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Abstract and Figures

We provide a preliminary list of the reptiles occurring in Loango National Park (= Ramsar site no. 352), Ogooue-Maritime Province, southwestern Gabon. The list includes 37 species (3 crocodilians, 8 chelonians, 14 lacertilians and 12 ophidians) distributed in 30 genera and 16 families, and is accompanied by our biological observations. Loango's herpetofauna is remarkable for its mixture of forest, bunchgrass prairie, mangrove and marine species, and for the high number of endangered and protected species, notably all three African crocodiles (Crocodylus cataphractus, C. niloticus, Osteolaemus tetraspis) and three locally nesting sea turtles (Chelonia mydas, Lepidochelys olivacea and Dermochelys coriacea).
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INTRODUCTION
Loango National Park (1550 sq. km, LNP) was
recently officially established by H. E. President
Bongo Ondimba as part of the Complexe d’Aires
Protégées de Gamba, and was also classified as
a Ramsar site (no. 352). It falls in both Etimboué
and Ndougou Departments of Ogooué-Maritime
Province in southwestern Gabon, and includes
the former Réserve de Petit-Loango and parts of
the Domaine de chasse d’Iguéla and Domaine
de chasse de Ngové-Ndogo (Anonymous, nd).
It is renowned for high densities of large mam-
mals, including lowland gorilla, chimpanzee,
elephant, hippopotamus and buffalo. However,
although sea turtles have received special atten-
tion (Dijkstra, 1993; Fretey and Girardin, 1988;
Fretey, 2001; Pauwels, 2004), the remaining
herpetofauna of LNP has never been specifi-
cally studied. The park is composed of a mo-
saic of coastal vegetation types on white sand,
including forest, scrub and grassland. This envi-
ronment, which is common along the coast, has
never been herpetologically studied in Gabon.
The Smithsonian Institution, in collaboration
with the Shell Foundation and Shell Gabon, has
initiated studies (the Smithsonian Institution
Monitoring and Assessment of Biodiversity,
[SI/MAB] Program) to inventory and conserve
the biodiversity of the Gamba Complex of Pro-
tected Areas. As part of the SI/MAB Program
we undertook a seven week survey of the her-
petofauna of a part of LNP, corresponding to the
former Réserve de Petit-Loango north of the vil-
lage of Setté Cama.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The survey took place from 24 September to 11
November 2002, i.e., at the transition between
the dry and wet seasons. Our base camp was es-
tablished in bunchgrass prairie at 02° 20’ 27”S,
09° 35’ 33”E, a few hundred meters from the
beach and approximately 11km from the mouth
of the Ndogo lagoon. Sampling activities were
undertaken mainly around the camp area and up
to 7km inland.
Specimens were mainly located opportu-
nistically, during visual surveys of all habitats
by up to four people. Surveys were undertaken
during the day and during the evening. Search
techniques included visual scanning of terrain
and refuge examination (e.g., lifting rocks and
logs, peeling away bark, scraping through leaf
REPTILES OF LOANGO NATIONAL PARK, OGOOUÉ-
MARITIME PROVINCE, SOUTH-WESTERN GABON
Olivier S.G. Pauwels1, William R. Branch2 and Marius Burger3
1Department of Recent Vertebrates, Institut Royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique,
Rue Vautier 29, 1000 Brussels, Belgium.
Email: osgpauwels@yahoo.fr
2Department of Herpetology, Port Elizabeth Museum, P.O. Box 13147,
Humewood 6013, South Africa
3Avian Demography Unit, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa.
(with two text-figures)
ABSTRACT.– We provide a preliminary list of the reptiles occurring in Loango National
Park, Ogooué-Maritime Province, south-western Gabon. The list includes 37 species (3
crocodilians, 8 chelonians, 14 lacertilians and 12 ophidians) distributed in 30 genera and
16 families, and is accompanied by our biological observations. Loango’s herpetofauna is
remarkable for its mixture of forest, bunchgrass prairie, mangrove and marine species,
and for the high number of endangered and protected species, notably all three African
crocodiles and three locally nesting sea turtles.
