Variability in sensory ecology: expanding the bridge between physiology and evolutionary biology

Sensory organs represent the interface between the central nervous system of organisms and the environment in which they live. To date, we still lack a true integration of ecological and evolutionary perspectives in our understanding of many sensory systems. We argue that scientists working in sensory ecology should expand the bridge between sensory and evolutionary […]

Pheromone Communication in Amphibians and Reptiles

This selective review considers herpetological papers that feature the use of chemical cues, particularly pheromones involved in reproductive interactions between potential mates. Primary examples include garter snake females that attract males, lacertid lizards and the effects of their femoral gland secretions, aquatic male newts that chemically attract females, and terrestrial salamander males that chemically persuade […]

The relationship between accommodative amplitude and the ratio of central lens thickness to its equatorial diameter in vertebrate eyes

Aim: To determine the relationship between accommodative amplitude and central lens thickness/equatorial lens diameter (CLT/ELD) ratio in vertebrates. Methods: Midsagittal sections of lenses from fixed, post mortem eyes from 125 different vertebrate species were photographed. Their CLT/ELD ratios were correlated with independently published measurements of their accommodative amplitudes. Using the non-linear finite element method (FEM), […]

The link between metabolic rate and body temperature in galliform birds in thermoneutral and heat exposure conditions: The classical and phylogenetically corrected approach

Three galliform species (grey partridges, ring-necked pheasants, and king quail) were involved in body temperature and resting metabolic rate measurements over a broad range of ambient temperatures (20-45 degrees C). At thermoneutrality, inter-species differences in colonic temperature, as well as in metabolic rate, were observed. During heat exposure, all species reacted by elevating their body […]

Social influences on circadian behavioural rhythms in vertebrates

Although photoperiodic cycles are known to be the most powerful entraining agent of circadian rhythms in homeotherms, social factors can also play a role in synchronizing activity rhythms. Here we review social influences on circadian behavioural rhythms in vertebrates, focusing on the types of possible effects and the types of stimuli eliciting these effects. Social […]

The use of leukocyte profiles to measure stress in vertebrates: a review for ecologists

1 A growing number of ecologists are turning to the enumeration of white blood cells from blood smears (leukocyte profiles) to assess stress in animals. There has been some inconsistency and controversy in the ecological literature, however, regarding their interpretation. The inconsistencies may stem partly from a lack of information regarding how stress affects leukocytes […]

Minimally Invasive Health Monitoring of Wildlife

Investigations of free-living wild animals often involve capture, restraint or other forms of manipulation. There is a need, on both scientific and welfare grounds, to develop and to use less invasive techniques, especially for the assessment of health. Already some such procedures exist, ranging from observation of clinical signs to the laboratory examination and analysis […]

The emergence of emotional lateralization: Evidence in non-human vertebrates and implications for farm animals

The study and protection of animal welfare are based on the assumption that animals are sentient beings, capable of experiencing emotions. Still, our understanding of animal emotions is limited. In this review we focus on the potential of cerebral-lateralization research to provide new insights into animal emotional processing. Thereby, our aims were, first, to find […]

Defining and assessing animal pain

The detection and assessment of pain in animals is crucial to improving their welfare in a variety of contexts in which humans are ethically or legally bound to do so. Thus clear standards to judge whether pain is likely to occur in any animal species is vital to inform whether to alleviate pain or to […]