Sexual Maturity (sexual + maturity)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Kinds of Sexual Maturity

  • first sexual maturity

  • Selected Abstracts

    Sex-Specific Aggression and Antipredator Behaviour in Young Brown Trout

    ETHOLOGY, Issue 7 2001
    Jörgen I. Johnsson
    Sex differences in adult behaviour are often interpreted as consequences of sexual selection and/or different reproductive roles in males and females. Sex-specific juvenile behaviour, however, has received less attention. Adult brown trout males are more aggressive than females during spawning and juvenile aggression may be genetically correlated with adult aggression in fish. We therefore tested the prediction that immature brown trout males are more aggressive and bolder than immature females. Because previous work has suggested that precocious maturation increases dominance in salmonids, we included precocious males in the study to test the prediction that early sexual maturation increase male aggression and boldness. Aggression and dominance relations were estimated in dyadic contests, whereas boldness was measured as a response to simulated predation risk using a model heron. Independent of maturity state, males initiated more than twice as many agonistic interactions as females in intersexual contests. However, males were not significantly more likely to win these contests than females. The response to a first predator attack did not differ between sex categories, but males reacted less to a second predator attack than females. Sexual maturity did not affect the antipredator response in males. Since there is no evidence from field studies that stream-living immature male and female salmonids differ in growth rate, it appears unlikely that the sex differences demonstrated are behavioural consequences of sex-specific investment in growth. It seems more likely that sex-specific behaviour arises as a correlated response to sexually selected gene actions promoting differential behaviour in adult males and females during reproduction. Alternatively, sex differences may develop gradually during juvenile life, because a gradual developmental program should be less costly than a sudden behavioural change at the onset of sexual maturity. [source]

    Synopsis of biological, fisheries and aquaculture-related information on mulloway Argyrosomus japonicus (Pisces: Sciaenidae), with particular reference to Australia

    V. Silberschneider
    Summary Argyrosomus japonicus is a member of the family Sciaenidae, which are commonly known as drums and croakers. A. japonicus occurs in estuarine and nearshore Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean waters surrounding Australia, Africa, India, Pakistan, China, Korea and Japan. The biology of A. japonicus is relatively well studied in South Africa, and more recently studied in Australia, but no information is readily available from other areas of its distributional range. The early life history distribution of A. japonicus may differ among regions, with their distribution in estuaries linked to salinity, turbidity, freshwater flows and depth of water. Studies in South Africa and Australia found that juvenile fish grow rapidly, attaining 35 cm TL in 1 year and 87,90 cm TL in 5 years. Sexual maturity also differs among regions and is attained at 2,3 years of age and >50 cm in eastern Australia, 5,6 years of age and >80 cm TL in western Australia and southern Africa. The maximum reported length and age of A. japonicus is 175 cm and 42 years, respectively. Spawning most likely occurs in nearshore coastal waters although there is evidence to suggest that it may also occur in the lower reaches of estuaries. Time of spawning varies among geographic localities and is probably linked to water temperature and oceanography. Juvenile fish (<2 years) appear to be relatively sedentary, but sub-adults and adults can move relatively long distances (>200 km) and such movements may be linked to pre-spawning migrations. A. japonicus is important in many recreational and commercial fisheries, but like other sciaenids, is prone to overfishing. It is classified as recruitment overfished in South Africa and overfished in eastern Australia. Although much research has been done to minimize the capture of juveniles in Australian prawn-trawl fisheries, greater protection of spawners and improved fishing practices to enhance survival of discarded juveniles, particularly from prawn trawling, may be required. An aquaculture industry is developing for A. japonicus in Australia and preliminary research on the impacts and success of re-stocking wild populations has begun in an attempt to arrest the apparent decline in populations. [source]

    Age, growth and reproduction of Marcusenius pongolensis, Oreochromis mossambicus and Schilbe intermedius in an oligotrophic impoundment in Swaziland

    Anthony J. Booth
    Abstract The age, growth and reproductive biology of Marcusenius pongolensis, Oreochromis mossambicus and Schilbe intermedius were investigated in the Mnjoli Dam, Swaziland. Otolith annulus formation occurred in winter for M. pongolensis, and in spring/summer for O. mossambicus and S. intermedius. Maximum ages of 8, 6 and 8 years were recorded for M. pongolensis, O. mossambicus and S. intermedius, respectively. Growth was described by the von Bertalanffy growth model as Lt = 238.73(1 , exp,0.27(t+2.27) mm fork length (FL) for M. pongolensis, Lt = 226.83(1 , exp,0.45(t+2.02)) mm total length (TL) for O. mossambicus, and Lt = 214.59(1 , exp,0.60(t+1.20)) mm FL for S. intermedius. Sexual maturity was estimated for male and female M. pongolensis at 134 mm FL and 119 mm FL, respectively. Marcusenius pongolensis matured within their first year. Female O. mossambicus and S. intermedius matured at 239 mm TL and 205 mm FL, corresponding to 2 and 4 years of age, respectively. Extended spawning periods, with two spawning peaks was observed for M. pongolensis, one in spring (September) and the second in autumn (March) and one peak over late-summer for S. intermedius. Résumé L'âge, la croissance et la biologie reproductive de Marcusenius pongolensis, Oreochromis mossambicus et Schilbe intermedius ont étéétudiés dans le barrage de Mnjoli, au Swaziland. La formation des anneaux des otolithes se passe en hiver pour M. pongolensis et au printemps/été pour O. mossambicus et S. intermedius. On a enregistré les âges maximum de 8, 6 et 8 ans respectivement pour Marcusenius pongolensis, Oreochromis mossambicus et Schilbe intermedius. La croissance a été décrite selon le modèle de croissance de von Bertalanffy selon la formule suivante: Lt = 238.73(1 , exp,0.27(t+2.27) mm LF pour M. pongolensis, Lt = 226.83(1 , exp,0.45(t+2.02)) mm LT pour O. mossambicus, et Lt = 214.59(1 , exp,0.60(t+1.20)) mm LF pour S. intermedius. On a estimé que la maturité sexuelle était atteinte à 134 LF et à 119 LF respectivement pour le mâle et la femelle de M. pongolensis, qui arrivaient à maturité au cours de leur première année. Les femelles d'O. mossambicus et de S. intermedius devenaient matures à 239 mm LT et 205 mm LF, ce qui correspond à l'âge de 2 et de 4 ans, respectivement. On a observé des périodes de frai prolongées, avec deux périodes de frai pour M. pongolensis, une au printemps (septembre) et la seconde en automne (mars), et un pic en fin d'été pour S. intermedius. [source]

