Two new articles about crocodiles

Published two new articles about Crocodylus suchus, a species present in Morocco until 1951 (Montiel en Geniez et al., 2004), and that was extint probably because the desertification and human pressure between more factors.

The first article grew up in a 35% the known localities of Crocodylus suchus in Mauritania. These authors explain that the Gueltas are basic in the persistence of the mountain populations and also are needed new studies to understand the adaptation of these cocodriles to extreme habitats, where the water presence sometimes is temporal and cocodriles need to make big displacements, moment where they are very vulnerable. They also explain that it would be necessary  molecular analysis to quantify the genetic variability and detect the gene flow between the desert populations, because some of them are completely isolated. It would be necessary awareness campaigns to explain how vulnerable are these reptiles, that only mantain a few relict populations and it would be prioritary that Mauritania mountains where cocodriles live were considerated protected areas.

Referencia:
Brito JC, Martínez-Freiría F, Sierra P, Sillero N, Tarroso P, 2011 Crocodiles in the Sahara Desert: An Update of Distribution, Habitats and Population Status for Conservation Planning in Mauritania. PLoS ONE 6(2): e14734. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014734

The second paper evaluates the monophyletic nature of the Nile crocodile with a phylogenetic analysis using markers of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA samples throughout Africa, including the most important bioregions and even samples of Museum colections. The analyses reveal a cryptic evolutionary lineage within Nile cocodrile and clear the taxonomic and conservation status of this species. Analysis reveal that Crocodylus suchus  is a different lineage of  C. niloticus, specially vulnerable to extintion due to its rarity and big number of troubles like ilegal traffic of skin, meat traffic of damage in the humid places that are their habitat. Authors suggest the adoption of precautionary measures, as to recognize the ancestral lineage of C. suchus in the IUCN Red List, as the review of the status of the actual populations, could help to stop the lost of more populations of this scarce reptile.

Referencia:
HEKKALA, E., SHIRLEY, M. H., AMATO, G., AUSTIN, J. D., CHARTER, S., THORBJARNARSON, J., VLIET, K. A., HOUCK, M. L., DESALLE, R. and BLUM, M. J. (2011), An ancient icon reveals new mysteries: mummy DNA resurrects a cryptic species within the Nile crocodile. Molecular Ecology, 20: 4199–4215. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05245.x

Thanks to Juan Pablo González de la Vega to send us both articles.


Additional bibliography:

Fernández-Palacios, J.M.; Tellería, J.L.; El Mamy Ghaillani, H.; Bartolomé, J. & Montiano, E. 2008. Conservación y cooperación al desarrollo: una experiencia en Mauritania. Ecosistemas 17 (2): 10-16.

Geniez, P.; Mateo, J.A.; Geniez, M. & Pether, J. 2004. The amphibians and reptiles of the Western Sahara (former Spanish Sahara) and adjacent regions. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 228 pp