Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

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News Article | May 22, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Species that live exclusively in a single region are at a particular risk of extinction. However, for them to be protected, thorough assessments of the environmental impacts need to be performed. There are more than 100 earthworm species living in the soil and dead wood of KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Most of them live exclusively in small regions in the province, which makes them extremely vulnerable. To scientists Dr Adrian J. Armstrong, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, and Ms Thembeka Nxele, KwaZulu-Natal Museum, the problem is twofold. Firstly, they note that the expression "out of sight, out of mind" is very suitable for the case of the endemic earthworms in South Africa. Secondly, they point out that the lack of common names for these species is a stumbling block that hinders their inclusion in conservation assessments. As a result, the researchers try to rectify this situation by assigning standardised English names to the endemic earthworms in KwaZulu-Natal. Their article is published in the open access journal African Invertebrates. Scientific names are often intractable to non-specialists, and the lack of common names leaves environmental assessors in the dark when they need to figure out which earthworms may occur at a development site. In the meantime, it has been found that about 50% of the native vegetation in KwaZulu-Natal has already been removed as a result of infrastructure construction and the figure is rising. "The indigenous earthworms generally don't survive in developed areas," say the authors. For instance, the informal use of an English name (green giant wrinkled earthworm) for the species Microchaetus papillatus, has facilitated the inclusion of this species in environmental impact assessments in KwaZulu-Natal. While the green giant wrinkled earthworm does occur in a relatively large and rapidly developing area in KwaZulu-Natal, other species live in smaller areas that have been urbanised even more. The extinction of these earthworms is not only undesirable from the point of view of biodiversity advocates - the role of this group of soil organisms is impossible to replace fully with non-native earthworms. For example, some of the large indigenous earthworms (more than 1 m in length) burrow much deeper than the non-native species, thereby enriching and aerating the soil at greater depth. The authors are hopeful that by giving the indigenous earthworms in KwaZulu-Natal common names, the threatened and endemic species will be conserved through inclusion in environmental impact assessments. Furthermore, they believe that earthworms could draw attention to the areas where they occur whenever a choice for new protected areas is to be made. Armstrong AJ, Nxele TC (2017) English names of the megadrile earthworms (Oligochaeta) of KwaZulu-Natal. African Invertebrates 58(2): 11-20. https:/


News Article | May 22, 2017
Site: phys.org

There are more than 100 earthworm species living in the soil and dead wood of KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Most of them live exclusively in small regions in the province, which makes them extremely vulnerable. To scientists Dr Adrian J. Armstrong, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, and Ms Thembeka Nxele, KwaZulu-Natal Museum, the problem is twofold. Firstly, they note that the expression "out of sight, out of mind" is very suitable for the case of the endemic earthworms in South Africa. Secondly, they point out that the lack of common names for these species is a stumbling block that hinders their inclusion in conservation assessments. As a result, the researchers try to rectify this situation by assigning standardised English names to the endemic earthworms in KwaZulu-Natal. Their article is published in the open access journal African Invertebrates. Scientific names are often intractable to non-specialists, and the lack of common names leaves environmental assessors in the dark when they need to figure out which earthworms may occur at a development site. In the meantime, it has been found that about 50% of the native vegetation in KwaZulu-Natal has already been removed as a result of infrastructure construction and the figure is rising. "The indigenous earthworms generally don't survive in developed areas," say the authors. For instance, the informal use of an English name (green giant wrinkled earthworm) for the species Microchaetus papillatus, has facilitated the inclusion of this species in environmental impact assessments in KwaZulu-Natal. While the green giant wrinkled earthworm does occur in a relatively large and rapidly developing area in KwaZulu-Natal, other species live in smaller areas that have been urbanised even more. The extinction of these earthworms is not only undesirable from the point of view of biodiversity advocates - the role of this group of soil organisms is impossible to replace fully with non-native earthworms. For example, some of the large indigenous earthworms (more than 1 m in length) burrow much deeper than the non-native species, thereby enriching and aerating the soil at greater depth. The authors are hopeful that by giving the indigenous earthworms in KwaZulu-Natal common names, the threatened and endemic species will be conserved through inclusion in environmental impact assessments. Furthermore, they believe that earthworms could draw attention to the areas where they occur whenever a choice for new protected areas is to be made. Explore further: Unfamiliar bloodline: New family for an earthworm genus with exclusive circulatory system More information: Adrian John Armstrong et al, English names of the megadrile earthworms (Oligochaeta) of KwaZulu-Natal, African Invertebrates (2017). DOI: 10.3897/AfrInvertebr.58.13226


