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Involvement of ayu NOD2 in NF-κB and MAPK signaling pathways: Insights into functional conservation of NOD2 in antibacterial innate immunity
Yi Ren, Shui-Fang Liu, Li Nie, Shi-Yu Cai, Jiong Chen
Zoological Research    2019, 40 (2): 77-88.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.066
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Nucleotide oligomerization domain 2 (NOD2) is a major cytoplasmic sensor for pathogens and is critical for the clearance of cytosolic bacteria in mammals. However, studies regarding NOD2, especially the initiated signaling pathways, are scarce in teleost species. In this study, we identified a NOD2 molecule (PaNOD2) from ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis). Bioinformatics analysis showed the structure of NOD2 to be highly conserved during vertebrate evolution. Dual-luciferase reporter assays examined the activation of NF-κB signaling and Western blotting analysis detected the phosphorylation of three MAP kinases (p-38, Erk1/2, and JNK1/2). Functional study revealed that, like its mammalian counterparts, PaNOD2 was the receptor of the bacterial cell wall component muramyl dipeptide (MDP), and the leucine-rich repeat motif was responsible for the recognition and binding of PaNOD2 with the ligand. Overexpression of PaNOD2 activated the NF-κB signaling pathway, leading to the upregulation of inflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α and IL-1β in HEK293T cells and ayu head kidney-derived monocytes/macrophages (MO/MΦ). Particularly, we found that PaNOD2 activated the MAPK signaling pathways, as indicated by the increased phosphorylation of p-38, Erk1/2, and JNK1/2, which have not been characterized in any teleost species previously. Our findings proved that the NOD2 molecule and initiated pathways are conserved between mammals and ayu. Therefore, ayu could be used as an animal model to investigate NOD2-based diseases and therapeutic applications.
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Current understanding on the roles of gut microbiota in fish disease and immunity
Jin-Bo Xiong, Li Nie, Jiong Chen
Zoological Research    2019, 40 (2): 70-76.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.069
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Intensive aquaculture has increased the severity and frequency of fish diseases. Given the functional importance of gut microbiota in various facets of host physiology, modulation of this microbiota is a feasible strategy to mitigate emerging diseases in aquaculture. To achieve this, a fundamental understanding of the interplay among fish health, microbiota, and invading pathogens is required. This mini-review focuses on current knowledge regarding the associations between fish diseases, dysbiosis of gut microbiota, and immune responses. Furthermore, updated research on fish disease from an ecological perspective is discussed, including colonization resistance imposed by commensals and strategies used by pathogens to overcome resistance. We also propose several directions for future research, such as exploration of the causal links between fish diseases and specific taxa, and identification of universal gut microbial biomarkers for rapid disease diagnosis.
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Taxonomic revision of the genus Mesechinus (Mammalia: Erinaceidae) with description of a new species
Huai-Sen Ai, Kai He, Zhong-Zheng Chen, Jia-Qi Li, Tao Wan, Quan Li, Wen-Hui Nie, Jin-Huan Wang, Wei-Ting Su, Xue-Long Jiang
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (5): 335-347.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.034
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Hedgehogs in the genus Mesechinus (Family Erinaceidae), which include two currently recognized species (M. dauuricus and M. hughi), are distributed from northeast Mongolia to the upper Amur Basin in Russia and adjacent areas in northeast and northern China. In recent years, a population of Mesechinus hedgehogs was discovered from Mt. Gaoligong, southwestern Yunnan, China, far from the known distribution range of the genus. Furthermore, these hedgehogs are the only known population to be distributed at elevations higher than 2 100 m and in sympatry with gymnures. To evaluate the taxonomic status of these hedgehogs, we examined specimens representing Mesechinus taxa in China and further conducted morphometric and karyotypic analyses. Our results supported the existence of four species in China. Specifically, we identified the hedgehogs from Mt. Gaoligong as a new species, Mesechinus wangi sp. nov., and recognized M. miodon, previously considered as a synonym of either M. dauuricus or M. hughi, as a distinct species. Interestingly, we observed a supernumerary M4 on all specimens of Mesechinus wangi sp. nov., which is an extremely rare event in the evolution of mammalian dentition.
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An annotated checklist of mammals of Kenya
Simon Musila, Ara Monadjem, Paul W. Webala, Bruce D. Patterson, Rainer Hutterer, Yvonne A. De Jong, Thomas M. Butynski, Geoffrey Mwangi, Zhong-Zheng Chen, Xue-Long Jiang
Zoological Research    2019, 40 (1): 3-52.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.059
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Kenya has a rich mammalian fauna. We reviewed recently published books and papers including the six volumes of Mammals of Africa to develop an up-to-date annotated checklist of all mammals recorded from Kenya. A total of 390 species have been identified in the country, including 106 species of rodents, 104 species of bats, 63 species of even-toed ungulates (including whales and dolphins), 36 species of insectivores and carnivores, 19 species of primates, five species of elephant shrews, four species of hyraxes and odd-toed ungulates, three species of afrosoricids, pangolins, and hares, and one species of aardvark, elephant, sirenian and hedgehog. The number of species in this checklist is expected to increase with additional surveys and as the taxonomic status of small mammals (e.g., bats, shrews and rodents) becomes better understood.
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Assessment of habitat suitability of the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) in Qomolangma National Nature Reserve based on MaxEnt modeling
De-Feng Bai, Peng-Ju Chen, Luciano Atzeni, Lhaba Cering, Qian Li, Kun Shi
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (6): 373-386.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.057
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Habitat evaluation constitutes an important and fundamental step in the management of wildlife populations and conservation policy planning. Geographic information system (GIS) and species presence data provide the means by which such evaluation can be done. Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) is widely used in habitat suitability modeling due to its power of accuracy and additional descriptive properties. To survey snow leopard populations in Qomolangma (Mt. Everest, QNNR) National Nature Reserve, Tibet, China, we pooled 127 pugmarks, 415 scrape marks, and 127 non-invasive identifications of the animal along line transects and recorded 87 occurrences through camera traps from 2014–2017. We adopted the MaxEnt model to generate a map highlighting the extent of suitable snow leopard habitat in QNNR. Results showed that the accuracy of the MaxEnt model was excellent (mean AUC=0.921). Precipitation in the driest quarter, ruggedness, elevation, maximum temperature of the warmest month, and annual mean temperature were the main environmental factors influencing habitat suitability for snow leopards, with contribution rates of 20.0%, 14.4%, 13.3%, 8.7%, and 8.2% respectively. The suitable habitat area extended for 7001.93 km2, representing 22.72% of the whole reserve. The regions bordering Nepal were the main suitable snow leopard habitats and consisted of three separate habitat patches. Our findings revealed that precipitation, temperature conditions, ruggedness, and elevations of around 4000 m influenced snow leopard preferences at the landscape level in QNNR. We advocate further research and cooperation with Nepal to evaluate habitat connectivity and to explore possible proxies of population isolation among these patches. Furthermore, evaluation of subdivisions within the protection zones of QNNR is necessary to improve conservation strategies and enhance protection. 
