Nomenclatural review of Acalypha (Euphorbiaceae) of the Western Indian Ocean Region (Madagascar, the Comoros Archipelago, the Mascarene Islands and the Seychelles Archipelago).
ABSTRACT: This work presents a critical nomenclatural review of the Acalypha species of the Western Indian Ocean Region (Madagascar, the Comoros Archipelago, the Mascarene Islands and the Seychelles Archipelago). This is the first treatment of Acalypha of Madagascar since Leandri's monograph in 1942. A total of 151 scientific names related to Acalypha from this region are treated. We recognise 35 species (28 native and seven introduced), treat 93 names as synonyms (28 of them for the first time) and identify three as doubtful or excluded names. We designate lectotypes for 41 names, make two new combinations and propose one new name.
Project description:Four new species of Acalypha (Euphorbiaceae, Acalyphoideae) from the Western Indian Ocean Region, based on morphological and molecular evidence, are described, illustrated, and mapped. Acalypha gillespieae sp. nov., A. leandrii sp. nov. and A. nusbaumeri sp. nov. are endemic to Madagascar, and A. mayottensis sp. nov. is known only from Mbouzi islet (Mayotte), in the Comoros Archipelago. We also describe for the first time in Acalypha the presence of membranous or chartaceous perules covering the axillary buds. Preliminary conservation assessments of the new species are also provided.
Project description:Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues underwent catastrophic ecological and landscape transformations, which virtually eliminated their entire endemic vertebrate megafauna during the past millennium. These ecosystem changes have been alternately attributed to either human activities, climate change, or both, but parsing their relative importance, particularly in the case of Madagascar, has proven difficult. Here, we present a multimillennial (approximately the past 8000 years) reconstruction of the southwest Indian Ocean hydroclimate variability using speleothems from the island of Rodrigues, located ?1600 km east of Madagascar. The record shows a recurring pattern of hydroclimate variability characterized by submillennial-scale drying trends, which were punctuated by decadal-to-multidecadal megadroughts, including during the late Holocene. Our data imply that the megafauna of the Mascarenes and Madagascar were resilient, enduring repeated past episodes of severe climate stress, but collapsed when a major increase in human activity occurred in the context of a prominent drying trend.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS:In the Mascarenes, a young oceanic archipelago composed of three main islands, the Dombeyoideae (Malvaceae) have diversified extensively with a high endemism rate. With the exception of the genus Trochetia, Mascarene Dombeyoideae are described as dioecious whereas Malagasy and African species are considered to be monocline, species with individuals bearing hermaphrodite/perfect flowers. In this study, the phylogenetic relationships were reconstructed to clarify the taxonomy, understand the phylogeographic pattern of relationships and infer the evolution of the breeding systems for the Mascarenes Dombeyoideae. METHODS:Parsimony and Bayesian analysis of four DNA markers (ITS, rpl16 intron and two intergenic spacers trnQ-rsp16 and psbM-trnD) was used. The molecular matrix comprised 2985 characters and 48 taxa. The Bayesian phylogeny was used to infer phylogeographical hypotheses and the evolution of breeding systems. KEY RESULTS:Parsimony and Bayesian trees produced similar results. The Dombeyoideae from the Mascarenes are polyphyletic and distributed among four clades. Species of Dombeya, Trochetia and Ruizia are nested in the same clade, which implies the paraphyly of Dombeya. Additionally, it is shown that each of the four clades has an independent Malagasy origin. Two adaptive radiation events have occurred within two endemic lineages of the Mascarenes. The polyphyly of the Mascarene Dombeyoideae suggests at least three independent acquisitions of dioecy. CONCLUSIONS:This molecular phylogeny highlights the taxonomic issues within the Dombeyoideae. Indeed, the limits and distinctions of the genera Dombeya, Trochetia and Ruizia should be reconsidered. The close phylogeographic relationships between the flora of the Mascarenes and Madagascar are confirmed. Despite their independent origins and a distinct evolutionary history, each endemic clade has developed a different breeding systems (dioecy) compared with the Malagasy Dombeyoideae. Sex separation appears as an evolutionary convergence and may be the consequence of selective pressures particular to insular environments.
