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A summary is presented of the data collected during a 5-year survey of the indigenous fruits of Kenya and the insects reared from them. A total of 3838 collections were made representing 910 distinct plant taxa from 118 families. Insects were reared from fruit of 57.5% of the species. Tephritidae (fruit flies) was the family most commonly produced by fruits, emerging from 24.5% of samples representing 269 host species. Lepidoptera were reared from a smaller percentage of samples (19.0%) but from more plant species (349, 38.4%). A minimum of 672 insect species from 60 families were recognised, many of them undescribed. Most insect species were monophagous, but extreme polyphagy was seen in three families, Tephritidae, Coleophoridae, and Tortricidae. A CD-ROM is included that provides more detailed information on all sampled plant species and associated insects plus a multiple-entry key to the plants. The database includes 2224 images of plants and 614 of insects.
The leopard orchid Ansellia africana (Orchidaceae) is an epiphytic species widely distributed across tropical Africa. The pollination ecology of A. africana was investigated by direct observation. Buds and stalks of A. africana exude droplets of extra-floral nectar, but mature flowers produce no nectar. The role of extra-floral nectar appears to be recruitment of foraging ants to tend the flowers resulting in a facultative ant-association between the orchid and gregarious ants. Four different ant species were found to forage on A. africana's inflorescences. Ant-tended inflorescences suffered significantly less damage by insects. Mature A. africana flowers are non-rewarding which suggests a deceit pollination mechanism being employed by this orchid. The pollinators of A. africana were observed to be wild solitary bees species in the genera Xylocopa, Amegilla (Apidae) and Gronocera (Megachilidae). Observations of bee visitors to A. africana revealed overall low-visitation rates but adequate fruit set despite the non-rewarding flowers. Solitary bees visiting A. africana were ‘deceived’ by the flowers, but attracted to the floral displays and scent. A. africana shows spatial and temporal manipulation of two distinct suites of insects, ants and solitary bees.
Various economically important tropical tree species are not well known biologically. We studied the floral and fruit biology of Allariblackia stuhlmannii (Clusiaceae), a dioecious tree species endemic to the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania and Kenya that has become the subject of recent interest by the food industry because of the edible oil that can be extracted from the seeds. We characterised qualitative and quantitative similarities and differences between male and female flowers, the flowering and fruiting phenology, and examined the relationship between fruit crop production and tree size, seeds per fruit, and seed number as a function of fruit mass. There was no significant difference in sugar concentration of nectar between male and female flowers, but male flowers contained significantly more nectar than female flowers. Male trees had larger flowering displays with a tendency for the population to mast profusely between January and March, which coincided with the peak fruiting period. The fruiting period was pronounced from January to March, which appeared to be preceded by a smaller peak in October. Fruit crop was strongly related to tree size, with mean seed number per fruit being 38. Seed quantity per fruit showed a trend to increase with fruit mass, but this relationship was not significant. General physical resemblance of female flowers to male flowers, the latter of which offer multiple floral cues to attract pollinators, suggests a pollination-by-deceit strategy. Our results provide important insights on the natural history of this tree species and carry implications for its future use.
We combined findings of an avian field survey conducted in 2003 with the efforts of other observers to develop a comprehensive species list for the Katavi-Rukwa ecosystem; a biologically rich area of western Tanzania. Our 2003 survey, during the dry season, yielded 222 species of birds, four of which had not been reported previously. In combination with other publications, field reports, and incidental observations we documented 458 species of birds occurring in this ecosystem. The confirmed presence of ten globally threatened species, 18 biome restricted species, one range restricted species (Tanzanian masked weaver Ploceus reichardi), and significant numbers of African skimmer (Rynchops flavirostris), a colonial waterbird, strongly reinforces the classification of the Katavi National Park as an Important Bird Area in Tanzania. A synopsis of species found in this area supports the view that the avifauna of the Katavi-Rukwa ecosystem is biogeographically affiliated with the Zambezian biome. These findings will provide a baseline for conservation, management, and future biodiversity and avian research efforts in the Katavi-Rukwa ecosystem.
Between March 2005 and February 2006 we surveyed the large and medium sized mammals ( > 5 kg) of Arawale National Reserve, NE Kenya. Twenty-three mammal species were counted during the period, using ground transects. This included eight species listed in the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Densities and biomass of the larger mammals in the Reserve were generally low as compared to other protected areas in East Africa. There were no seasonal differences in the number of mammals counted, but differences between habitats were highly significant. Despite the low mammal densities, Arawale National Reserve is important for the conservation of threatened species, especially hirola Beatragus hunteri and wild dog Lycaon pictus.
Surveys during October 2004 and July 2005, in and around Lake Bogoria National Reserve, Kenya, collected evidence of nine rodent species, and one species of shrew. The diversity of small mammals live-trapped within a single habitat type was low compared to similar studies in Africa. The low diversity may be due to the short timeframe in which trapping was conducted resulting in a lack of seasonal variability. It is likely that the high numbers of cattle and goats within the reserve negatively affected the diversity of small mammals. The presence of livestock within protected areas in Kenya has become increasingly common and this may have negative affects on biodiversity.
Results of recent morphological and molecular analyses necessitate the transfer of the species originally described as Memecylon melindense A.Fern. & R.Fern. to the genus Warneckea Gilg. A new combination, Warneckea melindensis (A.Fern. & R.Fern.) R.D.Stone & Q.Luke is proposed, and an IUCN status of Endangered is assessed for this regional endemic of coastal forests in Kenya and Tanzania. There is no evidence of hybridisation between W. melindensis and the closely related W. sansibarica (Taub.) Jacq.-Fél., even in sites where the two species are sympatric.