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Metagenomic comparison of the rectal microbiota between rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis)
Yan-Fang Cui, Feng-Jie Wang, Lei Yu, Hua-Hu Ye, Gui-Bo Yang
Zoological Research    2019, 40 (2): 89-93.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.061
Abstract80)      PDF(pc) (3080KB)(198)    PDF(mobile) (3080KB)(4)    Save
Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are frequently used in establishing animal models for human diseases. To determine the differences in gut microbiota between these species, rectal swabs from 20 rhesus macaques and 21 cynomolgus macaques were collected, and the microbial composition was examined by deep sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. We found that the rectal microbiota of cynomolgus macaques exhibited significantly higher alpha diversity than that of rhesus macaques, although the observed number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) was almost the same. The dominant taxa at both the phylum and genus levels were similar between the two species, although the relative abundances of these dominant taxa were significantly different between them. Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) showed significant differences in the functional components between the microbiota of the two species, in particular the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) synthesis proteins. The above data indicated significant differences in microbial composition and function between these two closely related macaque species, which should be taken into consideration in the future selection of these animals for disease models.
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Effects of age, sex and manual task on hand preference in wild Rhinopithecus roxellana
Wei-Wei Fu, Xiao-Wei Wang, Cheng-Liang Wang, Hai-Tao Zhao, Yi Ren, Bao-Guo Li
Zoological Research    2019, 40 (2): 129-138.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2019.023
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Golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana), as typical arboreal group-living Old World monkeys, provide an appropriate animal model to research manual laterality and explore the factors affecting hand preference in nonhuman primates. This study investigated hand preference based on 63 subjects and four spontaneous manual tasks (including unimanual and bimanual feeding and grooming), and assessed the effects of age, gender and type of task on handedness in R. roxellana. A population-level left-handedness was found not only in the bimanual coordinated tasks (bimanual feeding and grooming), but also in one unimanual reaching task (unimanual feeding). There were no significant differences between the sexes in either direction or strength of hand preference among any task. However, a significant difference between adults and juveniles was found in the unimanual feeding task. This is the first report on handedness in unimanual and bimanual feeding tasks that require bipedal posture in wild R. roxellana. Furthermore, this study demonstrated spontaneous feeding tasks reported previously only in the quadrupedal posture in this species, supporting the importance of factors such as posture and task complexity in the evolution of primate manual lateralization.
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A new genus and three new species of miniaturized microhylid frogs from Indochina (Amphibia: Anura: Microhylidae: Asterophryinae)
Nikolay A. Poyarkov, Jr., Chatmongkon Suwannapoom, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Akrachai Aksornneam, Tang Van Duong, Dmitriy V. Korost, Jing Che
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (3): 130-157.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.019
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We report on the discovery of a new genus of microhylid subfamily Asterophryinae from northern and eastern Indochina, containing three new species. Vietnamophryne Gen. nov. are secretive miniaturized frogs (SVL<21 mm) with a mostly semi-fossorial lifestyle. To assess phylogenetic relationships, we studied 12S rRNA-16S rRNA mtDNA fragments with a final alignment of 2 591 bp for 53 microhylid species. External morphology characters and osteological characteristics analyzed using micro-CT scanning were used for describing the new genus. Results of phylogenetic analyses assigned the new genus into the mainly Australasian subfamily Asterophryinae as a sister taxon to the genus Siamophryne from southern Indochina. The three specimens collected from Gia Lai Province in central Vietnam, Cao Bang Province in northern Vietnam, and Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand proved to be separate species, different both in morphology and genetics (genetic divergence 3.1%≤P≤5.1%). Our work provides further evidence for the “out of Indo-Eurasia” scenario for Asterophryinae, indicating that the initial cladogenesis and differentiation of this group of frogs occurred in the Indochina Peninsula. To date, each of the three new species of Vietnamophryne Gen. nov. is known only from a single specimen; thus, their distribution, life history, and conservation status require further study.
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Social functions of relaxed open-mouth display in golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana)
You-Ji Zhang, Yi-Xin Chen, Hao-Chun Chen, Yuan Chen, Hui Yao, Wan-Ji Yang, Xiang-Dong Ruan, Zuo-Fu Xiang
Zoological Research    2019, 40 (2): 113-120.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.043
Abstract49)      PDF(pc) (2182KB)(83)    PDF(mobile) (2182KB)(9)    Save
Relaxed open-mouth display serves important social functions in relation to submission, reconciliation, affiliation and reassurance among non-human primate societies; however, quantitative evidence on this behavior remains insufficient among multi-level social groups. From July to November 2016, we examined four potential functions of the relaxed open-mouth display during pairwise, intra-unit social interactions among 18 free-ranging adult and sub-adult golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) who belonged to three one-male, multi-female units (OMU) at Dalongtan, Shennongjia National Park, China. Results showed that: compared with no relaxed open-mouth display, (1) the occurrence of displacement by a dominant individual approaching a subordinate was lower and the distance of the subordinate to the approaching dominant was shorter when the subordinate showed open-mouth display; (2) relaxed open-mouth display reduced the probability of continued attack for victims of aggression and allowed victims to achieve closer proximity to the aggressor during post-conflict periods; (3) relaxed open-mouth display by dominant individuals allowed them to achieve closer proximity to subordinates; and (4) the exchange of relaxed open-mouth display had a greater impact on the outcome of interactions than one individual alone giving this signal. These findings suggest that relaxed open-mouth display serves important functions regarding submission, reconciliation, affiliation and reassurance in coordinating social interactions within OMUs in golden snub-nosed monkeys.
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Developmental expression of three prmt genes in Xenopus
Cheng-Dong Wang, Xiao-Fang Guo, Thomas Chi Bun Wong, Hui Wang, Xu-Feng Qi, Dong-Qing Cai, Yi Deng, Hui Zhao
Zoological Research    2019, 40 (2): 102-107.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.064
Abstract48)      PDF(pc) (1365KB)(141)    PDF(mobile) (1365KB)(7)    Save
Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) are involved in many cellular processes via the arginine methylation of histone or non-histone proteins. We examined the expression patterns of prmt4, prmt7, and prmt9 during embryogenesis in Xenopus using whole-mount in situ hybridization and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Xenopus prmt4 and prmt7 were expressed in the neural crest, brain, and spinal cord, and also detected in the eye, branchial arches, and heart at the tailbud stage. Specific prmt9 signals were not detected in Xenopus embryos until the late tailbud stage when weak expression was observed in the branchial arches. Quantitative RT-PCR indicated that the expressions of prmt4 and prmt7 were up-regulated during the neurula stage, whereas prmt9 maintained its low expression until the late tailbud stage, consistent with the whole-mount in situ hybridization results. Thus, the developmental expression patterns of these three prmt genes in Xenopus embryos provide a basis for further functional study of such genes.
