Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Bothalia - African Biodiversity & Conservation ]]> vol. 46 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>The distribution of the dwarf succulent genus <i>Conophytum</i> N.E.Br. (Aizoaceae) in southern Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The dwarf succulent genus Conophytum N.E.Br. is one of the most species rich in the Aizoceae. The genus is most closely associated with a region of high floral endemism and biodiversity, the Succulent Karoo biome in south-western Africa. OBJECTIVES: To examine the distribution of Conophytum in south-western Namibia and in the Northern and Western Cape Provinces of South Africa. METHOD: A database comprising 2798 locality records representing all known species and subspecies of the genus Conophytum has been constructed. RESULTS: The genus is primarily restricted to the arid winter-rainfall region of the Northern and Western Cape Provinces of South Africa and south-western Namibia, within the Greater Cape Floristic Region. Whilst taxa are found across all the main biomes in the region (the Succulent Karoo, Nama Karoo, Desert and Fynbos biomes), 94% of Conophytum taxa are found only in the Succulent Karoo biome and predominantly (88% of taxa) within South Africa. Endemism within specific bioregions is a feature of the genus and ~60% of taxa are endemic to the Succulent Karoo. Approximately 28% of all taxa could be considered point endemics. Whilst the genus has a relatively wide geographical range, we identify a pronounced centre of endemism in the southern Richtersveld. CONCLUSION: The genus Conophytum can be used as a good botanical model for studying patterns of diversity and speciation in the Succulent Karoo biome, the effects of climate change on dwarf succulents, and for informing conservation planning efforts. <![CDATA[<b><i>Sematophyllum rheophyticum</i></b><b> (Bryopsida, Sematophyllaceae), a new rheophytic species from Rwanda</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Sematophyllum is a pantropical genus of approximately 170 species. The genus has never been revised on a global scale and is poorly known in many areas of the world. This is perhaps especially true in Africa where 60 accepted species are recorded, many seemingly endemic to the eastern and central tropical areas. Further taxonomic work will enable better understanding of the genus, its biogeography and regional patterns of plant diversity; help guide conservation efforts; and facilitate a broader understanding of the evolution of the Afro-tropical flora. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study is to describe a new species of Sematophyllum from Rwanda, part of the mega-diverse Albertine Rift system. METHODS: Light microscopy was used to compare anatomical and morphological details of the putative new species with specimens of other members of the genus with which it could potentially be conspecific. RESULTS: Sematophyllum rheophyticum W.R. Buck & Hedd. was described as new and is currently known only from the type locality at Gisakura, Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda. It is distinguishable from all congeners by a unique combination of characters including the concave, abruptly acuminate leaves, the alar areolation and the rheophytic habitat. CONCLUSION: Sematophyllum rdicum is a new species, defined by a combination of several anatomical characters, known currently only from the type locality. Furthermore, it is one of only a few species in the genus that occurs in rheophytic habitats. Its phylogenetic relationships are obscure and will probably need to be evaluated with molecular evidence. <![CDATA[<b>Erythristic leopards <i>Panthera pardus</i> in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Leopards (Panthera pardus) show genetically determined colour variation. Erythristic (strawberry) morphs, where individuals are paler and black pigment in the coat is replaced by a red-brown colour, are exceptionally rare in the wild. Historically, few records exist, with only five putative records known from India. OBJECTIVES: To record the presence of erythristic leopards in our study site (Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve, Mpumalanga) and to collate records from across South Africa. METHOD: A network of camera traps was used to record individual leopards at Thaba Tholo. We also surveyed local experts, searched the popular South African press, and used social media to request observations. RESULTS: Two out of 28 individual leopards (7.1%) recorded in our study site over 3 years were of this colour morph. We obtained records of five other erythristic leopards in the North West and Mpumalanga regions, with no reports outside of this population. CONCLUSIONS: Erythristic leopards are widely dispersed across north-east South Africa, predominantly in the Lydenburg region, Mpumalanga. The presence of this rare colour morph may reflect the consequences of population fragmentation. <![CDATA[<b><i>Schistostephium crataegifolium</i></b><b> (Compositae: Anthemideae), a new generic record for Angola</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The African genus Schistostephium has eight species in southern and south tropical Africa. The most widely distributed species, Schistostephium crataegifolium, occurs in upland or montane areas towards the eastern side of the continent. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to document a new geographic distribution record of this species from the Bié Plateau of central Angola. METHOD: Specimens of S. crataegifolium were collected near Chitembo, Bié Province, during fieldwork for the Future Okavango Project grant 01LL0912A, task SP05, a project aimed at providing scientific support for sustainable land and resource management of the Okavango basin of Angola, Namibia and Botswana. The specimen was identified at the Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK. RESULTS: The collection represents a new generic record for Angola, which is disjunct from the nearest population in Katanga by approximately 1000 km. CONCLUSION: New generic records such as this underline the need for basic botanical inventories in the large, ecologically diverse but poorly documented country of Angola. <![CDATA[<b>Securing biodiversity and ecosystem services in Africa: Notes from the 2015 Satoyama Initiative Regional Workshop in Accra, Ghana</b>]]> The first Satoyama Initiative Regional Workshop in Africa was held in Accra, Ghana, from 10 to 12 August 2015. The objective of the workshop was to contribute to the sustainable