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  1. Abstract

    Colourful displays are used by diverse taxa to warn predators of dangerous defences (aposematism). Aposematic coloration is especially widespread among amphibians, which are often protected by harmful toxins. Pacific newts (Taricha) are considered a model of aposematism because when threatened, they arch the head and tail upwards to expose a vivid orange ventrum against a dark dorsum. Given that newts are defended by tetrodotoxin (TTX), a lethal neurotoxin, this signal is assumed to warn predators that an attack would be risky. However, colours have not been quantified in Taricha, and it remains unknown whether coloration provides qualitatively honest (signalling toxic defence) or quantitatively honest (signalling toxin level) warnings. We used two colour quantification methods (spectrometry and hyperspectral imaging) to measure chromatic (hue) and achromatic (brightness) qualities of ventral and dorsal coloration in two newt species (Taricha granulosa and Taricha sierrae). We assessed qualitative honesty using visual models of potential predators (snakes, birds and mammals). Next, we evaluated quantitative honesty by measuring TTX in newts and examining the potential correlation between defence level (amount of TTX) and colorimetrics. We found support for qualitative but not quantitative honesty. Selective pressures and evolutionary constraints might impede the evolution of honest quantitative signallingmore »in this system.

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  2. The ability to exert self-control varies within and across taxa. Some species can exert self-control for several seconds whereas others, such as large-brained vertebrates, can tolerate delays of up to several minutes. Advanced self-control has been linked to better performance in cognitive tasks and has been hypothesized to evolve in response to specific socio-ecological pressures. These pressures are difficult to uncouple because previously studied species face similar socio-ecological challenges. Here, we investigate self-control and learning performance in cuttlefish, an invertebrate that is thought to have evolved under partially different pressures to previously studied vertebrates. To test self-control, cuttlefish were presented with a delay maintenance task, which measures an individual's ability to forgo immediate gratification and sustain a delay for a better but delayed reward. Cuttlefish maintained delay durations for up to 50–130 s. To test learning performance, we used a reversal-learning task, whereby cuttlefish were required to learn to associate the reward with one of two stimuli and then subsequently learn to associate the reward with the alternative stimulus. Cuttlefish that delayed gratification for longer had better learning performance. Our results demonstrate that cuttlefish can tolerate delays to obtain food of higher quality comparable to that of some large-brained vertebrates.
  3. ABSTRACT The European common cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis , is used extensively in biological and biomedical research, yet its microbiome remains poorly characterized. We analyzed the microbiota of the digestive tract, gills, and skin in mariculture-raised S. officinalis using a combination of 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, quantitative PCR (qPCR), and fluorescence spectral imaging. Sequencing revealed a highly simplified microbiota consisting largely of two single bacterial amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) of Vibrionaceae and Piscirickettsiaceae . The esophagus was dominated by a single ASV of the genus Vibrio . Imaging revealed bacteria in the family Vibrionaceae distributed in a discrete layer that lines the esophagus. This Vibrio was also the primary ASV found in the microbiota of the stomach, cecum, and intestine, but occurred at lower abundance, as determined by qPCR, and was found only scattered in the lumen rather than in a discrete layer via imaging analysis. Treatment of animals with the commonly used antibiotic enrofloxacin led to a nearly 80% reduction of the dominant Vibrio ASV in the esophagus but did not significantly alter the relative abundance of bacteria overall between treated versus control animals. Data from the gills were dominated by a single ASV in the family Piscirickettsiaceae , whichmore »imaging visualized as small clusters of cells. We conclude that bacteria belonging to the Gammaproteobacteria are the major symbionts of the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis cultured from eggs in captivity and that the esophagus and gills are major colonization sites. IMPORTANCE Microbes can play critical roles in the physiology of their animal hosts, as evidenced in cephalopods by the role of Vibrio ( Aliivibrio ) fischeri in the light organ of the bobtail squid and the role of Alpha - and Gammaproteobacteria in the reproductive system and egg defense in a variety of cephalopods. We sampled the cuttlefish microbiome throughout the digestive tract, gills, and skin and found dense colonization of an unexpected site, the esophagus, by a microbe of the genus Vibrio , as well as colonization of gills by Piscirickettsiaceae . This finding expands the range of organisms and body sites known to be associated with Vibrio and is of potential significance for understanding host-symbiont associations, as well as for understanding and maintaining the health of cephalopods in mariculture.« less