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Surveys in the forests of the Taita Hills yielded a new primate record for Kenya. Based on direct observations and tape recordings of its vocalizations, this primate is identified as a dwarf galago Galagoides sp. Identification to the species level is not possible at this stage as molecular data are not available, and more morphological and vocalization data are required. The vocal repertoire of the “Taita mountain dwarf galago” is qualitatively different from other known populations of dwarf galagos, including the mountain dwarf galago Galagoides orinus and the Zanzibar galago Galagoides zanzibaricus cocos. The Taita mountain dwarf galago might represent a hitherto unknown subspecies, or even species. The possible identity of the Taita mountain dwarf galago is briefly discussed in terms of biogeography. We also confirmed the presence of Garnett's small-eared galago Otolemur garnettii lasiotis and present biometric measurements from trapped animals.
The Zanzibar leopard, Panthera pardus adersi (Pocock, 1932), is a little-known island endemic assumed by some authorities to be extinct. In 1996 a survey of local practices, beliefs and knowledge about the leopard was conducted on Unguja Island. Data were collected through interviews with Zanzibaris in villages across the island and from official documents (records of the National Hunters). In total 52 villagers, over half of whom were former or current part-time hunters, were interviewed. The interviews yielded compelling indications for an extant population of leopards: interviews included reports of leopard sightings for every year between 1990 to 1996. Combining this with National Hunters' records, which documented killed leopards in each year from 1985 to 1995, we conclude that the species was probably still to be found on the island as of 1996. However, a subsequent effort undertaken by other researchers and involving camera traps, audio playbacks and searches for leopard sign failed to yield physical evidence of leopards.
A syntaxonomic survey of Kenyan montane forests was performed in a field study from 1992–1996. Most forests encountered belong to the Juniperetea procerae floral community (cedar forests), of which the Juniperion procerae Faureo salignae-Ilicetum mitis on the wet mountaintops and the Myrsino africanae-Juniperetum procerae in drier areas, were most commonly encountered. On Mt Marsabit the Coffeo arabicae-Rinoreetum convallarioidis was found as a new association of the Cassipourion malosanae. The top of Mt Nyiru is covered with large stands of the Hagenietea abyssinicae and extensive bamboo forests (Sinarundinarietea alpinae). Mathews Range harbours the largest forest tracts remaining in the dry norm of Kenya. On the lower slopes of mis mountain, a new alliance, assessed as Crotonion megalocarpi is described. Camphor forests (Ocotetea usambarensis) cover altitudes from 1,600–2,400 m in the southern Aberdare Range. In the submontane Imenti and Ngaia forests, and the Nyambeni Hills, between 1,200–1,600 m altitude, a variety of forest types related to the Guineo Congolian rainforest were encountered. These forests are assessed as Lovoion swynnertonii. In the montane zone of Nyambeni dense bamboo forests cover the wetter areas, whereas drier parts are covered by cedar forests.
On the drier hill slopes of southern Kenya the Juniperion procerae is the prevalent forest type. On the often mist-covered and cloudy hilltops, associations of the Cassipourion malosanae are growing. The forests around Nairobi clearly belong to the Brachylaenion huillensis. Although some syntaxa had to be newly described, the forests of the study areas clearly fit into the classification system of Bussmann & Beck (1995).
The variable species Blepharis edulis, as well as the recently described B. boranensis, is investigated in Eastern Africa using phenetic analysis of gross morphological data supplemented with field observations and pollen morphology studies. Two species, B. edulis and B. boranensis, occuring in the drylands of Eastern Africa are confirmed, with the latter occuring in Borana region (Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia) and Sodere, Ethiopia, while the former remains variable and widespread. The two species are separated by number and distribution of spines on leaf margin: fewer, sparse or restricted towards leaf base in B. edulis whereas more and evenly distributed in B. boranensis. An identification key and species descriptions are provided.