83rd Annual Meeting of the German Society of Mammalogy, Dresden, 13 to 17 September 2009
Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 1 83rd Annual Meeting of the German Society of Mammalogy Dresden, 13 to 17 September 2009 Abstracts of Oral Communications and Poster Presentations 2 Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 Contents Page Preface 3 Abstracts of Keynote Speakers 4 Abstracts of all other Oral Communications and Poster Presentations 7 Author index 27 Editors: C. Stefen, F. E. Zachos Photo: Hydrodamalis gigas Skeleton in the Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden, Museum fr Tierkunde (Markward Fischer). The guest editors, the editor and the managing editor of the journal Mammalian Biology are not responsible for the content published in this special issue of Mammalian Biology. Elsevier GmbH, Hackerbrcke 6, 80335 Mnchen, Germany. Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 3 Preface The Annual Meeting of the German Society of Mammalogy will be held in Dresden for the second time after 1927 which was actually the first annual meeting of the Society founded in 1926. The meeting was organized by Gustav Brandes at the Zoo and Arnold F. V. Jacobi from the Museum. This years meeting will be hosted by Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden, Museum fr Tierkunde, since 1.1.2009 part of the Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut and Naturmuseum. The collection in Dresden dates back to the 16th century and therefore has a long tradition. Even though several times the collections were severely damaged and reduced, interesting objects have remained. The mammal collection now houses about 25.000 specimens from around the world with a special treasure of specimens from the Indo Malayan Region collected at the end of the 19th century by A. B. Meyer (particularly Chiroptera), but also small interesting collections from other areas several of which have been studied and published by Alfred Feiler. The highlights in the collection are the extinct Thylacinus cynocephalus and a fairly complete skeleton of Hydrodamalis gigas. The section mammalogy in the Museum is cooperating with the Technical University Dresden offering a comprehensive two-week course in Biology and Systematics of mammals for students to give them insights into museum collections, research work and of course basic mammalogy. As the focus of the Technical University is not on classical biology the mammal research group is rather small. After last year this is the second meeting of the German Society of Mammalogy with English as the official conference language. The reason for this is our aim to be more open and attractive to colleagues from abroad, thus widening the horizon of discussions. The main topics this year Ecology changes in time and Functional morphology have attracted various interesting papers as has the "open session" covering the whole range of mammalogical topics. The Zoo Dresden kindly participated and offers a free guided tour for the participants of the meeting. The sponsors help to provide the programme is gratefully acknowledged. Locally particularly Markward Fischer (webpage design), Birgit Walker (all the 'little' important things to be organized), Andreas Weck-Heimann (online registration, IT support), Sigrid Schwarz as well as some students from the TU Dresden were thankfully very helpful behind the scenes. To encourage communication, different options are offered in the social programme and so hopefully, the scientific discussions and exchanges are interesting and fruitful for all. I wish you a good time at the meeting in Dresden! Dresden, June Clara Stefen 1616-5047/$ - see front matter doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2009.07.002 Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 www.elsevier.de/mambio Abstracts Population dynamics of mammals: an overview of the past and a glimpse into the future W. Z. LIDICKER, Jr., Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California Berkeley, CA 94720, USA, e-mail: email@example.com Our understanding of the population dynamics of organisms, and of mammals in particular, has improved in major ways over the past six decades. This progression has been punctuated with a series of conceptual advances which I will outline in this address. For over 50 of these years, I have been privileged to participate in this exciting journey. In the early years the growth and regulation of populations was viewed mainly in terms of two vital rates: mortality and reproduction. At first emphasis was placed on mortality, and then gradually reproduction was accepted as an essential variable that needed to be included. The acceptance of two variables in the growth equation was an important conceptual advance, because the question of the control of population numbers was most often put in terms of What factor is it that regulates, or controls, population growth? Investigators were then forced to at least consider two factor interactions, and debates raged over whether the most important factor was one that changed its impact with changes in density or acted independently. Added to this disagreement was the question whether the key factor was extrinsic to the organism or something intrinsic to the species. Moreover, in this early period interest was usually directed toward game or pest species so there was a practical motivation for the investigations. In the 1960s and 70s, ecologists were motivated to demonstrate that their discipline was solid science like physics and chemistry, and not just anecdotal observations of nature. The spectacular successes of reductionist approaches in science generally encouraged the view that good science was the search for how and not why. There was therefore much emphasis on experiments, on quantitative methodologies, and on discovering the simple, basic underlying principles or laws of ecology. This social context promoted the search for simple explanations of population change, and the subsequent quick extrapolation of findings to the subject species as a whole, then to related species, and even to global generalizations. Because not all investigators were finding the same answers to the question What factor explains population changes in species X?, there arose various schools of thought, each of which insisted that they alone had the true answer to the general explanation of population dynamics. About this same time, two more variables were added to the population growth equation, namely emigration and immigration (collectively dispersal). There were now four vital rates that must be considered, two that enhanced population growth (reproduction, immigration) and two that diminished growth (mortality, emigration). Until this breakthrough, dispersal was either ignored completely or dismissed as being inconsequential subsets of natality or mortality, and besides one could not measure these processes anyway. It was conveniently assumed that dispersers were generally doomed misfits, and hence not of any serious consequence. Nevertheless, much empirical data began to be accumulated on dispersal, and it helped further when I pointed out that dispersers could be divided into two types: presaturation and saturation dispersers. The former group had characteristics that enabled them to be mostly successful in their efforts to find new homes, and therefore could no longer be ignored. A related development was the entry of behavioral ecology as a contributor to the study of population processes. The new population growth equation could be expressed simply as: per capita growth rate (g) being equal to per capita growth promoting forces (p) minus growth suppressing forces (s). While elegantly simple, this formula encompassed much more complexity than did previous versions. Both the parameters p and s are generally complex amalgams of numerous interacting factors that include all those that influence the four vital rates of natality, mortality, immigration, and emigration. Moreover g is the traditional rate of growth (r) adjusted for dispersal gains and losses, and maximum g (gm) would be rm modified by the dispersal rates. This formulation of population change could then be used to assess how various factors of the environment changed or did not change with density. This in turn allowed researchers to identify factors, extrinsic or intrinsic, that were major players in the density regulation process. Identified factors could then be subject to various experimental and/or modeling protocols to better assess their roles. This quantitative framework for density regulation made it possible to accept the likelihood that the regulation process generally involved a multiplicity of interacting factors. This perspective was called the multifactor hypothesis, and was initially strongly opposed as being unscientific because it supposedly required untestable hypotheses. Eventually, the weight of empirical support for this framework led to its general acceptance. A corollary of the multifactor hypothesis is that one must place questions about regulation of numbers in a community context. No longer was it sufficient to measure only the four vital rates of a population, but understanding required an examination of how various abiotic and biotic elements in the community to which the population belonged influenced Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 5 those rates, both individually and in various combinations. This too was an important conceptual step forward. The recognition of the importance of a community context in demographic research raised the prospect that intraspecific variations in demographic processes may be possible, both spatially and temporally. As data began to accumulate in support of the reality of such variations, it was natural to search for their causes, and this led to still another conceptual breakthrough. In the mid-1980s, there was a resurgence of interest in landscape ecology, and this time it had the solid scientific foundations that made it possible for ecologists to embrace it as an important subdiscipline. One implication of this development for population dynamics was that it meant that in addition to the community context being important, the community-types adjacent or near to the community patch of interest could also influence demographic properties. This enlargement of the spatial context of demographic processes led to many new insights, including the rapid development of metapopulation dynamics. Attention was quickly drawn to the importance of the matrix (community-types separating patches of the community-type of interest), spillover predation and/or parasitism, patch connectivity, edge effects, and special attributes of small population demographics. Examples of the latter were the renewed interest in anti-regulating forces, often called Allee effects, and the role of demographic and genetic stochasticity in demic extinctions. These new developments gave rise to the now vibrant subdiscipline of conservation biology. In fact, the entire field of conservation was brought back into the embrace of science from which it had been expelled in the mid-20th century. In the last few years, still another conceptual advance has been promulgated, and that is the ecoscape concept. It has become apparent that landscape ecology, with its emphasis on large spatial scales has not attached itself comfortably to the rest of ecology in spite of the myriad of important advances that it has instigated. This discomfort results from the systems perspective and therefore hierarchical nature of ecology which features nested levels of organization. Traditionally, there are three levels of organization in ecology: organisms, populations, and communities. These are not defined on spatial criteria but on biotic complexity, namely whole living organisms, assemblages of two or more individuals of the same kind, and assemblages of two or more different kinds of organisms. These criteria define ecological systems at the organism, population, and community levels of complexity. At first there was an attempt to mold landscape ecology as a fourth level defined as systems containing more than one community-type. However, this idea failed as landscape studies mainly focused on spatial scale and not on biotic complexity per se. A scale-free concept was needed to connect landscape ecology hierarchically to the rest of ecology. Ecoscape is such a notion. And, since most research on landscapes includes more than one community-type, ecoscape ecology and landscape ecology will largely overlap. It is critically important, however, that we have a scale-free concept to add a new level of organization onto the community concept. Looking to the future, we can anticipate: 1) increased realization that population dynamics is an essential component of biodiversity conservation, and hence important for maintaining the human life support system; 2) improved understanding of small population dynamics; 3) progress in understanding conspecific spatial and temporal variation in dynamics; 4) improved understanding of spatial structure of populations; 5) search for demographic generalizations across taxa, habitats, trophic levels, and social systems; 6) increased emphasis on positive interactions and coactions; 7) recognition of parasitism as a major demographic factor; 8) testing of the ecoscape idea, and 9) relating population dynamics to the challenges posed by anticipated climate changes. Finally, I will overview research on the population dynamics of microtine rodents, many of which exhibit enigmatic multi-annual cycles in numbers as an illustration of how our understanding has improved over the last 60 plus years. This survey will emphasize that research on mammals has played a central role in this intellectual history, often leading the way as understanding has progressed, sequentially incorporating emphases on: mortality, reproduction, dispersal, single factor hypotheses, multifactor hypotheses, community context, landscape context, and potentially ecoscapes. Functional morphology in mammals (as compared to other vertebrates and evertebrates) H. PREUSCHOFT, Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum, Medizi-nische Fakultt, Anatomisches Institut, Bochum, Germany, e-mail: Holger.Preuschoft@mail.ruhr-uni-bochum.de As biologists, we are used to understand the diversity of shapes among animals as the product of evolution, which implies time. Under the time aspect, variability is arranged in evolutionary lines, similarities as well as differences become expressions of the evolutionary process. This interpretation has become dominant since Darwins Origin of species. It has been integrated with genetics during the 40s of the last century and has found recently powerful support by modern molecular biology. (I would like to remark, that the multivariate statistical methods originally developed for morphological traits can be and are applied to molecular data and allow their interpretation.) In paleontology, fossils are arranged not only according to their morphology, but also according to their appearance or disappearance - in the fossil record. Inclusion of the factor time leads to evolutionary trees. These are usually very similar to the dendrograms showing morphological similarity, but include the time dimension. A key role in this context plays adaptation of the animal to the demands of their environment. It is commonly understood as the outcome of selection of those mutants within a population, which fit best to the (perhaps changed) environmental conditions. The less fitting 6 Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 individuals have reduced chances for survival and therefore produce lower numbers of offspring, therefore become rarer and finally disappear completely. It is exactly at this point, where our successful and convincing theory of evolution leaves open gaps: Questions like: Why and how exactly is this morphological trait connected with an advantage or disadvantage for survival, and under which conditions? or what makes this trait advantageous over another shape? are difficult to answer satisfactorily - and therefore often not raised explicitely! However, these