    Size at the onset of sexual maturity in the anomuran crab, Aegla uruguayana (Aeglidae)

    ACTA ZOOLOGICA, Issue 4 2006
    Verónica E. Viau
    Abstract The size at maturity was studied in the crab Aegla uruguayana from the Areco River (31°14, S, 59°28, W), Argentina. Size at sexual maturity was determined according to three criteria: morphometric (change in the relative growth of reproductive characters), histological (first maturation of gonads) and functional (capability to mate and carry eggs). Regarding females, morphometric maturity occurred at a carapace length (CL) of 11.50 mm, considering abdomen width as a reproductive character. Gonad maturity of females could be observed at a minimum size ranging from 15 to 17 mm CL. The smallest ovigerous female observed in the field was 15.60 mm CL, although a relevant population incidence of ovigerous females (86.6%) has just been observed at values higher than 17 mm CL. As for males, the relative growth of the left chela length changed at a value of 15.40 mm CL, while morphological changes in sexual tube occurred between CL of 14 and 16 mm. Testicular maturation occurred at a CL ranging from 17 to 19 mm. The smallest size of males having spermatozoids in their vasa deferentia was 18.70 mm CL. The results obtained indicated that, in both sexes, functional maturity occurred after morphometric maturity and at a size similar to that of gonad maturity. Comparing sexes, females acquired sexual maturity (morphometric, gonad and functional maturity) at sizes statistically smaller than those of males. [source]

    Total population density during the first year of life as a major determinant of lifetime body-length trajectory in marble trout

    S. Vincenzi
    Abstract,,, The conditions experienced early in life can strongly influence life-history trajectories in a variety of animal species. Here, we use data from four isolated populations of the endangered stream-dwelling salmonid marble trout (Salmo marmoratus Cuvier 1817) living in the Soca and Idrijca river basins (Slovenia) to explore the influence of the total density experienced during and after the first year of life by marble trout year-classes on body length of marble trout through the lifetime. Analyses were performed by pooling together the stream-specific datasets to cover a wider range of densities. Mean body length of marble trout year-classes through the lifetime (from age 1+ to 5+) was negatively related to total density of marble trout during the first year of life. The relationship between density during the first growth period and body length through the lifetime was well described by negative power curves. Total population density after the first year of life was not correlated with body length, thus suggesting that body growth trajectories are heavily determined early in life. Given size-dependent sexual maturity and egg production in marble trout, the relationship between density early in life and lifetime individual growth may have strong implications in terms of population dynamics and regulation of population size. [source]

    Demographics of the spawning aggregations of four catostomid species in the Savannah River, South Carolina and Georgia, USA

    T. B. Grabowski
    Abstract,,, Differences in the life history strategies employed by otherwise ecologically similar species of a fish assemblage may be an important factor in the coexistence of these species and is an essential consideration in the conservation and management of these assemblages. We collected scales to determine age and growth of four species of the catostomid assemblage (northern hogsucker Hypentelium nigricans, spotted sucker Minytrema melanops, notchlip redhorse Moxostoma collapsum and robust redhorse Moxostoma robustum) of the Savannah River, Georgia,South Carolina in spring 2004 and 2005. Robust redhorse was the largest species; reaching sexual maturity at an older age and growing faster as a juvenile than the other species. Spotted sucker did not achieve the same size as robust redhorse, but reached sexual maturity at younger ages. Notchlip redhorse was intermediate between the abovementioned two species in age at maturity and size. Northern hogsucker was the smallest species of the assemblage and reached the sexual maturity at the age of three. Both robust redhorse and spotted sucker were sexually dimorphic in size-at-age. The range of life history strategies employed by Savannah River catostomids encompasses the range of life history strategies exhibited within the family as a whole. [source]

    Methoprene modulates the effect of diet on male melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae, performance at mating aggregations

    Ihsan ul Haq
    Abstract The effect of access to dietary protein (P) (hydrolyzed yeast) and/or treatment with a juvenile hormone analogue, methoprene (M), (in addition to sugar and water) on male aggregation (lekking) behaviour and mating success was studied in a laboratory strain of the melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett) (Diptera: Tephritidae). Six-day-old males were treated with (1) protein and methoprene (M+P+), (2) only protein (M,P+), or (3) only methoprene (M+P,), and compared with 14-day-old sexually mature untreated males (M,P,). The lekking behaviour of the four groups of males when competing for virgin sexually mature females (14,,16 days old) was observed in field cages. The following parameters were measured at male aggregations: lek initiation, lek participation, males calling, male,male interaction, female acceptance index, and mating success. For all these parameters, the M+P+ males significantly outperformed the other males. Moreover, for all parameters, there was a similar trend with M+P+ > M,P+ > M,P, > M+P,. More M+P+ males called and initiated and participated in lek activities than all other types of male, which resulted in higher mating success. They had also fewer unsuccessful copulation attempts than their counterparts. Whereas treatment with methoprene alone had a negative effect in young males with only access to sugar, access to dietary protein alone significantly improved young male sexual performance; moreover, the provision of methoprene together with protein had a synergistic effect, improving further male performance at leks. The results are of great relevance for enhancing the application of the sterile insect technique (SIT) against this pest species. The fact that access to dietary protein and treatment of sterile males with methoprene improves mating success means that SIT cost-effectiveness is increased, as more released males survive to sexual maturity. [source]

    Estrogenic compounds affect development of harpacticoid copepod Tigriopus japonicus

    Helen S. Marcial
    Abstract The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the impact of estrogenic compounds onthe harpacticoid copepod Tigriopus japonicus after continuous exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations. Natural estrogen (17,-estradiol), three known estrogenic compounds in vertebrates (bisphenol A, 4-nonylphenol, p - t -octylphenol), and an invertebrate molting hormone (20-hydroxyecdysone) were tested for their effects on development and reproductive characters in two successive generations of T. japonicus. Less than 24-h-old nauplii (parentals) were exposed to four sublethal concentrations of these compounds for 21 d at 25°C. The first brood of nauplii (F1) produced was monitored further under the same culture conditions and exposures to test compounds. Results showed that all estrogenic compounds affected development (both in number of days to reach copepodid stage and sexual maturity) in the parental generation. Similar effects were apparent in the F1; however, fecundity, sex ratio, and survival were not significantly affected, even at concentrations as high as 10 ,g/L (nominal concentration). The invertebrate molting hormone 20-hyroxyecdysone had no detectable effect on any of the endpoints tested but gave the lowest 48-h 50% lethal concentration (LC50) value. The results suggest that endocrine disruption could occur in copepods following exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of estrogenic compounds, especially if they are exposed starting from embryonic development. [source]

    Toxic responses of medaka, D-rR strain, to polychlorinatednaphthalene mixtures after embryonic exposure by in ovo nanoinjection: A partial life-cycle assessment

    Sergio A. Villalobos
    Abstract Polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs) are organic compounds with some chemical properties and uses similar to polychlo-rinated biphenyls. Polychlorinated naphthalenes have been detected in biota from certain aquatic environments. The toxicities of several PCN technical mixtures (Halowax) to medaka (Oryzias latipes) were determined by use of an embryo nanoinjection method. Medaka eggs (early gastrula) were injected with 0.5 nl of triolein (vehicle control) or 0.5 nl of four to five graded doses (0.3,30 ng/egg) of Halowax 1014, Halowax 1013, or Halowax 1051 in triolein. Following exposure, embryos developed, and fry were reared to sexual maturity (4 months), at which time they were euthanized. Responses were evaluated as early life stage (ELS) and early adult life stage (EALS) assessments. For ELS, lethality and sublethal alterations in embryos and larvae (<16 d old), such as craniofacial, cardiovascular, and myoskeletal deformities and abnormal or delayed hatch, were monitored for the first 9 d, and a dose severity index was computed. The EALS assessment examined the survival of 16-d-old larvae until early adulthood (123 ± 3 d old), including gonadosomatic index (GSI) and morphometry. Halowax 1014 was found to be the most toxic mixture (LD50 4.2 ng/egg), whereas Halowax 1013 and 1051 were significantly less toxic (LD50s could not be determined). The gonadosomatic index of females was significantly less in fish dosed with Halowax 1014 or 1051. The LD50 for medaka embryos nanoinjected with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo- p -dioxin (TCDD) is about 0.75 pg/egg. Thus, Halowax 1014 was 5,585-fold less potent than TCDD. For Halowax 1014, ELS assessments accurately predicted the results of EALS assessments. [source]

    Sex-Specific Aggression and Antipredator Behaviour in Young Brown Trout

    ETHOLOGY, Issue 7 2001
    Jörgen I. Johnsson
    Sex differences in adult behaviour are often interpreted as consequences of sexual selection and/or different reproductive roles in males and females. Sex-specific juvenile behaviour, however, has received less attention. Adult brown trout males are more aggressive than females during spawning and juvenile aggression may be genetically correlated with adult aggression in fish. We therefore tested the prediction that immature brown trout males are more aggressive and bolder than immature females. Because previous work has suggested that precocious maturation increases dominance in salmonids, we included precocious males in the study to test the prediction that early sexual maturation increase male aggression and boldness. Aggression and dominance relations were estimated in dyadic contests, whereas boldness was measured as a response to simulated predation risk using a model heron. Independent of maturity state, males initiated more than twice as many agonistic interactions as females in intersexual contests. However, males were not significantly more likely to win these contests than females. The response to a first predator attack did not differ between sex categories, but males reacted less to a second predator attack than females. Sexual maturity did not affect the antipredator response in males. Since there is no evidence from field studies that stream-living immature male and female salmonids differ in growth rate, it appears unlikely that the sex differences demonstrated are behavioural consequences of sex-specific investment in growth. It seems more likely that sex-specific behaviour arises as a correlated response to sexually selected gene actions promoting differential behaviour in adult males and females during reproduction. Alternatively, sex differences may develop gradually during juvenile life, because a gradual developmental program should be less costly than a sudden behavioural change at the onset of sexual maturity. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 3 2000
    Stephen C. Weeks
    Abstract., Androdioecy is an uncommon form of reproduction in which males coexist with hermaphrodites. Androdioecy is thought to be difficult to evolve in species that regularly inbreed. The freshwater shrimp Eulimnadia texana has recently been described as both androdioecious and highly selfing and is thus anomalous. Inbreeding depression is one factor that may maintain males in these populations. Here we examine the extent of "late" inbreeding depression (after sexual maturity) in these clam shrimp using two tests: (1) comparing the fitness of shrimp varying in their levels of individual heterozygosity from two natural populations that differ in overall genetic diversity; and (2) specifically outcrossing and selfing shrimp from these same populations and comparing fitness of the resulting offspring. The effects of inbreeding differed within each population. In the more genetically diverse population, fecundity, size, and mortality were significantly reduced in inbred shrimp. In the less genetically diverse population, none of the fitness measures was significantly lowered in selfed shrimp. Combining estimates of early inbreeding depression from a previous study with current estimates of late inbreeding depression suggests that inbreeding depression is substantial (,= 0.68) in the more diverse population and somewhat lower (,= 0.50) in the less diverse population. However, given that males have higher mortality rates than hermaphrodites, neither estimate of inbreeding depression is large enough to account for the maintenance of males in either population by inbreeding depression alone. Thus, the stability of androdioecy in this system is likely only if hermaphrodites are unable to self-fertilize many of their own eggs when not mated to a male or if male mating success is generally high (or at least high when males are rare). Patterns of fitness responses in the two populations were consistent with the hypothesis that inbreeding depression is caused by partially recessive deleterious alleles, although a formal test of this hypothesis still needs to be conducted. [source]

