Scielo RSS <![CDATA[African Natural History]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=2305-796320090001&lang=en vol. 5 num. lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b><i>Megalyridia capensis</i></b><b> (Hymenoptera: Megalyridae: Megalyridiini), a relict species endemic to South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-79632009000100001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Numerous further specimens of the monotypical megalyrid species Megalyridia capensis Hedqvist have recently been collected from diverse habitats encompassing a distributional range of more than 800 km in South Africa. The male of M. capensis is recorded for the first time. We provide high-quality images of both sexes and a key to genera of Megalyridae occurring in the Afrotropical region. Online keys are available at: http://www.waspweb.org/Megalyroidea/Megalyridae/Keys/index.htm. The biogeography of this relict species is discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Sneaky African fig wasps that oviposit through holes drilled by other species</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-79632009000100002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Watshamiella Wiebes species (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Pteromalidae: Sycoryctinae) were observed to engage, monitor and subsequently use oviposition holes made by other parasitoid fig wasp genera (Apocrypta Coquerel and Sycoryctes Mayr) to oviposit into host figs (Moraceae, Ficus) through the fig wall. They may be inquilines, klepto-parasitoids, or hyper-parasitoids; however, further biological investigations of larval diet are required to establish their life history strategy. Watshamiella species are morphologically robust, with enlarged fore femora and tibia, and aggressively interact with other fig wasps and ants. Our observations contribute towards unravelling the complex suite of behavioural adaptations and interactions involved in the community ecology of the obligate mutualism that exists between fig wasps and their host figs. <![CDATA[<b>The genus <i>Anisomysis</i> (Crustacea: Mysidae) from the east coast of South Africa</b> <b>- descriptions of three new species, and range extensions of two known species</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-79632009000100003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Three new species of Mysidae, of the genus Anisomysis, are described. Two of these, Anisomysis (Anisomysis) pescaprae sp. nov. and A. (Anisomysis) neptuni sp. nov., were collected on reef in at a depth of 20-40 m, within the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area, about 60 km south of Durban on the KwaZulu-Natal shelf. Both belong to the subgenus Anisomysis, and each possesses a uniquely shaped telson which immediately identifies the species. In shallow, sheltered waters adjacent to the derelict and partly submerged Vetch's Pier in the southern corner of the Durban beachfront, the third new species, Anisomysis (Paranisomysis) sudafricana sp. nov., was found in small shoals. It is closely related to A. (Paranisomysis) arabica Wooldridge & Victor, 1994, and A. (Paranisomysis) marisrubri Bacescu, 1973, but can be separated from these two species by the more elongate and acutely pointed rostrum, as well as detail of the telson, mandibular palp and male fourth pleopod. Anisomysis vasseuri Ledoyer, 1974, previously known from Tuléar on the southwestern coast of Madagascar, and the Comores Islands in the Mozambique Channel, was found in close association with A. pescaprae and A. neptuni on the Aliwal Shoal. All three species from the Aliwal Shoal were encountered in large shoals, at times covering several cubic metres over the reef. The known distribution of Anisomysis (Anisomysis) hanseni Nouvel, 1967, originally described from Nosy-Bé, off the northwest coast of Madagascar, is extended to the partly submerged island reef of Bassas da India in the Mozambique Channel, where it was found in small shoals among coral heads in the shallow lagoon. <![CDATA[<b>A new Cretaceous lungfish (Dipnoi: Ceratodontidae) from the Rukwa Rift Basin, Tanzania</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-79632009000100004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en 'Ceratodontid' lungfishes have a wide Gondwanan distribution during the Mesozoic, and are well-known from a variety of Cretaceous sites in northern and western Africa. Despite this relatively broad occurrence, significant gaps remain in our knowledge of Mesozoic African lungfish palaeodiversity and palaeogeography, particularly from subequatorial Africa. Ongoing field research in the Cretaceous Galula Formation (Red Sandstone Group), which outcrops in the Rukwa Rift Basin (a segment of the greater East Africa Rift System) of southwestern Tanzania, has led to the discovery of a diverse vertebrate fauna, including a well-preserved lungfish toothplate. This specimen is described here as a new taxon, Lupaceratodus useviaensis gen. et sp. nov., on the basis of its unique combination of morphological features relative to other 'ceratodontids.' L. useviaensis represents the first Cretaceous record of a 'ceratodontid' lungfish from Tanzania, and more broadly from the southwestern portion of the East African Rift System. The new Tanzanian form adds further diversity and anew datum to the evolutionary history of lungfishes in Africa, and it suggests possible regional differentiation between the Cretaceous fishes of East Africa and the better-known fish faunas of the period from northern and western Africa, perhaps related to the Cretaceous establishment of the Trans-Sahara Seaway. <![CDATA[<b><i>Macroscaphites</i></b><b> Meek, 