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

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


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.


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


Aengals, R.; Kumar, S.V.M.; Palot, M.J. and Ganesh, S.R. 2018. A Checklist of Reptiles of India. 35 pp. Version 3.0. Online publication is available at www.zsi.gov.in (Last update: May 2018).

Alfred, J.R.B.; Das, A.K. and Sanyal, A.K. 2001. Ecosystems of India. Zoological Survey of India, KoIkata, India. 410 pages.

Alves, R.R.N.; Filho, P.G.A.; Vieira, K.S.; Souto, W.M.S.; Mendonça, L.E.T.; Montenegro, P.F.G.P.; Almeida, W.O. and Vieira, W.L.S. 2012b. A Zoological catalogue of hunted reptiles in the semiarid region of Brazil. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 8(17):1-29.

Alves, R.R.N.; Vieira, W.L.S.; Santana, G.G.; Vieira, K.S. and Montenegro, P.F.G.P. 2013b. Herpetofauna used in traditional folk medicine: Conservation Implications. In: Animals in Traditional Folk Medicine: Implications for Conservation., Volume 1. p. 109-133. Alves, R.R.N., Rosa, I.L. Ed., Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, Germany.

Babu, G.N.M. 2013. A Note on the Floristic Diversity and Ethno-botany of Chitradurga District. Expert Committee, Honorable National Green Tribunal (South Zone), Centre of Excellence of Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Bastin, J.F.; Berrahmouni. N.; Grainger, A.; Maniatis, D.; Mollicone, D.; Moore, R.; Patriarca, C.; Picard, N.; Sparrow, B.; Abraham, E.M.; Aloui, K.; Atesoglu, A.; Attore, F.; Bassüllü, Ç.; Bey, A.; Garzuglia, M.; García-Montero, L.G.; Groot, N.; Guerin, G.; Laestadius, L.; Lowe, A.J.; Mamane, B.; Marchi, G.; Patterson, P.; Rezende, M.; Ricci, S.; Salcedo, I.; Diaz, A.S.; Stolle, F.; Surappaeva, V. and Castro, R. 2017. The extent of forest in dryland biomes. Science 356(6338):635-638.

Biju, S.D. 2001. A synopsis to the frog fauna of the Western Ghats, India. Occasional Publication of the Indian Society for Conservation Biology (ISCB), Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram, India. 24p.

Ceballos, G.; Ehrlich, P.R.; Barnosky, A.D.; García, A.; Pringle, R.M. and Palmer, T.M. 2015. Accelerated modern human-induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction. Science Advances 1(5):e1400253.

Champion, S.H. and Seth, S.K. 1968. A revised survey of the forest types of India. Manager of Publications, Delhi, India.

Conant, R. and Collins, J. 1998. Reptiles and amphibians: Peterson field guides, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, USA.

Connelly, S. 2019. Herpetofauna and Ecosystem health. In: Mader's Reptile and Amphibian Medicine and Surgery, P. 1429. Stephen, J. D. and Scott J. S. Ed., Saunders; 3rd edition. https://doi.org/10.1016/C2014-0-03734-3.

Cortés, A.M.; Ramírez-Pinilla, M.P.; Suárez, H.A. and Tovar, E. 2008. Edge effects on richness, abundance and diversity of frogs in Andean cloud forest fragments. South American Journal of Herpetology 3:213-222.

Cottam, G. and Curtis, J.T. 1956. The Use of Distance Measurements in Phytosociological Sampling. Ecology 37:451-460.

Crump, M.L. and Scott Jr, N.J. 1994. Visual encounter surveys. In: Measuring and Monitoring Biological Diversity: Standard Methods for Amphibians, p. 84-92. Heyer, W.R., Donnelly, M.A., McDiarmid, R.W., Hayek, L.C., Foster, M.S., Ed., Smithsonian Institution: Washington, DC.

Cruz-Elizalde, R.; Ramírez-Bautista, A.; Hernández-Ibarra, X.; Wilson, L.D. 2016. Species diversity of amphibians from arid and semiarid environments of the Real de Guadalcázar State Reserve, San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Natural areas journal 36(3):302-310.

Daniel J.C. 2002. The book of Indian reptiles and amphibians, Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford University Press.

Daniels, R.J. 1991. The Amphibian fauna of Karnataka: what does it suggest? Karnataka State Environment Report, Center for Ecological Science, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 5: 79-85.

