Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary's Herpetofauan

A female gavial. Abijit Das

 Abhijit Das and colleagues (2012) report on the herpetofaunal of Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, the study site is located in the Terai region of Uttar Pradesh, India, on the border with Nepal. Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary is characterized by extensive alluvial plains, wetlands, grasslands, woodlands and moist forests. The sanctuary is home to large animals such as tiger, elephant, leopard and Gangetic dolphin, and is regarded as an important habitat of the critically endangered Gavialis gangeticus. The Sanctuary also holds a key population of Crocodilus palustris and several freshwater turtle species.

The authors report 10 species of amphibians and 42 species of reptiles from the area and include biological notes on the Gavialis gangeticus and new locality records and natural history information of poorly known species including Polypedates taeniatus and Sibynophis sagittarius.

Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the last remaining Terai ecosystems and thus it is of tremendous conservation concern. Considering the dearth of knowledge on diversity, distribution and natural history of the herpetofauna of the region, the present study assumes significance. However, the field observation of the study is limited to a single peak monsoon month (June–July) and subsequent two visits are during winter month where herpetofaunal activity is limited due to low temperature. Thus it is almost certain that the present inventory only represents a fraction of the actual herpetofaunal assemblage and additional survey will reveal hitherto unrecorded species. The article is available on-line.

Abhijit Das, Dhruvajyoti Basu, Laurel Converse & Suresh C. Choudhury. 2012. Herpetofauna of Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh, India. Zoo 4:2553-2616.

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