Reptiles are among Madagascar's most bewildering creatures, but nearly 40% of them are facing an elevated risk of extinction according to a study published today by an international team of researchers with participation of a German team of specialists.
Forest clearance threatens the island's snakes and lizards, whilst illegal collecting for trade and consumption heavily affects tortoises and turtles. Yet, almost of the over 370 known species have been observed recently in the wild, suggesting that few extinctions have occurred yet and that urgent and intensive conservation actions might still be able to save these unique animals. (PLoS One)
One of the rarest tortoises of the world: only a few hundred specimens of the Angonoka (Astrochelys yniphora) persist in the wild in western Madagascar.
Frank Glaw and Miguel Vences
Madagascar is renowned for its unique animals and plants, most of which occur nowhere else on Earth. Few tourists leave the island without being astonished by a glimpse of its colourful chameleons, giant snakes and otherworldly leaf-tail geckos.
But the island is also a priority country for nature conservation. Most of Madagascar's wildlife, including the well-known lemurs, is affected by habitat destruction and over-collecting.
An assessment of the extinction risk of Madagascar's over 370 species of native reptiles has now been completed by national and international experts for The Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Today, in a research paper entitled ‘Extinction Risk and the Conservation of Madagascar’s Reptiles’, the authors analysed patterns in the geographic distribution of the species and the threats facing them.
The data suggest that as many as 39% of Madagascar's reptile species are threatened with extinction. Clearance, or disturbance, of forest habitats for timber removal and expanding agriculture is the major threat to Madagascar’s snakes and lizards, including chameleons and geckos. All Malagasy species of tortoises and freshwater turtles were classed as ‘Critically Endangered’, because of escalating levels of illegal collection for international trade and human consumption.
Such new information on the status of reptiles in Madagascar is crucial to evaluating the exact role of existing protected areas as well as for prioritizing funding and conservation action.
Most importantly, the study also gives some reason for optimism. In fact, no extinctions have so far been documented – with almost all known species having been recorded in recent years in the wild. And most of them occur within the protected area network, although threats are active even in many protected sites, calling for their improved conservation.
Miguel Vences, a Madagascar reptile specialist from the University of Braunschweig in Germany, notes: "Our results highlight the importance of Madagascar’s new protected areas, created since 2003. And, given that almost no extinctions have been recorded yet, we still have the chance to save Madagascar's unique reptiles from extinction. "
Jenkins RKB, Tognelli MF, Bowles P, Cox N, Brown JL, Chan L, Andreone F, Andriamazava A, Andriantsimanarilafy RR, Anjeriniaina M, Bora P, Brady LD, Hantalalaina DF, Glaw F, Griffiths RA, Hilton-Taylor C, Hoffmann M, Katariya V, Rabibisoa NH, Rafanomezantsoa J, Rakotomalala D, Rakotondravony H, Rakotondrazafy NA, Ralambonirainy J, Ramanamanjato JB, Randriamahazo H, Randrianantoandro JC, Randrianasolo HH, Randrianirina JE, Randrianizahana H, Raselimanana AP, Rasolohery A, Ratsoavina FM, Raxworthy CJ, Robsomanitrandrasana E, Rollande F, van Dijk PP, Yoder AD, Vences M (2014): Extinction Risks and the Conservation of Madagascar’s Reptiles. PLoS ONE.
Dr. Elisabeth Hoffmann | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
How to detect water contamination in situ?
22.09.2016 | Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU)
Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.
Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.
“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...
With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...
For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.
Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...
At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.
In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...
27.09.2016 | Event News
23.09.2016 | Event News
20.09.2016 | Event News
27.09.2016 | Life Sciences
27.09.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.09.2016 | Life Sciences