Daniels, R.J.R. 1992. Geographical distribution patterns of amphibians in the Western Ghats, India. Journal of Biogeography 19:521-529.

Daniels, R.J.R. 2005. Amphibians of Peninsular India. Indian Academy of Sciences, University Press.

Das, I. 1996. Biogeography of the Reptiles of South Asia. Krieger Publishing Company, Florida. 87 pp+36plates.

Das, I. 2003. Growth of Knowledge on the Reptiles of India, with an Introduction to Systematics, Taxonomy and Nomenclature. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 100(2&3): 447-501.

Das, I. and Dutta, S.K. 1998. Checklist of the amphibians of India, with English common names. Hamadryad-Madras 23:63-68.

Díaz, S.; Fargione, J.; Chapin III, F.S. and Tilman, D. 2006. Biodiversity loss threatens human well-being. PLoS biology 4(8): e277.

Dilhan, M.A.A.B.; Samarawickrama, V.A.M.P.K.; Ranawana, K.B.; Gunatileke, I.A.U.N.; Gunatileke, C.V.S. and Yakandawala, D.M.D. 2004. Herpetofaunal Diversity in the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple wildlife Santuary, Karnataka India. Proceedings of the Peradeniya University Research Sessions. Sri Lanka.

Dinesh, K.P.; Radhakrishnan, C.; Gururaja, K.V.; Deuti, K. and Bhatta, G.K. 2013. A Checklist of Amphibia of India with IUCN Red List Status, Updated till April 2013. https://indiabiodiversity.org/biodiv/content/documents/document-8e24da1a-e893-4400-9d35-b2f80d1231d5/381.pdf. Accessed on 28 May 2021.

Dinesh, K.P.; Radhakrishnan, C.; Channakeshavamurthy, B.H.; Deepak, P. and Kulkarni, N.U. 2019. A Checklist of amphibians of India with IUCN conservation status. Version 2.0. Online publication is available at www.zsi.gov.in Updated till January 2019. (online only)

Durant, S.M.; Pettorelli, N.; Bashir, S.; Woodroffe, R.; Wacher, T.; De Ornellas, P.; Ransom, C.; Abáigar, T.; Abdelgadir, M.; El Alqamy, H.; Beddiaf, M.; Belbachir, F.; Belbachir-Bazi, A.; Berbash, A.A.; Beudels-Jamar, R.; Boitani, L.; Breitenmoser, C.; Cano, M.; Chardonnet, P.; Collen, B.; Cornforth, W.A.; Cuzin, F.; Gerngross, P.; Haddane, B.; Hadjeloum, M.; Jacobson, A.; Jebali, A.; Lamarque, F.; Mallon, D.; Minkowski, K.; Monfort, S.; Ndoassal, B.; Newby, J.; Ngakoutou, B.E.; Niagate, B.; Purchase, G.; Samaïla, S.; Samna, A.K.; Sillero-Zubiri, C.; Soultan, A.E.; Stanley Price, M.R. and Baillie, J.E. 2012. Forgotten biodiversity in desert ecosystems. Science 336(6087):1379-80.

Dutta, S.K. 1997. Amphibians of India and Sri Lanka (checklist and bibliography).Odyssey Publishing House, Bhubaneswar, India.342 pp.

Fisher, R.A.; Corbet, A.S. and Williams, C.B. 1943. The relation between the number of species and the number of individuals in a random sample of an animal population. The Journal of Animal Ecology 12:42-58.

Flores-Villela, O. and Gerez, P. 1994. Biodiversidad y conservación en México: vertebrados, vegetación y uso de suelo. Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y uso de la Biodiversidad, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; México.

Gardner, T.A.; Barlow, J. and Peres, C.A. 2007a. Paradox, presumption and pitfalls in conservation biology: the importance of habitat change for amphibians and reptiles. Biological Conservation 138:166–179.

Gibbons, J.W.; Scott, D.E.; Ryan, T.J.; Buhlmann, K.A.; Tuberville, T.D.; Metts, B.S.; Greene, J.L.; Mills, T.; Leiden, Y.; Poppy, S. and Winne, C.T. 2000. The global decline of reptiles, déjà vu amphibians. BioScience 50:655–666.

Government of India. 2014. Census of India 2011 Karnataka. District census handbook, Chitradurga- 2011. Village and Town directory. Series – 30. Part XII-A. Directorate of Census operations. Karnataka.