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Identification and characterization of two novel cathelicidins from the frog Odorrana livida
Ruo-Han Qi, Yan Chen, Zhi-Lai Guo, Fen Zhang, Zheng Fang, Kai Huang, Hai-Ning Yu, Yi-Peng Wang
Zoological Research    2019, 40 (2): 94-101.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.062
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Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are a group of gene-encoded small peptides that play pivotal roles in the host immune system of multicellular organisms. Cathelicidins are an important family of AMPs that exclusively exist in vertebrates. Many cathelicidins have been identified from mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. To date, however, cathelicidins from amphibians are poorly understood. In the present study, two novel cathelicidins (OL-CATH1 and 2) were identified and studied from the odorous frog Odorrana livida. Firstly, the cDNAs encoding the OL-CATHs (780 and 735 bp in length, respectively) were successfully cloned from a lung cDNA library constructed for the frog. Multi-sequence alignment was carried out to analyze differences between the precursors of the OL-CATHs and other representative cathelicidins. Mature peptide sequences of OL-CATH1 and 2 were predicted (33 amino acid residues) and their secondary structures were determined (OL-CATH1 showed a random-coil conformation and OL-CATH2 demonstrated a-helical conformation). Furthermore, OL-CATH1 and 2 were chemically synthesized and their in vitro functions were determined. Antimicrobial and bacterial killing kinetic analyses indicated that OL-CATH2 demonstrated relatively moderate and rapid antimicrobial potency and exhibited strong anti-inflammatory activity. At very low concentrations (10 μg/mL), OL-CATH2 significantly inhibited the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced transcription and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-a, IL-1b and IL-6 in mouse peritoneal macrophages. In contrast, OL-CATH1 did not exhibit any detectable antimicrobial or anti-inflammatory activities. Overall, identification of these OL-CATHs from O. livida enriches our understanding of the functions of cathelicidins in the amphibian immune system. The potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities of OL-CATH2 highlight its potential as a novel candidate in anti-infective drug development.
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In vivo genome editing thrives with diversified CRISPR technologies
Xun Ma, Avery Sum-Yu Wong, Hei-Yin Tam, Samuel Yung-Kin Tsui, Dittman Lai-Shun Chung, Bo Feng
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (2): 58-71.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2017.012
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Prokaryotic type II adaptive immune systems have been developed into the versatile CRISPR technology, which has been widely applied in site-specific genome editing and has revolutionized biomedical research due to its superior efficiency and flexibility. Recent studies have greatly diversified CRISPR technologies by coupling it with various DNA repair mechanisms and targeting strategies. These new advances have significantly expanded the generation of genetically modified animal models, either by including species in which targeted genetic modification could not be achieved previously, or through introducing complex genetic modifications that take multiple steps and cost years to achieve using traditional methods. Herein, we review the recent developments and applications of CRISPR-based technology in generating various animal models, and discuss the everlasting impact of this new progress on biomedical research.
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Passive eye movements induced by electromagnetic force (EMF) in rats
Yue Yu, Jun Huang, Chun-Ming Zhang, Tian-Wen Chen, David S. Sandlin, Shao-Xun Wang, Alberto A. Arteaga, Jerome Allison, Yang Ou, Susan Warren, Paul May, Hong Zhu, Wu Zhou
Zoological Research    DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2019.024
Online available: 30 January 2019

Marker-assisted selection of YY supermales from a genetically improved farmed tilapia-derived strain
Chao-Hao Chen, Bi-Jun Li, Xiao-Hui Gu, Hao-Ran Lin, Jun-Hong Xia
Zoological Research    2019, 40 (2): 108-112.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.071
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Genetically improved farmed tilapia (GIFT) and GIFT-derived strains account for the majority of farmed tilapia worldwide. As male tilapias grow much faster than females, they are often considered more desirable in the aquacultural industry. Sex reversal of females to males using the male sex hormone 17-α-methyltestosterone (MT) is generally used to induce phenotypic males during large-scale production of all male fingerlings. However, the widespread use of large quantities of sex reversal hormone in hatcheries may pose a health risk to workers and ecological threats to surrounding environments. Breeding procedures to produce genetically all-male tilapia with limited or no use of sex hormones are therefore urgently needed. In this study, by applying marker-assisted selection (MAS) for the selection of YY supermales from a GIFT-derived strain, we identified 24 XY pseudofemale and 431 YY supermale tilapias. Further performance evaluation on the progenies of the YY supermales resulted in male rates of 94.1%, 99.5% and 99.6%, respectively, in three populations, and a daily increase in body weight of 1.4 g at 3 months (n=997). Our study established a highly effective MAS procedure in the selection of YY supermales from a GIFT-derived strain. Furthermore, the development of MAS-selected YY supermales will help reduce the utilization of hormones for controlling sex in the tilapia aquaculture.
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Diversity and distribution patterns of non-volant small mammals along different elevation gradients on Mt. Kenya, Kenya
Simon Musila, Zhong-Zheng Chen, Quan Li, Richard Yego, Bin Zhang, Kenneth Onditi, Immaculate Muthoni, Shui-Wang He, Samson Omondi, James Mathenge, Esther N. Kioko, Xue-Long Jiang
Zoological Research    2019, 40 (1): 53-60.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2019.004
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The distribution of small mammals in mountainous environments across different elevations can provide important information on the effects of climate change on the dispersal of species. However, few studies conducted on Afromontane ecosystems have compared the altitudinal patterns of small mammal diversity. We investigated the species diversity and abundance of non-volant small mammals (hereafter ‘small mammals’) on Mt. Kenya, the second tallest mountain in Africa, using a standard sampling scheme. Nine sampling transects were established at intervals of 200 m on the eastern (Chogoria) and western (Sirimon) slopes. A total of 1 905 individuals representing 25 species of small mammals were trapped after 12 240 trap-nights. Abundance was highest at mid-elevations on both slopes. However, species richness and distribution patterns differed between the two slopes. More species were recorded on Chogoria (24) than on Sirimon (17). On Chogoria, species richness was higher at mid-high elevations, with a peak at mid-elevation (2 800 m a.s.l.), whereas species richness showed little variation on the Sirimon slope. These results indicate that patterns of species diversity can differ between slopes on the same mountain. In addition, we extensively reviewed literature on Mt. Kenya’s mammals and compiled a comprehensive checklist of 76 mammalian species. However, additional research is required to improve our understanding of small mammal diversity in mountain habitats in Africa.