Project description:The efficacy of malaria control and elimination on islands may depend on the intensity of new parasite inflow. On the Comoros archipelago, where falciparum malaria remains a major public health problem because of spread of drug resistance and insufficient malaria control, recent interventions for malaria elimination were planned on Moheli, 1 of 4 islands in the Comoros archipelago. To assess the relevance of such a local strategy, we performed a population genetics analysis by using multilocus microsatellite and resistance genotyping of Plasmodium falciparum sampled from each island of the archipelago. We found a contrasted population genetic structure explained by geographic isolation, human migration, malaria transmission, and drug selective pressure. Our findings suggest that malaria elimination interventions should be implemented simultaneously on the entire archipelago rather than restricted to 1 island and demonstrate the necessity for specific chemoresistance surveillance on each of the 4 Comorian islands.
Project description:The South West Indian Ocean (SWIO) archipelagos and Madagascar constitute a hotspot of biodiversity with a high rate of endemism. In this area, the endemic subspecies A. m. unicolor has been described in Madagascar. It belongs to the African lineage, one of the four described evolutionary lineages in honey bees. Despite a long beekeeping tradition and several recorded European introductions, few studies have been carried out on the diversity and proportion of honey bee subspecies. In order to identify and define which evolutionary lineages and potential sub-lineages are present in the SWIO, the COI-COII intergenic region and the ND2 gene of the mtDNA were sequenced in honey bee colonies from three archipelagos. An extensive sampling (n = 1184 colonies) was done in the Mascarene (La Réunion, Mauritius, Rodrigues), Seychelles (Mahé, Praslin, La Digue) and Comoros (Grande Comore, Mohéli, Anjouan, Mayotte) archipelagos. Islands genetic diversity was compared to newly sampled populations from Madagascar, continental African and European populations.African lineage haplotypes were found in all islands (except for Rodrigues). Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles had 100% of A lineage, 95.5% in La Réunion and 56.1% in Mauritius. Among all African colonies detected in the SWIO, 98.1% (n = 633) of COI-COII haplotypes described the presence of the subspecies A. M. unicolor. Both genetic markers revealed i) a new private AI mitochondrial group shared by the SWIO archipelagos and Madagascar distant from continental populations; ii) the private African haplotypes for each island suggested diversity radiation in the archipelagos; iii) the detection of the Comoros archipelago as a possible contact area between insular and continental African populations. The exotic European C and M lineages were only detected in the Mascarene archipelago, but striking differences of proportion were observed among islands. Merely 4.6% of European colonies were found in La Réunion whereas Mauritius cumulated 44%. Here, among the 84 observed COI-COII haplotypes, 50 were newly described including 13 which were private to the SWIO archipelagos and Madagascar. Similarly, 24 of the 34 found ND2 haplotypes were novel which included six haplotypes particular to the SWIO populations.A new African subgroup was described in the SWIO region with mitochondrial genetic evidence that A. m. unicolor is the indigenous subspecies of the archipelagos surrounding Madagascar.
Project description:PREMISE OF THE STUDY:Polymorphic markers were required for a native tree of the Mascarene Islands, Foetidia mauritiana (Lecythidaceae), to investigate the effects of fragmentation of lowland tropical habitats on tree mating systems and on gene flow. METHODS AND RESULTS:Using microsatellite enrichment and next-generation sequencing, we identified 13 microsatellite loci (dinucleotide repeats). They were highly polymorphic in 121 trees sampled in the largest three populations on Réunion, revealing 2-17 different alleles per locus. Furthermore, they were found to be polymorphic in conspecific populations on Mauritius and in F. rodriguesiana from Rodrigues. CONCLUSIONS:These results indicate the utility of these markers to investigate genetic diversity, mating systems, and gene flow in a genus native to the biodiversity hotspot of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean islands.
