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Populations of Hippopotamus amphibius have declined throughout Africa in recent years, and are expected to decline further. An understanding of the population genetics of individual populations of hippos is necessary for effective management. To that end, we sequenced a portion of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region or D-loop from 37 H. amphibius, from six herds in the central region of Kruger National Park (KNP), Republic of South Africa. We amplified a 453 bp segment by PCR, and identified 21 polymorphic sites and seven haplotypes. All of these haplotypes are private alleles, not found in other populations of hippos from southern Africa. Overall nucleotide diversity (π) was 0.01739, and haplotype diversity (hd) was 0.8273, within the range observed in other parts of Africa. Mismatch analysis conformed more closely to a model of constant population size than either rapid demographic or spatial expansion. An analysis of molecular variance demonstrated no significant differentiation among herds, and Mantel tests showed no significant relationship between geographic and genetic distance among herds separated by up to 47 km (measured as Euclidean [x,y] distance) or 77 km (measured along rivers). Over this range, the population appears to be a single panmictic unit. A test of the hypothesis that calves are more likely to share a mtDNA haplotype with an adult female in the same herd than an adult female from a different herd was not significant.
The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) has suffered population declines and is listed in the IUCN Red List as Endangered. The species is endemic to the coast of southern Africa, and breeding colonies are distributed on the south-western coast of Africa. Currently, African Penguins are being kept in zoo and aquarium facilities throughout South Africa. In this study, molecular genetic data based on 12 microsatellite markers from 1 119 African Penguin samples from four facilities were generated in order to determine the level of genetic variation, population structure and differentiation, and effective population size to assist in the development of an effective captive management plan. Expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.57 to 0.62, and allelic richness from 4.2 to 5.1. However, based on differences between first- and second-generation captive birds, we conclude that the ex situ population is at risk of losing genetic variability in the future and management programmes should include exchange of birds between captive facilities in order to induce gene flow and increase effective population size. Adding individuals from in situ populations should also be considered in the future in cases where these birds cannot be rehabilitated. Molecular genetic analyses of wild penguin populations should be carried out for comparison, and to ascertain to what degree ‘in situ genetic diversity’ is represented among ex situ populations. With regular resampling and analyses, the extent of the effect of processes such as genetic drift on diversity in the ex situ penguin populations will become evident.
Biomonitoring of rivers is usually undertaken using information based on macroinvertebrate assemblages. However, exclusion of meiofauna (i.e. invertebrates less than 0.5 mm in size) when sorting benthic invertebrates can affect the estimation of densities and other biotic indices. In the present study, the effect of excluding the less than 0.5 mm fraction of invertebrates on estimation of benthic invertebrate indices was investigated in the Naro Moru River, Kenya. The Shannon—Wiener diversity index, Pielou's evenness index, a multimetric index, Simpson's diversity index, Margalef's diversity index, mean invertebrate density, taxa richness, and Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera (EPT) densities were determined. Only mean invertebrate and EPT densities differed significantly between the greater than 0.5 mm and total fractions. In conclusion, exclusion of meiofauna from invertebrate samples can affect the estimation of some stream invertebrate biotic indices.
The purpose of this paper is to document recent additions to the South African barnacle (Cirripedia) fauna. New species records were obtained by examining accumulated collections of unidentified material in the Iziko South African Museum, as well as via material collected directly by the authors. Fourteen species, none of which are new to science, are added to the known fauna, raising the total number of barnacle species recorded from South Africa by over 20%, from 69 to 83 species. Ten of the additional species are offshore benthic forms and represent deep-water taxa whose ranges are extended into South African waters. The remaining four are coastal inshore or surface-dwelling species, of which three are considered recent anthropogenic introductions. The large number of additions to the fauna can be attributed to a long absence of taxonomic expertise on this group in the region and consequent accumulation of unidentified samples. A high proportion of the deep-water samples examined contained previously unreported species, suggesting that additional sampling of hard abyssal substrata in the region is certain to yield yet more new cirripede records.
In South Africa, the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is divided into two subspecies, the South-western in the west and the South-central in the east. The exact boundary between the ranges of these subspecies is uncertain, but has been defined to coincide with the administrative border between the Northern Cape and North West provinces. It is current practice to refer to the South-central black rhinoceros as Diceros bicornis minor, which has Zululand as the type-locality. This needs adjustment, because an earlier valid scientific name was given to a rhinoceros killed near Zeerust in the western part of North West province. In line with the rules of zoological nomenclature, the South-central black rhinoceros should be known as Diceros bicornis keitloa.