British brownfield wildlife

This video from England says about itself:

BBC Natural World – The Unnatural History of London

8 July 2012

Seals, parakeets and even pelicans that eat pigeons have all made London their home. That’s as well as badgers, foxes, scorpions, and pigeons that ride the tube.

From Wildlife Extra:

Brownfield sites proven to provide valuable habitat for invertebrates

The conservation organisation Buglife has recently launched a one-stop shop for information on brownfield sites and their resident invertebrates. The Brownfield Hub is intended to help anyone – from ecologists to planners, developers to wildlife lovers – to understand the value of brownfield sites for our rare British invertebrates.

A brownfield site is a piece of land that has been altered by human activity, but which is not currently in use. Brownfield sites offer a precious ‘mosaic’ of habitats, providing variety that is rare in the wider landscape and can support important populations of scarce invertebrates.

On the Brownfield Hub are a series of downloadable PDFs which highlight the importance of these habitats for rare wildlife, how to identify open mosaic habitats on previously developed land, and how to manage them for key invertebrate groups. There are also useful case studies of Buglife’s work.

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‘Extinct’ fish rediscovery in Madagascar

This video from London, England says about itself:

19 Feb 2012

A short clip from a tank in the Aquarium at the ZSL London Zoo. The tank contains the following Madagascar cichlids: Pinstripe Menarambo (Paretroplus menarambo), Kotsovato (Paretroplus kieneri), Mangarahara Cichlid (Ptychochromis insolitus) and Damba Mipentina (Paretroplus maculatus).

From Wildlife Extra:

Worldwide appeal finds last remaining Madagascan fish

ZSL London Zoo’s international campaign finds lost Mangarahara cichlids in the wild

December 2013: Aquarists at ZSL London Zoo are celebrating the success of a worldwide appeal to find a female mate for a critically-endangered fish species – after a small population was found in remote Madagascar.

The Mangarahara cichlid (Ptychochromis insolitus) was believed to be lost in the wild due to intense deforestation and river diversions created for rice farming and agriculture drying up its native habitat of the Mangarahara River in Madagascar, and two of the last known individuals – both male – were residing in ZSL London Zoo’s aquarium.

After launching a desperate appeal in May 2013, hundreds of private aquarium owners, fish collectors and scientists got in touch with the zoo’s aquarium curator, Brian Zimmerman, to offer advice, support and suggestions – including a farm and business owner in Madagascar, who recognised the fish as one he’d seen in a secluded north-Madagascan town. An exploratory expedition was arranged with support from HM Ambassador in the British Embassy of Madagascar, so that, along with aquarists from Toronto Zoo in Canada, Zimmerman and Kienan Parbles from ZSL London Zoo could head off to Madagascar to search for the Mangarahara cichlid.

With help from local villagers, areas of a now-disconnected tributary from the Mangarahara River were cordoned off using nets to mark the search areas. Initially finding only other native species, the team were ecstatic when they finally found the first one of the last remaining Mangarahara cichlids in existence. Brian Zimmerman said: “We weren’t holding out much hope of finding any fish in the wild, as so much of the Mangarahara River now resembles the desert because of deforestation and intensive agricultural use.

“These cichlids have shown remarkable survival skills. We’re now doing all we can to protect these remaining fish.” As part of ZSL London Zoo’s Fish Net conservation project, which focuses on protecting freshwater species, Zimmerman and the team moved 18 of the Mangarahara cichlids to a private aquaculture facility in Madagascar, where they will receive specialist care while conservation plans are made to bring the species back from the brink of extinction.

8 Species We Thought Were Extinct But Are Actually Still Alive: here.

New Borneo wasp discovery, named after naturalist Wallace

The newly discovered wasp, photo: Natural History Museum

From the International Business Times:

New Wasp Genus Discovered, ‘Wallaceaphytis’ Named After Evolution Naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace [PHOTO]

By Zoe Mintz

November 07 2013 10:34 AM

Named Wallaceaphytis after Alfred Russel Wallace, one of the “forgotten heroes” behind the theory of evolution by natural selection, the insect was collected in 2012 during a trip to the Danum Valley. A description of the unusually large parasitoid wasp is described in a new paper in the Journal of Natural History.

“Wallaceaphytis is so unusual that one of my volunteers called me over to the microscope saying, ‘This looks really strange’,” Andrew Polaszek, head of the Terrestrial Invertebrates Division at the Natural History Museum in London, who was part of the team that found the insect, told the BBC. “Not only is it a new species but also a completely new genus. And we found it in Wallace’s old stomping ground.”

While Charles Darwin set out to the Galapagos Islands to observe natural selection, Wallace went to the islands of south and east Asia, including Borneo. He describes thousands of new insect species he collected from the Indonesian island between 1854-56, including the Rajah Brooke’s birdwing butterfly, which is now a protected species and the national butterfly of Malaysia.

“The beauty and brilliancy of this insect are indescribable,” wrote Wallace in his book The Malay Archipelago.”On taking it out of my net and opening the glorious wings, my heart began to beat violently, the blood rushed to my head, and I felt much more like fainting than I have done when in apprehension of immediate death.”

The Wallaceaphytis is a parasitoid wasp that lays eggs inside other insects and spiders. While these kinds of wasps are typically less than a fifth of a millimeter in length,  this new wasp is just under a millimeter, making it “a bit of a whopper,” according to the Natural History Museum.

DNA confirmed that it wasn’t related to a known species. Entomologists have identified about 130,000 species, but Polaszek predicts there are thousands yet to be discovered. “I’m going to stick out my neck and say the true number is closer to a million species in total,” Polaszek told NBC News.

Polaszek said his team plans to return to Borneo to collect more insects in a different area of the island. “There’s still this remarkable hidden biodiversity in Borneo as well as right under our noses here in England,” he said.