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Chernova O.F., Hoffmann R.S.
The architectonics of tenrec (Tenrecidae) spines has a convergent similarity to that in porcupine (Erethizontidae) quills and is also species specific. Like in Erethizontidae species, in tenrecs of the genus Hemicentetes using the tactics of active front defense, defensive spines of the trunk and crown fan are covered with an inverted cuticle, which serves as a particular harpoon. In Echinops and Setifer tenrecs using the tactics of passive defense (they can roll into a ball), spines of the trunk have no such cuticle. Spines of the stridulation organ in Hemicentetes are specialized to produce ultrasonic sounds due to rubbing against each other, and the spine structure reflects this peculiarity. The cuticle of trunk spines in Echipops telfairi is unique.
Magomedov M.-R. D., Akhmedov E.G., Nazrulaev N.I.
The demographic structure of two bezoar goat populations subject to anthropogenic impact to a variable extent is analyzed. One population inhabits the Nukatl Ridge, the other one, in the Bogoss Ridge. The populations are separated by the Avarskoe Koisu River. The most numerous group in the both populations is adult females at the age of two or more years. In the Nukatl and Bogoss Ridges, they constitute 34.2 and 33.8% of the whole populations, respectively. The share of this year's brood in these populations is 25.0 and 27.1%, that of adult males, 22.4 and 22.7, and of one-year-old individuals, 18.4 and 16.4%, respectively. The age structure of the both populations is also different. Seven-year-old and older males in the Nukatl and Bogoss populations amounted to 21.0 and 10.5% of the total number of males, respectively. The main factor responsible for the demographic structure of the East-Caucasian populations of bezoar goat is poaching. The degree of influence of this factor is related to the spatial distribution of the animal (topography of territories) and its availability for hunters.
Baskevich M.I., Okulova N.M., Potapov S.G., Varshavskii A.A.
The data on the chromosomal marking of Caucasian unstriped birch mice are summarized. The new data on the differential staining (G-, C-, NOR-banding) of chromosomes in representatives of the group Sicista are represented. Molecular-genetic markers (14 primers used) were worked out in detail based in the karyologically dated material using molecular-genetic approaches (RAPD PCR). The species specificity was revealed not only according to chromosomal and molecular-genetic characteristics but also by craniometric ones. Discriminant analysis of 25 cranial measurements (four craniometric parameters were used for intact skulls, eight characters, for imperfect ones) allowed to distinguish two sibling-species, S. caucasica and S. kluchorica. The species rank of some records from zoological museums were identified using the discriminant keys and molecular-genetic markers elaborated. The cadastre for sibling-species of the Caucasian unstriped birch mice was elaborated for the first time on the basis of chromosomal, molecular-genetic and craniometric characteristics. The use of chromosomal and molecular-genetic approaches and cluster analysis of craniometric characters enable to reveal philogenetic relationships in the group of unstriped birch mice in the Caucasus.
Abaturov B.D., Anchiforov P.S., Ogureeva G.N., Pal’tsyn M. Yu., Spitsyn S.V., Subbotin A.E.
The distribution of the Altai wild sheep, Ovis ammon ammon L., in the Russian Altai Mountains and adjacent territories is confined to the Altai-Mongolian tundra-steppe geobotanical subprovince of the Dauria-Mongolian steppe province (southeastern Russian Altai). Within this subprovince, permanent sheep habitats are fragmentary and restricted strictly to high mountain (2200-3000 m above sea level) xerophilous tundra-steppe communities (bunch grasses, kobresia, sedges, and forbs). The area occupied by widespread yernik communities (dwarf shrub formations with Betula nana) and boggy moss-sedge-kobresia and moss-lichen tundras are uninhabitable for wild sheep; the latter occur from time to time. The number and physical state of sheep are dependent on the proportion between the forb-grass communities and yernik ones. The uneven distribution of xerophilous tundra-steppe determines the fragmentary pattern of permanent preferable sheep’s habitats. Three permanent habitats were distinguished: the Sailyugem Ridge (the upper part of the Chagan-Burgazy river), the Chikhachev Ridge, and southern Altai Mountains at the boundary areas with Kazakhstan, China, and Mongolia. The wild sheep penetrate far to the mountain taiga regions of southern Siberia through high mountain yernik and moss-sedge-kobresia tundras. Periodic findings of sheep and their traces outside the tundra-steppe habitats, including mountain taiga ones, should be considered as the signs of their occasional visits.
Orlov V.N., Bulatova N. Sh., Kozlovskii A.I., Balakirev A.E.
