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The abundance and diversity of reptiles in a rapidly changing environment of a higher institution of learning in central Nigeria


MOJ Ecology & Environmental Sciences
Ombugadu A,1 Naphtali RS,2 Aimiuwu MU,1 Ezuluebo VC,1 Njila HL,3 Aimankhu OP,1 Ahmed HO,1 Maikenti JI,1 Ishaya EN,4 Da’an SA,5,6 Atabo LO,7 Ayuba SO,1 Odey SA,1 Echor BO,1 Attah SA,1 Ayim JO,1 Uzoigwe NR1

Abstract

Infrastructural development alters landscapes and in turn limits biodiversity which at the long run negatively affects conservation efforts. Thus, a study on the abundance and diversity of reptiles in a rapidly changing environment of a higher institution of learning in Central Nigeria was carried out from April to May 2016. Line transects were randomly laid in each of the four habitats surveyed namely, woodland savannah, grassland savannah, gallery forest and open habitats. Field guides were used to identify the various species collected. A total of 33 reptiles were recorded in which the most abundant genera was Agama (Agama) 23 (70%) followed by Lepidopteris (Skink) 6 (18%) then Pseudechis (King Brown Snake) 3 (9%) while the least was Bitis (Garboon Viper) 1 (3%). Thus, variations in the population of reptiles in relation to species showed a very high significant difference (?2 =110.09, df=3, P<0.0001). The abundance of reptiles between habitat types showed a significant different (?2=10.758, df=3, P=0.01311) due to the preponderance of reptiles in the woodland habitat 14 (42%) over gallery forest 10 (30%), open habitat 8 (24%) and grassland area with just 1 (3%) reptile. Species richness was dominant in gallery forest habitat while it was very low in grassland habitat. Lepidopteris maculilabris was the only species present in all the four habitat types, followed by Agama agama in three habitats then Pseudechis australis in two habitats whereas Bitis gabonica was found in only a particular habitat. The abundance of reptiles between disturbed and undisturbed sites showed a high significant difference (?2=6.8182, df=1, P=0.009023). The diversity status of reptiles in the area was relatively low (H´ = 0.8). In conclusion, this is the first reptiles’ baseline survey in Federal University of Lafia (FULafia) Permanent Site. The relatively few number of reptiles and low diversity level encountered calls for proactive protection of reptiles in the Zoological garden area of FULafia so as to positively contribute to ex-situ conservation efforts.

Keywords

reptiles, abundance, diversity, rapidly changing environment, higher institution area, ex-situ conservation, Lafia

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