Project description:The five extinct giant tortoises of the genus Cylindraspis belong to the most iconic species of the enigmatic fauna of the Mascarene Islands that went largely extinct after the discovery of the islands. To resolve the phylogeny and biogeography of Cylindraspis, we analysed a data set of 45 mitogenomes that includes all lineages of extant tortoises and eight near-complete sequences of all Mascarene species extracted from historic and subfossil material. Cylindraspis is an ancient lineage that diverged as early as the late Eocene. Diversification of Cylindraspis commenced in the mid-Oligocene, long before the formation of the Mascarene Islands. This rejects any notion suggesting that the group either arrived from nearby or distant continents over the course of the last millions of years or had even been translocated to the islands by humans. Instead, Cylindraspis likely originated on now submerged islands of the Réunion Hotspot and utilized these to island hop to reach the Mascarenes. The final diversification took place both before and after the arrival on the Mascarenes. With Cylindraspis a deeply divergent clade of tortoises became extinct that evolved long before the dodo or the Rodrigues solitaire, two other charismatic species of the lost Mascarene fauna.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The origin and diversification patterns of lineages across the Indian Ocean islands are varied due to the interplay of the complex geographic and geologic island histories, the varying dispersal abilities of biotas, and the proximity to major continental landmasses. Our aim was to reconstruct phylogeographic history of the giant orbweaving spider (Nephila) on western Indian Ocean islands (Madagascar, Mayotte, Réunion, Mauritius, Rodrigues), to test its origin and route of dispersal, and to examine the consequences of good dispersal abilities for colonization and diversification, in comparison with related spiders (Nephilengys) inhabiting the same islands, and with other organisms known for over water dispersal. We used mitochondrial (COI) and nuclear (ITS2) markers to examine phylogenetic and population genetic patterns in Nephila populations and species. We employed Bayesian and parsimony methods to reconstruct phylogenies and haplotype networks, respectively, and calculated genetic distances, fixation indices, and estimated clade ages under a relaxed clock model. RESULTS: Our results suggest an African origin of Madagascar Nephila inaurata populations via Cenozoic dispersal, and the colonization of the Mascarene islands from Madagascar. We find evidence of gene flow across Madagascar and Comoros. The Mascarene islands share a common 'ancestral' COI haplotype closely related to those found on Madagascar, but itself absent, or as yet unsampled, from Madagascar. Each island has one or more unique haplotypes related to the ancestral Mascarene haplotype. The Indian Ocean N. inaurata are genetically distinct from the African populations. CONCLUSIONS: Nephila spiders colonized Madagascar from Africa about 2.5 (0.6-5.3) Ma. Our results are consistent with subsequent, recent and rapid, colonization of all three Mascarene islands. On each island, however, we detected unique haplotypes, consistent with a limited gene flow among the islands subsequent to colonization, a scenario that might be referred to as speciation in progress. However, due to relatively small sample sizes, we cannot rule out that we simply failed to collect Mascarene haplotypes on Madagascar, a scenario that might imply human mediated dispersal. Nonetheless, the former interpretation better fits the available data and results in a pattern similar to the related Nephilengys. Nephilengys, however, shows higher genetic divergences with diversification on more remote islands. That the better disperser of the two lineages, Nephila, has colonized more islands but failed to diversify, demonstrates how dispersal ability can shape both the patterns of colonization and formation of species across archipelagos.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The south-west insular territories of the Indian Ocean have recently received attention concerning the diversity of arthropods of medical or veterinary interest. While a recent study highlighted the circulation of Culicoides-borne viruses, namely bluetongue and epizootic hemorrhagic disease, with clinical cases in Mayotte (comprising two islands, Petite-Terre and Grand-Terre), Comoros Archipelago, no data have been published concerning the species diversity of Culicoides present on the two islands. RESULTS:A total of 194,734 biting midges were collected in 18 sites, covering two collection sessions (April and June) in Mayotte. Our study reports for the first time livestock-associated Culicoides species and recorded at least 17 described Afrotropical species and one undescribed species. The most abundant species during the April collection session were C. trifasciellus (84.1%), C. bolitinos (5.4%), C. enderleini (3.9%), C. leucostictus (3.3%) and C. rhizophorensis (2.1%). All other species including C. imicola represented less than 1% of the total collection. Abundance ranged between 126-78,842 females with a mean and median abundance of 14,338 and 5111 individuals/night/site, respectively. During the June collection, the abundance per night was low, ranging between 6-475 individuals. Despite low abundance, C. trifasciellus and C. bolitinos were still the most abundant species. Culicoides sp. #50 is recorded for the first time outside South Africa. CONCLUSIONS:Our study reports for the first time the Culicoides species list for Mayotte, Comoros Archipelago, Indian Ocean. The low abundance and rare occurrence of C. imicola, which is usually considered the most abundant species in the Afrotropical region, is unexpected. The most abundant and frequent species is C. trifasciellus, which is not considered as a vector species so far, but its role needs further investigation. Further work is needed to describe Culicoides sp. #50 and to carry on faunistic investigations on the other islands of the archipelago as well as in neighboring countries.