Mammal-plant interactions differ significantly between urban and natural environments; however, knowledge of mammal-pollinated plants in urban areas remains limited compared to plants in their natural habitats. Here, we compared the flower visitors of Mucuna macrocarpa between urban and forested areas in Okinawa-jima Island, Japan and in Taiwan. Mucuna macrocarpa requires a highly specialized pollination process. Our study showed that Ryukyu flying foxes (Pteropus dasymallus) were the pollinator of M. macrocarpa in both the urban and forested areas of Okinawa-jima Island, whereas, in Taiwan, red-bellied squirrels (Callosciurus erythraeus) were the main pollinator species. Both pollinator species visited inflorescences in urban areas at the same or higher frequency as in forested areas. In contrast, non-pollinating animals engaged in nectar-robbing or picking-off behaviors when visiting Mucuna flowers in forested areas only. These results suggest that M. macrocarpa successfully attracts local pollinators, even in urban environments that have relatively low biodiversity. The negative effect of animal guilds on the success of M. macrocarpa pollination is significantly lower in urban compared to forested areas. However, the fragmentation caused by urbanization might reduce the opportunity for cross-pollination.
The present study, the first to examine breeding ability in elderly cetaceans, addressed the reproductive capacity of four captive male Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins that are among the oldest in the world (47-50 years in 2017). The dolphins' reproductive ability was assessed by monthly monitoring of serum testosterone (T) levels over nine years (2009-2017), and examination of semen characteristics. Serum T concentrations from blood samples were measured by fluorescence immunoassay. The dolphins showed regular peaks in their serum T levels every year or once every few years. The mean monthly T level showed a significant seasonal change, beginning to elevate in January, peaking from March to May, and then declining until September. Semen production was confirmed in three of the four individuals, and semen quality was confirmed for those dolphins through collections one or two times a month for a year. The sperm concentration in samples from those individuals was comparatively high. These data indicated that the dolphins had the capacity to breed every year. Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins are capable of surviving to older ages in captivity than they typically reach in the wild, and it is likely that even elderly individuals retain their breeding ability.
The first known occurrence of Petinomys setosus in Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) was recorded from a single specimen collected at Na Mouang village in Vientiane province, which is approximately 240 km from its nearest known distribution in northwestern Thailand. We describe the morphological and cranial features of this specimen and discuss its occurrence in Lao PDR. The focal Laos specimen is similar in pelage color to those from northwestern Thailand, particularly on the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the body, gliding membrane, face, and tail. The cranio-dental characters (bullae and dental patterns) are also similar.
The estimated number of sika deer within the Tanzawa Mountains has decreased since the Kanagawa Prefecture sika deer management plan commenced. Meanwhile, unit-specific culling has resulted in various trends in deer density across small monitoring units. Deer abundance is usually surveyed within small monitoring units; therefore, the evaluation of deer abundance changes across the entire management area comprising individual units is difficult. We examined the relationship between deer body condition indicators and densities estimated at both individual unit and entire management scales in the Tanzawa Mountains during 2004-2015. Winter fawn body mass in the study area increased at least until 2011, irrespective of the increase/decrease in deer density in each unit. Observed variations in body mass were related to the estimated number of deer within the entire management area. Winter fawn hind foot length was not related to any density estimates. Inconsistencies between deer density changes in each unit and body mass might derive from the deer movement between units and mitigation of density-dependent food limitations caused by a reduction in the number of deer within the entire management area. We suggest that winter fawn body mass can provide additional evidence of deer abundance changes within management areas.
Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) is one of the cetacean species commonly encountered off the eastern coast of Taiwan. The species appears to occur in Taiwanese waters year-round. Many biological and ecological characteristics, including group size, habitat preference, and ages at weaning and sexual maturity, are by-and-large in accord with earlier reports for populations in other geographic regions. Morphological assessments, dietary analyses, and genetic data altogether suggest the dolphins found in Taiwanese and Japanese waters are from the same population, which exhibits high genetic diversity and a sign of recent demographic expansion. The dolphin species is endorsed a "Rare and Valuable Species (Class II)" status and is protected by the Wildlife Conservation Act in Taiwan. However, it is still vulnerable to human activities, in terms of whale-watching tourism and coastal gill-net fisheries, with a growing concern on the level of heavy metal residues found in dolphin tissues. Current knowledge for the species is mostly derived from relatively limited information. Assessments on key biological and ecological features, e.g., population size, residency, social structure, and group composition, shall be prioritised for conservation initiatives.