Patterns of diversity in Neotropical Sankes



Neotropical region and ecoregion limits adopted here (sensu Olson et al., 2001), together with representative snakes species recorded for Central America Montane Forests: 1.1 Boa constrictor, 1.2 Oxybelis aeneus; Amazonia Most Forests: 1.3 Philodryas argentea, 1.4 Rhinobothryum lentiginosum, 1.5 Eunectes murinus, 1.6 Siphlophis compressus, 1.7 Amerotyphlops reticulatus, 1.8 Lachesis muta; Cerrado: 1.9 Imantodes cenchoa, 1.10 Apostolepis flavotorquata, 1.11 Bothrops lutzi, 1.12 Micrurus frontalis, 1.13 Erythrolamprus typhlus, 1.14 Phalotris lativittatus, 1.15 Xenopholis undulatus, 1.16 Oxyrhopus rhombifer, 1.17 Rhachidelus brazili; Chaco: 1.18 Psomophis genimaculatus, 1.19 Philodryas baroni, 1.20 Phimophis vittatus; Guianian Moist Forests: 1.21 Corallus caninus, 1.22 Anilius scytale, 1.23 Amerotyphlops brongersmianus; Caatinga: 1.24 Erythrolamprus viridis, 1.25 Thamnodynastes phoenix, 1.26 Bothrops erythromelas; and in the Atlantic Forest: 1.27 Atractus maculatus, 1.28 Chironius bicarinatus, 1.29 Tropidodryas striaticeps, 1.30 Liotyphlops beui, 1.31 Oxyrhopus guibei, 1.32 Dipsas albifrons, 1.33 Bothrops jararaca, 1.34 Corallus hortulanus, 1.35 Erythrolamprus atraventer. The abbreviations indicate common life habits of the Neotropical snakes: aquatic (Aq), arboreal (Ar), fossorial (F), terrestrial (T). Photograph credits: Cristiano C. Nogueira (10, 12), Crizanto C. Brito (27), Henrique B. Braz (14), Ivan Sazima (24, 35), Luiz C. Turci (7), Marcio Martins (4), Marco Sena (6), Martin Jansen (9, 13, 18, 23, 31), Otavio A. V. Marques (2, 3, 5, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 28, 30, 32), Ricardo J. Sawaya (33), Thaís B. Guedes (1, 8, 11, 25, 26, 29, 34)




A new study demonstrates that Neotropical snake diversity is unevenly distributed, with some ecoregions, such as the Cerrado, containing a disproportionately high diversity. Guedes et al. (2017)  show that merging public and manually compiled data sources is likely to provide the largest taxonomic and geographical coverage for any system under study.

They compiled three datasets for snakes recorded in the Neotropical region, from central Mexico to southern South America, including all Caribbean islands. We included only records identified at the species level. The raw dataset (RD) comprised georeferenced records for snakes downloaded from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. They filtered records linked to specimens, literature occurrences and material samples, leaving out records lacking  vouchers.


The biodiversity metrics of Neotropical snakes reflect patterns previously documented for other vertebrates, suggesting that similar factors may determine the diversity of both ectothermic and endothermic animals. The research suggest conservation strategies for high-diversity areas and sampling efforts be directed towards Amazonia and poorly known species.

Finally, we found highest diversity values in forested areas, reinforcing the need for general habitat protection compared with actions that are targeting specific species.

In order to increase our knowledge about Neotropical snakes, a geographically and taxonomically focused sampling is required, targeting Amazonia and those species whose distributions are so far largely unknown.

Citation

Guedes TB, Sawaya RJ, Zizka A, Laffan S, Faurby S, Pyron RA, Bérnils RS, Jansen M, Passos P, Prudente AL, Cisneros‐Heredia DF. Patterns, biases and prospects in the distribution and diversity of Neotropical snakes. Global Ecology and Biogeography. 2017 Nov.

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