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Silva A.,Grupo de Tecnologia | Artiles A.,Hospital Hermanos Ameijeiras | Suarez W.,Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Cuba | Silva G.,Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Cuba
Biotecnologia Aplicada | Year: 2011

The complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region from Capromys pilorides, an autochthon Cuban rodent, was sequenced and compared to two other species of hystricognath caviomorph rodents, in order to know patterns of variation and to explore the existence of previously described domains and other elements in rodents. The results revealed that the complete D-loop region of this species is 1336 base pairs long. Our data were compatible with the proposal of three domains [extended terminal associated sequences (ETAS), central (CD), and conserved sequence blocks (CSB)] within the control region, as well as the subsequences ETAS1, ETAS2, CSB1, CSB2, and CSB3. Likewise, a repetitive DNA region between the subsequences CSB1 and CSB2 was observed. The most conserved domain in the mitochondrial control region was the CD domain followed by ETAS and CSB domains in that order. The comparative analysis on base composition and genetic distance support the rationale of using the mitochondrial control region as a source of useful markers for population genetic studies with application to the conservation of this and other related Cuban rodent species, some of them under severe extinction risk.


McFarland K.P.,Vermont Center for Ecostudies | Rimmer C.C.,Vermont Center for Ecostudies | Goetz J.E.,Cornell University | Aubry Y.,Environment Canada | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Conservation planning and implementation require identifying pertinent habitats and locations where protection and management may improve viability of targeted species. The winter range of Bicknell's Thrush (Catharus bicknelli), a threatened Nearctic-Neotropical migratory songbird, is restricted to the Greater Antilles. We analyzed winter records from the mid-1970s to 2009 to quantitatively evaluate winter distribution and habitat selection. Additionally, we conducted targeted surveys in Jamaica (n = 433), Cuba (n = 363), Dominican Republic (n = 1,000), Haiti (n = 131) and Puerto Rico (n = 242) yielding 179 sites with thrush presence. We modeled Bicknell's Thrush winter habitat selection and distribution in the Greater Antilles in Maxent version 3.3.1. using environmental predictors represented in 30 arc second study area rasters. These included nine landform, land cover and climatic variables that were thought a priori to have potentially high predictive power. We used the average training gain from ten model runs to select the best subset of predictors. Total winter precipitation, aspect and land cover, particularly broadleaf forests, emerged as important variables. A five-variable model that contained land cover, winter precipitation, aspect, slope, and elevation was the most parsimonious and not significantly different than the models with more variables. We used the best fitting model to depict potential winter habitat. Using the 10 percentile threshold (>0.25), we estimated winter habitat to cover 33,170 km2, nearly 10% of the study area. The Dominican Republic contained half of all potential habitat (51%), followed by Cuba (15.1%), Jamaica (13.5%), Haiti (10.6%), and Puerto Rico (9.9%). Nearly one-third of the range was found to be in protected areas. By providing the first detailed predictive map of Bicknell's Thrush winter distribution, our study provides a useful tool to prioritize and direct conservation planning for this and other wet, broadleaf forest specialists in the Greater Antilles. © 2013 McFarland et al.


Cadiz A.,Tohoku University | Cadiz A.,University of Habana | Nagata N.,Tohoku University | Katabuchi M.,CAS Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden | And 5 more authors.
Ecosphere | Year: 2013

Variations in species richness of local assemblages may be explained by local ecological processes or large-scale evolutionary and biogeographical processes. In Anolis lizards, species with different ecomorphs can coexist by occupying different niches. In addition, several species with the same ecomorph (e.g., trunk-ground) can coexist, and the number of trunk-ground anole species varies among local species assemblages. In this study, we assessed the importance of ecological interactions, number of speciation events, and range expansion for local and regional species diversity of these lizards. We examined the species richness and thermal microhabitat partitioning (considered to be a measure of ecological interaction) of 12 trunk-ground anole species in 11 local assemblages in Cuba. The results indicated that the phylogenetic structure of trunk-ground anole lizard assemblages was random. However, there was an overdispersion of preferences for thermal microhabitat use, which indicates that differences in microhabitat use are likely to occur within assemblages. We suggest that the number of speciation events within regions and the number of sympatrically coexisting species increases species richness at the local level. Migration appeared to be limited, leading to the range expansion of only three species with different thermal requirements. The thermal niches of species were conserved within Anolis allogus clade, whereas species within the Anolis homolechis and Anolis sagrei clades tended to change their thermal niches. Our results suggest that the species composition and richness in local assemblages could be explained by evolutionary history (the number of speciation events and limits to range expansion) and ecological processes (habitat partitioning). Of the ecological factors, the number of thermal (microhabitat use) and structural niches (e.g., vegetation) could limit the potential number of coexisting species within a local assemblage. © 2013 Cádiz et al.


Villegas-Martin J.,University of the Rio dos Sinos Valley | Rojas-Consuegra R.,Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Cuba | Klompmaker A.A.,University of Florida | Klompmaker A.A.,University of California at Berkeley
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2016

The fossil record of drill holes in shelled invertebrates is focused primarily on bivalves and gastropods as prey. The still limited reports on drill holes in serpulid polychaetes are principally recorded from Cenozoic deposits and restricted to Europe and Antarctica. This study documents drill holes on the serpulid polychaete Pyrgopolon onyx from the Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of Pepito Tey (central Cuba). The oval-shaped drill holes, attributed to the ichnospecies Oichnus ovalis, were primarily caused by naticid gastropods, probably by individuals of Gyrodes sp. known from the same formation. Using five methods, the study on an assemblage of 53 non-moldic specimens shows that >. 17.0 and <. 22.2% of the specimens was drilled. This narrow range suggests that these methods can be used successfully for any time period for cylindrical shells including serpulids and scaphopods, if the specimens of the sample are reasonably well-preserved. Drill holes were randomly positioned with respect to the side of the tubes, but drill holes are preferentially located between the ribs and in the middle part to slightly towards the posterior end of the tube, suggesting that naticids selected the drill hole location efficiently on polychaetes with ornamentation already by the Cretaceous. The reasons for drilled tubes of P. onyx are probably related to the withdrawal of their soft body deep inside the tube and/or because of the presence of a calcareous operculum closing off the aperture. The record of drilling predation in Pyrgopolon is restricted to Cretaceous deposits, which may represent a bias in predation research focused only on Cretaceous specimens. More research on drilling predation of serpulids should be performed to better understand the function of ornamentation in deterring drilling, to determine how common drilling was on serpulids in deep time, and to evaluate the paleobiogeography of drilling predation. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.


Heinicke M.P.,Pennsylvania State University | Heinicke M.P.,Villanova University | Diaz L.M.,Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Cuba | Hedges S.B.,Pennsylvania State University
Biology Letters | Year: 2011

Two of the earliest examples of successful invasive amphibians are the greenhouse frog (Eleutherodactylus planirostris) and the Cuban treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) in Florida. Although both are generally assumed to be recent introductions, they are widespread on Caribbean islands and also have been proposed as natural colonizers. We obtained nucleotide sequence data for both species and their closest relatives in their native and introduced ranges. Phylogenetic analyses trace the origin of E. planirostris to a small area in western Cuba, while O. septentrionalis is derived from at least two Cuban sources, one probably a remote peninsula in western Cuba. The tropical-to-temperate invasion began with colonization of the Florida Keys followed by human-mediated dispersal within peninsular Florida. The subtropical Keys may have served as an adaptive stepping stone for the successful invasion of the North American continent. © 2010 The Royal Society.


Diaz L.M.,Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Cuba | Hedges S.B.,Pennsylvania State University | Schmid M.,University of Würzburg
Zootaxa | Year: 2012

The widely distributed grass frog of Cuba, Eleutherodactylus varleyi, is shown here to comprise two species. One, E. varleyi, occurs in western and central Cuba while the other, E. feichtingeri n. sp., occurs in central and eastern Cuba. The two species are sympatric in central Cuba, and syntopic in the vicinity of Sierra de Cubitas, Camagüey Province. A molecular phylogeny of mitochondrial DNA sequences from 18 localities confirms the existence of two well-supported major clades corresponding to each of these species, and the sympatry of the species. Tympanum size and advertisement call are the most useful diagnostic characters, although the two species are shown to have karyotypic differences as well. Possible character displacement in morphology and vocalization, in the area of sympatry, is discussed. Copyright © 2012 Magnolia Press.


The Cuban regions with predominance of ophiolites are known to have more endemics plants than bordering regions. The combined wealth of those floras is such that to understand the patterns of distribution of the Cuban flora is necessary to know those patterns in ofilitic regions. Good indicators of the total wealth are the endemic components. With that objective here is published a cartographic diagram of Cuban regions where it prevail the mentioned rocks, and a list of Cuban endemic taxa collected there. In the identified territories has been recognized 1603 infra generic endemic taxa of 106 families and 420 genus. Of those total, 741 are exclusive of ophiolitic regions. In the soils derivate from ophiolitics rocks mainly taxa from the North Andean evolutionary group are predominate.


Madruga Rios O.,Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Cuba | Hernandez Quinta M.,Institute Ecologia y Sistematica
Psyche | Year: 2010

Alecton Laporte, 1833, with four known species is the only firefly genus endemic to Cuba. Alecton discoidalis Laporte, 1833, is its most common species, distributed in the western half of the country. Unfortunately, much of its life history remains unknown, as with the rest of Cuban representatives of the family Lampyridae. Larvae are associated with adults of A. discoidalis through rearing, and observations on larval feeding habits of this species are presented. Thirteen species belonging to seven gastropod families are reported for the first time as prey of A. discoidalis larvae. Our data suggest that these are generalist predators of terrestrial snails. A remarkably close association exists between this lampyrid and operculate species of snails. The later represents the most abundant and diverse group of molluscs in limestone landscapes, where the beetles are commonly found. © 2010 Ormaily Madruga Rios and Maike Hernández Quinta.

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