Description and life-cycle of Taenia lynciscapreoli sp. n. (Cestoda, Cyclophyllidea).
ABSTRACT: A new species of tapeworm, Taenia lynciscapreoli sp. n. (Cestoda, Cyclophyllidea), is described from the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), the main definitive host, and the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus and Capreolus pygargus), the main intermediate hosts, from Finland and Russia (Siberia and the Russian Far East). The new species was found once also in the wolf (Canis lupus) and the Eurasian elk/moose (Alces alces), representing accidental definitive and intermediate hosts, respectively. The conspecificity of adult specimens and metacestodes of Taenia lynciscapreoli sp. n. in various host species and regions, and their distinction from related species of Taenia, was confirmed by partial nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene. Morphologically, Taenia lynciscapreoli sp. n. can be separated unambiguously from all other species of Taenia by the shape of its large rostellar hooks, particularly the characteristically short, wide and strongly curved blade. If the large rostellar hooks are missing, Taenia lynciscapreoli may be separated from related species by a combination of morphological features of mature proglottids. It is suggested that Taenia lynciscapreoli has been present in published materials concerning the tapeworms of Lynx lynx and Lynx pardinus in Europe, but has been misidentified as Taenia pisiformis (Bloch, 1780). Taenia lynciscapreoli sp. n. has not been found in lynx outside the range of roe deer, suggesting a transmission pathway based on a specific predator-prey relationship. The present study applies a novel, simple approach to compare qualitative interspecific differences in the shape of rostellar hooks.
Project description:The tapeworm Taenia lynciscapreoli is a new species of the genus Taenia described in 2016, and which remains poorly understood. The aim of the present study is to extend current knowledge regarding its, morphology and genome. Biological material was analysed from three species of wild animals: Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and moose (Alces alces). Twenty-four adult tapeworms and four larvae were obtained from Eurasian lynx and roe deer respectively; none were detected in the studied moose. On the basis of morphometric (hooks measurements) and molecular analysis (partial 780 bp cox 1 gene sequences), the analysed tapeworm was identified as Taenia lynciscapreoli species. The phylogenetic analysis of the obtained sequences identified two haplotypes. The obtained findings can be used to supplement the species description. To our knowledge this is the first morphological and molecular identification of T. lynciscapreoli in roe deer, intermediate host, in Poland.
Project description:In Central Europe, protected areas are too small to ensure survival of populations of large carnivores. In the surrounding areas, these species are often persecuted due to competition with game hunters. Therefore, understanding how predation intensity varies spatio-temporally across areas with different levels of protection is fundamental. We investigated the predation patterns of Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) on roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) in both protected areas and multi-use landscapes of the Bohemian Forest Ecosystem. Based on 359 roe and red deer killed by 10 GPS-collared lynx, we calculated the species-specific annual kill rates and tested for effects of season and lynx age, sex and reproductive status. Because roe and red deer in the study area concentrate in unprotected lowlands during winter, we modeled spatial distribution of kills separately for summer and winter and calculated-the probability of a deer killed by lynx and-the expected number of kills for areas with different levels of protection. Significantly more roe deer (46.05-74.71/year/individual lynx) were killed than red deer (1.57-9.63/year/individual lynx), more deer were killed in winter than in summer, and lynx family groups had higher annual kill rates than adult male, single adult female and subadult female lynx. In winter the probability of a deer killed and the expected number of kills were higher outside the most protected part of the study area than inside; in summer, this probability did not differ between areas, and the expected number of kills was slightly larger inside than outside the most protected part of the study area. This indicates that the intensity of lynx predation in the unprotected part of the Bohemian Forest Ecosystem increases in winter, thus mitigation of conflicts in these areas should be included as a priority in the lynx conservation strategy.
Project description:The effects of predation on ungulate populations depend on several factors. One of the most important factors is the proportion of predation that is additive or compensatory respectively to other mortality in the prey, i.e., the relative effect of top-down and bottom-up processes. We estimated Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) kill rate on roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) using radio-collared lynx. Kill rate was strongly affected by lynx social status. For males it was 4.85 ± 1.30 S.E. roe deer per 30 days, for females with kittens 6.23 ± 0.83 S.E. and for solitary females 2.71 ± 0.47 S.E. We found very weak support for effects of prey density (both for Type I (linear) and Type II (non-linear) functional responses) and of season (winter, summer) on lynx kill rate. Additionally, we analysed the growth rate in a roe deer population from 1985 to 2005 in an area, which lynx naturally re-colonized in 1996. The annual roe deer growth rate was lower after lynx re-colonized the study area, but it was also negatively influenced by roe deer density. Before lynx colonized the area roe deer growth rate was ? = 1.079 (± 0.061 S.E.), while after lynx re-colonization it was ? = 0.94 (± 0.051 S.E.). Thus, the growth rate in the roe deer population decreased by ?? = 0.14 (± 0.080 S.E.) after lynx re-colonized the study area, which corresponded to the estimated lynx predation rate on roe deer (0.11 ± 0.042 S.E.), suggesting that lynx predation was mainly additive to other mortality in roe deer. To conclude, this study suggests that lynx predation together with density dependent factors both influence the roe deer population dynamics. Thus, both top-down and bottom-up processes operated at the same time in this predator-prey system.
