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The herpetofauna of Grenada and the Grenada Grenadines: Conservation concerns

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image of Applied Herpetology

Grenada and the politically associated Grenadines harbor 19 species of terrestrial herpetofauna, and four species of marine turtles either nest on their beaches or forage in the surrounding waters. The islands have a 2000-year history of human activity, but the past five centuries had the most adverse impact on the environment. Although some members of the herpetofauna have responded well to dramatically altered habitats (Anolis spp.), others have not (e.g., Eleutherodactylus euphronides). Similarly, the introductions of alien predators (most notably Herpestes javanicus) have likely impacted some species (e.g., Ameiva ameiva, Mabuya sp.), but not others. Several species appear to be genuinely rare (e.g., Clelia clelia, Typhlops tasymicris), and sharp declines in numbers have been documented for the arboreal boa Corallus grenadensis. The future of marine turtles in the area is threatened by habitat destruction (development of beachfront habitat for the tourist industry), slaughter of adults, and poaching of nests. Eco-tourism may hold the key for protection of forested habitats and the herpetofauna of this important group of islands.


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