CEPF Western Ghats Special Series: Status of reptiles in Meghamalai and its environs, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu, India

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S. Bhupathy
N. Sathishkumar


We update the reptile fauna of Meghamalai area, Western Ghats based on a literature review and a recent study (2006-2008) by SACON. In all, 90 species of reptiles belonging to 53 genera and 14 families were reported from this area, which include 30 (33.3%) species endemic to the Western Ghats. Reptiles of the area shared distribution with all biogeographic zones of India, barring the Trans-Himalaya. High species richness in Meghamalai is due to its broader elevation width, presence of both windward and leeward zones and a variety of forest types. Studies conducted after 2006 added several species to the faunal list of the area, but could not record 16 species reported earlier including Hutton’s Pit Viper Tropidolaemus huttoni and the Blue-bellied Tree Skink Dasia subcaeruleum from the area since 1949. Numerically, several species are currently rare, and changes in land use and land cover could have led to reduction in their abundance and local extinction. It is hoped that the recently declared Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary would reduce further degradation of habitats and help conserve biodiversity. Further studies are needed for understanding the ecology of the several species of reptiles found in this and the nearby areas of the Western Ghats.

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