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Concept: Grand Cayman


The increasing burden of dengue, and the relative failure of traditional vector control programs highlight the need to develop new control methods. SIT using self-limiting genetic technology is one such promising method. A self-limiting strain of Aedes aegypti, OX513A, has already reached the stage of field evaluation. Sustained releases of OX513A Ae. aegypti males led to 80% suppression of a target wild Ae. aegypti population in the Cayman Islands in 2010. Here we describe sustained series of field releases of OX513A Ae. aegypti males in a suburb of Juazeiro, Bahia, Brazil. This study spanned over a year and reduced the local Ae. aegypti population by 95% (95% CI: 92.2%-97.5%) based on adult trap data and 81% (95% CI: 74.9-85.2%) based on ovitrap indices compared to the adjacent no-release control area. The mating competitiveness of the released males (0.031; 95% CI: 0.025-0.036) was similar to that estimated in the Cayman trials (0.059; 95% CI: 0.011 - 0.210), indicating that environmental and target-strain differences had little impact on the mating success of the OX513A males. We conclude that sustained release of OX513A males may be an effective and widely useful method for suppression of the key dengue vector Ae. aegypti. The observed level of suppression would likely be sufficient to prevent dengue epidemics in the locality tested and other areas with similar or lower transmission.

Concepts: Mosquito, Yellow fever, Aedes aegypti, Aedes, Dengue fever, Release, Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman


Southern stingrays, Dasyatis americana, have been provided supplemental food in ecotourism operations at Stingray City Sandbar (SCS), Grand Cayman since 1986, with this site becoming one of the world’s most famous and heavily visited marine wildlife interaction venues. Given expansion of marine wildlife interactive tourism worldwide, there are questions about the effects of such activities on the focal species and their ecosystems. We used a combination of acoustic telemetry and tag-recapture efforts to test the hypothesis that human-sourced supplemental feeding has altered stingray activity patterns and habitat use at SCS relative to wild animals at control sites. Secondarily, we also qualitatively estimated the population size of stingrays supporting this major ecotourism venue. Tag-recapture data indicated that a population of at least 164 stingrays, over 80% female, utilized the small area at SCS for prolonged periods of time. Examination of comparative movements of mature female stingrays at SCS and control sites revealed strong differences between the two groups: The fed animals demonstrated a notable inversion of diel activity, being constantly active during the day with little movement at night compared to the nocturnally active wild stingrays; The fed stingrays utilized significantly (p<0.05) smaller 24 hour activity spaces compared to wild conspecifics, staying in close proximity to the ecotourism site; Fed stingrays showed a high degree of overlap in their core activity spaces compared to wild stingrays which were largely solitary in the spaces utilized (72% vs. 3% overlap respectively). Supplemental feeding has strikingly altered movement behavior and spatial distribution of the stingrays, and generated an atypically high density of animals at SCS which could have downstream fitness costs for individuals and potentially broader ecosystem effects. These findings should help environmental managers plan mitigating measures for existing operations, and develop precautionary policies regarding proposed feeding sites.

Concepts: Natural environment, Dasyatis, Wildlife, Stingray, Southern stingray, Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman, Dasyatidae


Unsustainable wildlife trade affects biodiversity and the livelihoods of communities dependent upon those resources. Wildlife farming has often been proposed to promote sustainable trade but characterizing markets and understanding consumer behaviour remain neglected, but essential, steps with important implications for its design and evaluation. We used sea turtle trade in the Cayman Islands as a case study - where turtle meat for consumption has been produced for almost 50 years, to explore consumer preferences towards wild-sourced (illegal) and farmed (legal) products and potential conservation implications. Combining methods innovatively (including indirect questioning and choice experiments), we conducted a nationwide trade assessment. Whilst 30% of resident households had consumed turtle in the previous 12 months, the purchase and consumption of wild products was relatively rare (e.g. 64-742 resident households consumed wild turtle meat, representing 0.3-3.5% of resident households), although representing an important threat to wild turtles in the area due to reduced populations. We found marked differences among groups of consumers with price and source of product playing an important role in their decisions. Despite the long-term practice of farming turtle, some consumers showed a strong preference for wild products, demonstrating limitations of wildlife farming as a single tool for sustainable wildlife trade. By using a diversified toolset to investigate demand for wildlife products, we obtained insights about consumer behaviour that can be used to develop conservation demand-focused initiatives. Lack of long-term social-ecological assessments, a common issue worldwide, hinders the evaluation and learning potential of wildlife farming as conservation tool. This information is key to understanding under which conditions different interventions (e.g. bans, wildlife farming, social marketing) are likely to succeed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Conservation biology, Agriculture, Turtle, Sustainability, Preference, Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman


The original Article mistakenly coded the constitutional rights of Australia as containing a governmental duty to protect the environment (blue in the figures); this has been corrected to containing no explicit mention of environmental protection (orange in the figures). The original Article also neglected to code the constitutional rights of the Cayman Islands (no data; yellow in the figures); this has been corrected to containing a governmental duty to protect the environment (blue in the figures).Although no inferences changed as a result of these errors, many values changed slightly and have been corrected. The proportion of the world’s nations having constitutional rights to a healthy environment changed from 75% to 74%. The proportions of nations in different categories given in the Fig. 1 caption all changed except purple countries (3.1%): green countries changed from 47.2% to 46.9%; blue countries changed from 24.4% to 24.2%; and orange countries changed from 25.3% to 25.8%. The proportion of the global atmospheric CO2emitted by the 144 nations changed from 72.6% to 74.4%; the proportion of the world’s population represented by the 144 nations changed from 84.9% to 85%. The values of annual average CO2emissions for blue countries changed from 363,000 Gg to 353,000 Gg and for orange countries from 195,000 Gg to 201,000 Gg. The proportion of threatened mammals endemic to a single country represented by the 144 countries changed from 91% to 84%. Figures 1-3 have been updated to show the correct values and map colours and the Supplementary Information has been updated to give the correct country codes.

Concepts: Environment, Color, Green, Environmentalism, Country, Sovereign state, Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman


When Marcus McGilvray left school aged 18, he wanted to see the world. He started with India, Nepal and the Cayman Islands and spent 18 months globetrotting.

Concepts: Africa, English-speaking countries and territories, Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman


Soil from George Town, Grand Cayman Island, yielded the bacteriophage Belinda, isolated on Bacillus thuringiensis DSM 350. We present here the analysis of the complete genome sequence of 162,308 bp, with 298 predicted genes. The genome also contains three tRNA genes. Belinda belongs to the C1 cluster of Bacillus phages.

Concepts: DNA, Bacteria, Virus, Genome, Bacteriophage, Plasmid, Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman