Tag Archives: Réunion

Otus grucheti (Mourer-Chauviré, Bour, Moutou & Ribes)

Reunion Scops Owl (Otus grucheti)

The Reunion Scops Owl was restricted to the island of Réunion in the Mascarene Islands; it was described in 1994 and is known exclusively from subfossil remains.

The species has not been mentioned in any of the many contemporary reports; thus it is believed that it died out very shortly after the arrival of the first human settlers on the island.

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edited: 02.05.2022

Lantzia carinata Jousseaume

Keeled Lantzia Snail (Lantzia carinata)

The Keeled Lantzia Snail was described in 1872; it is (or probably was) restricted to a single locality on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean.

The species inhabited wet moss that grew along a waterfall in the interior of the island at an elevation of 1200 to 1300 m above sea level.

The Keeled Lantzia Snail was thought to have gone extinct sometimes during the early 19th century but was rediscovered in 199; however, it seems to have disappeared again and is now most likely indeed extinct.

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Depiction from: ‘F. P. Jousseaume: Description de quatre mollusques nouveaux. Revue et magasin de zoologie pure et appliquée, series 2(23): 5-15. 1872’

(public domain)

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edited: 21.08.2022

Malagarion borbonica (Morelet)

Reunion Ariophantid Snail (Malagarion borbonica)

This species was described in 1860, it was endemic to the island of Réunion and is now considered extinct.

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Photo: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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edited: 28.04.2021

Leiolopisma ceciliae Arnold & Bour

Arnold’s Skink (Leiolopisma ceciliae)

Arnold’s Skink was described in 2008 based on subfossil remains that had been recovered from deposits of the Grotte au Sable in Saint-Paul, the second-largest commune of Réunion.

The species was closely related to Telfair-Skink (Leiolopisma telfairii (Desjardins)) (see photo below) from Mauritius, but was even larger; in life, this species must have had a size of over 40 cm (including the tail).

In contrast to many other animals that formerly inhabited the Mascarene islands, no written accounts exist that could be assigned to this species. [1]

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References:

[1] E. Nicholas Arnold; Roger Bour: A new Nactus gecko (Gekkonidae) and a new Leiolopisma skin (Scincidae) from La Réunion, Indian Ocean, based on recent fossil remains and ancient DNA sequence. Zootaxa 1705: 40-50. 2008
[2] Anthony Cheke; Julian P. Hume: Lost Land of the Dodo: The ecological history of Mauritius, Réunion, and Redrigues. Yale University Press 2008

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Telfair-Skink (Leiolopisma telfairii)

Photo: Wouter Van Landuyt

(public domain)

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edited: 04.05.2022

Nesoenas duboisi Rothschild

Reunion Pink Pigeon (Nesoenas duboisi)

This species was described in 1907, it is known from at least one contemporaneous account and from subfossil bones.

The species was somewhat similar to the Mauritius Pink Pigeon (Nesoenas mayeri (Prevost)) (see photo below) that is still found on the island of Mauritius.

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References:

[1] Julian P. Hume: Extinct Birds: Bloomsbury Natural History; 2nd edition 2017

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Mauritius Pink Pigeon (Nesoenas mayeri)

Photo: Dick Daniels

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

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edited: 07.05.2022

Gongylomorphus borbonicus Vinson & Vinson

Reunion Slit-eyed Skink (Gongylomorphus borbonicus)

The Reunion Slit-eyed Skink was endemic to La Réunion in the Indian Ocean.

The species was last collected in 1839, its extinction is attributed to the Wolf Snake (Lycodon capucinus F. Boie), a small, mildly venomous snake from South Asia specialized in hunting small reptiles, that was accidently introduced to the Mascarene Islands in the middle of the 19th century. [1]

The Reunion Slit-eyed Skink’s next living relative is Bojer’s Skink (Gongylomorphus bojerii (Desjardins)) (see photo below), which is restricted to the island of Mauritius.

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References:

[1] Anthony Cheke; Julian P. Hume: Lost Land of the Dodo: The ecological history of Mauritius, Réunion, and Redrigues. Yale University Press 2008

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Bojer’s Skink (Gongylomorphus bojerii)

Photo: Ben Dymond
https://www.inaturalist.org/people/gagnebina

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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edited: 04.05.2022

Gulella argoudi Griffiths

Argoud’s Gulella Snail (Gulella argoudi)

Argoud’s Gulella Snail was described in 2000, it is known only from subfossil remains recovered from a depth of about 10 cm in dry soil under basaltic rocks on the edge of a ravine near La Saline Les Bains on the island of Réunion, Mascarene Islands.

The shells reached sizes of about 0,37 cm in heigth. [1]

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The species is most likely extinct, however, the author while describing it, mentions the following.:

Although described from subfossil specimens, the presence of a Gulella shell fragment (possibly belonging to this species) collected in leaflitter at Cap Noire, Dos-d’Ane Réunion, at 1300m, in 1992, suggests thius species may still survive.” [1]

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References:

[1] Owen Lee Griffiths: Nine new species of Mascarene land snails (Mollusca: Gastropoda). Molluscan Research 20(2): 37-50. 2000

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edited: 06.05.2019

Alexandrinus eques ssp. eques (Boddaert)

Reunion Echo Parakeet (Alexandrinus eques ssp. eques 

The Echo Parakeet (Alexandrinus eques ssp. echo (Newton & Newton)), endemic to the island of Mauritius, was once already extinct, but a breeding program saved the species at the last minute, it is now the sole surviving form of the formerly large Mascarene parrot radiation.  

