Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Bothalia - African Biodiversity & Conservation ]]> vol. 52 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b><i>Pseudoplectania africana </i>(Sarcosomataceae, Pezizales), a new species from South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: An undescribed species of Pseudoplectania was found during an excursion in MpumalangaOBJECTIVES: To describe Pseudoplectania africana M.Carbone & Sochorová as a new species and to evaluate presence of crystals as a diagnostic character in PseudoplectaniaMETHODS: The description was based on standard macro- and microscopical methods. Presence of crystals was tested for in UV light. Phylogeny was inferred using sequencing of the LSU and ITS lociRESULTS: Pseudoplectania africana is characterised by shortly stipitate to sessile apothecia up to 18 mm broad, richly developed basal tomentum, ascospores with an eccentrically positioned, relatively small sheath, straight, sometimes bifurcate paraphyses, wavy to coiled external hairs and presence of large yellow crystals mainly in the hymenium and ectal excipulum. It was found on a decaying coniferous trunk. The species forms a distinct lineage in the clade with P. tasmanica and P. ericae. All of these three species exhibited presence of the large yellow crystals (sulphur yellow in UV light). No or only small hyaline crystals (whole mount blue in UV light) were found in P. nigrella, P. lignicola, P. episphagnum and P. melaenaCONCLUSION: The new species represents the first report of Pseudoplectania in South Africa and probably also in the whole of continental Africa. Crystals in hymenium and excipulum appear to be an important trait in Pseudoplectania taxonomy <![CDATA[<b>New combinations in <i>Drimia </i>Jacq. ex Wild. (Hyacinthaceae: Urgineoideae) and an updated key to the southern African species</b>]]> Five species recently described in the genus Geschollia Speta (Hyacinthaceae: Urgineoideae) are transferred to Drimia Jacq. ex Willd. as D. brachyandra (Mart.-Azorín et al.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt, D. globuligera (Mart.-Azorín et al.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt, D. longipedicellata (Mart.-Azorín et al.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt and D. prolifera (Mart.-Azorín et al.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt, with the new name D. zebrinella J.C.Manning & Goldblatt provided for G. zebrina Mart.-Azorín et al. since that epithet is pre-occupied in Drimia. Austronea patersoniae Schönl. ex Mart.-Azorín et al. is treated as a synonym of D. chalumnensis A.PDold & E.Brink. The two names Urginea amboensis Baker and Albuca reflexa K.Krause & Dinter are formally placed in synonymy under Drimia zambesiaca (Baker) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt to accord with the current taxonomy. The recently described monotypic genus Triandra Mart.-Azorín et al. is also included in Drimia and the necessary transfer of T. pellabergensis Mart.-Azorín et al. to Drimia is effected, along with the second known locality for the species, representing a significant range extension. A total of 80 species of Drimia are now recognised in southern Africa. Updated identification keys to the species in sections Capitatae, Ledebouriopsis, Macrocentrae, Physodia and Thuranthos are provided. <![CDATA[<b>Precipitation mediates termite functional diversity and dominance in southern Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Termites are important ecosystem engineers in the tropics and sub-tropics, so understanding their diversity, particularly their functional diversity, across biogeographical scales is important for understanding where they alter the environment and deliver ecological services. Feeding groups combine phyloge-netic and dietary information about termites into ecologically significant functional categoriesOBJECTIVES: To characterise termite feeding group prevalence, distribution and diversity in southern Africa and assess the effect of precipitation on termite diversity and assemblage compositionMETHOD: Termite genus and species-level occurrence data were acquired from the South African Termite Database and classified into one of five feeding groups. We evaluated the prevalence of each feeding group and assessed species and feeding group richness and dominance. Linear regressions were performed to determine the relationship between 1) species richness and precipitation; and 2) feeding group richness and precipitationRESULTS: We find that southern Africa 1) is dominated by FG-IIw (feeding group - II, wood feeding) termites; 2) is occupied by multiple feeding groups across the entirety of the rainfall gradient; and that precipitation 3) influences feeding group species diversity variably; and 4) causes notable shifts in termite community structureCONCLUSION: Our results indicate that termites likely make substantial contributions to plant material decomposition across southern Africa and that while shifts in feeding group dominance are associated with rainfall gradients, the services unique to individual feeding groups are not isolated to certain regions, but rather are widespread regardless of the amount of precipitation received <![CDATA[<b>To be or not to be a protected area: a perverse political threat</b>]]> BACKGROUND: On 15 January 2021, a South African Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) for the Environment amended the Mabola Protected Environment's (MPE) boundaries to remove legal impediments preventing coal mining in this protected area. This decision came in the wake of the MPE being declared a protected area and a series of court cases ending at the Constitutional Court. OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this paper were: (1) evaluate the potential consequences of the MEC's decision for South African protected areas; (2) speculate on the possible impact on South Africa's reputation in terms of its commitment to safeguarding its protected areas; (3) identify possible weaknesses in the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003 (NEMPAA); and (4) make