Friday, June 27, 2014

Strike Fast, Strike Hard: The Red-Throated Caracara (Ibycter americanus)

The Red-throated Caracaras (Ibycter americanus) are specialist predators of social wasps in the Neotropics. Over the time it had been proposed that these falconids possess chemical repellents that allow them to take the brood of wasp nests without being attacked by worker wasps. 

To determine how Red-thoroated Caracaras exploit nests of social wasps and whether chemical repellents facilitate predation, a team of researchers went to Nouragues Station in French Guiana, they video recorded the birds attacking wasp nests; analyzed surface extracts of the birds' faces, feet, and feathers for potential chemical repellents; and inflicted mechanical damage on wasp nests to determine the defensive behavior of wasps in response to varying levels of disturbance. 


During caracara predation events, two species of large-bodied wasps mounted stinging attacks on caracaras, whereas three smaller-bodied wasp species did not. The “hit-and-run” predation tactic of caracaras when they attacked nests of large and aggressive wasps reduced the risk of getting stung. 

Data reveals that the predation strategy of caracaras is based on mechanical disturbance of, and damage to, target wasp nests. Caracara attacks and severe experimental disturbance of nests invariably caused wasps to abscond (abandon their nests). 

Two compounds in caracara foot extracts [sulcatone and iridodial] elicited electrophysiological responses from wasp antennae, and were also present in defensive secretions of sympatric arboreal-nesting Azteca ants. These compounds appear not to be wasp repellents but to be acquired coincidentally by caracaras when they perch on trees inhabited with Azteca ants. 

The Researchers conclude that Red-throated Caracara predation success does not depend on wasp repellents but relies on the absconding response that is typical of swarm-founding polistine wasps.The study highlights: the potential importance of vertebrate predators in the ecology and evolution of social wasps.

Source: PLOS ONE

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Adrian Soria: Y los biologos????

Con mucha preocupación e indignación me pregunto cual es la razón para el largo y misterioso silencio de parte de parte del gremio de biólogos a nivel nacional en lo que se refiere al modelo extractivista del gobierno, que tiene como banderas a la exploración del Yasuni, que por cierto justo el día internacional de la biodiversidad fue autorizada por parte del MAE su para su explotación.


Siendo el Yasuní por investigaciones realizadas por nosotros mismo categorizado como uno de los sitios con mayor biodiversidad en todo el mundo encontrando en pocas hectáreas de bosque más de mil especies de árboles, cientos de especies de aves, decenas de especies de murciélagos y miles de especies de insectos.
Me pregunto no somos nosotros mismos los que investigamos y publicamos con emoción (espero) el descubrimiento de tal o cual especie de planta o animal? Los que vamos con gran interés a los cursos de ecología tropical a poner transectos, parcelas, redes y demás de artilugios para medir esta diversidad? Los que escribimos en artículos y libros las maravillas del bosque lluvioso tropical? Los que sabemos que esa diversidad que se encuentra en la zona le tomó evolucionar no miles sino millones de años para llegar a su estado actual?. 

Pero porque entonces si existe una grave amenaza que pone en peligro la integridad ecosistemica de este emblemático sitio para la biodiversidad guardamos un cobarde y cómplice silencio? Mis respuestas pueden ser muchas: muchos trabajamos como consultores para petroleras y para que hablar su voy a tener más trabajo, otros trabajamos en la burocracia del gobierno y para que hablar sí eso ocasionaría un llamado de atención del jefe, otros no trabajamos en la zona si o estamos estudiando un postgrado y para que hablar si el gobierno me puede quitar la beca y otros simplemente no nos interesa ensuciarnos nuestra reputación científica y para que protestar si puedo escribir un artículo más para la mejor revista indexada sobre el análisis genético en Drosophila. 