Discovery of a new species of assassin flies led to the redescription of its genus. This group of curious predatory flies live exclusively in South Africa, preferring relatively dry habitats. Following the revisit, authors Drs Jason Londt, KwaZulu-Natal Museum, South Africa, and Torsten Dikow, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, USA, publish updated information about all species within the genus, now counting a total of seven species, and also establish a new tribe. Their study is published in the open access journal African Invertebrates. The family of assassin flies (Asilidae), also known as robber flies, are curious insects, which have received their common name due to their extremely predatory behavior. The assassin flies prey on a great variety of insects, including beetles, moths, butterflies, wasps, other flies, as well as some spiders, as early as their juvenile stage of development. When hunting, they would ambush their prey and catch it in flight. Then, they would pierce the victim with a short and strong proboscis, while injecting venom. Once in the body of the prey, it quickly dissolves the insides, so that the assassin fly can suck them out. The published study was spawned by the collection of new specimens of previously described assassin flies of the species Trichoura tankwa by the junior author in December 2015. These specimens could not be easily identified and so the authors started to look at all available specimens in natural history museums. The new species, called Trichoura pardeos, was discovered in Tierberg Nature Reserve by the authors in 2004, a small conservation area located on the north banks of the Gariep River in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. The habitat comprises almost entirely a large rocky hill, where the vegetation is scarce and dominated by drought-resistant plants, such as aloes. The fly is predominantly red-brown in colour, with silvery, white and yellowish markings. Having noted morphological variation between the species inhabiting areas with differently timed yearly rainfalls, the entomologists suggest that two groups within the studied genus have adapted to these different patterns in western and eastern South Africa. They also expect that species representing Trichoura could be also dwelling in Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and possibly Zimbabwe. Londt J, Dikow T (2016) A review of the genus Trichoura Londt, 1994 with the description of a new species from the Northern Cape Province of South Africa and a key to world Willistonininae (Diptera, Asilidae). African Invertebrates 57(2): 119-135. https:/


Female assassin fly of the species Trichoura tankwa are perching on a low, dry branch. Credit: Torsten Dikow Discovery of a new species of assassin flies led to the redescription of its genus. This group of curious predatory flies live exclusively in South Africa, preferring relatively dry habitats. Following the revisit, authors Drs Jason Londt, KwaZulu-Natal Museum, South Africa, and Torsten Dikow, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, USA, publish updated information about all species within the genus, now counting a total of seven species, and also establish a new tribe. Their study is published in the open access journal African Invertebrates. The family of assassin flies (Asilidae), also known as robber flies, are curious insects, which have received their common name due to their extremely predatory behavior. The assassin flies prey on a great variety of insects, including beetles, moths, butterflies, wasps, other flies, as well as some spiders, as early as their juvenile stage of development. When hunting, they would ambush their prey and catch it in flight. Then, they would pierce the victim with a short and strong proboscis, while injecting venom. Once in the body of the prey, it quickly dissolves the insides, so that the assassin fly can suck them out. The published study was spawned by the collection of new specimens of previously described assassin flies of the species Trichoura tankwa by the junior author in December 2015. These specimens could not be easily identified and so the authors started to look at all available specimens in natural history museums. The new species, called Trichoura pardeos, was discovered in Tierberg Nature Reserve by the authors in 2004, a small conservation area located on the north banks of the Gariep River in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. The habitat comprises almost entirely a large rocky hill, where the vegetation is scarce and dominated by drought-resistant plants, such as aloes. The fly is predominantly red-brown in colour, with silvery, white and yellowish markings. Having noted morphological variation between the species inhabiting areas with differently timed yearly rainfalls, the entomologists suggest that two groups within the studied genus have adapted to these different patterns in western and eastern South Africa. They also expect that species representing Trichoura could be also dwelling in Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and possibly Zimbabwe. More information: Jason G.H. Londt et al, A review of the genus Trichoura Londt, 1994 with the description of a new species from the Northern Cape Province of South Africa and a key to world Willistonininae (Diptera, Asilidae), African Invertebrates (2016). DOI: 10.3897/AfrInvertebr.57.10772


Wagner R.,University of Kassel | Stuckenberg B.,Natal Museum
Zootaxa | Year: 2016

Subfamily Bruchomyiinae is comprised of 60 species and has been referred to as the most primitive within the Psychodidae. The assumed sister-group relationship with Phlebotominae is based on ecological constraints of their environment. A cladistics analysis based on 29 characters and 52 species revealed the distinction of an Old World clade characterized by males with elongate, narrow vasa deferentia, and a New World clade with males having shorter and basally widened vasa deferentia. The Old World clade consists of the genera Nemopalpus Macquart (9 species), and Eutonnoiria Alexander (1 species). The New World clade includes Bruchomyia Alexander (10 species), Boreofairchildia genus nov. (13 species), Laurenceomyia genus nov. (5 species), and Notofairchildia genus nov. (15 species). Parsimony and Bayesian analyses resulted in trees that generally support this generic classification; however, with some species groups less resolved. Diagnostic features for genera are provided. In contrast to the other New World genera, Notofairchildia is paraphyletic with the provisional inclusion of at least the Australasian taxa. Copyright © 2016 Magnolia Press.