1876, a heteromorph ammonite from the Lower Aptian of southern Mozambique and northern KwaZulu-Natal</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-79632009000100005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Macroscaphites soaresi (Da Silva 1962) is described from the Lower Aptian of southern Mozambique and northern KwaZulu. Macroscaphites and Costidiscus are regarded as a dimorphic pair. Apart from dubious records from Antarctica, these are the only records of Macroscaphites/Costidiscus from the southern hemisphere. <![CDATA[<b>The heteromorph ammonite <i>Ndumuiceras variabile</i> gen. et sp. nov. from the Albian Mzinene Formation, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-79632009000100006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Four specimens of a micromorphic heteromorph ammonite, one from the Lower Albian Mzinene Formation in the vicinity of Ndumu, and three from the basal Middle Albian Mzinene Formation in the Mkuze Game Reserve of KwaZulu-Natal are referred to the new genus and species Ndumuiceras variabile. Its general appearance suggests affinities with the crioceratitid representatives of the superfamily Ancyloceratoidea Gill, 1871, but the suture line points to affinities with the superfamily Turrilitoidea Gill, 1871. <![CDATA[<b>Cretaceous faunas from Zululand and Natal, South AfricaSystematic palaeontology and stratigraphical potential of the upper campanian-Maastrichtian Inoceramidae (Bivalvia)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-79632009000100007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Thirty three species of Inoceramidae, of which two are new, are described from KwaZulu. They fall into four zonal assemblages that can be correlated with sequences recognized elsewhere: the Cataceramus flexus Zone and the 'Inoceramus' tenuilineatus Zone are referred to the lower Upper Campanian. The Trochoceramus radiosus Zone is referred to the upper Lower Maastrichtian. The 'Inoceramus' ianjonaensis Zone is referred to the lower Upper Maastrichtian, and represents the youngest known assemblage of true inoceramids. There is no evidence for upper Upper Campanian or lower Lower Maastrichtian inoceramids, and this, together with the geological context of the faunas, indicates the presence of a regional unconformity at this level. This is confirmed by the associated ammonite assemblages. The inoceramid faunas include many taxa that have a wide distribution in the northern hemisphere, and provide a basis for correlation with the ammonite and inoceramid zonations recognized in the U.S. Western Interior, and the European ammonite and belemnite succession. <![CDATA[<b>Early Campanian Foraminifera of the Igoda Formation and Needs Camp upper and lower quarries, Eastern Cape, South Africa, and comparison with Mzamba and the KwaZulu Basin</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-79632009000100008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Four outcrops of Late Cretaceous rocks are known in the East London region of the Eastern Cape Province, discovered at different times during the 20th century. These are at the Needs Camp upper and lower quarries, inland of East London; and at Igoda River mouth and a nearby road cutting close to the estuary, located to the south of East London, designated the Igoda Formation. All four sites contain similar foraminiferal assemblages, and the successions are interpreted as roughly coeval. The published record from the two Igoda Formation outcrops up to now consists of just one foraminifera species (Spiroplectinella sp.), and about 20 Cretaceous species have been reported from the Needs Camp quarries. However, examination of additional samples, as well as repeated reprocessing of previously-studied limestone samples from the four outcrops has led to the discovery of 87 species of foraminifera. Only five of these are planktic species, mainly very rare Heterohelix globulosa (Ehrenberg), Hedbergella spp., Hedbergella cf. H. simplex (Morrow), Globigerinelloides asper (Ehrenberg) and Rugoglobigerina rugosa (Plummer), the last-named indicating a Campanian-Maastrichtian age. These planktics indicate that surface waters were slightly better oxygenated, but the complete absence of keeled planktics yet diverse benthics suggests the majority of the lower water column, but not the sea-floor, was experiencing dysoxic conditions. Because of the different circumstances in the discovery of each of these outcrops, their contained foraminiferal assemblages and their interpreted foraminiferal ages and depositional environments have never before been effectively compared and contrasted. The Igoda/Needs Camp foraminiferal assemblages detailed here are compared with a greatly revised biostratigraphy for the southern African Campanian succession. The distinctive Igoda benthic assemblages, composed in the main of Gavelinella and Lenticulina species, are marked by small numbers of the age-diagnostic early Campanian (Campanian I and lowest Campanian II) benthic species, Valvulineria sp., and the Early Campanian (Campanian I) benthic species, thin Dorothia sp. The four outcrops are considered to expose parts of a somewhat siliciclastic-poor, carbonate-rich deposit. This accumulated in an inner (Needs Camp limestones) to middle (Needs Camp limey claystones) to outer neritic (Igoda limey claystones) setting on a relatively well-oxygenated sea-floor experiencing periodic inflows of inner neritic siliciclastics and shell hash. The majority of foraminifera tests preserved in these rocks have been the focus of post-depositional ferric iron precipitation, probably derived from oxidation and deterioration of pyrite, so that they are now a strong orange-red colour.