A hierarchy of intraspecific taxa of the common shrew, Sorex araneus L., is described over a large area of the European species range to the east from the Gulf of Bothnia and the Visla and Dniester River basins. Diagnostic characteristics of the intraspecific taxa are chromosome rearrangements. Different metacentric chromosomes are generated by centric fusions of 10 pairs of acrocentric chromosomes. Intraspecific taxa of the common shrew are distinguished so that they correspond to phylogenetic groups (lineages). This hierarchy of the taxa involves four phylogenetic categories: chromosome race, karyotypic family, karyotypic subgroup, and karyotypic group. The hierarchy of intraspecific taxa is typical for all polytypic species. This character of the taxonomic structure of the species attests to a conventional demarcation line between the higher and lower taxa and common mechanisms of micro- and macroevolution. For purposes of practical taxonomy, complex hierarchical systems of intraspecies taxa should be adapted so that most taxa have scientific names (in trinomial nomenclature). The intraspecific taxa (taxonomically different) are as important for the conservation of biodiversity as “good” species.
Kuptsov A.V., Shchipanov N.A.
Returns of resident shrews (Sorex araneus, S. caecutiens, S. minutus, and S. isodon) transported over a distance of 150-900 m are considered. These shrews are able to return from places located at a distance of 900 m. Hypotheses for the return of animals due to stochastic movements, their capability for navigation and familiarity with surrounding area, and the Naumov’s “biological signal field” are tested for S. araneus and S. caecutiens. The area of 400-m radius was found to be familiar to the shrews. When removing over larger distance, they are oriented within the uneven “signal field” that is considered as a web of long- and short-term signals.
Surov A.V., Zubtsova A.V., Zinkevich E.P.
An information-functional approach for studying mammalian pheromones is considered with implication of actual data. In mammals as contrasted to insects, responses to most chemical signals do not conform to the stimulus - response pattern. They are influenced by a number of social and ecological factors. A mental image representing species and sex characteristics is formed at the early age with the development of individual and other preferences. Signals of different modalities participate in this process, frequently duplicating each other. Probably, is is just in mammals that the strong social association between young animals and their mother (sometimes, between parent males and other family members) is essential not only for protection but for formation of a complex system of communication links (including chemical signals) as well.
Basic principles of mediated communication by scent mark (MCSM) in mammals are given. The results are based on experimental and field studies of social behavior and chemical communication in small carnivorous mammals (Mustelidae, Viverridae, and Herpestidae). MCSM is a specific type of chemical communication. It is characterized by the following features: (1) animal leaves the source of odor signals (scent marks); (2) repetition of its image (creation of the animal's scent duplicate); (3) formation of various kinds of marking behavior; (4) development of the behavior directed to simplify the detection of marks for both animals, donor and recipient. The concept suggested needs the further elaboration for other mammalian species.
Kuznetsov G.V., Naumova E.I.
The results of long-term studies of trophic adaptations in mammals of Vietnam are analyzed. The chemical composition of food objects (based on the analysis of stomach contents), its consumption, digestibility, and the rate of its passage through stomach were investigated; pH of stomach contents, relative lengths of small and large intestines, and size of particles in stomach contents were studied. Forty-six species of mammals were investigated. Specific features of the food base are discussed. The main feature is the abundance of tropical tree fruits available for feeding of mammals. The basic principles of developing the food specialization in herbivorous mammals of the tropical zone are considered. The adaptation to use cellulose as nutrients and a source of energy is not widespread among tropical mammals.
Specific features of increasing the body mass and linear size, as well as the development of teeth in Moschus moschiferus were investigated (214 specimens). The experimental data on the growth and seasonal changes in mass of body and its organs were obtained as a result of monthly measurements of 20 individuals from birth to the age of 3 years. Three periods in the postnatal development of musk deer were distinguished. The growth of animals is slow with seasonal “waves” related to reproductive periods. The body length, thoracic circumference, and height of pelvisacral (caudal) part were used for characterization of the linear growth of musk deer (214 specimens). The development of the tooth system and age changes in the skull were analyzed on the basis of measurements (mandible length, length of nasal bones, and interorbital width) in 388 individuals.
Naidenko S.V., Erofeeva M.N.
Some traits of lynx’s reproduction and the reproductive strategy of females in the presence of two males in open-air-cage were studied at the biological station “Chernogolovka” located at a distance of 50 km to the northeast from Moscow. The mating time was restricted to March just as over the whole range of the lynx. Females gave birth (on average, two young ones) from the second decade of May up to the first decade of June. The sex ratio in the newborns was close to 1 : 1 and varied significantly depending on the litter size (small litters contained more females; large litters, more males). Mating of females with two males resulted in the greater reproductive success and increased the mean size of litter up to 3.0. The probability of reproduction in females did not correlate with the mating number and frequency in March. Females behaved differently to familiar and less known males.
Ivlev Yu. F.
Despite the progress in understanding of physical and chemical background of waterproof properties of porous structures in animals and plants, there are no reliable characteristics for the quantitative comparison of adaptive fur features in aquatic and semi-aquatic mammals. The paper presents the quantitative criteria describing the interrelationships between structural characteristics and waterproofness of pelage taking into account biological aspects of relations between fur and water. Potential waterproof properties of fur are determined by the ratio of hydrostatic and hydrodynamic pressure of water (P) to the critical pressure (P