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      Influence of rainfall and temperature on the spermatogenesis of Leptodactylus macrosternum (Anura: Leptodactylidae)

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          Abstract

          In the semi-arid environment, the reproductive success of anurans depends on adaptations in their life cycle, which synchronizes with ideal environmental conditions to maximize the number of offspring. In this study changes in the histological and morphometric aspects of the testes of Leptodactylus macrosternum Miranda-Ribeiro, 1926 are characterized, to evaluate the influence of rainfall and temperature on them. Specimens were collected at Horto Florestal Olho d’Água da Bica – HFOB (06°49’20”S, 36°15’85”W) area, municipality of Cuité, state of Paraíba, Brazil. Search for specimens was active, happened at night, and amounted to 15 days from January to December 2013. The densities of spermatids (primary and secondary), sperm and area of the seminiferous locules of the testes were registered. The influence of climate variables (rainfall and temperature) on the density of primary and secondary spermatids, sperm and locular area were verified using Simple Linear Regression. Primary spermatids had the lowest density in July (57.90 ± 51.54 mm2), with a peak in November (300.32 ± 117.35 mm2); secondary spermatids had the lowest density in December (287.87 ± 79.05 mm2), with a peak in May (135,727.00 ± 301.13 mm2); sperm was in the lowest density in July (237.37 ± 121.10 mm2), with a peak in June (2,270.45 ± 602.62 mm2) and the locular area had the lowest density in December (40,292.9 ± 8,174.20 µm2) and highest density in June (338,875.01 ± 2,262.10 µm2). A notable decrease in sperm density was evident between June and July. That, associated with the observation of a larger locular area in June, allowed us to identify as June as the peak of spermatogenesis and the following month as the most potentially reproductive. The density of secondary spermatids(r = 0.02), sperm (r = 0.21) and locular area (r = 0.01) showed dependency on rainfall whereas only sperm (r = 0.09) showed dependency on temperature. Therefore, we can state that the reproductive cycle of L. macrosternum is potentially continuous, with a reproductive peak in July.

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          Current research in amphibians: studies integrating endocrinology, behavior, and neurobiology.

          Amphibian behavioral endocrinology has focused on reproductive social behavior and communication in frogs and newts. Androgens and estrogens are critical for the expression of male and female behavior, respectively, and their effects are relatively clear. Corticosteroids have significant modulatory effects on the behavior of both sexes, as does the peptide neuromodulator arginine vasotocin in males, but their effects and interactions with gonadal steroids are often complex and difficult to understand. Recent work has shown that the gonadal hormones and social behavior are mutually reinforcing: engaging in social interactions increases hormone levels just as increasing hormone levels change behavior. The reciprocal interactions of hormones and behavior, as well as the complex interactions among gonadal steroids, adrenal steroids, and peptide hormones have implications for the maintenance and evolution of natural social behavior, and suggest that a deeper understanding of both endocrine mechanisms and social behavior would arise from field studies or other approaches that combine behavioral endocrinology with behavioral ecology.
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            Hunting strategies used in the semi-arid region of northeastern Brazil

            Hunting for wild animals is stimulated by the many different human uses of faunal resources, and these animals constitute important subsistence items in local communities in the Caatinga region. In order to gain access to these resources, hunters have developed a series of techniques and strategies that are described in the present work. The principal hunting techniques encountered were: waiting, especially directed towards hunting diurnal birds; calling ("arremedo"), a technique in which the hunters imitate the animal's call to attract it to close range; hunting with dogs, a technique mostly used for capturing mammals; tracking, a technique used by only a few hunters who can recognize and follow animal tracks; and "facheado", in which the hunters go out at night with lanterns to catch birds in their nests. Additionally, many animal species are captured using mechanical traps. The types of traps used by the interviewees were: dead-fall traps ("quixó"), iron-jaw snap traps ("arataca"), wooden cages with bait ("arapuca"), iron-cage traps ("gaiola'), "visgo", multi-compartment bird cages ("alçapão"), buried ground traps with pivoted tops ("fojo"), and nooses and cages for carnivorous. The choice of which technique to use depends on the habits of the species being hunted, indicating that the hunters possess a wide knowledge of the biology of these animals. From a conservation perspective, active hunting techniques (waiting, imitation, hunting with dogs, and "facheado") have the greatest impact on the local fauna. The use of firearm and dogs brought greater efficiency to hunting activities. Additional studies concerning these hunting activities will be useful to contribute to proposals for management plans regulating hunting in the region – with the objective of attaining sustainable use of faunal resources of great importance to the local human communities.
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              Historical perspective: Hormonal regulation of behaviors in amphibians.

              This review focuses on research into the hormonal control of behaviors in amphibians that was conducted prior to the 21st century. Most advances in this field come from studies of a limited number of species and investigations into the hormonal mechanisms that regulate reproductive behaviors in male frogs and salamanders. From this earlier research, we highlight five main generalizations or conclusions. (1) Based on studies of vocalization behaviors in anurans, testicular androgens induce developmental changes in cartilage and muscles fibers in the larynx and thereby masculinize peripheral structures that influence the properties of advertisement calls by males. (2) Gonadal steroid hormones act to enhance reproductive behaviors in adult amphibians, but causal relationships are not as well established in amphibians as in birds and mammals. Research into the relationships between testicular androgens and male behaviors, mainly using castration/steroid treatment studies, generally supports the conclusion that androgens are necessary but not sufficient to enhance male behaviors. (3) Prolactin acts synergistically with androgens and induces reproductive development, sexual behaviors, and pheromone production. This interaction between prolactin and gonadal steroids helps to explain why androgens alone sometimes fail to stimulate amphibian behaviors. (4) Vasotocin also plays an important role and enhances specific types of behaviors in amphibians (frog calling, receptivity in female frogs, amplectic clasping in newts, and non-clasping courtship behaviors). Gonadal steroids typically act to maintain behavioral responses to vasotocin. Vasotocin modulates behavioral responses, at least in part, by acting within the brain on sensory pathways that detect sexual stimuli and on motor pathways that control behavioral responses. (5) Corticosterone acts as a potent and rapid suppressor of reproductive behaviors during periods of acute stress. These rapid stress-induced changes in behaviors use non-genomic mechanisms and membrane-associated corticosterone receptors.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Zoologia
                Zoologia
                Pensoft Publishers
                1984-4689
                October 04 2017
                October 04 2017
                : 34
                : 1-7
                Article
                10.3897/zoologia.34.e20782
                © 2017

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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