questions should be asked. First in a qualitative sense: Where does selection attack? For an answer, we need to identify the causal relationship of a trait to its function. The frequent attempts to investigate this point by statistical correlation between traits and functions does not solve the basic problem. Second, the question should be raised in a quantitative sense: How great is the advantage by possessing a given trait? It is very attractive to calculate the % advantage of a phylogenetically new trait. The optimal measure for evolutionary advantages, or the currency of evolution, seem to be energy requirements, a) for using the trait, b) for developing the trait during ontogeny. This is the field of functional morphology, which is the focus of my interest. Biomechanics are used as an assemblage of powerful tools, often with the aid of engineers. The above-raised why-questions are by no means marginal for zoology. As a matter of fact, the general, external shape of a vertebrate body is determined by the locomotor apparatus. Its primary functions, maintenance of body shape and locomotion, are mechanical phenomena, and at the same time the basic constituents of an animals behaviour. Research on this field therefore establishes a link between engineering sciences and biology, within the latter between morphology and ethology. As examples, the mechanical conditions in the most anterior part of the body of the lowest vertebrates (head and gills) are demonstrated. Likewise, the persistence of the fore- not the hindlimbs in aquatic mammals are explained functionally, the loading of their vertebral column analysed and connected with the size of the vertebral bodies. With the aid of the Finite-Element-method (FESS-technique), the general shape and principles of the anatomy of the trunk in land-living animals is shown to depend on mechanical (static) necessities. Body proportions and mass distribution of the extremities are a logical consequence of the species-specific modes of locomotion. This has been worked out in the case of primates (leaping prosimians, walking monkeys, and arm-swinging apes) and of cursorial mammals. An example of a phylogenetic development is the evolution of the locomotor types Miocene apes Australopithecus Homo, with the alternatives of living apes, Hylobates, Pongo and especially Pan. Since these examples illustrate the close relationship between development of shape and the mechanical conditions, the question is raised, which causal connection exists between both. Evidently, the first answer is the well known and generally accepted process of phylogenetic adaptation: Selection will favour the best adapted shapes. If the advantages can be formulated quantitatively, we get a measure of the selective pressure acting in this special case. Another, less common way to explain the development of perfectly adapted shapes of skeletal parts is causal morphogenesis in the sense of Pauwels (1965), Kummer (1959, 1972), Witzel & Preuschoft (2005). The best examples for the first process are teeth, which grow without the influence of mechanical stresses and are completely developed to an adapted shape when exposed the first time to their physiological loads. The second process can be shown for various parts of the skeleton. The best and newest example are skulls. Using the FESS-technique, the flow of mechanical stresses is made visible within a spacious, unspecified Bauraum, which is exposed to physiological forces (muscle forces, bite forces, weight). Those parts of the original Bauraum which are not occupied by stress flows are removed, and the reduced model is loaded again by the same forces. This leads to a concentration of the stress's flows to narrower, more slender elements, which are in remarkable agreement with the actual parts of the investigated skull. By repetition of this procedure, we have synthesized skulls of reptiles as well as lower and highly developed primates on the basis of nothing than mechanical forces. The homology of the skull elements does not play any role in this context, but the existence of brain, sense organs and musculature must be given priori, as well as the location and shape of the dental arcade for fulfilling its functions in acquiring food and in biting. Our FESS-procedure can be compared with the process of morphogenesis, as illustrated for skull growth in pouch young of marsupials, and with remodelling bone after fractures. Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 7 Age and condition of wild ungulates killed by wolves in Saxony the first facts H. ANSORGE1, M. KECKEL1,2, G. KLUTH3, I. REINHARDT3, 1Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Grlitz, PF 300154, 02806 Grlitz, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 2University of Applied Sciences, Theodor-Krner-Allee 16, 02763 Zittau, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, 3Wildlife Consulting Service LUPUS, Dorfstr. 16, 02979 Spreetal, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Eradicated in Germany about 200 years ago a newly established wolf (Canis lupus) population has been growing since 1996 up to at least five packs in 2008. To study the predator-prey relationship we evaluated 115 wild ungulates killed by wolves from 2001 to 2008. In 30 of these wolf kills we determined the absolute age by annual lines in the tooth cementum. The condition of 35 ungulates could be evaluated by analysing the femur marrow fat. Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) was killed by the wolf in a balanced sex ratio. Considering the proportions of 35% juveniles and of 57% animals older than two years, the adult Roe deer is more abundant in the wolf diet than in the potential natural population. However, the Roe deer killed by wolves are in generally poor condition with an average marrow fat level of 49% independent of age, sex or season. In the Red deer (Cervus elaphus) the females (76%) and the juveniles (65%) are clearly preferred by the wolf as expected for such a large prey species. The Red deer killed by the wolf are mainly in good condition with an average marrow fat level of 77%. Nevertheless, there is still no real evidence of selection by the wolf due to a lack of information on the situation in the natural population. Magnetic alignment in grazing and resting cattle and deer effects of extremely low magnetic fields S. BEGALL1, H. BURDA1, J. ERVENY2, 3, J. NEEF1, P. NEMEC4, & O. VOJTCH2, 5 1Department of General Zoology, Institute for Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 2Department of Forest Protection and Wildlife Management, Czech University of Life Sciences, Praha, Czech Republik, 3Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the CZ, Brno, Czech Republik, 4Department of Zoology, Charles University in Prague, Praha, Czech Republik, 5Sumava National Park Administration, Kasperske Hory, Czech Republik Since the exact experimental study of magnetic orientation in large mammals, based on statistically sufficient sample sizes, is challenging, mammalian magnetoreception has been studied and proven only in a few species of rodents and one bat species. Innate expressions of magnetoreception, however, have been examined only in mole-rats thus far. Here we demonstrate by means of simple methods (analysis of satellite images available at Google EarthTM, field observations and measuring deer beds in the snow) that cattle as well as Red deer and Roe deer display significant magnetic alignment directing their body axis in North-South direction. Direct observations of Roe deer revealed that animals orient their heads northwards when grazing or resting. Wind and light conditions can be excluded as factors determining the body axis orientation in unstressful climatic conditions. Thus, magnetic alignment is the most parsimonious explanation. To test the hypothesis that cattle orient their body axes along the field lines of the Earths magnetic field, we analyzed the body orientation of cattle from localities with high magnetic declination. Here, magnetic North was a better predictor than geographic North. Further evidence for the magnetic nature of this phenomenon comes from our study of cattle and Roe deer under power lines: the animals body orientation was random on pastures under or near power lines. No alignment with power line direction could be detected when all animals under or near power lines were taken into account, indicating that the power lines did not serve as a visual orientation clue. Cattle exposed to various magnetic fields directly beneath (8 Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 quantitatively and using statistical methods. Microwear structures were characterised as fine and coarse scratches, small and large pits and gauges according to Solounias and Semprebon (2002). The focus of the analysis was the microstructure of the dentition of the European beaver (P4-M3/p4-m3) to see whether the chewing of bark and wood leaves characteristic marks and if differences in the use of teeth would be revealed. In comparison the microwear of Myocastor coypus, nutria (Myocastoridae, Rodentia) and Ondatra zibethicus, muskrat (Arvicolidae, Rodentia) were analysed because of the similar habitat. Single teeth of Chalicomys jaegeri, a prehistoric beaver from the upper Miocene of Europe and possible direct ancestor oft the modern beavers, were also analysed. The results show a great variability within the single teeth and the dentitions of beavers. The microwear structures indicate that several individuals strongly prefer one side of the jaw for chewing. Three wear patterns could be observed in the dentitions: either an increase in overall microwear structures from premolar to third molar, or vica versa, or an increased wear in molars one and two. No explanation for this seems obvious. All examined species showed fine scratches as a main structure. In beaver teeth the variance in the number of scratches is much higher than in the teeth of nutria and muskrat (Castor: 13-24, Chalicomys 15-17, scratches, nutria: 10-12, muskrat: 11-13). Furthermore the beaver teeth were much more broken and parts were lacking. So often one, in some teeth up to three enamel ligaments lacked completely. Another specific structure of the teeth were deep scratches which run across several enamel bands, as well the frequent presence of gauges, roundish disruptions in beaver-teeth. All these structures could be typical of gnawing wood. All observed species had only few pits that are assumed for hard food or as induced by grains of sand. Because of eating their food basically in water the sand will be flushed away in the studied species. The microwear structure of Chalicomys was similar to these of the modern beaver. This suggests a similar nutrition for Chalicomys. A statistical evaluation of the data was restricted because of the extremely high variability. Therefore, a statistical significance could not be determined definitely. Winter diet of Golden jackal (Canis aureus L. 1758) in Serbia D. IROVI1, A. PENEZI1, M. MILENKOVI2, M. PAUNOVI3, 1Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade, Studentski trg 16, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia, e-mail: email@example.com; 2Institute for Biological Research Sinia Stankovi, Belgrade, Bulevar Despota Stefana 142, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; 3Nature History Museum, Njegoeva 51, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia, e-mail: email@example.com The winter diet of Golden jackal in Serbia was studied on samples collected at six localities: Smederevo, Surin, Veliko Gradite, Velika Plana, Svilajnac and Negotin. The composition of winter diet was determined through the analysis of stomach contents of 250 specimens legally culled in 2005-2009. The average mass of stomach contents in the analyzed sample of Golden jackal in Serbia was 180.24 g. In all localities the best represented category of food was carrion of domestic animals or the discarded slaughterhouse waste (frequency 54.4%, biomass 73.7%). The second most represented category included small mammals as prey (frequency 21.4%, biomass 4.6%). The other categories of food were either alternative (Roe deer, hare, Wild boar, birds) or sporadic (plant material, dog, jackal, mustelids, lizards and indigestible material). The analysis of winter diet of Golden jackals in Serbia has supported the hypothesis that this species is very opportunistic and synanthropic, primarily tending to use the easily available food sources present within its habitat and range. The bad habits of the local community, insufficiently developed ecological awareness and poorly developed (zoo)sanitary network of disposing the dead animals and organic waste of animal origin have all significantly contributed to this type of Golden jackal diet in winter period. Cryptic diversity in mongolian vespertilionid bats (Vespertilionidae Gray, 1821, Chiroptera, Mammalia) T. DATZMANN1,2, A. KIEFER3, D. DOLCH4, M. HELBIG5, F. MAYER1,2, 1Animal Physiology, Deparment of Biology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Staudtstrasse 5, 91058 Erlangen, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, 2Natural History Museum, Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity at the Humboldt University Berlin, 10115 Berlin, Germany, 3Department of Ecology Population Biology, Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Johann-Joachim Becherweg 13, 55099 Mainz, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 4LFA, Landesfachausschuss Saeugetierkunde Brandenburg-Berlin, Dorfstrae 2d, 16818 Radensleben, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, 5Institute of Experimental Ecology, University of Ulm, Albert Einstein Allee 11, D 89069 Ulm, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org We sequenced a 798 bp fragment of the NADH dehydrogenase subunit I (ND1) gene from 43 mongolian vespertilionid bats and compared them to west Palearctic congeneric lineages and all available east Palearctic bat sequences from GENEBANK. We could investigate 12 divergent mitochondrial lineages within Mongolia. The study incorporates 155 individuals of five vespertilionid genera: Eptesicus, Vespertilio, Hypsugo, Plecotus and Myotis. Through our comprehensive survey we could conclude, that the nominate Central European Myotis mystacinus lineage does not occur in Mongolia. All our analysed mongolian mystacinus-like individuals showed Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 9 major differences, with a minimum of 8.8 and a maximum of 14.2 percent pairwise sequence divergence, compared to west Palearctic Myotis mystacinus haplotypes. Interestingly, most haplotypes had less than 4 percent sequence divergence to Myotis aurascens samples from Bulgaria. This is the first evidence for this lineage in Mongolia. Additional two mystacinus-like bats had similar haplotypes to Myotis ikonnikovi samples from Japan and Russia. Further, all our sequenced Brandts bat samples did not belong to haplotypes of this lineage, but clearly to the close relative Myotis gracilis, with a minimum of 9.7 percent sequence divergence between the former subspecies. So we speculate, that no Myotis brandtii occur in Mongolia. Western Palearctic Eptesicus nilssonii haplotypes could not be separated from E. serotinus haplotypes from the same sample region. But one mongolian serotinus-like bat showed a fairly divergent haplotype, corresponding to no other investigated lineage. Due to the occurence of this mitochondrial divergent serotinus-like bat in Mongolia and the obvious great morphological differences between the two bat species, we suggest, that a introgression within the Western Palearctic region from Eptesicus nilssonii into the E. serotinus lineage is the best explanation for their sequence similarity. Space use pattern, dispersal and social organisation of the Raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), an invasive alien canid in Central Europe F. DRYGALA, University of Technology, Chair of Forest Zoology, Piennerstr. 7, 01735 Tharandt, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com; Sonnenburgerstr. 