The Nguru mountains of Tanzania, an outstanding hotspot of herpetofaunal diversity

Michele Menegon, Nike Doggart, Nisha Owen


Despite the vicinity of a major road, the rainforests of the South Nguru Mountains in eastern Tanzania were virtually unexplored until 2004, particularly from a herpetological point of view. Several surveys were conducted between 2004 and 2006 with the aim of providing a comprehensive list of the amphibian and reptile species of this overlooked hotspot of biological diversity. The surveys resulted in this assessment of the herpetofaunal diversity, with 92 species recorded, of which 15 represent new records for this area, and the discovery of 16 species new to science, all of which are likely to be strictly endemic to the Nguru Mountains. Pressure on the forests, particularly the lowland forests, remains high. A conservation planning process is now underway that is attempting to address the loss of these critically important forests. These results, documenting the high species richness and the outstanding number of putative endemics of the forests, strongly highlight the biological importance of the South Nguru Mountains and place them among the most important sites for the conservation of herpetofauna in Africa.

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