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
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences