Dispatches From African Islands

Join Academy scientists as they search for bats, snakes, lizards, frogs, insects, and spiders on the islands of São Tomé and Principé in Africa's Gulf of Guinea.

About 200 miles off the western coast of equatorial Africa, this chain of volcanic tropical islands teems with biological diversity.

Despite the proximity of the islands to mainland Africa and nearly 500 years of Portuguese colonization, the animals here have gone largely unstudied. To address this void, a team of experts from the Academy will document the diversity of everything from mammals to diatoms, or tiny planktonic algae, to conduct the first complete survey of the two islands of São Tomé and Principé.

Frog, genus Nesionixalus thomenis


The fabulous endemic genus, Nesionixalus thomenis, found in a hollow tree at over 1300 meters near Bom Sucesso.
Jens Vindum searches for caecilians, the legless amphibians
Jens Vindum searches leaf litter for caecilians (the endemic legless amphibians - "cobra bobo"
After identifying both recognized and new species from these islands, the team will compare their collection to that of a previous expedition to the nearby island of Bioko. This will help them see what species the islands have in common and help determine how small, isolated populations of these species have evolved.

Under a buttress-rooted tree, Academy Herpetologist Jens Vindum and local children uncovered caecilians (legless amphibians) buried in the leaf litter-a very surprising and exciting find. Discover why as the team of specialists post their latest adventures and discoveries from the Islands on the Science NOW Web site.

Web Links:
Latest Dispatches from São Tomé and Principé
Tomio Iwamoto sampling for mudskippers
Tomio Iwamoto tries sampling mudskippers (Periopthalmus) by fly rod at Pria Dos Conchas,
north end.