    Skipped spawning in female iteroparous fishes

    FISH AND FISHERIES, Issue 1 2005
    Rick M Rideout
    Abstract It is often assumed that iteroparous fishes spawn annually once reaching sexual maturity, but this is not always the case. This paper reviews available information on skipped spawning in female teleost fishes. All instances of non-annual spawning are described as one of three types (retaining, reabsorbing, resting), depending on where in the normal spawning cycle development has been interrupted. Retaining ripe eggs is caused by conditions experienced during the spawning season (fish density, mate availability, pollution), whereas failure to start vitellogenesis (resting) or the breakdown of all oocytes that enter into vitellogenesis (reabsorbing) is caused by factors experienced prior to the spawning season (primarily temperature and poor nutrition). It is speculated that the relative shortage of data on non-annual spawning may be because of difficulties in identifying non-reproductive individuals. In an attempt to rectify this situation, the criteria needed to identify females undergoing the three forms of spawning omission are presented in terms of external appearance of gonads, gonad indices, and histological analysis. The energy saved by not spawning in a poor year may lead to increased survival and the probability of spawning in subsequent years. As the cumulative number of progeny gained by surviving to spawn in multiple subsequent years outweighs the number of progeny lost by not spawning in a given single year, occasional omission of spawning may constitute an adaptive trait in long-lived iteroparous fishes. [source]

    Unstable release strategies in reared Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L.

    S. M. McKinnell
    The effects of year, size, sexual maturity and release date on the probability of recapture of tagged Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., released from a Swedish hatchery in the Baltic Sea were examined. The probability of recapture varied among years for individuals which were juvenile when released (1988, 13.5%; 1989, 4.4%; 1990, 1.2%) or previously mature males (1988, 1.9%; 1989, 0.5%; 1990, 0.4%). Body size was positively associated with the probability of recapture in each release year for both life-history types. Inter-annual changes in recapture rates were similar for both large and small smolts. There was a significant effect of life-history type on recapture rates in 1988 and 1989, but not in 1990. There was a significant effect of release date on recapture rates in 1988 and 1990, but not in 1989. The maximum recapture rates were associated with different release dates in each year, i.e. 27 May 1988, 6 June 1989 and 21 June 1990. [source]

    Heritability of regional and global brain structure at the onset of puberty: A magnetic resonance imaging study in 9-year-old twin pairs

    HUMAN BRAIN MAPPING, Issue 7 2009
    Jiska S. Peper
    Abstract Puberty represents the phase of sexual maturity, signaling the change from childhood into adulthood. During childhood and adolescence, prominent changes take place in the brain. Recently, variation in frontal, temporal, and parietal areas was found to be under varying genetic control between 5 and 19 years of age. However, at the onset of puberty, the extent to which variation in brain structures is influenced by genetic factors (heritability) is not known. Moreover, whether a direct link between human pubertal development and brain structure exists has not been studied. Here, we studied the heritability of brain structures at 9 years of age in 107 monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs (N = 210 individuals) using volumetric MRI and voxel-based morphometry. Children showing the first signs of secondary sexual characteristics (N = 47 individuals) were compared with children without these signs, based on Tanner-stages. High heritabilities of intracranial, total brain, cerebellum, and gray and white matter volumes (up to 91%) were found. Regionally, the posterior fronto-occipital, corpus callosum, and superior longitudinal fascicles (up to 93%), and the amygdala, superior frontal and middle temporal cortices (up to 83%) were significantly heritable. The onset of secondary sexual characteristics of puberty was associated with decreased frontal and parietal gray matter densities. Thus, in 9-year-old children, global brain volumes, white matter density in fronto-occipital and superior longitudinal fascicles, and gray matter density of (pre-)frontal and temporal areas are highly heritable. Pubertal development may be directly involved in the decreases in gray matter areas that accompany the transition of our brains from childhood into adulthood. Hum Brain Mapp, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

    Linking behavior, life history and food supply with the population dynamics of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus)

    Stephen H. VESSEY
    Abstract In this paper we review and integrate key aspects of behavioral and life history traits, food supply and population dynamics of the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus), a species that is abundant and widely distributed across much of eastern North America. Results are based largely on a 33-year mark-and-recapture study in a forest fragment in northwest Ohio, USA. Behavioral plasticity in such reproductive traits as mating system and parental care allows this species to adjust quickly to changing environments. The species has a relatively "fast" life history, with rapid attainment of sexual maturity and high fecundity in the face of high mortality rates. Maximal reproductive effort early in life enables a rapid population response. Food supply, in the form of mast, determines the size of the reproducing population in early spring, which, in turn, influences the size of the late summer peak population. The peak population size is also affected by short-term weather events possibly acting via the food supply. The effects of weather and food on population growth are in part mediated through competition, including defense of space and suppression of reproduction. The inelasticity of female territories appears to set an upper limit to population density. [source]

