Exploration of the Herpetofaunal in Phu Yen Province, Vietnam

11 Jan 2023 Krong Trai Nature Reserve, Vietnam, Asia Amphibians | Biodiversity | Reptiles

Cuong The Pham

Vietnam is recognized as one of the countries with a high level of biodiversity in the world (Joao et al. 2013). Reptiles and amphibians are two groups of vertebrates that contain many new discoveries, for instance, three new genera and more than 200 new species have been described in Vietnam since 2010. The number of recorded species from the country has strikingly increased from 545 in 2009 to 800 in 2022 (Frost 2022, Uetz et al. 2022). However, reptiles and amphibians are threatened by extinction due to habitat loss and degradation, followed by overharvesting, invasive species, pollution, diseases, and climate change (Achard et al. 2002, Stuart et al. 2004). According to IUCN (2022) about 41% of amphibian species and 21% of reptile species in the world are threatened in different categories. In Vietnam, 25% of the recorded species of reptiles and amphibians are under threatened, comprising 200 species listed in the IUCN Red List (2022) and 52 species listed in the governmental decrees.

Odorrana gigatympana (Big-eared Odorous Frog). © Pham The Cuong.

Odorrana gigatympana (Big-eared Odorous Frog). © Pham The Cuong.

Krong Trai Nature Reserve is located in Phu Yen Province, South Central Vietnam with a total area of 23.000 ha of evergreen forest (Statistical Office of Phu Yen Province 2016). Although it was established in 1990, however, the biodiversity of this nature reserve is poorly studied, and nothing is known about the herpetofauna. This protected area is situated in the transition zone between the Central Highlands of Vietnam and the coastal area at elevations below 1.000 m (Sterling et al. 2006) and it is expected that the herpetofauna of Krong Trai NR will contain a high level of species richness, including unnamed taxa. In addition, conservation need assessment will also help local authorities in biodiversity conservation planning and resource management in Phu Yen Province.

The main objective of the project:

- Evaluate diversity of reptiles and amphibians in Krong Trai Nature Reserve, Phu Yen Province, including discovery of new species or new distribution records of reptiles and amphibians for Vietnam and studied sites.

- Providing updated data about distribution patterns, similarity in the species composition of the herpetofauna communities based on geographic sites, habitat types, and altitudinal gradient.

- Identification of important sites for conservation based on the diversity of species, number of endemic and rare species, area and quality of forests, and impact level.

- Evaluate major threats to the herpetofauna in Krong Trai Nature Reserve, Phu Yen Province and providing recommendations for conservation measures.

Header: Acanthosaura capra (Green Pricklenape). © Pham The Cuong.

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