Zoology

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Evolutionary arms races can drive adaptations in hosts and parasites as well as among competing parasites. A combination of multi-omics and functional tests identifies a set of genes that allow a parasitic wasp to minimize intraspecific competition by inducing hosts to escape before more wasps can parasitize them.

    • Jiani Chen
    • , Gangqi Fang
    •  & Jianhua Huang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Incretin hormones regulate insulin and glucagon secretion in mammals, but similar peptides have not been characterized in invertebrates. Here the authors show that neuropeptide F functions similar to mammalian incretin in fruit flies, responding to sugar and enhancing insulin-like peptide secretion.

    • Yuto Yoshinari
    • , Hina Kosakamoto
    •  & Ryusuke Niwa
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Little is known on how mitonuclear interactions influence genomic divergence among hybrid and parental lineages. A study of hybridizing wood warbler species complex finds a nuclear gene block with mitochondrial functions coevolves with mitochondrial genome, driven by climate-associated divergent selection underlying hybrid-parental population divergence.

    • Silu Wang
    • , Madelyn J. Ore
    •  & Darren Irwin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The parasite causing toxoplasmosis can manipulate prey to behave in ways that promote transmission to the parasite’s definitive feline hosts. The first study consistent with this extended phenotype in the wild finds that infected hyena cubs approach lions more closely than uninfected peers and have higher rates of lion mortality.

    • Eben Gering
    • , Zachary M. Laubach
    •  & Thomas Getty
  • Article
    | Open Access

    An experimental study finds that birds and bats avoid whitewater river noise, and that intense noise reduces bird foraging activity and causes bats to switch hunting strategies. Overlap between noise and song frequency predicts bird declines until high levels where other mechanisms appear important.

    • D. G. E. Gomes
    • , C. A. Toth
    •  & J. R. Barber
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Islands can provide insights into the evolution of diverse adaptations. The genomes of 34 major lineages of Mediterranean wall lizards reveal a highly reticulated pattern of evolution across the group, characterised by mosaic genomes and showing that hybrid lineages gave rise to several extant endemics.

    • Weizhao Yang
    • , Nathalie Feiner
    •  & Tobias Uller
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The herbivorous horseradish flea beetle sequesters plant toxins to defend against predators. Here the authors identify glucosinolate transporters expressed in the beetle Malpighian tubules and provide evidence that these reabsorb glucosinolates from the tubule lumen to prevent their loss by excretion.

    • Zhi-Ling Yang
    • , Hussam Hassan Nour-Eldin
    •  & Franziska Beran
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Studying how songbirds learn songs can shed light on the development of human speech. An analysis of 160 tutor-pupil zebra finch pairs suggests that frequency dependent balanced imitation prevents the extinction of rare song elements and the overabundance of common ones, promoting song diversity within groups and species recognition across groups.

    • Ofer Tchernichovski
    • , Sophie Eisenberg-Edidin
    •  & Erich D. Jarvis
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The evolution of metamorphic species may be constrained by different ecologies of the larval and adult stages. Here, Bardua et al. show that in frogs, adult ecology is more important than larval ecology for skull evolution, but species that don’t feed as tadpoles evolve faster than those that do.

    • Carla Bardua
    • , Anne-Claire Fabre
    •  & Anjali Goswami
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Social animals have sophisticated ways of classifying relationships with conspecifics. Data from 30 years of observations and playback experiments on dolphins with a multi-level alliance system show that individuals form social concepts that categorize conspecifics according to their shared cooperative history.

    • Stephanie L. King
    • , Richard C. Connor
    •  & Simon J. Allen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cooperative species, like humans, can display spontaneously prosocial behaviour. Experiments on a monogamous fish with biparental care shows that pair bonded males are prosocial to both their long-term mates and to strange females, but make antisocial choices if their mate is watching, or if another male is the potential recipient.

    • Shun Satoh
    • , Redouan Bshary
    •  & Masanori Kohda
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Historical climate adaptation can give insight into the potential for adaptation to contemporary changing climates. Here Bennett et al. investigate thermal tolerance evolution across much of the tree of life and find different effects of ancestral climate on the subsequent evolution of ectotherms vs. endotherms.

    • Joanne M. Bennett
    • , Jennifer Sunday
    •  & Miguel Ángel Olalla-Tárraga
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Honey bee workers take on different tasks for the colony as they age. Here, the authors develop a method to extract a descriptor of the individuals’ social networks and show that interaction patterns predict task allocation and distinguish different developmental trajectories.