Project description:Predator-prey theory predicts that in the presence of multiple types of predators using a common prey, predator facilitation may result as a consequence of contrasting prey defense mechanisms, where reducing the risk from one predator increases the risk from the other. While predator facilitation is well established in natural predator-prey systems, little attention has been paid to situations where human hunters compete with natural predators for the same prey. Here, we investigate hunting-mediated predator facilitation in a hunter-predator-prey system. We found that hunter avoidance by roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) exposed them to increase predation risk by Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx). Lynx responded by increasing their activity and predation on deer, providing evidence that superadditive hunting mortality may be occurring through predator facilitation. Our results reveal a new pathway through which human hunters, in their role as top predators, may affect species interactions at lower trophic levels and thus drive ecosystem processes.
Project description:Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is one tick-transmitted disease where the human incidence has increased in some European regions during the last two decades. We aim to find the most important factors causing the increasing incidence of human TBE in Sweden. Based on a review of published data we presume that certain temperature-related variables and the population densities of transmission hosts, i.e. small mammals, and of primary tick maintenance hosts, i.e. cervids and lagomorphs, of the TBE virus vector Ixodes ricinus, are among the potentially most important factors affecting the TBE incidence. Therefore, we compare hunting data of the major tick maintenance hosts and two of their important predators, and four climatic variables with the annual numbers of human cases of neuroinvasive TBE. Data for six Swedish regions where human TBE incidence is high or has recently increased are examined by a time-series analysis. Results from the six regions are combined using a meta-analytical method.With a one-year time lag, the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), mountain hare (Lepus timidus) and European hare (Lepus europaeus) showed positive covariance; the Eurasian elk (moose, Alces alces) and fallow deer (Dama dama) negative covariance; whereas the wild boar (Sus scrofa), lynx (Lynx lynx), red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and the four climate parameters showed no significant covariance with TBE incidence. All game species combined showed positive covariance.The epidemiology of TBE varies with time and geography and depends on numerous factors, i.a. climate, virus genotypes, and densities of vectors, tick maintenance hosts and transmission hosts. This study suggests that the increased availability of deer to I. ricinus over large areas of potential tick habitats in southern Sweden increased the density and range of I. ricinus and created new TBEV foci, which resulted in increased incidence of human TBE. New foci may be established by TBE virus-infected birds, or by birds or migrating mammals infested with TBEV-infected ticks. Generally, persistence of TBE virus foci appears to require presence of transmission-competent small mammals, especially mice (Apodemus spp.) or bank voles (Myodes glareolus).
Project description:Hepatitis E virus (HEV), a major cause of viral hepatitis worldwide, is considered an emerging foodborne zoonosis in Europe. Pigs (<i>Sus scrofa domestica</i>) and wild boars (<i>S. scrofa</i>) are recognized as important HEV reservoirs. Additionally, HEV infection and exposure have been described in cervids. In Norway, HEV has been identified in pigs and humans; however, little is known regarding its presence in wild ungulates in the country. We used a species-independent double-antigen sandwich ELISA to detect antibodies against HEV in the sera of 715 wild ungulates from Norway, including 164 moose (<i>Alces alces</i>), 186 wild Eurasian tundra reindeer (<i>Rangifer tarandus tarandus</i>), 177 red deer (<i>Cervus elaphus</i>), 86 European roe deer (<i>Capreolus capreolus</i>), and 102 muskoxen (<i>Ovibos moschatus</i>). The overall seroprevalence was 12.3% (88/715). Wild reindeer had the highest seropositivity (23.1%, 43/186), followed by moose (19.5%, 32/164), muskoxen (5.9%, 6/102), and red deer (4%, 7/177). All roe deer were negative. According to our results, HEV is circulating in wild ungulates in Norway. The high seroprevalence observed in wild reindeer and moose indicates that these species may be potential reservoirs of HEV. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of HEV exposure in reindeer from Europe and in muskoxen worldwide.
