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Rovero F.,Tropical Biodiversity section | Rovero F.,Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Center | Mtui A.S.,Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Center | Kitegile A.S.,Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Center | And 2 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2012

Hunting and habitat degradation are universal threats to primates across the tropics, thus deciphering the relative impact of threats on population relative abundance is critical to predicting extinction risk and providing conservation recommendations. We studied diurnal primates over a period of nearly 6. years in the Udzungwa Mountains of Tanzania, a site of global importance for primate conservation. We assessed how population relative abundance of five species (of which two are endemic and IUCN-Endangered) differed between two forest blocks that are similar in size and habitat types but contrast strongly in protection level, and how abundance changed during 2004-2009. We also measured habitat and disturbance parameters and, in the unprotected forest, evaluated hunting practices. We found significant differences in primates' abundance between protected and unprotected forests, with the greater contrast being the lower abundance of colobine monkeys (Udzungwa red colobus and Angolan colobus) in the unprotected forest. At this site moreover, colobines declined to near-extinction over the study period. In contrast, two cercopithecines (Sanje mangabey and Sykes' monkey) showed slightly higher abundance in the unprotected forest and did not decline significantly. We argue that escalating hunting in the unprotected forest has specifically impacted the canopy-dwelling colobus monkeys, although habitat degradation may also have reduced their abundance. In contrast, cercopithecines did not seem affected by the current hunting, and their greater ecological adaptability may explain the relatively higher abundance in the unprotected forest. We provide recommendations towards the long-term protection of the area. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Loader S.P.,University of Basel | Gower D.J.,Natural History Museum in London | Muller H.,Friedrich - Schiller University of Jena | Menegon M.,Tropical Biodiversity section
Zootaxa | Year: 2010

Two new species of Callulina are described from the Nguru Mountains, one from the main Nguru South block (C. hanseni sp. nov.) and one from the outlying mountain fragment of the Nguru in Kanga Forest Reserve (C. kanga sp. nov.). The species are diagnosed based on a combination of morphological, acoustic and molecular data. An updated key to the species of all the known Callulina is provided. The conservation status of the two species is examined and, based on highly restricted distributions and ongoing threat to their Nguru Mountain habitats, we recommend a Critically Endangered categorisation. Additional species of Callulina remain to be described from the Nguru Mountains, underlying the extraordinary diversity of the genus in this area. Copyright © 2010 · Magnolia Press.

Muller H.,Friedrich - Schiller University of Jena | Liedtke H.C.,University of Basel | Menegon M.,Tropical Biodiversity section | Beck J.,University of Basel | And 3 more authors.
Biology Letters | Year: 2013

Many amphibian lineages show terrestrialization of their reproductive strategy and breeding is partially or completely independent of water. A number of causal factors have been proposed for the evolution of terrestrialized breeding. While predation has received repeated attention as a potential factor, the influence of other factors such as habitat has never been tested using appropriate data or methods. Using a dataset that comprises 180 amphibian species from various East African habitats, we tested whether species occurring in different habitats show different patterns of terrestrialization in their breeding strategy. We recovered a significant association between terrestrialized breeding strategies and forest habitats. In general, forest seems to act as a facilitator, providing a permissive environment for the evolution of terrestrialized breeding strategies. However, while terrestrial oviposition is strongly correlated with lowland and montane forest habitat, complete terrestrial development is significantly correlated with montane forest only, indicating different selective pressures acting at different steps towards complete terrestrial development. © 2013 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society.

Menegon M.,Tropical Biodiversity section | Menegon M.,Manchester Metropolitan University | Davenport T.R.B.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Howell K.M.,University of Dar es Salaam
Zootaxa | Year: 2011

A new species of arboreal forest viper (Serpentes: Viperidae: Atheris) from a forest fragment in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania is described and named Atheris matildae sp. nov. The species resembles the forest horned viper, Atheris ceratophora Werner, by bearing horn-like supraciliary scales but it differs in size, body proportions, scalation, scale ultrastructure, and distribution. Genetic divergence is also assessed and the two species have an estimated divergence time of approximately 2.2 million years. An overview of the genus Atheris in Tanzania, including new distribution data, is presented and the conservation status of the new taxon is discussed. © 2011 Magnolia Press.

Menegon M.,Tropical Biodiversity section | Menegon M.,Manchester Metropolitan University | Gower D.J.,Natural History Museum in London | Loader S.P.,University of Basel
Zootaxa | Year: 2011

A large new species of Callulina is described from a series of 22 specimens from the montane and upper montane forest of the Nguru Mountains, Tanzania. The most striking features of Callulina meteora sp. nov. are the massive and boldly coloured glands on the arms and legs and a metallic sheen to the skin. The new species is distinguished further on the basis of acoustic and molecular data. The position, size and conspicuousness of the enlarged glands in the new species are strikingly similar to those of Nectophrynoides viviparus, a toad found also in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania. The new species is known from a single forest reserve and is of high conservation concern. Copyright © 2011 · Magnolia Press..

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