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Despite increasing reports to the contrary, caecilians are often considered to be unusual components of tropical ecosystems, where they predate largely on soil ecosystem engineers. The status of two East African Boulengerula species is assessed using a quantitative randomised survey method and timed searches, in low-intensity agriculture and natural forested settings. Mean density of B. boulengeri was found to be greater in forest than agriculture (0.43 and 0.11 m−2, respectively), but not significantly. B. taitanus were significantly more dense in agriculture (0.21 m−2) than in forest (0.02 m−2). Forest B. taitanus were found to be significantly longer (x̄ 285.9 mm) than those found in agricultural settings (x̄ 219.3 mm), and possible causes of this size bimodality is discussed. Results from quantitative surveys are found to be remarkably consistent, and significantly correlated with timed searches in the same habitats. Possible causes of over- and under-representation are identified. It is concluded that not all members of the order Gymnophiona in East Africa are rare, although more field studies are needed to redress herpetology's subterranean blind spot.
The Somali lesser galago Galago gallarum is a little-known nocturnal, arboreal, primate of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya that lives in dryer habitats than any other primate in Africa. This paper presents an overview, based upon a detailed review of the literature and on our own preliminary observations, of what is known about the taxonomy, distribution, abundance, ecology, behaviour and conservation status of G. gallarum. We found G. gallarum to be relatively easy to identify and observe in the field, and to be sympatric with the northern lesser galago Galago senegalensis in Meru National Park. The phenotypic characters, habitats and loud (advertisement) call of G. gallarum are distinct, as are some of its behaviours.
An inventory of Loboi swamp was undertaken to determine the macrophyte diversity and distribution. A total of 36 vascular plant species in 13 families were recorded, with Cyperaceae forming over 30% of macrophytes. Two vegetation zones were observed, characterised by the presence of Typha and papyrus. The Typha zone, comprising over 70% of the swamp, is dominated by T. domingensis and is species rich with 35 plant species whereas the papyrus zone includes the dominant Cyperus papyrus and only one other macrophyte species. Distribution of macrophytes is correlated with depth and period under water, with the Typha zone seasonally flooded while the papyrus zone is permanently under water at depths over 0.5m. Water chemistry has little influence on the distribution of macrophytes in the swamp, but at the edges there is predominance of Cyperus laevigatus in high alkalinity soils. Current uses of the swamp include dry season grazing, harvesting of papyrus and other plant material for mat making and house thatching, and use of the swamp water for domestic and irrigation agriculture. Further monitoring is needed to evaluate the effect of the resource uses on the swamp.
Evelyn R. Napier (1902–1952) established the herbarium of the Coryndon Museum, where she was employed as botanist from 1930 to 1934. She continued contributing to the herbarium collections after her marriage to D.W. Molony in 1935. Several plants that she collected in Kenya were named in her honour as new species. The Coryndon herbarium was later merged with the herbarium brought to Nairobi from the Amani Institute in Tanzania, to form the East African Herbarium, still located in the National Museum.
Boulengerula changamwensis is known only from a few specimens and has not been reported for more than 20 years and from its type locality for 70 years. We here report our recent collection of an additional specimen from the vicinity of the type locality and provide some morphometric and meristic data.
The orchid taxa Brachycorythis ovata subsp. schweinfurthii, Habenaria arianae and Habenaria disparilis are newly recorded for Tanzania, while Brachycorythis congoensis is newly recorded for the floral region T7. A stable, pure yellow mutant of Disa erubescens is recorded for the first time.
Dung beetles of six species of the genus Onthophagus (Scarabaeidae) were attracted by millipede carcasses in Laikipia, Central Kenya. One of these species (Onthophagus gibbus) was lured by the quinonoid defensive secretions of the millipedes. The attractive effect of quinonoid millipede secretions to necrophagous dung beetles was previously recorded from West and Southern Africa and from tropical Asia and may also be found in other regions where large millipedes occur.