North African hybrid sparrows back from oblivion – ecological segregation and asymmetric mitochondrial introgression between parental species

Ait Belkacem, A., Gast, O., Stuckas, H., Canal, D., LoValvo, M., Giacalone, G. & Päckert, M. (2016). North African hybrid sparrows (Passer domesticus, P. hispaniolensis) back from oblivion – ecological segregation and asymmetric mitochondrial introgression between parental species. Ecology and Evolution 15: 5190–5206. doi: 10.1002/ece3.2274 (Open Access)

Abstract:

A stabilized hybrid form of the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and the Spanish sparrow (P. hispaniolensis) is known as Passer italiae from the Italian Peninsula and a few Mediterranean islands. The growing attention for the Italian hybrid sparrow and increasing knowledge on its biology and genetic constitution greatly contrast the complete lack of knowledge of the long-known phenotypical hybrid sparrow populations from North Africa. Our study provides new data on the breeding biology and variation of mitochondrial DNA in three Algerian populations of house sparrows, Spanish sparrows, and phenotypical hybrids. In two field seasons, the two species occupied different breeding habitats: Spanish sparrows were only found in rural areas outside the cities and bred in open-cup nests built in large jujube bushes. In contrast, house sparrows bred only in the town centers and occupied nesting holes in walls of buildings. Phenotypical hybrids were always associated with house sparrow populations. House sparrows and phenotypical hybrids started breeding mid of March, and most pairs had three successive clutches, whereas Spanish sparrows started breeding almost one month later and had only two successive clutches. Mitochondrial introgression is strongly asymmetric because about 75% of the rural Spanish sparrow population carried house sparrow haplotypes. In contrast, populations of the Italian hybrid form, P. italiae, were genetically least diverse among all study populations and showed a near-fixation of house sparrow haplotypes that elsewhere were extremely rare or that were even unique for the Italian Peninsula. Such differences between mitochondrial gene pools of Italian and North African hybrid sparrow populations provide first evidence that different demographic histories have shaped the extant genetic diversity observed on both continents.

Nesting sites of house sparrows, Spanish sparrows and phenotypical hybrids in Algeria; (A, C) Passer domesticus: nest with eggs and burrows in brick wall, both at Djelfa – phenotypical hybrids show the same nesting site preference; (B, D) Passer hispaniolensis: nest with eggs and breeding colony in jujube bushes, both at Hassi El-Euch (photos: A. Ait Belkacem)

Nesting sites of house sparrows, Spanish sparrows and phenotypical hybrids in Algeria; (A, C) Passer domesticus: nest with eggs and burrows in brick wall, both at Djelfa – phenotypical hybrids show the same nesting site preference; (B, D) Passer hispaniolensis: nest with eggs and breeding colony in jujube bushes, both at Hassi El-Euch (photos: A. Ait Belkacem)

 

 

L’effet de l’urbanisation sur le phénotype de la Tourterelle turque (Streptopelia decaocto) dans le Nord-Est algérien

Belabed, A.I., Aouissi, H.A., Zediri, H., Djemadi, I., Driss, K., Houhamdi, M., Eraud C. & Bouslama Z. 2013. L’effet de l’urbanisation sur le phénotype de la Tourterelle turque (Streptopelia decaocto) dans le Nord-Est algérien. Bulletin de l’Institut Scientifique, Rabat, Section Sciences de la Vie 35: 155-164.  PDF

Résumé:

De nombreuses espèces d’oiseaux se sont adaptées à l’homme, en particulier, les espèces invasives associées aux villes. Ces adaptations aux environnements urbains sont exprimées par des changements du comportement et de la physiologie, reflétant une évolution ou bien une plasticité phénotypique (Møller 2008). Bien que la Tourterelle turque (Streptopelia decaocto) soit une des espèces de colombidés les plus répandues dans les différents milieux algériens ces dernières années (Merabet et al. 2010, Belabed 2013), les données sur sa biométrie sont quasi inexistantes. Ce travail, mené en 2011, dans la région du Nord-Est Algérien, a pour objectif de produire des informations sur l’effet du degré d’urbanisation sur le phénotype des tourterelles turques adultes dans la wilaya d’Annaba (Extrême Nord-Est algérien), et ceci en s’appuyant sur leur morphométrie. Pour ce faire, la méthode consiste à capturer des individus adultes dans deux sites différents (l’un urbain et l’autre périurbain), et de mesurer les paramètres morphologiques suivants : le poids, la hauteur, la largeur et la longueur du bec, la longueur du culmen, du collier, du tarse, de l’aile pliée et tendue, de  la 5ème rémige, ainsi que l’envergure. Nos résultats montrent qu’il y a des différences significatives entre les individus capturés dans les deux milieux. En effet, le collier, l’aile pliée, l’aile tendue et l’envergure sont plus importants chez les individus du milieu périurbain, alors que les individus urbains montrent une hauteur et une longueur du bec plus importantes. Ceci témoigne de différences adaptatives au vol et à la nourriture, entre les deux sites.

The effect of urbanization on the phenotype of the Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) in northeastern Algeria

Abstract:

Numerous species were adapted to humans, especially invasive species associated to humans in towns and cities. These adaptations to urban environments are expressed by changes in behaviour and physiology, reflecting phenotypic plasticity or evolution (Møller, 2008). Although the Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) is one of the most common Columbidae species in the different Algerians environments during the recent years (Merabet et al. 2010, Belabed 2013), the data on its biometry are almost nonexistent. This work, conducted during 2011, in north-eastern Algeria, aims to produce information on the effect of the degree of urbanization on the phenotype of Collared Doves adult in Annaba (extreme north-eastern Algeria), based on their morphometric data. To do this, our methodology was to capture adult individuals in two different sites: one urban and one suburban, and measure the morphological parameters. The parameters that have been considered are: weight, height, width and length of the beak, length of culmen, collar, tarsus, stretched and bent wing, the fifth remix and finally the wing span. Our results show that there are significant differences between the individuals captured in both environments. Indeed, the collar, the stretched and bent wing and the wing span are more important for individuals in suburban site. Whereas, urban individuals show height and a larger bill length. Showing differences in adaptive flight and food, between the two sites. While urban individuals show a height and length of beak more important. This reflects differences in adaptive flight and food between the two sites.

Tourterelle turque - Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

Tourterelle turque – Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) (photo: Arnstein Rønning, Wikimedia)