Project description:Faced with rapid environmental changes, individuals may express different magnitude and plasticity in their response to a given stressor. However, little is known about the causes of variation in phenotypic plasticity of the stress response in wild populations. In the present study, we repeatedly captured individual roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) from two wild populations in Sweden exposed to differing levels of predation pressure and measured plasma concentrations of stress-induced cortisol and behavioral docility. While controlling for the marked effects of habituation, we found clear between-population differences in the stress-induced cortisol response. Roe deer living in the area that was recently recolonized by lynx (Lynx lynx) and wolves (Canis lupus) expressed cortisol levels that were around 30% higher than roe deer in the human-dominated landscape free of large carnivores. In addition, for the first time to our knowledge, we investigated the stress-induced cortisol response in free-ranging newborn fawns and found no evidence for hypo-responsiveness during early life in this species. Indeed, stress-induced cortisol levels were of similar magnitude and differed between populations to a similar extent in both neonates and adults. Finally, at an individual level, we found that both cortisol and docility levels were strongly repeatable, and weakly negatively inter-correlated, suggesting that individuals differed consistently in how they respond to a stressor, and supporting the existence of a stress-management syndrome in roe deer.
Project description:Effects of cervid browsing on timber production, especially during winter, lead to economic losses in forest management. The aim of this study was to present an efficient DNA-based method which allows qualitative assessment of the winter diet from stools of moose (Alces alces), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), and red deer (Cervus elaphus). The preliminary results of the diet composition of the three cervids from Poland were also presented with a special emphasis on moose. The electropherograms of the chloroplast intron trnL (UAA) P6 loop amplification products using g (fluorescence-labeled) and h primers revealed differences in the length of PCR products among various plant species eaten by these herbivores. In addition, the usage of species-specific primers allowed unambiguous identification of different gymnosperms and angiosperms. The preliminary moose diet analysis, based on winter fecal samples from the entire range of moose occurrence in Poland, revealed the presence of 15 to 24 tree, shrub, and herbaceous species. This fast, cost-efficient, and simple method proved also to be reliable for the diet analysis of red deer and roe deer. It may be a valuable tool in forest and conservation management, as well as a way of enhancing ecological studies focusing on the impact of herbivores on the ecosystems and their possible food niche overlap.
Project description:Varestrongylus alces, a lungworm in Eurasian moose from Europe has been considered a junior synonym of Varestrongylus capreoli, in European roe deer, due to a poorly detailed morphological description and the absence of a type-series.Specimens used in the redescription were collected from lesions in the lungs of Eurasian moose, from Vestby, Norway. Specimens were described based on comparative morphology and integrated approaches. Molecular identification was based on PCR, cloning and sequencing of the ITS-2 region of the nuclear ribosomal DNA. Phylogenetic analysis compared V. alces ITS-2 sequences to these of other Varestrongylus species and other protostrongylids.Varestrongylus alces is resurrected for protostrongylid nematodes of Eurasian moose from Europe. Varestrongylus alces causes firm nodular lesions that are clearly differentiated from the adjacent lung tissue. Histologically, lesions are restricted to the parenchyma with adult, egg and larval parasites surrounded by multinucleated giant cells, macrophages, eosinophilic granulocytes, lymphocytes. The species is valid and distinct from others referred to Varestrongylus, and should be separated from V. capreoli. Morphologically, V. alces can be distinguished from other species by characters in the males that include a distally bifurcated gubernaculum, arched denticulate crura, spicules that are equal in length and relatively short, and a dorsal ray that is elongate and bifurcated. Females have a well-developed provagina, and are very similar to those of V. capreoli. Morphometrics of first-stage larvae largely overlap with those of other Varestrongylus. Sequences of the ITS-2 region strongly support mutual independence of V. alces, V. cf. capreoli, and the yet undescribed species of Varestrongylus from North American ungulates. These three taxa form a well-supported crown-clade as the putative sister of V. alpenae. The association of V. alces and Alces or its ancestors is discussed in light of host and parasite phylogeny and host historical biogeography.Varestrongylus alces is a valid species, and should be considered distinct from V. capreoli. Phylogenetic relationships among Varestrongylus spp. from Eurasia and North America are complex and consistent with faunal assembly involving recurrent events of geographic expansion, host switching and subsequent speciation.
Project description:Risk of predation is an evolutionary force that affects behaviors of virtually all animals. In this study, we examined how habitat selection by roe deer was affected by risk of predation by Eurasian lynx - the main predator of roe deer in Scandinavia. Specifically, we compared how habitat selection by roe deer varied (1) before and after lynx re-established in the study area and (2) in relation to habitat-specific risk of predation by lynx. All analyses were conducted at the spatial and temporal scales of home ranges and seasons. We did not find any evidence that roe deer avoided habitats in which the risk of predation by lynx was greatest and information-theoretic model selection showed that re-colonization by lynx had limited impact on habitat selection by roe deer despite lynx predation causing 65% of known mortalities after lynx re-colonized the area. Instead we found that habitat selection decreased when habitat availability increased for 2 of 5 habitat types (a pattern referred to as functional response in habitat selection). Limited impact of re-colonization by lynx on habitat selection by roe deer in this study differs from elk in North America altering both daily and seasonal patterns in habitat selection at the spatial scales of habitat patches and home ranges when wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park. Our study thus provides further evidence of the complexity by which animals respond to risk of predation and suggest that it may vary between ecosystems and predator-prey constellations.