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The St. Vincent (Lesser Antilles) herpetofauna: Conservation concerns

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The Lesser Antillean island of St. Vincent harbors 18 species of terrestrial amphibians and reptiles: four frogs (including the endemic Pristimantis shrevei), one turtle, ten lizards (including endemic Anolis griseus and A. trinitatis), and three snakes (including endemic Corallus cookii and Chironius vincenti). In addition, four species of marine turtles are known from the region. Ecological relationships of an introduced frog (E. johnstonei) and an introduced lizard (A. sagrei) should be monitored in order to evaluate any potentially negative impact on endemic congeners. Two endangered endemic species (P. shrevei and C. vincenti) may benefit from sympatry with the endemic parrot, Amazona guildingii, the national bird of St. Vincent, with which they share high-quality upland forest habitat. Like other West Indian herpetofaunas, that on St. Vincent faces threats that include dramatic habitat alterations, introduced predators (mongooses, domestic cats) and competitors (e.g., A. sagrei), changes in the prey base, and the potential introduction of the chytrid fungus. These threats can best be addressed by development and implementation of effective management programs based on ecological studies by local and foreign biologists.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Avila University, Kansas City, Missouri 64145, USA; 2: Section of Vertebrate Zoology, Milwaukee Public Museum, 800 W. Wells St., Milwaukee


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