Herpetofaunal diversity in Chitradurga district, Karnataka: A Semi-Arid Landscape in Southern India

Y.D. Imran Khan, Meenakshi Negi, Sunil Nautiyal, Melally G Venkatesha

Abstract


Herpetofauna, both amphibians and reptiles have been dealt with at length by biodiversity studies as part of studying animal groups. Among all animal groups, herpetofauna is a flagship group in both the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and play an important role in the food chain. In this context, a study was conducted in the semi-arid Chitradurga district located in the state of Karnataka, India. This semi-arid region experience high temperatures with moderate annual rainfall. The semi-arid environment plays a major role in the distribution and diversification of taxa.  The present study was aimed at compiling an inventory and the diversity status of the herpetofauna of Chitradurga district to understand the structure and composition of herpetofaunal communities. Data collection was carried out from August 2014 to July 2016. Standard ecological method i.e. Visual Encounter Survey (VES) was adopted for enumerating the Herpetofaunal species. We documented 29 herpetofaunal species belonging to nine families. Among these species, six were amphibians and 23 were reptiles. Among amphibians and reptiles Dicroglossidae and Gekkonidae were the most dominant families. Amphibian diversity was more during and after rainy seasons. Whereas, reptiles diversity was more during summer and rainy seasons. Most of the herpatiles were observed in and around agricultural and barren habitats. The region was subjected to enormous pressure on natural resources due to human activities. As Chitradurga district is located in the heart of Deccan plateau under a semi-arid region of the country, this could be one of the promising regions for undertaking detailed herpetological studies.


Keywords


Amphibians; Reptiles; Semi-arid Environment; Biodiversity; Deccan plateau

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