recommendations to strengthen this Act so that it can reduce the vulnerability of protected areas to arbitrary and prejudicial decision-making METHODS: This study involved an evaluation of NEMPAA and the notice in the Provincial Gazette declaring and giving effect to the MEC's decision, and of the various High Court judgments leading up to and following the publication of this notice. CONCLUSION: The decision by the MEC highlights the vulnerability of protected areas and the importance of the conservation of biodiversity, particularly in a context of parochial or partisan objectives and profit-vested interests that are of a limited (at least in the medium- to long-term) public benefit. It is concluded that the discretionary clauses in NEMPAA may need to be amended to limit or refine the discretion politicians may apply. <![CDATA[<b>A taxonomic revision of the <i>Othonna auriculifolia </i>Less. group (Asteraceae: Senecioneae: Othonninae)</b>]]> A taxonomic revision is presented for the two geophytic species of Othonna L. (Asteraceae: Senecioneae: Othonninae) distinguished by a condensed caudex without evident internodes. These species are morphologically and phylogenet-ically distinct from the remaining geophytic species. This account includes descriptions, complete nomenclature and typification, illustrations and geographical distribution. We recognise the following two species: O. auriculifolia with radiate capitula and mature pappus 3-25 mm long, and O. taraxacoides (DC.) Sch. Bip. with disciform capitula and mature pappus 3-8 mm long. Both species are vegetatively variable. <![CDATA[<b>Ecological factors determining the distribution patterns of <i>Cyrtanthus nutans </i>R.A.Dyer (Amaryllidaceae) in northwestern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Cyrtanthus nutans R.A.Dyer is a range-restricted species occurring in northwestern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and in Eswatini, and is currently classified as Vulnerable in accordance with the IUCN criteria. Land transformation and disturbance of natural habitats have resulted in an ever-increasing fragmentation of the species' range. OBJECTIVES: This manuscript provides a description of some of the abiotic and biotic factors associated with the remaining natural populations of C. nutans in the Sour Sandveld and Moist Tall Grassland Bioresource Groups of northwestern KwaZulu-Natal METHODS: An investigation was conducted in the northwestern KwaZulu-Natal region to determine the effect that key ecological and anthropological determinants have in influencing the distribution and survival of the species. Data collected included sites of occurrence, estimated population numbers, elevation, ecological factors (soils/geology, climate, veld composition), and human/animal activities. RESULTS: The northwestern KwaZulu-Natal C. nutans populations were found to occur primarily in untransformed veld within the Moist Tall Grassveld, Dry Highland Sourveld and Sour Sandveld Bioresource Groups. It occurs largely on gradients of < 10% on mid- to lower terrain slopes and predominantly within an altitude range of between 1 100 and 1 300 m a.m.s.l. CONCLUSION: C. nutans occurs in a narrow altitudinal range and has a preference for soils with high nitrogen and organic carbon and low phosphorus and acidity levels. <![CDATA[<b>A new name for the illegitimate later homonym <i>Leonotis capensis </i>(Benth.) J.C. Manning & Goldblatt (Lamiaceae: Lamioideae)</b>]]> The new combination Leonotis quinquedentata J.C.Manning & Goldblatt is provided as a replacement for the illegitimate later homonym L. capensis (Benth.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt (2010), non L. capensis Raf. (1837). <![CDATA[<b>New combinations in <i>Crystallopollen </i>Steetz (Asteraceae: Vernonieae), the correct name for the illegitimate <i>Polydora </i>Fenzl ex H.Rob.</b>]]> Polydora Fenzl (1844) is recognised to be a nomen nudum that was only validly published by Robinson (1999). The inclusion by Robinson (1999) of the earlier validly published Crystallopollen Steetz ([in Peters] 1864) as a synonym however, rendered Polydora Fenzl ex H.Rob. (1999) superfluous and so illegitimate. Crys-tallopollen Steetz ([in Peters] 1864) is therefore the correct name for the genus as circumscribed by Robinson (1999) and later authors. Only one of the names currently accepted in Polydora has a combination in Crystallopollen and the necessary additional combinations are provided here for C. bainesii (Oliv. & Hiern) J.C.Manning, C. chloropappum (Baker) J.C.Manning, C. jelfiae (S.Moore) J.C.Man-ning, C. mbalense (G.V.Pope) J.C.Manning, C. rhodesiana (S.Moore) J.C.Manning, C. serratuloides (DC.) J.C.Manning and C. sylvicola (G.V.Pope) J.C.Manning. <![CDATA[<b>New identifications of Lamiaceae (Lamioideae and Scutellarioideae) from D.R. Congo, Rwanda and Burundi</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The Lamiaceae family is one of the largest still not covered by the Flore d'Afrique centrale (except Premnoideae and Viticoideae) and many specimens are left unidentified in collections. OBJECTIVES: To prepare the treatment of subfamilies Lamioideae and Scutellari-oideae, herbarium materials have been revised. METHODS: Herbarium material from BR, BRLU and POZG was studied. RESULTS: Ten taxa (9 species and 1 variety) are reported as new to The Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R. Congo) and Burundi: Achyrospermum africanum, A. axillare, A. oblongifolium, A. tisserantii, Leucas deflexa var. kondowensis, L. fulvipila, L. songeana, Stachys pseudohumifusa subsp. minutiflora, S. pseudonigricans, Tinnea gracilis. For several species, the new localities are remarkably distant from the species' previously known distribution area. New localities of five rare taxa are also included (Achyrospermum micranthum, Leucas nyassae, L. stormsii var. parviflora, Tinnea coerulea var. linearifolia, T. platyphylla). Many new localities are situated in regions subject to strong anthropogenic pressure. CONCLUSION: The new records increase the number of accepted species of Lami-oideae and Scutellarioideae in Central Africa by 27%.