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Grahamstown, South Africa

Barber-James H.M.,Albany Museum | Barber-James H.M.,Rhodes University | Gattolliat J.-L.,Musee cantonal de zoologie
Inland Waters | Year: 2012

Mayflies (Ephemeroptera) are a merolimnic insect order (part of the life cycle is aquatic) and play an important role as biological indicators of river ecosystem health. In the Afrotropical realm (including sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar), this order presently encompasses 122 genera and more than 400 species; all species and 85% of the genera are endemic to the Afrotropics. A great part of the diversity still remains unknown. The specific and generic diversity of mayfly families from Madagascar and from 4 sub-Saharan African subregions (West Africa, western Central Africa, eastern Central Africa, and southern Africa) is presented. A concurrent comparison of this diversity with the level of taxonomic knowledge for each subregion highlights inadequacy of knowledge. It is important for freshwater conservation biologists and ecologists, and for biomonitoring programs, to have a level of certainty when identifying taxa. This preliminary synthesis is intended to stimulate future taxonomic research and collecting efforts in understudied regions that will lead to species descriptions and recognition of the biodiversity of these regions. This information will feed into regional identification keys and enable more accurate species identification. Greater understanding of the diversity of organisms, the foundation for all ecological studies, can be used to refine biomonitoring protocols for freshwater organisms. © International Society of Limnology 2012.

McPhee B.W.,University of Witwatersrand | Mannion P.D.,Imperial College London | de Klerk W.J.,Albany Museum | Choiniere J.N.,University of Witwatersrand
Cretaceous Research | Year: 2016

The Kirkwood Formation of South Africa has long been recognized as having the potential to fill an important gap in the Mesozoic terrestrial fossil record. As one of the few fossil-bearing deposits from the lowermost Cretaceous, the Kirkwood Formation provides critical information on terrestrial ecosystems at the local, subcontinental (southern Gondwana), and global scale during this poorly sampled time interval. However, until recently, the dinosaurian fauna of the Kirkwood Formation, especially that pertaining to Sauropoda, has remained essentially unknown. Here we present comprehensive descriptions of several relatively well-preserved sauropod vertebrae collected from exposures throughout the formation. We identify at least four taxonomically distinct groups of sauropod, comprising representatives of Diplodocidae, Dicraeosauridae, Brachiosauridae, and a eusauropod that belongs to neither Diplodocoidea nor Titanosauriformes. This represents the first unequivocal evidence of these groups having survived into the earliest Cretaceous of Africa. The taxonomic composition of the Kirkwood Formation shows strong similarities to Upper Jurassic deposits, and raises questions regarding the taxonomic decline across the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary that has been previously inferred for Sauropoda. Investigation of the sauropod fossil record of the first three geological stages of the Cretaceous suggests that reconstruction of sauropod macroevolutionary patterns is complicated by a combination of sampling bias, an uneven and poorly dated rock record, and spatiotemporal disparity in the global disappearance of certain sauropod groups. Nonetheless, the close ecological relationship consistently observed between Brachiosauridae and Diplodocidae, as well as their approximately synchronous decline, suggests some equivalence in response to the changing faunal dynamics of the Early Cretaceous. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Perissinotto R.,University of KwaZulu - Natal | Pringle E.L.,Albany Museum | Giliomee J.H.,Stellenbosch University
African Entomology | Year: 2011

Comparisons of the historical distribution range of two fruit chafers (Mausoleopsis amabilis and Leucocelis rubra), one longhorn beetle (Phryneta spinator) and five butterflies (Charaxes brutus natalensis, Junonia orithya madagascariensis, Appias sabina phoebe, Mylothris agathina and Coeliades libeon), with their current ranges show that during the last two decades these species have extended southwards by 0.54-5.64° latitude, along distances of some 90-830 km. Although direct anthropogenic activities (e.g. land-use change, soil and plant transport) are partly responsible for these extensions, it is possible that they are also linked to the 0.5° temperature rise experienced by the region during the same period, as a direct consequence of global warming.

Liu X.,China Agricultural University | Price B.W.,Albany Museum | Price B.W.,Rhodes University | Hayashi F.,Tokyo Metroplitan University | Yang D.,China Agricultural University
Zootaxa | Year: 2011

The genus Platychauliodes Esben-Petersen is a group of fishflies endemic to South Africa. The group has not received attention in over 40 years. All three species of Platychauliodes are redescribed in detail and a key to the adults presented. Chauliodes tenuis McLachlan, 1869 and Platychauliodes woodi Barnard, 1931 are treated as junior synonyms of P. pusillus (McLachlan, 1867). Copyright © 2011 · Magnolia Press.

Barber-James H.M.,Albany Museum | Barber-James H.M.,Rhodes University
African Entomology | Year: 2010

Three species of Prosopistoma Latreille, 1833 are currently described from Africa. The immature nymph of Prosopistoma deguernei Vayssire, 1893 was described from Senegal, and the nymph and winged stages of Prosopistoma africanum Gillies, 1954 are known from Tanzania. The southern African species Prosopistoma crassi Gillies, 1954, initially described as a nymph from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, has subsequently been collected in a number of South African rivers. Two further species from South Africa are described here, the nymph of Prosopistoma amanzamnyama sp. n., and the nymph and female subimago of Prosopistoma mccaffertyi sp. n.

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