Shakinah Ravindran, Safwan Saufi, Wan Nur Amni, Intan Ishak, Noor Hisham Hamid, Cik Mohd Rizuan Zainal Abidin, Abu Hassan Ahmad, Ghows Azzam and Hasber Salim
Sexing of barn owls, Tyto alba javanica, using morphological traits has not been accurate enough due to ambiguous sexual dimorphism between sexes. This has been one of the major problems for the management of barn owls worldwide, especially for translocation and captive-breeding programs. In order to increase the success rate of sexing the barn owl, we compared the results of a molecular sexing method to six morphological traits for sexing the owls: the shape and colour of the facial disc, the colour of the throat area, the tail plumage, the colour of their tarsus, the back plumage, and the frequency of spotting on the chest and underside of the wings. The result of our comparison showed that sex identification using morphological traits had an accuracy of only 72.7%. Three of our samples were identified as females using morphological traits, but molecular sexing determined that these samples were males. We also used our results to determine the best morphological traits for sexing barn owls, and concluded that the best traits for morphological sexing are the frequency of spotting on the chest and underparts of barn owls (accuracy of 81.8%), as well as colour of the owls’ facial disc and throat area (accuracy of 63.6%).
Nurul Huda Abdul, Che Salmah Md Rawi, Abu Hassan Ahmad and Salman Abdo Al-Shami
Odonata larvae have been intensively used as bioindicators for freshwater pollution as their community structure closely follow changes in the environment and habitat settings. In this study, 28 taxa of Odonata larvae were collected from three stations (upper, middle and lower) of a polluted river in Malaysia. The upper river basin receives effluents from an oil palm plantation. However, the middle station is presumably contaminated with anthropogenic wastes. The lower station is found to receive polluted discharges from aquaculture outlet. Several environmental parameters of water and sediment were continuously measured during the study. The water parameters showed no significant differences amongst the three stations. The species richness of Odonata was 22, 24 and 20 in the upper, middle and lower stations, respectively. The abundance of Odonata was significantly different among the studied sites. The tolerant damselfly, Pseudagrion sp. (41.22%), and facultative dragonflies, Onychothemis sp. (17.12%), were the most dominant taxa along the river stations. Onychothemis sp. and Paragomphus capricornis were equally important at the upper station [Important Species Index (ISI) 25.3 and 24.2%, respectively]. Pseudagrion sp. only scored an ISI value of 9.7%. Pseudagrion sp., P. capricornis and Onychothemis sp. were dominant in the middle station (ISI: 41.2%, 25.9% and 10.9% respectively), and Pseudagrion sp., Onychothemis sp. and Prodasineura sp. dominated the areas with dense growth of submerged aquatic weeds Hydrilla sp. in the lower station (ISI: 47.9, 24.5 and 13.8%, respectively). On the basis of the variations in larval abundance and ISI values, microhabitats differences partly in response to different types of pollutions entering the water structured the Odonata communities in this river basin.
Hasber Salim, Hafidzi Mohd Noor, Dzolkhifli Omar, Noor Hisham Hamid, Mohd Rizuan Zainal Abidin, Azhar Kasim, Hasber Salim, Che Salmah Md Rawi and Abu Hassan Ahmad
This study investigated the effects of the first generation anticoagulant rodenticide chlorophacinone and the second generation rodenticide bromadiolone on the population and breeding performances of barn owls at oil palm plantations. Three treatment plots were established: one baited with chlorophacinone, one with bromadiolone, and the third kept rodenticide-free. Four rat-baiting campaigns which coincided with barn owl breeding season were carried in the rodenticide-treated plots. The occupancy rate of nest boxes, clutch size, brood size and fledging rates of the barn owls in each plot were monitored weekly throughout the study. Freshly regurgitated pellets from barn owls were collected from all occupied nest boxes at weekly intervals during the development of nestlings in each breeding season. The results show that the occupancy rate of the nest boxes was significantly higher in the rodenticide-free area compared with both rodenticide-treated areas. Similarly, the breeding performances, such as clutch size, brood size and fledging success, were higher in the rodenticide-free area compared with the rodenticide-treated areas. Results of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis showed that 20.56% (mean residue: 1 .335 ± 0.073 lg/g) and 28.89% (mean residue: 0.777 ± 0.032 lg/g) of the collected regurgitated pellet samples from the rodenticide-treated areas contained bromadiolone and chlorophacinone residue, respectively. The mean brood size and fledging success of the barn owls showed a strong negative correlation with the mean concentration of rodenticide residues present in the regurgitated pellets and with the percentages of pellets detected having such residues (R2 k 0.44, P < 0.05). Similarly, the mean clutch size of barn owls was negatively correlated with the mean concentration of rodenticide residues and with the percentages of pellets detected with these residues. However, the correlation was not significantly different (R2 k 0.34, P > 0.05). In general, the higher the amount of residues detected, the lower the breeding performance parameters measured in this study