Günther, A.C.L.G. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. New Delhi. 452pp.

Hammer, Ø.; Harper, D.A.T. and Ryan, P.D. 2001. PAST: Paleontological Statistics Software Package for Education and Data Analysis. Palaeontologia Electronica 4(1): 9pp.

Hashmi, M.U.A.; Khan, M.Z. and Amtyaz, N.U.H. 2013. Current Status, Distribution and Threats of Varanus Species (Varanus bengalensis and Varanus griseus) in Karachi & Thatta of Sindh. International Journal of Fauna and Biological Studies 1(1): 34-38.

Holing, C.S. 2001. Understanding the complexity of economic, ecological and Social systems. Ecosystems 4:390-405.

Jadesh, M.; Kamble, P.; Manjunath, K.; Ravikiran, K. and Padashetty, S. 2014. A preliminary survey of amphibians and reptiles in around Gulbarga University Campus, Karnataka, India. International Letters of Natural Sciences 22.

Joshi, P.S.; Charjan, A.P. and Tantarpale, V.T. 2017. A Herpetofaunal Inventory of Vidarbha Region, Maharashtra, India. Bioscience Discovery 8(3): 582-587.

Joshi, P.S.; Tantarpale, V.T. and Kulkarni, K.M. 2015. Seasonal diversity and population dynamics of ophidian fauna in Buldhana district, Maharashtra, India. Indian Journal of Scientific Research 6(3):23-28.

Margalef, R. 1958. Information theory in ecology. General Systems 3:36-71.

Mendonça, L.E.T.; Vieira, W.L.S.; Alves, R.R.N. 2014. Caatinga Ethnoherpetology: Relationships between herpetofauna and people in a semiarid region of northeastern Brazil. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 8(1): 24–32.

Murthy, T.S.N. 2010. The Reptile Fauna of India. B.R. Publishing Corporation, New Delhi.

Myers, N.; Mittermeier, R.A.; Mittermeier, C.G.; da Fonseca, G.A. and Kent, J. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403(6772):853-8.

Nath A.; Sutradhar. S.; Mani, A.K.; Vijyan, V.; Kumar, K.; Narayana, B.L.; Naresh, B.; Baburao, G.; Dharwadkar, S.; Krishnan, G.; Vinoth, B.; Maniraj, R.; Reddy, D.M.; Mallaiah, D.A. and Swamy K. 2012. Herpetofaunal assemblage with special emphasis on community structure and spatiality in amphibians of Cauvery delta region, Tamil Nadu. Asian Journal of Conservation Biology 1(2):78-85.

Nath, A.; Singha, H. and Das, A. 2011. Snakes of Bon gaigaon Municipality Area, Assam, India. Reptile Rap 13:9-13.

Nautiyal, S. 2011. Can conservation and development interventions in the Indian Central Himalaya ensure environmental sustainability? A socioecological evaluation. Sustainability Science 6(2):151–167.

Nautiyal, S.; Bhaskar, K.; Khan, Y.D.I. 2015. Biodiversity of semiarid landscape: baseline study for understanding the impact of human development on ecosystems. Springer.

Nautiyal, S.; Bhaskar, K.; Khan, Y.D.I.; Venkateshalu. 2013. Biodiversity Monitoring and its Distribution in and Around Uranium Mining Area of Gogi, Gulbarga (Yadgir), Karnataka: A Case Study. Journal of Biodiversity 4(2):69-77.

Nautiyal, S.; Bhaskar, K. and Khan, Y.D.I. 2018. Biodiversity conservation in semi-arid landscape: Central and North Eastern Dry Zones of Karnataka. ISEC Policy brief -17. http://www.isec.ac.in/Policy%20Brief%2017_Biodiversity_conservation_in_semi_arid_landscape_of_Karnataka_final.pdf.

Nautiyal, S. and Kaechele, H. 2007. Conserving the Himalayan forests: approaches and implications of different conservation regimes. Biodiversity and Conservation 16:3737–3754.

Pie, M.R.; Campos, L.L.F.; Meyer, A.L.S. and Duran, A. 2017. The evolution of climatic niches in squamate reptiles. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 284(1858): 20170268.

Purvis, A. and Hector, A. 2000. Review Getting the measure of biodiversity. Nature 405(6783):212.

