Amphibians Diversity (Amphibia: Anura) at Hotel Tree of Life, Kandy

P. Perera, T. Somarathne

Abstract


The Hotel Tree of Life is situated in a 26 ha land area at Barigama (7°31‟84”N 80°57‟74”E)
in Kandy district, central Province of Sri Lanka. This hotel was established in an old tea
estate premises that was present about 100 years ago. During the last 100 years, upon
abandoned, the tea estate had overgrown into a private owned secondary forest. The area now
consists of a 25 ha forest that is owned and managed by the hotel.

The study was conducted from August 2014 to July 2015 in the hotel and the adjacent forest
area. Visual encounter (assisted by the calls) sampling method was used during day and night
sampling. Four species from the Critically Endangered (CR) Red Data category were again
patch sampled for micro-habitat, by using quadrat (1×1 m2). Minimal disturbance to habitat
was considered a priority at all sampling locations. Different micro-habitats were sampled to
obtain an overall diversity reading to find out the observable diversity of amphibians in the
hotel. All sampled species were handled, using capture and released at the same location.
After having the quadrate sampling, it was found that one location had a diverse population
of Pseudophilautus zorro known to be CR. One of the rare findings was the Pseudophilautus
cf semiruber that was found in the hotel executive staff quarters. The species was
rediscovered after 99 years in 2012 and known to be Data Deficient (DD).

19 species of amphibians from six families were found during the study (one species
Lankanectus corrugatus is an endemic genus to Sri Lanka). From those identified, 14 species
(74%) are endemic and five are non-endemic (26%). Family Bufonidae (Duttaphrynus
melanostictus), Ranidae (Hylarana gracilis), Dicroglossidae (Ramanella obscura),
Microhylidae (Zakerana keertisinghei, Z. syhadrensis, Hoplobatrachus crassus, Euphlyctis
cyanophlyctis, E. hexadactylus), Nyctibatrachidae (Lankanectes corrugatus), Rhacophoridae
(Polypedates cruciger, Pseudophilautus pleurotaenia, P. fergusonianus, P. cavirostris, P.
zorro, P. semiruber, P. rus, P. popularis, P. hallidayi, P. schneideri) were found during the
study. By considering these findings, the hotel can be considered as a potential amphibian
hotspot. A general habitat enrichment program and awareness notices (biodiversity protected
area) were placed in the area as a conservation measurement. Numerous waterholes were
created in the location with up-cycled material, to enhance habitat diversity.

Keywords: Diversity, Amphibia, Anura, Conservation, Critically Endangered, Biodiversity
protected area, Pseudophilautus


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Proceedings of International Forestry and Environment Symposium, Sri Lanka. Published by Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura