Rufford Small Grant 13880-1. Progress Report – Page
Contributions from science and social awareness for the conservation of Chaco reptiles in Argentina
Rufford Small Grant
Diversity of Chaco reptiles is probably underestimated due to the paucity of systematic samplings. Along with the high deforestation rates threatening reptile habitats in the Chaco, people from small urban/rural towns and villages usually kill them because of fear or aversion. In this project we intend to contribute to Chaco reptiles’ conservation in two ways: by increasing scientific data on reptile diversity, abundance and distribution, and also by improving the popular knowledge to relief the pressure on reptiles, to decrease the incidence of bad practices in case of accidents, and to increase the chances of surviving accidents with poisonous snakes.
Status: At schedule
We bought the basic equipment to set trap arrays for sampling reptiles, in two localities. Between November 2013 and March 2014 we sampled one site at Sierra Chaco in Córdoba (central Argentina), and one site at Humid Chaco in Formosa, northern Argentina. This was the first time traps were used to sample herpetofauna in those sub-ecoregions.
The first sampling was conducted in the Humid Chaco of the province of Formosa from November/2013 to march/2014. Trap arrays used were highly effective to capture both reptiles and amphibians (not included in the original proposal). In this fieldtrip we captured eight lizard species, one amphisbaenid and ten snake species (Table 1), and 29 amphibian species (Table 2). The most common species are shown in Figure 1.
Of the species captured, one lizard of the genus Teius is probably a new, undescribed species. Along with this, we reported the first record of the genus Chiasmocleis for Argentina, with the probable addition of one Physalaemus species for the herpetofauna of the Chaco.
In the second fieldtrip we sampled one locality at Sierra Chaco, in a recently created Natural Reserve (Reserva Privada Los Chorrillos), testing the efficiency of two models of funnel traps to be used in combination with drift fences. These traps will allow us to sample other localities of the Sierra Chaco more effectively. During our sampling at Los Chorrillos we captured five lizard species (and recorded two more through observation), five snake species, one amphisbaenid, and eight amphibian species (Table 3).
The funnel traps used were effective and will be used in future samplings where the use of pitfall traps is not possible. In the next summer we expect to sample more localities of the Sierra Chaco using this methodology combined with active searching techniques.
The results of both samplings were reported to governmental agencies of the provinces of Formosa and Córdoba, and to the authorities of Reserva Privada Los Chorrillos. In our educational activities we will work in collaboration with personnel of the Reserve to promote the conservation of native herpetofauna to visitors, schools and authorities of neighbor cities. We are creating printed material and we will use internet and digital material to promote the results of our project to larger areas.
We've created a web page of the project within the Lab's site at http://pelegrinnicolas.wix.com/lecoherp where we will show the progress of this study and will promote the activities to be carried on in the future.
Table 1: List of reptiles captured in the Humid Chaco.
Lizards (9 species)
Snakes (10 species)
Erythrolamprus aff. miliaris orinus
Erythrolamprus poecilogyrus caessius
Phalotris aff tricolor
Chironius quadricarinatus maculoventris
Table 2: List of amphibians captured in the Humid Chaco.
Amphibians (39 species)
Dendropsophus aff. sanborni
Physalaemus aff. nattereri
Table 3: List of species captured in the Sierra Chaco.
Figure 1. Most common reptile species captured in the Humid Chaco of Formosa, Argentina. References :A.- Ameiva ameiva, B.- Teius teyou, C.- Thyplops brongesmianus, D.- Epictia poecillogyrus caesius, E.- Notomabuya frenata. Credits: Nicolás Pelegrin
Figure 2: Most common reptile species captured in the Sierra Chaco of Córdoba, Argentina. References: A.- Bothrops diporus, B.- Micrurus pyrrhocryptus, C.- Tropidurus spinulosus, D.- Homonota fasciata. Credits: Nicolás Pelegrin.