Reappraisal of Herpetofauna Recorded from Jaffna Peninsula in Northern Sri Lanka with Remarks on Conservation, Diversity, and Distribution

Majintha Madawala, Thilina D Surasinghe, Anslem De Silva, Dinesh Gabadage, Madhava Botejue, Indika Peabotuwage, Dushantha Kandambi, Suranjan Karunarathna


Jaffna peninsula is quite an unexplored area of Sri Lanka’s lowland dry zone. We constructed a species checklist for all herpetofauna of this area based on a short-term field survey, a comprehensive literature review, museum specimens, and observations made by field herpetologists. Based on 200 × 10 m belt transects, we surveyed herpetofauna both during day and night time, in 10 different types of habitats. The species checklist we compiled comprised 44 species of reptiles (including three nationally threatened, one globally threatened, and eight endemic species) and 15 species of amphibians (including one nationally threatened and three endemic species). Based on published literature, museum specimens, expert opinions, and current field survey, we documented 85 species of herpetofauna in this area. Of this entire list, we were unable to record the presence of 25 species through our field survey. Our field survey documented 18 species that were not previously reported from Jaffna Peninsula. Our study revealed that inland water bodies, cultivated lands, home gardens, and coastal beaches are of high importance for native herpetofauna of Jaffna peninsula. Many human disturbances, such as habitat alterations, vengeful killing, consumption overexploitation, and road mortality are the key threats encountered by herpetofauna in Jaffna. Our intention of this study is to compile baseline information on diversity of amphibians and reptiles to support more detailed studies in future and assist conservation and management decisions within the region. We believe that our study will provide a basic foundation for conservation planning and future research.


Amphibians; biodiversity explorations; dry zone; habitats; Red List; Reptiles; threats

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