A checklist of the vertebrates of Kerala State, India

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P. O. Nameer
Praveen J
A. Bijukumar
Muhamed Jafer Palot
Sandeep Das
Rajeev Raghavan


Following the first publication on vertebrates of India (Blanford 1888–1890), a huge wealth of information has been compiled on the vertebrate fauna of various biogeographic zones of the country, especially the Western Ghats.  The state of Kerala comprising of a land area of 38,863km2, 590km coastline, an intricate system of backwaters along the coast, tropical moist forests of the Western Ghats, the highly undulating terrain, and the tropical monsoon is a unique geographical and environmental entity rich in biodiversity.  A region-specific checklist that summarises and documents the current status of vertebrate diversity provides benchmark data for documentation and appreciation of biodiversity at regional level.  Further, with the current rate of global biodiversity loss and concordant conservation efforts, the taxonomic community has a greater responsibility to make scientific information available to scientists, policy makers, politicians, research students and all relevant stakeholders, an attempt that has been made in the present paper.  The State of Kerala has 1847 species of vertebrates in 330 families and 81 orders, of which 386 are endemic to the Western Ghats region (of the Western Ghats - Sri Lanka Hotspot), and 205 species as threatened. Six hundred and eighty species of vertebrates of Kerala have been listed in the various schedules of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, while 148 are listed in the different appendices of CITES. 


Article Details

Author Biographies

P. O. Nameer, Associate Professor (Wildlife) & Head Centre for Wildlife Studies, College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University KAU (PO), 680 656, Thrissur, Kerala, India.

P.O. Nameer is Professor and Head of Centre for Wildlife Studies, KAU. His research interest include the taxonomy, biogeography and ecology of vertebrates except fishes.


Praveen J, B-303, ShriramSpurthi, ITPL Main Road, Brookefields, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560037, India

Praveen J is a computer engineer by profession and a hobbyist bird-watcher. He involves in citizen science initiatives that monitor and report spatio-temporal aspects of bird distribution by bridging amateur bird-watcher networks with ecologists and wildlife biologists. He is an Associate Editor of Indian BIRDS journal and his interests include threatened and endemic birds of Western Ghats, pelagic birds of Indian seas and Indian bird rarities. 


A. Bijukumar, Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695581, India

A. Bijukumar is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala, India. His areas of specializations include biodiversity documentation and taxonomy of fish, crustacea and mollsuca.  Currently engaged in projects on biogeography and phylogeography of marine fauna of India.


Muhamed Jafer Palot, Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Western Ghat Regional Centre, Jafar Khan Colony, Eranhipalam, Kozhikode, Kerala 673006, India

Muhamed Jafer Palot is Assistant Zoologist with Zoological Survey of India, Western Ghat Regional Centre, Kozhikode,Kerala, India. He works on taxonomy and ecology of butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles and birds.


Sandeep Das, Forest Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation Division, Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), Peechi, Kerala 680653, India

Sandeep Das is presently a PhD scholar in University of Calicut, Kerala working in Kerala Forest Research Institute. His research interests are in the field of amphibian ecology especially in their breeding behaviour.


Rajeev Raghavan, Center for Taxonomy of Aquatic Animals, Department of Fisheries Resource Management, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS), Kochi, Kerala 682506, India Laboratory of Systematics, Ecology and Conservation, Zoo Outreach Organization (ZOO), Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641035, India

Rajeev Raghavan is an Assistant Professor at the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, Kochi, whose research focuses on generating information and developing methods to support conservation decision-making in tropical freshwater ecosystems. He is the South Asia Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC/WI Freshwater Fish Specialist Group, Coordinator of the IUCN SSC Freshwater Fish Red List Authority and the SSC Freshwater Representative on the IUCN Red List Committee.



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