Reptiles of the Central Western Ghats, India — A Reappraisal and Revised Checklist, with Emphasis on the Agumbe Plateau

S.R. Ganesh, S.R. Chadramouli, R. Sreekar, P. Gowri Shankar


We examined the species richness and distribution patterns of reptiles inhabiting the Central Western Ghats Mountains of southwestern India. In the past few years, field work by us as well as our colleagues resulted in a steady stream of several new regional records of species of day geckos (Cnemaspis), skinks (Scincidae), shieldtail snakes (Uropeltidae), bronzeback tree snakes (Dendrelaphis) and coral snakes (Calliophis). Based on our past extensive sampling in the region as a whole and intensive, long-term sampling in the central part, i.e., the Agumbe plateau, we continue to add several additional species of geckos (Gekkonidae), agamids (Calotes), skinks and snakes in this paper. We take a more holistic approach here and revise the checklist of reptiles inhabiting the Central Western Ghats not only by adding all our past and present new regional records but also by deleting some dubious «records» of agamids (Salea) and pitvipers (Trimeresurus) not based on voucher specimens pending the availability of reliable, soundly identified vouchers. As a result, a total of 71 species of reptiles, comprising of 4 chelonians, 24 lizards and 43 snakes are reported here. Our literature review shows that only 11 (out of 71) species were originally described from this region. Our preliminary analysis of area cladogram delineated that despite the many range extensions of «southern» Western Ghats species, the Central Western Ghats reptile fauna is still more similar to the Northern Western Ghats. Our analysis of distribution patterns revealed that half the species are Western Ghats endemics (47%), many are also widespread species (30%) and that the Eastern Ghats and Sri Lankan fauna were only scarcely represented.


latitude; species richness; Calotes; Dendrelaphis; Salea; Trimeresurus; Uropeltidae

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