Trapania bonellenae , a new species from Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles belonging to the nudibranch family Goniodorididae, is characterized by having a unique translucent grey color with a pattern of black pigment, a complex network of opaque white lines covering almost the entire notum and very elongate extra-branchial and extra-rhinophoral appendages. The radular teeth are characterized by a very long and narrow subterminal cusp. A phylogenetic analysis of all species of Trapania for which there is enough morphological information available, reveals that the new species is most closely related to a group of mostly Indo-Pacific species. The support and resolution for this clade are weak and more research is necessary
Caribbean Journal of Science
We studied the micro- and macrohabitat preferences of black rats (Rattus rattus) and house mice (Mus musculus) on St. Eustatius, a small, inhabited Caribbean island. Our study builds upon a preliminary assessment of invasive alien rodents on St. Eustatius, which has no extant native rodent species. We deployed tracking tunnels (baited cards with ink left overnight to track animal visitors to the card) in 12 macrohabitats to determine the presence and relative abundance of rodent species. Data were collected between July 2017 and May 2019. We collected data in 5 Å~ 5 meter (n = 120) plots to determine whether grass cover, leaf litter cover, number of living trees, and other microhabitat components influenced habitat use by rats and mice. Rats were more likely to occur in microhabitats with more live trees, but with fewer logs and less grass and bare ground. Mice were more likely to occur in microhabitats with more bare ground. Rat tracks were recorded in all macrohabitats, whereas mouse tracks were detected in all but four, namely: C, M2, M3, and M5. Based on tracking tunnel data, the relative abundance of rats and mice ranged from 0% to 70%, respectively, in all macrohabitats over the study period. Rat relative abundance in forest macrohabitats differed significantly from that in other macrohabitats. Rat relative abundance in regenerating grassland differed significantly from that in other macrohabitats. There is evidence of habitat selection by rats at the micro- and macrohabitat scale, which could be linked to food availability. However, our study revealed only weak or no patterns of habitat selection by mice. Rat relative abundance differed significantly between the second and third assessment, and between the fourth and fifth assessment. Mouse relative abundance differed significantly between the first and second assessment.
The Caribbean is a biodiversity hotspot due to its rich biodiversity and wholesale loss of primary vegetation. Yet, there is a paucity of studies on the status and trends of terrestrial avifauna populations in the region. We combined survey data from six habitats (Quill and Gilboa Hill, Town, Botanical Garden, Garden Road, and Venus Bay) on a small Lesser Antillean island over a seven-year period. Species abundance and richness varied among habitats, with Town having the highest species richness. Logistic regressions revealed significant differences among habitat and year (P = 0.008), but not foraging guild, season, rainfall or elevation (P > 0.05). The Quill (P = 0.0003) and Town (P = 0.001) differed significantly from the other habitats surveyed. Granivorous + frugivorous and omnivorous species were most commonly detected in the Quill, whereas nectarivores and granivores were most commonly detected in Town. The influence of total annual precipitation on bird detection rates was unsubstantial. However, site-specific climate data for the different habitats are not available. Though resident landbird populations on St. Eustatius were stable over the survey period, we recommend that annual monitoring continue in the same habitats, especially following extensive vegetation damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017 and in light of predicted global climate change. The results of our monitoring proved useful in evaluating protected areas and Important Bird Areas compared with non-protected areas. We encourage island researchers and conservation stewards to initiate similar long-term monitoring in order to determine the status of their resident landbird populations.
Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao (ABC Islands) are located at the southern margin of the Caribbean Plate, just north of South America. Little is known of the arachnid fauna of these islands, and the only work on spiders was published over a century ago. Here we provide a list of arachnids opportunistically collected from the islands, including Klein Bonaire and Klein Curaçao, over approximately 2 months. More than 750 specimens from 4 arachnid orders, (Amblypygi, Pseudoscorpiones, Scorpiones, Araneae) were collected and identified. We recovered 1 species of amblypygid, 2 species of pseudoscorpions, 1 species of scorpion, and 76 species of spiders. Additionally, we compared species diversity between urban and natural areas. The number of species is relatively low given the proximity to South America, but this likely reflects that collecting only took place for a short time and was opportunistic as opposed to systematic. Nevertheless, we found 25 new records and >20 likely undescribed species for the islands, providing insights into the spider fauna of northern South America and indicating that additional surveys of the area are warranted.
Based on a field survey and review of published records, I report the occurrence of 13 species of fishes in fresh waters of Curacao. Seven species are new or previously unpublished freshwater records for the island. New records are also provided for the adjacent islands of Aruba and Bonaire. Although the native freshwater fish fauna is dominated by predatory gobiid and eleotrid fishes, the most frequently encountered species was the endemic molly, Poecilia vandepolli. The next most frequent species was the native mountain mullet (Agonostomus monticola), followed by the exotic Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) and the native emerald sleeper (Erotelis smaragdus). High dams block surface water flows in Curacao and prevent migration of native amphidromous fish. The introduced tilapia has apparently reduced the abun- dance of native species.
Until the early 1990s, information on sea turtle nesting in the Netherlands Antilles amounted to little more than a few anecdotal accounts and sea turtle nesting was considered nothing more than a rare or accidental occurrence. However, several recent studies have found significant levels of sea turtle nesting activity and have served as an important impetus to successful implementation of new conservation measures and initiatives. We pre- sent and discuss new information that documents several additional sea turtle nesting beaches for con- servation on four Caribbean islands, and that can serve as baseline data for future reference. While most studies elsewhere have focused on large sea turtle nesting beaches, our findings support the idea that small, scattered nesting beaches could cumulatively contribute significantly to both reproductive output and recovery potential of several species when examined on a regional scale.
We discuss the significance of two manatee records for the Dutch Windward Islands (Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten) as well as six manatid and one crocodile record for the Dutch Leeward Islands (Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire). The persistence of the manatee in the Lesser Antilles until the early 17th century suggests that in pre-Columbian times manatees would have also occurred regularly in the Dutch Windward Islands. In pre-Columbian times, suitable habitat for the American crocodile was sufficient in the Dutch Leeward Islands to have supported small resident populations, and habitat for the manatee was possibly also present. Both species have been widely hunted by early humans and we surmise that small, isolated populations of these species could easily have been extirpated in the Dutch Leeward Islands well prior to European colonization. However, two manatee sightings with the last five years, suggest that these islands may somehow still form part of the active range of this rare and elusive species.
We studied the bird communities of five contrasting semi-natural habitats of Lac Bay, Bonaire, South- eastern Caribbean, during the fall of 2011. A total of 420 point counts were conducted in five different habitats and 63 species were detected. Of these, 31 (49%) were migrants, 24 (38%) were residents, 6 (10%) occurred both as residents and migrants and 2 (3%) were migrants that possibly or irregularly breed. Most migratory species were shorebirds and waders (76%). The bird communities of the ve habitats studied showed signi cant differences in species composition and associated community parameters. Mangrove thicket and salt at habitats had roughly a two-fold higher total species richness and a four-fold higher migratory species richness compared to woodland habitats. In woodland habitats, breeding residents dominated, whereas migratory shore and waterbirds dominated in salt at habitat. The Northern Waterthrush, Parkesia noveboracensis, and Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, were the numerically most important migratory passerines. The Reddish Egret, Egretta rufescens, a globally Near-Threatened species, ranked among the top 10 most abundant species of the Lac Bay salt at habitat. Our results suggest that the relatively expansive hypersaline wetlands of Bonaire (of which Lac is only a small part) may be of special signi cance to migratory shore and waterbirds. In contrast to other areas of the Caribbean, invasive exotic birds so far play a minor role in the communities studied.
From Bonaire, we here provide the first documented case of the green turtle feeding on the invasive seagrass, Halophila stipulacea, in the Caribbean. The seagrass is rapidly invading existing seagrass meadows and altering key foraging habitat of this endangered marine reptile throughout the eastern Caribbean. We expect that more records of green turtles feeding on this invasive species will gradually follow from throughout the region and that the green turtle might alter its foraging behavior in response to the changing species composition of its foraging habitat.
New geographic localities are noted for chimaera cestodarian, Gyrocotyle rugosa, from the central Atlantic; it and Antillean snake eel, Ophichthus spinicauda; Caribbean lanternshark, Etmopterus hillianus; and dwarf cat shark, Scyliorhinus torrei, for the Caribbean Sea; those, black verilus, Verilus sor- didus; dusky shark, Carcharhinus obscurus; lesser amberjack, Seriola fasciata; and longfinned bulleye, Cookeolus japonicus, for the insular Caribbean; all above (except Antillean snake eel), and bearded brotula, Brotula barbata; bigeye sixgill shark, Hexachus nakamurai; Darwin’s slimehead, Gephyroberyx darwinii; longsnout scorpionfish, Pontinus castor; short bigeye, Pristigeny altus; and tropical pomfret, Eumegistus brevorti, for Puerto Rico. Gulf of Mexico, Sargasso Sea, and Mexico are new for Antillean snake eel; French Guiana, Guyana, Isla La Tortuga, Jamaica, Pedro Bank, St. Croix, and St. Thomas for bearded brotula; Barbados, Dominican Republic, Florida, Florida Keys, Gulf of Mexico, St. Thomas, southern Caribbean Sea, and Tortola for bigeye sixgill shark; Honduras for black verilus; St. Croix for Caribbean chimaera; Vieques Island for Caribbean lanternshark; Anguilla, Colombia, Cozumel, Jamaica, Suriname, Venezuela, Yucata ́n for Darwin’s slimehead; Saba Bank for dusky shark; Barbados and the Pedro Bank for lesser amberjack; Bar- bados, Dominican Republic, and Grenada for longsnout scorpionfish; Dominican Republic, Grenadines, and off South America for short bigeye; Campeche Bank, Panama, and Gulf of Mexico for shortjaw lizardfish, Saurida normani; Bahamas, Barbados, Campeche Bank, Cay Sal Bank, Dominican Republic, Grand Bahama Island, Inagua Islands, Panama for tattler, Serranus phoebe; Bimini, Lang Bank, and St. Croix for tropical pomfret. Also 17 depth and 2 size records are noted, and 5 species diagnostic characters modified. All these additions indicate how poorly this ichthyofauna is known.