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
Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF
Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
17.07.2018 | Life Sciences
17.07.2018 | Information Technology
17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering