African Zoology 2020-06-08T09:21:02+00:00 Lester Isaacs Open Journal Systems <p><em>African Zoology</em>, a peer-reviewed research journal, publishes original scientific contributions and critical reviews that focus principally on African fauna in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems. Research from other regions that advances practical and theoretical aspects of zoology will be considered. Rigorous question-driven research in all aspects of zoology will take precedence over descriptive research. The journal publishes full-length papers, critical reviews, short communications, letters to the editors as well as book reviews. Contributions based on purely observational, descriptive or anecdotal data will not be considered.</p><p>Other websites associated with this journal: <a title="" href="" target="_blank"></a></p> The influence of host dispersal on the gene flow and genetic diversity of generalist and specialist ectoparasites 2020-06-07T19:52:33+00:00 Conrad A. Matthee <p>The dispersal and subsequent gene flow within parasite species is the result of a complex interaction between parasite life history, host life history and abiotic environmental factors. To gain more insights into the drivers responsible for parasite dispersal, COI mtDNA genetic data derived from six southern African generalist parasite species, including fleas, mites and ticks were compared with four specialist species from the same&nbsp; geographic region. Generalist tick species represented by Amblyomma hebraeum, Hyalomma truncatum and H. rufipes all occur temporarily on highly mobile ungulate hosts and showed high levels of haplotypic genetic diversity and high levels of dispersal with an average intraspecific global Fst (population differentiation index) value of 0.27 (±0.13). Generalist parasites, such as fleas, <em>Listropsylla agrippinae</em> and<em> Chiastopsylla rossi</em>, and&nbsp; one mite species, Laelaps muricola, that are all semi-permanent on the host and restricted to less mobile hosts species, showed a similar high level of genetic diversity, but an intermediate average Fst value of 0.67 (±0.11). Highly specialised semi-permanent parasites, such as the mite L. giganteus and the permanent lice <em>Polyplax praomydis, Hoplopleura patersoni </em>and<em> P. arvicanthis</em> recorded the lowest level of genetic diversity and a low level of gene flow among geographic sampling localities with an average Fst value of 0.95 (±0.05). This study provides strong support for the&nbsp; Specialist Generalist Variation Hypothesis (SGVH) and highlights the role that host dispersal and host specialisation by parasites play in the dispersal and evolution of ectoparasites.</p> <p><strong> Keywords</strong>: isolation by distance, mtDNA COI, population structure, southern Africa, Specialist Generalist Variation&nbsp; Hypothesis </p> 2020-06-07T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Multiscale drivers of hippopotamus distribution in the St Lucia Estuary, South Africa 2020-06-08T07:11:54+00:00 Alexa S. Prinsloo Deena Pillay M. Justin O’Riain <p>This study provides preliminary data on predictors of Hippopotamus amphibius (Linnaeus, 1758; hippo) distribution in St Lucia Estuary, the largest estuarine system in Africa and a key habitat for one of South Africa’s largest hippo populations. We use binary logistic regression models to evaluate selected habitat features as predictors of hippo occurrence at two spatial scales and a negative binomial model with log-link function to evaluate&nbsp; predictors of frequency of use at a fine spatial scale. At the scale of the whole estuary, models indicate that hippos preferentially select diurnal refuge sites that are closer to river inlets and farther from human settlements. At a fine scale (within the Narrows in which more than 50% of the population resides), occurrence and frequency of use models suggested that hippos preferentially settle in sites with water depths between 0.5 and 1.49 m, that are farther from human settlements, closest to natural wetland vegetation and near neighbouring groups. Preliminary data on habitat variables influencing hippo distribution highlights the necessity to manage water levels, restore wetland floodplains, protect wetland vegetation and halt human settlement encroachment in order to ensure the viability of this UNESCO site and its hippo population.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: abstraction, drought, estuarine lake, megaherbivore, spatial analyses</p> 2020-06-08T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) The diet of spotted-necked otters foraging in trout-stocked waters in Mpumalanga, South Africa 2020-06-08T07:32:30+00:00 Rowan K. Jordaan Michael J. Somers Grant Hall Trevor McIntyre <p>Human-wildlife conflict is likely to increase as urbanisation increases. African clawless otters, Aonyx capensis, and spotted-necked otters, Hydrictis maculicollis, are illegally persecuted for their perceived role in reducing trout in artificially stocked habitats in South Africa. The diet of African clawless otters has been investigated, but little is known about the diet of spotted-necked otters in these habitats. Using stable isotope techniques, we investigated the diet of spotted-necked otters occupying habitats artificially stocked with trout. Stable isotope analyses revealed that the diet of spotted-necked otters included equal proportions of crab and trout followed by frog. Diet was found to vary between, as well as within, individuals suggesting individual dietary plasticity. Temporal variation in foraging areas was evident for some otters. These results suggest that individual animals specialise on trout when available. However, this was not consistent between individuals. The resulting conflict with freshwater fisheries<br>may, therefore, be primarily due to individual animals adapting to diets consisting largely of farmed trout. The extent of spotted-necked otter influence on stocked trout, however, needs further investigation.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: Damages, fishery management, human-wildlife conflict, Hydrictis maculicollis, stable isotopes, trout As urbanisation</p> 2020-06-08T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Genetic identification of freely traded synanthropic invasive murid rodents in pet shops in Gauteng Province, South Africa 2020-06-08T08:00:18+00:00 Ndivhuwo Maligana Rolanda S. Julius Tinyiko C. Shivambu Christian T. Chimimba <p>Although synanthropic invasive murid rodents are freely traded in pet shops in South Africa, their taxonomic identities, however, remain largely unknown. Twenty-four murid rodents were sampled from pet shops in four of the five municipalities in Gauteng Province, South Africa for genetic identification using mitochondrial cytochrome b (mtDNA) sequence data. Distance-based Neighbour-Joining (NJ), character-based maximum&nbsp; likelihood (ML) and model-based Bayesian inference (BI) were used to infer the relationship between the pet murid rodents. Brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) and house mice (Mus musculus) were the most dominant species in the pet shops. The results demonstrated that pet shop owners lacked the taxonomic expertise to identify murid rodent species they trade in. For example, the juveniles of brown rats were misidentified as adults of the house mouse. The murid rodents sampled in the current study were genetically affiliated to both wild and laboratory strains of <em>R. norvegicus</em> and M. musculus. The results of the BI showed that the pet murid rodents were in the terminal clades as those of conspecifics in NCBI GenBank reference sequences. The molecular data used in the current study may be useful for developing national policies and regulations for synanthropic invasive murid rodents in the pet trade industry in South Africa.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: cytochrome b, phylogeny, murids, Rattus, Mus, pet trade, South Africa </p> 2020-06-08T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) BirdLasser: The influence of a mobile app on a citizen science project 2020-06-08T08:16:45+00:00 Alan Tristram Kenneth Lee Henk Nel <p>In recent decades, people across the world have adopted ‘smart-phones’ and their technology. Software applications on these devices have become diverse in their functionality and easy to use. Citizen science projects that try to mobilise data collection from people from diverse backgrounds are ideally placed to benefit from the acceptance of easy-to-use technology. This article describes the development of the mobile BirdLasser app and its<br>integrated gamification network, with emphasis on how its unique features contributed to increased participation and submission of data to the current Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP2) and associated BirdMap projects across Africa. The app has experienced a high adoption rate by contributors to SABAP2 (atlassers), birdwatchers and conservationists, contributing to causes, creating life lists and taking part in events. The app has been associated with the recruitment of new participants, but this has also seen a change in atlassing patterns, suggesting caution when using traditional measures of abundance comparisons, especially reporting rate, before and after the adoption of BirdLasser as the data submission&nbsp; pathway. We show that a well-designed mobile app that facilitates the flow of information from observers to databases is essential for maintaining long-term citizen science based, monitoring projects, especially if the platform is fun, well-supported, and free to use; but the introduction of an app may also introduce subtle changes to the data itself and so data submission pathways to citizen science projects is a field that requires additional research.