SciCombinator

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Concept: Beavers

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The Scottish Beaver Trial, involving the translocation and release of 16 wild Norwegian beavers (Castor fiber) to Scotland, provides a good example of a ‘One Health’ scientific monitoring approach, with independent monitoring partners on ecology and public health feeding into veterinary health surveillance. Pathogen detection did not prohibit beaver release, although eight beavers were seropositive for Leptospira spp. Six deaths (37.5%) occurred during Rabies quarantine, followed by the death of two animals shortly after release and two wild-born kits due to suspected predation. Two host-specific parasites, the beaver fluke (Stichorchis subtriquetrus) and beaver beetle (Platypsyllus castoris) were also reintroduced.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Vaccination, Rodent, Beaver, Wildlife management, European Beaver, Beavers, London School of Economics

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The North American beaver (Castor canadensis) is an invasive species in southern Patagonia, introduced in 1946 as part of a program by the Argentine government to augment furbearers. Research focus has turned from inventorying the beaver’s population and ecosystem impacts toward eradicating it from the region and restoring degraded areas. Successful restoration, however, requires a fuller determination of how beavers have altered physical landscape characteristics, and of what landscape features and biota need to be restored. Our goal was to identify changes to the physical landscape by invasive beaver. We analyzed channel and valley morphology in detail at one site in each of the three major forest zones occurring on the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego’s main island. We also assessed 48 additional sites across the three forest biomes on the island to identify a broader range of aquatic habitat occupied and modified by beaver. Beaver build dams with Nothofagus tree branches on streams, which triggered mineral sediment accretion processes in the riparian zone, but not in ways consistent with the beaver meadow theory and only at a few sites. At the majority of sites, beavers actively excavated peat and mineral sediment, moved thousands of cubic meters of sediment within their occupied landscapes and used it to build dams. Beaver were also common in fen ecosystems where pond formation inundated and drowned peat forming mosses and sedges, and triggered a massive invasion of exotic plant species. Results highlight that restoration of fen ecosystems is a previously unrecognized but pressing and challenging restoration need in addition to reforestation of Nothofagus riparian forests. We recommend that decision-makers include the full ecosystem diversity of the Fuegian landscape in their beaver eradiation and ecosystem restoration plans.

Concepts: Ecology, Ecosystem, Beaver, Invasive species, Beavers, Castoreum, Fur trade, North American Beaver

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The proximate composition of meat from young and mature European beaver and physicochemical properties during storage were investigated. The young beaver meat contains 20.52g of protein and 1.86g of fat in 100g, while mature animals 22.16g and 0.73g. Index of nutritional quality for protein ranged from 2.03 to 2.24. Storage had a greater impact on the physicochemical properties of beaver meat than animal age and muscle type. The meat of mature beavers was significantly (P<0.05) darker (L*=28.51) in comparison with young animals (L*=30.79) and contained significantly (P<0.01) more total pigments. However, the negative b* values (between -2.05 and -2.19) indicated a bluish tint on the surface of beaver meat. The significantly (P<0.05) lower drip loss and cooking loss showed semimembranosus (0.65% and 17.89%) compared to longissimus thoracis et lumborum muscle (0.84% and 19.58%). Significantly (P<0.01) lower values of TBARS, drip loss and cooking loss were determined in meat at 24h (0.15mgMDAkg(-1), 0.59% and 15.99%) in comparison with stored for 7days (0.46mgMDAkg(-1), 0.90% and 21.49%). Generally, storage for 7days improved meat water holding capacity and tenderness. W-B shear force and shear energy of beaver meat decreased from 51.4N and 0.21J at 24h to 33.2N and 0.11J at 7days.

Concepts: Nutrition, Force, Beaver, Norway, European Beaver, Beavers, Castoreum, Iliocostalis

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A new species of demodecid mite, Demodex castoris sp. nov. (Acari: Prostigmata: Demodecidae), is described based on adult stages from the skin of the nasal region of the Eurasian beaver Castor fiber Linnaeus, 1758, collected in Poland. This is the first detection of a representative demodecid mite in rodents of the suborder Castorimorpha and also represents the first detection of a skin mite in Eurasian beavers. The new species is a small skin mite (average 173 µm in length) characterized by sexual dimorphism related to body proportions. D. castoris sp. nov. was observed in 4 out of 6 beavers examined (66.6%), with a mean intensity of 10.8 and an intensity range of 2-23 ind. host-1. This paper also contains a checklist of parasitic arthropods known from Castor spp.

Concepts: Rodent, Beaver, Poland, Fauna of Finland, European Beaver, Beavers, Castoreum, Castoridae

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Between March 2012 and April 2014, we performed post-mortem parasitological examinations of 11 Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber Linnaeus, 1758) from the basins of four main rivers (Dyje, Labe, Morava, Vltava) in the Czech Republic. The cause of death of five adult animals was unknown, three adult animals died after being hit by cars, while one young and one adult as a result of serious injuries and one juvenile male drowned. The trematode Stichorchis subtriquetrus (Rudolphi, 1814) Lühe, 1909 was only found in the caecum body and caecum apex of nine beavers (82 %), with no significant differences in parasite intensity among beavers. The highest number of trematodes (271) occurred in an adult female in July 2013; while a range of 1-57 individuals were found in other positive beavers. S. subtriquetrus size in both parts of the caecum was 11.0-17.0 × 5.5-8.0 mm (mean 14.3 × 6.9 mm). Results demonstrated that for the optimal detection of eggs, it was necessary to examine at least 10 g of faeces with a new modified method of sedimentation. The size range of 30 eggs was 157.1-182.5 × 99.3-109.8 μm (mean 168.0 × 104.4 μm). There were no differences in prevalence and seasonal occurrence of S. subtriquetrus between male and female beavers. We did not find any other intestinal endoparasites or tissue parasites (Sarcocystis spp., Trichinella spp.).

