 living in different environments. The study of micro-evolutionary processes at work by using geometrical morphometrics allowed us to define two groups, characterized by different features of the skull shape. Using molecular microsatellites analysis, we showed that the two populations exchanged high gene flow and could be considered as a single panmictic unit. These results suggest that this widely-distributed species exhibits a local population-level differentiation in shape variation of skulls, probably due to different ecological situations. We speculate that the variability in the cranial characteristics (connected with the feeding ability) could reveal a local adaptation preferentially based on the food availability. We propose an explanation linking the shape differences to the fitness gain in the exploitation of resources available in the two environments. Since we suggest a potential differentiation process between populations, we believe that the two groups constitute even better models to understand the factors involved in the early stages of local adaptations. Key words Mastomys natalensis -intra-specific variability-skull shape variation-geometric morphometrics-genetic differentiation-microsatellites analysis-Tanzania-Tanzania
 
Article
Year-round monitoring of five Antarctic pinnipeds was conducted in Admiralty Bay from 1988 up to 2000. Two breeding species: southern elephant sealsMirounga leonina (Linnaeus, 1758) and Weddell sealsLeptonychotes weddellii (Lesson, 1826), were present throughout the year. Three other species: crabeater seals Lobodon carcinophagus (Hobron and Jacquinot, 1842), leopard sealsHydrurga leptonyx (Blainville, 1820), and Antarctic fur sealsArctocephalus gazella (Peters, 1875) visited the area only for short periods. During this study, the abundance of elephant seals was stable, whereas those of Weddell and crabeater seals declined. Leopard seals numbers fluctuated irregularly. We detected a possible immigration from South Georgia: of a stable magnitude for elephant seals, and of variable magnitude, depending on food accessibility, for Antarctic fur seals. We found a strong recurrence of the spatial distributions of elephant, Weddell, and Antarctic fur seals in the 13 oases on the shore of Admiralty Bay. Annual distribution patterns were characteristic for each species. The innermost beaches were used predominantly by the animals during their annual fasts: the breeding and the moulting seasons. Key wordsPinnipeds-population dynamics-Antarctica-South Shetlands-monitoring
 
Top-cited authors
Wlodzimierz Jedrzejewski
  • Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research
Bogumila Jedrzejewska
  • University of Central Lancashire
H. Okarma
  • Institute of Nature Conservation Polish Academy of Sciences
Krzysztof Schmidt
  • Polish Academy of Sciences
Zbigniew Krasiński
  • Poznan University of Medical Sciences