Rajashekara, S. and Venkatesha, M. G. 2014. Insectivorous bird communities of diverse agro-ecosystems in the Bengaluru region, India. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies 2(5): 142-155.

Rajashekara, S. and Venkatesha, M.G. 2014. Insectivorous bird communities of diverse agro-ecosystems in the Bengaluru region, India. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies 2(5):142-155.

Ramachandra, T.V.; Chandran, S.M.D.; Joshi N.V.; Gururaja K.V.; Ali S. and Mukri, V.D. 2012 Amphibian Diversity and Distribution in Uttara Kannada District, Karnataka. Sahyadri Conservation Series 18. ENVIS Technical Report 47. Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISC, Bangalore.

Ramesh, T.; Hussain, K.J.; Satpathy, K.K. and Selvanayagam, M. 2013. Community composition and and distribution of herpatofauna at Kalpakkam Nuclear campus, Southern India. Herpatology Notes 6:343-351.

Rao, C.R.N. 1920. Some south Indian Batrachians. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 27(1):119-127.

Rao, C.R.N. 1937. On some new forms of Batrachia from South India. Proceedings: Plant Sciences 6(6):387-427.

Rao, C.R.N. 1922. Notes on Batrachians. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 28(2): 439-447.

Ravichandran, M.S., Krishnan, S. 2006. Amphibia In: Fauna of BiligiriRangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary (Karnataka), Conservation Area Series. 27:223 -232. Director, Z.S.I. Kolkata.

Roth-Monzón, A.J.; Mendoza-Hernández, A.A. and Flores-Villela, O. 2018. Amphibian and reptile biodiversity in the semi-arid region of the municipality of Nopala de Villagrán, Hidalgo, Mexico. PeerJ 6:e4202.

Schimel, D.S. 2010. Drylands in the Earth System. Science 327(5964):418-419.

Semwal, R.L.; Nautiyal, S.; Sen, K.K.; Rana, U.; Maikhuri, R.K.; Rao, K.S.; Saxena, K.G. 2004. Patterns and ecological implications of agricultural land-use changes: a case study from central Himalaya, India. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 102(1):81–92.

Shannon, C.E. and Wiener, V. 1949. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Urbana: University Illinois Press. 1-177.

Sheldon, A.L. 1969. Equitability indices: dependence on the species count. Ecology 50:466-467.

Singh, N.N. and Rai, S. 2000. Relative abundance of different Coccinelids in Mustard ecosystem. Indian journal of Entomology 62(4):422-426.

Smith, M.A. 1935. The fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma: Reptilia and Amphibia. VolII.Sauria. Taylor and Francis, London. (Reprinted 1974, 1995 by Today and Tomorrow’s Printers and Publishers, NewDelhi).

Smith, M.A. 1931. The fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma: Reptilia and Amphibia.Vol.1.Loricata, Testudines, Taylor and Francis, London. (Reprinted 1974, 1995 by Today and Tomorrow’sPrinters and Publishers, NewDelhi).

Srinivsaulu, C.; Srinivasulu, B. and Molur, S. 2014. The Status and Distribution of Reptiles in the Western Ghats, India. Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (CAMP). Wildlife Information Laision Development Society, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

Sutherland, W.J. 2006. Ecological Census Techniques - A Hand Book, Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Thippaiah, H.V. 2010. Plant diversity studies of Jogimatti Scrub Forest, District Chitradurga. PhdThesis, Karnataka University, Dharwad, India.

Tikedar, B.K. and Sharma, R.C. 1992. Handbook of Indian Reptiles. Zoological Survey of India, Kolkota. 250pp+ 42plates.

Velázquez, A.; Mas, J.F.; Bocco, G. and Palacio‐Prieto, J.L. 2010. Mapping land cover changes in Mexico, 1976–2000 and applications for guiding environmental management policy. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 31(2):152–162.

Whitaker, R. and Captain, A. 2004. Snakes of India; the field Guide, Draco books.

Wiens, J.J.; Graham, C.H.; Moen, D.S.; Smith, S.A. and Reeder, T.W. 2006. Evolutionary and ecological causes of the latitudinal diversity gradient in hylid frogs: Tree frog trees unearth the roots of high tropical diversity. The American Naturalist 168(5):579-596.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

COPYRIGHT of this Journal vests fully with the National Instional Institute of Ecology. Any commercial use of the content on this site in any form is legally prohibited.