54, 10437 Berlin, Germany Between October 1999 and October 2003, 30 adult and 48 young (< 1 year) Raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) were monitored using radio-telemetry and three pairs of Raccoon dogs were observed by continuous radio-tracking during the first six weeks after parturition in 2003. Additionally, 136 Raccoon dog pubs were ear-tagged between June 1999 and August 2006. The average annual home range size, calculated using 95% fixed kernel, was 382.2 ha 297.4 SD for females (n = 30 seasonal home ranges) and 352.4 ha 313.3 SD for males (n = 32 seasonal home ranges). Males and females formed a long-term (probably lifelong) pair bond. It can be assumed that the Raccoon dog in Central Europe is monogamous without exclusive territories. Habitat composition within home ranges and within the whole study area was almost equal. All habitat types (farmland, forest, settlement, water, meadows, maize fields, small woods, reeds and hedges) were used opportunistically by Raccoon dogs. No significant, recognisable difference for habitat preferences between seasons was detected. Males spent noticeably more time (40.5% of the time 11.7 SD) alone with the pups than females (16.4% of the time 8.5 SD). A clear division of labour took place among parents during the period in which the pups were nursed: males guarded the litter in the den or in close vicinity of it, while the females foraged to satisfy their increased energy requirements. There were relocations of 59 (43.4%) ear-tagged young racoon dogs and mean distance from marking point was 13.5 km 20.1 SD. Dispersal mortality rate was 69.5% among young Raccoon dogs. There was no difference in the distances of relocations between sexes. A highly flexible dispersing behaviour is certainly one of the reasons which contribute to the high expansion success of the species. Foraging in risk-uniform landscapes the ecology of fear J. A. ECCARD, T. LIESENJOHANN, Animal Ecology, University of Potsdam, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Evolution has shaped the behaviour of potential prey species to reduce predation risk. Spatial uniformity of predation risk is common for many prey species if habitat structures are uniform, such as in meadows, steppe, or tundra, and also common in agricultural monocropping. While the effects of risk heterogeneity are well studied, very little is known about the effects of risk uniformity on behaviour, risk taking strategies, and foraging efficiencies. A theoretical concept is missing. Here we report and interprete results from experiments on small mammals in risk uniformity under laboratory and field conditions in different spatial scales. The concept of risk uniformity shall add to a comprehensive theoretical framework of adaptive foraging behaviour under predation risk. Genetic diversity in Widcats (Felis silvestris) and domestic cats (Felis silvestris f. catus) from Germany: Evidence from allozymes, microsatellites, and mtDNA I. ECKERT1, F. SUCHENTRUNK2, G. MARKOV3, G. B. HARTL1, 1Spezielle Zoologie, Zoological Institute, Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Olshausenstrasse 40, D-24118 Kiel, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, 2Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Savoyenstrasse 1, A-1160 Vienna, Austria, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 3Institute of Zoology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Tzar Osvoboditel 1, Bl-1000 Sofia, Bulgaria, e-mail: email@example.com As a consequence of persecution and habitat fragmentation, European wildcats (Felis s. silvestris) have experienced a severe reduction in population numbers and sizes in Western Europe. The remaining wildcat populations are considered to be endangered by loss of genetic variability and by hybridisation with free-ranging domestic cats. To 10 Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 investigate genetic diversity within and among wild and domestic cat populations in Germany and to estimate the extent of gene flow between both forms, we analysed a total of 266 individuals. PCR-amplification and sequencing of 322 base pairs of a highly variable part of the mitochondrial control region (HV1) of 244 specimens resulted in 41 haplotypes with 31 polymorphic sites. Additionally, eight microsatellite loci were examined for those 244 cats. Moreover, a total of 46 wildcats and 22 domestic cats could be genotyped for 13 polymorphic out of 31 allozyme loci. Genetic variability in both groups was generally high. Variability in domestic cat populations was higher than in wildcat populations and almost no differentiation between domestic cat populations could be found. In contrast, wildcat populations differed significantly from one another. Within the smaller wildcat populations, a reduction of genetic diversity was detectable with regard to the nuclear DNA. Wildcat and domestic cat mitochondrial haplotypes were separated, suggesting a very low level of maternal gene flow between both forms. In microsatellites, wildcats and domestic cats also showed distinct differentiation and somewhat less in allozymes, suggesting only a low extent of past hybridisation in certain populations. The microsatellite data indicate a significant signature of bottlenecks in the recent past for several German wildcat populations. Late Pleistocene Recent small mammals of southeast Siberia M. A. ERBAJEVA, N. V. ALEXEEVA, Geological Institute, Siberian Branch Russian Academy of Sciences, Sahianova Str. 6a, 670047 Ulan-Ude, Russia, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; e-mail: email@example.com The studied region, the southeast of Siberia, belongs to a broader Baikal area which includes the Prebaikalia and Transbaikalia. The modern paleoenvironment and faunas between these two regions differ significantly. In the past, during the Late Neogene Early Pleistocene the composition of small mammalian faunas of these two regions was much more similar because the paleoenvironmental conditions were apparently similar. Due to the tectonic movements in the region and the continuation of orogenic processes, the mountains surrounding the Lake Baikal uplifted and became a major orographic barrier. As a result the Transbaikal area was isolated from the influence of west humid Atlantic cyclones which became the main reason for the onset of deep aridification in the Transbaikal region. At present, the vast territory of Prebaikalia shows a great variety of landscapes from lowland through mountain taiga. In faunas among small mammals, the most abundant and diverse taxa are forest inhabitants and different type of meadow species, but the steppe dwellers are relatively scarce. The Transbaikal area, in contrast to Prebaikalia, is occupied by forest taiga in its northern part, and its southern and south-eastern part are middle mountains covered by forest-steppe, dry steppe, meadow and in part subdesert landscapes. In the faunas the inhabitants of open arid continental landscapes are predominant. Gradual cooling continued since the Middle Pleistocene and resulted in significant paleoenvironmental transformations. In Transbaikalian faunas Central-Asian taxa such as Ochotona daurica, Marmota sibirica, Meriones unguiculatus, Allactaga sibirica, Cricetulus barabensis, Myospalax aspalax and Lasiopodomys brandti continue to exist until the present. In contrast, the Prebaikalian faunas were more complicated. They included the representatives of tundra-steppe or mammoth faunas such as Dicrostonyx cf. henseli, Lemmus amurensis, Microtus cf. hyperboreus, Ochotona cf. pusilla and Lagurus lagurus, which dont exist at present time. An overview of the small mammal succession and diversity through Late Pleistocene and Holocene shows that the faunal associations of the region were distinctive: Prebaikalia, like Western Siberia and Europe, contained species of mammoth faunas with Dicrostonyx and Lemmus. Small mammal faunas of this age in Transbaikalia, in contrast to Prebaikalia, mostly include the Central-Asian species. Monitoring of large mammals with a combination of aerial infrared and high resolution RGB images. U. FRANKE, Aerosense Engineering, Ludwig-Uhland-Str.3, D-69412 Eberbach, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The infrared technology (IR) is already successfully used for ground-based surveys. Mainly because of high costs aerial surveys are rarely made. The use of cost-effective light aircraft and the increased availability of infrared cameras on the civil market made the aerial surveys with IR cameras an interesting option. As the low resolution of infrared images often hampers a species-specific identification, we want to present our first results of aerial counts of larger mammals in forested areas using a combination of IR and RGB true colour images. The IR images are being used for detection whereas the high resolution RGB images are being used for species-specific identification. The aircraft was equipped with a computer linked camera system consisting of a JENOPTIC infrared camera (640*480 Pixel) and a Canon 5D Mark 2 high resolution RGB camera. The aim of the 3 year project which is sponsored by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) is to establish a new monitoring method for larger mammals (especially ungulates) in forested areas. Between February and April 2009 we flew 12 missions over the Nationalparks Bayerischer Wald, Hainich, Kellerwald-Edersee and the Biosphere Reserve Pflzer Wald-Vosges du Nord. Each investigation area of about 6000 ha was overflown in linear transects. Flying in altitudes of approximately 450 m above ground level the cameras scanned an area of 1200-1500 ha each flight, thus Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 11 covering 20-25% of the investigation area. Depending on the area 1 to 14 larger mammals per 100 ha were detected. We achieved a RGB True colour image rate of up to 70% of all the detection events. With up to 40% of the detected mammals, a species-specific identification was successful (mainly Red deer and Wild boar). We want to improve this new monitoring system with studies of the detection rate in the relation to the coverage in forested areas. Furthermore improvements shall be made concerning the RGB image rate and quality and the overlay of IR and RGB image (better defined zoom-in area) to obtain a higher rate of species-specific identification. Further test flights are being planed for 2009/2010. Ethmoid exposure in the mammalian skull P. GIERE, Museum fr Naturkunde Leibniz-Institut fr Evolutions- und Biodiversittsforschung an der Humboldt-Universitt zu Berlin, Invalidenstr. 43, 10115 Berlin, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com The orbital wall of the skull in the orbito-temporal region of mammals usually is made up of several dermal and replacement bones that typically include the frontal, parietal, palatine, maxillary, orbitosphenoid, and alisphenoid. The makeup of this mosaic of skull bones has long been used for phylogenetic inference and taxa such as the former insectivores were in part based on characters linked to the arrangement of the sutures involved. In some cases, however, other elements of the skull are involved as well. There are reports that in some primate taxa a small number of the studied specimens have a confirmed ethmoid exposure in the orbital wall. Due to the difficulty in identifying this skeletal element in macerated specimens, misinterpretation of the setup in the orbital mosaic has occurred. Since a previously unnoticed ethmoid exposure in the orbital mosaic was also confirmed in members of the Tenrecidae by application of micro-ct scans, a comparative reassessment of the anterior orbital wall with regard to this element is done in order to clarify the distribution of this character. Using macerated skulls in museum collections, suitable candidates are identified and examined for an exposure of the ethmoid in the orbital wall. Especially in postnatal ontogenetic stages and damaged museum specimens the detection of developing replacement bones is facilitated. This comparative study is designed to examine the lateral exposure of the ethmoid across Eutherian taxa based on macerated museum specimens and literature data in order to assess and discuss the significance of this character and explore its phylogenetic relevance. Reproductive parameters of European wildcat and the importance of dead wood structures M. GTZ, S. JEROSCH, M. ROTH, Institute of Forest Botany and Forest Zoology, Dresden University of Technology - Pienner Str. 7, 01737 Tharandt, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org There is a huge lack of scientific knowledge on reproduction of free-ranging European wildcat (Felis s. silvestris). Focussing on this issue for the first time, a study (2004-2007) was carried out in the lower Harz Mountains (Germany) based on telemetry using radio collars also for cups. The investigation provided results concerning maternal habitat use and causes of juvenile mortality. 15 litters with a mean size of 4 and a total of 53 cubs were recorded. Births occurred mostly in spring (Mar-Apr) but also in summer (Jun-Jul) and autumn (Sep). 79% of natal dens were characterized by dead wood structures on groundlevel like brushwoods and wood piles. Weaning occurred at the end of fourth month when survival rate of cubs was 20%. Predation seems to be the main cause of juvenile mortality. With regard to the high relevance of dead wood structures as litter dens utilization of brushwoods as renewable energy will degrade the quality of wildcat habitats. Moreover, the removal of storage logs has been observed as a mortality factor for cubs, because they were used as litter dens, too. Thus, a prerequisite for wildcat survival in landscapes with managed forests is the development of forestry practices, which correspond with requirements of wildcats. Exploring the demographic potential of Common vole (Microtus arvalis) populations S. HALLE, S. GERMERODT, E. HEINZE, K. SCHMIDT, Institute of Ecology, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Dornburger Str. 159, 07743 Jena, Germany, e-mail: Stefan.Halle@uni-jena.de Common vole (Microtus arvalis) populations in Central Europe are well-known for their often spectacular outbreaks, causing severe damage in agriculture. For the research on population cycles Microtus arvalis is a rewarding study subject because one and the same population can switch between annual density cycles, occasional and erratic outbreaks, and multiannual population cycles with peak densities every two or three years. There are strong hints at landscape structure and land use as determining factors of the dynamic pattern, but although Microtus arvalis is a well-studied species, the actual mechanism that causes the switch is unknown. This is in particular true of the triggers for the population outbreaks. We studied six common vole populations living in large (50 x50 m) outdoor enclosures for an entire annual cycle in parallel. From standard CMR methods with monthly trapping sessions we derived a set of nine demographic key parameters for each population. Although the yearly course of the parameters varied to a large extent among populations, the annual course of density was very much comparable. This led to the conclusion of self-regulatory 12 Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 feed-back-loops that compensate extreme parameter values and will normally prevent outbreaks. From the empirical study we derived a maximum value, a minimum value, and an average for each key parameter for each month. This data set was fed into a population dynamics model with juvenile mortality as the crucial estimator to fit the model to the data. In a first step we optimized the fit to each of the six populations separately, resulting in six annual courses of the demographic machinery. By setting all key parameters to the monthly average we tested how well the model represents the empirically determined density courses. Setting all key parameters to the monthly minimum values caused an immediate extinction of the simulated populations. However, when setting all key parameters to the monthly maximum values, an outbreak occurred that was in the magnitude of observed outbreaks reported in the literature. We concluded, therefore, that population outbreaks are within the demographic potential of common vole populations, i.e. within the normal range of demographic variability. So it is not necessarily needed to search for additional density increasing factors to explain the population outbreaks. Rather it makes more sense to examine the demographic machinery in detail to reveal how the key parameters are interrelated and why the compensatory capability may break up. Comparative analysis of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) in mammals Current status of research and further perspectives S. E. HAMMER1, W. ERTL1, B. C. RTGEN1, S. GROISS1, J. DEUTSCH1, W. GERNER1, C.-S. HO2, A. SAALMLLER1, 1University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Institute of Immunology, Veterinaerplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria, e-mail: email@example.com (SH), firstname.lastname@example.org (WE), email@example.com (BR), firstname.lastname@example.org (SG), email@example.com (JD), firstname.lastname@example.org (WG), email@example.com (AS), 2University of Michigan Medical School, Transplant Immunology Research Laboratory, C568 MSRBII, 1150 W. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org MHC (major histocompatibility complex) genes encode cell surface glycoproteins presenting antigenic peptides to T cells. They are highly polymorphic suggesting that diversity in MHC genes is a good measure of population fitness. For instance, resource herds of swine leukocyte antigen (SLA)-characterized pigs are valuable large animal models for biomedical research in terms of immune responses, disease resistance, and production traits. Furthermore, detailed knowledge about the distribution of MHC genes in a population enabled a more target-orientated design of vaccines and the development of specific reagents for studying correlates of protection like tetramers. The respective MHC-haplotypes can either be detected by a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-based SLA typing method to clone and DNA sequence the putative alleles at the respective MHC class I and class II genes. This sequence-based typing of MHC genes is labor-intensive, time-consuming and cost-prohibitive to be implemented in large scale SLA studies but is often more suitable for MHC-typing parental or founder breeding animals of pedigreed populations. The MHC types of the offspring can then be determined by other more effective methods, such as the PCR-sequence-specific primer (PCR-SSP) strategy. The Immuno Polymorphism Database (IPD, http://www.ebi.ac.uk/ipd/) at the European Bioinformatics Institute is intended to be the definitive source of information on the MHC its genes, proteins and polymorphism. Alongside with Humans, IPD harbours all the currently known alleles for MHC class I and class II loci for mammals such as Canines, Cattle, Felines, Horses, Non-Human Primates, Pinnipeds, Prosimians, Rats, Sheep, and Swine. In conclusion, maintaining a centralised system for the study of polymorphism in genes of the immune system by implementing the use of rapid and cost-effective MHC typing methods can facilitate the study of MHC influence in various immunological and pathophysiological conditions in mammals and may contribute to the improvement of animal health. Mammal species lost, returned and discovered the Saxonian mammal atlas S. HAUER1, H. ANSORGE1, U. ZPHEL2, 1Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Grlitz, PF 300154, 02806 Grlitz, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, 2Schsisches Landesamt fr Umwelt, Landwirtschaft und Geologie, Postfach 80 01 32, 01101 Dresden, Germany, e-mail: Ulrich.Zoephel@smul.sachsen.de About 70 years after the last summary of mammals in Saxony was published by R. ZIMMERMANN a comprehensive mapping project was carried out between 1990 and 2008. The aim was to produce an atlas of all wild mammal species in Saxony taking into account changes in their distribution as well as in the composition of the mammal community, e.g. losses and new members. As a result of this survey 82 mammal species are documented in Saxony after 1990, however, only 74 are really established here. Of these 64 are autochthonous or indigenous mammal species. Beside of this the status of 5 further species is not clear. The entity of established mammal species in Saxony includes 10 insectivores, 20 bats, 8 ungulates, 2 hares and rabbits, 21 rodents and 13 carnivores. The mammal fauna of Saxony is rich in regional distinctions and has a number of local highlights - e.g. the most eastern boundary of the European range of two shrew species which runs throughout Saxony along the river Elbe. Some highlight species as wolf, lynx and moose return to the country. Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 13 On the other hand, several mammal species disappeared, such as the European souslik with its exclusive occurrence in Germany, or decreased considerably, such as the Common hamster. At the same time the numbers of endangered species, e.g. otter and beaver increased and new invasive species e.g. mink, raccoon and raccoon dog have established vital populations in Saxony. Fibre type composition of the lumbar muscles in mammals covering a 10.000fold range of body weight B. HESSE1, M. STEUERNAGEL1, R. FRBER2, M. S. FISCHER1, N. SCHILLING1, 1Institut fr Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie mit Phyletischem Museum, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitt Jena, Erbertstrae 1, 07743 Jena, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Martin.Fischer@uni-jena.de, firstname.lastname@example.org, 2Institut fr Anatomie I, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitt Jena, Teichgraben 7, 07743 Jena, Germany, Rosemarie.Froeber@mti.uni-jena.de Most physiological and morphological parameters depend on and scale with an animals body size. For example, while bone and muscle lengths show a linear increase, their cross sectional areas increase by the power of two. Body weight as well as body volume increase by the power of three, while body surface increases only by the power of two. Because the support of body weight depends on skeletal and muscular strength and hence on bone and muscle cross sectional areas, larger animals show corresponding adaptations in their locomotor apparatus to support their body weight, while smaller animals generally have a reduced postural problem. On the other hand, heat production is proportional to body volume, whereas heat loss is proportional to body surface. Therefore, small endothermic animals suffer from a relatively higher heat loss compared to heat production. The skeletal musculature of mammals is part of the locomotor apparatus as well as involved in heat production. Therefore, adaptations to different demands may be reflected by differences in the composition of the three main muscle fibre types: type I fibres (high oxidative capacity, slow, fatigue resistant), type IIB fibres (low oxidative capacity, contract and fatigue fast), and type IIA fibres (intermediate). We investigated the distribution of these fibre types over the whole cross section of the perivertebral musculature along the lumbar spine of several mammals covering a body mass range from 5 g to 100 kg. Our results confirm the few previous observations on limb muscles. In general, the type I fibre proportion of a given muscle region was higher in larger mammals. Therefore, the muscles are well suited for supporting the high body weight by static stabilisation. In contrast, very small mammals showed a high proportion of intermediate type IIA fibres, which have a relatively high ATP turnover and short contraction times, well suited for shivering and thus for heat production. However, the fibre type composition of the lumbar muscles also depended on the locomotor behaviour of the respective animal, possible additional functions of a given muscle (e.g., in ventilation) as well as on the existence of additional stabilising mechanisms (e.g., tendons). Impact of artificial feeding on free-ranging Wild boar (Sus scrofa) in Europe a stomach content analysis U. HOHMANN1, S. CELLINA2, A. KNIG3, J. KHL4, L. SCHLEY5 , 1Research Institute for Forest Ecology and Forestry, Division Forest and Wildlife Ecology, Hauptstr. 16, 67705 Trippstadt, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, 2Ministry of Environment, 18, monte de la Ptrusse, 2918 Luxembourg, Luxemburg, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 3TU Mnchen, Munich, Germany, Life Science Center Weihenstephan, Wildlife Biology and Wildlife Management Unit, e-mail: email@example.com, 4Landwirtschaftliche Untersuchungs- und Forschungsanstalt Speyer, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 5Service de la Nature, Administration de la Nature et des Forts, 16 rue Eugne Ruppert, L-2453 Luxembourg, Luxemburg, e-mail: email@example.com Since the 1970s Wild boar harvest rates have increased more than tenfold in many European countries, indicating a remarkable increase of both geographic distribution range and population density. Nowadays the Wild boar can be considered the most numerous large mammal species in Europe. Although a clear and convincing analysis of the causes of this trend is still lacking, artificial feeding carried out by hunters is one factor thought to be involved. Although the influence of feeding on population dynamics of this species has not been quantified to date, feeding itself in the diet of Wild boar has been quantified by using a volumetric analysis of stomach content components of harvested individuals. However, this approach does not take into account the digestible energy of different components, which might lead to an underestimation of the effect of energy rich components on body condition and reproductive success. To fill this gap we analysed the digestible energy of the following stomach content components: mast (acorns, beech nuts), dry grain maize fed by hunters, green plant matter, crops and soil matter from rooting activities. We analysed 894 Wild boar stomachs from Luxemburg (harvested 2003-2005) and 698 from West Germany (Palatinate Forest) harvested in 2002 and 2003. Grain maize provided 15-16 MJ digestible energy per kg dry mass, followed by mast (12-13 MJ), and green plant matter, crops or soil matter providing (7-11 MJ). Maize and mast thus represent high-energy food categories, whereas green plant matter contains relatively little energy. The mean percent volume of artificially fed grain maize found in Wild boar stomachs varied between 10% and 50% of a mean stomach content weight of 1,5 kg. This quantity would cover between 17% and 87% of the daily resting energy demand of a 70 kg (live weight) Wild boar. We conclude that artificial energy input through supplementary 14 Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 feeding seems likely to increase body condition significantly and thereby contribute to a population increase. Ecology of small mammals in the arid Andean foothills of Mendoza, Argentina M. HOLZAPFEL1 , R. A. OJEDA2, 1University of Applied Sciences Zittau/ Grlitz, Theodor-Krner Allee 16, 02763 Zittau, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 2GiB (Grupo de Investigaciones de la Biodiversidad), IADIZA, CRICYT (CONICET), Av. Ruiz Leal s/n Parque General San Martin, 5500 Mendoza, Argentina, e-mail: email@example.com The use of vegetation patches and the influence by openess of vegetation on small mammals in the arid Andean foothills Mendozas, Argentina was studied. The species showed relatively high habitat specialisation. Microhabitats are different between the dominant species, the rodents, Eligmodontia moreni and Calomys musculinus. Eligmodontia moreni was favored by the open vegetation structure, while the species Calomys musculinus, Akodon molinae and Phyllotis xanthopygus prefered the habitat with dense vegetation, which was shown by an increasing abundance of these species. This affinity for vegetation diversification suggests that the habitat structure is an important factor in structuring small mammal communities in the arid Andean foothills. Ernst Mayr, Hans Rmmler, and the rats of New Guinea R. HUTTERER, Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Adenauerallee 160, 53113 Bonn, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org This study describes unknown relationships of two former members of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Sugetierkunde (DGS) and their role in the exploration of the exciting endemic rodents of the montane forests of New Guinea, one of the worlds prime regions for rodent diversity. Both were of the same age, both began their career at the Zoological Museum in Berlin, and both joined the DGS in the year of its foundation in 1926. Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) finished his PhD in 1926 under the supervision of Ernst Stresemann, and subsequently obtained a position as an assistant curator in ornithology at the Zoologisches Museum Berlin. From 1928 to 1930 he conducted an expedition to New Guinea, where he collected birds, mammals, and other organisms. In the field he received an invitation to work at the American Museum of Natural History, which he did from 1931 to 1953. His move from Berlin to New York offered him chances that allowed him to develop himself into one of the most famous evolutionary biologists of his generation. The life of Hans Rmmler (1904-1974) followed a very different course. Forced to sustain his family at the age of 18, he graduated at an evening school and then studied biology at Berlin University. At the Zoologisches Museum he assisted in the mammal collection and began a thesis on the systematics and distribution of the murids of New Guinea, supervised by Herman Pohle, at that time secretary of the DGS. Rmmler included the material that Ernst Mayr had collected during his expedition to New Guinea in his studies and named a new species Leptomys ernstmayri Rmmler, 1932 for him. Rmmlers work was completed and published in 1936 and received international recognition. He developed a new systematic arrangement of all the rodents of New Guinea, based on molar characters, and named a number of new genera (Paramelomys, Pogonomelomys, Pseudohydromys) and species (Leptomys ernstmayri, Macruromys major, Paramelomys steini, Pseudohydromys murinus, Rattus arfakiensis, R. jobiensis, R. steini) that are still recognised today. However, contrary to Ernst Mayr, Rmmler had no fortune in finding a position in his field of interest after 1936. His promising career as a mammalogist was terminated by the unfortunate circumstances of pre-war Germany. DNA extraction methods for faeces of different age in Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) M. A. IMRON1, 2, S. HERZOG1, 1Chair of Wildlife Ecology and Management Dresden University of Technology, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, 2Wildlife Ecology and Management, Faculty of Forestry Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Genetic studies on rare, endangered species often require DNA sampling from sub-optimal source such as faeces. However, quantity and quality of DNA are crucial for the genotyping success. In ideal situations, samples from fresh faeces are preferred than older samples. Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is a cryptic animal with very low number of individual as well as very low possibility to find faeces in the field. To overcome possible failure in genotyping due to sample age, we test effects of different age on the success of genotyping. Current developments of DNA Kits for non-invasive sampling have increased possibility to genotype feces sample. We tested two stool DNA kits from Invitex and Qiagen to investigate which DNA extraction methods has better result for genotyping of faeces sample. Our ongoing study is aiming to test the impact of three different age of faeces samples and two DNA extraction methods on the genotyping success of Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae). Samples from zoos in Germany are separated into three different part (fresh, 1 week and 1 month). We compare two different DNA extraction kits: Qiagen Stool Kit and PSP Spin Stool DNA Plus Kit- Invitex and PCR protocol Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 15 follow Rusello et al., (2004). Genotyping success rates will be measured with the proportion of successful PCR amplifications on different method and sample ages. Statistical differences between the three ages and two DNA extraction methods in PCR amplification success rate is evaluated by Tukey multiple comparison method. Genetic differentiation of fragmented sub-populations of Red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Central Germany M. A. IMRON1, 2, S. HERZOG1, 1Chair of Wildlife Ecology and Management Dresden University of Technology, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, 2Wildlife Ecology and Management, Faculty of Forestry Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The European Red deer (Cervus elaphus L) has been under high pressure from humans through selective culling, transfers and hybridisation, habitat fragmentation, and keeping isolated population in enclosures. All of those anthropogenic influences are potentially affecting the natural genetic structure of this deer species. Therefore, this species is also being subject for genetic studies. Biochemical-genetic studies of Red deer in the mid-1980s (HERZOG,1988) provided no clear evidence for genetic effects of landscape fragmentation by motorways, agriculture or wildlife legislation. However, there was a slight, but not significance tendency in genetic structures that makes it worth to reanalyze the populations in question. Especially due to the persisting situation of landscape fragmentation, the present study should help us to find out, if this situation has led to any observable impact on genetic structures of the populations. The primary objective of this study was to investigate the genetic variability within and differentiation between fragmented Red deer (Cervus elaphus) (sub)-populations in Central Germany. We analyzed six microsatellite loci within 14 sub-populations in Sachsen, Sachsen Anhalt, Niedersachsen, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Observed heterozygosity (Ho) of original sub-populations showed variation from 0.532 to 0.762, and expected heterozygosity (He) from 0.659 to 0.806. Ho for pooled sub-populations ranged from 0.762 to 0.583, and He from 0.815 to 0.727. Allelic richness showed variation from 1.93 to 1.429. Deviations from Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium at six sub-populations (Anhalt, Ghrde, Lauterberg, Riefensbeek, Taura and Unterl) were detected. Most of sub-populations were shown genetic differentiation as indication of isolation between these sub-populations. However, isolation by distance did not significantly explain variation of genetic distance. Possible causes of deviation from Hardy-Wienberg equilibrium, genetic differentiation between sub-populations, and long term survival of Red deer in Germany were discussed in this study. Road-kill pattern of the European wildcat in the lower Harz mountains (Saxony-Anhalt), Germany S. JEROSCH1, 2, M. GTZ1,2, D. HEIDECKE3, H. BOCK4, 1Brumbachwild-Freilandforschung, Forsthaus Brumbach, 06526 Sangerhausen, Germany, e-mail: saskia.jerosch @gmx.de, 2Institute of Forest Botany and Forest Zoology, Dresden University of Technology, Pienner Str. 7, 01737 Tharandt, Germany, email@example.com, 3Institute of Zoologie, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Domplatz 4, 06108 Halle (Saale), Germany, firstname.lastname@example.org, 4Biosphere Reserve Karstlandschaft Sdharz, Hallesche Strae 68a, 06536 Rola, Germany, email@example.com Road mortality is one of the biggest man-made threats for wildlife species, also for the endangered European Wildcat (Felis s. silvestris). Data of road-kills can provide important ecological information on its population. Our research focused on spatial and temporal patterns as well as on population parameters like sex and age classes. Within a time period of 11 years (1998-2008) we gathered data from 63 wildcats. 45 were recorded in the core range of the lower Harz mountains and 18 road-kills were gathered from the periphery of the range. Reliable information on sex was available for 33 wildcats and for 31 individuals age could be verified due to autopsies and x-rayed theeth (canini). According to this, age (>12 months = adult, < 12 months = immature) and sex ratios were balanced. In 16 unverified individuals (sex estimation by the finders) more males (n=11) than females (n=5) died on roads. Casualties occurred over the whole year excepted for May. For both sexes the number of casualties was significantly higher (p < 0.05) during the autumn (Sep.- Nov.) than during the other seasons. The same applies to the age classes since 52% of all adult and 50% of all immature wildcats died in that season. In regard to the core range and the periphery range of the lower Harz mountains, there were no differences concerning age class. However, while the sex ratio was balanced in the core range of the Harz mountains, in the periphery the relative number of male wildcats (62%) was higher than that of females (38%). The high accident rate of both age and sex classes in the autumn can be explained by the high movement rate due to home range displacement. According to GTZ et al. (2007) cubs begin to get independent from mother with the age of four month. Thus, as a consequence the extent of home ranges are changing. The bias of male wildcat in the periphery may due to a larger demand of their home ranges. Furthermore, according to PIECHOCKI (1990) males have a stronger migration behaviour. 16 Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 Variation and complexity of the enamel pattern in the first lower molar of the Field vole, Microtus agrestis (L., 1761), and the Common vole, Microtus arvalis (Pallas, 1779) (Mammalia: Rodentia, Arvicolinae) R. KRAFT1, M. HIERMEIER1, H.-J. KAPISCHKE2, M. JENTZSCH3. 1Zoologische Staatssammlung Mnchen, Mnchhausenstr. 21, 81247 Mnchen, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; 2Gorknitzer Strae 19 a, 01809 Dohna, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com; 3Schillerstrae 35, 06114 Halle/Saale, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The gradual increase in complexity of the first lower molar, M1, of the Field vole, Microtus agrestis, and the Common vole, M. arvalis, is described and depicted schematically. In the standard morph, the grinding surface of this distinctive molar displays five closed alternating triangles (T1 to T5), a crescent-shaped posterior loop and a more complex anterior one. Different stages of increased M1-complexity have been observed in vole populations from Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg, and Bavaria (Germany). Aberrations from the typical triangular pattern of the enamel band, via different hypothetical routes, comprise: a) occurrence of an additional salient angle on anterior loop (the so-called oeconomus+-morphotype); b) appearance of additional dental triangles by dividing the anterior loop into two or three closed dental fields. This may happen by constriction of the apical knob of the anterior loop, resulting in the maskii-morph. Subsequently, the constricted rhombus formed by the labial and lingual angle of the anterior loop might be divided into two closed dental triangles, T6 and T7, respectively. Thus, the most complex variants of the M1 discovered so far display seven (instead of five) alternating triangles (T1 to T7) between posterior and anterior loop. To emphasize the existence of two supernumerary dental triangles, we propose the term arvalis/agrestis++ for this latter morph. Alternatively, the labial edge of the anterior loop T6 might be constricted solely, resulting in a molar variant with six alternating triangles. An increase in tooth complexity by constriction of additional closed dental fields is also reported for several phylogenetic lines within microtine rodents, e.g. in the extinct Dicrostonychidae and for the line from Allophaiomys to Microtus. It is concluded, that enhanced molar complexity improves masticatory efficiency. Evaluation of a (new) method for age estimation in adult hares R. KRASNITZER, K. HACKLNDER, Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Gregor-Mendel-Str. 33, 1180 Vienna, Austria, e-mail: email@example.com Decalcified mandibles of 38 captive-reared European hares (Lepus europaeus) of known age were cross-sectioned with a freezing microtome, hematoxylin-stained, and examined under a light microscope. Both of the two independent analyses showed a highly significant correlation between the number of annual growth lines (adhesion lines) and the real ages in the hares examined. Known eye lens weights of 37 hares allowed a qualitative comparison between the two methods of ageing hares. It could be shown that the eye lens weight provides only segregation between juveniles (young-of-the-year) and adults. However, the method of age determination from annual layers in the mandibular bone additionally offers the possibility of ageing adults enabling to give the age of each individual in years (survived winters). Feeding ecology and hunting behaviour of the pond bat (Myotis dasycneme) F. KRGER, R. S. SOMMER, Ecology Centre, Department of Landscape ecology, CAU Kiel, Olshausenstrae 75, D-24118 Kiel, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Only little is known about the feeding ecology of the pond bat (Myotis dasycneme Boie, 1825). The hitherto insights in its diet show that Myotis dasycneme feeds mainly on chironomids and caddis flies in Europe. Because of the typical composition of the prey taxa and the knowledge about its ecology it is assumed that the pond bat catches its prey near bodies of water, above the water surface or directly from the water surface. In Europe there are two other bat species which show a similar behaviour. Together with the Long-fingered bat (Myotis capaccinii) and Daubentons bat (Myotis daubentonii) the Pond bat belongs to the guild of the trawling Myotis. It is well proved by several experiments that all three mentioned European species use a unique hunting technique: during the hunting flight above the water surface they use their feet and their tail membrane to catch insects respectively arthropods which fly above or float on the water surface. Additionally, all three mentioned bat species have relatively large feet in proportion to their body dimensions. The analysis of faecal pellet-samples from a roost of reproducing females in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (North-eastern Germany) will focus on the prey proportion in the collected samples of Myotis dasycneme. Apparently M. dasycneme is feeding mostly on Nematocera species rather than on Chironomidae. This is revealed by numerous parts of pupae exuviae found in combination with fragments of adult Chironomidae. Other important prey seems to be the family of Corixidae, swimming bugs as well as species of the order of Trichoptera. The first results show little variation beside this three prey groups (Chironomidae, Corixidae, Trichoptera). Based on these first observations we assume that M. dasycneme seems to have a rather strong specification in its prey preference. The high frequency of pupae exuviae of chironomids as Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 17 well as swimming bugs show that M. dasycneme grasps a high amount of its prey with the feet directly above the water surface. This behaviour could be the key factor for niche differentiation between the trawling Myotis species. We aim to support this idea with more data also from other European regions of the known distribution of Myotis dasycneme. The Eutherian gastrointestinal tract in relation to food a Review P. LANGER, Institut fr Anatomie & Zellbiologie, Justus-Liebig-Universitt, Aulweg 123, 35385 Gieen, Germany, e-mail: peter.langer @anatomie.med.uni-giessen.de The size of the gastrointestinal tract, consisting of stomach and small as well as large intestine, is characterized here by considering the relative volumes of these three sections in relation to the tract from stomach to anus taken as 100%. The significance of volume increase is also taken into account. The following conclusions can be drawn from available data: Animals eating considerable amounts of animal material have a relatively small large intestine, which contributes less than 50% of the total gastrointestinal tract. In omnivores, on the other hand, the large intestine contributes a greater volume to the total gastrointestinal tract, but the stomach has a relatively small volume. Eutheria eating plant material can have either a voluminous large intestine or a voluminous stomach. In both cases these volume increases represent sections for digesta retention, as well as for microbial degradation of those parts of the food that are difficult to digest, for example cellulose. It can well be that products of microbial metabolism in the large intestine cannot be sufficiently absorbed in the gut, so that either the voided faeces are re-eaten (Coprophagy) or a special type of faeces, which is produced in the caecum, is taken (Caecotrophy). Finally, it should be emphasized that an increased volume of the stomach cannot be generally attributed to microbial activity. However, the forestomach can crush and grind ingesta. In whales grinding teeth are absent and their function is taken over by the forestomach. Notes on the ontogeny of the aardvark (Orycteropus afer) T. LEHMANN, Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum, Frankfurt, Abteilung Paloanthropologie und Messelforschung, Sektion Sugetierphylogenie, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com The Afrotheria is a supraordinal clade of living African placental mammals supported by a large number of molecular analyses. However, our knowledge about basic biological processes in some of these taxa is not well documented, for instance in the Tubulidentata. This study, based on the examination of over 200 specimens of extant aardvarks, presents new results about the ontogeny of the last living species of the order: Orycteropus afer. The morphology and developmental pattern of cranio-dental as well as postcranial elements is analysed. For the first time, a morphological age-class system is developed for O. afer and is tentatively related to absolute ages. The epiphyseal union and tooth eruption sequences, as well as the growth rate and vertebral count are described. The results of this study show for instance that aardvarks have a positive allometric growth pattern for their snout (nasal bone and palate in comparison to cranial breadth) and their femur (in comparison to tibia). The latter is noteworthy inasmuch as "tibia longer than femur" is the state of numerous fossil aardvarks. Moreover, their epiphyseal union and tooth eruption sequences differ from that of many other mammals. Aardvarks are also very conservative in their vertebral count. These observations are in contradiction with some newly proposed apomorphies of the Afrotheria and have to be taken into consideration when looking at the phylogeny and the character evolution within Afrotheria. Finally, this study provides the first comprehensive description of the different developmental stages of juvenile aardvarks, from foetus to adulthood. Age determination of the Mongolian wild ass (Equus hemionus Pallas, 1775) D. LKHAGVASUREN1,2, H. ANSORGE2, N. BATSAIKHAN1, R. SAMIYA1, A. STUBBE3 & M. STUBBE3, 1Department of Zoology, Faculty of Biology, National University of Mongolia, PO-Box 377 Ulaanbaatar 210646, Mongolia, e-mail: Lkhagvasuren@biology.num.edu.mn, Batsaikhan@biology.num.edu.mn, Samiya@num.edu.mn; 2Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Goerlitz, PF 300154 D-02806 Goerlitz, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 3Institute of Zoology, Martin-Luther University Halle Wittenberg, Domplatz 4, D-06099 Halle/Saale, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com. The Mongolian wild ass or Khulan is a common and well-adapted species in the Gobi desert of southern Mongolia. Although during the last five decades the distribution range of the Mongolian wild ass has been decreased dramatically, Mongolia still harbours 80% of the global population. Thus, this species is fully protected by laws and conventions on international and national levels. Our research is focused on the age determination by annual cementum layers and population genetics by non-metric characters. The studied material of 400 skulls of the Mongolian wild ass was collected in southern Mongolia between 2001 and 2004 had been poached in most cases. In general, the age of the Mongolian wild ass can be determined by eruption and replacement of the teeth up to 18 Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 an age of five years. The age of animals older than five years was determined by the cementum annual rings visible in thin longitudinal sections (50-100 m) of the lower incisor one (I1) done with a low speed precision saw. The lower incisor one (I1) is very clear and suitable to count the annual rings on the cementum of the tooth root. The results of the age determination of the poached Mongolian wild asses should be used in future for the conservation management of the species. Why a four-stroke engine is superior to a two-stroke engine how footfall patterns affect the kinetics of horses at normal walk D. LOSCHER1, F. MEYER2, K. KRACHT2, 1Freie Universitt Berlin, Institut fr Biologie, FG Humanbiologie und Anthropologie, Albrecht-Thaer-Weg 6, 14195 Berlin, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 2Technische Universitt Berlin, Institut fr Mechanik, FG Mechatronische Maschinendynamik, Einsteinufer 5-7, 10587 Berlin, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Again, why do quadrupeds move their legs criss-cross? Still today, this question, asked more than 2000 years ago by Aristotle, is engaging. It is generally accepted that by straight-limb support of the body mammalian locomotion is significantly improved. However, the movement along arched trajectories caused by fully extended legs results in a vertical oscillation of the trunk. This, in turn, entails a cyclic loss of potential energy that has to be compensated for. Vertical movement of the trunk therefore accounts for a significant proportion of the energy cost of locomotion. We suggest that quadrupeds are able to further improve the energetic efficiency of locomotion by adjusting footfall patterns in addition to applying the inverted pendulum mechanism. By synchronous movement of ipsi- or contralateral limbs (two-beat gait at 0% phase shift), a translatory vertical oscillaton of the trunk is induced. A phase shift of 25% of cycle duration (four-beat gait), though, causes alternating vertical movements of fore- and hindquarter and thus rotatory oscillations of the trunk. We hypothesize, that the amount of work required to sustain rotatory oscillation of the trunk is lower than that required to sustain vertical translatory movements. Therefore, at normal walk, a four-beat gait should be more efficient than a two-beat gait. To verify our proposal, we collected kinematic data of ten clinically sound horses (of 200-650 kg body weight) and developed a mathematical model. Simulating a range of footfall patterns, we found that energy cost of locomotion rises with declining phase shift, starting at a minimum at 25%, reaching its maximum close to 0%. This result might provide an indication why synchronous limb movement is genrally avoided in mammalian walking gaits. The fragmented landscape of agricultural areas in Bulgaria: Implications for conservation of European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus L., 1766) today G. MARKOV1, A. ATANASOVA2, I. RAYKOV2, H. DIMITROV 2, M. GOSPODINOVA1, 1Institute of Zoology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1, Zar Osvoboditel Blvd., Sofia 1000, Bulgaria, e-mail: email@example.com; 2Shumen University Episkop K. Preslavski, Faculty of Nature sciences, 115, Universitetska Str., Shumen 9712, Bulgaria The absence of recent information about the degree of occupation of different habitats in contemporary agricultural regions in Bulgaria by the European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus L., 1766) and the importance of main types of these habitats for the conservation of the species in anthropogenically altered natural environment determined the aim of this investigation of species abundance in a typical agricultural region with fragmented landscape in Northeastern Bulgaria, carried out in 2002-2009. In this agricultural region, the four main habitats of the small mammals in agricultural ecosystems in Bulgaria are represented: agricultural areas under wheat or maize corn, agricultural areas under perennial crop (alfalfa), uncultivated area of steppe type and forest shelter-belt. As a result of recent investigations it was found that the species occurred only in the biotope uncultivated area of steppe type. The relative number of the European ground squirrel there was 0.1 individuals per trap per day, thus the species is very rare in its only locality in the region. Spermophilus citellus was actively present in this biotope from the middle of April till the middle of August. The population demographic structure was as follows: (i) sexual ratio: 15% of males and 85% of females; (ii) age distribution: 60% of adults, 25% sub-adults and 15% young individuals. As revealed, the species was presented only in uncultivated areas with vegetation of steppe type, so the fragmentation of the agricultural regions and the availability of biotopes of this kind (uncultivated area of steppe type) allow the species to be preserved in an anthropogenically changed environment. Acknowledgements: This study was supported by grant B-1513/2005 from the National Science Fund of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science. Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 19 Heavy metal concentrations in the lesser white-toothed shrew (Crocidura suaveolens, Pallas 1811) as zoomonitor for anthropogenic impact in Strandja Mountain region (South-East Bulgaria) G. MARKOV1, TS. CHASSOVNIKAROVA1, D. MITEV2, H. DIMITROV2, 1Institute of Zoology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1, Zar Osvoboditel Blvd., Sofia 1000, Bulgaria, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 2Plovdiv University St. P. Hilendarski, Faculty of Biology, Department of Zoology, 24, Zar Assen Str., Plovdiv 4000, Bulgaria The lesser white-toothed shrew (Crocidura suaveolens, Pallas 1811) is considered a suitable bio-indicator species for monitoring of environment toxicity in localities under different degree of anthropogenic impact because of its short lifespan, low space requirements and high metabolic rate. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the heavy metal contaminants in the lesser white-toothed shrew inhabiting Strandja Natural Park in South-East Bulgaria. This was achieved through establishing regional characteristics of content of elements with concentration dependant toxic effect (Cu, Co, Ni, Zn) and elements with proven highly toxic effect on living organisms (Pb, Cd) in the liver of adult male shrews with diploid chromosome nuber 2n=40; NFa=46; NF=50. The residual quantities of investigated heavy metals found in the liver of C. suaveolens specimens (Cu 36.229 12.468; Co 5.171 2.406; Ni 35.045 7.111; Zn 281.984 164.307; Cd 3.4963 1.307; Pb 6.127 3.956 expressed in X [mg/kg dry weight] SD) characterize the species as regional zoo-monitor and enhance the ability to monitor and assess the risk of anthropogenic pollution of the environment in Strandja Mountain region (SE Bulgaria). The bio-indicator characteristics found create a starting basis for estimation of toxic metals accumulation in internal organs of lesser white-toothed shrew in the South-eastern part of Balkan Peninsula thus implying that it may be useful in comparative analysis of toxic anthropogenic hazards in the natural environment in other regions of its wide area of distribution in Palaearctic. Acknowledgements: This study was supported by grant BU-B-5-2005 from the National Science Fund of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science. New insights into mating strategies of raccoons (Procyon lotor L.) in northeastern Germany determined by VHF telemetry and paternity tests I. MUSCHIK*1, A. PETER2, H. SCHULZ2, B. A. KHNEMANN*3 , F.-U. MICHLER*4 *Society for Wildlife Ecology and Nature Conversation e.V., Projekt Waschbr, Goldenbaum 38, 17237 Carpin, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, 1Ruhr-University Bochum, Department of General Zoology and Neurobiology, Universittsstr. 150, 44780 Bochum, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 2University of Koblenz-Landau, Department of Environmental Science, Forsttr. 7 / C1, 76829 Landau / Pfalz, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 3University of Applied Science Eberswalde, Faculty of Forests and Environment, Department of Wildlife Biology & Management, A.-Mller-Str. 1, 16225 Eberswalde, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, 4Technical University Dresden, Institute of Forest Zoology, Pienner Str. 7 (Cotta-Bau), 01737 Tharandt, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org We monitored 51 reproductive (28 adult males, 23 adult females) radiocollared raccoons (Procyon lotor Linn, 1758) during the 2006-2009 mating seasons and beyond to investigate consortship behaviour and mating strategies for this allochthonous carnivore. Additionally we genotyped reproductive raccoons (n=58) and their progeny (n=55) to determine paternity as a proxy for male mating success (unpublished data). These studies are part of a research project about population ecology of raccoons in a bog and swamp area of the German lowlands (www.projekt-waschbaer.de). The main mating season spans up to 18 days from 21th of January to 17th of February with marginal shifts according to the length of winter season. A second oestrus leading to late parturitions during July and August could be proven for two females. Spatial analysis of male and female distribution yielded an extensive intersexual spatial overlap with one male overlapping up to three female home ranges. During a mating season some males (n=8) increased their home range size and nightly movements noticeable compared to their annual home range. Determined as den sharing, consortship events occurred between up to four females per male within a mating season and females consorted with up to three males during an oestrus period. The number of multiple consortships varied between mild and cold winter seasons, whereas male excursions decreased during a cold mating season. Therefore we expect that the percentage of multiple paternities could also be weather-dependent. For the first time we could document intersexual den sharing outside the mating season for two females and four males. Thereby every female shared dens alternating or together with two males. We suggest that this kind of consortship behaviour outside the mating season leads to higher familiarity between resident raccoons and therefore to higher mating success for resident males than for passing males during mating season. Furthermore, we could confirm a promiscuous breeding system for both sexes as supposed and observed in recent studies on raccoons in North America. 20 Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 Space use pattern and other ecological parameters of Red deer (Cervus elaphus) in an area of Upper Lusatia (Saxony, Germany), inhabited by the Grey wolf (Canis lupus) M. NITZE, N. STIER, M. ROTH, Dresden University of Technology, Institute of Forest Botany and Forest Zoology, Chair of Forest Zoology, Pienner Strae 7, 01737 Tharandt, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com At the end of the 20th century the Grey wolf returned to Germany by immigrating from Poland to Upper Lusatia (Saxony). In the meantime 5 established wolf packs were recorded in Saxony, occupying an area of about 250 km2. Due to the strong dependence on their prey items, which in the Upper Lusatia mainly consist of hoofed game, the occurrence of the wolf is also an issue of hunting affairs. To judge the situation of hoofed game species in the wolf territories a research project was initiated in 2007 by the Saxonian Ministery of Environment and Agriculture in cooperation with the German as well as the Saxonian Hunting Association. The scientific study is co-sponsered by T-Mobile Deutschland GmbH and Vattenfall Europe AG. The study aims at the aquisition of scientific data on space use, activity and dispersion patterns, as well as on other behavioural and population dynamic parameters of hoofed game, that shed light on the complex interactions between wolves and their prey items. The results will form the base for the further development of hunting management of hoofed game in the area were game species and wolves are sympatric. Data acquisition is mainly based on terrestrial and satellite telemetry. In the first phase the study is focussed on Red deer. Since March 2008 four male and five females of Red deer were equipped with radio collars. As first telemetric results document individuals of Red deer use much smaller home ranges than wolves. Thus, the previous home ranges size of females covered an area of 3-4 km2, that of males an area of 10-12 km2. Males showed a clear differentiation between seasonal home ranges. With females this behaviour was less obvious. Long distance migrations of Red deer were not recorded till now. This preliminary results corresponds with telemetric data on space use patterns of Red deer in other investigation areas of the Chair of Forest Zoology in Saxony. Ontogenetic body growth and change of spectral characteristics of intense mew calls in the Felidae G. PETERS, Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Adenauerallee 160, D-53113 Bonn, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org As a rule of thumb spectral characteristics of mammalian vocalizations correlate negatively with the species body size/weight (acoustic allometry [Fitch], frequency scaling [Fletcher]), larger animals usually producing lower sounds than smaller ones. This correlation has been established for various taxa in intraspecific and interspecific comparisons. However, some counterexamples are also documented. The background for this dependency is the strong correlation between a species body weight and the length of its supra-larnygeal vocal tract (distance glottis - mouth), together with the acoustics of the vocal tract, acting as a filter modifying the sound generated by the vocal folds (source). Relatively little is known about the ontogeny of vocalization in mammals, the structural changes vocalizations undergo in its course and the ontogenetic increase of vocal tract length. Given this increase and the decisive influence of vocal tract length on spectral characters of a species calls, the ontogenetic change of frequency characters of intense mew calls was assessed in 5 species of the Felidae. This study tested whether the ontogenetic change of the averaged spectral amplitude peak frequency of calls of cubs of Puma concolor, Panthera leo, P. pardus, P. onca, and P. tigris, is correlated with the increase in body weight and whether this increase may represent an indication as to the ontogenetic increase in vocal tract length. The Felidae provide a special framework for this kind of study because of the ontogenetic descensus of the larynx in the genera Panthera and Uncia which have a ligamentous epihyoid whereas in all other species of the Felidae the hyoid apparatus is completely ossified. Accordingly the ontogenetic increase of vocal tract length is proportionally larger in the species of the two former genera. Preliminary results show that the ontogenetic decrease of the spectral call character analyzed follows a similar course in the 4 species of the genus Panthera. It differs considerably from that in Puma concolor. The interrelation with the respective ontogenetic increase in body weight and vocal tract length presents a complex pattern that is not yet fully understood. No seasonal changes of faecal glucocorticoid meta-bolites in Mountain hares (Lepus timidus) M. REHNUS1, R. PALME2, F. FILLI3, K. HACKLNDER1, 1Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Gregor-Mendel-Str. 33, 1180 Vienna, Austria, e-mail: email@example.com, 2Dept. of Biomedical Sciences/Biochemistry, University of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinrplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria, e-mail: Rupert.Palme@vu-wien.ac.at, 3Swiss National Park, 7530 Zernez, Switzerland, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org We investigated the influence of season, temperature, and rainfall on the concentration of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM) in free-ranging Mountain hares during the course of one year. A non-invasive method was utilized, which enabled an easy sampling in the field. Its application revealed that faecal GCM was influenced by Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 21 rainfall, assumably because of a washing out effect. Hence, we excluded samples, which were collected after days with rainfall from further analysis. The results suggest that Mountain hares are not influenced by temperature and season. This is discussed in the light of available literature on seasonality of GCM excretion in wild animals under natural conditions. Social patterns of female raccoons and their young over the breeding and weaning period (Procyon lotor L., 1758) D. SCHUBLE1*, F.-U. MICHLER2, B. A. KHNEMANN3, M. ROTH2, 1 Freie Universitt Berlin, Institute of Biology, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, 2Technical University Dresden, Institute of Forest Zoology, Germany, 3University of Applied Sciences Eberswalde, Faculty of Forests and Environment, Department of Wildlife Biology & Management, Germany We have analysed the home range and the social behaviour of raccoon-mother-families in a bog and swamp area with the help of the VHF-Telemetric-System. The focus was to have a closer look at the important time in the young families life between the litter period and the breeding and weaning of the cubs. This study was carried out in the Mritz-Nationalpark (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), in the year 2007. It is part of a research project, investigating the population ecology of raccoons in the northeast German lowlands (www.projekt-waschbaer.de). The social patterns of female raccoons and their young have not sufficiently been investigated yet (Gehrt 2003). Therefore, only very few data have been collected concerning the sensitive period of weaning, taking place between the 4th. and the 8th. month of the cubs life (Schneider 1971). So, consequently the determined timeframe for this sub-study was July, when the young start to accompany their mothers, until November (Schuble 2009). During this time six racoon-families (6 adult females, 13 cubs) were fitted with VHF radio collars. For the cubs special flexible collars (WAGENER, Germany) were taken that adapt to the growing process. With the help of the collected telemetric data (n = 2462), the home ranges of the racoons were localised and compared with each other. The investigated females showed an average home range size of 225 ha (n = 6, Min. = 99 ha, Max. = 459 ha, S = 133 ha), and for the cubs the average home range size was 212 ha (n = 11, Min. = 52 ha, Max. = 370 ha, S = 178 ha). The home ranges of the cubs differ insignificantly from the ones of the females over the investigated period (U-Test, U1 = 23, U2 = 31, p > 0,05). In order to analyse the social contact between female and cub, data of the dynamic interaction has additionally been collected via the Jacobs- Index (Jacobs 1974). The Jacobs-Index averages at 0,53 (Jx) (n = 10, Min. = 0,14, Max. = 0,99, S = 0,33). The results show a wide range of different social contact among the raccoons, from a very close contact to a loose liaison. The modified home ranges and the Jacobs-Index both showed differences between the six investigated raccoon families. Over the investigated period, four families showed preceding substeps of disbandment of the social tie between female and cub, ending in the migration of a male cub in October 2007. In the same time, two families showed no noticeable changes concerning the social ties. The results of this study lead to the conclusion, that for raccoons the sensitive process of weaning is a very complex process that defies a generalising description. Small mammals as vectors for mycorrhizal fungi in Central European mountain forests S. SCHICKMANN1, K. KRUTLER1,2, A. URBAN2, U. NOPP-MAYR1, K. HACKLNDER1, 1Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Gregor-Mendel-Strasse 33, A-1180 Vienna, Austria, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 2Mycology Research Group, Faculty Centre of Biodiversity, Faculty of Life Sciences, University Vienna, Rennweg 14, A-1030 Vienna, Austria In temperate forests, the tripartite relationship comprised of animals, trees and mycorrhizal fungi plays a fundamental role in the functioning of a forest: Mycorrhizal fungi support trees in water and mineral uptake, protect against plant pathogens and connect plants of the same and different species, therefore forming the major part of the so called wood wide web. In return, the host plants (e. g. spruce, pine, fir, beech, hazel, and oak) supply fungi with essential carbohydrates. Fruiting bodies of ectomycorrhizal fungi (both epi- and hypogeous species) are used as food source (mycophagy) by small ground dwelling mammals. By digging them up and defecating the indigestible fungal spores they transport different fungal species to new habitats and therefore promote growth and distribution of a variety of mycorrhizal fungi. In our study we investigated the role of small ground dwelling mammals by live trapping, collection of fecal pellets from the traps for microscopic examination and DNA based identification. More than 600 samples of eight different small mammal species were collected in five trapping seasons and examined microscopically, with identification of at least 80 different fungal spore types. Between the trapped species distinct differences in mycophagy as well as differences in seasons and differently managed forest types were found. The degree of mycophagy ranged from zero spores observed up to more than 7000 spores counted in 50 fields of view of the microscopic sample. The identified fungal species include hypogeous and epigeous ectomycorrhizal fungi, plant pathogens, saproparastitic and sabrobic fungi. By DNA extraction and molecular species identification the majority 22 Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 of the microscopically observed fungal species was confirmed until now, but this work is not finished yet. Our results indicate, that mycophagy is common for certain small mammal species in European forests, therefore these species may play an important role in assisting rejuvenation and forest growth, as well as promoting fungal diversity and distribution. Metabolic profile of the perivertebral muscles in small mammals: Implications for the evolution of the mammalian trunk musculature N. SCHILLING, Institut fr Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitt Jena, Erbertstr. 1, 07743 Jena, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com In order to gain a better understanding of the ancestral properties of the perivertebral muscles of mammals, this study investigated the fiber type composition in six small, extant therians similar in body shape to early mammals. Despite a few species-specific differences, the investigated species were very similar in their overall distribution of fiber types indicating similar functional demands on the back muscles in mammals of this body size and shape. Deep and short, mono- or multisegmental muscles consistently showed the highest percentage of slow, oxidative fibers implying a function as local stabilizers of the vertebral column. Superficial and large, polysegmental muscles were predominantly composed of fast, glycolytic fibers suggesting they function to both globally stabilize and mobilize the spine during rapid non-locomotor and locomotor activities. Some muscles contained striking accumulations of oxidative fibers in specific regions, which are hypothesized to function independently from the rest of the muscle belly as in regionalized limb muscles. Because representatives of the stem lineage of mammals were comparable in their body proportions and probably also locomotor parameters to the species investigated here, it is suggested that the described fiber type distribution is representative of the ancestral condition in mammals. The origin of mammals was associated with a substantial enlargement of the epaxial muscles and the addition of subvertebral muscle mass. Because this novel muscle mass is mainly composed of fast, glycolytic fibers in extant species, it is plausible that these changes were associated with the evolution of increased sagittal mobility in the posterior trunk region in the therapsid ancestors of mammals. The caudally increasing role of sagittal bending in body propulsion is consistent with the overall increase in the percentage of glycolytic fibers in the cranio-caudal direction. The evolution of mammals was also associated with a loss of ribs in the posterior region of the trunk. This loss of ribs is thought to have decreased the stability of the posterior trunk, which may explain the observed greater oxidative capacity of the caudal local stabilizers. Furthermore, the anatomical subdivision of the transversospinal muscle into several smaller muscle entities is suggested to facilitate their functional specialization. Longitudinal studies on Puumala virus prevalence inBank voles from two endemic regions in Germany M. SCHLEGEL1, S. S. ESSBAUER2, M. MERTENS1, M. H. GROSCHUP1, J. SCHMIDT-CHANASIT3, J. FREISE4, W. WEGENER5 , R. G. ULRICH1, 1Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Greifswald Insel Riems, Germany, 2Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, Munich, Germany, 3Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine, Germany, 4Task Force Veterinrwesen, LAVES, Oldenburg, Germany, 5Gesundheitsamt, Cologne, Germany Hantaviruses are negative stranded rodent-borne RNA viruses that can cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Eurasia and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) in America. Each hantavirus species is associated with a single rodent species or closely related species of the same genus. Most human HFRS cases in Germany are caused by Puumala virus (PUUV) which is transmitted to humans by the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). During 2001-2009 a total of about 3260 human cases were recorded in Germany with large increased numbers of cases in 2005 and in particular in 2007. Mainly affected regions were located in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine Westphalia and Lower Saxony. Embedded in the network Rodent-borne pathogens, a longitudinal study in rodent reservoir hosts was initiated in 2005 in two outbreak regions located in Cologne (North Rhine Westphalia) and in a rural region near Osnabrueck (Lower-Saxony). During 2005-2008 in Cologne a total of 76 bank voles and 54 Apodemus mice, in the district in Lower Saxony 124 bank voles and 191 Apodemus mice were collected. All bank vole transudates were screened in an IgG based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using a yeast expressed nucleocapsid protein of a PUUV strain from Lower Bavaria (PUUVBava), whereas transudates from Apodemus were tested using the nucleocapsid protein of a Dobrava-Belgrade virus lineage (DOBVAf) as antigen. The following RT-PCR investigation from all seropositive bank voles and Apodemus mice was done by using PUUV specific primers. This ELISA and RT-PCR screening resulted in the detection of 64 PUUV infected bank voles originating from Cologne and Osnabrueck. We found PUUV prevalences in bank voles of an average of 39% (21%-57%) in Cologne and 27% (0%-57%) in the region near Osnabrueck. As expected, at all trapping sites the almost exclusively affected rodent species was M. glareolus. However, in single yellow-necked mice (Apodemus flavicollis) trapped in Cologne during 2008 and at the site near Onsabrueck during 2007 hantavirus-reactive IgG antibodies and PUUV-specific nucleic acid were detected. In conclusion, our investigations confirmed a high and continuing prevalence of PUUV infections in bank voles from outbreak regions with a high number of human cases. In addition, a few PUUV spillover infections were detected in Apodemus flavicollis. To find out potential associations between the fluctuations in population densities, infection Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 23 rates of bank voles and the frequency of human PUUV infections in Germany, the described initial longitudinal studies will be continued at the mentioned sites and enlarged by including other sites. The mole-rats pseudo-thumb M. SCHMITT1, M.-T. BAPPERT1, C. KRGER2, H. BURDA1, 1General Zoology, Institute of Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Universittsstrae 5, 45141 Essen, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 2Central Animal Laboratory, University Clinic Essen, Hufelandstrae 55, D-45122 Essen, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com Subterranean Zambian mole-rats (Fukomys spp., Bathyergidae, Rodentia) are known to loosen the soil with their prominent incisors and push it backwards in their burrows with the help of their fore- and hindpaws. In contrast to moles, the mole rats hands are not visibly broadened, which applies also to the hindfeet. A radiographic examination, however, which was actually part of a different morphological study, revealed an unexpected finding: the palmae and plantae in mole-rats both possess a small but conspicuous accessory sesamoid element (prepollex, prehallux), resembling the skeletal conditions in the hands of moles or pandas. SINEs of caniform phylogeny C. SCHRDER1, S. HARTMANN2, C. BLEIDORN1, R. TIEDEMANN1, 1Evolutionary Biology/Zoology, Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Germany, 2Bioinformatics, Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org While the monophyly of the Caniformia (dog-like carnivores) and its division into Canoidea, Ursidae, Pinnipedia, and Musteloidea as major monophyletic clades is well established, the relationships between the last three groups and also the phylogenetic placement of some crucial taxa within these groups are continuously under debate. For instance, different hypotheses on the origin of the walrus are still discussed. Walruses have been considered to (1) represent the sister group to the otariids, (2) group within the family Otariidae, (3) constitute the sister group to the phocids, or (4) represent a taxon within the phocids. So far, sequence based phylogenies could not unambiguously resolve this issue. Short interspersed elements (SINEs) have been proposed as an essentially homoplasy-free phylogenetic character. However, their subsequent use has been limited due to the difficulty to establish SINE loci in non-model organisms. Making use of available genomic resources, we screened complete genomes of two carnivores (cat and dog) for SINE-containing introns. In the dog genome we found 178,965 introns with a manageable length of 200-1000 bp in which we detected 45,276 SINEs. Genome comparisons with the cat genome recovered 506 putatively informative SINE loci for caniform phylogeny. Here we present the results of our initial analysis. We assessed absence/presence data for 50 of these loci as well as sequence data for the corresponding introns in a representative carnivoran taxon set with mainly non-model organisms by PCR and sequencing. The resulting phylogeny strongly supports a sistergroup relationship of Musteloidea and Pinnipedia. Within Pinnipedia, we got strong support from bootstrapping and SINE insertions for a sistergroup relationship of the walrus with the Otariidae. Is European Brown hare fitness related to MHC and microsatellite variability? S. SMITH1, J. GOY DE BELLOCQ1,2, C. ZEITLHOFER3, K. HACKLNDER3, G. DUSCHER4, F. SUCHENTRUNK1, 1Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Savoyenstr. 