Otros no hablamos porque prefiero trabajar para la ONG internacional y ahí tengo asegurada la vida y otros ya tienen ganado prestigio ganado y son los mega ornitoherpetoentomomastozoologos que para que meterse a hablar del Yasuni sino se hacen enemigos de los donantes y ahí quien les financia.
Mientras tanto en las calles importante grupo de gente que sin necesidad de ser biólogos están luchando por conservar este laboratorio viviente de nuestro país y mientras y nosotros? Bien gracias al otro lado del binocular, estéreo microscopio, matraz, colección estudiando de la manera más científica y objetiva la biodiversidad.... Se nota que a veces somos muy científicos, profesionales y metódicos....pero ahora más que nunca de nota el ego, la prepotencia, el miedo y la poca ética que tenemos... Mientras tanto el lugar emblemático de los biólogos se destruye entre moto sierras e hidrocarburos....
Y para responder la pregunta que inició esto... Y los biólogos? Bien gracias...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Why Follow the Frog???

A funny and important Conservation Campaing to promote the Conservation of the Rainforest.
Rainforest Alliance has show us conservation is profitable, we need more enterprises like this, Ecuador can be that enterprise.

Conservation need to be rooted into the local communities; but most important, economical renevues need to stay in the communities so people can experience that Conservation is economically profitable in many ways.

Oil, mining, monoculture and all the major economical activities needs an initial investment in many cases; countries like Ecuador need to borrow it from somewhere else and starting a endless series of social and environmental problems. None of the above economical activity beats Conservation because the initial investments is ZERO, its already there: a water machinery in the Andes to sell pure water in a near future, clean air for our citizents, and diversity of food from our farming fields all ot them free of GMO'S and one of largest generic bank in the world; Ecuador is the Top Ten Richest Country in the world.

Cash will flow in... as we said in Ecuador: tendriamos el sarten por el mango.




Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Puma still wanders in the Yasuni Wilderness

The South American cats are relatively recents arrivals from Noth America which crossed down here on the formation of the land bridge between these two continents just 3 millions years ago.

Cat are emblems of the Rainforest for their ecological role by controlling the herbivore densities, forest without their cats and other carnivores experience a dramatic rodents densities and a consequent increase in seed predation and affect the dynamic of the forest in the long run.

The Puma (Puma concolor) also lives in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador. Its range, from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes of South America, is the greatest of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere.

The community and +Shiripuno Lodge have started the Yasuni Trap Camera; which is a Sharing Iniciative to promote the Conservation of the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve.

The Chevron Activities in the Amazon of Ecuador would be nothing compare to the future oil activities in the Yasuni, even with 1% of the reserve the cost would be to high and risky.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Story of Bottled Water and the Yasuni Oil

The Yasuni Biosphere Reserve has been promoting this kind of industries since the early 80's.  More roads are open every year, more iligal hunting, more Boom Towns created with all the garbage and wastes are just into all the mayor rivers of the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve.

The funny part of this picture is that the oil from the Amazon Rainforest sponsor it owns pollution. Check this video to straight out our interest.


Millions of plastic bottles navigate downstream into the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve main rivers; nothing happens since the 80's and now nothing will happens because the Yasuni oil will fund somebody bussiness otherwise we will know the baseline of the negotiations of it. But is it s TOP SECRET.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Species New to Science: [Herpetology • 2014] Systematics of Treefrogs of t...

The Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador every year bring new species, this time Marcel Caminer and Santiago Ron had been working on a Treefrogs of the Hypsiboas calcaratus and Hypsiboas fasciatus especies complex; it means they were many frogs that share a lot physical features and for many years ago were lamp into species label, more research was needed and finally we've been lead to a better understanding of our frog communities.




For more info regarding to the new species of frogs follow the link.
Species New to Science: [Herpetology • 2014] Systematics of Treefrogs of t...: Figure 8. Dorsolateral views of adult males of A Hypsiboas fasciatus , QCAZ 48584, SVL = 33.77 mm  B Hypsiboas almendarizae  sp. ...