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A checklist of the freshwater fishes of Kenya is presented. Pending more accurate information on their status, the lacustrine Lake Victoria haplochromines have been omitted from the list. Currently 206 species belonging to 38 families are known from Kenyan fresh waters. With at least 50 species, Cyprinidae are by far the largest fish family in the country followed by Cichlidae, Mochokidae, Mormyridae and Characidae, respectively represented by 28, 15, 15 and 12 species. At least 18 fish species were introduced, deliberately or after escaping from fish farms or breeding stations. The list includes the distribution of each species in Kenya, common English names and local names in various African indigenous languages as well as annotations referring to introductions, distribution, taxonomic status of the species and older records from literature.
The african subspecies of the Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus infuscatus is limited to scattered populations in eastern and southern Africa. To evaluate their status in the Kasenda cluster of crater lakes in western Uganda in 2000, we visited 28 crater lakes, which include the only known sites for the species in Uganda. At each lake, we counted all waterbirds and recorded data on forest conditions of the crater walls and fishing activities. Deforestation of crater rims was severe; more than half of the craters had lost at least three quarters of their forest cover. Gill net fishing was observed at six of the lakes. Great Crested Grebes were observed at only one lake, although records from the 1990s document them on four other crater lakes in the area. These records include breeding on Lake Kyerabwato, inside Kibale National Park, in 1998. Given the small size of this isolated population, the future of great crested grebes in Uganda is highly uncertain. We recorded 30 waterbird species on these lakes; in addition to Great Crested Grebes, other species of conservation interest included White-Backed Duck Thalassornis leuconotus and Giant Kingfisher Ceryle maxima.
Uganda's only alkaline lakes are found in the Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area and the adjoining Kyambura Wildlife Reserve. Both are Important Bird Areas, a status to which the birds of the lakes contribute. A total of 179 waterbird counts were made between 1984 and 2000, covering eight of the nine alkaline lakes, all of which are small explosion craters. Of the 75 species counted, all but three were non-specialists. Maxima are given for all species, together with seasonal data for five crater lakes. Four lakes regularly supported more than 1,000 Lesser Flamingos each, the maximum being 60,000. They were Maseche, Bagusa, Nshenyi and Munyanyange. Breeding has been attempted, but has been unsuccessful so far. The more important flamingo lakes had high values for conductivity, above 15,000 μS cm−2, whilst species richness is associated with muddy shores and, probably, intermediate levels of alkalinity, between 10 and 50 Meq−1. The lakes are important scenically, for ecotourism, and for the conservation of waterbirds and plants; whilst Lake Katwe's traditional production of salt is of considerable economic significance.
Field investigations on the ecology, distribution and conservation of the pancake tortoise Malacochersus tornieri in Kenya were conducted from September to December 1998 and from March 2001 to April 2002. This crevice-dwelling tortoise inhabits Precambrian rock outcrops and kopjes that are discontinuously distributed throughout the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya and Tanzania. However, suitable micro habitats are sparse and this accounts for its patchy distribution. The pancake tortoise is more widespread in Kenya than previously thought, ranging from the South-east to the North. Two sub-populations South and North of the volcanic Nyambene Hills exist. Density between study sites differed significantly and abundance of particular age groups is dependent on season. Activity outside crevices is very limited, occurring mainly during the wet season. In the dry season individuals aestivate. There is no marked sexual dimorphism in terms of size and colouration, and no significant difference in mean body weight and straight-line carapace length between sexes. There is a significant positive linear correlation between straight-line carapace length and body weight. The observed sex ratio is 1:1. Movement is very limited and centred around rock refuges. Males are more wide ranging than females. Adults dominate the age structure of the pancake tortoise population. Shifting cultivation is the major threat for its survival other than illegal trade. In situ conservation through establishment of publicly and/or privately owned nature reserves is recommended.
During a revision of type material of Afrotropical and Asian Sericini, the following new synonymy was established: Maladera rubida (Moser, 1915), comb. n. (= Autoserica errata Moser, 1916, syn. n.), Maladera laminifera (Moser, 1916), comb. n. and Maladera fuscescens (Moser, 1917), comb. n. Lectotypes for Autoserica rubida Moser, 1915 and Autoserica errata Moser, 1916 are designated. Based on the examination of a large amount of material from Indochina and from the type locality of Autoserica errata Moser (Dar-es-Salaam), it was concluded that the species was an element of East African savannah, rather than being Indochinese.
This paper presents the first bathymetric map for the approximately 17 km by 2 km alkaline Lake Bogoria situated in the eastern Rift Valley of Kenya. Longitudinal and transverse cross sections of the lake are also provided. Northern, central and southern basins of the lake had maximum depths of 5.9 m, 10.2 m and 8.4 m respectively. Average depth was 5.68 m and volume was calculated to be 164 × 106 m3.
Anecdotal evidence has long suggested that the African queen butterfly, Danaus chrysippus (L.), is migratory. More recently, records of rapid and seasonal changes in the frequencies of different colour pattern morphs in Tanzania, Ghana, and Kenya have provided further evidence. This paper demonstrates similarly rapid changes in the frequencies of different mitochondrial haplotypes in Nairobi, Kenya over a two-week period. These changes are correlated with changes in the frequencies of homozygous and hybrid colour forms, and are consistent with colour pattern/haplotype associations that have been observed on a continental scale. We conclude that they can only be explained by migration and that mtDNA analysis can be usefully and generally applied in studies of migratory movement.
A nest-recording programme has collected data over five years from turtles nesting on Misali Island, off the west coast of Pemba, Tanzania. Five species of sea turtle are known to occur in Zanzibar waters, two of these species nested regularly on the island, with green turtle nests outnumbering hawksbill turtle nests by a factor of roughly 3 to 1. The highest number of nests in one year was recorded in 1999 (66) with as few as 8 in 2001. Most green turtles nested in April whilst most hawksbills nested in March. 58% of nests were found on a single beach (Mpapaini). The hatching success of nests over the study period exceeded 70%. Data indicate that Misali Island is an important nesting site within Zanzibar and also suggest that it may be of East African regional importance.