Predicting seasonal variation in habitat distribution of Himalayan newt (Tylototriton verrucosus) in Darjeeling district, India

Biplab Das, Ashoke Das, Debasmita Saha

Abstract


The Crocodile newt (Tylototriton verrucosus) is the only Urodel present in India and the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972 lists it as an endangered category. In West Bengal, India it is confined to the Darjeeling Himalayan foothills only. For appropriate management strategies, wildlife supervisors need to diagnose the extent of their appropriate habitat and consider its distribution outlines across the landscape. MaxEnt modeling was used in this analysis to assess the effective habitat and seasonal distribution of Crocodile newts’. The results showed that minimum temperature and precipitation are the best predictors of suitable habitat for both year-round and breeding seasons. The breeding season model showed a highly suitable habitat of 66.66 Km2, while the year-round model estimates a highly suitable environment of 56.25 Km2. Our results suggest an increase an increase of around 18.51% landscape area as highly suitable during the breeding season, and minimum temperature regulates such distribution pattern of the newt. These findings can be used to determine the suitable habitat available and to introduce conservation and management action plans so as to increase the desirable habitat and protect the species in the foothills of the Darjeeling Himalayas.


Keywords


Maximum Entropy; Species Distribution; Breeding Season; Modeling; Conservation; Amphibia

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