Mechano-chemical effects of natural and synthetic zeolites induced by a dry grinding process using a planetary ball mill, which can be classified as a high-intensity grinder, was studied by various analytical methods, e.g. X-ray diffraction (XRD), radial distribution function (RDF) analysis, infrared absorption spectroscopy, thermogravimetric and differential thermal analyses, and the measurement of cation-exchange isotherms. Both zeolites became to be in an amorphous state in terms of X-ray powder diffraction patterns within certain grinding periods depending on their components. Mordenite tended to be in an amorphous state easier than clinoptilolite. Taking into account the results of infrared absorption analysis, the network structure of channels of the ground zeolite sample seems also to be considerably deformed and/or destroyed. The effect of dry grinding was also found on the amount of dehydration and it seems to be attributed to the decrease in the amount of crystalline water by making cations in the channels labile. However, the specific surface area and the saturated amount of adsorbed cations for the ground samples still showed certain large values comparing to, for example, clay minerals. The significant change was not confirmed by the RDF analysis for the XRD patterns. These suggest that the channels were not completely destroyed at the microscopic level even by dry grinding for a long time.
Several experimental runs were performed to investigate the effect of kaolinite particle size, flocculation time, velocity gradient, coagulants dose and initial turbidity on the solid removal and floc size or floc formation of suspended solid. The coagulants used were alum, polyelectrolyte (cationic) or a combination of both. Different classifications of clay particles are used in the present work of grade less than 10, 20 and 40 μm. The particle size of 10 μ at 200 NTU initial water turbidity was used to study the effect of flocculation time, (1-20 min) on floc formation size and flocs number at optimum velocity gradient. The size distribution of flocs was studied as a function of kaolinite concentration in the range 1-3 mg/1 at 20 min flocculation time in case of alum and polyelectrolyte. The results are presented graphically by three-dimensional and contour plots showing the floc number as a function of coagulant dose and flocculation time. The results are also plotted to show the required turbidity as a function of velocity gradient and flocculation time at optimum coagulant dose to locate the overall optimum working conditions. It is found from various experimental results that floc size or floc formation and growth are the principal criteria that effect the flocculation process.
A neural network approach for pattern classification has been explored in the present paper as part of the recent resurgence of interest in this area. Our research has focused on how a multilayer feedforward structure performs in the particular problem of particle characterization. The proposed procedure, after suitable data preprocessing, consists of two distinct phases: in the former, a feedforward neural network is used to obtain an image data compression. In the latter, a neural classifier is trained on the compressed data. All the tests have been conducted on a sample constituted by two different typologies of ceramic particles, each characterized by a different microstructure. The sample image of different particles acquired and directly digitalized by scanning electron microscopy has been processed in order to achieve the best conditions to obtain the boundary profile of each particle. The boundary is thus assumed to be representative of the morphological characteristics of the ceramic products. Using the neural approach, a classification accuracy as high as 100% on a training set of 80 sub-images was achieved. These networks correctly classified up to 96.9% of 64 testing patterns not contained in the training set.
In the present study, relationships among all Chinese species of lacertids in the genus Eremias, E. velox, E. grammica, E. vermiculata, E. przewalskii, E. multiocellata, E. arguta, E. brenchleyi, and E. argus, were assessed using 574 aligned base positions of 16S rRNA mitochondrial DNA sequences from 103 individuals collected from 28 populations. Three kinds of phylogenetic tree (MP, ME, and NJ) were reconstructed and were found to be concordant. All eight species well form a monophyletic group. The resulting genetic distance between E. przewalskii and E. multiocellata is surprisingly low, only 0.008. The result could be due to introgression of the mtDNA molecule. All Eastern-Asia lacertids except E. vermiculata grouped together and formed a monophyletic clade. E. vermiculata are closely related to E. arguta, a Central-Asia species. E. brenchleyi and E. argus formed a monophyletic clade as the sister group of E. multiocellata. The Central-Asia species (E. arguta, E. grammica and E. velox) originated from Central-Asia and Eastern-Asia species (the rest) from China. The phylogenetic relationships among E. grammica, E. velox, E. arguta-vermiculata, E. argus-brenchleyi, and E. multiocellata-przewalskii are unclear in the study, which needs more comprehensive taxonomic sampling from Western Asia and Europe, and additional genetic evidence to resolve it.
