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Zoo biology [journal]
- In Memoriam. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Nov 17.
- Capture, transport, and husbandry of elephant sharks (Callorhinchus milii) adults, eggs, and hatchlings for research and display. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Nov 14.
Elephant sharks (Callorhinchus milii) have the slowest evolving genome of all vertebrates and are an interesting model species for evolution research and a prized display animal. However, their deep water habitat, short breeding season, fragility, and susceptibility to stress-induced mortality have made them difficult animals to capture, keep in captivity, and obtain fertilized eggs from. Gravid females were captured by rod and reel from Western Port Bay, Australia and transferred to a 40 000 L closed aquaculture system to lay their eggs before being released. The water quality parameters, averaged over three seasons of 4-6 weeks (mean ± standard deviation) were: 16.8°C ± 2.31, salinity 37.1 ± 2.9 g/L, ammonia 0.137 ± 0.2 mg/L, nitrite levels 0.89 ± 0.9 mg/L, nitrate 66.8 ± 45.6 mg/L, pH 7.8 ± 0.18, dissolved oxygen levels 93.6 ± 5.3%, ORP 307 ± 63.3 mV. Eggs were incubated in purpose-built egg cages and embryos hatched after 143.6 days ± 1.3 at 16.9 ± 0.9°C of incubation. These procedures led to no adult mortality in the last 2 years and 620 eggs with known deposition date were collected over 4 years, of which 81.5% (±4.8) were viable. Collection of abundant embryological material with known deposition date is of paramount importance for evolutionary developmental research. We attribute this success to excellent water quality, maximum reduction of stress during capture, transport, handling, and captive care. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Assessment of the reproductive status of female veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus) using hormonal, behavioural and physical traits. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Nov 13.
Egg binding is a common reproductive disorder in captive female reptiles leading to premature loss of breeding potential, or in severe cases death. It can result from failure to ovulate (and reabsorb) follicles; follicular stasis, or failure to lay eggs; dystocia. Reproductive status of female veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus) in a research colony was assessed using enzyme immunoassay (EIA) of fecal reproductive hormones (estradiol; E2, progesterone; P, and testosterone; T) and their metabolites, ultrasound imaging of the reproductive tract, and receptivity to conspecific males. Periods of follicular growth (vitellogenesis) corresponded with increasing levels of E2, and following ovulation, a distinct change in morphology from round (follicles) to oval (eggs) structures, which was accompanied by a surge in P (>20-fold above baseline). P levels remained elevated throughout the gravid phase until just prior to oviposition. Length/width ratios of follicles and eggs were statistically different, but distinguishing a follicle from an egg based on the ratio was unreliable due to a large overlap in values. In animals that failed to ovulate on their first cycle, follicles began to recede but were not fully reabsorbed and could be distinguished from a second batch of follicles based on their echogenicity. Female receptivity to conspecific males was not related to cycle stage (i.e., previtellogenesis, vitellogenesis, or gravid) or reproductive hormone levels. This study demonstrates the use of ultrasonography and reproductive hormone analysis to assess phase of the reproductive cycle (pre- or post-ovulatory), or confirm ongoing follicular stasis. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- First observations of fertilized eggs and preleptocephalus larvae of Rhinomuraena quaesita in the Vienna Zoo. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Nov 10.
For the first time worldwide, fertilized eggs of ribbon eels (Rhinomuraena quaesita) hatched into feeding preleptocephali and could be kept alive for a period of seven days in the Vienna Zoo. The study reports on husbandry, behavioral observations and dimensions of eggs and preleptocephalus larvae. Furthermore, body color variations of ribbon eels in captivity do not reflect its sex or sexual maturity. Zoo Biol. XXXX:1-4, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Are we ignoring neutral and negative human-animal relationships in zoos? [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Oct 18.
Human-animal interactions (HAI), which may lead to human-animal relationships (HAR), may be positive, neutral, or negative in nature. Zoo studies show that visitors may be stressful, may have no effect, or may be enriching. There is also evidence that good HARs set up between animals and their keepers can have positive effects on animal welfare. However, we need to know more about negative HARs, and as a first step we attempt to do this here by considering cases where animals attack people in the zoo. Due to the sensitivity and rarity of these events data appear sparse and unsystematically collected. Here, information available in the public domain about the circumstances of these attacks has been collated to test hypotheses about negative HAIs derived from a model of zoo HARs. The limited data presented here broadly support the zoo HAR model, and suggest that attacks usually happen in unusual circumstances, where there may be a failure by the animal to recognise the HAR, or where the relationship, if there is one, does not hold; and give some support to the prediction that exposure to many keepers may impair the development of a positive HAR. This study may provide useful information for the zoo community to proactively collect systematic standardised records, which will enable a fuller understanding of zoo HARs, upon which appropriate measures might be adopted to build better zoo HARs, which are likely to positively impact zoo animal welfare, and reduce these rare incidences further. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals Inc.
