The herpetofauna of Queretaro, Mexico: composition, distribution, and conservation status

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Amphibian and Reptile Conservation


The herpetofauna of the state of Queretaro, Mexico, consists of 129 species, including 27 anurans, seven caudates, 92 squamates, and three turtles. Regarding the distribution of the herpetofaunal species among the three recognized physiographic regions in the state, the total number of species ranges from 43 in the Transmexican Volcanic Belt to 102 in the Sierra Madre Oriental. The individual species inhabit from one to three regions (x = 1.6). The majority (78.3%) of the native herpetofauna of Queretaro is found in one or two of the three regions, which is of conservation significance. The majority of the remaining single-region species inhabit the Sierra Madre Oriental (54), followed by 15 in the Central Plateau and eight in the Transmexican Volcanic Belt. The Coefficient of Biogeographic Resemblance (CBR) indicates that the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Central Plateau share the largest number of species (45) due to their adjacent positions, relatively large areas, and because they contain the first and second largest numbers of species. A similarity dendrogram based on the Unweighted Pair Group Method with Arithmetic Averages (UPGMA) demonstrates that the Central Plateau and the Transmexican Volcanic Belt share the highest level of herpetofaunal resemblance (0.60). Within the distributional categories, the largest numbers of species are the country endemics (67 of 129), followed by the non-endemics (60) and the non-natives (2). The principal environmental threats to the herpetofauna of Queretaro are the increasing and unregulated clearing of forests for farming and raising livestock, road construction, the ever-increasing pollution of bodies of water, and the cultural perceptions of various herpetofauna. The conservation status of the native species was evaluated by employing the SEMARNAT (NOM-059), IUCN, and EVS systems, of which the EVS was the most useful. Using the two Relative Herpetofaunal Priority (RHP) methods to designate the rank order significance of the physiographic regions, the highest ranks were obtained for the Sierra Madre Oriental. In considering the features of the three protected areas in Queretaro, we determined that two are located in the Transmexican Volcanic Belt, which is the least important region from a conservation perspective. We also determined that only 79 of the 127 native species recorded from Queretaro are known to occur in any of the three protected areas. Finally, we provide a set of conclusions and recommendations in an effort to ensure the future protection of the herpetofauna of Queretaro.


Biological and Environmental Sciences

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