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Lake Buena Vista, FL, United States

Anderson N.E.,University of Edinburgh | Mubanga J.,University of Edinburgh | Fevre E.M.,University of Edinburgh | Picozzi K.,University of Edinburgh | And 3 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2011

Background: Animal and human trypanosomiasis are constraints to both animal and human health in Sub-Saharan Africa, but there is little recent evidence as to how these parasites circulate in wild hosts in natural ecosystems. The Luangwa Valley in Zambia supports high densities of tsetse flies (Glossina species) and is recognised as an historical sleeping sickness focus. The objective of this study was to characterise the nature of the reservoir community for trypanosomiasis in the absence of influence from domesticated hosts. Methodology/Principal Findings: A cross-sectional survey of trypanosome prevalence in wildlife hosts was conducted in the Luangwa Valley from 2005 to 2007. Samples were collected from 418 animals and were examined for the presence of Trypanosoma brucei s.l., T. b. rhodesiense, Trypanosoma congolense and Trypanosoma vivax using molecular diagnostic techniques. The overall prevalence of infection in all species was 13.9% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 10.71-17.57%). Infection was significantly more likely to be detected in waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) (Odds ratio [OR] = 10.5, 95% CI: 2.36-46.71), lion (Panthera leo) (OR = 5.3, 95% CI: 1.40-19.69), greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) (OR = 4.7, 95% CI: 1.41-15.41) and bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) (OR = 4.5, 95% CI: 1.51-13.56). Bushbucks are important hosts for T. brucei s.l. while the Bovidae appear the most important for T. congolense. The epidemiology of T. vivax was less clear, but parasites were detected most frequently in waterbuck. Human infective T. b. rhodesiense were identified for the first time in African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and T. brucei s.l. in leopard (Panthera pardus). Variation in infection rates was demonstrated at species level rather than at family or sub-family level. A number of significant risk factors interact to influence infection rates in wildlife including taxonomy, habitat and blood meal preference. Conclusion and Significance: Trypanosoma parasites circulate within a wide and diverse host community in this bio-diverse ecosystem. Consistent land use patterns over the last century have resulted in epidemiological stability, but this may be threatened by the recent influx of people and domesticated livestock into the mid-Luangwa Valley. © 2011 Anderson et al. Source

St Clair J.,Pieta Research | Campbell-Palmer R.,Animals | Lathe R.,Pieta Research | Lathe R.,Pushchino State University
Twin Research and Human Genetics | Year: 2014

Monozygotic (MZ) twinning is generally considered to be rare in species other than human. We inspected sex ratios in European zoo-bred ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta), revealing a significant excess of same-sex twins. Of 94 pairs, 60 (64%) were either both males or both females (p =.004). Application of the Weinberg differential rule argues that 27% of all twins in this species are MZ pairs. In this protected species, where twinning is commonplace (~50% of newborns are twins), the probable existence of frequent MZ twinning has ramifications for breeding programs aimed to maximize genetic diversity, and suggests that twin studies in a species other than human could have potential as a medical research tool. © The Authors 2014. Source

Miller A.,Animals | Leighty K.A.,Animals | Bettinger T.L.,Animals
Zoo Biology | Year: 2013

The systematic evaluation of changes in animal management practices is critical to ensuring the best possible welfare. Here, we examined the behavioral impacts of intermittently housing our six adult female tigers, who have been housed socially for much of their lives, individually overnight to allow for specialized care required by their advancing age. We looked for behavioral changes indicative of both positive and negative changes in welfare by monitoring time spent asleep, sleeping position, body position while awake, as well as pacing, door pounding, self-grooming, roaring, and chuffing while housed socially as compared to individually overnight. Housing condition did not affect time spent asleep, sleeping positions assumed or the more preferred body positions while awake. Further, pacing, door-pounding, and roaring were infrequent and not altered by housing condition. Self-grooming did increase when housed individually but no evidence of over-grooming was present and chuffing, a close proximity social vocalization, was more likely to occur when socially housed. Taken together, these findings support the notion that transitioning to individual housing as needed is a viable option for managing cats accustomed to being maintained in a social group. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Ferrie G.M.,University of Central Florida | Cohen O.R.,University of Central Florida | Schutz P.,Animals | Leighty K.A.,Animals | And 3 more authors.
Zoo Biology | Year: 2013

Extra-pair copulations (EPCs) leading to extra-pair fertilization (EPF) are common in avian mating systems, despite the prevalence of observed social monogamy in many species. Colonially breeding birds are interesting species to investigate the prevalence of EPCs and EPF because they show nesting habits including close proximity of nest sites and sexual partners, which are proposed to promote alternative reproductive tactics. Endemic to Africa, the colonial marabou stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) is one of the most commonly held avian species in North American zoos. The aims of this study were to use genetic information to verify parentage in a population of marabou stork housed at Disney's Animal Kingdom® based on five microsatellite loci and to investigate reproductive behavior. We compared genetic analyses of parents and offspring to studbook data collected through behavioral observations of parental behavior at the nest. Using genetic analyses to reconstruct the pedigree of the marabou stork flock using the program COLONY led to improvement of studbook records by determining parentage of an individual that had previously unknown parentage, and identified one individual that had a sire that differed genetically from studbook records. An important contribution of our analyses was the identification and verification of the most likely parents for offspring hatched in this colony and improving incorrect or undocumented parentage in the studbook. Additionally, the colonial nature of this species makes it difficult to observe and understand reproductive behavior. Gaining better understanding of the mating system of a species is essential for successful breeding and captive management. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Leighty K.A.,Animals | Grand A.P.,Animals | Pittman Courte V.L.,Animals | Maloney M.A.,Animals | Bettinger T.L.,Animals
Journal of Comparative Psychology | Year: 2013

Prior work with chelonians has demonstrated their capacity for successful performance in cognitive tasks, including those requiring color discrimination. Here, we sought to expand on historical research and determine whether eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina) are capable of not only making simple color discriminations but also whether they can demonstrate abstract concept formation evidenced by using a relational response rule in their discrimination performance. Two eastern box turtles were rapidly and successfully trained on a black-and-white two-choice discrimination task using painted paddles and food reinforcement. After mastery, a medium gray paddle was added as a choice stimulus and turtle "Flippy" was reinforced for selecting the darker of the 2 stimuli presented in each trial, and turtle "Mario" was reinforced for selecting the lighter of the paddles presented. Nonreinforced probe trials incorporating light and dark gray stimuli paired with all other color options were then added to each session to test the turtles' ability to use the relationship between choice stimuli to guide responding. The turtles successfully selected the paddles corresponding to their assigned relational response rule of "darker" or "lighter" at a level significantly above that predicted by chance. The turtles then demonstrated immediate generalization of their relational rule in testing with a novel array of blue paddles. Finally, the turtles continued to use their relational rule when presented with a novel array of green paddles in a traditional transposition task. Together, these findings support the capacity for higher order cognitive functioning in chelonians beyond that previously described. © 2013 American Psychological Association. Source

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