|Atelopus erythropus, Photo credit A. Catenazzi|
Unfortunately the authors report, the montane amphibian fauna within the park and the adjacent Kosñipata valley have recently experienced dramatic declines and local extinctions. The collapse of amphibian diversity and abundance has been more pronounced at mid-elevations (1200-2000 m) and for stream-breeding species. These declines occurred over less than a decade and coincided with the arrival of the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) to southern Peru. The sudden disappearance of a sizable proportion of the montane anuran fauna despite the excellent state of conservation of the forest and protection granted by Manú NP shows that additional conservation actions are needed to preserve amphibian biodiversity.
Squamates and anurans constitute the bulk of reptile and amphibian diversity. Given the wide elevational gradient and large area of montane and high-elevation habitats protected by Manú National Park, the greater relative richness of anurans vs. squamates is probably replicated across several watersheds (and not just the Kosñipata watershed), adds to the species richness.
In an interview with National Geographic, von May said, "Manú now stands as the park or protected area with the highest number of species of amphibians and reptiles on the planet." Follow the link to see more photos of the herpetofauna of Manú.
Prior to this study, Yasuní National Park in Ecuador was first, with 150 amphibian and 121 reptile species. Both Manú and Yasuní protect large areas of lowland rain forest, but Manú also spans high-elevation cloud forests and Andean grasslands.
The report is available on-line in both Spanish and English.
Catenazzi, A., Lehr, E. & von May, R. The amphibians and reptiles of Manu National Park and its buffer zone, Amazon basin and eastern slopes of the Andes, Peru. Biota Neotropica. 13(4): http://www.biotaneotropica.
org.br/v13n4/en/abstract?inventory+bn02813042013 ISSN 1676-0603