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Colby College

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Program Name

Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management

Abstract

Ankarana National Park is home to a diverse population of herpetofauna. In this study, three distinct habitats in and around Ankarana National Park were surveyed for herpetological diversity. These habitats were defined as the deciduous forest located within the “tsingy” limestone karst canyons, the dry deciduous forest outside of the canyons, within the borders of the park, and the anthropogenically affected forest outside of the park’s borders, which is subject to logging and fruit tree harvesting. A total of 27 species of herpetofauna – six amphibian and 21 reptile species were found over the course of twelve days of surveying by transect walk and opportunistic search. Of the species found, 88.9% were endemic to Madagascar, 22.2% were endemic to Ankarana or the surrounding region and 7.4% were originally endemic to Madagascar but have since been introduced to surrounding areas. Notable species found during the study include Uroplatus henkeli, listed as “Vulnerable” by IUCN Red List, and Lygodactylus expectatus and Lygodactylus rarus, both of which are endemic to Ankarana and listed as “Nearly Threatened”. Highest species richness and Shannon-Wiener diversity and evenness were found in the tsingy habitat. All of these factors were lowest in the dry deciduous habitat. The tsingy and anthropogenically affected habitats were also calculated to be the most similar according to the Jaccard index. Future studies should survey the same areas using trapping methods and complete nocturnal surveys that were not used during the course of this study. They should also explore other habitats within the park. The data gathered in this study can be used to assess the effectiveness of park management currently in place and to improve management practices going forward.

Disciplines

Animal Sciences | Biodiversity | Environmental Sciences | Environmental Studies | Other Forestry and Forest Sciences

 

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