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Inventory and Morphometrics of Anuran Species Found in Mt. Kilala of the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental, Philippines

Kemberly C. Vidal1, Edison D. Macusi1,2,3*, and Amy G. Ponce1

1Institute of Agriculture and Life Sciences (IALS), Davao Oriental State
College of Science and Technology (DOSCST), Mati City, Davao Oriental
2Regional Integrated Coastal Resources Management Center (RIC-XI),
Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology (DOSCST), Mati City, Davao Oriental
3Aquaculture and Fisheries Group, Wageningen University & Research
P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH, Wageningen, The Netherlands

*Corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


ABSTRACT

Mt. Kilala is part of Mt Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary located in Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental, Philippines, which hosts diverse and endemic species of flora and fauna – including amphibians. This inventory of anuran species yielded eight species of anurans that belong to six families. The highest species richness recorded was D=1.010 and species diversity was H'=1.73, which was moderately high, with 48 individual captures recorded in Site 1 (198 masl). The other two sites only yielded two captures in total despite spending 54 person-hours in search of anurans. The most number of anuran species encountered preferred the aquatic microhabitat. Also, the body size of anurans was a better predictor than its weight for the type of habitat it will occupy. The study recorded one Southeast Asia endemic species, two Philippine endemic species, and four Mindanao island endemic species. Most of these species found were located in the aquatic microhabitat that favors reproduction and development. The differences in their relative abundance are a reflection of the species tolerance limits to their habitats. Included in the inventory of species are Megophrys stejnegeri (Taylor, 1920) and Limnonectes magnus (Stejneger, 1909), which were identified as Mindanao island endemic with vulnerable conservation status in the IUCN red list. The advertised calls of various anurans were from four different species, namely: Kalophrynus sinensis (Peters, 1867), Limnonectes leytensis (Boettger, 1893), Polypedates leucomystax (Gravenhorst, 1829), and Staurois natator (Günther, 1859). Specific call parameters make the vocalization of each species unique. This study, along with other literature, confirms that higher elevation sites harbor fewer anuran species. The occurrence of a high number of endemic and vulnerable anuran species in the area indicates the need for practical conservation and protection measures, which include zoning for access and no access parts in the buffer zone – especially those that harbor aquatic habitats.

 

INTRODUCTION

Anurans are considered as one of the most diverse and threatened taxa in the tropical ecosystem. The Philippine anuran fauna consist mostly of the orders Anura and Gymnophiona with the exclusion of Caudata. At present, there are approximately 110 species of anurans in 23 genera of eight families of anurans in the Philippines (Brown et al. 2012). Anurans are considered indicator species in the ecosystem (Plaza & Sanguila 2015; Verdade et al. 2010) because they possess highly permeable skin that is sensitive to environmental stressors such as sudden change in temperature and toxic chemicals (Gonzalez et al., 2004). The population status of anurans is an important indicator of health status of the forest ecosystem as these amphibians are sensitive to environmental change. Moreover, anurans play a vital role in the trophic food chain by serving as prey for predators and food for humans (Cortés-Gomez et al. 2015; Hocking & Babbitt 2014). They are ecologically important as they reduce the population of disease carrying insects such as flies and mosquitoes, thus protecting humans from potential diseases. They also have vital functions in nutrient cycling through waste excretion, direct and indirect pollination, and seed dispersal . . . . read more

 


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