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16 novembre 2015

Bumblebee learning and memory is impaired by chronic exposure to a neonicotinoid pesticide [Scientific Reports]

Keywords : agroecology, animal behaviour, behavioural ecology, ecosystem services

Bumblebees are exposed to pesticides applied for crop protection while foraging on treated plants, with increasing evidence suggesting that this sublethal exposure has implications for pollinator declines. The challenges of navigating and learning to manipulate many different flowers underline the critical role learning plays for the foraging success and survival of bees. We assessed the impacts of both acute and chronic exposure to field-realistic levels of a widely applied neonicotinoid insecticide, thiamethoxam, on bumblebee odour learning and memory.(...)

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13 novembre 2015

Differentiated Anti-Predation Responses in a Superorganism [Plos One]

Keywords : predation, ants, insect pheromones, alarm pheromones, insect physiology, neurons, pheromones, insects

Insect societies are complex systems, displaying emergent properties much greater than the sum of their individual parts. As such, the concept of these societies as single ‘superorganisms’ is widely applied to describe their organisation and biology. Here, we test the applicability of this concept to the response of social insect colonies to predation during a vulnerable period of their life history. We used the model system of house-hunting behaviour in the ant Temnothorax albipennis.(...)

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13 novembre 2015

Community assembly is a race between immigration and adaptation : eco-evolutionary interactions across spatial scales [Ecography]

Both ecological and evolutionary mechanisms have been proposed to describe how natural communities become assembled at both regional and biogeographical scales. Yet, these theories have largely been developed in isolation. Here, we unite these separate views and develop an integrated eco-evolutionary framework of community assembly. We use a simulation approach to explore the factors determining the interplay between ecological and evolutionary mechanisms systematically across spatial scales. Our results suggest that the same set of ecological and evolutionary processes can determine community assembly at both regional and biogeographical scales.(...)

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12 novembre 2015

How predation shaped fish : the impact of fin spines on body form evolution across teleosts [Royal Society Open Science]

Keywords : Teleostei, spines, body depth, body width, macroevolution, predation

It is well known that predators can induce morphological changes in some fish : individuals exposed to predation cues increase body depth and the length of spines. We hypothesize that these structures may evolve synergistically, as together, these traits will further enlarge the body dimensions of the fish that gape-limited predators must overcome. We therefore expect that the orientation of the spines will predict which body dimension increases in the presence of predators. Using phylogenetic comparative methods, we tested this prediction on the macroevolutionary scale across 347 teleost families, which display considerable variation in fin spines, body depth and width.(...)

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12 novembre 2015

On Heels and Toes : How Ants Climb with Adhesive Pads and Tarsal Friction Hair Arrays [Plos One]

Keywords : ants, adhesives, friction, climbing, inscets, legs, buckling, walking

Ants are able to climb effortlessly on vertical and inverted smooth surfaces. When climbing, their feet touch the substrate not only with their pretarsal adhesive pads but also with dense arrays of fine hairs on the ventral side of the 3rd and 4th tarsal segments. To understand what role these different attachment structures play during locomotion, we analysed leg kinematics and recorded single-leg ground reaction forces in Weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) climbing vertically on a smooth glass substrate.(...)

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