Browsing by Subject "Madagascar"

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  • Bergsten, Johannes; Ranarilalatiana, Tolotra; Biström, Olof (2020)
    We review the species of Bidessus of Madagascar and describe Bidessus anjozorobe sp. nov. from material collected in Anjozorobe forest. Anjozorobe is part of the Anjozorobe-Angavo Protected Area, which is an important corridor of transition forest between typical eastern humid forests and the residual sub-humid forest of the Central Highlands. Bidessus longistriga Regimbart, 1895 and Bidessus perexiguus Kolbe, 1883 are widespread but endemic low-altitude species on Madagascar. Bidessus nesioticus Guignot, 1956 is an alpine species described from near the peak of the Ankaratra mountain massifs at 2500 m a.s.l. We recollected the species for the first time since its description, in Ankaratra and in a new area above 2000 m a.s.l. in the Andringitra mountain further south. Bidessus cf. nero Gschwendtner, 1933 is tentatively recorded for Madagascar for the first time but further studies are needed to test the status of mainland and insular populations. Bidessus apicidens Bistrom & Sanfilippo, 1986 has not been recollected on Madagascar since 1970. All species are endemic to Madagascar except potentially Bidessus cf. ceratus and Bidessus cf. nero described from Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, respectively. The older records of the two non-endemic species Bidessus complicatus Sharp, 1904 and Bidessus ovoideus Regimbart, 1895 on Madagascar could not be verified.
  • Särkinen, Tiina; Poczai, Péter; Barboza, Gloria; van der Weerden, Gerard M.; Baden, Maria; Knapp, Sandra (2018)
    The Morelloid Glade, also known as the black nightshades or "Maurella" (Morella), is one of the 10 major Glades within Solanum L. The pantropical Glade consists of 75 currently recognised non-spiny herbaceous and suffrutescent species with simple or branched hairs with or without glandular tips, with a centre of distribution in the tropical Andes. A secondary centre of diversity is found in Africa, where a set of mainly polyploid taxa occur. A yet smaller set of species is found in Australasia and Europe, including Solanum nigrum L., the type of the genus Solanum. Due to the large number of published synonyms, combined with complex morphological variation, our understanding of species limits and diversity in the Morelloid Glade has remained poor despite detailed morphological studies carried out in conjunction with breeding experiments. Here we provide the first taxonomic overview since the 19th century of the entire group in the Old World, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and islands of the Pacific. Complete synonymy, morphological descriptions, distribution maps and common names and uses are provided for all 19 species occurring outside the Americas (i.e. Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and islands of the Pacific). We treat 12 species native to the Old World, as well as 7 taxa that are putatively introduced and/or invasive in the region. The current knowledge of the origin of the polyploid species is summarised. A key to all of the species occurring in the Old World is provided, together with line drawings and colour figures to aid identification both in herbaria and in the field. Preliminary conservation assessments arc provided for all species.
  • Fernandez-Llamazares, Alvaro; Lopez-Baucells, Adria; Rocha, Ricardo; Andriamitandrina, Santatra F. M.; Andriatafika, Zo Emmanuel; Burgas, Daniel; Temba, Eric Marcel; Torrent, Laura; Cabeza, Mar (2018)
    Despite conservation discourses in Madagascar increasingly emphasizing the role of customary institutions for wildlife management, we know relatively little about their effectiveness. Here, we used semi-structured interviews with 54 adults in eight villages to investigate whether sacred caves and taboos offer conservation benefits for cave-dwelling bats in and around Tsimanampetsotsa National Park, south-west Madagascar. Although some caves were described as sites of spiritual significance for the local communities, most interviewees (c. 76%) did not recognize their present-day sacred status. Similarly, only 22% of the interviewees recognized taboos inhibiting bat hunting and consumption. Legal protection of bats and caves through protected areas was often more widely acknowledged than customary regulations, although up to 30% of the interviewees reported consumption of bats within their communities. Guano extraction was often tolerated in sacred caves in exchange for economic compensation. This may benefit bat conservation by creating incentives for bat protection, although extraction is often performed through destructive and exploitative practices with little benefit for local communities. In view of these results our study questions the extent to which sacred sites, taboos and protected areas offer protection for bats in Madagascar. These results support previous studies documenting the erosion of customary institutions in Madagascar, including the loss of the spiritual values underpinning sacred sites. Given that many Malagasy bats are cave-dwelling species and that most depend on the customary protection of these sites, it is important to obtain a better understanding of the complex interactions between spiritual practices, taboos and protected areas in sustaining bat diversity.
