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Species information projects:

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  Biodiversity Observations

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Latest news

2016-05-09 Rene Navarro 
Dragonfly in Nature on David Attenborough's 90th birthday

This is a re-post of an email from KD, world leader dragonfly expert:

Page from Zootaxa publication


Subject: dragonfly in Nature on David Attenborough's 90th birthday
From: KD Dijkstra <kd.dijkstra@naturalis.nl>
Date: 2016/05/09 11:42 AM

Dear colleague,

Yesterday (2016/05/18) was Sir David Attenborough's 90th birthday. I was honoured to (dragon-) fly the flag for taxonomy during the celebrations and speak for natural history in an associated article in the journal Nature titled "Restore our sense of species".

In the comment I argue that natural history and taxonomy, which I suggest to unite under a single name, are critical to provide a moral counterweight to Earth's runaway exploitation: intact biodiversity is the embodiment of sustainability. Expanding and sharing our consciousness of other species, which can be said to be medieval now, is one of the greatest challenges of our time. 

The Nature paper is open access; the revision of Acisoma dragonflies with the description of A. attenboroughi sp. nov. is in Zootaxa (download this week here). Last night I presented Sir David with his dragonfly species in the BBC One "Attenborough at 90" (two minute video) interview. 

I hope we can carry the message further, so please share this as widely as you wish!

Best wishes, KD



Klaas-Douwe 'KD' B. Dijkstra 

Research associate
Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

2015-09-29 Rene Navarro 
Virtual Museum Stats for Heritage Hunt

Summary stats prepared by Megan Loftie-Eaton and Les Underhill for the record submissions to the Virtual Museum during the ADU's Spring Citizen Science Week (19 - 27 September).

Almost 2000 records submitted in 9 days!! Awesome! 


Project Record Total Top Contributor
LepiMAP 770 Altha Liebenberg
BirdPix 254 Dave Rimmer
OdonataMAP 188 Jacobus Labuschagne
PHOWN 186 Pieter Cronje
MammalMAP 132 Dewald du Plessis
TreeMAP 110 Christopher Willis
SpiderMAP 64 Len de Beer
ReptileMAP 56 Justin Bode
ScorpionMAP 44 Paul Bester
FrogMAP 32 Christopher Willis
OrchidMAP 25 Hermann Staude
MushroomMAP 18 Dewald du Plessis
LacewingMAP 18 Justin Bode
FishMAP 16 Carl Huchzermeyer
EchinoMAP 1 Lindile Cele
TOTAL 1914  
2015-09-28 Megan Lategan 
Drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus)

Mad Mammal Monday!

The drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus) is one of the most endangered of all African primates. It is a large short-tailed forest baboon, which displays pronounced sexual dimorphism. The males can grow up to twice the size of females!

Drills are active during the day and occur in small troops of around 20 individuals, usually composed of a single dominant male, related females and their offspring. In times of food abundance, these small groups may congregate, forming large groups of over 100 individuals.

Vocal communication is very important for troop cohesion in the dense forests that they inhabit; two distinct 'grunt' calls have been identified and these may be important in keeping contact between group members.

A female will usually give birth to a single infant; whilst daughters remain in their natal group, males will disperse, once they have reached maturity, to join a new troop.

Drills mainly forage on the ground or in the lower levels of the trees, and are generally fruit eaters, although they will also take a range of plants, seeds and insects.

This species has an extremely restricted range; the mainland subspecies is known only from the Cross River in Nigeria to the Sanaga River in Cameroon. The Bioko drill is found on the southern tip of the island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea.

Please submit your mammal photos to our Virtual Museum and help us build 21st century distribution maps for African mammals! Visit and register: http://vmus.adu.org.za
~Megan Lategan

References: http://www.arkive.org/drill/mandrillus-leucophaeus/


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