Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

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Garcia-de-Lomas J.,University of Cádiz | Cozar A.,University of Cádiz | Hernandez I.,University of Cádiz | Sanchez-Garcia I.,Zoobotanico de Jerez | Garcia C.M.,University of Cádiz
Acta Oecologica | Year: 2010

Blanket weed Galenia pubescens (Aizoaceae) is a prostrate perennial species native to South Africa. The naturalization in other Mediterranean-climate ecosystems has recently been noted in South-western Australia, California, and Southern Spain. In this paper, the invasiveness of G. pubescens was evaluated by testing a variety of stochastic and biological features and by studying the incipient impacts in two well-differentiated coastal ecosystems of Southern Spain- dunes and salty wetlands. Several features of G. pubescens were found as indicators of invasiveness: (i) the genus Galenia was not represented in native flora, and the majority of the species of the family (Aizoaceae) were alien or invasive; (ii) the growth type of G. pubescens (dense prostrate mats) was not found among the native species; (iii) resprouting ability, growth rates and seed production were within the range of well-known invaders such as Carpobrotus spp and Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L.; (iv) the overlapping in flowering periods (73-94%) with those of native flora and the effective shading (99%) of the G. pubescens mats were considerably high. A significant lower native richness and Shannon's diversity index was found in the invaded plant communities. These results demand the consideration of G. pubescens into the management plans of the Mediterranean-climate coastal ecosystems in order to prevent further dispersal and impacts. © 2009 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.


Fernandez-Montraveta C.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Gonzalez J.M.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Cuadrado M.,Zoobotanico de Jerez
Behavioural Processes | Year: 2014

Sexual cannibalism is a widespread phenomenon among a few animal taxa. Its occurrence is interpreted as female and/or male optimal reproductive decisions or as a non-adaptive side effect of selection for efficiently foraging females. In spite of the amount of research addressed at understanding its evolutionary origins, we lack accurate information about the proximate causes of sexual cannibalism. In a moderately sexually dimorphic wolf spider (Hogna radiata, Araneae, Lycosidae) we assessed the factors mediating the occurrence of sexual cannibalism and its fitness benefits to females. Sexual cannibalism was a rather common outcome of laboratory mating interactions, occurring in more than a quarter percent of courtship interactions involving virgin females. Sexual cannibalism mostly followed mating. Occurrence of sexual cannibalism depended on male vulnerability to female attacks: relatively smaller males were at higher risk of being attacked and older males were less likely to avoid female attacks. Sexual cannibalism had direct and positive effects on female fitness, as sexually cannibalistic females exhibited increased fecundity irrespective of their size, condition and foraging rate. Male consumption was almost complete and represented a relevant food intake to females. We interpret sexual cannibalism as a strategic foraging decision for H. radiata females that adjust their aggressive behaviour towards males so as to limit its potential costs. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Fernandez-Montraveta C.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Cuadrado M.,Zoobotanico de Jerez
Journal of Arachnology | Year: 2013

To the extent that sperm production or mating opportunities are limited, males are expected to allocate their sperm optimally, so as to increase their overall fitness. Among spiders, sperm depletion and monogyny are known to be optimal male mating decisions either under strong sperm competition or as terminal investment strategies, when future mating opportunities are limited. In a medium-sized wolf spider, Hogna radiata (Latreille 1817), we investigated sperm depletion, terminal sperm investment and the potential for sperm competition in laboratory mating trials in which we allowed males and females to pair sequentially with two mates. Males mated with as many females as they encountered. We found no evidence of sperm depletion or terminal sperm investment, as mating duration and female fitness were unaffected by male mating history or age. Polyandry was rare and did not involve any clear fitness benefit to females, whereas pre-mating sexual cannibalism was a rather common outcome of mating interactions involving inseminated females. Our results indicate that H. radiata males are not sperm limited and support the hypothesis that the potential for sperm competition shapes the evolution of sperm allocation in this species. Monandrous females do not incur any fitness cost and could potentially benefit from cannibalizing their prospective mates. © 2013 The American Arachnological Society.


Mateo J.A.,University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria | Cuadrado M.,Zoobotanico de Jerez
Journal of Herpetology | Year: 2012

Oudri's Fan-Footed Gecko (Ptyodactylus oudrii) is a common North African desert lizard that lives in dense colonies. Reproductive behavior shows a number of peculiarities in egg laying. Females select communal oviposition sites in rocky recesses at human-made structures. Individuals of both sexes perform communal parental care of the eggs. We performed field observations to analyze the extent of communal nesting in nature in southeast Morocco. We also carried out laboratory experiments to analyze the function of this behavior. In Experiment 1, we assessed whether the presence of previous clutches influenced whether females select a site for oviposition. In experiment 2, we tested whether parental egg-attendance influenced the hatching success of eggs. Finally, in Experiment 3, we compared hatching success of communal and solitary clutches under laboratory conditions. Communal nesting was the generally observed in the field. With a single exception, all clutches were restricted to one area. In 32 of colonies, individuals of both sexes and all ages remained in close vicinity to clutches. Females preferred oviposition sites where freshly laid eggs were present. Hatching rate significantly decreased when adult lizards were experimentally excluded from the oviposition site, and hatching success of solitary clutches was significantly lower than that of communal ones under laboratory conditions. Our results suggest that communal nesting in this species is highly adaptive, because aggregation favors parental care, defense against predators of eggs or hatchlings, and increases incubation success. These benefits are likely to be important in geckos that live in extremely dry environments. Copyright © 2012 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.


Cuadrado M.,ZooBotanico de Jerez | Sanchez I.,ZooBotanico de Jerez | Barcell M.,ZooBotanico de Jerez | Armario M.,ZooBotanico de Jerez
Animal Biodiversity and Conservation | Year: 2016

Changes in nest density and reproductive success of a free-ranging population of white stork (Ciconia ciconia) in the Gardens of ZooBotánico Jerez (Cádiz) were studied from 1990 to 2013. Reproductive data (number of nests and number of chicks per nest) and the effect of rainfall on the reproductive success were analyzed. In addition, a number of chicks were colour-ringed each year and the recovery data were also analyzed. The number of nests found in the area steadily increased during the study period and varied greatly from year to year from 2001 onwards (mean 19, range = 4-35, N = 22 years). Reproductive success also varied greatly among years. Overall, the mean number of chicks per nest was 1.78 ± 1.2 (range = 0-5, N = 439 nests).Reproductive success was strongly influenced by rainfall. It was highest (1.88) in years classified as rainy, medium (1.62) in years classified as normal, and lowest (1.24) in dry years. A total of 404 white storks were ringed, 110 of which were observed a total of 308 times (2.8 + 2.8 times per bird, range 1-12, all year data pooled). Recovery data show that with one exception, all ringed birds were recorded at different habitats of S Spain throughout the year. Remarkably, none was observed at traditional wintering quarters, south of the Sahara in Africa. Juveniles remained in the area (from July to October) soon after leaving our colony, and virtually all of them disappeared from November to January (their first winter) but were recorded again during their first breeding season. On the contrary, adults were repeatedly recorded at different sites in Cádiz, Sevilla and Huelva all year round. These birds showed a strong philopatry as some of them were recorded as breeders in our colony, up to 11 years after ringing. Our data emphasize the importance of both refuse damp and wetland areas for the species, especially in winter, and a shift in the timing of the reproductive season as birds were recorded from November to July each year. Our study provides evidence of the increase in the population, a significant effect of rainfall on their reproductive success, and the non-migratory habits of adult white storks in our colony. To our knowledge, this is the first time that such long-term reproductive data for a Mediterranean population of white storks is shown. © 2016 Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona.

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