This parakeet was originally described as a distinct species, but is now considered to represent a subspecies of a species that inhabited the neighboring island of Réunion.  

This form, the Reunion Echo Parakeet or Reunion Ring-necked Parakeet was described in 1783, it is now, however, only known from contemporary depictions and probably a single stuffed specimen that lacks its tail feathers.  

The Reunion Echo Parakeet obviously disappeared shortly after the occupation of the island by European settlers at the beginning of the 18th century.  

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The two island forms are almost indistinguishable and may in fact not be separable from each other.  

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References:

[1] M. P. Braun; N. Bahr; M. Wink: Phylogenie und Taxonomie der Edelsittiche (Psittaciformes: Psittaculidae: Psittacula), mit Beschreibung von drei neuen Gattungen. Vogelwarte 54: 322-324. 2016

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Depiction from: ‘François-Nicolas Martinet; Georges Louis Leclerc Buffon; Edme-Louis Daubenton; Louis-Jean-Marie Daubenton: Planches enluminées d’histoire naturelle. Paris: s.n. 1765-1783’

(public domain)  

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edited: 21.03.2018

Nactus soniae Arnold & Bour

Reunion Night Gecko (Nactus soniae)

The Reunion Night Gecko was described in 2008 based on subfossil remains that were recovered from deposits of the Grotte au Sable in Saint-Paul, the second-largest commune of Réunion.

In life, the species might have reached a size of around 9 cm (including the tail); it was nocturnal and very likely rather inconspicuously colored. [1]

The Reunion Night Gecko was among the first species that died out shortly after the Mascarene Islands were discovered by European seafarers in the early 16th century, who also introduced rats to the islands, which then ate their way through the island faunas. [2]

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References:

[1] E. Nicholas Arnold; Roger Bour: A new Nactus gecko (Gekkonidae) and a new Leiolopisma skin (Scincidae) from La Réunion, Indian Ocean, based on recent fossil remains and ancient DNA sequence. Zootaxa 1705: 40-50. 2008
[2] Anthony Cheke; Julian P. Hume: Lost Land of the Dodo: The ecological history of Mauritius, Réunion, and Redrigues. Yale University Press 2008

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edited: 04.05.2022

Harmogenanina linophora (Morelet)

(Harmogenanina linophora)

This species was described in 1860; it inhabited the islands of Mauritius and Réunion, Mascarene Islands.

Barely perforate, thin, costulate; corneous brown or greenish, epidermis whitish, chiefly remaining at the suture and below the carina; whorls, 6. Diam. 12 mill.” [1]

Not much else appears to be known about this species, which is now extinct.

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References

[1] George W. Tryon; Henry A. Pilsbry; a. o.: Manual of Conchology. Second series: Pulmonata. Vol 2: Zonitidae. 1886

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Photo: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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edited: 14.08.2022

Macrobrachium hirtimanus (Olivier)

Mascarene Freshwater Prawn (Macrobrachium hirtimanus)  

The Mascarene Freshwater Prawn was described in 1811, the species was apparently endemic to the islands of Mauritius and Réunion, Mascarene Islands, where it is known to have inhabited several rivers.  

The species was last recorded in the 1980s on Réuinion and was not found in later surveys, so is now either extremely rare or may already be extinct. [1][2]  

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References:  

[1] P. Keith; E. Vigneux: First capture of Macrobrachium lepidactylus (Hilgendorf, 1879) (Palaemonidae) on Réunion Island, followed by a commentary on Macrobrachium hirtimanus (Olivier, 1811). Crustaceana 73(2): 215-222. 2000 
[2] P. Keith: Freshwater fish and decapod crustacean populations on Réunion Island, with an assessmemnt of species introductions. Bulletin Français de la Pêche et de la Pisciculture. 364: 97-107. 2002  

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edited: 24.04.2019

Cylindraspis indica (Schneider)

Reunion Giant Tortoise (Cylindraspis indica)

The Reunion Giant Tortoise was described in 1783, it was endemic to the island of Réunion, Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean, where it formerly was extremely numerous, forming large herds.

The species was the largest within its genus, with carapace lenghts of 0,5 to 1,1 m.

There appear to have been both dome-shaped as well as saddle-shaped individuals in this species and they may in fact constitute two distinct species, as it is the case on the two neigboring islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, which each harbored two endemic tortoise species once.

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The tortoises were killed by the first European settlers but also caught in vast numbers by sailors to be stacked into the holds of their ships, where they, simply being turned on their backs condemned to die a horrible slow death, provided a source of fresh meat for months.

The species disappeared at the beginning of the 18th century with the last remaining individuals surviving in hidden spots on the highlands until around 1840.

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Depiction from: Joannis Davidis Schoepff: Historia testudinum iconibus illustrata. Erlangae: J. J. Palm 1792-1801

(not in copyright)

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edited: 19.01.2020