Species Richness of Montane Herpetofauna of Southern Eastern Ghats, India: A Historical Resume and a Descriptive Checklist

S. R. Ganesh, M. Arumugam

Abstract


We examined the amphibian and squamate reptilian species richness of Southern Eastern Ghats based on a long term-field survey with nearly two years of field days. We surveyed high elevation slopes (>900 m a.s.l.) of four select hill ranges namely Jawadi, Shevaroys, Kolli, and Sirumalai hills which comprehensively represented full geographical and spatial coverage. We present a descriptive species-account with basic morphological data supported by voucher photographs. We summarize the history of herpetological explorations in this landscape and also comment on some of the major previous works in the region. Our study revealed the presence of 62 species in the montane zones, including 32 (51%) new records involving all the three target taxa (frogs, lizards and snakes) and all the four hill ranges that testify the poor knowledge on the region’s herpetofauna till date. Lastly, we remark on the unresolved taxonomic status of some species recorded in the present study. We recommend specimen-based revisionary works in the nearby Western Ghats, where such taxa are much more diverse, to enable taxonomic studies in this region.

Keywords


amphibians; hill range; elevation; reptiles; south India; wet forests

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.30906/1026-2296-2019-23-%25s-7-24

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