Systematic revision of the living African Slender-snouted Crocodiles (Mecistops Gray, 1844).

ZOOTAXA 4504(2): 151-193. 24 Oct. 2018. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4504.2.1.


Molecular and morphological evidence has shown that the African slender-snouted, or sharp-nosed, crocodile Mecistops cataphractus (Cuvier, 1824) is comprised of two superficially cryptic species: one endemic to West Africa and the other endemic to Central Africa. Our ability to characterize the two species is compromised by the complicated taxonomic history of the lineage and overlapping ranges of variation in distinguishing morphological features. The name M. cataphractus was evidently originally based on West African material, but the holotype is now lost. Although types exist for other names based on the West African form, the name M. cataphractus is sufficiently entrenched in the literature, and other names sufficiently obscure, to justify retypification. Here, we designate a neotype for M. cataphractus and restrict it to West Africa. We resurrect M. leptorhynchus as a valid species from Central Africa and identify exemplary referred specimens that, collectively, overcome the obscurity and diagnostic limits of the extant holotype. We additionally indicate suitable neotype material in the event the holotype is lost, destroyed, or otherwise needing replacement, and we rectify the previously erroneous type locality designation. We provide a revised diagnosis for crown Mecistops, and revise and update previous descriptions of the two living species, including providing both more complete descriptions and discussion of diagnostic characters. Finally, we provide considerable discussion of the current state of knowledge of these species’ ecology, natural history, and distribution.


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Mittwoch, 11 Mai 2022 15:36

ESTES, R. D. (1991)

The Behavior Guide to African Mammals.

Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, Primates

640 Seiten mit zahlreichen Strichzeichnungen und Karten. ISBN: 9780520272972. University of California Press.

Über das Buch:

The Behavior Guide to African Mammals is as different from a conventional field guide as motion pictures are from a snapshot. Whether we are able to look at them face to face, on television, or in the hundreds of illustrations provided here by Daniel Otte, this guide allows us to understand what animals do and what their behavior means.

Drawing on his own extensive fieldwork and on the research of many other scientists, Richard Despard Estes describes and explains the behavior of four major groups of mammals. Estes's remarkably informative guide is as up-to-date for the zoologist as it is accessible for the interested onlooker.


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Habitat Determinants of the Threatened Sahel Tortoise Centrochelys sulcata At Two Spatial Scales.

Herpetological Conservation and Biology 12(2): 402–409.

The African Spurred Tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata), the second largest tortoise species in the world, is threatened with extinction because of a variety of threats, including habitat loss. Because details of habitat use for this species have not been published for wild populations of this species, we conducted this study to qualify and quantify habitat selection at two spatial scales in Burkina Faso and Niger (West Africa). Tortoises were active above-ground almost exclusively in August, during the peak of the wet season. We surveyed seven potential habitat types but the majority of adult and juvenile tortoises were observed in only two, dry river beds (locally named kori) and stabilized dunes. We used GIS (Geographical Information System) to map the known distribution of the African Spurred Tortoise in both countries in relation to the availability of kori. The habitat preference of African Spurred Tortoises widely overlaps with the occurrence of kori (and not permanent rivers or other water bodies) in the landscape. We discuss the biological and ecological reasons explaining the results, as well as the conservation consequences.


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Mittwoch, 14 April 2021 10:26

WÜSTER, W. et al. (2018)

Integration of nuclear and mitochondrial gene sequences and morphology reveals unexpected diversity in the forest cobra (Naja melanoleuca) species complex in Central and West Africa (Serpentes: Elapidae)

Zootaxa 4455 (1): 068–098. ISSN1175-5334(online edition).


Cobras are among the most widely known venomous snakes, and yet their taxonomy remains incompletely understood, particularly in Africa. Here, we use a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences and morphological data to diagnose species limits within the African forest cobra, Naja (Boulengerina) melanoleuca. Mitochondrial DNA sequences reveal deep divergences within this taxon. Congruent patterns of variation in mtDNA, nuclear genes and mor-phology support the recognition of five separate species, confirming the species status of N. subfulva and N. peroescobari, and revealing two previously unnamed West African species, which are described as new: Naja (Boulengerina) guineensis sp. nov. Broadley, Trape, Chirio, Ineich & Wüster, from the Upper Guinea forest of West Africa, and Naja (Boulengerina) savannula sp. nov. Broadley, Trape, Chirio & Wüster, a banded form from the savanna-forest mosaic of the Guinea and Sudanian savannas of West Africa. The discovery of cryptic diversity in this iconic group highlights our limited under-standing of tropical African biodiversity, hindering our ability to conserve it effectively.


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Donnerstag, 28 Januar 2021 11:21

BROWN, L. (1966)

Knaurs Kontinente in Farben: Afrika.

298 Seiten, mit 128 einfarbigen und 102 mehrfarbigen Fotos sowie 19 Karten.
Übersetzt und bearbeitet von Margarete Auer.  
Verlag Droemer Knaur


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Donnerstag, 03 Dezember 2020 07:15

BOTHMA, J. du P. & WALKER, C. (1999)

Larger Carnivores of the African Savannas.

