Lupinelaan 25

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Lupinelaan 25

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Salvidio S.,University of Genoa | Pasmans F.,Ghent University | Bogaerts S.,Lupinelaan 25 | Martel A.,Ghent University | And 2 more authors.
Animal Biology | Year: 2017

The study of trophic ecology of terrestrial salamanders is central for a better understanding of their adaptability and dispersal, in particular in Mediterranean ecosystems where their feeding activity is reduced because of prolonged arid periods. Terrestrial salamanders are generalist predators that feed on a large array of invertebrate prey groups, however, there are few studies comparing the feeding strategy and the trophic specialization at the individual level in conspecific populations of salamanders living in different habitats. In this study, two populations of the Sardinian endemic salamander Speleomantes imperialis were sampled in areas characterized by different climate, vegetation and geological substrate. Dietary habits, obtained by stomach flushing, and physiological condition, assessed through a body condition index, were analysed and compared between populations. The two populations displayed different diets on the basis of the taxonomic composition of prey categories, but both of them behaved as generalist predators and shared a similar body condition index. Moreover, in both populations the indices of individual trophic specialization were significantly different from null models assuming a random prey distribution among predators. Therefore, the two populations were largely composed by individually specialized salamanders. Overall, these findings are in good agreement with other studies on the trophic ecology of top predators and in particular of terrestrial salamanders. The realized trophic strategies, i.e. generalist at the population and specialist at the individual level, were highly consistent geographically and the two populations exploited the different arrays of prey found in their environments similarly. © Copyright 2017 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Lansari A.,Cadi Ayyad University | Hugemann K.,TU Braunschweig | Hauswaldt J.S.,TU Braunschweig | Donaire D.,Asociacion Herpetologica Fretum Gaditanum | And 16 more authors.
Amphibia Reptilia | Year: 2014

Painted frogs (Discoglossus) contain five to six species of Western Palearctic anurans that are mainly distributed in allopatry. We here provide the first comprehensive assessment of the phylogeography of the Moroccan species D. scovazzi and geographically characterize its contact zone with D. pictus in Eastern Morocco. Discoglossus scovazzi shows, in general, a weak phylogeographic structure across Morocco on the basis of mitochondrial DNA sequences of the cytochrome b gene, with only populations centered in the Atlas Mountains characterized by the presence of slightly divergent haplotypes. In eastern Morocco, all populations east of the Moulouya River were clearly assignable to D. pictus. This species was also found along the Mediterranean coast west of the Moulouya, in the cities of Nador and Melilla, suggesting that not the river itself but the wide arid valley extending along much of the river (except close to the estuary) acts as a possible distributional barrier to these frogs. No sympatry of D. scovazzi with D. pictus was observed, and all specimens were concordantly assigned to either species by DNA sequences of cytochrome b and of the nuclear marker RAG1. Species distribution models of the two taxa show largely overlapping areas of suitable habitat, and the two species' niches are significantly more similar than would be expected given the underlying environmental differences between the regions in which they occur. Comparative data are also presented from the southern Iberian contact zone of D. galganoi galganoi and D. g. jeanneae. These taxa showed less clear-cut distributional borders, extensively shared RAG1 haplotypes, and had instances of sympatric occurrence on the basis of cytochrome b haplotypes, in agreement with the hypothesis of a yet incomplete speciation. In this wide contact zone area we found mitochondrial sequences containing double peaks in electropherograms, suggesting nuclear pseudogenes or (less likely) heteroplasmy, possibly related to the ongoing admixture among the lineages. © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2014.


Bogaerts S.,Lupinelaan 25 | Pasmans F.,Ghent University | Carranza S.,Institute of Evolutionary Biology CSIC UPF CMIMA | Bohme W.,Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig
Herpetology Notes | Year: 2013

Salamandra algira is patchily distributed from north-western Morocco to eastern Algeria. Its occurrence in Tunisia is under debate. In order to examine the presence of S. algira in Tunisia, three field trips were made to suitable habitats in the Medjerda mountains in north-eastern Tunisia. Additionally, phenotypic and morphological examinations of "Tunisian" S. algira museum specimens originating from the ZFMK, Germany, were carried out. No indications for the presence of S. algira in Tunisia were found during the field trips. The ZFMK specimens of Salamandra algira turned out to be most likely middle or eastern European Salamandra salamandra. These results do not support earlier statements on the presence of the species in Tunisia.


Rodder D.,Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig | Rodder D.,University of Trier | Lotters S.,University of Trier | Oz M.,Akdeniz University | And 3 more authors.
Organisms Diversity and Evolution | Year: 2011

Within the framework of the present study we test whether climatic niche similarity can be identified in a monophyletic group of species inhabiting remarkably restricted ranges by pooling presence data of all species into a single concatenated data set and subsequently jackknifing single species. We expect that, when the jackknifed species differs markedly in its climatic niche from all other species, this approach will result in increased niche homogeneity, allowing assessments of niche divergence patterns. To test our novel jackknife approach, we developed species distribution models for all members of Lycian salamanders (genus Lyciasalamandra), native to Turkey and the adjacent Aegean islands using Maxent. Degrees of niche similarity among species were assessed using Schoener's index. Significance of results was tested using null-models. The degree of niche similarity was generally high among all seven species, with only L. helverseni differing significantly from the others. Carstic lime stones providing specific microhabitat features may explain the high degree of niche similarity detected, since the variables with the highest explanative power in our models (i.e. mean temperature, and precipitation of the coldest quarter) corresponded well with salamander natural history observations, supporting the biologically plausibility of the results. We conclude that the jackknife approach presented here for the first time allows testing for niche similarity in species inhabiting restricted ranges and with few species records available. Our results strongly support the view that detailed natural history information and knowledge of microhabitats is crucial when assessing possible climate change impacts on species. © Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik 2011.


Beukema W.,University of Évora | De Pous P.,University of Lleida | De Pous P.,Institute of Evolutionary Biology CSIC UPF | Donaire-Barroso D.,Calle Mar Egeo 7 | And 6 more authors.
Zootaxa | Year: 2013

The amphibian fauna of the Kingdom of Morocco was traditionally regarded as poor and closely related to its European counterpart. However, an increase in research during the last decades revealed a considerable degree of endemism amongst Moroccan amphibians, as well as phenotypic and genotypic inter- and intraspecific divergence. Despite this increase in knowledge, a comprehensible overview is lacking while several systematic issues have remained unresolved. We herein present a contemporary overview of the distribution, taxonomy and biogeography of Moroccan amphibians. Fourteen fieldtrips were made by the authors and colleagues between 2000 and 2012, which produced a total of 292 new distribution records. Furthermore, based on the results of the present work, we (i) review the systematics of the genus Salamandra in Morocco, including the description of a new subspecies from the Rif- and Middle Atlas Mountains, Salamandra algira splendens ssp. nov.; (ii) present data on intraspecific morphological variability of Pelobates varaldii and Pleurodeles waltl in Morocco; (iii) attempt to resolve the phylogenetic position of Bufo brongersmai and erect a new genus for this species, Barbarophryne gen. nov.; (iv) summarize and assess the availability of tadpole-specific characteristics and bioacoustical data, and (v) summarize natural history data. Copyright © 2013 Magnolia Press.


Bogaerts S.,Lupinelaan 25 | Sparreboom M.,Naturalis Biodiversity Center | Pasmans F.,Ghent University | Almasri A.,National Commission for Biotechnology NCBT | And 3 more authors.
Salamandra | Year: 2013

The distribution, ecology and conservation status of the Syrian urodeles Salamandra infraimmaculata and Ommatotriton vittatus are poorly known. We present the results of a field study, conducted in February 2009. Salamandra infraimmaculata was found at six localities, ranging from 228 to 960 m a.s.l., and co-occurred with O. vittatus at three localities. All localities were near small, clear streams or springs. Temperatures ranged from 9.4 to 16.4°C, pH 7.5-8.5, GH 3-18 and KH 3-18. The distribution model of S. infraimmaculata reveals that the distribution of this species is nearly entirely shaped by precipitation in the coldest quarter "92.9% contribution to the model". The rarity of suitable surface waters is probably the main reason for the supposed scarcity of this species in northwestern Syria. Tapping a water source for drinking water resulted in one case in extensive mortality of larvae. Ommatotriton vittatus was found at nine different localities, ranging from 172 to 960 m a.s.l. Habitat characteristics, water quality and morphological data were recorded. The average total length of adult O. vittatus was 116 mm (range 93-138 mm, n = 22) for males and 93 mm (range 86-108 mm, n = 34) for females. Mean weight was 6.7 g for males and 3.9 for females. The mean body condition index of females was comparable to that of males. Water temperatures ranged from 8.7 to 14.6°C, pH 7.5-8.5, GH 3-18 and KH 3-18. The distribution model of O. vittatus reveals that the distribution of this species is mainly shaped by precipitation, both during the winter and summer periods. The collection of large numbers of adult O. vittatus for fish bait was observed. © 2013 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde e.V. (DGHT).