    An analysis of breeding results for hand-reared Gorillas Gorilla gorilla born over a 25 year period in the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) population

    Ma T. ABELLÓ
    In December 2004, a questionnaire was sent to 44 institutions that maintained Gorillas Gorilla gorilla. Twenty-six institutions replied (59% response rate) providing information about 91 hand-reared Gorillas in the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) population. Using other sources, such as the international studbook and EEP reports, data on 63.54 (,.,) Gorillas that had been hand reared between 1980 and 2004 were analysed. Over this period, 23 (43%) ,, and 15 (24%) ,, bred successfully. However, when the numbers used to make the analyses were corrected by removing Gorillas (1) that had not yet reached full sexual maturity (>12 years for ,, and >10 years for ,,) and (2) were not maintained in breeding groups, and including three ,, that bred before they were 10 years of age, the percentages for breeding success are 65% for ,, and 61% for ,,. These results demonstrate that hand-reared individuals contribute to the increase in the EEP Gorilla population observed over the past 25 years. [source]

    Effects of forage availability on growth and maturation rates in water voles

    Tom P. Moorhouse
    Summary 1In populations of small mammals, food supplementation typically results in higher population densities, body weights, growth rates and reproductive rates. However, few studies have demonstrated a relationship between forage levels and demographic rates in wild populations in the absence of supplementation. 2We examined the association of levels of available forage with individual growth rates and time to sexual maturity in eight re-introduced and three naturally occurring populations of water voles (Arvicola terrestris). 3Range sizes were smaller at sites with higher population densities. Mean forage availability and individual growth rates covaried with range size at each site. 4The weight at which water voles became sexually mature was 112 g for females and 115 g for males and did not vary between study sites. Differences in growth rates therefore translated into differences in the time taken to reach maturity between sites. 5In the re-introduced populations, mean days to maturity varied inversely with mean range length. Females took 7 days (18%, range 40,47 days) longer and males 5 days (13%, range 40,45 days) longer to reach breeding condition at the sites with the shortest mean range lengths. 6Evidence from this study suggests a possible mechanism by which increased population densities may reduce maturation rates in water voles through a reduction in mean range size, thereby limiting the availability of forage to each individual. [source]

    Dispersal pattern of domestic cats (Felis catus) in a promiscuous urban population: do females disperse or die?

    Sébastien Devillard
    Summary 1The domestic feral cat (Felis catus L.) is a good model for studying intraspecific variability of dispersal patterns in mammals because cats live under a large diversity of socio-ecological conditions. We analysed both the natal and breeding dispersal patterns of domestic cats in a promiscuous urban population and tested whether or not it differed from the male-biased natal dispersal pattern observed for polygynous rural populations. 2During an 8-year study we recorded the exact date of in situ death for 148 marked cats and the exact date of disappearance from the population for 99 other cats. Because undiscovered deaths might over-estimate dispersal probabilities when considering only disappearance probabilities, we made an novel application of multistrata capture,recapture methods in order to disentangle dispersal from true mortality. 3We showed that mature females dispersed, both before and after their first reproduction, at 1 and 2 years old. Contrary to females, no dispersal seemed to occur in males. Before sexual maturity, females that disappeared at 1 and 2 years old were in worse body condition than females that stayed in the population area after 2 years old. However, they did not reproduce less successfully before their disappearance than females that died later in the population area. 4The female-biased and low natal dispersal pattern in this population was atypical compared to other promiscuous/polygynous mammals and differed from that observed in rural polygynous populations of domestic cat. Neither local mate competition nor inbreeding avoidance appeared to be sufficient pressures to counterbalance ecological constraints on dispersal in an urban environment. However, local resource competition for den sites between potential matriarchies could lead to the breeding dispersal of less competitive females. [source]

    Modelling hantavirus in fluctuating populations of bank voles: the role of indirect transmission on virus persistence

    Frank Sauvage
    Summary 1Using field data published in the literature, we investigated pathogen dynamics and conditions of persistence in a mathematical model of the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus),Puumala hantavirus system. The host population is assumed to have a 3-year periodic cycle. The duration of very low host density is critical for virus transmission and survival. 2Field epidemiological data strongly suggested a transmission of the hantavirus by the contaminated environment. We thus studied whether this ,indirect' transmission affected the virus persistence in the host population. 3The model assumptions were derived from the following conditions found in the literature: (1) there is no additional mortality nor fecundity loss due to the virus in infected hosts, thus the cyclic demographical pattern is not due to the virus; (2) no remission has been observed, thus we did not consider the existence of recovered individuals; (3) adult females are territorial and juveniles disperse to find a new territory and reach sexual maturity. A fragmented landscape was assumed to occur: individuals can live in favourable or unfavourable patches. 4The model was a compartmental model; the population was structured into susceptible or infectious individuals. We considered two age classes, juveniles and adults, and two sites (populations) connected by juvenile dispersal. 5Model dynamics accurately predicted the cyclic trend in disease prevalence as observed in epidemiological studies. They also showed that indirect transmission significantly increased the probability for the virus to persist during the low-density period of the host population. More precisely, even a low survival rate of the virus outside the host was sufficient to decrease extinction risk of the infection by stochastic events. 6Elasticity analysis showed a high robustness of the model to changes in the parameters of indirect transmission but a high sensitivity to changes in adult density. [source]

    Age-based life history parameters and status assessments of by-catch species (Lethrinus borbonicus, Lethrinus microdon, Pomacanthus maculosus and Scolopsis taeniatus) in the southern Arabian Gulf