Within a study area of about 1 km2 in a subalpine dwarf shrub community in the Swiss Alps, 148 adders (Vipera berus) were marked and observed during more than six months in 1981. There was no synchronized prenuptial sloughing of males. They seemed to slough only when they had found a female. After copulation the female was guarded by the male. Adult males sloughed three times, adult females only twice or once a year. Adder density was estimated to be about three adults per hectare. Survival of adults probably surpassed 80% after three years. Displacement rate was higher in foraging adders than in pregnant females. Most neonates stayed near the birth place until hibernation. The median home range was 5.20 ha in adult males and 0.76 ha in reproductive females, when estimated with Jennrich & Turner's (1969) method. The difference was probably due to the increased distances the males travelled during the mating period. After the mating period no difference could be found between adult males and pregnant females, in distances travelled, measured as a straight line. Spacing of home ranges was absent even within sexes. Pregnant females seemed to choose microhabitats more selectively than nonreproductive females. Sites of pregnant females had a more southerly exposure than sites of nonreproductive females.
The Holarctic racers (Coluber s.l.) do not represent a holophyletic genus. The unifying characters of Old and New World species are mainly those of external morphology and represent convergence. Differences in hemipenes and osteological characters (basisphenoid, vertebrae) necessitate generic distinction of Old and New World species and thus the restriction of Coluber s.s. to Nearctic forms. The results, moreover, do not justify the separation of the genus Masticophis Baird and Girard from the single Nearctic species, C. constrictor Linnaeus. Sixteen of twenty Palearctic species can be assigned to three species groups most typically represented by C. jugularis, C. rhodorachis, and C. hippocrepis, respectively. Changing or proposing new generic names for these groups must be avoided until the evolutionary polarity of characters is known for the Oriental and Ethiopian forms.
The leptodactylid frog Lithodytes lineatus is associated with the leaf cutting ant Atta cephalotes in Perú. All specimens found in the investigated area were observed sitting near the entrances of nests of leaf cutting ants. One, found sitting in a nest at a depth of 60 cm, was heard calling and was recorded by lowering a microphone into the ant nest. All investigated leaf cutting ant nests were occupied by ants involved in normal foraging activities.
Chromosomes of Dermochelys coriacea were prepared from kidney, spleen and lung cells of three neonates hatched from eggs incubated at 26.5 ± 0.5° C (a temperature yielding 100% phenotypic males). A study of the karyotype shows a diploid number of 56 chromosomes consisting of 14 meta- and submetacentrics, 10 telo- and subtelocentrics, and 32 microchromosomes. This karyotype, which is similar to those previously described for Chelonia mydas, Caretta caretta, and Eretmochelys imbricata, has been considered to be primitive for cryptodiran turtles. The implication of our results for the phylogenetic classification of Dermochelys coriacea is discussed.
Eggs of Dermochelys coriacea were incubated in the laboratory at different constant temperatures between 27 and 32°C up to hatching. The genital system of 72 neonates and 11 embryos was dissected and processed for histological study. All the individuals from the 27, 28 and 28.75°C incubations were phenotypic males. In the testes, the medulla was voluminous and very dense, composed of many epithelial cords, some enclosing germ cells, whereas the surface was covered by a thin layer of epithelial cells between which germ cells were still visible. The Müllerian ducts were in the process of regression. In all the individuals from eggs incubated at 29.75, 30.5 and 32°C, the gonads were somewhat longer than testes but were considerably reduced in width and thickness. The medulla was strongly inhibited, showing similar epithelial cords but much less numerous than in testes. The epithelium of the gonadal surface was pseudo-stratified and enclosed germ cells which had not enter meiotic prophase as in typical ovarian cortex. The Müllerian ducts were complete. These individuals were classified as potential females. These results show that temperature influences sexual differentiation of the gonads of Dermochelys coriacea and indicate that the threshold temperature (or pivotal temperature) lies between 28.75 and 29.75°C. They also reinforce fears about masculinising turtle populations by incubating eggs at cool temperatures in artificial hatcheries.
Diet and its variations as a function of time and of lizard size were studied in a natural population of Podarcis muralis in the south-west of France during 1980 and 1981. The taxonomic diversity of the ingested food items, the wide range of prey size, the absence of a close relationship between prey and predator size, and the seasonal and interannual variation of the composition of the diet emphasize the alimentary opportunism of this lizard species. Such opportunism is supposed to be related to the ecological conditions of the studied population, which include high population density, low prey productivity within the biotope, unpredictable variability of prey abundance, and low interspecific competitive pressure.
37 specimens of Lacerta trilineata and 40 of Lacerta viridis, as well as one hybrid (bred in captivity), were electrophoretically investigated at 16 Genetic loci. The only constant difference was the mobility of the heart LDH. In contrast to the often uncertain morphological differences of species, this protein can be used for the clear identification of both species and possible hybrids. To identify the species (without destroying the animals) only pieces of lizard tails soaking them in PPS and running LDH gels are necessary. The method is discussed in full.
