Operation Wallacea (OpWall) work in the northwest of Madagascar in the area/village of Mariarano, but they don’t work alone. They work with a variety of NGO’s both in country, such as DBCAM, and beyond. Here I’m going to introduce you to one of the smaller lesser known NGO’s that Opwall works with, a Belgian non-profit called BINCO.
Who is BINCO?
Biodiversity Inventory for Conservation (BINCO) is a Belgian based non-profit organisation initiated by five biologists with a drive to help in the preservation of the planets natural resources. BINCO aims to increase awareness and fill a gaps in biodiversity knowledge through the collection and dissemination of data collected both nationally and internationally, on either selected protected areas of on individual species. This is to help them and other gain a better understanding of the plant and animal species that inhabit this planet with. Currently BINCO works in numerous countries an a variety of projects, from Cambodia to Malta to Honduras.
BINCO’s Role in Mariarano, NW Madagascar
Currently BINCO has one major project in Madagascar. This is their ‘Expedition Mahimborondro: A place to feel the clouds‘, working in an area with the Critically Endangered Madagascar pochard. As well as this BINCO works in Mariarano alongside Opwall and DBCAM (Development & Biodiversity Conservation Action for Madagascar), by sending out entomologists, scientists and researchers, both experienced and rising stars, to survey the local area in search of new species and assess those that are already known to science. BINCO’s project in Mariarano is still establishing ground and has only been running for a few short research seasons however the progress they have made in only a short amount of time is a testament to the amazing work of BINCO’s scientists.
New Species: Ghost Spider
Like I said BINCO hasn’t been working within the Mariarano region for a long amount of time however they hit the ground running, and in 2017 the team along with those from DBCAM, OpWall and many others, published a paper documenting the first observations of a new species of Ocyale, Ocyale ghost, within the region.
Firstly a bit of background on the Ocyale genus. Well, Ocyale is a genus of spiders known collectively as Wolf spiders. These relatively large spiders don’t build webs and ambush their prey as they pass close by their burrows, or even in some cases actively seek out and chase down prey. Members of the genus are found across Africa, Asia and the America’s.
Jocque et al. 2017 documented the first observations and described a new species of Ocyale within the Mariarano, Mahajanga region of NW Madagascar, Ocyale ghost. Species names are always an interesting one and usually have some meaning behind them, and this species name is no exception. Named in reference to its white colour (as you can see in the photo), but also after the white wolf Ghost from George R.R Martin’s Game of Thrones. What also makes this species even more interesting is it’s distribution, which is currently very small with low numbers of the species only being found on the sandy beaches surrounding one of the Lakes of Matsedroy. Low number and small distributions are never generally a recipe for success within conservation however since it’s initial documentation various expeditions have looked to document more specimens and document a wider distribution for the species, these are still occurring to this date so definitely watch this space.
Hope you enjoyed finding out a little bit about a really awesome non-profit BINCO and the work they support/carry out in Mariarano, as well as finding out about the equally as awesome Ghost Spider. Why not check out their website, or give them a like on Facebook and a follow on Twitter, to keep up to date with all their latest work.
Till next time