Species

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Species - species diversity is a variety in a given region or area. This can either be determined by counting the number of different species present , or by determining taxonomic diversity. Taxonomy diversity is more precise and considers the relationship of species to each other. this can be measure by counting the number of different taxa present.

Biodiversity at the species level

High ecosystem diversity is often associated with high species richness as each ecosystem tends to have a set of species unique to it. In Uganda, species level knowledge and information on existing taxa is limited to the commonly studied species including birds, mammals, butterflies, higher plants, reptiles, amphibians and fish, because of their relative conspicuousness or economic importance. Little is known about the less conspicuous and lower but nonetheless important forms of life such as below ground biodiversity.

 

Mammals

Species - species diversity is a variety in a given region or area. This can either be determined by counting the number of different species present , or by determining taxonomic diversity. Taxonomy diversity is more precise and considers the relationship of species to each other. this can be measure by counting the number of different taxa present.
Biodiversity at the species level
High ecosystem diversity is often associated with high species richness as each ecosystem tends to have a set of species unique to it. In Uganda, species level knowledge and information on existing taxa is limited to the commonly studied species including birds, mammals, butterflies, higher plants, reptiles, amphibians and fish, because of their relative conspicuousness or economic importance. Little is known about the less conspicuous and lower but nonetheless important forms of life such as below ground biodiversity.

Mammals
Uganda is a home to over 380 mammal species of which as many as ,13 32species of which are designated asthreatened or vulnerable.and The countryis ranked 13 in the world in terms of mammal species richness (IUCN RED Data List 2008). The number of mammal species has however been changing due to local extinctions and introductions (UWA, 2010) and taxonomic . revisions. The recent publication by Wilson and Reeder (2005) for example shows that Rodent diversity is increased by 40% from 78 species known/recognized from the country to 109.Some of the vulnerable mammals include the five primates, the Mountain Gorilla Gorillaberingei ,Cchimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), Ccrested Mmangabey (LophocebusLophocebus galeritus), ™shamlym monkey(Cercopithecus (l'hoesti) l'hoestiCercopithecus LHoestii), and the Rred Ccolobus monkey (Procolobusbadius). The other vulnerable species are the Carruther’sMmountain squirrel (Funisciuruscarruthersi), the Ccheetah (Acinonyxjubatus), and the Eelephant (Loxodantaafricana) (CBD, 2009).
De Brazza monkey (Cercopithecusneglectus) occurs in forests in eastern and western Uganda, while the Ccommon Eeland (Tragelaphusoryx) occurs in low densities in Lake Mburo and Kidepo National Parks. The BbohorRreedbuck (Reduncaredunca) that was once widespread is now mainly confined to conservation areas. The Lleopard (Pantherapardus) is confined to a few large forests and savannas areas; the Ttopi (DPamaliscuslunatus) has always been sparsely distributed but was mainly found in Lake Mburo National Park and the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Most of the mammals are threatened by habitat loss, poaching and reduced abundance of prey species (CBD, 2009).
The Nnorthern Wwhite Rrhinoceros (Ceratotheriumsimum cottoni), the Bblack Rrhinoceros (Dicerosbicornis) and the African huntingwild dog (Lycaonpictus) are all extinct although eight white rhinos have recently been re-introduced back in Uganda from Kenya (CBD, 2009). A few hunting dogs thought extinctin Uganda, Some of the Wildlife dogs once considered extinct have been sighted in Kidepo Valley National Park (UWA, 2010). Other certainly extinct mammals from Uganda include the Bbongo (Tragelaphuseurycerus) that formerly occurred in Mt. Elgon forest but was exterminated between 1913 and 1914; the Wwhite-bellied Dduiker (Cephalophusleucogaster) which is believed to have been present in Semuliki has since disappeared; the Bbay Dduiker (Cephalophusdorsalis) was recorded once in the riverine forest below the western foothills of the Rwenzori mountains, but this area is so densely populated that the species cannot maysurvive there much longer; the Ookapi (Okapiajohnstonni) was previously found in the Semuliki forest but is now non-existent due to hunting; the Ggiant Eeland (Tragelaphusderbianus) which used to occur in West Nile is believed to have been wiped out in the 1970s; and the Ssteenbok (Raphiceruscampestris) is extinct because its former habitat (Mbale district) is now heavily populated (CBD, 2009).
Other Mmammals that may have special conservation action needs but whose status is not yet determined include: the rare species like such asthe Ccape clawless Ootter (Aonyxcapensis),and the Congo clawless Ootter (Aonyxcongica); species of indeterminate status like RwenzoriOotter shrew (Micropotamogaleruwenzori),and the Llong-tailed forest Sshrew (Sylvisorexsuncoides); and, species of unknown status like the East African Montane ShrewRodent Shrew (Paracrocidura maxima), Thomas bush-baby (Galagothomasi) and Jackson, M mongoose (Bdeogalejacksoni) (CBD, 2009).





Birds

 

Uganda has 1,057 bird species about 10% of the world total, 27 of which need confirmation as they are bracketed in the Uganda Birds Atlas for reasons there in (Carswell et.al 2005). Out of the bird species in Uganda 7 are globally threatened with extinction. New species however keep being added to the Uganda list and therefore the total number of species continues to change as additional records are confirmed. There are over 2,250 species recorded on the African continent and the total list of Uganda represents nearly half (47%) of all species recorded on the continent. The diversity is a result of the location of Uganda on the confluence of major vegetation zones at the heart of the continent and good climatic conditions.

 

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)

There are 34 sites have been identified as IBAs in Uganda (Map 2). They cover roughly 7% of the country area. Ten sites are National Parks, Nine are Forest Reserves and three are Wildlife Reserves. The rest have no formal protection status although 12 wetland areas have been designated as Ramsar Sites. Uganda is at the confluence of six regional biomes and at least two IBAs fall in each of five of those biomes; which gives a reasonable coverage of major habitats.

Threatened birds species

The species of conservation importance are categorized as; Globally Threatened species, Restricted Range Species which includes the Albertine Rift mountains with 24 species, Eastern Zaire lowland with 2 species, Kenya mountains with 2 species and Secondary Areas with 3 species and the several species in a number of Biome Restricted Areas (appendix 1).


Biodiversity of the Albertine Rift

The Albertine Rift is an area of high endemism and threatened species . Over 50% of birds, 39% of mammals, 19% of amphibians and 14% of reptiles and plants of mainland Africa occur in this region The table below summarizes the numbers of species for each taxa.

Table 4 Biodiversity of the Albertine Rift

 

Species richness

Endemic species

Threatened species

Mammals

402

34

35

Birds

1061

41

25

Reptiles

175

16

2

Amphibians

118

34

16

Butterflies

 

117

 

Fish

 

366+

 

Plants

5793

567

40

Source: WCS 2003

 

Fishes

The fish biodiversity in Uganda is dominated by cichlid family consisting of 324 species of which 292 are endemic to Lake Victoria and 42 non-cichlid species spread in the vast aquatic resources of Uganda. Of the 42, 15 are endemic to Lake Victoria (Mbabazi et al., 2006).

The 2006 fish biodiversity update indicated a total of about 324 cichlid species in the Ugandan part of Lake Victoria; 42 non-cichlid fish species in Lake Victoria . The Lake Kyoga complex harbors 41 haplochromine cichlids plus 5 tilapiine cichlids totaling 46 cichlid species besides the about 40 non-cichlid species in Lake Kyoga complex. Lakes Edward and George host an estimated 60 cichlid fishes and another 21 non-cichlid fish species to those lakes. Lake Albert has an estimated total number of 15 cichlid species and about 37 non-cichlid fish species, none of which is endemic to the lake. However, little remains known about the fish biodiversity of the minor lakes, rivers and swamps. A survey of the Kisoro minor lakes (Kamanyi et al. 2006) indicated that fish diversity in these lakes is comprised of 4 families and a total of 9 taxa, Koki lakes a total of 8 families, 7 cichlids and 3 nob cichlid species. The most recent survey of the crater lakes of western Uganda indicated 3 tilapiine species, 2 Claridae species, 1 Cyprinidae (Barbus spp.) and 1 Poecilidae (Mosquitoes fish) and unknown number of haplochromine species in the lakes mainly due to the difficulty in their identification (Efitre, 2007). A study of rivers-streams in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park also reported 8 families and 19 fish species, including 3 species believed to be endemic to the rivers and streams in the park (Kasangaki, 2007).

 

Despite the over 600 fish species found in Uganda the major commercial fish species only include: Nile perch (Lates niloticus) from all the major lakes except Edward/George and some satellite lakes in the Victoria and Kyoga basin lakes; the small Nile perch Lates macrophthalmus (from L. Albert); Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) from all major water bodies; Mukene (Rastreneobola argentea) from the Victoria and Kyoga basin lakes; Muziri/Mukene, (Neobola bredoi) of L. Albert; Catfish (Clarias gariepinus); Silver catfish (Bagrus docmak) from all major water bodies but currently very rare in lakes Victoria and Kyoga (Mbabazi, 2004). However in Lake Albert, Lanya/Munama/Oreko, Bagrus bayad similar to B. docmak comprise of one the dominant fishery (Mbabazi personal observation). Alestes Baremose, Brycinus nurse and N. bredoi currently constitute about 80% of fish biomass in Lake Albert. The most common fish species to almost all the water bodies is the Lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus).

 

Most of the above diversity is found in the aquatic systems that comprise of five major lakes namely; Victoria, Albert, Kyoga, Edward, George, about 160 minor lakes, an extensive river system, dams and ponds (NBSAP, 2002).

These aquatic systems are also associated with extensive wetlands and collectively, they contain one of the largest assemblages of diverse freshwater fish species in the world. There are more than 600 species of cichlid fish are found in Lake Victoria (Arinaitwe et al. 2000). The state of biodiversity in these water bodies was greatly impacted by the introduction of exotic species, mainly Nile perch.