    E. Grandcourt
    Summary Life history and demographic parameters for Lethrinus borbonicus, Lethrinus microdon, Pomacanthus maculosus and Scolopsis taeniatus in the southern Arabian Gulf were estimated using a combination of size frequency, biological and size-at-age data. Defined structural increments consisting of alternating translucent and opaque bands in transverse sections of sagittal otoliths were validated as annuli. The maximum age estimates ranged from 5 years for Scolopsis taeniatus to 36 years for Pomacanthus maculosus. The size-at-age relationships were highly asymptotic in form with the majority of growth being achieved early in life. There were significant differences in the growth characteristics between sexes for Pomacanthus maculosus, with males approaching a larger asymptotic size at a faster rate than females. With the exception of Scolopsis taeniatus, the mean age at which fish became vulnerable to capture was lower than the mean age at first sexual maturity. The stocks of L. microdon, P. maculosus and S. taeniatus were exploited within sustainable limits, conversely, L. borbonicus was found to be overexploited and recruitment overfishing may have occurred as the relative spawner biomass per recruit was below 30% of the unexploited state. [source]

    Multiple molecular approaches yield no evidence for sex-determining genes in lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens)

    C. R. McCormick
    Summary Common DNA-based sexing assays have been widely used for the conservation and management of mammals and birds. However, many fishes do not have genetic sex determination and in those that do, the plasticity of the genes involved means that species-specific assays are normally required. Such DNA-sexing markers would be especially valuable in lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) because of their sexual monomorphism, delayed sexual maturity, and conservation status. We tried to identify genetic differences between male and female lake sturgeon using several different molecular genetic methods, including randomly amplified polymorphic DNA, representational difference analyses, subtractive hybridization, and a candidate gene approach. Ultimately, a number of genes were identified but none was sex-specific. Although the ultimate mechanism of sex determination is yet unknown, it is possible that sex determination is environmental in lake sturgeon, especially since recent studies have also failed to identify sex determination genes in other sturgeon species. [source]

    Sorting grid trials to improve size selectivity of red mullet (Mullus barbatus) and annular sea bream (Diplodus annularis) in Turkish bottom trawl fishery

    C. Ayd
    Summary Sorting grids with two different bar spacings (12 mm and 14 mm) were tested to improve size selectivity of the commercially important fish species, red mullet (Mullus barbatus) and annular sea bream (Diplodus annularis), in Turkish bottom trawl fishery. Fishing trials were carried out with R/V ,Egesüf' between April and May 2003 in Izmir Bay, Aegean Sea, using a traditional bottom trawl. Selectivity data were collected by the top cover method and analyzed by means of a logistic equation with the maximum likelihood method. Selectivity parameters for individual hauls were obtained with the software program cc 2000. Mean selectivity was also estimated and compared using the EC Model software that takes between-haul variations into account. The codend catch size as an additional explanatory variable was used in the comparison. The Kolmogorov,Smirnov (K,S) test was also applied to detect differences between length-frequency distributions in the upper and lower bags of the 12 and 14 mm bar spacings for red mullet and annular sea bream. The mean L50 values of red mullet were 8.7 and 10.0 cm with the 12 and 14 mm grids, respectively. The L50 value of 14 mm was comparable with the L50 value of the codend mesh size; however, the 12 mm value was rather low. The mean L50 values of 12 and 14 mm bar spacings were 8.8 and 10.4 cm for annular sea bream, respectively; the value of 14 mm bar spacing was very close to 50% size at sexual maturity of the species (10.5 cm). The K,S test indicated length distributions of red mullet and annular sea bream in the 12 and 14 mm upper and lower bags as significantly different (P < 0.05). These results show that improving the size selectivity in a multi-species fishery using a single selective device is rather difficult. However, higher size selectivity can be obtained when considering the minimum landing size or the 50% sexual maturity size for a given species. [source]

    Population biology and status of exploitation of introduced garfish Belone belone euxini (Günther, 1866) in the Black Sea

    O. Samsun
    Summary The garfish Belone belone euxini (Günther, 1866) is a commercially important pelagic fish species in Sinop artisanal fishery, which is showing a decreasing trend in catch results. As a basis for fisheries management a sampling program was carried out between October 2000 and September 2001 along the Turkish coast of the Black Sea, to study the population structure, growth, and reproduction cycle of garfish in the area, and to achieve a rough estimate of exploitation. The length,weight relationship and von Bertalanffy growth parameters were estimated as W = 0.00076 L3.137, L, = 74.64 cm, K = 0.13 year,1, to = ,3.67, respectively. First sexual maturity was estimated at age 2 and at a total length of 38.8 cm for females. The spawning period was from May to September. The total fecundity,length relationship was estimated as F = 0.0041 L4.1086 (r2 = 0.92). Mortality rates were Z = 1.24 year,1, M = 0.23 year,1and F = 1.01 year,1 for total, natural, and fishing mortality, respectively. The exploitation ratio E = 0.81 indicates that the population is heavily exploited. [source]

    Reproduction in Bagre marinus (Ariidae) off Pernambuco, northeastern Brazil

    P. Pinheiro
    Summary Throughout 1997, the catches of artisanal gillnetters working off the coast of northeastern Brazil were sampled monthly for Bagre marinus (Mitchill 1815). Significantly more females (n = 207) than males (n = 82) were caught, although there was no significant difference in their size compositions (21,47 cm fork length, FL). All males sampled (21,40 cm FL) had developed gonads and were classified as sexually mature. According to macroscopic and microscopic examination of their reproductive tract, females were separated into four reproductive stages (immature, maturing, mature, and resting). Size at 50% sexual maturity for females was estimated to be 33 cm FL. A positive linear relationship was detected between the size of mature females and their fecundity (between 11 and 32 oocytes). Clear reproductive progress indicated a spawning period between March and May. We conclude that further fishery-independent data are required to determine patterns of male abundances and distributions. [source]

