Here we present the first new data about the mysterious "anomaly P" of green frogs (genus Pelophylax) in about 50 years. We established that the gastropod Planorbarius corneus could be an intermediate host (or vector) of the infectious agent of the anomaly P. Symmetrical cases of polydactyly, the anomaly "cross" and heavy cases of the anomaly P, which were previously found in natural populations in the European part of Russia and recently obtained in laboratory, can be caused by this infectious agent. As the most probable cause, we assume a species of trematodes, for which the first intermediate host is P. corneus, from which they infest tadpoles of green frogs.
Herein, we describe a new agamid species of the genus Acanthosaura from Central Highlands of Vietnam: Gia Lai Province, Kon Chu Rang NR, and Kon Tum Province: Kon Plong and Ngoc Linh Mountain based on morphological and molecular data. Acanthosaura prasina sp. nov. is distinguished from all congeners by a combination of the following morphological characters. Acanthosaura prasina sp. nov. differs from A. capra, A. murphyi, and A. nataliae by the presence of a short spine on each side of the neck and a smaller body size. From the known species of "lepidogaster" complex and A. coronata it differs in the arrangement of dorsal crests with a distinct double row of vertebral scales, from A. brachypoda in a smaller body size, longer tail and limbs, fewer supra- and infralabials and coloration patterns with a white area on lips and shoulders; from A. lepidogaster by lacking a dark marking on the nape and the absence of a distinct diastema; from A. phongdienensis by lacking a dark marking on the nape. We provide a cyt b-based estimation of diversity of the genus Acanthosaura. A. prasina sp. nov. differs from A. phongdiensis, A. coronata, A. lepidogaster, A. armata, A. crucigera, A. nataliae, A. phuketensis, and Acanthosaura sp. SK in p-distances of 15.4, 24.5, 14.7, 14.6, 16.3, 14.6, 15.4, and 24.4%, respectively. The new species currently known from three localities from Central Highlands was recorded from 800 to 1700 m a.s.l. in the evergreen polydominant forests in the mountainous regions of Gia Lai and Kon Tum provinces. This is the 16th species of Acanthosaura and the ninth species of the genus from Vietnam.
Alien species can strongly impact local environments and compete against native species, which can lead to their extinction. Marsh frogs of the Pelophylax ridibundus complex are one of the most invasive amphibians in Northern Eurasia. It was previously thought that three water frog species of the genus Pelophylax (the marsh frog, P. ridibundus, the pool frog, P. lessonae and their hemiclonal hybrid, the edible frog, P. esculentus) inhabited Kaliningradskaya Oblast' along the Russian Baltic coast. However, based on our study of the intron-1 of the nuclear serum albumin gene, two other marsh frog species were detected (the Balkan marsh frog, P. kurtmuelleri, and the Anatolian marsh frog, P. cf. bedriagae) as well as putative hybrids between P. ridibundus and P. cf. bedriagae. The majority of individuals of P. ridibundus and hybrids between P. ridibundus and P. cf. bedriagae had mitochondrial (mt) DNA of P. lessonae, while all others featured the P. kurtmuelleri mtDNA. The prevalence of P. lessonae mtDNA haplotypes in populations of P. ridibundus from the Baltic Coast of Russia suggests that local individuals of the latter species originated from crosses between P. esculentus individuals. Two hypotheses could explain the records of P. kurtmuelleri and P. cf. bedriagae in the region. The establishment of local populations of the first species could have occurred via postglacial dispersal from the Balkan refugium. The origin of local P. cf. bedriagae could be an occasional introduction of individuals from the Ponto-Caspian region. Since our study is preliminary (19 individuals), in the future it would be important to continue the study of water frogs in Kaliningradskaya Oblast' and neighboring countries by applying multiple genetic markers. Additional genetic markers will enable researchers to study routes of dispersal and introductions of marsh frogs, to clarify peculiarities of their hybridization and distribution, and to evaluate the impact of P. kurtmuelleri and P. cf. bedriagae on the reproduction success of hybridogenous populations and abundance of local amphibians.
The current capacity for the purposeful study of the mammalian fauna of Russia using public databases is discussed. A list of species of Russian fauna compiled under united principles is lacking and the lists of species published in different departments are inconsistent. Systems that can monitor changes in the qualitative or quantitative composition of the fauna are not yet sufficiently refined. The systematization of previously accumulated faunal data requires the involvement of qualified taxonomists. Nevertheless, initial work on the “Mammals of Russia” database, which currently contains 16 512 records on 235 species of mammals, has allowed us to positively assess the prospects for further ordering of faunal information within the country.
