Kimberley, South Africa


Kimberley, South Africa
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Golding R.E.,Invertebrates | Golding R.E.,College Street | Bieler R.,Invertebrates | Rawlings T.A.,Cape Breton University | Collins T.M.,Florida International University
Malacologia | Year: 2014

Identifying natural groups within the caenogastropod family Vermetidae has proven challenging. The sessile lifestyle of vermetids, with associated xenomorphically distorted, overgrown and corroded shells, has resulted in a long and confused taxonomic history based primarily on adult shell characters. In this study, we use morphological, anatomical and molecular data to clarify systematics and phylogenetic relationships within the genus Dendropoma s.l. We assess generic names previously used in the Dendropoma group for availability and recognize Veristoa Iredale, 1937, as a junior synonym of Dendropoma Mörch, 1861. We describe 21 species, eight of which are new, place them into four robustly supported genera (Dendropoma s.s.; Novastoa Finlay, 1926; Ceraesignum n. gen.; Cupolaconcha n. gen.), and outline the current state of knowledge of the distribution of these taxa. The genus Dendropoma s.s. is well supported in our phylogenetic analysis and is additionally supported by features of the operculum, reproductive traits and a novel mitochondrial gene order. Among the four genera, members of Dendropoma s.s. Alone maintain unstalked egg capsules in the mantle cavity rather than attaching them to the shell via a slit in the female mantle. The opercula of examined species within the genus Novastoa are characterized by a well-developed mammilla on the internal surface and upright tightly packed spiral lamina on the external surface. In Ceraesignum n. gen., the operculum lacks a mammilla and displays a fingerprint-like texture on its inner surface. The genera Ceraesignum n. gen. And Novastoa form a well-supported monophyletic group with the genus Dendropoma s.s., although sister group relationships among these genera are not resolved. The fourth genus, Cupolaconcha n. gen. is more closely related to the vermetid genera Eualetes Keen, 1971a, Thylaeodus Mörch, 1860, and Petaloconchus Lea, 1843, demonstrating that Dendropoma s.l. is not a monophyletic group. The calcified operculum of Cupolaconcha n. gen. is unique in the Vermetidae and examined species in this genus are also characterized by a translocation of the valine mitochondrial tRNA. Further study will encompass the full range of morphological diversity in the Vermetidae to clarify the major lineages within this remarkable family of snails.

Mawdsley J.R.,Smithsonian Institution | Harrison J.D.G.,Ditsong National Museum of Natural History formerly Transvaal Museum | Sithole H.,Invertebrates | Mawdsley J.L.,Stark State College
Journal of Natural History | Year: 2011

Insect visitors were sampled from flowers of nine sympatric tree and shrub species in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, using a landscape-scale survey approach. Two species of Terminalia L., Terminalia prunioides Lawson and Terminalia sericea Burchell (Combretaceae) together comprised 53% of the flowering trees and shrubs sampled. Scarab beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) comprised amajority of visitors to flowers of the two Terminalia species (90% and 88%, respectively). Statistical comparisons indicate that both the composition and abundance of scarab floral visitors differ between T. prunioides and T. sericea, and between these species and sympatric flowering tree and shrub species. Individual species of Scarabaeidae show markedly different patterns of abundance: 42% were found on flowers of one tree species, 45% were found on flowers of two or three tree species, and the remaining four scarab species were common and occurred on four or more of the tree species sampled. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.

Bieler R.,Invertebrates | Mikkelsen P.M.,Cornell University | Collins T.M.,Florida International University | Glover E.A.,Natural History Museum in London | And 18 more authors.
Invertebrate Systematics | Year: 2014

