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We sampled bats (Chiroptera) in the Uzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve, Tanzania, between November 2005 and February 2006. The study forest is one of the largest (200 km2) and biologically-richest in the Eastern Arc Mountains. Sixteen bat species, belonging to 11 genera and 4 families were recorded. We report on identifications, including analysis of echolocation calls, and distribution for this mammalian group, which is one of the least known among the unique mammalian community that is found in the Udzungwa Mountains.
While there is no firm evidence either way, the fact of long cultural contact and that birds and lizards have been introduced by Comorians to Mafia and other East African islands, suggests that the flying-fox Pteropus comorensis is more likely to have been introduced to Mafia Island by humans than to have arrived there by itself as generally assumed.
Tropical forests are at the forefront of species-extinction crises as a consequence of widespread habitat loss and alteration. Knowledge of how populations respond to a particular milieu of habitat loss and disturbance effects requires long-standing monitoring programs. Unfortunately, such programs are rare. Here we report on population trends of de Brazza's monkey (Cercopithecus neglectus) over 20 years in Kenya's Kisere Forest, a biologically-rich moist forest remnant under intense anthropogenic pressure. We found that although abundance of this shy primate did not change across four censuses, group composition differed, with groups containing fewer juveniles after the first census. This result, in concert with a suite of recent empirical and predictive studies showing ongoing forest disturbance, suggests that we may see this population decline as it ages.
This paper presents the status of East African dragonfly species (Odonata) listed globally as threatened on “The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species”. The area considered includes Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Malawi. From a total of 323 species known from these countries, 31 are listed in one of the categories “Near Threatened”, “Vulnerable”, “Endangered” and “Critically Endangered”, while nine are marked as “Data Deficient”. Ecoregions with high numbers of threatened species are the Ethiopian and East African montane forests, Eastern Arc forests and Northern Zanzibar-Inhambane coastal forest mosaic. The highest species diversity is found in the Albertine Rift montane forests ecoregion. Information concerning the distribution, conservation status and biology of these species is given and conservation issues are discussed.
The aquatic macrophyte, Hydrilla verticillata is a serious invasive plant in many countries. In East and Central Africa, H. verticillata is present in some water bodies, but not considered a weed. Hydrilla verticillata leaves collected in this region often appear to be chewed, and many stems are missing their apical meristems. Based on this damage, we hypothesized that fish were responsible. To test this hypothesis, fish were collected in Lake Bisina, Uganda, their stomach contents examined, and plant damage putatively caused by fish was quantified. Seventeen species of cichlid fish were collected and H. verticillata leaf tissue was found in the stomachs of four species, demonstrating that fish consumed H. verticillata. A survey of plant damage in the same lake revealed that the majority of branches were missing apical meristems, and about half of nodes had leaf damage. Eight of the fishes we collected are on the list of threatened species maintained by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, but only one of these was included in the justification for designation of Lake Bisina as a wetland of international importance (RAMSAR site). We recommend that the other seven species be added to the RAMSAR justification.
Cycads and colobus monkeys occur together in many parts of tropical Africa; we present the first records of colobus feeding on these plants. On 22 occasions, the Endangered Zanzibar red colobus Procolobus kirkii fed on the leaves of Encephalartos hildebrandtii, a Near Threatened species, in the Kiwengwa-Pongwe Forest Reserve, north-eastern Unguja. A total of 92 minutes of cycad feeding were observed during a 14-month, 678-hour study of three focal groups, suggesting rare but consistent use of cycads. We analyzed HCN content in a small sample of browsed and unbrowsed cycad leaves for a preliminary analysis of toxicity, but toxicity was similar (and high) across leaves. Colobus appear to be one of the few mammal species able to exploit this abundant food source (277 cycads/ha) in the 33 km2 coral rag forest. Both colobus and cycads of this region need urgent protection; in August 2011, much tree cutting was observed resulting in a discontinuous canopy which will threaten both colobus and cycads.
Preliminary botanical explorations in the little-known Namatimbili-Ngarama forest block located some 35 km inland of Kilwa in south-east Tanzania have rediscovered and further confirmed the presence of two tree species, Erythrina schliebenii Harms and Karomia gigas (Faden) Verde., that were previously thought to have become extinct. Both trees are endemic to the Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa hotspot and to the Swahilian Regional Centre of Endemism.
A specimen in Kew herbarium that was collected in 1965 at Lake Duluti, Tanzania, had been identified as Sansevieria grandicuspis. Fresh material collected recently at the same locality was found to be Sansevieria dooneri, for which this is a range extension and a new record for Tanzania. The name S. grandicuspis should be removed from the East African flora.