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Patterns of human-wildlife conflict and compensation practices around Daxueshan Nature Reserve, China
Cheng Huang, Xue-You Li, Liu-Jun Shi, Xue-Long Jiang
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (6): 406-412.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.056
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Understanding the spatial patterns of human-wildlife conflict is essential to inform management decisions to encourage coexistence, but it is constrained by the lack of spatially-explicit data. We collected spatially-implicit data of human-wildlife conflicts from 2009–2015 around Daxueshan Nature Reserve, Yunnan, China, and investigated the patterns and drivers of these conflicts. A questionnaire was also designed to capture local resident attitudes toward insurance-based compensation for the losses caused by targeted wildlife. We found that the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) was the most conflict-prone animal around the reserve, followed by the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) and Southeast Asian sambar (Cervus equinus). Conflicts were unevenly distributed among seasons, villages, and communities, with several grids identified as conflict hotspots. Poisson models revealed that human-bear conflicts were negatively related to distance to the reserve and proportion of forest, but positively correlated to the proportion of cropland. Binomial models showed that communities affected by crop depredation were positively correlated with the proportion of cropland and negatively correlated with distance to the reserve, whereas communities affected by livestock depredation were negatively correlated with the proportion of cropland. The insurance-based scheme has compensated over 90% of losses, to the satisfaction of 90.6% of respondents. Our results suggest that human-bear conflict could be potentially reduced by eliminating food crops near the reserve boundary and livestock grazing at conflict hotspots. In addition, the insurance-based scheme could be replicated at a broader scale with improvement in loss assessment.
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Small mammal diversity of Mt. Kenya based on carnivore fecal and surface bone remains
Ogeto Mwebi, Esther Nguta, Veronica Onduso, Ben Nyakundi, Xue-Long Jiang, Esther N. Kioko
Zoological Research    2019, 40 (1): 61-69.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.055
Abstract32)      PDF(pc) (3526KB)(160)       Save
Ecological dynamics and faunal diversity documentation is normally conducted by direct observation and trapping of live animals. However, surveys of carnivore scat prey and surface bone remains, which are relatively inexpensive, can provide complementary data that expand carnivore diet breadth and may improve accuracy regarding inferences of the ecological dynamics of a given ecosystem. We used this inexpensive method to document species diversity variation with elevation on the leeward (Sirimon) and windward (Chogoria) areas of Mt. Kenya. Bone and fecal specimens were opportunistically collected by walking 2 km in opposite directions from transect points selected at 200-m intervals along the elevational gradient of the study areas. We collected a total of 220 carnivore fecal and owl pellet specimens from both study sites, which were mainly deposited by the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), leopard (Panthera pardus), serval (Leptailurus serval), genet (Genetta sp.), and Mackinder’s Cape owl (Bubo capensis mackinderi). Serval scats were the most common, followed by those of the spotted hyena. Scats and bones were found at the lowest density at the lowest elevations, peaked at mid-higher elevations, and then declined at the highest elevations. Based on skeletal analysis only, there were more species in Sirimon (19) than in Chogoria (12). Small fauna (rodents to duiker size bovids) formed the bulk of the identified remains, representing 87.9% of the Sirimon fauna and 90.9% of the Chogoria fauna. The genus Otomys was the dominant prey of the owl and serval in both sites. Three giraffe teeth were found at 3 500 m a.s.l. in Chogoria on the edge of Lake Ellis, suggesting that it is an occasional visitor to such high elevations. This study underscores the value of fecal and bone surveys in understanding the diet and diversity of mammals in ecological ecosystems, but such surveys should be complemented with analysis of hairs found in scats to obtain a more complete list of carnivore prey at Mt. Kenya.
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Home range variation of two different-sized groups of golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in Shennongjia, China: implications for feeding competition
Peng-Lai Fan, Yi-Ming Li, Craig B. Stanford, Fang Li, Ze-Tian Liu, Kai-Hua Yang, Xue-Cong Liu
Zoological Research    2019, 40 (2): 121-128.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.044
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Knowledge on the home range size of a species or population is important for understanding its behavioral and social ecology and improving the effectiveness of conservation strategies. We studied the home range size of two different-sized groups of golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in Shennongjia, China. The larger group (236 individuals) had a home range of 22.5 km2 from September 2007 to July 2008, whereas the smaller group (62 individuals) occupied a home range of 12.4 km2 from November 2008 to July 2009. Both groups exhibited considerable seasonal variation in their home range size, which was likely due to seasonal changes in food availability and distribution. The home range in any given season (winter, spring, summer, or winter+spring+summer) of the larger group was larger than that of the smaller group. As the two groups were studied in the same area, with the confounding effects of food availability thus minimized, the positive relationship between home range size and group size suggested that scramble feeding competition increased within the larger group.
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Rhinogobius immaculatus, a new species of freshwater goby (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from the Qiantang River, China
Fan Li, Shan Li, Jia-Kuan Chen
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (6): 396-405.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.065
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A new freshwater goby, Rhinogobius immaculatus sp. nov., is described here from the Qiantang River in China. It is distinguished from all congeners by the following combination of characters: second dorsal-fin rays I, 7–9; anal-fin rays I, 6–8; pectoral-fin rays 14–15; longitudinal scales 29–31; transverse scales 7–9; predorsal scales 2–5; vertebrae 27 (rarely 28); preopercular canal absent or with two pores; a red oblique stripe below eye in males; branchiostegal membrane mostly reddish-orange, with 3–6 irregular discrete or connected red blotches on posterior branchiostegal membrane and lower operculum in males; caudal-fin base with a median black spot; and no black blotch on anterior part of first dorsal fin in males.
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Interchange between grooming and infant handling in female Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana)
Qi Jiang, Dong-Po Xia, Xi Wang, Dao Zhang, Bing-Hua Sun, Jin-Hua Li
Zoological Research    2019, 40 (2): 139-145.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.049
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In some nonhuman primates, infants function as a social tool that can bridge relationships among group members. Infants are a desired commodity for group members, and mothers control access to them. The biological market theory suggests that grooming is widespread and represents a commodity that can be exchanged for infant handling. As a limited resource, however, the extent to which infants are interchanged between mothers (females with an infant) and non-mothers (potential handlers, females without an infant) remains unclear. In this study, we collected behavioral data to investigate the relationship between grooming and infant handling in free-ranging Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Mt. Huangshan, China. Our results showed that females with infants received more grooming than females without infants. After her infant was handled, mother females received more grooming than they did during daily grooming interactions. However, with the increasing number of infants within the social group, both the grooming that mothers received and the grooming that non-mothers invested for handling infants decreased. We also found that non-mothers invested more time in grooming to gain access to younger infants than older infants. Our results provide evidence that infants are social commodities for both mother and non-mother females. Mothers use infants for obtain grooming and non-mothers use grooming to gain access to infants. The current study implies a bidirectional and complex interchange pattern between grooming and infant handling to compensate for the dyadic grooming disparity in non-human primates.
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 Impacts of late Quaternary environmental change on the long-tailed ground squirrel (Urocitellus undulatus) in Mongolia
Bryan S. McLean, Batsaikhan Nyamsuren, Andrey Tchabovsky, Joseph A. Cook
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (5): 364-372.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.042
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Impacts of Quaternary environmental changes on mammal faunas of central Asia remain poorly understood due to a lack of geographically comprehensive phylogeographic sampling for most species. To help address this knowledge gap, we conducted the most extensive molecular analysis to date of the long-tailed ground squirrel (Urocitellus undulatus Pallas 1778) in Mongolia, a country that comprises the southern core of this species’ range. Drawing on material from recent collaborative field expeditions, we genotyped 128 individuals at 2 mitochondrial genes (cytochrome b and cytochrome oxidase I; 1 797 bp total). Phylogenetic inference supports the existence of two deeply divergent infraspecific lineages (corresponding to subspecies U. u. undulatus and U. u. eversmanni), a result in agreement with previous molecular investigations but discordant with patterns of range-wide craniometric and external phenotypic variation. In the widespread western eversmanni lineage, we recovered geographically-associated clades from the: (a) Khangai, (b) Mongolian Altai, and (c) Govi Altai mountain ranges. Phylogeographic structure in U. u. eversmanni is consistent with an isolation-by-distance model; however, genetic distances are significantly lower than among subspecies, and intra-clade relationships are largely unresolved. The latter patterns, as well as the relatively higher nucleotide polymorphism of populations from the Great Lakes Depression of northwestern Mongolia, suggest a history of range shifts into these lowland areas in response to Pleistocene glaciation and environmental change, followed by upslope movements and mitochondrial lineage sorting with Holocene aridification. Our study illuminates possible historical mechanisms responsible for U. undulatus genetic structure and contributes to a framework for ongoing exploration of mammalian response to past and present climate change in central Asia.

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Why China is important in advancing the field of primatology
Paul A. Garber
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (4): 241-243.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.012
Abstract22)      PDF(pc) (240KB)(367)       Save
Over the past few decades, field studies conducted by Chinese primatologists have contributed significant new theoretical and empirical insights into the behavior, ecology, biology, genetics, and conservation of lorises, macaques, langurs, snub-nosed monkeys, and gibbons. With the recent establishment and inaugural meeting of the China Primatological Society in 2017, China has emerged as a leading nation in primate research. Several research teams have conducted long-term studies despite the difficult challenges of habituating and observing wild primates inhabiting mountainous temperate forests, and the fact that some 80% of China’s 25–27 primate species are considered vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered and are distributed in small isolated subpopulations. In going forward, it is recommended that primatologists in China increase their focus on seasonal differences in the social, ecological, physiological, and nutritional challenges primates face in exploiting high altitude and cold temperate forests. In addition, provisioning as a habitation tool should be minimized or eliminated, as it is difficult to control for its effects on group dynamics, patterns of habitat utilization, and feeding ecology. Finally in the next decade, Chinese primatologists should consider expanding the taxonomic diversity of species studied by conducting research in other parts of Asia, Africa, and the Neotropics.
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Effects of C-terminal amidation and heptapeptide ring on the biological activities and advanced structure of amurin-9KY, a novel antimicrobial peptide identified from the brown frog, Rana kunyuensis
Fen Zhang, Zhi-Lai Guo, Yan Chen, Li Li, Hai-Ning Yu, Yi-Peng Wang
Zoological Research    DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.070
Online available: 15 August 2018

Kidney disease models: tools to identify mechanisms and potential therapeutic targets
Yin-Wu Bao, Yuan Yuan, Jiang-Hua Chen, Wei-Qiang Lin
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (2): 72-86.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2017.055
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Acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) are worldwide public health problems affecting millions of people and have rapidly increased in prevalence in recent years. Due to the multiple causes of renal failure, many animal models have been developed to advance our understanding of human nephropathy. Among these experimental models, rodents have been extensively used to enable mechanistic understanding of kidney disease induction and progression, as well as to identify potential targets for therapy. In this review, we discuss AKI models induced by surgical operation and drugs or toxins, as well as a variety of CKD models (mainly genetically modified mouse models). Results from recent and ongoing clinical trials and conceptual advances derived from animal models are also explored.
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A new species of smooth skink (Squamata: Scincidae: Scincella) from Cambodia
Thy Neang, Somaly Chan, Nikolay A. Poyarkov, Jr.
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (3): 220-240.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.008
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Based on morphological and genetic evidence we evaluated the taxonomic status of a newly discovered forest-dwelling population of skink (genus Scincella) from the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia. From phylogenetic analysis of a 668-bp fragment of the mtDNA COI and diagnostic morphological characters we allocate the newly discovered population to the Scincella reevesiiS. rufocaudata species complex and describe it as Scincella nigrofasciata sp. nov. The new skink species can be distinguished from all other Southeast Asian congeners by the following combination of morphological characters: snout-vent length (SVL) 40.0–52.6 mm; relative tail length (TaL/SVL ratio) 1.25–1.94; prefrontals in broad contact; infralabials 6; primary temporals 2; relative forelimb length (FIL/SVL ratio) 0.20–0.22; relative hindlimb length (HIL/SVL ratio) 0.30–0.33; relative forearm length (FoL/SVL ratio) 0.14–0.16; adpressed forelimbs and hind limbs either overlapping (0.4–2.2 mm) or separated (1.9–2.3 mm); midbody scale rows 32–33, paravertebral scales 69–74, vertebral scales 65–69; dorsal scales between dorsolateral stripes 8; comparatively slender fingers and toes, subdigital lamellae under fourth toe 15–17; dark discontinuous regular dorsal stripes 5–7; distinct black dorsolateral stripes, narrowing to lateral sides and extending to 52%–86% of total tail length. We provide additional information on the holotype of Scincella rufocaudata (Darevsky & Nguyen, 1983), and provide evidence for the species status of Scincella rupicola. Our discovery brings the number of Scincella species in Cambodia to five and emphasizes the incompleteness of knowledge on the herpetofaunal diversity of this country.
