Distribution and habitat choice of Capeclawless otters, Aonyx capensis, in South Africa.
African Journal of Wildlife Research 37 (Apr 2007): 61-70. DOI: 10.3957/0379-4369-37.1.61
Cape clawless otters, Aonyx capensis, are widely distributed in South Africa, as elsewhere on the continent. They occur in a wide variety of environments and most aquatic habitats, from freshwater lakes to the marine littoral,and even in episodic rivers in arid areas, provided freshwater sources are adequate and sufficient food is available. This animal is not much affected by turbid water as it locates prey by touch, and usually forages close to shores or banks. Evidence of presence in given localities and habitats, distributed over a large area of the Northern, Western, and Eastern Cape provinces, was deduced from signs (faecal deposits or distinctive tracks) on land. Accepting the inherent pitfalls of this approach we nevertheless feel using it is acceptable for a first approximation of habitat preferences over a large geographical area. Results point to areas with dense reed beds and a rocky substrate on banks being used most intensively, probably on account of a localized high food biomass.
Coastal Dune Forest Rehabilitation:A Case Study on Rodent and Bird Assemblages in Northern Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.
In: Coastal Dunes: pp.103-115. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-74002-5_7 .
Coastal dune forests in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, are continually exposed to natural and man-induced disturbances that usually initiate ecological succession (van Aarde et al. 1996a; Mentis and Ellery 1994). This succession is associated with temporal and spatial changes in vegetation structure that influence habitat suitability and ultimately the structure of vertebrate communities living there. For example, in the case of birds, we know from studies conducted elsewhere that species richness and diversity correlates with vegetation structural heterogeneity (see Kritzinger and van Aarde 1998 for references).Vegetation succession is also known to affect small mammals (Foster and Gaines 1991), though the patterns recorded in coastal dune forests are less obvious than those for birds (see Ferreira and van Aarde 1999 for references).
Annotated Checklist and Provisional Conservation Status of Namibian Reptiles.
168 Seiten. Windhoek. ISBN
An annotated checklist of indigenous and potentially indigenous Namibian terrestrial, aquatic and marine reptiles is presented. The purpose is to serve as an interim description of Namibian reptile diversity, to establish a taxonomic and biogeographical baseline, and as a preliminary review of the conservation status of Namibian reptiles. Two hundred and forty species of indigenous reptiles are presently known to occur in Namibia. These species comprise an array of approximately 265 described (but not always recognized) taxa, several of which are probably unwarranted. Species accounts are presented for all these species. Four accounts are for new species currently being described. Nineteen species have not yet been recorded from Namibia, but are expected to (accounts given) and another 6 species are less likely to occur (no accounts given). Full accounts are given for the 17 species which have been formally recorded in the past, but the lack of recent evidence suggests that the species is now locally extinct, the original report erroneous, or the species’ occurred as vagrants. Four additional species had been included on various published lists in the past, but have never been formally documented, no specimens are known to exist, and it is unlikely that the species would occur today even as vagrants (no accounts given). In total, 276 species-accounts are presented. Each account cites the original reference and type locality for each taxon, and a short description of the Namibian distribution. Emphasis is placed on Namibian and international legal and conservation status. Eighty-five species (33%) were found to be of local conservation concern. Gaps in knowledge (e.g. taxonomy, biogeography, and conservation status), where future research should be directed, are noted.
The Herpetology of the Southern Kalahari Domain.
Supplement to Koedoe 1984: 171-186.
The herpetofauna of the southrn Kalahari has mixed affinities, as this area lies on a rainfall gradient in a critical area where a transition between the arid south-west and the moister northe-east takes place. As the variation in substrate type is relatively limited, the effect of the rainfall gradient appears to influence and determine the range limits of many taxa in which of 55 recorded reptiles, 11 western taxa overlap or form a parapatric zone with 25 eastern taxa, while the remaining taxa are endemic or wide-ranging.
Zur Herpetofauna des Brandbergs, Südwest-Afrika.
Bonn. zool. Beitr. 34 (1-3): 293-309
Der Brandberg liegt isoliert am Rande der Vornamib-Flächen innerhalb der Nord-Süd verlaufenden Bergränder der Großen Randstufe. Floristisch macht er einen Teil der Karroo-Namibischen Florenregion aus. Es herrscht troisches, episodisch-periodisch sommerfeuchtes Halbwüsten bis Trockenklima. Herpetofaunistische Grenzen lassen sich nicht genau definieren. Die Herpetofauna umfasst 41 Formen (5 Froschlurche, 26 Eidechsen, 10 Schlangen); sie wird dargestellt und bestehende Affinitäten zu den umliegenden zoogeografischen Subregionen werden erörtert. Als Neunachweise für den Brandberg konnten Bufo d. dombensis, Tomopterna marmorata, Python anchietae, Boaedon f. fuliginosus, Naja nigricollis nigricincta und Bitis a. arientans belegt werden.
Scorpions of the Brandberg Massif, Namibia: Species Richness Inversely Correlated with Altitude.