Ground squirrels are ecosystem engineers and keystone species in many open landscapes of Eurasia, America, and Africa. They are model objects for population studies, behavioural ecology, life-history theory, and conservation biology, the research areas where microsatellite analysis is widely applied and fruitful. So far, microsatellite markers have been developed for only few Palearctic ground squirrels. We tested and characterized 14 markers previously developed for ground squirrels and 10 new loci with tri-, tetra-, and five-nucleotide repeats in the yellow ground squirrel, Spermophilus fulvus, a species widely distributed in Eurasia and endangered in some regions. We found polymorphism in 10 loci, five of them were highly polymorphic (5–14 alleles). These markers will benefit studies of the population genetic structure, parentage, mating system, reproductive success, and interspecific hybridization as well as conservation efforts in
S. fulvus and other close-related Eurasian ground squirrels.
Общество с ограниченной ответственностью Товарищество научных изданий КМК (Москва)
Testate amoebae are important components of benthic communities in freshwater lakes, where they play an essential role in decomposer food webs. They are used widely in paleoecological investigations because of their high taxonomic diversity, well-defined ecological preferences and decay-resistant tests. Studies of testate amoeba assemblages in lake surface sediments are necessary to better understand lake ecosystem function and improve the use of these organisms as bio-indicators in paleoecology. This study explored the use of testate amoebae as proxies for inferring past water level in freshwater lakes, and expanded upon the limited body of research into lake testate amoebae in Russia. Our results indicate that species composition of testate amoeba assemblages in the lakes was typical for such biotopes, with most of the species belonging to the genera Difflugia, Centropyxis, Arcella and Euglypha. Analysis of variation of testate amoebae along a water-depth gradient showed that three assemblage types could be distinguished: shallow-water (0–4.5 m), intermediate-water-depth (4.5–20.5) and deep-water (20.5–33 m). Deep-water assemblages did not contain any unique taxa and were dominated by eurybiotic and planktonic species. Species diversity was highest in the intermediate-water-depth assemblages and lowest in deep-water ones. Although variations in testate amoeba assemblages across water depth in freshwater lakes are complex and context-dependent, there are clear patterns in species composition and diversity, which can be used to infer past lake water levels. Future studies on the effect of water depth on testate amoeba assemblages in diverse types of freshwater lakes should increase the utility of the method.
Palaeoecological analyses of Falkland Island peat profiles have largely been confined to pollen analyses. In order to improve understanding of long-term Falkland Island peat development processes, the plant macrofossil and stable isotope stratigraphy of an 11,550 year Falkland Island Cortaderia pilosa (‘whitegrass’) peat profile was investigated. The peatland developed into an acid, whitegrass peatland via a poor fen stage. Macrofossil charcoal indicate that local fires have frequently occurred throughout the development of the peatland. Raman spectroscopy analyses indicate changes in the intensity of burning which are likely to be related to changes in fuel types, abundance of fine fuels due to reduced evapotranspiration/higher rainfall (under weaker Southern Westerly Winds), peat moisture and human disturbance. Stable isotope and thermogravimetric analyses were used to identify a period of enhanced decomposition of the peat matrices dating from ∼7020 cal yr BP, which possibly reflects increasing strength of the Southern Westerly winds. The application of Raman spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analyses to the Falkland Island peat profile identified changes in fire intensity and decomposition which were not detectable using the techniques of macrofossil charcoal and plant macrofossil analyses.
The Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east of Russia is a substantial landmass that is poorly documented in terms of most elements of biodiversity. Here we provide the first study of modern assemblages of testate amoebae, a widespread group of protists that are particularly abundant in soils. We present a data set of 78 widely distributed samples, including forest, fen, scrub and bog habitats. Testate amoebae are abundant and diverse across Kamchatka with 119 taxa identified. The assemblage is primarily composed of widespread taxa, but rarer occurrences such asCyclopyxis puteushint at important biogeographical differences that will require confirmation with molecular data. Assemblages from mineral soils are significantly different from those of peatlands with the former characterized by small idiosome taxa and the latter by larger taxa, often with secretion tests. Water table depth explained significant variance in the peatland samples, supporting the use of testate amoebae in palaeoecological studies. This study adds to our knowledge of the biodiversity of Kamchatka and the global biogeography of protists, and it paves the way for palaeoecological studies to understand long-term environmental change in this region.
Fifty-two species and intraspecific taxa of testate amoebae have been detected in 24 different habitats in the Belaya River basin (Northwestern Caucasus). Four types of communities are distinguished which differ in the composition of the complex of dominating species: freshwater species from bottom sediments in water bodies and water courses, soil-dwelling species from inundated parts of floodplains, a mixture of soildwelling and freshwater species in different littoral biotopes, and eurybiontic species in moss hummocks along the banks.