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A new genus of Asiatic short-tailed shrew (Soricidae, Eulipotyphla) based on molecular and morphological comparisons
Kai He, Xing Chen, Peng Chen, Shui-Wang He, Feng Cheng, Xue-Long Jiang, Kevin Campbell
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (5): 321-334.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.058
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Blarinellini is a tribe of soricine shrews comprised of nine fossil genera and one extant genus. Blarinelline shrews were once widely distributed throughout Eurasia and North America, though only members of the Asiatic short-tailed shrew genus Blarinella currently persist (mostly in southwestern China and adjacent areas). Only three forms of Blarinella have been recognized as either species or subspecies. However, recent molecular studies indicated a strikingly deep divergence within the genus, implying the existence of a distinct genus-level lineage. We sequenced the complete mitochondrial genomes and one nuclear gene of three Asiatic short-tailed and two North American shrews and analyzed them morphometrically and morphologically. Our molecular analyses revealed that specimens ascribed to B. griselda formed two deeply diverged lineages, one a close relative to B. quadraticauda, whereas the other — comprised of topotype specimens from southern Gansu — diverged from other Blarinella in the middle Miocene (ca. 18.2 million years ago (Ma), 95% confidence interval=13.4–23.6 Ma). Although the skulls were similarly shaped in both lineages, we observed several diagnostic characteristics, including the shape of the upper P4. In consideration of the molecular and morphological evidence, we recognize B. griselda as the sole species of a new genus, namely, Pantherina gen. nov. Interestingly, some characteristics of Pantherina griselda are more similar to fossil genera, suggesting it represents an evolutionarily more primitive form than Blarinella. Recognition of this new genus sheds light on the systematics and evolutionary history of the tribe Blarinellini throughout Eurasia and North America. 
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Maternal gene Ooep may participate in homologous recombination-mediated DNA double-strand break repair in mouse oocytes
Da-Jian He, Lin Wang, Zhi-Bi Zhang, Kun Guo, Jing-Zheng Li, Xie-Chao He, Qing-Hua Cui, Ping Zheng
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (6): 387-395.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.067
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DNA damage in oocytes can cause infertility and birth defects. DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are highly deleterious and can substantially impair genome integrity. Homologous recombination (HR)-mediated DNA DSB repair plays dominant roles in safeguarding oocyte quantity and quality. However, little is known regarding the key players of the HR repair pathway in oocytes. Here, we identified oocyte-specific gene Ooep as a novel key component of the HR repair pathway in mouse oocytes. OOEP was required for efficient ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase activation and Rad51 recombinase(RAD51)focal accumulation at DNA DSBs. Ooep null oocytes were defective in DNA DSB repair and prone to apoptosis upon exogenous DNA damage insults. Moreover, Ooep null oocytes exhibited delayed meiotic maturation. Therefore, OOEP played roles in preserving oocyte quantity and quality by maintaining genome stability. Ooep expression decreased with the advance of maternal age, suggesting its involvement in maternal aging. 
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A new karst-dwelling bent-toed gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae: Cyrtodactylus) from Xiangkhoang Province, northeastern Laos
Roman A. Nazarov, Olivier S.G. Pauwels, Evgeniy L. Konstantinov, Anatoliy S. Chulisov, Nikolai L. Orlov, Nikolay A. Poyarkov, Jr.
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (3): 202-219.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.010
Abstract18)      PDF(pc) (20938KB)(485)       Save
We describe a new karst-dwelling Cyrtodactylus from Ban Thathom, Xiangkhoang Province, northeastern Laos. The new species can be distinguished from other congeners by having four dark dorsal bands between limb insertions, a discontinuous nuchal loop, 10 precloacal pores in males or 10–12 precloacal pits (females) separated by a diastema from a series of enlarged femoral scales bearing 18 or 19 pores (male) or 8–10 pits (females) along each femur, 14–18 dorsal tubercle rows at midbody, no precloacal groove, 30–36 midbody scale rows across belly between ventrolateral skin folds, transversely enlarged subcaudal plates, and a maximal known snout-vent length of 75.5 mm. Our description brings to 22 the number of Cyrtodactylus species recorded from Laos.
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Female choice impacts residential male takeover in golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana)
Gu Fang, Jing Chen, Ru-Liang Pan, Xiao-Guang Qi, Bao-Guo Li
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (4): 266-271.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.035
Abstract18)      PDF(pc) (895KB)(310)       Save
In primate species with social systems consisting of one-male breeding units (OMUs), resident male takeover represents a major challenge to individual reproductive success and mating strategies. The golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) is characterized by large multilevel societies (MLS) comprised of several OMUs and all-male units (AMUs); however, the factors and mechanisms associated with resident male takeover, which offer important insight into primate reproduction and social strategies, are still poorly understood. Based on 5-year monitoring data from a free-ranging herd of golden monkeys from the Qinling Mountains in China, we categorized three phases of an OMU, that is, a rising phase, developing phase, and declining phase. The rising and declining phases were unstable periods in which male takeover in an OMU might occur. Factors causing takeover, such as leader male rank, fighting ability, reproduction rate, and affiliation (proximity, allogrooming), were analyzed for males and females and for different OMUs. Results indicated that the new resident male’s fighting ability was lower than that of the former resident male in 23 cases. After replacement, the rank order of the new resident male significantly declined. Females involved in a takeover increased their distance from the resident male and decreased mating frequency during the three months prior to takeover. Females with infants under one-year-old had a marked effect on the specific time of takeover occurrence. These results suggested that female choice was the main factor deciding whether a takeover attempt was successful. Furthermore, rather than male conflict, females more often initiated and affected takeover and outcome, implying that the social status and competitive ability of the males played lesser roles during takeover.
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King cobra peptide OH-CATH30 as a potential candidate drug through clinic drug-resistant isolates
Feng Zhao, Xin-Qiang Lan, Yan Du, Pei-Yi Chen, Jiao Zhao, Fang Zhao, Wen-Hui Lee, Yun Zhang
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (2): 87-96.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.025
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Cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are considered as important candidate therapeutic agents, which exert potent microbicidal properties against bacteria, fungi and some viruses. Based on our previous findings king cobra cathelicidin (OH-CATH) is a 34-amino acid peptide that exerts strong antibacterial and weak hemolytic activity. The aim of this research is to evaluate the efficacy of both OH-CATH30 and its analog D-OH-CATH30 against clinical isolates comparing with routinely utilized antibiotics in vitro. In this study, 584 clinical isolates were tested (spanning 2013–2016) and the efficacy of the candidate peptides and antibiotics were determined by a broth microdilution method according to the CLSI guidelines. Among the 584 clinical isolates, 85% were susceptible to OH-CATH30 and its analogs. Both L- and D-OH-CATH30 showed higher efficacy against (toward) Gram-positive bacteria and stronger antibacterial activity against nearly all Gram-negative bacteria tested compare with antibiotics. The highest bactericidal activity was detected against Acinetobacter spp., including multi-drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MRAB) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The overall efficacy of OH-CATH30 and its analogs was higher than that of the 9 routinely used antibiotics. OH-CATH30 is a promising candidate drug for the treatment of a wide variety of bacterial infections which are resistant to many routinely used antimicrobial agents.