development agenda in the region within the scope of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning by strengthening the knowledge base related to the Satoyama Initiative, a global effort 'to realize societies in harmony with nature' through the revitalisation and sustainable development of 'socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes'. This short report summarises some of the main points arising from the workshop. <![CDATA[<b>Making the case for biodiversity in South Africa: Re-framing biodiversity communications</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Biodiversity education and public awareness do not always contain the motivational messages that inspire action amongst decision-makers. Traditional messages from the biodiversity sector are often framed around threat, with a generally pessimistic tone. Aspects of social marketing can be used to support positive messaging that is more likely to inspire action amongst the target audience. OBJECTIVES: The South African biodiversity sector embarked on a market research process to better understand the target audiences for its messages and develop a communications strategy that would reposition biodiversity as integral to the development trajectory of South Africa. METHOD: The market research process combined stakeholder analysis, market research, engagement and facilitated dialogue. Eight concept messages were developed that framed biodiversity communications in different ways. These messages were tested with the target audience to assess which were most relevant in a developing-world context. RESULTS: The communications message that received the highest ranking in the market research process was the concept of biodiversity as a 'national asset'. This frame places biodiversity as an equivalent national priority to other economic and social imperatives. Other messages that ranked highly were the emotional message of biodiversity as 'our children's legacy' and the action-based 'practical solutions'. CONCLUSION: Based on the findings, a communications strategy known as 'Making the case for biodiversity' was developed that re-framed the economic, emotional and practical value propositions for biodiversity. The communications strategy has already resulted in greater political and economic attention towards biodiversity in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Notes on a remotely operated vehicle survey to describe reef ichthyofauna and habitats - Agulhas Bank, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Despite their ecological and economic importance, reef habitats on the central Agulhas Bank, off the southern tip of Africa, remain poorly studied. The ichthyofauna of these habitats cannot be surveyed using trawl gear. OBJECTIVE: Preliminary assessment of the use of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to investigate the ichthyofauna associated with deep reef habitats on the central Agulhas Bank. METHOD: Underwater visual surveys were carried out during ROV dives (maximum duration 60 minutes; area covered approximately 800 m²; maximum dive depth 100 m. RESULTS & DISCUSSION: The number of detected fish species (36) compares well with that reported from fishing surveys and commercial fisher data. Most (68%) fishes appeared to be undisturbed by the ROV. Species saturation was reached after a maximum of 135 minutes survey time, but species numbers increased and saturation times shortened (34 minutes minimum) with the introduction of bait. CONCLUSION: ROV surveys may represent a non-extractive alternative to assess demersal ichthyofaunal diversity in relation to habitat structure and benthic cover on temperate reefs around South Africa. <![CDATA[<b><em>Habenaria</em></b><em><b> kilimanjari</b></em><b> newly recorded for Namibia</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The orchid flora of Namibia is depauperate and as a result is poorly studied. OBJECTIVES: To further document the orchid flora of Namibia. METHOD: New herbarium collections were studied and the relevant published literature consulted. RESULTS: Habenaria kilimanjari is newly recorded for Namibia. CONCLUSION: The newly recorded species increases our understanding of the orchid diversity in Namibia and underlines the need for continued botanical inventory work. <![CDATA[<b>Nomenclatural adjustments in African plants 2</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Ongoing systematic studies in the African flora necessitate periodic nomenclatural adjustments and corrections. OBJECTIVES: To effect requisite nomenclatural changes. METHOD: Relevant literature was surveyed and type material located and examined. RESULTS: Nomenclatural corrections are published in Mairia Nees (Asteraceae) and Psilosiphon Welw. ex Goldblatt & J.C.Manning, nom illeg. (Iridaceae). CONCLUSIONS: Cineraria purpurata L. (1771) (Asteraceae) is recognised as the earliest name for Mairia hirsuta DC. (1836) and the new combination M. purpurata (L.) J.C.Manning is provided for the species. Psilosiphon Welw. ex Goldblatt & J.C.Manning (2015) (Iridaceae) is a later homonym for Psilosiphon Entwisle (1989). The replacement name Afrosolen Goldblatt & J.C.Manning is proposed and the necessary new combinations for the 16 taxa currently recognised in the genus are provided. <![CDATA[<b><em>Anthophysa vegetans</em> (O.F. Müller) Stein (Chrysophyceae), a new record from South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Although the colonial flagellate alga Anthophysa vegetans is well known in Europe, it has only been recorded from Africa (Nigeria) once. It was recently found in the Mooi River, South Africa - making this a first record of the presence of A. vegetans in southern Africa. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study is to record a new geographic locality for A. vegetans for South Africa. METHOD: Light microscopy was used to compare morphological features of the species found in South Africa with illustrations and literature on A. vegetans found in Europe and other countries of the world. An extensive literature survey was done to determine the species' current geographic distribution. RESULTS: A. vegetans is widely distributed across all continents, except Africa and Antarctica. During this study, it was described from a new location in the Mooi River near Potchefstroom in the North West province, South Africa, making this a first record of its presence in southern Africa. CONCLUSION: The known geographic distribution of A. vegetans was expanded to include southern Africa and, to be more specific, South Africa.