Documenting Life at Los Amigos: Photo Guide to Reptiles of Los Amigos Now Available

July 22, 2006

Leptophis ahetulla, one of the hundreds of species found in Los AmigosAfter four years of intensive efforts to document the reptile species that live within the Los Amigos Conservation Concession, a team of experts has recently completed a detailed catalog of more than 80 reptile species.

Hundreds of species are still expected to be recorded in the coming years, and as the list grows, so does the chance of engaging the Peruvian government and other organizations in implementing new conservation activities.

“Knowledge of amphibian and reptile communities across Amazonian forests is crucial for understanding how highly diverse the region is and how important it is to preserve its diversity,” explains Rudolf von May, a Peruvian Ph.D. student at Florida International University. Von May has done field work at many sites in Peru, including the Manu Biosphere Reserve and Rio Abiseo National Park, and is currently completing his thesis on “Anuran beta diversity across forest types in a lowland Amazonian rainforest” at the Los Amigos Biological Station.

Along with colleagues Louise Emmons, Guillermo Knell, Jennifer Jacobs, and Lily Rodriguez, von May has now published a downloadable field guide, available at Field Museum of Natural History’s website. Also available at the Field Museum website are guides to several groups of plants prepared by noted botanist Robin Foster and colleagues.

The reptile plates include some species from Peru’s Manu National Park and Tambopata Reserve. Both sites lie adjacent to the Los Amigos biological station and thus share similar ecosystems and species. A similar set of guides is currently being planned for the amphibians at Los Amigos.

“Laminated guides to identify tropical organisms are important tools for research and education,” finalizes von May.

“The study of these organisms and studies on plant and animal life will contribute to regional strategies for conservation.”

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