(1/4610) A survey of serum and dietary carotenoids in captive wild animals.

Accumulation of carotenoids varies greatly among animal species and is not fully characterized. Circulating carotenoid concentration data in captive wild animals are limited and may be useful for their management. Serum carotenoid concentrations and dietary intakes were surveyed and the extent of accumulation categorized for 76 species of captive wild animals at Brookfield Zoo. Blood samples were obtained opportunistically from 275 individual animals immobilized for a variety of reasons; serum was analyzed for alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein + zeaxanthin, lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin and canthaxanthin. Total carotenoid content of diets was calculated from tables and chemical analyses of commonly consumed dietary components. Diets were categorized as low, moderate or high in carotenoid content as were total serum carotenoid concentrations. Animals were classified as unknown, high, moderate or low (non-) accumulators of dietary cartenoids. Nonaccumulators had total serum carotenoid concentrations of 0-101 nmol/L, whereas accumulators had concentrations that ranged widely, from 225 to 35,351 nmol/L. Primates were uniquely distinguished by the widest range of type and concentration of carotenoids in their sera. Most were classified as high to moderate accumulators. Felids had high accumulation of beta-carotene regardless of dietary intake, whereas a wide range of exotic birds accumulated only the xanthophylls, lutein + zeaxanthin, canthaxanthin or cryptoxanthin. The exotic ungulates, with the exception of the bovids, had negligible or nondetectable carotenoid serum concentrations despite moderate intakes. Bovids accumulated only beta-carotene despite moderately high lutein + zeaxanthin intakes. Wild captive species demonstrated a wide variety of carotenoid accumulation patterns, which could be exploited to answer remaining questions concerning carotenoid metabolism and function.  (+info)

(2/4610) Casts of hepatic blood vessels: a comparison of the microcirculation of the penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae, with some common laboratory animals.

Latex casts of the hepatic blood vessels of the penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae, and of some common laboratory animals were compared. There was general similarity between the different species, but the portal venous and hepatic arterial systems of the penguin were simpler than those of other species. Measurements were made of the volume and length of portal veins and it appears that the portal venous system is capable of being a more efficient blood reservoir in the penguin than in other species studied. The peribiliary plexus was especially well formed in the penguin and was drained by long veins which usually joined portal venous branches. Some of the long veins drained directly into the hepatic venous tree: these translobular veins were more prominent than in mammals. Anastomoses between hepatic artery and portal vein were not present in penguins, and the supply to the sinusoids appeared to be separate. The morphology of small hepatic veins of all the species appeared to be similar.  (+info)

(3/4610) First report of Thelazia sp. from a captive Oriental white stork (Ciconia boyciana) in Japan.

Nematodes of the genus Thelazia were recovered from the cornea and inferior conjunctival sac of an immature Oriental white stork (Ciconia boyciana). The bird hatched and reared at the Toyooka Oriental White Stork Breeding Center, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, but died of chlamydiosis. There were neither gross nor histopathologic ophthalmic lesions. The eye worm from a bird is believed to be first reported in Japan. As regarding reintroduction plan for the Oriental white stork, control measures for prevent further infection with the eye worm will be needed.  (+info)

(4/4610) Evidence for a correlation between the number of marginal band microtubules and the size of vertebrate erthrocytes.

In 23 species of vertebrates the dimensions of erythrocytes and the number of their marginal band microtubules were examined. A positive correlation was found between the size of erythrocytes and the number of microtubules. The absence of microtubules in diskoid erythrocytes of mammals-Camelidae-is discussed.  (+info)

(5/4610) Temperature regulation and heat dissipation during flight in birds.

Core and skin temperature were measured by radiotelemetry in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) during 30 min flights in a wind tunnel. Core temperature was independent of ambient temperature from 0 to 28 degrees C. The temporal mean of the monitored core temperature during flight was 42-7 degrees C in one bird and 44-0 degrees C in another. These temperatures are 2-4 degrees C higher than the resting temperature in starlings, and are among the highest steady-state temperatures observed in any animal. Skin temperature on the breast was within a few degrees of core temperature. In some locations skin temperature was higher at low ambient temperatures than at intermediate ambient temperatures. An analysis of the data shows that a high core temperature does not function as an aid to head dissipation. On the contrary, insulation is adjusted to maintain a high temperature, presumably because it is necessary for flight. The increase in skin temperature at low ambient temperatures is believed to be a result of a decrease in heat flow through the breast feathers brought about by feather adjustments, to compensate for an unavoidable increase in heat flow in unfeathered or poorly feathered parts of the body.  (+info)

(6/4610) Activities of citrate synthase, NAD+-linked and NADP+-linked isocitrate dehydrogenases, glutamate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase in nervous tissues from vertebrates and invertebrates.

1. The activities of citrate synthase and NAD+-linked and NADP+-linked isocitrate dehydrogenases were measured in nervous tissue from different animals in an attempt to provide more information about the citric acid cycle in this tissue. In higher animals the activities of citrate synthase are greater than the sum of activities of the isocitrate dehydrogenases, whereas they are similar in nervous tissues from the lower animals. This suggests that in higher animals the isocitrate dehydrogenase reaction is far-removed from equilibrium. If it is assumed that isocitrate dehydrogenase activities provide an indication of the maximum flux through the citric acid cycle, the maximum glycolytic capacity in nervous tissue is considerably greater than that of the cycle. This suggest that glycolysis can provide energy in excess of the aerobic capacity of the tissue. 2. The activities of glutamate dehydrogenase are high in most nervous tissues and the activities of aspartate aminotransferase are high in all nervous tissue investigated. However, the activities of alanine aminotransferase are low in all tissues except the ganglia of the waterbug and cockroach. In these insect tissues, anaerobic glycolysis may result in the formation of alanine rather than lactate.  (+info)

(7/4610) Molecular studies suggest that cartilaginous fishes have a terminal position in the piscine tree.

The Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fishes) are commonly accepted as being sister group to the other extant Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates). To clarify gnathostome relationships and to aid in resolving and dating the major piscine divergences, we have sequenced the complete mtDNA of the starry skate and have included it in phylogenetic analysis along with three squalomorph chondrichthyans-the common dogfish, the spiny dogfish, and the star spotted dogfish-and a number of bony fishes and amniotes. The direction of evolution within the gnathostome tree was established by rooting it with the most closely related non-gnathostome outgroup, the sea lamprey, as well as with some more distantly related taxa. The analyses placed the chondrichthyans in a terminal position in the piscine tree. These findings, which also suggest that the origin of the amniote lineage is older than the age of the oldest extant bony fishes (the lungfishes), challenge the evolutionary direction of several morphological characters that have been used in reconstructing gnathostome relationships. Applying as a calibration point the age of the oldest lungfish fossils, 400 million years, the molecular estimate placed the squalomorph/batomorph divergence at approximately 190 million years before present. This dating is consistent with the occurrence of the earliest batomorph (skates and rays) fossils in the paleontological record. The split between gnathostome fishes and the amniote lineage was dated at approximately 420 million years before present.  (+info)

(8/4610) Prehistoric birds from New Ireland, Papua New Guinea: extinctions on a large Melanesian island.

At least 50 species of birds are represented in 241 bird bones from five late Pleistocene and Holocene archaeological sites on New Ireland (Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea). The bones include only two of seabirds and none of migrant shorebirds or introduced species. Of the 50 species, at least 12 (petrel, hawk, megapode, quail, four rails, cockatoo, two owls, and crow) are not part of the current avifauna and have not been recorded previously from New Ireland. Larger samples of bones undoubtedly would indicate more extirpated species and refine the chronology of extinction. Humans have lived on New Ireland for ca. 35,000 years, whereas most of the identified bones are 15,000 to 6,000 years old. It is suspected that most or all of New Ireland's avian extinction was anthropogenic, but this suspicion remains undetermined. Our data show that significant prehistoric losses of birds, which are well documented on Pacific islands more remote than New Ireland, occurred also on large, high, mostly forested islands close to New Guinea.  (+info)