- A visual system for scoring body condition of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Oct 16.
A body condition score (BCS) may provide information on the health or production potential of an animal; it may also reflect the suitability of the environment to maintain an animal population. Thus assessing the BCS of Asian elephants is important for their management. There is a need for a robust BCS applicable to both wild and captive elephants of all age categories based on the minimum and maximum possible subcutaneous body fat and muscle deposits. The visually based system for scoring the body condition of elephants presented here satisfies these criteria and is quick, inexpensive, non-invasive and user-friendly in the field. The BCS scale correlates (P < 0.05) with morphometric indices such as weight, girth, and skin fold measures. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Nutrition and health in amphibian husbandry. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Oct 8.
Amphibian biology is intricate, and there are many inter-related factors that need to be understood before establishing successful Conservation Breeding Programs (CBPs). Nutritional needs of amphibians are highly integrated with disease and their husbandry needs, and the diversity of developmental stages, natural habitats, and feeding strategies result in many different recommendations for proper care and feeding. This review identifies several areas where there is substantial room for improvement in maintaining healthy ex situ amphibian populations specifically in the areas of obtaining and utilizing natural history data for both amphibians and their dietary items, achieving more appropriate environmental parameters, understanding stress and hormone production, and promoting better physical and population health. Using a scientific or research framework to answer questions about disease, nutrition, husbandry, genetics, and endocrinology of ex situ amphibians will improve specialists' understanding of the needs of these species. In general, there is a lack of baseline data and comparative information for most basic aspects of amphibian biology as well as standardized laboratory approaches. Instituting a formalized research approach in multiple scientific disciplines will be beneficial not only to the management of current ex situ populations, but also in moving forward with future conservation and reintroduction projects. This overview of gaps in knowledge concerning ex situ amphibian care should serve as a foundation for much needed future research in these areas. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Introduction. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Oct 7.
- Leaping forward in amphibian health and nutrition. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Oct 3.
The Epidemiology Working Group, a subgroup of the participants of the Disney's Animal Kingdom Workshop on "Ex situ Amphibian Medicine and Nutrition," identified a critical need to design and implement approaches that will facilitate the assessment and evaluation of factors impacting amphibian health. In this manuscript, we describe and summarize the outcomes of this workshop with regards (a) the identified gaps in knowledge, (b) identified priorities for closing these gaps, and (c) compile a list of actions to address these priorities. Four general areas of improvement were identified in relation to how measurements are currently being taken to evaluate ex situ amphibian health: nutrition, infectious diseases, husbandry, and integrated biology including genetics and endocrinology. The proposed actions that will be taken in order to address the identified gaps include: (1) identify and quantify major health issues affecting ex situ amphibian populations, (2) identify and coordinate laboratories to conduct analyses using standardized and validated protocols to measure nutritional, infectious diseases, genetic, and hormonal parameters, (3) determine in situ baseline distribution of parameters related to amphibian health, and (4) establish an inter-disciplinary research approach to target specific hypotheses related to amphibian health such as the effects of population genetics (e.g., relatedness, inbreeding) on disease susceptibility, or how environmental parameters are related to chronic stress and hormone production. We think is important to address current gaps in knowledge regarding amphibian health in order to increase the probability to succeed in addressing the issues faced by in situ and ex situ amphibians populations. We are confident that the recommendations provided in this manuscript will facilitate to address these challenges and could have a positive impact in both the health of in situ and ex situ amphibian populations, worldwide. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Challenges with effective nutrient supplementation for amphibians: A review of cricket studies. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2014 Oct 1.
Over the last 25 years, numerous studies have investigated the impact of insect supplementation on insect nutrient content. In light of recent nutrition related challenges with regards to zoo amphibians fed an insect based diet, this review attempts to comprehensively compile both anecdotal and published data in the context of practical application on this topic. Insects, primarily crickets, used for amphibian diets historically demonstrate low concentrations of key nutrients including calcium and vitamin A. Commonly used practices for supplementation involving powder dusting or gut loading have been shown to improve delivery of calcium and vitamin A, though often not reaching desired nutrient concentrations. The large variety of factors influencing insect nutrient content are difficult to control, making study design, and results often inconsistent. Formulation and availability of more effective gut loading diets, combined with a standardized protocol for insect husbandry and dietary management may be the most effective way to supplement insects for use in amphibian feeding programs. Ideally, the nutritional improvement of feeder insects would begin at the breeder level; however, until this becomes a viable choice, we confirm that supplementation of crickets through both gut-loading and dusting appear necessary to support the nutritional health of amphibians and other insectivores in managed collections. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.