To re-evaluate the relationships of the major bivalve lineages, we amassed detailed morpho-anatomical, ultrastructural and molecular sequence data for a targeted selection of exemplar bivalves spanning the phylogenetic diversity of the class. We included molecular data for 103 bivalve species (up to five markers) and also analysed a subset of taxa with four additional nuclear protein-encoding genes. Novel as well as historically employed morphological characters were explored, and we systematically disassembled widely used descriptors such as gill and stomach 'types'. Phylogenetic analyses, conducted using parsimony direct optimisation and probabilistic methods on static alignments (maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference) of the molecular data, both alone and in combination with morphological characters, offer a robust test of bivalve relationships. A calibrated phylogeny also provided insights into the tempo of bivalve evolution. Finally, an analysis of the informativeness of morphological characters showed that sperm ultrastructure characters are among the best morphological features to diagnose bivalve clades, followed by characters of the shell, including its microstructure. Our study found support for monophyly of most broadly recognised higher bivalve taxa, although support was not uniform for Protobranchia. However, monophyly of the bivalves with protobranchiate gills was the best-supported hypothesis with incremental morphological and/or molecular sequence data. Autobranchia, Pteriomorphia, Heteroconchia, Palaeoheterodonta, Archiheterodonta, Euheterodonta, Anomalodesmata and Imparidentia new clade (= Euheterodonta excluding Anomalodesmata) were recovered across analyses, irrespective of data treatment or analytical framework. Another clade supported by our analyses but not formally recognised in the literature includes Palaeoheterodonta and Archiheterodonta, which emerged under multiple analytical conditions. The origin and diversification of each of these major clades is Cambrian or Ordovician, except for Archiheterodonta, which diverged from Palaeoheterodonta during the Cambrian, but diversified during the Mesozoic. Although the radiation of some lineages was shifted towards the Palaeozoic (Pteriomorphia, Anomalodesmata), or presented a gap between origin and diversification (Archiheterodonta, Unionida), Imparidentia showed steady diversification through the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic. Finally, a classification system with six major monophyletic lineages is proposed to comprise modern Bivalvia: Protobranchia, Pteriomorphia, Palaeoheterodonta, Archiheterodonta, Anomalodesmata and Imparidentia. © CSIRO 2014.

Mawdsley J.,Smithsonian Institution | Harrison J.,University of Witwatersrand | Sithole H.,Invertebrates
Journal of Natural History | Year: 2016

We describe activity patterns, relative abundances and pollen transport by insect floral visitors in the Skukuza Ranger District, Kruger National Park, Republic of South Africa, based on field surveys conducted during the early rainy seasons of years 2006 to 2012 (inclusive). Diagnostic notes, illustrations and natural history observations are provided for species in the families Buprestidae, Cerambycidae, Cleridae, Lycidae and Scarabaeidae (Coleoptera), Muscidae, Platystomatidae and Tabanidae (Diptera), Apidae, Halictidae, Megachilidae, Sphecidae and Vespidae (Hymenoptera), and Pieridae and Thyrididae (Lepidoptera) that transported pollen of tree or shrub species. Observations on floral phenology and pollination syndrome are presented for 27 flowering tree or shrub species. To provide a foundation for studies of the effects of drought and climate change on pollination services in the Kruger National Park, we applied methods of food web analysis to characterise this plant-pollinator assemblage. The food web analysis shows moderate levels of redundancy in plant-pollinator interactions (with connectance values averaging 0.19 for plant species and 0.20 for pollinator species), suggesting that pollination services in this system may exhibit some resilience to environmental perturbations. Possible conservation strategies for maintaining pollination services in this ecological system are discussed, including habitat management to conserve larval or nesting areas for social and solitary bees and scarab beetles, as well as further inventories and long-term monitoring of pollinator species. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Mawdsley J.R.,Smithsonian Institution | Erwin T.L.,Smithsonian Institution | Sithole H.,Invertebrates | Mawdsley J.L.,Cleveland State University | Mawdsley A.S.,Cleveland State University
ZooKeys | Year: 2011

A key is presented for the identifcation of the four species of Anthia Weber (Coleoptera: Carabidae) recorded from the Republic of South Africa: Anthia cinctipennis Lequien, Anthia circumscripta Klug, Anthia maxillosa (Fabricius), and Anthia thoracica (Tunberg). For each of these species, illustrations are provided of adult beetles of both sexes as well as illustrations of male reproductive structures, morphological rede-scriptions, discussions of morphological variation, annual activity histograms, and maps of occurrence localities in the Republic of South Africa. Maps of occurrence localities for these species are compared against ecoregional and vegetation maps of southern Africa; each species of Anthia shows a diferent pattern of occupancy across the suite of ecoregions and vegetation types in the Republic of South Africa. Information about predatory and foraging behaviors, Müllerian mimicry, and small-scale vegetation community associations is presented for A. thoracica based on feld and laboratory studies in Kruger National Park, South Africa. © Jonathan R. Mawdsley et al.

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