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Biodiversity Journal 2014, 5 (4): 445-558

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 445-446
    Alfredo Petralia
    The Vendicari Nature Reserve (Italy, Sicily)
  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 447–452

    John C. Briggs
    Global biodiversity gain is concurrent with declining population sizes

    Many authorities believe that the world’s foremost conservation problem is biodiversity loss caused by the extinctions of thousands of species per year. Estimates of huge losses are based on indirect evidence such as the amount of habitat destroyed, pollution, or overexploitation. But, we now have documented records of species extinctions that provide direct instead of indirect information about diversity loss. By using extinction records for well-known animal groups plus surrogate data, I show there is no evidence for an unusually high rate of extinction, a mass extinction is not yet underway, and there are indications of a continued biodiversity gain. On the other hand, there is ample evidence to demonstrate the persistence of numerous small populations that are the remnants of once widespread and productive species. These populations represent an extinction debt that will be paid unless they are rescued through present day conservation activity. They constitute the world’s true biodiversity problem.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 453–458

    Woo Sau Pinn, Amelia Ng Phei Fang, Norhanis Mohd Razalli, Nithiyaa Nilamani, Teh Chiew Peng, Zulfigar Yasin, Tan Shau Hwai & Toshihiko Fujita
    New records of sea stars (Echinodermata Asteroidea) from Malaysia with notes on their association with seagrass beds

    A survey of sea stars (Echinodermata Asteroidea) was done on a seagrass habitat at the southern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. A total of five species of sea stars from four families (Luidiidae, Archasteridae, Goniasteridae and Oreasteridae) and two orders (Paxillosida and Valvatida) were observed where three of the species were first records for Malaysia. The sea stars do not exhibit specific preference to the species of seagrass as substrate, but they were more frequently found in the area of seagrass that have low canopy heights.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 459–470

    Arnošt Kudrna & Philippe Le Gall
    Contribution to the knowledge of the Cicindelidae of Benin with collecting notes (Coleoptera Cicindelidae)

    A checklist of Coleoptera Cicindelidae presently known from Benin is given. Nine taxa are recorded for the first time from this country. Collecting data, habitat and behaviour observations of adults made by the first author during two expeditions are given along with collecting data provided by the second author.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 471–474

    Nidsaraporn Petsut, Nonn Panitvong, Sitthi Kulabtong, Jirawaeth Petsut & Chirachai Nonpayom
    The first record of Trigonostigma somphongsi (Meinken, 1958), a critically endangered species, in its natural habitat of Thailand (Cypriniformes Cyprinidae)

    A population of a critically endangered Trigonostigma somphongsi (Meinken, 1958) has been discovered in a deepwater rice field, floodplain of Bangpakong Basin, Nakhornnayok Province, central Thailand. The population was the first record of this species in its natural habitat since its description by Meinken in 1958. The species appeared to be a seasonal horizontal migration species, since it migrates to breed in the floodplain during the rainy season between July and November and migrates back into the main channel during the dry season.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 475–480

    Zeinolabedin Mohammadi, Jamshid Darvish, Fatemeh Ghorbani & Ehsan Mostafavi
    First record of the Caucasus field mouse Apodemus ponticus Sviridenko, 1936 (Rodentia Muridae) from Iran

    This study is the first record of six specimens of Apodemus ponticus Sviridenko, 1936 (Rodentia Muridae) from the Zagros Mountains, north western Iran. Four external features besides 13 linear measurements of the skull and 14 dental characters were measured. This species was identified by its extensive and well-marked boundary throat spot. In addition, A. ponticus shows morphometric characters including head and body length (mean= 90.86±2.54), length of bullae (mean = 6.34±0.11), breadth of bullae (mean = 4.77±0.12) and dental characters consisting of maxillary tooth row (mean = 3.85±0.06) and mandibular tooth row (mean = 3.90±0.05) which are different from the sympatric species A. witherbyi Thomas, 1902. Based on our results, the distributional range of A. ponticus extends to oak forests of the Zagros Mountains, west Iran which is considered to be the easternmost boundary of its range.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 481–498

    Meriem Laouar & Aïssa Abdelguerfi
    Little effect of ecological factors and symbiotic specificity on the distribution of Medicago subsect. Intertextae (Urban) Heyn in the Mediterranean Basin

    In the Mediterranean region, Medicago granadensis Willd. and M. muricoleptis Tineo (Fabales Fabaceae) of the Intertextae subsection are rare and present, each one in well defined areas, whereas the others taxa, in the same subsection, M. ciliaris (L.) All. and M. intertexta (L.) Mill., are more frequent with large distribution. This kind of geographical distribution is not a coincidence; certainly different factors are the origin of this distribution. In 125 sites of different Mediterranean countries, the ecology of the four taxa was studied, 34 trapped strains in one site of Intertextae rhizobiums were characterized by rep-PCR and some symbiotic tests were carried out. The results confirm that M. muricoleptis and M. granadensis are endemic in the north and east of the Mediterranean, respectively; whereas, M. ciliaris and M. intertexta are widespread. Although their geographic specificity, the four taxa showed no important differences in ecological conditions. M. muricoleptis, given its presence in the north of the Mediterranean only, is distinguished by its precipitation requirement. By inference, the absence of M. muricoleptis and M. granadensis in some regions is not due to the absence of the symbiont. We confirm the symbiotic specificity of Sinorhizobium medicae (Rome, 1996) for the Intertextae subsection and the existence of coevolution between taxa (widespread and endemic) and rhizobia. We suppose that endemic taxa are in the process of allopatric speciation, which explains their narrow distribution in the Mediterranean Basin.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 499–504

    Pasquale Micali
    On the presence of Notodiaphana atlantica Ortea, Moro et Espinosa, 2013 in the Mediterranen Sea, with notes on Retusa multiquadrata Oberling, 1970 and Cylichna mongii (Audouin, 1826) (Cephalaspidea Cylichnidae)

    Notodiaphana atlantica Ortea, Moro et Espinosa, 2013 (Cephalaspidea Cylichnidae) is reported from various localities of Western and Central Mediterranean. Records of Retusa multiquadrata Oberling, 1970 are listed and discussed, most of them are considered to be based on N. atlantica. Possible synonymy between N. atlantica and R. multiquadrata is discussed, but former name is preferred. Based on the study of material from Suez channel, Bulla mongii Audouin, 1826 seems to be based on a very young specimen of the common species Liloa curta (A. Adams in Sowerby, 1850), but as Audouin’s name is older, then Bulla curta shall be considered synonym of Bulla mongii. Liloa mongii (Audouin, 1826) new combination is than proposed.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 505–508

    Csaba Csuzdi & Arnold Sciberras
    The first earthworm records from Malta (Oligochaeta Lumbricidae)

    The first earthworm report from Malta lists seven species; six species from the Holarctic family Lumbricidae and one species from the Mediterranean family Hormogastridae. Apart from the Circum-Mediterranean Octodrilus complanatus (Dugès, 1828) and the Trans-Aegean Octodrilus transpadanus (Rosa, 1884) the other four lumbricid species recorded are widely distributed peregrine. The unidentified hormogastrid specimen might represent an autochthonous species in Malta.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 509–514

    Luigi Romani
    Alvania dalmatica Buzzurro et Prkic, 2007 (Gastropoda Rissoidae): range extension, shell variability, habitat and relationships with A. hallgassi Amati et Oliverio, 1985

    Shell samples of Alvania dalmatica Buzzurro et Prkic, 2007 (Gastropoda Rissoidae) were obtained from Corfu. This is the first record of the species from the Ionian Sea and Greece. The shells show a wide morphological variation not previously reported for the species. Numerous shells of A. hallgassi Amati et Oliverio, 1985 were also found in the same localities. Some unreported features of this species are pointed out and the relationships with A. dalmatica are considered.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 515–520

    Luigi Romani
    Mediterranean Umbraculida Odhner, 1939 (Gastropoda Opisthobranchia): diagnostic tools and new records

    Some diagnostic tools are given to distinguish juvenile shells of the mediterranean Umbraculida Odhner, 1939 species (Gastropoda Opisthobranchia) and some new records of rare species are added.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 521–524

    Alberto Ballerio
    New records of Ceratocanthinae (Coleoptera Scarabaeoidea Hybosoridae) from Arunachal Pradesh (India) with description of a new species of Pterorthochaetes Gestro, 1899

    In order to publish data to be included in the forthcoming new edition of the Catalogue of Palaearctic Coleoptera, Madrasostes feae (Gestro, 1898) and Pterorthochaetes dembickyi n. sp. (Coleoptera Scarabaeoidea Hybosoridae Ceratocanthinae) are recorded from Arunachal Pradesh (India).

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 525–532

    Sarri Djamel, Djellouli Yamna & Allatou Djamel
    Biological diversity of the National Park of El-Kala (Algeria), valorization and protection

    The National Park of El-Kala (PNEK, biosphere reserve) conceals a remarkable biological and cultural richness. The investigations carried out through its territory (1996-2010) made it possible to count 1590 vegetable species (distributed among spontaneous vascular and introduced plants, mushrooms, lichens, algae and phytoplankton) as well as 718 animal species. Several of these species, vegetable and animal, are protected in Algeria and belong to the red list of the I.U.C.N. (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The safeguarding and valorization of this richness require the installation of a management plan in adequacy with the International Conventions of biological diversity within the framework of the durable development, i.e. to protect and develop the natural wealth by involving residents of the park.The aim of this paper is to present a detailed study of the flora and fauna of the entire ecosystem of the PNEK. We insist on the considerable importance that flora and fauna bring to the socio-economic life of the area and to its inhabitants.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 533–544

    Vikas Kumar, Amit A. Revale, Sachin K. Singh, Maulik Amlani & Abduladil A. Kazi
    Sloth bear, Melursus ursinus Shaw, 1791 (Mammalia Ursidae), from India: conservation issues and management actions, a case study

    One of the 12 mega biodiversity centres of the world, India is unique in having four of the eight bear species (Mammalia Ursidae) that are found in the world. They are brown bear (Ursus arctos Linnaeus, 1758 s.l.), Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus Cuvier, 1823), sun bear (Helarctos malayanus Raffles, 1821) and sloth bear (Melursus ursinus Shaw, 1791). The abundance of sloth bear in India, which is also present in Sry Lanka with the endemic subspecies Sri Lankan sloth bear, M. ursinus inornatus Pucheran, 1855, is determined by its location within the global distribution range, quantum, quality and continuity of habitat available and the anthropogenic pressures the species faces. Bears in India are threatened due to poaching for bear parts, retaliatory killings to reduce conflicts and habitat loss due to degradation and fragmentation. In addition to these concerns, the rehabilitation of communities that eke out a living on dancing bears has made bear conservation a challenge in India. Deforestation and hunting are major threats to bears in India. Unless urgent conservation measures are taken and degraded forest areas are restored, we suspect that sloth bear may soon become endangered in India.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 545–555

    Ahmed A.H. Siddig
    Biodiversity of Sudan: between the harsh conditions, political instability and civil wars

    More than 90% of the area of Sudan is classified as desert and semi-desert ecosystems, and desertification is spreading with global climatic changes. Also the country is suffering from 60 years of chronic civil wars and instability. Consequently these situations have severely affected the status and trend of biological diversity of the country to critical thresholds (i.e. extinction) as many reports show. Improved knowledge of the current status of biodiversity in response to such conservation challenges is critically important. In this review, my aim is to highlight the recent conservation challenges of Sudan as they relate to desertification and civil wars, and to look at the big picture of the impacts of these challenges to biodiversity conservation in Africa. I then present examples of urgent management interventions and research needs for better biodiversity conservation. The primary message of this paper is to confirm the possibility of making conservation actions in these vulnerable areas. It is never too late as long as there is peace and willingness. This framework could be a model to tackle and analyses biodiversity conservation issues in similar cases in the region.

  • Biodiversity Journal, 5 (4): 557