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Removing African clawed frogs makes a difference

04 February 2016

Publicity for Andre's paper on platanna removal

Media obsessed by cannibalism

One has to wonder at the media obsession with cannibalism and the fact that it has nothing to do with the story. It was great that the reporter managed to get a picture of a frog. Shame that it has nothing to do with the story. Other than that, he did an ok job. 

  News  Xenopus

French frogs say "oui" to more genetic diversity

02 February 2016

How diverse are French populations of African clawed frogs?

Invasions are of populations and not species. This is a common trueism across many invasions of both plants and animals, and relates to the limitation of the original invading propagules. But sometimes, introductions are deliberate and the invasive population results from cultivated high genetic diversity. Knowing the origins of the invasion can be important in tackling the removal of the invasive population.

To date, every invasive population of Xenopus laevis investigated for genetic diversity has shown haplotypes consistent with their origin in the Western Cape, and more specifically from the areas collected for exports from around Jonkershoek. Now, a new study by De Busschere et al (2016) shows that this is also true for Portugal, but not for France. In fact, the diversity in France is so high that it rivals diversity seen in South Africa.

Unlike other invasions, the French population started from a CNRS breeding facility, so there may have been a deliberate intention to increase the genetic diversity of the breeding stock. Could this result in an increased hybrid vigor in the resulting invasive population? This question is currently being investigated in a collaboration funded by the European Union: INVAXEN.

Mac starts work at SANParks

01 February 2016

Mac leaves the lab to start work at South African National Parks in their Garden Route Research Centre. We're all sad to see Mac go, but wish him all the best in his new position. 

  Lab  News

Cape Herp Club - braai

28 January 2016

Cape Herp Club Braai

The annual Cape Herp Braai was celebrated in good style in Jonkershoek. Can you spot the lab members below?

Cape Herp Club

  Lab  News

Andre's paper published

21 January 2016

Can we provide evidence that conservation measures are effective? 

This is the major question behind articles in the journal Conservation Evidence. Today, Andre de Villiers published a short contribution to Conservation Evidence which shows that work over the last 5 years to remove African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) from an area they invaded in the Cape of Good Hope. Andre's article compares populations of the IUCN Endangered Cape platanna (Xenopus gilli) in an area near Kleinmond where there is no control of African clawed frogs. He found that when African clawed frogs were removed, the population of Cape platannas was healthier. In addition, he shows that regular monitoring of African clawed frogs is necessary to prevent invasion outbreaks, which are costly to remove.

  News  Xenopus
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