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See detailFirst Clarkforkian equivalent land mammal age in the latest Paleocene basal Sparnacian facies of Europe: Fauna, flora, paleoenvironment and (bio)stratigraphy
Smith, T.; Quesnel, F.; De Plöeg, G. et al

in PLoS ONE (2014), 9(1),

The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) is correlated with the first occurrences of earliest modern mammals in the Northern Hemisphere. The latest Paleocene Clarkforkian North American Land Mammal Age ... [more ▼]

The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) is correlated with the first occurrences of earliest modern mammals in the Northern Hemisphere. The latest Paleocene Clarkforkian North American Land Mammal Age, that has yielded rodents and carnivorans, is the only exception to this rule. However, until now no pre-PETM localities have yielded modern mammals in Europe or Asia. We report the first Clarkforkian equivalent Land Mammal Age in the latest Paleocene deposits of the basal Sparnacian facies at Rivecourt, in the north-central part of the Paris Basin. The new terrestrial vertebrate and macroflora assemblages are analyzed through a multidisciplinary study including sedimentologic, stratigraphic, isotopic, and palynological aspects in order to reconstruct the paleoenvironment and to evaluate biochronologic and paleogeographic implications. The mammals are moderately diverse and not abundant, contrary to turtles and champsosaurs. The macroflora is exceptional in preservation and diversity with numerous angiosperms represented by flowers, fruits, seeds and wood preserved as lignite material, revealing an abundance of Arecaceae, Betulaceae, Icacinaceae, Menispermaceae, Vitaceae and probably Cornaceae. Results indicate a Late Paleocene age based on carbon isotope data, palynology and vertebrate occurrences such as the choristoderan Champsosaurus, the arctocyonid Arctocyon , and the plesiadapid Plesiadapis tricuspidens. However, several mammal species compare better with the earliest Eocene. Among these, the particular louisinid Teilhardimys musculus, also recorded from the latest Paleocene of the Spanish Pyrenees, suggests a younger age than the typical MP6 reference level. Nevertheless, the most important aspect of the Rivecourt fauna is the presence of dental remains of a rodent and a "miacid" carnivoran, attesting to the presence of two modern mammalian orders in the latest Paleocene of Europe. Interestingly, these two groups are also the only modern groups recorded from the latest Paleocene of North America, making Rivecourt the first direct equivalent to the Clarkforkian Land Mammal Age outside of North America. © 2014 Smith et al. [less ▲]

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See detailChoosing an aphid partner: a matter of taste and smell
Detrain, Claire; Fischer, Christophe ULg; Lognay, Georges ULg et al

Conference (2012, August 27)

Honeydew is the keystone upon which ants and aphids build their mutualistic relationship. We have investigated how sugar and volatile compounds from honeydew are involved in the discovery, the recognition ... [more ▼]

Honeydew is the keystone upon which ants and aphids build their mutualistic relationship. We have investigated how sugar and volatile compounds from honeydew are involved in the discovery, the recognition and the exploitation of aphid colonies by the black garden ant Lasius niger. In addition to semiochemicals produced by aphids, honeydew volatile compounds are used by ant scouts to orient themselves and distantly recognize myrmecophilous species. Once discovered, aphid colonies producing sugars which are the most beneficial to the ants are preferentially tended. In this respect, the ways each sugar acts upon the feeding behavior of ant foragers and triggers the laying of a recruitment trail are essential to understand how their collective exploitation of aphid colonies proceeds and why mutualistic interactions between ants and aphids are maintained. Sensitivity of ant scouts to honeydew sugars was also investigated. Dose-response curves revealed between-sugar differences with foragers being very sensitive even to small amounts of melezitose, a sugar specifically produced by aphid colonies. We discuss about the relevance of honeydew cues used by ants in the selection of sugary resources, the recognition of their honeydew-producing partners as well as in the assessment of size and nutritive value of exploited aphid colonies. [less ▲]

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