de Pous P.,University of Lleida | de Pous P.,Institute of Evolutionary Biology CSIC UPF | Speybroeck J.,Research Institute for Nature and Forest | Bogaerts S.,Lupinelaan 25 | And 2 more authors.
Herpetology Notes | Year: 2012

Here we report on the combined observations of 10 years of opportunistic field work conducted during short visits to Sardinia, from 1999 to 2012. A total amount of 433 distribution records of 27 species were collected from 187 different localities covering 52 unique UTM squares. We report species presence in 157 new UTM squares and additionally reconfirm previous reported presence in 150 UTM squares. Overall, we produce a remarkable increase in the knowledge of the Sardinian herpetofauna. Notes and observations on ecology, taxonomy and conservation are provided.


Thien T.N.,Vietnam National Museum of Nature | Martel A.,Ghent University | Brutyn M.,Ghent University | Bogaerts S.,Lupinelaan 25 | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2013

Until now, Asian amphibians appear to have largely escaped declines driven by chytridiomycosis. Vietnamese salamanders that belong to the genus Tylototriton are rare and have a patchy distribution in mountainous areas, falling within the proposed environmental envelope of chytrid infections, surrounded by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infected regions. If these salamanders are susceptible to chytridiomycosis, then their populations could be highly vulnerable after the introduction of B. dendrobatidis. Examination for the presence of the chytrid fungus in skin swabs from 19 Tylototriton asperrimus and 104 Tylototriton vietnamensis by using quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed. Susceptibility of T. asperrimus to experimental infection by using the global panzootic lineage (BdGPL) strain of B. dendrobatidis was examined. The fungus was absent in all samples from all wild salamanders examined. Inoculation with the BdGPL strain resulted in mortality of all five inoculated salamanders within 3 weeks after inoculation with infected animals that manifested severe orthokeratotic hyperkeratosis, epidermal hyperplasia, and spongiosis. Although infection by B. dendrobatidis currently appears absent in Vietnamese Tylototriton populations, the rarity of these animals, their pronounced susceptibility to chytridiomycosis, an apparently suitable environmental context and increasing likelihood of the pathogen being introduced, together suggest the need of urgent measures to avoid future scenarios of extinction as witnessed in Central America and Australia. © American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


Merabet K.,University of Abderrahmane Mira de Béjaïa | Sanchez E.,TU Braunschweig | Dahmana A.,University of Abderrahmane Mira de Béjaïa | Bogaerts S.,Lupinelaan 25 | And 6 more authors.
Amphibia Reptilia | Year: 2016

The North African fire salamander, Salamandra algira, is distributed in Algeria, Morocco and Ceuta (Spanish territory located on the north coast of Africa), but until now rather limited information has been available on the populations across the Algerian part of its range. We here provide a first analysis of the phylogeography of this species in Algeria, based on 44 samples from populations distributed across 15 localities in Central Algeria. We sequenced three segments of mitochondrial DNA, covering 12S rRNA, cytochrome b (Cytb) and the D-loop. The mtDNA sequences of the Algerian samples were strongly different from the Moroccan populations occurring west of the Moulouya River (corresponding to the subspecies S. a. tingitana and S. a. splendens) but sister to the genetically rather similar population from the Beni Snassen Massif in eastern Morocco (subspecies S. algira spelaea). Among the Algerian specimens studied, those from the westernmost site, Chrea Massif, were the sister clade to the remaining populations, and the overall genetic divergence was low, with a maximum of five mutational steps in a 295 bp fragment of cytochrome b. © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2016.

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