Specimens from the whole range of Elaphe longissima were analyzed for geographical variation of plasma proteins and DNA fingerprint loci. Albumins were identical throughout the range of the species, except for Sicilian specimens of E. l. romana which share bands with E. persica rather than with E. longissima. Transferrins indicate that Central European populations originate from the East, whereas Western European populations are indistinguishable from Northern Italian ones. DNA fingerprints reveal a low effective population size in Central European isolates with only few bands that could be informative for intraspecific groupings. Most of the repeated sequences are located on the female w-chromosome.
External and internal morphology of 415 specimens of the Palaearctic asp viper (Vipera aspis subspecies and populations), and outgroup taxa (V. ammodytes, V. berus), have been examined in order to find patterns of distribution and variation throughout the species range. Within the aspis group V.aspis aspis, V.aspis atra, V. aspis francisciredi, V. aspis hugyi and V. aspis zinnikeri were considered. Ventral scales and number of dorsal bars proved to be the most important external characters to separate populations. Hemipenes showed marked differences between subspecies, in particular in differentiating V. aspis atra, V. aspis hugyi and V. aspis zinnikeri from one another, and also in separating them from the V. aspis aspis — V. aspis francisciredi group. Discriminant Analysis on external features indicated the complete separation of V. aspis atra, V. aspis hugyi and V. aspis zinnikeri and the almost complete overlap of V. aspis aspis and V. aspis francisciredi. The strong morphological differences observed suggest that zinnikeri, atra and hugyi are distinct species, even if further molecular analyses are needed to clarify the whole problem, and neotypes should be designated in order to stabilize taxonomy.
The description of individual teeth, the dentition as a whole, and the main features of tooth-bearing bones in Ophisaurus apodus is given. The tooth replacement is rather different from that described for non-mammalian vertebrates (the wave replacement of alternate teeth). The wave of replacement affects adjacent teeth, not even and odd teeth separately. In some periods of the life none of the teeth are replaced which suggests that replacement is not continuous in time. As a result the posterior set of teeth becomes permanent and much worn in aged specimens.
In Paramesotriton caudopunctatus, Ambystoma mexicanum and Bombina orientalis two auditory papillae are present, the amphibian and basilar papillae. The amphibian papilla of P. caudopunctatus and A. mexicanum is an oval structure comprising two cell areas of approximately equal size, with oppositely oriented bundles of cilia. In B. orientalis the sensory epithelium of the amphibian papilla is composed of an anterior region, which is comparable to the entire sensory epithelium in the Caudata, and an appreciably longer, posterior section. This posterior patch is clearly sinusoidal in shape, similar to those of evolutionary advanced anurans. There is evidently a coevolution of the auditory system and complex vocal communication.
Individual age of 193 Triturus marmoratus has been assessed by skeletochronology using cross sections of humeral shafts. The sample comes from five breeding localities at various elevations in the Peneda-Geres National Park (North Portugal). Our data confirm that the biology of this species and notably its longevity which can reach at least 15 years in natura in north Portugal, is highly linked to local climate conditions. Histological analysis of skeletal growth marks demonstrates that the older individuals lived in the higher stations. Histological data also allow an assessment of age at the first breeding season which in this sample is most commonly at five years. Finally we offer an explanation for the numerous dividing growth lines most often found in the high altitude specimens as a record of a second slow growing period which at high elevation occurs each year during summer.
Observations on cranial morphology were made on Euphrates soft-shelled turtles, Rafetus euphraticus, sampled in the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and tributaries, Southeastern Anatolia. The vomer separates the maxillaries in half of the specimens, whereas the maxillae meet on the vomer in others. The parietal has no contribution in the formation of the foramen nervi trigemini due to the contact between the prootic and the epipterygoid. There are variations in the contacts of the basisphenoid and in the formation of the trigeminal region, a prootic-epipterygoid contact participates in the trigeminal region. The contacts of the vomer-pterygoid, the vomer-basisphenoid and the vomer-pterygoid-basisphenoid are observed in some specimens. In one specimen, the parietal contacts the opisthotic. All specimens have the symphyseal ridge, althought it is weak and barely discernible.
Pelodytes punctatus est une espèce dont les biotopes de reproduction sont localisés en plaine principalement (90% des cas). De nouvelles données sur la phénologie de la reproduction ainsi que sur le type de milieu ont été collectées durant 6 ans sur 4 régions comprenant plus de 35 sites. La période de ponte principale survient au printemps mais on peut en observer une deuxième en automne dans le sud de la France. Les œufs sont fixés en cordons par les femelles sur les tiges de plantes aquatiques. Le succès de l'éclosion dépend de l'oxygénation de l'eau. La croissance larvaire est relativement rapide en conditions contrôlées (19°C ± 1°C) et les têtards se métamorphosent 40 à 60 jours après l'éclosion. Dans le sud, deux catégories de têtards sont observées en automne, les plus petits hivernent et se métamorphosent durant le printemps suivant.
Morphometric measurements and ratios were recorded in Euphrates soft-shelled turtles, Rafetus euphraticus, sampled in the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and tributaries, Southeastern Anatolia. According to nine morphometric ratios, there are clear differences between two allopatric populations of R. euphraticus, the specimens of the Tigris population being much flatter and having a wider carapace as compared with the Euphrates population. Male:female sex ratio was 2.7:1, no sexual dimorphism was present in the morphometric ratios. Rafetus euphraticus and Trionyx triunguis, which were considered congeneric in the past, differed from each other in the ratios of the carapace length/carapace width, carapace length/plane of the greatest carapace width, carapace length/plastron length, carapace length/rostrum length, carapace width/plastron length, carapace width/head width and plastron length/rostrum length.
The dwarf caiman, Paleosuchus palpebrosus, is considered one of the smallest crocodilians. However, our surveys indicate that the species regularly reaches larger sizes than usually reported in the literature. Most individuals lose tail tips, and we did not encounter any individual with snout-vent length (SVL) > 70 cm that had an intact tail. P. palpebrosus attains SVL > 112.5 cm (equivalent to a total length with intact tail estimated from SVL of 210 cm) in streams around the Pantanal, 106 cm (198 cm) in flooded forest in central Amazonia, and 100 cm (187 cm) in flooded forest and around the Madeira-Guaporé River.
Anatolian mountains have played an important role in speciation and definition of biogeographical subregions and have been defined as “hotspots of biodiversity. Because of its position and its long palaeogeographic and palaeoclimatic history, Anatolia acted in the past as a bridge or as a barrier for species' dispersal, providing natural pathways or acting as a vicariant agent, respectively. In this study we investigated the phylogeny and biogeography of a small fossorial snake, Typhlops vermicularis, in Anatolia, using formalin-preserved specimens and following a special protocol. We inferred phylogenetic relationships using partial 12S and ND2 sequences, and estimated divergence times of major lineages. Our mtDNA analysis revealed a hidden genetic diversity within Anatolian T. vermicularis. Four well-supported lineages occur within our sampled populations corresponding to respective refugia, which represent humid areas with dense forest vegetation in high altitude. The remaining populations, from the western and southeastern Anatolia, are almost genetically identical, representing a recent geographic expansion. A distributional disruption and a following allopatric fragmentation for T. vermicularis possibly resulted from climatic oscillations that occurred during the Miocene and Pliocene. We propose that extreme and sudden aridification led to distribution shrinkage of T. vermicularis, with genetic lineages surviving in refugia.
We studied nine populations of Salamandrina perspicillata for two to nine years and described the life history variation among these population. Despite experiencing similar climatic conditions, populations differed in mean body size: populations using still water bodies for oviposition were larger body-sized than those using brooks. One semi-natural pond was used by particularly small individuals and was probably recently colonised. The mean body size of ovipositing females varied from year to year. Measurements of individuals in successive years showed that the tail grew more than the trunk and this differential growth increased with age. Females did not oviposit every year and, within a given population, the number of ovipositing females varied widely from year to year.
We carried out a mark-recapture survival analysis of female Salamandrina perspicillata in two central Italian populations. Overall survival was similar in both populations (about 85-90% per year) and the estimated lifespan was about twelve years. We detected transients in one population, possibly related to the high density of females in this site. The breeding probability of females was independent from that of the preceding year.
Special research on the breeding biology of Crocodylus cataphractus has been done in the Tai National Park, one of the last primary rain forest of West Africa. The seasons for nest construction, incubation period and hatching time were determined. Kind, size and dispersion of nests are described. Information on egg size, clutch size, nest temperature and humidity during incubation is given. Some additional data has been obtained from a breeding-stock of Crocodylus cataphractus in the Abidjan National Zoo.
As only little information about the blood chemistry of reptiles is available, a contribution for the establishment of standard values of serum parameters from Uromastyx acanthinurus is given. The sera were tested for their contents of total protein, glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, uric acid, urea, creatinine, bilirubin, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, γ-glutamyl-transferase, iron, and calcium. In a countercurrent electrophoresis the serum proteins were separated according to their electrophoretic mobility. Additionally, the molecular masses of the proteins were determined by a discontinuous polyacrylamid gel electrophoresis in the presence of sodiumdodecylsulfate. By means of these techniques the albumin and the 7S-antibodies from the Spiny-tailed lizard sera were characterized.