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Cited: Baidu(1)
Discovery of Japalura chapaensis Bourret, 1937 (Reptilia: Squamata: Agamidae) from Southeast Yunnan Province, China
Kai Wang, Ke Jiang, Yu-Fan Wang, Nikolay A. Poyarkov Jr., Jing Che, Cameron D. Siler
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (2): 105-113.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2017.064
Abstract17)      PDF(pc) (437KB)(232)       Save
Due to a paucity of surveys in northern Indochina and lack of international collaborations among neighboring countries, recognized distributional ranges for many amphibian and reptile species end at the political borders for some countries, despite seemingly continuous suitable habitat spanning the region. Combining both morphological and genetic data, we report the first discovery of Japalura chapaensis, a rare agamid lizard believed previously to be endemic to northern Vietnam only, along the border region of southeastern Yunnan Province, China. To facilitate future research on the genus Japalura sensu lato in Indochina, we provide detailed descriptions of additional specimens of this rare species, including the first description of coloration in life and an expanded diagnosis, and discuss the species boundary of J. chapaensis with respect to its congeners.
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A new species of the genus Theloderma Tschudi, 1838 (Amphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Tay Nguyen Plateau, central Vietnam
Nikolay A. Poyarkov, Jr., Ivan I. Kropachev, Svetlana S. Gogoleva, Nikolai L. Orlov
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (3): 158-184.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.018
Abstract17)      PDF(pc) (26015KB)(634)       Save
A new species of small tree frog from a primary montane tropical forest of central Vietnam, Tay Nguyen Plateau, is described based on morphological, molecular, and acoustic evidence. The Golden Bug-Eyed Frog, Theloderma auratum sp. nov., is distinguishable from its congeners and other small rhacophorid species based on a combination of the following morphological attributes: (1) bony ridges on head absent; (2) smooth skin completely lacking calcified warts or asperities; (3) pointed elongated tapering snout; (4) vocal opening in males absent; (5) vomerine teeth absent; (6) males of small body size (SVL 21.8–26.4 mm); (7) head longer than wide; ED/SVL ratio 13%–15%; ESL/SVL ratio 16%–20%; (8) small tympanum (TD/EL ratio 50%–60%) with few tiny tubercles; (9) supratympanic fold absent; (10) ventral surfaces completely smooth; (11) webbing between fingers absent; (12) outer and inner metacarpal tubercles present, supernumerary metacarpal tubercle single, medial, oval in shape; (13) toes half-webbed: I 2–2¼ II 1½–2¾ III 2–3¼ IV 3–1½ V; (14) inner metatarsal tubercle present, oval; outer metatarsal tubercle absent; (15) iris bicolored; (16) dorsal surfaces golden-yellow with sparse golden-orange speckling or reticulations and few small dark-brown spots; (17) lateral sides of head and body with wide dark reddish-brown to black lateral stripes, clearly separated from lighter dorsal coloration by straight contrasting edge; (18) ventral surfaces of body, throat, and chest greyish-blue with indistinct brown confluent blotches; (19) upper eyelids with few (3–5) very small flat reddish superciliary tubercles; (20) limbs dorsally reddish-brown, ventrally brown with small bluish-white speckles. The new species is also distinct from all congeners in 12S rRNA to 16S rRNA mitochondrial DNA fragment sequences (uncorrected genetic distance P>8.9%). Advertisement call and tadpole morphology of the new species are described. Our molecular data showed Theloderma auratum sp. nov. to be a sister species of Th. palliatum from Langbian Plateau in southern Vietnam.
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Genomic and transcriptomic analyses reveal selection of genes for puberty in Bama Xiang pigs
Yang Yang, Adeniyi C. Adeola, Hai-Bing Xie, Ya-Ping Zhang
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (6): 424-430.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.068
Abstract16)      PDF(pc) (3071KB)(353)       Save
The Bama Xiang pig (BMX) is a famous early-maturing Chinese indigenous breed with a two-end black coat. To uncover the genetic basis of the BMX phenotype, we conducted comparative genomic analyses between BMX and East Asian wild boars and Laiwu pigs, respectively. Genes under positive selection were enriched in pathways associated with gonadal hormone and melanin synthesis, consistent with the phenotypic changes observed during development in BMX pigs. We also performed differentially expressed gene analysis based on RNA-seq data from pituitary tissues of BMX and Large White pigs. The CTTNBP2NL, FRS2, KANK4, and KATNAL1 genes were under selection and exhibited expressional changes in the pituitary tissue, which may affect BMX pig puberty. Our study demonstrated the positive selection of early maturity in the development of BMX pigs and advances our knowledge on the role of regulatory elements in puberty evolution in pigs. 
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Species identification of crested gibbons (Nomascus) in captivity in China using karyotyping- and PCR-based approaches
Wen-Hui Nie, Jin-Huan Wang, Wei-Ting Su, Yu Hu, Shui-Wang He, Xue-Long Jiang, Kai He
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (5): 356-363.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.036
Abstract16)      PDF(pc) (9321KB)(311)       Save
Gibbons and siamangs (Hylobatidae) are well-known for their rapid chromosomal evolution, which has resulted in high speciation rate within the family. On the other hand, distinct karyotypes do not prevent speciation, allowing interbreeding between individuals in captivity, and the unwanted hybrids are ethically problematic as all gibbon species are endangered or critically endangered. Thus, accurate species identification is crucial for captive breeding, particularly in China where studbooks are unavailable. Identification based on external morphology is difficult, especially for hybrids, because species are usually similar in appearance. In this study, we employed G-banding karyotyping and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) as well as a PCR-based approach to examine karyotypic characteristics and identify crested gibbons of the genus Nomascus from zoos and nature reserves in China. We characterized and identified five karyotypes from 21 individuals of Nomascus. Using karyotypes and mitochondrial and nuclear genes, we identified three purebred species and three hybrids, including one F2 hybrid between N. gabriellae and N. siki. Our results also supported that N. leucogenys and N. siki shared the same inversion on chromosome 7, which resolves arguments from previous studies. Our results demonstrated that both karyotyping and DNA-based approaches were suitable for identifying purebred species, though neither was ideal for hybrid identification. The advantages and disadvantages of both approaches are discussed. Our results further highlight the importance of animal ethics and welfare, which are critical for endangered species in captivity.
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AutoSeqMan: batch assembly of contigs for Sanger sequences
Jie-Qiong Jin, Yan-Bo Sun
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (2): 123-126.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.027
Abstract15)      PDF(pc) (1275KB)(240)       Save
With the wide application of DNA sequencing technology, DNA sequences are still increasingly generated through the Sanger sequencing platform. SeqMan (in the LaserGene package) is an excellent program with an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI) employed to assemble Sanger sequences into contigs. However, with increasing data size, larger sample sets and more sequenced loci make contig assemble complicated due to the considerable number of manual operations required to run SeqMan. Here, we present the ‘autoSeqMan’ software program, which can automatedly assemble contigs using SeqMan scripting language. There are two main modules available, namely, ‘Classification’ and ‘Assembly’. Classification first undertakes preprocessing work, whereas Assembly generates a SeqMan script to consecutively assemble contigs for the classified files. Through comparison with manual operation, we showed that autoSeqMan saved substantial time in the preprocessing and assembly of Sanger sequences. We hope this tool will be useful for those with large sample sets to analyze, but with little programming experience. It is freely available at Sun-Yanbo/autoSeqMan.