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: application, atlasing, birdmapping, data, ornithology, SABAP software</p> 2020-06-08T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Haematology and biochemistry values for Temminck’s pangolins (<i>Smutsia temminckii</i>) from Zimbabwe 2020-06-08T08:34:33+00:00 Ellen Connelly Lisa Hywood Mark Donaldson Darren W. Pietersen <p>Blood biochemistry values are routinely employed during clinical examinations to assess the health of the patient and to identify potential underlying conditions. No blood biochemistry data are currently available for Temminck’s pangolin (Smutsia temminckii), a species that is being confiscated from both the domestic and international trade with increasing frequency, and this lack of data is hampering rehabilitation efforts. We determined haematological and serum biochemical values for ten Temminck’s pangolins rescued from the illegal wildlife trade in Zimbabwe and<br>placed in the care of the Tikki Hywood Foundation as part of their rehabilitation. Our results suggest a large overlap in serum biochemistry and haematology values with previously reported values for other pangolin species, but also suggest some apparent differences. Haemoglobin, mean corpuscular haemoglobin and albumin:globulin ratio were positively correlated with mass, while alkaline phosphatase and amylase were negatively correlated with mass. Lymphocytes and monocytes were positively correlated with body condition, while mean corpuscular volume, alanine aminotransferase and total bilirubin were negatively correlated with condition. These results suggest that at least some parameters are independent of mass and are directly correlated with body condition and may therefore be informative in rapid health assessments of confiscated individuals.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: blood analysis; electrolytes; Manis temminckii; Pholidota</p> 2020-06-08T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Histopathology of the liver and gills of <i>Labeo rosae</i> (rednose Labeo) from Loskop Dam in South Africa 2020-06-08T09:09:38+00:00 Jeffrey Lebepe Johan Steyl Wilmien J. Luus-Powell <p>The Loskop Dam is the most polluted impoundment in the Olifants River, because it receives pollutants from the entire mine-dominated upper catchment. However, histopathology of fish inhabiting this polluted dam is scantly explored. The current study aimed to investigate the&nbsp; histopathology of the gills and liver of Labeo rosae from Loskop Dam. Alkaline pH was observed throughout the study with most metal&nbsp; concentrations exceeding the water quality guideline for aquatic ecosystems. Regressive changes were the most prominent lesions for both organs<br>with gills showing relatively more pathologies than the liver. Epithelial lifting was 100% prevalent during both seasons in the gills whereas a significant expansion of lipofuscin-laden melanomacrophages (MMCs) showed 100% prevalence in the liver. Gills were significantly different in their prevalence of histopathology between the two seasons, which was not the case for liver. The histopathology recorded in this study shows that the health of L. rosae at Loskop Dam was compromised. Given the exacerbating pollution level in the upper Olifants River, these findings serve as a warning to conservation authorities and emphasise the necessity for regular monitoring of fish health at Loskop Dam to assess pollution levels using fish health as a sensitive indicator to altering pollution levels.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: acid mine drainage, epithelial lifting, fish health, Olifants River, water pollution</p> 2020-06-08T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Genetic structure of bloodworm, Arenicola loveni (Annelida; Arenicolidae) suggests risk of local extinction in the face of overexploitation is lower than expected 2020-06-08T09:18:47+00:00 C.A. Simon J. Kara C. Naidoo C.A. Matthee <p>The bloodworm, Arenicola loveni, is commonly used as bait by fishers and may be vulnerable to local extinction owing to its K-selected life history strategies and&nbsp; overexploitation. Accurate population data that can inform management is, however, outdated, whereas demand for bloodworm continues or is even increasing. This&nbsp; study provides genetic data on the population structure of A. loveni sampled at seven sites in the Western Cape and one in the Eastern Cape Provinces of South Africa. Mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) data indicate that the population forms two lineages that should be managed separately: a western lineage that contains&nbsp; mostly samples from Saldanha Bay and a southern lineage that contains samples from the south coast (Muizenberg to Swartkops). High haplotypic, but low nucleotide diversity for the nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and COI genes, suggest that populations from both lineages have a recent common ancestry. Low pairwise Fixation index (Fst) values among most populations on the south coast, and common haplotypes shared among localities, indicate some degree of connectivity among populations. The presence of many private haplotypes at each site, however, indicates that local populations also rely heavily on regional recruitment. Gene flow among&nbsp; populations, and the absence of this between the western and southern lineages, is most likely attributed to larval dispersal facilitated by the predominant oceanic circulation patterns. These results suggest that although individual populations may be protected against local extinction through recruitment from elsewhere, reliance&nbsp; on local recruits may render populations vulnerable should baiting pressure increase.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: bait worms, cytochrome oxidase I, internal transcribed spacer, management, polychaetes, population structure, South Africa</p> 2020-06-08T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c)