Concepts: Death, Parasitism, Czech Republic, Beaver, Poland, Prague, European Beaver, Beavers

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We report the first finding of Trichinella britovi in a European beaver. In Latvia, beaver is a common game animal and frequently used in human diet. A high prevalence of Trichinella infections in Latvia is present in the most common hosts-carnivores and omnivores. In total, 182 European beaver muscle samples were tested for Trichinella larvae accordingly to the reference method of European Communities Commission Regulation (EC) No. 2075/2005 (2005). Trichinella britovi larvae were detected in one animal (prevalence 0.5 %; intensity 5.92 larvae per gram of muscle). This finding suggests that the consumption of European beaver meat can be a risk to human health. Further studies are needed in order to determine if the present observation represents an isolated individual case or low prevalence of Trichinella infection in beavers.

Concepts: Health, Nutrition, European Union, Beaver, Norway, European Beaver, Beavers, Castoreum

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Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are the main representatives of an rising class of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), perfluorochemicals (PFCs). In this study, determination of selected PFCs concentration in liver, brain, tail, adipose and peritoneum tissues of free-living European beaver (Castor fiber L.) was addressed. Tissue samples, collected from beavers living in Masurian Lakeland (NE Poland), were analyzed by dispersive Solid Phase Extraction (d-SPE) with micro-UHPLC-MS/MS system. In a group of ten selected pefrluorinated compounds only two perfluorinated acids (PFOA and PFNA) and one perfluorinated sulfonate (PFOS) were quantified. PFOA was detected in all analysed tissue samples in both female and male beavers in a range from 0.55 to 0.98ngg(-1) ww whereas PFOS was identified in all analyzed female beaver tissues and only in liver, subcutaneous adipose and peritoneum tissues of male beavers at the concentration level from 0.86 to 5.08ngg(-1) ww. PFNA was only identified in female beaver tissues (liver, subcutaneous adipose and peritoneum) in a range from 1.50 to 6.61ngg(-1) ww. This study demonstrated the bioaccumulation of PFCs in tissue samples collected from beavers living in area known as green lungs of Poland. The results provided in this study indicate for the increasing risk of PFCs occurrence in the environment and the level of PFCs in tissue of free-living European beavers may serve as bioindicator of environmental pollution by these compounds.

Concepts: Beaver, Norway, Perfluorooctanoic acid, Poland, Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, European Beaver, Beavers, Castoreum

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Habitat selection is a context-dependent mechanism, in which both the internal state as well as external factors affect the behavior and decisions of an individual. This is well known for polygamous mammals, which are typically sexually dimorphic, and often express great variability in behavior and habitat selection between individuals as well between the sexes. Among monogamous mammals, however, variability in habitat selection should be explained by group characteristics and the presence of offspring rather than by sex. We evaluated this hypothesis in a socially monogamous rodent, the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber), in a saturated Norwegian population. For the first time in this species we applied GPS tracking devices (N = 22 adult beavers, in 15 territories, 2009-2013), and used resource selection functions (i) to document population-wide habitat selection and the importance of ‘territory’ therein, and (ii) to evaluate which socio-ecological factors explained potential individual differences in habitat selection. We found that variation in habitat selection was stronger between territories than between years or individuals nested by territory. We identified that family size and the presence of kits, but not sex, explained individual variation in habitat selection. Adults with kits and/or larger families tended to exhibit low risk-taking behavior (avoiding human-related variables such as roads, buildings, and agricultural land), and stayed close to their main lodge (parental care). Our results show that habitat selection is a context-dependent mechanism even in a species which expresses very little behavioral and morphological dimorphism.

Concepts: Male, Sexual dimorphism, Gender, Sex, Rodent, Beaver, European Beaver, Beavers

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Abstract All mammals are believed susceptible to rabies virus infection, yet transmission from nonreservoir hosts to humans is uncommon. However, interactions between nonreservoir hosts and humans occur frequently and risk of exposure increases where rabies is enzootic. We describe rabies and apparent pantropism of rabies virus in a beaver (Castor canadensis).

Concepts: Beaver, Beavers, Castoreum, Fur trade, North American Beaver, Lincoln Park, National symbols of Canada, Flow device

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In many settings wildlife can be a significant source of fecal pathogen input into surface water. The North-American beaver (Castor Canadensis) is a zoonotic reservoir for several human pathogens including Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia spp. In order to specifically detect fecal pollution by beavers, we have developed and validated a beaver-specific Bacteroidales marker, designated Beapol01, based on the 16S rRNA gene. The marker is suitable for quantifying pollution using real-time PCR. The specificity and sensitivity of the marker was excellent, Beaver signal was detected in water of a mixed-activity watershed harbouring this rodent. Overall, Beapol01 will be useful for a better understanding of fecal source inputs in drainage basins inhabited by the beaver.

Concepts: Ribosomal RNA, 16S ribosomal RNA, Drainage basin, Beaver, Beavers, Castoreum, Fur trade, North American Beaver