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Species delimitation based on diagnosis and monophyly, and its importance for advancing mammalian taxonomy
Eliécer E. Gutiérrez, Guilherme S. T. Garbino
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (5): 301-308.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.037
Abstract15)      PDF(pc) (281KB)(294)       Save

A recently proposed taxonomic classification of extant ungulates sparked a series of publications that criticize the Phylogenetic Species Concept (PSC) claiming it to be a particularly poor species concept. These opinions reiteratively stated that (1) the two fundamental elements of the "PSC", i.e., monophyly and diagnosability, do not offer objective criteria as to where the line between species should be drawn; and (2) that extirpation of populations can lead to artificial diagnosability and spurious recognitions of species. This sudden eruption of criticism against the PSC is misleading. Problems attributed to the PSC are common to most approaches and concepts that modern systematists employ to establish species boundaries. The controversial taxonomic propositions that sparked criticism against the PSC are indeed highly problematic, not because of the species concept upon which they are based, but because no evidence (whatsoever) has become public to support a substantial portion of the proposed classification. We herein discuss these topics using examples from mammals. Numerous areas of biological research rest upon taxonomic accuracy (including conservation biology and biomedical research); hence, it is necessary to clarify what are (and what are not) the real sources of taxonomic inaccuracy.

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How many species of Apodemus and Rattus occur in China? A survey based on mitochondrial cyt b and morphological analyses
Shao-Ying Liu, Kai He, Shun-De Chen, Wei Jin, Robert W. Murphy, Ming-Kun Tang, Rui Liao, Feng-Jun Li
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (5): 309-320.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.053
Abstract15)      PDF(pc) (7935KB)(409)       Save
Apodemus (mice) and Rattus (rats) are the top rodent reservoirs for zoonoses in China, yet little is known about their diversity. We reexamined the alpha diversity of these two genera based on a new collection of specimens from China and their cyt b sequences in GenBank. We also tested whether species could be identified using external and craniodental measurements exclusively. Measurements from 147 specimens of Apodemus and 236 specimens of Rattus were used for morphological comparisons. We analysed 74 cyt b sequences of Apodemus and 100 cyt b sequences of Rattus to facilitate phylogenetic estimations. Results demonstrated that nine species of Apodemus and seven species of Rattus, plus a new subspecies of Rattus nitidus, are distributed in China. Principal component analysis using external and craniodental measurements revealed that measurements alone could not separate the recognized species. The occurrence of Rattus pyctoris in China remains uncertain.
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Tail regeneration reduction in lizards after repetitive amputation or cauterization reflects an increase of immune cells in blastemas
Lorenzo Alibardi
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (6): 413-423.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.050
Abstract13)      PDF(pc) (27815KB)(297)       Save
Lizards are key amniote models for studying organ regeneration. During tail regeneration in lizards, blastemas contain sparse granulocytes, macrophages, and lymphocytes among the prevalent mesenchymal cells. Using transmission electron microscopy to examine scarring blastemas after third and fourth sequential tail amputations, the number of granulocytes, macrophages, and lymphocytes increased at 3–4 weeks in comparison to the first regeneration. An increase in granulocytes and agranulocytes also occurred within a week after blastema cauterization during the process of scarring. Blood at the third and fourth regeneration also showed a significant increase in white blood cells compared with that under normal conditions and at the first regeneration. The extracellular matrix of the scarring blastema, especially after cauterization, was denser than that in the normal blastema and numerous white blood cells and fibroblasts were surrounded by electron-pale, fine fibrinoid material mixed with variable collagen fibrils. In addition to previous studies, the present observations support the hypothesis that an increase in inflammation and immune reactions determine scarring rather than regeneration. These new findings verify that an immune reaction against mesenchymal and epidermal cells of the regenerative blastema is one of the main causes for the failure of organ regeneration in amniotes.
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Karyotypes of field mice of the genus Apodemus (Mammalia: Rodentia) from China
Masaharu Motokawa, Yi Wu, Masashi Harada, Yuta Shintaku, Xue-Long Jiang, Yu-Chun Li
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (5): 348-355.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.054
Abstract13)      PDF(pc) (595KB)(171)       Save
Karyotypes of four Chinese species of field mice of the genus Apodemus were examined, including Apodemus chevrieri (diploid chromosome number, 2n=48, fundamental number of autosomal arms, FNa=56), A. draco (2n=48, FNa=48), A. ilex (2n=48, FNa=48), and A. latronum (2n=48, FNa=48). Karyotypes of A. chevrieri, A. draco, and A. ilex are reported here for the first time, providing useful information for their species taxonomy. Determining the karyotypes of all species of Apodemus in Asia, both in this and previous studies, provides a solid overview of the chromosome evolution and species differentiation of the genus in East Asia. In addition to allopatric speciation, chromosome rearrangements likely played an important role in the formation of the four Apodemus species groups as well as speciation within each group in East Asia. For example, increased centromeric heterochromatin in A. latronum may have contributed to the post-mating reproductive isolation from the A. draco-A. ilex-A. semotus clade.
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Ecology and social system of northern gibbons living in cold seasonal forests
Zhen-Hua Guan, Chang-Yong Ma, Han-Lan Fei, Bei Huang, Wen-He Ning, Qing-Yong Ni, Xue-Long Jiang, Peng-Fei Fan
Zoological Research    2018, 39 (4): 255-265.   DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.045
Abstract13)      PDF(pc) (1246KB)(369)       Save

Gibbons in China represent the northernmost margin of present day gibbon species distribution (around N25°). Compared to tropical habitats, northern gibbon habitats are characterized by low temperatures and remarkable seasonal variation in fruit abundance. How gibbons adapt to their cold and seasonal habitats and what ecological factors affect their sociality are key questions for understanding their ecology and social system evolution, the elucidation of which will contribute to the conservation of these special populations/species. According to preliminary short-term studies, northern gibbons consume more leaves and use larger home ranges than tropical gibbons. Interestingly, some Nomascus groups consist of more than one adult female. However, these preliminary results are not well understood or incorporated into current socio-ecological theories regarding gibbon species. To better understand northern gibbons, our team has systematically studied three habituated groups of Nomascus concolor, three groups of N. nasutus, and two habituated groups of Hoolock tianxing since 2002. In this paper, we stress the challenges facing gibbons living in northern habitats and summarize their behavioral adaptations to their harsh environments. We also describe the northern gibbon social system and discuss the potential relationships between their ecology and sociality. Finally, we highlight future research questions related to northern gibbons in China.

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