X + 274 Seiten. E-Book
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999. DOI


The Cheetah

The cheetah Acinonyx jubatus has had a long association with man, but its first contact with humans was actually in India and on the plains of southern Africa. Because of their speed and hunting prowess, captive cheetahs have been used by man as food hunters for many centuries. The oldest record of a captive cheetah is depicted on a decorated silver vase from a Scythian burial site at Maikop in the Caucasus Range, which shows the cheetah wearing a collar. This vase dates back to approximately 700 to 300 BC. However, it is likely that early man joined other scavengers in robbing cheetahs of their kills long before the Maikop culture. In doing so, these early hunters probably exploited the cheetah’s relative timidity, daytime hunting habits, and also its open plains habitat. The Moghul Emperor Akbar the Great is also said to have kept up to 3000 cheetahs to hunt antelope, while sketches of a Dionysian procession in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy II from 309 to 246 BC show a cheetah on a leash. Even before the ancient Assyrian empire in Mesopotamia and during the reign of the pharaohs in Egypt, captive cheetahs were used for coursing game. During the fifth century and the early Renaissance in Italy cheetahs were also employed for this purpose. Despite its timidity, the ancient Egyptians endowed the cheetah with the spirit of courage, but today it is regarded more as a symbol of elusive grace in a declining wilderness than as a fierce hunter.


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Current and potential geographical distribution of Platymeris biguttatus (Linnaeus, 1767) with description of nymphs.

Zoological studies 54(9). DOI: 10.1186/s40555-014-0092-5


Background: The description of Platymeris biguttatus (Linnaeus 1767) nymphal instars as well as the prediction of the potentially suitable ecological niche was the main goal of this study. Our research was based on 258 specimens of P. biguttatus species of museum collections. A set of 23 environmental predictor variables covering Africa was used at ecological niche modeling - a method performed using the Maxent software to prepare potential distribution maps for this species.

Results: The results suggested the most suitable areas seen as potentially suitable ecological niche for P. biguttatus in Africa. A jackknife test showed that temperature seasonality and percentage of tree cover were among the most important environmental variables affecting the distribution of the species. The analysis of climate preferences shows that most of the potentially suitable niches for this species were located in the area of tropical savanna climate, with a small participation of tree vegetation.

Conclusions: P. biguttatus was only known to be widely distributed in the tropical part of continental Africa. Thanks to the ecological niche modeling methods and the museum data on the occurrence of the species, we introduced new information about potentially suitable ecological niches and the possible range of distribution.



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Contribution to the systematics and zoogeography of the East–African Acomys spinosissimus Peters 1852 species complex and the description of two new species (Rodentia: Muridae).

Zootaxa 3059: 1–35 (2011).


We revised the taxonomic status of the putative Acomys spinosissimus complex based on the comparative study of specimen collections from Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, DR Congo and South Africa, by means of analysis of external morphology, craniometry, enzymes, mitochondrial DNA sequences and karyology. Our results confirm that A. spinosissimus represents a complex of species with seemingly non-overlapping distribution ranges. The distribution range of A. spinosissimus appears to be restricted between the Zambesi and Limpopo Rivers, while the reinstated A. selousi (that includes A. transvaalensis) occurs further to the South (i.e. northern limit seemingly just north of the Limpopo River). The investigated populations north of the Zambezi River are morphologically and genetically distinct from A. spinosissimus and A. selousi. Based on this evidence, we described Acomys muzei sp. nov. and Acomys ngurui sp. nov., each one occurring separately along one side of the Eastern Arc Mountains. Finally, we lacked sufficient information to describe a third new species from the area north of the Zambesi River.


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Sonntag, 21 Januar 2018 09:11

LOMBARDO, F. (1995)

A review of the genus Popa Stål 1856 (Insecta Mantodea).

Tropical Zoology 8: 257-267.


It is suggested that Mantis undata Fabricius 1793 does not belong to the genus Popa Stål 1856 as believed until now, but to the Indian genus Ambivia Stål1877 (n. comb.). The systematic position of the species of Popa is re-examined and a single species, Popa spurca Stål 1856 ( = P. undata auct. nec Fabricius) is recognised. The species is differentiated into two subspecies, one being Popa spurca spurca Stål 1856 ( = P. stuhlmanni Rehn 1914, P. batesi Sauss. & Zehnt. 1895) (n. syn.) widespread throughout all Africa south of the Sahara, except in the east which is populated by the other subspecies, P. spurca crassa (Giglio-Tos 1917).

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Donnerstag, 18 Januar 2018 14:44

MESSI, J., KEKEUNOU, S. & WEISE, S. (2006)

Abundance and life cycle of Zonocerus variegatus (Orthoptera: Pyrgomorphidae) in the humid forest zone of southern Cameroon.

Entomological Science, 9: 23–30. doi:10.1111/j.1479-8298.2006.00150.x


Weekly captures from January 2000 to January 2002 enabled us to study the abundance and life cycle of the variegated grasshopper, Zonocerus variegatus (Orthoptera: Pyrgomorphidae), in the humid forest zone of Southern Cameroon. We found that Z. variegatus was present throughout the year in the forest reserve and the human-influenced zones of Yaounde and Mbalmayo in two univoltine populations, which had unequal abundance and durations. The separation of the two populations was clearer in the Yaounde and Mbalmayo developed zones than in the Mbalmayo forest reserve (undeveloped zone). The abundance of Z. variegatus varied according to the post-embryonic stage, sex, year and season. Hatching and coupling took place during the dry and rainy seasons, whereas oviposition occurred only in the rainy season. In Cameroon, the type of life cycle of Z. variegatus observed in the humid forest zone of the south is different from that of the “Sudanian and Sahelian” zones.

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