COMPARISON OF HERPETOFAUNAL DIVERSITY IN THREE WETLAND IN HABITATS THE SOUTH-EAST COAST OF SRI LANKA

R.K. RODRIGO1, U.K.G.K. PADMALAL1, C.N.B. BAMBARADENIYA, V.A.M.P.K SAMARAWICKRAMA, N. PERERA, M.S.J. PERERA, T.N. PERIES

Abstract


This comparative study investigates the diversity of herpetofauna in Rekawa, Kalametiya-Lunama and Walawa wetland habitats in the South-East coast of Sri Lanka. Data were gathered in systematic manner at fortnight intervals during 1st October 2002 to 31st March 2003 in selected habitats in three sites. Fifteen amphibians of four families and 43 reptiles of 15 families were recorded in the study area. The endemic species noted consisted of one amphibian species (Rana gracilis) and five reptile species (Lankascincus fallax, Mabuya madaraszi, Sphenomorphus rufogulus, Lycodon osmanhilli and Xenochrophis asperrimus). A higher diversity of herpetofauna was found in Walawa (Shannon index = 0.233) compared with the other two sites (Rekawa=0.176, Lunama-Kalametiya = 0.223) possibly due to numerous habitats associated with the Walawe River. A number of threats to herpetofauna have been identified, among which clearance of habitats, collecting turtle eggs, spread of alien invasive flora and highway accidents can be highlighted.  Sustainable development schemes, awareness programs conducted for the villagers and for the school children and mangrove reforestation are some of recommendation made to conserve the biodiversity of the area including the herpetofauna.

 KEY WORDS: HERPETOFAUNAL, Diversity, Rekawa, Lunama-Kalametiya, Walawa   estuary, South-east coast, Sri Lanka.

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