Luu, Vinh Quang (2016). The taxonomy, zoogeography and ecology of amphibians and reptiles of Hin Nam No National Protected Area (Laos) in comparison with data from Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park (Vietnam). PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.


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In this thesis the mostly unknown herpetofauna in Hin Nam No National Protected Area Laos in the northern Truong Son Range was for the first time intensively investigated, and its diversity was compared to the bordering, and well-investigated Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam. Twelve new vertebrate species were described comprising 11 geckonids (Cyrtodactylus bansocensis, C. calamei, C. hinnamnoensis, C. jaegeri, C. rufford, C. sommerladi, C. soudthichaki, Gekko boehmei, G. bonkowskii, G. sengchanthavongi, G. thakhekensis, Lycodon banksi and one colubrid snake (Lycodon banksi). Seven species were discovered for the first time in Laos including three frogs (Gracixalus quyeti, G. supercornutus, Rhacophorus maximus), two geckos (Cyrtodactylus cryptus, C. pseudoquadrivirgatus) and two snakes (Lycodon futsingensis, L. ruhstrati abditus). The main hypothesis that the Truong Son Range acted as a biogeographic barrier for the distribution of amphibians and reptiles could be confirmed at least for karst adapted gekkonids. Compared to other herpetofaunal groups the number of gekkonids in karst formations was particularly high (seven bent-toed geckos, four true geckos). By comparing the relative amounts of shared species in Hin Nam No and Phong Nha - Ke Bang, it is interesting to note that fewer reptile species (38%) than amphibian species (66%) were shared between both regions. This might indicate that the Truong Son Range acts as a stronger biogeographical barrier for reptiles than for amphibians. Two pairs of karst-adapted cryptic gecko species (i.e. species with distinct genetic differences, but a similar phenotype) occurred on both sides of the Truong Son Range. Only in one case these were sibling species (Crytodactylus sommerladi in Laos versus C. roesleri in Vietnam), but not in the other (C. hinnamnoensis in Laos versus C. phongnhakebangensis in Vietnam). On the Laotian side, nine gecko species (Cyrtodactylus bansocensis, C. calamei, C. darevskii, C. hinnamnoensis, C. khammouanensis, C. multiporus, C. sommerladi, G. boehmei, G. sengchanthavongi) currently have to be regarded as endemic to the Hin Nam No region. On the Vietnamese side, seven species including two bent-toed geckos (Cyrtodactylus phongnhakebangensis and C. roesleri), three skinks (Lygosoma boehmei, Sphenomorphus tetradactylus and Tropidophorus noggei), and two snakes (Hebius andreae and Boiga bourreti) are currently only known from Phong Nha - Ke Bang and adjacent regions. These high numbers of potential endemic species together with the cryptic species complex in Cyrtodactylus provide strong evidence that the karst formations in the northern Truong Son Range represent a hot spot of reptile diversity and of speciation in Crytodactylus in particular. Correct species identification is a fundamental requirement for conservation measures. The discovery of cryptic species complexes poses a challenge for alpha taxonomy and species conservation, because the true distribution ranges of the species are in fact much smaller than previously assumed. Species conservation in this area of Laos is facing a number of further problems. New and potentially endemic species were discovered in highly populated and disturbed areas. Conversion of the Ho Chi Minh Trail into a highway provided easy access for farmers and still continues to accelerate the destruction of remote forest areas. Southern Hin Nam No with its high diversity of endemic species was identified as the first priority area for conservation. Also Ban Soc, an area isolated from Hin Nam No, should be among the conservation priorities because this region houses a so far overlooked population of the critically endangered Siamese crocodile. Efforts to establish a legal conservation status for this habitat are in progress.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Luu, Vinh
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-70520
Date: 2016
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences > Department of Biology > Zoologisches Institut
Subjects: Natural sciences and mathematics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Date of oral exam: July 2016
NameAcademic Title
Bonkowksi, MichaelProf. Dr.
Ziegler, ThomasPD Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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