    • Benjamin Wild
    • , David M. Dormagen
    •  & Tim Landgraf
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ticks are an important vector of disease in China, posing threats to humans, livestock and wild animals. Here, Zhao et al. compile a database of the distributions of the 124 tick species known in China and 103 tick-borne pathogens and predict the additional suitable habitats for the predominant vector species.

    • Guo-Ping Zhao
    • , Yi-Xing Wang
    •  & Li-Qun Fang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    While size exaggeration is common in the animal kingdom, Pisanski & Reby show that human listeners can detect deceptive vocal signals of people trying to sound bigger or smaller, and recalibrate their estimates accordingly, especially men judging the heights of other men, with implications for the evolution of vocal communication.

    • Katarzyna Pisanski
    •  & David Reby
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Germ-free mosquitoes generated with current methods exhibit developmental deficits. Here, the authors use genetically modified bacteria to allow complete decolonisation at any developmental stage of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and show that bacteria support larval development by contributing to folate biosynthesis and enhancing energy storage.

    • Ottavia Romoli
    • , Johan Claes Schönbeck
    •  & Mathilde Gendrin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Connecting genotypes to complex social behaviour is challenging. Taylor et al. use machine learning to show a strong response of caste-associated gene expression to queen loss, wherein individual wasp’s expression profiles become intermediate between queen and worker states, even in the absence of behavioural changes.

    • Benjamin A. Taylor
    • , Alessandro Cini
    •  & Seirian Sumner
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Climate change may pose a challenge not only for survival of animals but also for their reproduction. Here, Schou et al. analyse how male and female ostrich fertility relates to fluctuating temperature across 20 years, finding reduced fertility away from the thermal optimum, but also individual variation in thermal tolerance.

    • Mads F. Schou
    • , Maud Bonato
    •  & Charlie K. Cornwallis
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Strong social bonds are known to affect pairwise cooperation in primates such chimpanzees. Here, Samuni et al. show that strong social bonds also influence participation in group-level cooperation (collective action in intergroup encounters) using a long-term dataset of wild chimpanzees.

    • Liran Samuni
    • , Catherine Crockford
    •  & Roman M. Wittig
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A global analysis of population-level variation in genetic diversity for 727 plant and animal species finds that biogeography, life history traits and climate are important for predicting the distribution of local genetic diversity, and should be considered together when assessing the local conservation status of species.

    • H. De Kort
    • , J. G. Prunier
    •  & S. Blanchet
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Gene flow is classically thought to impede local adaptation via parallel evolution. However, a genomic study on Hawaiian crickets from different island populations finds evidence of parallel adaptation to the same lethal parasitoid in spite of strong ongoing gene flow.

    • Xiao Zhang
    • , Jack G. Rayner
    •  & Nathan W. Bailey
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Biomineral armour is known in a number of diverse creatures but has not previously been observed in insects. Here, the authors report on the discovery and characterization of high-magnesium calcite armour which overlays the exoskeletons of leaf-cutter ants.

    • Hongjie Li
    • , Chang-Yu Sun
    •  & Cameron R. Currie
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Shark teeth have short lifespans yet can be subject to significant mechanical damage. Here, the authors report on a site-specific damage mechanism in shark teeth enameloid, which maintains tooth functional shape, providing experimental evidence that tooth architecture may have influenced the diversification of shark ecologies over evolution.

    • Shahrouz Amini
    • , Hajar Razi
    •  & Peter Fratzl
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Pesticides could increase bees’ susceptibility to parasites, but the nature of this interaction has been unclear. Here the authors show that the pesticide Clothianidin reduces the wound healing immune response in bees, allowing the ectoparasitic Varroa mites to consume more bee hemolymph and amplify reproduction.

    • Desiderato Annoscia
    • , Gennaro Di Prisco
    •  & Francesco Pennacchio
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cichlids are a model for adaptive radiation, but the timing of their diversification is debated. Here the authors assemble 14 cichlid genomes, introduce a Bayesian approach to account for fossil-assignment uncertainty, and present a dated phylogenomic hypothesis of cichlid and teleost evolution.

    • Michael Matschiner
    • , Astrid Böhne
    •  & Walter Salzburger
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Whether and how fish might benefit from swimming in schools is an ongoing intriguing debate. Li et al. conduct experiments with biomimetic robots and also with real fish to reveal a new behavioural strategy by which followers can exploit the vortices shed by a near neighbour.