  • Blomberg, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Since the 1980s, international funding provided by diverse and changing donors has significantly changed Madagascar’s conservation landscape. The various challenges and development needs related to biodiversity conservation and its international funding have long been known to the international community and solutions have been sought. Despite this, deforestation and the destruction of the environment in Madagascar continue. The aim of this study was to identify the perceptions of various stakeholders on the current challenges and development needs for biodiversity conservation and its international funding in Madagascar by using qualitative methods. This study was based on 26 semi-structured interviews. The interviewees represented stakeholders involved in internationally funded biodiversity conservation projects in Madagascar. 14 of these interviews were conducted specifically for this study. The remaining, 12 interviews were from the material collected for the research project “Conservation Legacies: Understanding the Long-term Impacts of Private Foundation Investment in International Biodiversity Conservation”. The qualitative content analysis combining a deductive and inductive approach revealed a number of different challenges and development needs that were strongly interlinked. The identified challenges were related to, for example, weak governance and its different indicators, political instabilities, poverty and internal migration, donor requirements, insufficient amount of funding, funding gaps, dependency of international funding, donor-driven priority setting, lack of coordination, and the challenges posed by the operating environment. The identified development needs included the need for longer funding cycles, flexibility, stronger local participation, more holistic and cross-sectoral approaches, and involvement of private sector. Extensive cooperation across actors and sectors is still needed to tackle the challenges and put development needs into practice. Without this, there is a risk that the objectives for conserving biodiversity and making development aid more effective will not be achieved. Achieving these objectives would be supported by research into how the prioritisation and ownership of biodiversity conservation could be increasingly transferred to the local level, while ensuring that all aspects of sustainable development - social, ecological and economic – are considered.
  • Voorsluis, Nina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Tiivistelmä – Referat – Abstract In this Master’s thesis I investigate Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) involvement, experiences and outcomes in Madagascar, including the limiting and enabling factors for impact of conservation interventions driven by NGOs. The focal point of the research is the lived experiences from the field, including identification of processes and forces shaping the preconditions for NGO interventions. As part of the research I explore experiences of NGOs from their interventions and from engaging with local communities, government, policy makers and other NGOs in Madagascar. Many NGOs are active in biodiversity hotspots like Madagascar, but evaluation outcomes and lessons learned tend not to be extensively shared across organizations and thematic focus areas. This in turn affects preconditions to influence outcome determinants not only in isolated interventions but also across organizational borders. This study aims to define the situation and the issues faced by NGOs in Madagascar to suggest how the landscape could be navigated to improve the preconditions for long term intervention impact. The purpose is not to evaluate specific projects, but to assess the mechanisms through which the NGO sector can make a significant contribution to conservation, as well as the challenges in doing so. As the analysis seeks to broaden and contextualize the discussion of NGO involvement in conservation interventions, the theoretical framework for the research is based on theory on Non-Governmental Organizations and grounded theory. The theoretical framework facilitates the analysis of the findings, understanding of the results, as well as structuring and highlighting new insights. The theory is complemented with a background assessment of the environmental context in Madagascar, reviewing other research on conservation and its challenges in the country. This helps to understand the dimensions of the challenges, as well as the avenues open for exploration. Insights are gathered from representatives of long-term in situ NGOs to better understand the wider playing field in which they operate. The empirical research is based on semi-structured interviews conducted with 21 representatives from 12 international and local NGOs working with biodiversity conservation in Madagascar. The data was transcribed and analyzed through thematic network analysis and constructivist grounded theory analysis. The interviews were combined with a literature review, a group interview, a field visit to a project site, and more informal conversations with academic researchers and experts in the field. As part of the study, a two-week field trip to Madagascar was undertaken. To present the findings from this research, thematic categorizations were used to illustrate factors that affect outcomes of conservation interventions driven by NGOs. The categories are related to internal organization specific factors, cooperation with other actors (including other NGOs, government and actors in the local communities), as well as the Malagasy environment and politics (including government, laws and policies). The findings reveal challenges especially with systematic coordination of NGO interventions, NGO evaluation practices, resources, as well as issues with implementing sustainable community involvement in project design and decision making. Local community involvement is considered important, but in practice is not fully scaled up and inclusive in terms of decision making and consistent involvement. Findings indicate that the cooperation between NGOs and their key stakeholders works reasonably well from the NGO perspective, but still has potential to be better utilized in order to improve long-term sustainability. Consideration of external constraints is important to assess the potential of different types of interventions and approaches, allowing NGOs to focus their efforts according to the context and their capacities. While acknowledging and navigating the diversity of viewpoints, it is essential to be aware of the impact of structural challenges, the political complexity and the often-conflicting interests between conservation, the commercial and extractive sector, as well as local livelihoods and practices. Findings indicate issues with policy implementation and harmonization, and with conservation prioritization and law enforcement by the government. Local and national ownership and leadership backing is seen as essential for biodiversity conservation, pushing for stronger leadership from within the society. My research provides insights, recommendations and conclusions from which NGOs and conservation actors can gain better understanding of factors impacting interventions, as well as on the Malagasy playing field and its dynamics. This can be helpful in order to capitalize on opportunities and counter challenges, focusing actions on areas that make a difference. The findings can also be of value to other biodiversity conservation researchers, funding agencies, associations, communities and government stakeholders specifically focused on Madagascar. The research may also benefit NGOs and conservation actors involved in other countries, which confront similar challenges concerning conservation, governance, NGO involvement and interventions.
  • Lappalainen, Anu (Helsingfors universitet, 2002)
    Madagascar is one of the megadiversity countries of the world and its highly endemic flora and fauna is under threat from a rapidly growing population. Over the past few years many conservation projects have combined development goals with conservation, thus supporting the conservation goal by attempting to ease human pressure on the protected area. The objective of this study is to investigate the views and opinions of local people with regard to Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. This study examines the changes the park has brought to peoples’ lives, general attitudes towards the environment and conservation as well as opinions about the park management. The main information presented in this study was obtained from 121 interviews completed in six villages. Three of them are situated close to the park and they have received intentional development interventions from the authorities. Another three lie further away and have no official connections with the park. The study will investigate how distance and interventions affect peoples views and opinions. The information obtained represents independent opinions from a random sample of the resident population. All the schools of each village were visited and over 400 pupils responded to a questionnaire about the environment. In addition to this the NGO's, local authorities, health centres, churches and a family planning clinic, were consulted in order to gain a thorough picture of the communities views. People in the villages closest to the park have obtained employment through tourism and research. Other positive effects include assistance with new farming methods, the introduction of alternative livelihoods and environmental education. Villagers further away from the park mentioned the slowing down of environmental degradation as the major achievement of the park. The major negative effect is restrictions on usage of the natural resources people depend on. Adequate alternatives are not available and direct compensation for economic losses has not been offered. This study presents people’s suggestions on improving education, management of the park, livelihoods and environment. More efficient development projects that geographically reach further would help the park to achieve its development goals and through that the conservation objectives. The results of this study emphasise the importance of education, which increases people’s awareness of the environmental processes. This enables them to understand the consequences of human activities and gives them an awareness of the consequences of continuing unsustainable use of resources. Decreasing poverty near protected areas is also essential in order to reduce pressure on the environment. A third important issue is the slowing down of population growth. Successful combination of conservation and development requires constant reassessment and responses to changing situations. The survival of Madagascar’s rain forests is a global concern so responsibility and costs must be borne globally, too.
