Conserving the Moroccan Herpetofauna
The herpetofauna of Morocco is characterized by high endemism (27.6%) and species richness (at least 98 species) and is the center of diversity for some reptile genera, such as Acanthodactylus, Chalcides and Blanus. The IUCN Global Category and Criteria suggest 9.7% of Moroccan species are threatened (9.7%) and the percentage increases to 12.4% when applying Regional Category and Criteria. The Kingdom possesses the richest and most varied herpetofauna in the Maghreb and the western Mediterranean. In addition to the endemics a number of European relict species also inhabits the country. Most studies of the fauna have not been concerned with conservation. Philip de Pous and colleagues have now identified those areas with the highest species richness; proposed future important biological and ecological sites and identified priority areas. They found species richness highest in four disjunct areas: the northernmost Tingitana peninsula; the eastern Mediterranean coastline; the Atlantic coastal area; and the Middle Atlas region. And, they identified regions with moderate to locally high richness along the Middle Atlas and High Atlas Mountains and the Sahara desert. Areas with low species richness include the semi-desert plain of Marrakech and the semi-deserts east of the High Atlas. The Anti-Atlas Mountains were also identified as having low species richness.
Pous, P. de, W. Beukema, M. Weterings, I. Dümmer and P. Geniez. 2011. Area prioritization and performance evaluation of the conservation area network for the Moroccan herpetofauna: a preliminary assessment. Biodiversity and Conservation, 20 (1): 89-118, DOI: 10.1007/s10531-010-9948-0.