    • Liang Li
    • , Máté Nagy
    •  & Iain D. Couzin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (BD) associated with widespread amphibian declines is present in Europe but has not consistently caused disease-induced declines in that region. Here, the authors suggest that an endemic strain of BD with low virulence may protect the hosts upon co-infection with more virulent strains.

    • Mark S. Greener
    • , Elin Verbrugghe
    •  & An Martel
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Whether or not species—when introduced to a new location—eventually become invasive has been linked to the specices’ capacity to expand its niche. However, here the authors show that the extent of niche shift is smaller in non-invasive than invasive ant species, questioning this established hypothesis.

    • Olivia K. Bates
    • , Sébastien Ollier
    •  & Cleo Bertelsmeier
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Modern mammals are endothermic, but it has not been clear when this type of metabolism evolved. Here, Newham et al. analyse tooth and bone structure in Early Jurassic stem-mammal fossils to estimate lifespan and blood flow rates, which inform about basal and maximum metabolic rates, respectively, and show these stem-mammals had metabolic rates closer to modern ectothermic reptiles than to endothermic mammals.

    • Elis Newham
    • , Pamela G. Gill
    •  & Ian J. Corfe
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    The social intelligence hypothesis predicts that social organisms tend to be more intelligent because within-group interactions drive cognitive evolution. Here, authors propose that conspecific outsiders can be just as important in selecting for sophisticated cognitive adaptations.

    • Benjamin J. Ashton
    • , Patrick Kennedy
    •  & Andrew N. Radford
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Song et al. inferred that stridulatory wings and tibial ears co-evolved in a sexual context among crickets, katydids, and their allies, while abdominal ears evolved first in a non-sexual context in grasshoppers, and were later co-opted for courtship. They found little evidence that the evolution of these organs increased lineage diversification.

    • Hojun Song
    • , Olivier Béthoux
    •  & Sabrina Simon
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Animal signals often encode information on the emitter’s species identity. Using woodpecker drumming as a model, here the authors show that limited signal divergence during a clade radiation does not impair species discrimination, as long as the signals are adapted to local ecological requirements.

    • Maxime Garcia
    • , Frédéric Theunissen
    •  & Nicolas Mathevon
  • Article
    | Open Access

    There are gaps in international efforts to monitor the wildlife trade, with many species potentially being undetected by the established monitoring groups. Here the authors use an automated web search to document the sale of reptiles online, revealing over 36% of all known reptile species are in trade, including many missing from official databases.

    • Benjamin M. Marshall
    • , Colin Strine
    •  & Alice C. Hughes
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Environmental variability is one potential driver of behavioural and cultural diversity in humans and other animals. Here, the authors show that chimpanzee behavioural diversity is higher in habitats that are more seasonal and historically unstable, and in savannah woodland relative to forested sites.

    • Ammie K. Kalan
    • , Lars Kulik
    •  & Hjalmar S. Kühl
  • Article
    | Open Access

    “Life in a seasonal environment requires appropriate timing of physiological changes to survive, but how the circadian clockwork times these changes remains unclear. Here the authors show that the circadian clock genes BMAL2 and DEC1, in concert with epigenetic pathways in the pituitary, have a central role in seasonal timekeeping in mammals.”

    • S. H. Wood
    • , M. M. Hindle
    •  & A. S. I. Loudon
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Little is known about gene expression of organisms in the deep sea, partially owing to constraints on sampling these organisms in situ. Here the authors circumvent this problem, fixing tissue of a deep-sea mussel at 1,688 m in depth, and later analyzing transcriptomes to reveal gene expression patterns showing tidal oscillations.

    • Audrey M. Mat
    • , Jozée Sarrazin
    •  & Marjolaine Matabos
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In animal groups, the degree of alignment of individuals could have different benefits and costs for individuals depending on their reliance on private or social information. Here the authors show that in shoals of three-spined sticklebacks, some individuals reach resources faster when groups are disordered, a state which favours reliance on privately acquired information, while other individuals reach resources faster when groups are ordered, allowing them to exploit social information more effectively.

    • Hannah E. A. MacGregor
    • , James E. Herbert-Read
    •  & Christos C. Ioannou
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Fast metabolisms tend to shorten lifespans by increasing oxidative damage. This study identifies a gene mutation that keeps a key antioxidant response active, possibly allowing Neoaves bird species to avoid the tradeoff between rapid metabolism and longevity that challenges most mammals, including humans.

    • Gianni M. Castiglione
    • , Zhenhua Xu
    •  & Elia J. Duh