1, 1160 Vienna, Austria, e-mail: Steve.Smith@fiwi.at, Joelle.GouydeBellocq@ua.ac.be, Franz.Suchentrunk@vu-wien.ac.at, 2Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, 2020 Antwerp, Belgium, 3Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Gregor-Mendel-Str. 33, 1180 Vienna, Austria, e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 4Institute of Parasitology and Zoology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinrplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria, e-mail: Georg.Duscher@vu-wien.ac.at The major histocompatability complex (MHC) is a highly polymorphic multigene family crucial for pathogen recognition to begin the cascade of vertebrate immune response. Diversity at MHC loci is thought to play an important role in individual and population fitness. In particular, increased heterozygosity is often suggested to confer a selective advantage by enhancing resistance to infections (the heterozygote advantage hypothesis). In our study, patterns of variation at three MHC class II loci (DQA, DQB and DRB) and 12 presumably neutral microsatellite loci are compared to several fitness parameters including endoparasite load, body size, body condition and reproductive success. Samples were collected from hunting grounds in Lower Austria and Belgium representing two distinct climatic regions. There were large differences in MHC allele frequencies between the two regions. Heterozygosity at the MHC loci was not associated with average individual microsatellite heterozygosity for either population but homozygosity at the DQA locus was associated with a failure to reproduce for the Belgian population. Our results also show a complex relationship between MHC variability and 24 Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 endoparasite load across both populations with specific alleles at different loci being associated with reduced parasite loads. These data suggest differences in climate and parasite composition between the regions have created contrasting selection regimes at class II MHC loci. Holocene survival of the wild horse (Equus ferus) in the European lowlands: a matter of open landscape? R. S. SOMMER1, U. SCHMLCKE2, N. BENECKE3, O. NELLE1, 1University of Kiel, Ecology-Centre, Olshausenstrasse 40, 24098 Kiel, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 2Stiftung Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen, Schlo Gottorf, D-24837 Schleswig, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, 3German Archaeological Institute, Im Dol 2-6, D-14195 Berlin, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The wild horse Equus ferus was one of the dominant elements of the Late Pleistocene megafauna in Eurasia. Because of its wide distribution in open habitats it was one of the main prey species of humans during the Last Glacial. After the fundamental vegetational change from the Pleistocene to the Holocene after 9.600 calendar years BC, when a stepwise afforestation of Europe took place, the open habitats, favourable to the wild horse, were largely lost. Because of this, it is assumed that Equus ferus went extinct in Central Europe shortly after the end of the Pleistocene. However, the wild horse is known in Europe from several archaeological sites of the Early- and Mid-Holocene. If Equus ferus survived the Pleistocene/Holocene environmental changes in Europe, there could be two main reasons for this: (1) one or some populations of Equus ferus could have adapted to woodland habitats or (2) there must have been more open habitats during the natural development of woodlands in Central Europe than hitherto known from the usual reconstructions on the basis of the palynological record from the Early- and Middle Holocene. The latter possibility has been a matter of lively debate in palaeoecology over the last decade. Because of its preference for open habitats the wild horse could be a suitable palaeoecological indicator for open Holocene primeval woodlands. We dated Holocene subfossil horse remains from the European Lowlands using AMS radiocarbon dating and collected all Holocene subfossil records of the wild horse. We selected published palynological records from the recent literature to get possible indications for open Holocene landscapes. The Holocene radiocarbon chronology of the wild horse in Europe starts with the beginning of the Pleistocene/Holocene change and continues throughout the Early Holocene (9.600-7.100 calendar years BC). The new AMS radiocarbon evidence of horses from typical early Mesolithic sites confirms the wild horse for the first time when the postglacial afforestation was already advanced. However, records of the wild horse from early Middle Holocene times (7.100-5.500 calendar years BC) are extremely rare and E. ferus can only be recorded at single places in peripheral regions of the northern European Lowlands. After the absence during the early Middle Holocene the radiocarbon chronology of the wild horse continues there starting 5.200 cal. BC with a high frequency of subfossil records. On the basis of known palynological data and data about the distribution of the Neolithic culture we draw conclusions as to how open landscapes could have caused this Holocene colonization and extinction pattern of the wild horse in the northern European Lowlands. Craniometric analysis of house mice: a contribution to the investigation of the hybrid zone of Mus musculus domesticus and Mus musculus musculus in Saxony S. SPRENZEL1, C. STEFEN2, 1Clara-Zetkin-Str.5, 01159 Dresden, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com, 2Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden, Museum fr Tierkunde, Knigsbrcker Landstrae 159, 01109 Dresden, Germany, e-mail: clara.stefen @senckenberg.de The hybrid zone of the two semispecies Mus musculus domesticus and Mus musculus musculus runs between Jutland peninsula, East Holstein and east of Munich through the Alpine and Balkan mountains to the Black Sea. Whereas the northern and the southern transect of the hybrid zone in Germany are well studied, there are no solid investigations of the hybrid zone in Eastern Germany. Former studies suggest that the hybrid zone crosses Saxony. The aim of this study is to investigate whether there are significant differences in craniometric data between the two semispecies, that is, whether the two semispecies could be identified by using craniometric analysis. Furthermore we were interested in the distribution of the two semispecies and their hybrids in Saxony. A total of 196 skulls were measured, originating from 4 populations in Saxony (Grlitz, Kurort Hartha, about 25 km west of Dresden, Klingenberg about 30 km south west of Dresden, Gniebitz, northwest of Torga) and 1 population in Thuringia (Blankenburg). All specimens were grouped in 6 different age classes on the basis of their teeth-wear. 15 cranial variables were collected such as e. g. condylobasal length, zygomatic width, interorbital width, length of the diastema. In addition the body-dimensions head-and-body-length and tail-length were taken from museum records. Our results showed that it isn't possible to discriminate between the two semispecies on the basis of craniometrical data alone. Within-population variability was high in all five populations. Related to single measurements statistical analysis revealed significant inter-population variation. A poor partition of the populations by discriminant analysis was only possible considering all skull-measurements together. The results of the discriminant analysis and the ANOVA of the relative tail-length indicate that the populations of Grlitz, Kurort Hartha and Klingenberg Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 25 belong to musculus-semispecies, whereas, specimens of Blankenburg seem to be domesticus. The specimens of the population Gniebitz appear to be hybrids of the two semispecies. Formerly a narrow zone running parallel to the Elbe has been assumed to be the hybrid zone between the semispecies. Our results support the newer assumption that the hybrid zone turns away south westwards of the Elbe around Torgau and extends to around Zwickau and Bavaria. To assess the exact course of the hybrid zone through Saxony further investigations would be necessary. Review of the ecology of the European wildcat (Felis silvestris) C. STEFEN1, M. GRNER2, 1Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden, Museum fr Tierkunde, Knigsbrcker Landstrae 159, 01109 Dresden, Germany, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 2Arbeitsgruppe Artenschutz Thringen, Thymianweg 25, 07745 Jena, Germany, e-mail: email@example.com The European wildcat (Felis silvestris) has been under special protection in Europe under the European Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive since 1992 and this and the Seminar on the species' biology and conservation in the same year increased interest in it and led to numerous new publications. Overall the literature recent and old on the wildcat is extremely diverse and published in sources of Zoology, Wildlife research and Hunting, Ecology, Conservation, Legal Institutions, and others. Therefore, we started a more detailed literature review on the wildcat and some aspects of the review shall be discussed here. The literature on the wildcat from old times on deals with the description, distribution, food, breeding, way of life, distinction from the domestic cat, possible interbreeding with the latter, in old literature also the hunting and use of them and more recently also molecular studies. The distinction from the domestic cat is probably the issue that has been discussed most, although already the old authors (e.g. .Schreber 1777) give fairly precise descriptions and point to the main differences in the outer morphology to domestic cats. Some cranial differences are very clear and distinctive, several also known since the late 19th century. Concerning the habitat of the wildcat, it is usually associated with woods and sometimes depicted as strictly dependent on woodlands. However, wood is not equal to wood, especially when the distribution range of the wildcat from Portugal to the Black Sea and the south of Spain to Scotland (with the exception of England) extending from about 36-58/59 northern latitude and spreading across 4-5 floral regions (Atlantic, central European, Pontic, sub Mediterranean to Mediterranean) is considered. So it is not surprising that wildcats can occur in different kinds of woods: like birch-, mixed deciduous and even coniferous forest, Mediterranean types of hardwood forests and alluvial forests. Even though most observations of wildcats are said to be made within the woods, enough are also made outside and especially edges of wood and mosaik landscapes with open woodlands, pastures, meadows, fields, hedges, bodies of water and even villages are important for the occurrence of the wildcats. It seems that the low mountain range woodlands are refugee areas of wildcats resulting from their extirpation starting in Germany especially after 1848 and can not be considered as their only habitat. In old references they are said to have to come to the plains as well. Open land at the edges of woods are mainly used for hunting. Important are sunny and warm spots therefore often steep rocky slopes are used, but cliffs are not necessary for the occurrence or parturition of wildcats. Parturition can occur in hollow trees, but also in cervices, old badger or fox dens or on the bare ground; even close to roads. Woods have also changed their appearance over time due to human use. Also when wildcats were still considered to be common, bears, wolves, and lynx all occurred in woodlands, humans used them to cut wood for all uses and to feed their animals so that woods were usually not thick or dense and lacked old tress or dead wood now often considered so important for wildcats. Wildcats now feed mainly on small mammals, particularly voles, also birds, reptiles and amphibians, insects and fish. Where available, mainly documented in Mediterranean areas and Scotland, rabbits, hares and partridges also play a role. In the older literature besides of these particularly common hamster, game birds like black and hazel grouse, capercaillie and partridges are usually mentioned. As the energetic value of the larger birds, common hamster, rabbits and hares is higher than that of small mammals, it could be assumed that the diet has changed with the decrease of these species in most of Central Europe and particular in wildcat habitats. This might have changed the competition situation between wildcat and other carnivores (particularly fox) as well as other species also feeding on small mammals as Wild boar and possibly raccoon. Little variation of skull shape and size in Cape hares (Lepus capensis) from different environments in Kenya F. SUCHENTRUNK1, J.E.C. FLUX2, M. M. FLUX2, 1Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Savoyenstr. 1, 1160 Vienna, Austria; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 2230 Hill Road, Belmont, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, e-mail: email@example.com The significance of phenotypic and morphologic variation in Cape hares, L. capensis sensu lato, for their systematics is still unclear. To contribute to the understanding of morphological variation within this taxon under varying ecological conditions, we examined skull shape and size of 165 adult-sized Cape hares from a hot and dry habitat (Magadi, n=56; 29C, 410 mm annual rainfall), a cooler and humid habitat (Akira, n=52; 18C, 772 mm), and a climatically intermediate habitat (Olorgesailie, n=57; 24C, 26 Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 605 mm) in the Rift Valley in Kenya. There were no major ecological or physiographic barriers that might have hindered gene flow between those habitats that were spaced at no more than 200 km distance. We performed a principal components analysis (PCA) based on the variance-covariance matrix of 27 transformed metric variables to describe skull shape with exclusion of any size influence; and we used condylobasal length (CBL) to indicate skull size. CBL did not vary significantly (p=0.264) across the three habitats, and was not influenced by skull age category (p=0.085), but higher values were observed in females (p=0.001; 3-way ANOVA). Eight principal components (PCs) with eigenvalues over 1.0 times mean eigenvalues explained 75.8% of the total shape variance. However, correlations of individual PC scores and the transformed values entered into the PCA yielded quite complex shape components, which could not be interpreted easily in morphological terms. Of these, two were negatively correlated with CBL, which indicated (static) allometry. A 3-way MANCOVA of individual PC scores of all eight PCs indicated significant (p Abstracts / Mamm. biol. 74S (2009) 127 27 Methods and accuracy of scat analysis in wolf Canis lupus diet assessment C. WAGNER, H. ANSORGE, Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Goerlitz, Am Museum 1, 02826 Goerlitz, Germany, e-mail: Carina.firstname.lastname@example.org, Hermann.email@example.com As the feeding habits of large carnivores are strongly connected to the carnivore-man field of tensions, it is of utmost importance to get comparable and correct data on their diet composition. In Central Europe especially the diet of the newly returned wolf populations in Lusatia, Saxony, Germany is of exceptional scientific, conservational, economic and political interest. Scat analysis, which is the most frequently used method to assess the diet composition of wolves, is based on the determination of non-digestible prey remains like hairs, bones, teeth and hoofs. As all wolf scats contain hairs of the prey species, especially these are valuable for species determination, using features like the air medulla, cuticula and macroscopic characters. Using the data of 1468 wolf scats we calculated the minimum number of scats necessary for reflecting the true diet composition with an accuracy of more than 95 per cent. So at least 40 scats should be analyzed in Wolf populations where few prey species are dominating. The comparison of the two mostly used methods for calculating the biomass consumed from the number of collectable scats (Weaver 1993) or the dry mass of undigested prey remains (Goszczyski 1974) show that the first works better for a diet consisting of large prey species only, while the latter should be used for a more diverse diet composition.