    Do Child Molesters Have Aberrant Perceptions of Adult Female Facial Attractiveness?,

    David K. Marcus
    The multiple fitness model (Cunningham, 1986) suggests that attractive adult faces combine youthful neonate features with indications of sexual maturity. But a question can be raised whether the multiple fitness model applies to child molesters. In contrast to prior studies that examined child molesters' attraction to children, we examined child molesters' perceptions of adult women. Incarcerated child molesters (N= 68) rated the attractiveness of photographs of 24 adult women. Their ratings were compared with ratings made by 30 heterosexual college men. The 2 groups displayed remarkably similar judgments (r= .91). Child molesters were not more attracted to neonate features compared to other men, nor were they more repelled by maturity features. Like the college men, the child molesters were attracted to faces with large eyes and high cheekbones. Because the multiple fitness model applied to child molesters, differences between the sexual behavior of child molesters and other men do not seem to be attributable to differences in their perceptions of potential adult female partners' faces. [source]

    Effects of exploitation on reproductive capacity of blackspot snapper, Lutjanus fulviflamma (Pisces: Lutjanidae) in Mafia Island, Tanzania

    A. T. Kamukuru
    Abstract There is paucity of information on the effects of exploitation on reproductive characteristics of blackspot snapper, Lutjanus fulviflamma (Forsskål 1775) in Tanzanian coastal waters. We compared size at first sexual maturity (LM50), sex ratio, fecundity, and breeding season of L. fulviflamma in least fished Mafia Island Marine Park (MIMP) and intensively fished areas (IFA) between May 1999 and April 2001. Fish in MIMP matured at significantly smaller size (female: LM50 = 206.3 mm; male: LM50 = 195.5 mm) than in IFA (female: LM50 = 216.7 mm; male: LM50 =212.1 mm) total body length. Sex ratio was balanced at 1.03 : 1 (female : male) in MIMP, but it was skewed 0.9 : 1 (female : male) in IFA. Size-related differences in sex ratio were observed with males predominating in the smaller sizes and females in the larger sizes. Total fecundity of fish in MIMP was determined at 45,200,430,200 oocytes in females of between 207 and 293 mm total length. Lutjanus fulviflamma in MIMP has a prolonged spawning season lasting from September to March peaking in December. None of the fish from IFA were in breeding state, suggesting recruitment overfishing is an added matter of concern for the long-term sustainability of the fishery at the current exploitation level. Résumé Il existe très peu d'informations sur les effets de l'exploitation sur les caractéristiques de la reproduction de Lutjanus fulviflamma (Forsskål 1775) dans les eaux côtières de Tanzanie. Nous avons comparé la taille au début de la maturité sexuelle (LM50), le sex-ratio, la fécondité et la saison de reproduction de L. fulviflamma dans le Parc Marin de l'Ile de Mafia (MIMP) où la pêche est moins intense et dans des eaux intensément exploitées (IFA) entre mai 1999 et avril 2001. Les poissons du MIMP deviennent mâtures tout en ayant une longueur totale significativement plus petite (femelles: LM50 = 206,3 mm; mâles: LM50 = 195,5 mm) que dans les IFA (femelles: LM50 = 216,7 mm; mâles: LM50 = 212,1 mm). Le sex-ratio est équilibréà 1,03/1 (femelles/mâles) dans le MIMP, mais il est de 0,9/1 (femelles/mâles) dans les IFA. On a observé des différences du sex-ratio liées à la taille, avec les mâles qui prédominent dans les plus petites tailles et les femelles dans les plus grandes. On a déterminé la fécondité totale dans le MIMP, entre 45.200,430.000 ovocytes à l'intérieur des femelles comprises entre 207 et 293 mm de longueur totale. Dans le MIMP, Lutjanus fulviflamma a une saison de frai prolongée, allant de septembre à mars avec un pic en décembre. Aucun des poissons des IFA n'était en période de reproduction, ce qui signifie une sur-pêche du potentiel reproducteur, ce qui est un motif d'inquiétude pour la durabilitéà long terme de la pêche à son niveau actuel. [source]

    Aspects of the feeding habits and reproductive biology of the Ghana mole-rat Cryptomys zechi (Rodentia, Bathyergidae)

    S. Yeboah
    Abstract The feeding habits and reproductive biology of the Ghana mole-rat, Cryptomys zechi (Matchie), were studied in a Guinea savanna woodland in Ghana. Both tunnel contents and stomach content analysis indicated that bulbs and tubers constituted the commonest and most preferred food items, although some animal food materials were also consumed. Five plant species, Urgenia altissima, Manihot utilisima, Curuligo sp., Oxalis corniculata and Archis hypogea, were the most popular plant food source. Breeding occurred during the rainy season (March,August) and was at its peak in July. There is evidence that the species is capable of producing two litters in a year. In a colony, reproduction is restricted to one female and one male. Males reached sexual maturity at a lower body weights (105 g) than females (155 g). Estimated mean litter size was 1.5 (range 1,2), the smallest among the bathergids. Available data on birth weights of three other species of social Cryptomys indicate that C. zechi has the highest birth weight, which is comparable to that of solitary bathyergids. Résumé On a étudié les habitudes alimentaires et la biologie de la reproduction du rat-taupe du Ghana, Cryptomys zechi (Matschie), dans une savane guinéenne arborée au Ghana. L'analyse du contenu des terriers et des estomacs indique que les bulbes et les tubercules constituent les aliments les plus fréquents et les plus appréciés, bien qu'ils mangent aussi un peu de matière animale. Cinq espèces végétales, Urgenia altissima, Manihot utilissima, Curuligo sp., Oxalis corniculata et Archis hypogeaétaient les sources de nourriture végétale les plus appréciées. L'accouplement a lieu pendant la saison des pluies (mars , août) et est à son maximum en juillet. Des preuves montrent que l'espèce peut produire deux nichées par an. Dans une colonie, la reproduction est limitée à un mâle et une femelle. Les mâles atteignent la maturité sexuelle à un poids inférieur (105 gr) à celui des femelles (155 gr). On a estimé que la taille moyenne d'une nichée était de 1,5 jeune (allant de 1 à 2), la plus petite chez les rats-taupes. Les données disponibles sur le poids à la naissance de trois autres espèces de Cryptomys sociaux indiquent que C. zechi a le poids le plus important à la naissance, comparable à celui des rats-taupes solitaires. [source]