  • Rossini, Michele; Vaz-de-Mello, Fernando Z.; Montreuil, Olivier; Porch, Nicholas; Tarasov, Sergei (2021)
    We describe a new species of dung beetle, Epactoides giganteus sp. nov., from a single female specimen allegedly collected in the 19th century on Reunion island and recently found at the Museum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris. This species differs from other species of Epactoides by larger size and a set of other distinctive morphological characters. Epactoides giganteus sp. nov. is the first native dung beetle (Scarabaeinae) of Reunion, and its discovery expands the known area of distribution of the genus Epactoides, which was hitherto believed to be endemic to Madagascar. Like other taxa from Madagascar and peripheral islands (e.g., Comoro, Seychelles, Mascarenes), E. giganteus sp. nov. may have reached Reunion by over-water dispersal. Given the rapid loss of biodiversity on Reunion island and the fact that no additional specimens were re-collected over the last two centuries, it is very likely that E. giganteus sp. nov. has gone extinct. However, we have unconfirmed evidence that the holotype of E. giganteus sp. nov. might be a mislabeled specimen from Madagascar, which would refute the presence of native dung beetles on Reunion. We discuss both hypotheses about the specimen origin and assess the systematic position of E. giganteus sp. nov. by examining most of the described species of Madagascan Epactoides. Additionally, we provide a brief overview of the dung beetle fauna of Mascarene Archipelago.
  • Rossini, Michele; Montreuil, Olivier; Grebennikov, Vasily; Tarasov, Sergei (2021)
    In this study, we test and corroborate the phylogenetic position of Heterosyphus within Helictopleurus using mitogenomes and nuclear loci. Our recent samplings revealed that males of the former Heterosyphus sicardi Paulian, 1975 (today under Helictopleurus d'Orbigny, 1915) have extraordinary bilateral clypeal horns which are exclusive within the genus. We provide a taxonomic review of the fungicola species group of Helictopleurus and discuss the systematic position of H. sicardi within the group. The male phenotype of H. sicardi is described and photographs of the body and genitalia of the members of the fungicola group are given, as well as a diagnostic key to species of the group. Helictopleurus fungicola peyrierasi is considered to be a distinct species within the genus (H. peyrierasi stat. rest.). Helictopleurus pluristriatus d'Orbigny, 1915 syn. nov. is established as a junior synonym of H. fungicola (Fairmaire, 1899).
  • Lehtonen, J.T.; Mustonen, O.; Ramiarinjanahary, H.; Niemelä, J.; Rita, H. (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001)
    We used logistic and Poisson regression models to determine factors of forest and landscape structure that influence the presence and abundance of rodent species in the rain forest of Ranomafana National Park in southeastern Madagascar. Rodents were collected using live-traps along a gradient of human disturbance. All five endemic rodent species (Nesomys rufus, N. audeberti, Eliurus tanala, E. minor and E. webbi) and the introduced rat Rattus rattus were captured in both secondary and primary forests, but the introduced Mus musculus was only trapped in secondary forest. The abundance of R. rattus increased with the level of habitat disturbance, and it was most common in the heavily logged secondary forest. Furthermore, the probability of the presence of R. rattus increased with decreasing distance from forest edge and decreasing canopy cover, while the probability of presence increased with increasing herbaceous cover, altitude and overstory tree height. The species was never observed farther than 500 m away from human habitation or camp-site. N. rufus prefered selectively-logged forest at altitudes above 900 m a.s.l. Its probability of presence increased with increasing canopy cover, herbaceous cover and distance from forest edge, and with decreasing density of fallen logs, overstory tree height and distance from human habitation. N. audeberti prefered heavily-logged areas, while E. tanala was the only species occurring along the entire range of forest disturbance. We suggest that in the Ranomafana National Park the spread of R. rattus is associated with deforestation.
  • Miraldo, Andreia; Wirta, Helena; Hanski, Ilkka (2011)
    Madagascar has a rich fauna of dung beetles (Scarabaeinae and Aphodiinae) with almost 300 species described to date. Like most other taxa in Madagascar, dung beetles exhibit an exceptionally high level of endemism (96% of the species). Here,we review the current knowledge of the origin and diversification of Malagasy dung beetles. Based on molecular phylogenies, the extant dung beetles originate from eight colonizations, of which four have given rise to extensive radiations. These radiations have occurred in wet forests, while the few extant species in the less successfu lradiations occur in open and semi-open habitats. We discuss the likely mechanisms of speciation and the ecological characteristics of the extant communities, emphasizing the role of adaptation along environmental gradients and allopatric speciation in generating the exceptionally high beta diversity in Malagasy dung beetles. Phylogeographic analyses of selected species reveal complex patterns with evidence for genetic introgression between old taxa. The introduction of cattle to Madagascar 1500 years ago created a new abundant resource, onto which a few species have shifted and thereby been able to greatly expand their geographical ranges.
  • Bistrom, Olof; Nilsson, Anders N.; Bergsten, Johannes (Pensoft Publishers, 2015)
    The African species of the genus Laccophilus Leach, 1815, are revised, on the basis of study of adult specimens. In all, 105 species are now recognized. A phenetic character-analysis was undertaken, which resulted in a split of the genus into 17 species groups. Diagnoses and a description of each species are given together with keys for identification of species groups and species. We also provide habitus photos, illustration of male genitalia and distribution maps for all species. New species are described as follows: L. grossus sp. n. (Angola, Namibia), L. rocchii sp. n. (Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique), L. ferrugo sp. n. (Mozambique), L. furthi sp. n. (Madagascar), L. isamberti sp. n. (Madagascar), L. inobservatus sp. n. (Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Zaire and Asia: Yemen), L. cryptos sp. n. (Zaire, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa), L. enigmaticus sp. n. (Nigeria, Sudan), L. bellus sp. n. (Benin, Nigeria), L. guentheri sp. n. (Guinea, Ghana), L. guineensis sp. n. (Guinea), L. decorosus sp. n. (Uganda), L. empheres sp. n. (Kenya), L. inconstans sp. n. (Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon), L. brancuccii sp. n. (Central African Republic), L. incomptus sp. n. (Cameroon), L. australis sp. n. (Tanzania, South Africa), L. minimus sp. n. (Namibia), L. eboris sp. n. (Ivory Coast), L. insularum sp. n. (Madagascar), L. occidentalis sp. n. (Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Zaire) and L. transversovittatus sp. n. (Madagascar). L. restrictus Sharp, 1882, is restored as good species; not junior synonym of L. pictipennis Sharp, 1882. New synonyms are established as follows: L. continentalis Gschwendtner, 1935 = L. perplexus Omer- Cooper, 1970, syn. n., L. taeniolatus Regimbart, 1889 = L. congener Omer-Cooper, 1957, syn. n., L. adspersus Boheman, 1848 = L. vitshumbii Guignot, 1959, syn. n. = L. adspersus nigeriensis Omer-Cooper, 1970, syn. n. = L. adspersus sudanensis Omer-Cooper, 1970, syn. n., L. modestus Regimbart, 1895 = L. espanyoli Hernando, 1990, syn. n., L. flaveolus Regimbart, 1906 = L. pampinatus Guignot, 1941, syn. n., L. trilineola Regimbart, 1889 = L. simulator Omer-Cooper, 1958, syn. n., L. mediocris Guignot, 1952 = L. meii Rocchi, 2000, syn. n., L. epinephes Guignot, 1955 = L. castaneus Guignot, 1956, syn. n., L. saegeri Guignot, 1958 = L. comoensis Pederzani & Reintjes, 2002, syn. n., L. restrictus Sharp, 1882 = L. evanescens Regimbart, 1895, syn. n., L. incrassatus Gschwendtner, 1933 = L. virgatus Guignot, 1953, syn. n., L. cyclopis Sharp, 1882 = L. shephardi Omer-Cooper, 1965, syn. n., L. burgeoni Gschwendtner, 1930 = L. wittei Guignot, 1952, syn. n., L. secundus Regimbart, 1895 = L. torquatus Guignot, 1956, syn. n., L. desintegratus Regimbart, 1895 = L. sanguinosus Regimbart, 1895, syn. n. and L. flavopictus Regimbart, 1889 = L. bergeri Guignot, 1953, syn. n. = L. segmentatus Omer-Cooper, 1957, syn. n. Lectotypes are designated for the following taxa: L. productus Regimbart, 1906, L. ruficollis Zimmermann, 1919, L. sordidus Sharp, 1882, L. alluaudi Regimbart, 1899, L. pictipennis Sharp, 1882, L. wehnckei Sharp, 1882, L. continentalis Gschwendtner, 1935, L. simplicistriatus Gschwendtner, 1932, L. complicatus Sharp, 1882, L. rivulosus Klug, 1833, L. ampliatus Regimbart, 1895, L. pilitarsis Regimbart, 1906, L. adspersus Boheman, 1848, L. livens Regimbart, 1895, L. modestus Regimbart, 1895, L. nodieri Regimbart, 1895, L. flaveolus Regimbart, 1906, L. pallescens Regimbart, 1903, L. restrictus Sharp, 1882, L. vermiculosus Gerstaecker, 1867, L. mocquerysi Regimbart, 1895, L. bizonatus Regimbart, 1895, L. tschoffeni Regimbart, 1895, L. persimilis Regimbart, 1895, L. poecilus Klug, 1834, L. lateralis Sharp, 1882, L. lateralis var. polygrammus Regimbart, 1903, L. cyclopis Sharp, 1882, L. shephardi Omer-Cooper, 1965, L. conjunctus Guignot, 1950, L. grammicus Sharp, 1882, L. flavoscriptus Regimbart, 1895, L. flavosignatus Regimbart, 1895, L. brevicollis Sharp, 1882, L. secundus Regimbart, L. desintegratus Regimbart, 1895, L. gutticollis Regimbart, 1895, L. luctuosus Sharp, 1882 and L. inornatus Zimmermann, 1926. Laccophilus remex Guignot, 1952, comprises a species complex with uncertain taxonomic delimitation; the complex includes L. concisus Guignot, 1953, L. turneri Omer-Cooper, 1957 and L. praeteritus Omer-Cooper, 1957, as tentative synonyms of L. remex Guignot, 1952.
  • Valkila, Joni (2004)
    Poverty and environmental degradation are intertwined problems in Madagascar. The need to protect Madagascar's unique nature and alleviate desperate poverty in rural areas has created the need to develop rural livelihoods. Beekeeping is one source of livelihood that can be developed to bring food and income in a way that causes minimal harm to environment. This thesis studies the possibilities and constraints of apicultural development in Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar. Using sustainable livelihoods approach as a theoretical framework the thesis studies the current forms of honey production and the possibilities to improve them. The likely impacts of apicultural development on rural poverty and conservation of biodiversity are studied. Social, cultural, economical and ecological factors affecting apicultural development are identified and discussed. The research is based on field work in Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar and literature review on protected areas, bees and tropical beekeeping and the livelihoods of the rural poor. Several types of interviews were used: semi structured interviews, participant observation and PRA methods. Additionally honey samples were collected and analyzed and statistics on honey and beeswax exportation and importation were analyzed. Honey production is an important source of livelihood in Ranomafana National Park and it has a potential to become significantly more important. Current forms of honey production are profitable and require very little investments in terms of money and time. More advanced methods of beekeeping require higher inputs and would provide higher outputs. New and old methods of beekeeping will likely co-exist in Ranomafana National Park in the future. The major constraints and challenges for beekeeping are lack of infrastructure, poor transport conditions, undeveloped markets for, honey and other bee products and the inability of beekeepers to invest in beekeeping equipment. Some honey is currently imported to Madagascar. Madagascar should enforce its legislation that makes possible the prohibition of bee and honey imports. This would prevent importation of bee diseases and parasites into Madagascar. Additionally this would protect Madagascar's own honey production which at the moment can not compete in international honey markets.
  • Bistrom, Olof; Bergsten, Johannes (2016)
    Here we describe two new Hydrovatus species (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae: Hydroporinae: Hydrovatini) from the province of Khon Kaen, Isan region in NE Thailand. Hydrovatus is the third most species rich genus of diving beetles (Dytiscidae). It occurs on all continents except Antarctica and now numbers 210 currently recognized species. Both new species, H. diversipunctatus sp. n. and H. globosus sp. n., were collected at lights and are only known from the type locality "Khon Kaen" (a city and province). Diagnoses based on morphology for the separation from closely related species are given together with illustrations of male genitalia and habitus photos. We provide a determination key to Old World species of the pustulatus species group and to Oriental species of the oblongipennis species group.