Sunday, March 2, 2014

Herpetofauna of the the Tay Yen Tu Nature Reserve, Vietnam

Rhynchophis boulengeri , one of the colubrids present at Tay Yen Tu. JCM

The Tay Yen Tu Nature Reserve is located in Bac Giang Province, about 100 km northeast of Hanoi, Vietnam and is situated in the western side of theYen Tu massif, which is the largest granitic formation in northeastern Vietnam. The main habitat of the area is evergreen broad-leaved tropical forest. The total area of the reserve is 16 ha and includes two non-contiguous sectors: the Thanh Son-Luc Son sector and the Khe Ro sector. The Thanh Son-Luc Son sector is centered on the 1,068 m high Mount Yen Tu, while the Khe Ro sector is about 886 m on Mount Da Bac. A comprehensive study on the biodiversity has not been conducted in the reserve to date, However, preliminary field research indicates the area supports a number of species of national or global conservation concern. Four new species have been discovered from Yen Tu Mountain in the last decade: Sphenomorphus cryptotis, Scincella devorator, Tylototriton vietnamensis and Odorrana yentuensis. Additionally, three new country records were recently reported from this nature reserve: Shinisaurus crocodilurus, Amphiesmoides ornaticepsm, and Rhacophorus maximus.  The discoveries of new reptiles and amphibians from Yen Tu Mountains underscore the unrealized biodiversity of northeastern Vietnam. Based on the results of recent field surveys Hetch et al. (2014) provide the first list of amphibians and reptiles recorded from Tay Yen Tu Nature Reserve.

A total of 76 species of amphibians and reptiles were recorded, including one caecilian, one newt, 34 species of anurans, 18 species of lizards, and 22 species of snakes. Thirty species are reported for the first time. Among the recorded species, five are currently known only from Vietnam. A high level of species diversity and endemism of the herpetofauna underscores the importance of biodiversity conservation in this nature reserve, which covers a major part of the remaining lowland evergreen forest in northeastern Vietnam.

Hecht, Vera L., Cuong T. Pham, Tao T. Nguyen, Truong Q. Nguyen, Michael Bonkowski, and Thomas Ziegler.  2014. First report on the herpetofauna of Tay Yen Tu Nature Reserve, northeastern Vietnam. Biodiversity Journal, 4 (4): 507–552.

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