Londt J.G.H.,Natal Museum | Londt J.G.H.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
African Entomology | Year: 2010

A remarkable collection of 298 Gambian Asilidae collected by William F. Snow between 1974 and 1977 and housed in the collections of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History is reported upon. Before this study only 19 catalogued species were known from this tiny West African country. Snow's collection has representatives of 55 species and apart from a new genus (Antiscylaticus) and five new species (Hippomachus snowi, Robertomyia snowi, Pegesimallus snowi, Storthyngomerus snowi, Antiscylaticus snowi), described in this paper, there are other species that will probably prove to be new to science. Three previously established Afrotropical genera (Hippomachus, Robertomyia, Scylaticus) are reported for the first time from West Africa. In addition, representatives of eight other genera, known to occur in West Africa, but never before recorded from Senegal or Gambia, are represented in Snow's collection (Ancylorhynchus, Gonioscelis, Habropogon, Leptogaster, Nusa, Oligopogon, Rhabdogaster, Stichopogon).


Londt J.G.H.,Natal Museum | Londt J.G.H.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
African Entomology | Year: 2012

A remarkable collection of 298 Gambian Asilidae collected by William F. Snow between 1974 and 1977 and housed in the collections of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History was recently reported upon (Londt 2010). Another collection comprising 196 specimens, collected by Snow from 1969 to 1973, became available for study and the results are reported here. A new species, Sphagomyia gambia, is described and many new records for previously listed species supplied. Nine species are recorded for the first time and a complete list of Gambian Asilidae is provided. With 68 species, The Gambia has West Africa's richest recorded asilid fauna.


The occurrence of 50 earthworm species of 22 genera from six families, namely Acanthodrilidae (Acanthodrilinae, Benhamiinae), Eudrilidae (Eudrilinae, Pareudrilinae), Glossoscolecidae, Lumbricidae, Megascolecidae, and Ocnerodrilidae, not native to South African soils, is reported. Some of the species of Pareudrilinae may be listed temporarily, possibly being indigenous to South Africa. Brief information on family status, species origin and broader distribution is included. Various laboratory and field experiments conducted in South Africa on some species are selectively indicated.


Muratov I.V.,Natal Museum
African Invertebrates | Year: 2010

Nineteen stations were surveyed and 46 species of terrestrial molluscs were recorded from an 18×55 km area in the north-eastern corner of Mozambique. Three stations on Cabo Delgado (a peninsula at the northern extremity of the Quirimbas Archipelago) yielded 19 species that were not found on the inlandsampled area and 18 species that occur inland were not found on Cabo Delgado, with nine species inhabiting both areas. geographical distribution as well as colour photographs are provided for each recorded species. One new species of Gulella (Pulmonata: Streptaxidae) is described from Cabo Delgado.


Kilburn R.N.,Natal Museum | Fedosov A.E.,RAS A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution | Olivera B.M.,University of Utah
Zootaxa | Year: 2012

The taxonomy of the genus Turris Batsch, 1789, type genus of the family Turridae, widespread in shallow-water habitats of tropic Indo-Pacific, is revised. A total of 31 species of Turris, are here recognized as valid. New species described: Turris chaldaea, Turris clausifossata, Turris guidopoppei, Turris intercancellata, Turris kantori, T. kathiewayae. Homonym renamed: Turris bipartita nom. nov. for Pleurotoma variegata Kiener, 1839 (non Philippi, 1836). New synonymies: Turris ankaramanyensis Bozzetti, 2006 = Turris tanyspira Kilburn, 1975; Turris imperfecti, T. nobilis, T. pulchra and T. tornatum Röding, 1798, and Turris assyria Olivera, Seronay and Fedosov, 2010 = T. babylonia; Turris dollyae Olivera, 2000 = Pleurotoma crispa Lamarck, 1816; Turris totiphyllis Olivera, 2000 = Turris hidalgoi Vera-Peláez, Vega-Luz and Lozano-Francisco, 2000; Turris kilburni Vera-Peláez, Vega-Luz and Lozano-Francisco, 2000 = Turris pagasa Olivera, 2000; Turris (Annulaturris) munizi Vera-Peláez, Vega-Luz and Lozano-Francisco, 2000 = Gemmula lululimi Olivera, 2000. Revised status: Turris intricata Powell, 1964, Pleurotoma variegata Kiener, 1839 (non Philippi, 1836) and Pleurotoma yeddoensis Jousseaume, 1883, are regarded as full species (not subspecies of Turris crispa). Neotype designated: For Pleurotoma garnonsii Reeve, 1843, to distinguish it from Turris garnonsii of recent authors, type locality emended to Zanzibar. New combination: Turris orthopleura Kilburn, 1983, is transferred to genus Makiyamaia, family Clavatulidae. Copyright © 2012 Magnolia Press.

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