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Zoo Food Preparation and Presentation
From its foundations in agricultural science, zoo animal nutrition has developed into a biologically informed, evidence-based discipline. However, some facets of nutrition still make use of a more traditional approach, such as the field of zoo presentation. For example, it is common practice to prepare animal diets by chopping them into bite-size chunks, yet there is limited peer-reviewed evidence that explains the benefits and welfare implications of this practice. The chopping and placement of foods can alter desiccation rates, nutrient breakdown, and food contamination, so it is important to evaluate the implications of current practices. Here, the published literature on the behavioral impacts of different food presentation formats (such as clumped and scattered, and chopped and whole) is reviewed, with reference to a range of taxa. The current state of knowledge of the nutritional and microbiological effects of food presentation practices are also reviewed. Relevant research is available on the behavioral effects of some forms of zoo food presentation; however, relatively little research has been conducted on their nutrient composition effects or desiccation rates. Similarly, there are gaps in terms of the species that have been investigated, with a few mammalian taxa dominating the food presentation literature. Future research projects covering social, behavioral, and welfare impacts, and the nutritional and microbiological consequences of food presentation would further evidence-based zoo and aquarium management practices. Similarly, qualitative research surrounding keeper perception of food presentation formats would help to identify challenges and opportunities in this field.
15 Oct 2020
Zebrafish Heart Development
Proper development and function of the vertebrate heart is vital for embryonic and postnatal life. Many congenital heart defects in humans are associated with disruption of genes that direct the formation or maintenance of atrial and pacemaker cardiomyocytes at the venous pole of the heart. Zebrafish are an outstanding model for studying vertebrate cardiogenesis, due to the conservation of molecular mechanisms underlying early heart development, external development, and ease of genetic manipulation.
23 Feb 2021
Welfare of Italian Heavy Pigs
Italian heavy pigs are characterized by much higher body weights and age at slaughter (approximately 160–170 kg, and over 9 months of age) than the majority of pigs reared in Europe. This results in peculiar behavioral and rearing-related needs compared to smaller pigs. However, there is a limited body of research dealing with the welfare of this productive category, and several aspects have not been investigated yet. In particular, the lack of knowledge on space requirements, injuries, and positive welfare (included human–animal relationships) are crucial aspects that should be explored in order to define a baseline to set up measures for the improvement of the production system. It is hoped that this content will help to promote knowledge and specific policies aimed at enhancing the ethical attributes of this renowned production, thus improving animal welfare, meeting consumers’ expectations, and increasing the value of its marketing chain.
05 Jul 2021
Visual Adaptations in Raptors
Ecological diversity among diurnal birds of prey, or raptors, is highlighted regarding their sensory abilities. While raptors are believed to forage primarily using sight, the sensory demands of scavengers and predators differ, as reflected in their visual systems. Here, I have reviewed the visual specialisations of predatory and scavenging diurnal raptors, focusing on (1) the anatomy of the eye and (2) the use of vision in foraging. Predators have larger eyes than scavengers relative to their body mass, potentially highlighting the higher importance of vision in these species. Scavengers possess one centrally positioned fovea that allows for the detection of carrion at a distance. In addition to the central fovea, predators have a second, temporally positioned fovea that views the frontal visual field, possibly for prey capture. Spatial resolution does not differ between predators and scavengers. In contrast, the organisation of the visual fields reflects important divergences, with enhanced binocularity in predators opposed to an enlarged field of view in scavengers. Predators also have a larger blind spot above the head. The diversity of visual system specializations according to the foraging ecology displayed by these birds suggests a complex interplay between visual anatomy and ecology, often unrelatedly of phylogeny.
09 Nov 2020
The South American tomato pinworm Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) has aggressively invaded the African continent. Since its first detection in North Africa in Morocco and Tunisia in 2008, it has successfully invaded the entire southern, eastern and western Africa, where it has been on the offensive, causing significant damage to Solanaceous food crops.
31 May 2021
Trichuriasis is the clinical disease of animals infected with the parasite of the genus Trichuris. This review attempts to present information on Trichuris spp. infestation in neo-tropical rodents that are utilized for meat consumption by humans
22 Feb 2021
Toxic Wasting Disorders in Sheep
Infectious and parasitic agents have been frequently associated with debilitating and wasting conditions in sheep. The prevalence of these agents has probably undermined the role of toxic causes as contributors to such disorders. In addition, many of these intoxications frequently produce acute clinical disease with specific and characteristic lesions, thus a causal relationship with the toxic substance may be relatively easy to establish. However, persistent exposure to some of these organic or inorganic toxic substances may lead to emaciation, ill-thrift, and poor external aspect. The anti-nutritional factors and alkaloids of several plants, including pyrrolizidine alkaloids, among others, have also been associated with emaciation and/or poor general performance in sheep flocks.
09 Feb 2021
Three-Dimensional Bone Phantom
3-D surgical planning for restorative osteotomy is costly and time-consuming because surgeons need to be helped from commercial companies to get 3-D printed bones. However, practitioners can save time and keep the cost to a minimum by utilizing free software and establishing their 3-D printers locally. Surgical planning for the corrective osteotomy of antebrachial growth deformities (AGD) is challenging for several reasons (the nature of the biapical or multiapical conformational abnormalities and lack of a reference value for the specific breed). Pre-operative planning challenges include: a definite description of the position of the center of rotation of angulation (CORA) and proper positioning of the osteotomies applicable to the CORA. In the present study, we demonstrated an accurate and reproducible bone-cutting technique using patient-specific instrumentations (PSI) 3-D technology. The results of the location precision showed that, by using PSIs, the surgeons were able to accurately replicate preoperative resection planning. PSI results also indicate that PSI technology provides a smaller standard deviation than the freehand method. PSI technology performed in the distal radial angular deformity may provide good cutting accuracy. In conclusion, the PSI technology may improve bone-cutting accuracy during corrective osteotomy by providing clinically acceptable margins.
09 Nov 2020
The Social Lives of Free-Ranging Cats
Factors impacting FRC conspecific interactions include cat body size, cat social rank, cat individuality, cat age, relationship to conspecific (kin/familiar), cat sex, level of human caretaking, presence of food, the health of the individual, or sexual status of conspecifics. Interspecies interactions also occur with humans and wildlife. The human’s sex and the weather conditions on the day of interaction have been shown to impact FRC social behavior. Interactions with wildlife were strongly linked to the timing of cat feeding events. These findings support the idea that FRCs are “social generalists” who display flexibility in their social behavior. The social lives of FRCs exist, are complex, and deserve further study.
14 Jan 2022
The Italian Alpine and Subalpine trouts
Among the valid nominal taxa of the native trouts described in the Italian peninsula and the major Italian islands, Salmo cettii Rafinesque-Schmaltz 1810 was described from Sicily (type locality: Val Demone in northeastern Sicily and Val di Noto in southeastern Sicily, no types known). S. marmoratus (Cuvier 1829) is a subendemism of northern Italy described from the “lacs de Lombardie" (syntypes not available). S. cenerinus Nardo 1847 was described from northeastern Italy (type locality: not far from the sea, in rivers draining to the Venetian lagoon; no types known). The original description of S. cenerinus was written from the late 1700s to the early 1800s by S. Chiereghin, and published posthumously; a summary of this description was first published by Nardo. S. macrostigma (Duméril 1858) has been considered by several authors as an Italian trout; however, it was described from North Africa (type locality: Oued-el-Abaïch, Kabylie, Algeria). S. ghigii Pomini 1941 was described from central Italy (type locality: Sagittario River; no types known). S. fibreni Zerunian and Gandolfi 1990, described from the Lake Posta Fibreno in central Italy, and S. carpio Linnaeus 1758, described from Lake Garda, are restricted endemisms defined by ecomorphological and genetic traits. The island of Sardinia might host an undescribed Salmo species (Segherloo et al.).
28 Apr 2022
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