33 reptile species discovered at Dampa Tiger Reserve

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Guwahati: Sixteen species of snakes have been reported for the primary time from Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram exhibiting the wealthy reptilian variety of the reserve.

A brand new examine on reptilian variety on the Dampa Tiger Reserve (DTR) by researchers from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun (WII) and Mizoram College (MU) recorded 33 species of reptiles – about 27% of the overall reptilian variety recorded from Mizoram. This consists of new distribution data for 16 snake species with observations on uncommon species, together with the Smithophis atemporalis, Smithophis bicolor, and Boiga quincunciata.

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“Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram is teeming with biodiversity, largely with the denizens of lowland tropical evergreen forests,” Abhijit Das of the WII and the corresponding creator of the examine informed EastMojo.

Northeast Vine Snake (Picture credit score: Abhijit Das)

The examine, which is the results of two separate discipline surveys in March and September 2021, has been printed within the Journal of Threatened Taxa.

The authors of the examine titled ‘An up to date guidelines of reptiles from Dampa Tiger Reserve, Mizoram, India, with sixteen new distribution data‘, included Abhijit Das, school within the division of Endangered Species Administration at WII; Malsawmdawnglianais, researcher within the division of Environmental Science at MU; Bitupan Boruah, researcher at WII, Naitik Patel, PhD pupil at WII; Samuel Lalronunga, postdoctoral researcher at division of Zoology, MU; Isaac Zosangliana and Okay. Lalhmangaiha, naturalists with curiosity in herpetology.

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Whereas the herpetological season in Northeast is the monsoon interval, June-July, the survey was accomplished pre and put up monsoon.

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The researchers surveyed the area for 4 days every within the months of March and September, the non-peak herpetological season, and located 33 species of lizards and snakes. Of those, about 16 species had been recorded for the primary time from the protected space.

“With the up to date guidelines on reptilian variety of Dampa, the species richness now stands at a staggering 54 species,” Das mentioned.

Emma Forest Lizard (Picture credit score: Abhijit Das)

The systematic herpetofauna (the reptiles and amphibians of the area) stories from the protected areas of the state had been to this point solely partially obtainable from the Nengpui Wildlife Sanctuary and the Dampa Tiger Reserve. The examine, nonetheless, addresses the hitherto unknown richness of reptilian species at Dampa Tiger Reserve and presents an up to date guidelines on the reptile fauna. 

“I really feel that that is only a tip of the iceberg. Very shy and secretive, extremely seasonal, fossorial or largely arboreal species stay to be recorded,” Das mentioned, who believes that a lot will now depend upon the native younger herpetologists to maintain an eye fixed for the rarer ones.

The snake species reported for the primary time from DTR embrace Hebius khasiensis, Rhabdophis himalayunus, Smithophis bicolor, Smithophis atemporalis, Boiga ochracea, Boiga quincunciata, Oligodon cf. cinereus, Oligodon dorsalis, Dendrelaphis cyanochloris, Ahaetulla flavescens, Pseudoxenodon macrops, Pareas monticola, Naja kaouthia, Bungarus fasciatus, Trimeresurus erythrurus, and Agyrophis diardiiwere.

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Map of Dampa Tiger Reserve highlighting the 2 vary headquarter village viz., Teirei Village and Phuldungsei village

Situated in Mamit District of Mizoram alongside the Bangladesh border, the pure vegetation of the Dampa Tiger Reserve is tropical evergreen to semi-evergreen forest. The area additionally has one of many final remaining pure low-to-mid-elevation forests in western Mizoram.

The examine was carried out in Phuldungsei and Teirei. Within the Phuldungsei vary, surveys had been accomplished alongside the Saithah to Phuldungsei highway and within the Teirei vary, surveys had been carried out alongside the Teirei to Damparengpui village highway. Each the highway segments kind the boundary between the core and buffer of DTR.

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Visible encounter surveys and opportunistic searches had been additionally deployed to evaluate the reptilian variety throughout the survey interval. Knowledge on road-killed specimens discovered throughout the survey interval had been additionally recorded.

In the current examine, 10 species of lizards from 4 households and eight genera; 23 species of snakes from seven households and 16 genera had been documented. Among the many 33 species of reptiles, one species was recognized as ‘Close to Threatened’, one species recorded as ‘Knowledge Poor’ and the remainder had been recognized as ‘Least Concern’ or ‘Not Evaluated as per the IUCN Purple Listing’.

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Banded Krait (Picture credit score: Abhijit Das)

Mizoram is the southernmost state in northeastern India and part of the India-Myanmar biodiversity hotspot. Low to mid-elevation hill slopes with intensive forested tracts are contributing components to its native biodiversity. The reptilian variety of the state to this point contains greater than 60 species of snakes.

The primary try to doc the herpetofauna of DTR was made about twenty years in the past, which recorded 22 species of amphibians, 16 species of lizards, seven species of snakes, and 4 species of cheloneans.  

“The most quantity of encounters throughout the examine had been recorded from roadside vegetation, forest trails and streams flowing alongside the roadside whereas there have been only a few encounters within the oil palm plantation,” the examine has famous.

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It mentioned growth of highway networks was one of the main threats to wildlife because of habitat destruction and inhabitants fragmentation.

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Research have proven the impression of roads as manifested within the direct mortality of wildlife by way of wildlife-vehicle collisions. Automobile collisions are a significant reason for mortality for all kinds of herpetofauna.

Bicolor Snake (Picture credit score: Abhijit Das)

“Through the survey at DTR, the researchers noticed a road-killed gravid feminine Trimeresurus erythrurus. As a lot as highway connectivity is important for the communities residing in the perimeter villages of DTR, detailed research on the impression of  roads on the wildlife of DTR usually and herpetofauna, particularly, will assist in formulating mitigation measures,” researchers related to the examine mentioned.

The researchers hoped that the native herpetofauna variety stock introduced on this examine will finally contribute to the understanding of biodiversity and will probably be worthwhile data for coverage makers.

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