    The millennial dynamics of a boreal forest stand from buried trees

    JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, Issue 3 2004
    Summary 1We reconstructed the dynamics of a black spruce (Picea mariana) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana) forest stand in northern Québec using a continuous, 5200-year-long sequence of stem remains buried in adjacent peatland. Simulations of recruitment of such remains provided guidelines for inferring past ecosystem structure and composition at the stand scale. 2Compared with the late Holocene (4650,0 cal. year BP (CYBP)), the mid Holocene (5200,4650 CYBP) period was characterized by faster tree growth, larger stems and higher stem density, indicating higher forest productivity in association with a milder climate. 3The presence of stem remains of both species from 17 out of 20 contiguous 250-year time intervals suggests that the spruce-pine stand exhibited high compositional stability, with both species regenerating after fire from canopy-stored seed banks. 4Relative species abundance closely followed the duration of past fire intervals deduced from the number of tree rings in buried conifers. Time periods of long (4650,3950, 3400,1850 and 250,0 CYBP) and short fire intervals (4950,4650, 3950,3400 and 1850,250 CYBP) were associated, respectively, with decreasing and increasing pine abundance, probably reflecting faster juvenile growth, lower shade tolerance, earlier sexual maturity and shorter longevity in jack pine compared with black spruce. 5We conclude that both climate change and climate-induced fire disturbance have been driving long-term ecosystem dynamics. Our field evidence supports the idea that interactions between disturbances and the life-history traits of species modulate the impact of climate change at the scale of forest stands. At the same time, disturbances may result in long-term stability of disturbance-adapted ecosystems. [source]

    A review of the likely effects of climate change on anadromous Atlantic salmon Salmo salar and brown trout Salmo trutta, with particular reference to water temperature and flow

    JOURNAL OF FISH BIOLOGY, Issue 10 2009
    B. Jonsson
    The present paper reviews the effects of water temperature and flow on migrations, embryonic development, hatching, emergence, growth and life-history traits in light of the ongoing climate change with emphasis on anadromous Atlantic salmon Salmo salar and brown trout Salmo trutta. The expected climate change in the Atlantic is for milder and wetter winters, with more precipitation falling as rain and less as snow, decrease in ice-covered periods and frequent periods with extreme weather. Overall, thermal limits for salmonids are species specific. Scope for activity and growth and optimal temperature for growth increase with temperature to an optimal point before constrain by the oxygen content of the water. The optimal temperature for growth decreases with increasing fish size and varies little among populations within species, whereas the growth efficiency may be locally adapted to the temperature conditions of the home stream during the growth season. Indirectly, temperature influences age and size at smolting through its effect on growth. Time of spawning, egg hatching and emergence of the larvae vary with temperature and selective effects on time of first feeding. Traits such as age at first maturity, longevity and fecundity decrease with increasing temperature whilst egg size increases with temperature. Water flow influences the accessibility of rivers for returning adults and speed of both upstream and downstream migration. Extremes in water flow and temperature can decrease recruitment and survival. There is reason to expect a northward movement of the thermal niche of anadromous salmonids with decreased production and population extinction in the southern part of the distribution areas, migrations earlier in the season, later spawning, younger age at smolting and sexual maturity and increased disease susceptibility and mortality. Future research challenges are summarized at the end of the paper. [source]

    The reproductive biology and ecology of the Port Jackson shark Heterodontus portusjacksoni in the coastal waters of eastern Australia

    JOURNAL OF FISH BIOLOGY, Issue 10 2008
    D. M. Powter
    The reproductive biology and ecology of the Port Jackson shark Heterodontus portusjacksoni was investigated at three locations on the central and southern coast of New South Wales (NSW), Australia from January 2002 to December 2005 using underwater visual census surveys and samples obtained from a commercial fishery. Adults displayed sexual dimorphism in total length (LT) at sexual maturity, with males maturing between 762 and 772 mm LT and females between 902 and 905 mm LT. The mean ovarian fecundity was estimated at 16 offspring per female but was unrelated to female LT. Male gonado-somatic (IG) and hepato-somatic (IH) indices and female IG declined from July to November as did maximum ovarian follicle diameter and the diameter of the three largest follicles. Adults were absent from inshore reefs between December and July. Hence, H. portusjacksoni has a synchronous annual breeding season in NSW, which occurs between July and November (the austral winter to spring), with a peak in oviposition from August to October. Heterodontus portusjacksoni copulatory and ovipository behaviour are reported for the first time. Copulation was observed and involved oral grasping of the female's pectoral fin by a single male, which wrapped his body around hers to insert one clasper. Ovipositing females appeared to search crevices in the reef prior to delivering a single capsule, which was washed into the crevice by water movement, with the female departing very soon after oviposition. This study represents the first rigorously quantitative analysis of H. portusjacksoni reproductive biology and ecology in NSW waters. [source]