African Invertebrates, 49(2):77-107. https://doi.org/10.5733/afin.049.0205
A previous list of scorpions from the Brandberg Massif and vicinity, north-western Namibia (Omaruru District. Erongo Region), is updated, based on a survey of the Massif and surrounding areas (the region delimited by 21°00′S–21°30′S and 14°00′–15°00′E) conducted during three separate expeditions, and augmented by an examination of material in museum collections. More than 1000 specimens, representing more than 100 point-locality records, were examined for the study. Notes on the ecology and distribution of the scorpions on the Massif and surrounding areas are provided. Excluding one dubious record, 20 scorpion species in seven genera (Brandbergia, Lisposoma, Hottentotta, Parabuthus, Uroplectes, Hadogenes, and Opistophthalmus) of four families (Bothriuridae, Buthidae, Liochelidae, Scorpionidae) are recorded from the area, which presently has the richest scorpion fauna in Namibia, if not southern Africa, and ranks among those with the richest scorpion faunas in the world. The high diversity of scorpions on the Brandberg Massif and vicinity is attributed to the heterogeneity of landforms, substrata and habitats in the area. The scorpions of the Massif and surrounding areas may be classified into seven ecomorphotypes, using every available niche. The species richness of the scorpion fauna is inversely correlated with altitude. The greatest diversity of genera and species occurs at the base of the Massif and in the surrounding areas, and decreases towards the summit. Five species occur in the area surrounding the Massif but not at its base, five at its base (below 500 m) but not on its slopes, two on its lower slopes (500–1000 m), but not on its middle slope (1000–1500 m), upper slope (1500–2000 m) or summit (above 2000 m), and two on its summit, upper and middle slopes only. Only five species occur from the base to the summit of the Massif.
Taxonomic revision of the pampas cat Leopardus colocola complex (Carnivora: Felidae): an integrative approach.
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society
The pampas cat Leopardus colocola has been subject to conflicting classifications over the years. Currently, one polytypic species with seven subspecies is recognized, but integrative taxonomic study for this debated group has never been done. Here, we combine the broadest morphological coverage of the pampas cat to date with molecular data and ecological niche models to clarify its species composition and test the validity of recently proposed subspecies. The multiple lines of evidence derived from morphology, molecular, biogeography and climatic niche datasets converged on the recognition of five monotypic species: L. braccatus, L. colocola, L. garleppi (including thomasi, budini, steinbachi, crespoi and wolffsohni as synonyms), L. munoai and L. pajeros (including crucina as synonym). These five species are morphologically diagnosable based on skin and skull traits, have evolved in distinct climatic niche spaces and were recovered in molecular species delimitation. Contrary to previous taxonomic arrangements, we do not recognize subspecies in pampas cats. To objectively define the two most controversial species, we designate neotypes for L. colocola and L. pajeros. The diversification of pampas cats is associated with Middle Pleistocene glaciations, but additional genetic samples from the central Andean region are still needed to conclusively reconstruct its evolutionary history.
The Sandy Zebra Shark: A New Color Morph of the Zebra Shark Stegostoma tigrinum, with a Redescription of the Species and a Revision of Its Nomenclature.
Copeia, 107(3):524-541 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1643/CG-18-115
The Zebra Shark, in recent years known as Stegostoma fasciatum (Hermann, 1783), is well known for its dramatic ontogenetic change of color pattern, from striped (“zebra”) juveniles to spotted (“leopard”) adults. Nevertheless, many aspects of the species' biology, ecology, and morphology are still unknown or inadequately described, and its nomenclature is contentious. This study introduces a hitherto undescribed color morph of the Zebra Shark and provides an updated diagnosis and redescription of the species. Firstly, we establish that the Zebra Shark remains a single species based on genetic data from mitochondrial COI and ND4 markers. Secondly, through morphological analyses, we conclude that there are two morphs of the species, the known, zebra striped morph and a new, sandy colored morph. Both morphs were studied morphometrically to expose any ontogenetic changes, such as a decrease in the relative length of the tail with increasing total length (TL). The external coloration pattern clearly differentiates the two morphs, and both morphs can be further divided into three stages based on color pattern and size: juveniles (255–562 mm TL), transitionals (562–1395 mm TL), and adults (>1300 mm TL). The transitional sandy morph is dorsally covered by a swirly pattern of thin, dark brown bands edged with freckle-like brown spots. The adults are a uniform sandy beige, partially covered with brown freckles. A mature male of the zebra morph displayed a yet unknown feature of the claspers: a small, triangular spike extruding from the dorsal terminal of the clasper glands. Finally, we reviewed the nomenclature of the species and suggest that the original name Stegostoma tigrinum Forster, 1781, should be used as the senior synonym for the species.
New observations of the ‘extinct’ Barbary sheep Ammotragus lervia ornata in Egypt.
Oryx 36 (3): 301-304.
The Barbary sheep or aoudad Ammotragus lervia is widely distributed in the mountains of the Sahara and North Africa. The 2000 IUCN Red List assessment of the Egyptian subspecies A. l. ornata categorized this taxon as Extinct in the Wild. We present new evidence, collected during 1997–2000, that this subspecies is extant in both the extreme south-east and south-west of Egypt, and reassess the status of captive aoudad in Egypt. We recommend that the category of A. l. ornata on the IUCN Red List be changed to Critically Endangered, that conservation of wild aoudad in Egypt be prioritized, and that the subspecific status of both the wild and be reassessed.
Larger Carnivores of the African Savannas.
X + 274 Seiten. E-Book https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-662-03766-9
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999. DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-03766-9
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.