KEYWORDS.– Reptiles, biodiversity, Loango National Park, Gamba Complex of Protected
Areas, Gabon.
Hamadryad Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 115 – 127, 2004.
Copyright 2004 Centre for Herpetology, Madras Crocodile Bank Trust.
116 HAMADRYAD [Vol. 29, No. 1
litter, etc.). To supplement opportunistic collect-
ing, habitats were also sampled using arrays of
funnel and pitfall traps placed along drift fenc-
es. Trap lines were set in different microhabitat
types. Drift fences consisted of lengths of black
plastic sheeting 30 cm high and stapled verti-
cally onto wooden stakes. An apron left at the
base was covered with soil and leaf litter to di-
rect specimens intercepted during their normal
movements along the fence towards the traps.
Pitfall traps comprised plastic buckets (275
mm deep, 285 mm top internal diameter, 220
mm bottom internal diameter) sunk with their
rims flush to ground level and positioned so
that a drift fence ran centrally across the mouth
of each trap. One pitfall trap was set at each
end of a drift fence with the remaining traps
spaced between at regular 8 m intervals. Holes
in the base of the buckets allowed water drain-
age. A few leaves provided shelter for small
species. Cylindrical funnel traps were made
from fine, steel wire mosquito mesh, shaped
by hand and with stapled seams. Measure-
ments were roughly 60 x 25 cm, with funnel
entrances narrowing to approximately 30 mm
diameter. Traps had funnel openings at one or
both ends. The flexible mosquito mesh allowed
the funnel entrance to be distorted to a quarter
round profile so that the sides fitted flush with
the ground and with the drift fence wall. Traps
were covered with light vegetation to hide
them and to provide cover for captured speci-
mens. They were checked every morning and
during the day if a survey team was working in
the region. Captive specimens were removed
by simply opening a stapled seam, after which
it was re-stapled shut. Specimens not retained
as voucher specimens were released in the vi-
cinity of capture, but 10m from the trap line.
The lengths and orientation of trap arrays were
tailored to local conditions, and were set for
variable periods (see below). A trap-day is de-
fined as one trap in use for a 24-hour period.
Trapping locations included:
PT1 (02° 20’ 25”S, 09° 35’ 40”E), 26 Sept.
to 25 Oct. In dry inland forest, seven meters
in from, and running parallel to, the ecotone
with bunchgrass prairie. The latter is domi-
nated by the grass Rhynchelytrum filifolium
(Poaceae), with ca. 50% cover of vegeta-
tion, 50% bare sand.
PT2 (02° 20’ 24”S, 09° 35’ 43”E), 26 Sept.
to 25 Oct. About 60 m from the ecotone
with bunchgrass prairie, in open, wet inland
forest dominated by Sacoglottis gabonensis
trees (Humiriaceae) and with an understo-
rey dominated by Diospyros (Ebenaceae),
and with few lianas.
PT3 (02° 20’ 27”S, 09° 35’ 50”E), 26 Sept.
to 25 Oct. Same forest type as for PT2,
slightly wetter, with one extremity of the
trap ending in a stream bed (dry before the
beginning of the rainy season, later inun-
dated).
FT1 (02° 20’ 24”S, 09° 35’ 47”E), 26 Sept.
to 25 Oct. Beside large fallen log in swamp
forest.
FT2 (02° 20’ 24”S, 09° 35’ 42”E), 26 Sept.
to 25 Oct. In swamp forest, partly encircl-
ing the buttresses of a large tree (Sacoglottis
gabonensis).
FT3 (as for PT3), 26 Sept. to 25 Oct. Run-
ning along stream bed.
FT/PT4 (02° 20’ 40”S, 09° 35’ 27”E), 6
to 27 Oct. 6 funnels + 2 buckets (buckets
installed on 10 Oct.). Close to the beach,
in forest dominated by tall (25 m) Ma-
nilkara lacera (Sapotaceae) and Hyphaene
guineensis palm trees (Arecaceae); under-
storey dominated by Syzygium guineense
trees (Myrtaceae).
FT/PT5 (02° 20’ 40”S, 09° 35’ 27”E), 6
to 27 Oct. 6 funnels + 2 buckets (buckets
installed on 10 Oct.). Same habitat as FT/
PT4.
FT6 (02° 20’ 39”S, 09° 35’ 28”E), 6 to 27
Oct. Beside a pond in a forest patch between
bunchgrass prairie and mangrove.
FT/PT7 (02° 20’ 39”S, 09° 35’ 27”E), 6 to
27 Oct. 2 funnels + 1 bucket. Near FT/PT5,
partly encircling a small pond.
PT8 (02° 21’ 56”S, 09° 36’ 26”E), 26 Oct.
to 2 Nov. In swamp forest near mangrove.
PT9 (02° 21’ 52”S, 09° 36’ 28”E), 26 Oct.
to 2 Nov. In forest with numerous Ceiba
pentandra (Bombacaceae).
December, 2004] REPTILES OF LOANGO NATIONAL PARK, GABON 117
PT10 (02° 21’ 45”S, 09° 36’ 28”E), 26 Oct.
to 2 Nov. Close to PT9 with same habitat;
partly encircling a tall Ceiba pentandra.
FT11 (02° 20’ 36”S, 09° 35’ 36”E), 30 Oct.
to 10 Nov. Forest patch in bunchgrass prai-
rie, partly inundated following the first rains
of the rainy season.
FT12 (02° 20’ 36”S, 09° 35’ 37”E), 30 Oct.
to 10 Nov. Same habitat as FT11.
FT13 (02° 20’ 36”S, 09° 35’ 38”E), 30 Oct.
to 10 Nov. Same habitat as FT11.
PT14 (02° 20’ 35”S, 09° 38’ 10”E), 3 to 10
Nov. 2002. In swamp forest.
PT15 (02° 20’ 37”S, 09° 38’ 11”E), 3 to
10 Nov. In swamp forest near a temporary
pond.
PT16 (02° 20’ 39”S, 09° 38’ 12”E), 3 to 10
Nov. Close to PT15, and along the same
temporary pond.
Some voucher specimens were collected,
anesthetized and injected with formalin (5%)
then preserved in 70° ethanol. They are housed
in the herpetological collections of the following
institutions: Institut Royal des Sciences Naturel-
les de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium (IRSNB);
Port Elizabeth Museum, Humewood, South
Africa (PEM); United States National Mu-
seum, Washington D.C., U.S.A (USNM); and
the Smithsonian Institution Biodiversity Center,
Vembo, Gamba, Gabon (GAM). Scale counts
(after Dowling’s [1951] method for ventrals;
terminal tail scute not included among subcau-
dals) and measurements were collected from all
squamate vouchers and are available from the
authors (OSGP).
SPECIES ACCOUNTS
CHELONII
Cheloniidae:
Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus, 1758). Voucher
specimen: PEM R5452 (skull), 02° 20’ 25”S,
09° 35’ 14”E. An adult green sea turtle (curve
carapace length 895mm) was found dead on the
beach about one km S of camp on 12 Oct. The
next morning, the body was found about 100m
inland where it had been carried by a leopard
(Felidae: Panthera pardus) whose tracks were
clearly visible all along the way between the
two locations. A nest was located on the beach
opposite camp during the night of 12 to 13
Oct. The next night tracks of marsh mongoose
(Herpestidae: Atilax paludinosus) and blotched
genet (Viverridae: Genetta tigrina) were present
around the nest but no eggs were eaten. The spe-
cies was regularly seen in the sea from the beach
in Oct.-Nov. and seems locally common.
Lepidochelys olivacea (Eschscholtz, 1829).
No voucher specimens. On 22 Oct. at 22h00 an
adult female was photographed (see Ward et al.,
2003: 89, 296) as it began to dig its nest. The
nest was about 50m behind the high tide line in
sand with patchy grass.
Dermochelyidae:
Dermochelys coriacea (Vandelli, 1761). No
voucher specimen. On 27 Sept. two females
nested on the beach in front of the camp. Both
nests were completely washed away by a very
high tide on 7 to 8 Oct. Other nests were record-
ed on 28 Oct., 30 Oct. (4 nests), 1 Nov. (this nest
was associated with three fake nest holes while
all others we observed had only one fake nest
hole; some eggs were dug out by Ocypode crabs
– crab voucher at IRSNB, I.G. 29926), 2 Nov.,
6 Nov. (2 nests; one of these females illustrated
by Ward et al. 2003: 69), and 8 Nov. Dijkstra
(1993) recorded leatherback turtle nesting at Pe-
tit Loango.
Pelomedusidae:
Pelusios castaneus (Schweigger, 1812).
Voucher specimen: PEM R5967: 1.4 km N of
camp, 800m inland, 1 Nov. Found freshly dead
on its back in bunchgrass prairie (see Ward et al.,
2003: 133); it had probably died from overheat-
ing. Two adult females were found on 28 Oct.
in a temporary pool in bunchgrass prairie (02°
20’ 17”S, 09° 35’ 27”E) following heavy rain
(90mm) the previous afternoon. Maran (2002)
recorded the presence of this species in LNP.
Pelusios niger (Duméril & Bibron, 1835).
No voucher specimens were obtained during
our survey, but Maran (2002: 61) recorded the
presence of this species in LNP.
Testudinidae:
Kinixys erosa (Schweigger, 1814). Voucher
specimens: PEM R5966: PT15, 9 Nov. The spe-
118 HAMADRYAD [Vol. 29, No. 1
cies was abundant in the survey area, and was
observed foraging in leaf litter, or sheltering un-
der dead logs or in hollow trees in dense and
open forest. Several adult specimens fell into
pitfall traps (PT2 and PT3) and were released.
Trionychidae:
Cycloderma aubryi (Duméril, 1856). No
voucher specimens were retained, but a healthy
adult specimen was found on the beach about 6
km S of camp in early July (M. Lee). It made no
attempt to bite when handled and was released.
Trionyx triunguis (Forsskål, 1775) No vouch-
er specimens were retained, but an adult speci-
men (curved carapace length 67 cm, maximum
curved carapace width 52cm) was found at mid-
day (5 Nov.; specimen illustrated by Ward et al.,
2003: 166) in a channel linking a lagoon to the
sea (02° 19’ 13”S, 09° 35’ 14”E). It was immo-
bile in shallow (30 cm deep) water and did not
attempt to bite when handled.
Crocodylia
Crocodylidae:
Crocodylus cataphractus Cuvier, 1824. No
voucher specimens. Dijkstra (1993) recorded
the species from “Lagune Sette Cama” (which
was distinguished from “Lagune N’Dogo”). The
species was reported to be very common in the
Sounga area and is called ngandou doussomb
(plural: ngandou tsidoussomb) by the Loumbou
villagers in Setté Cama area (Mackayah, pers.
comm., Nov. 2002).
Crocodylus niloticus Laurenti, 1768. No
voucher specimens were retained, but speci-
mens were common in the larger coastal la-
goons. A large (2.5 m) specimen was basking on
a sand strip between a lagoon mouth and the sea
(12 Oct., 02° 16’ 43”S, 09° 35’ 13”E); 19 Oct.,
a slightly smaller specimen was walking on the
bank of the same lagoon; 21 Oct., a young sub-
adult active in a lagoon just behind the beach, 6
km N of camp; 22 Oct, 2230 h, the same speci-
men (illustrated by Ward et al., 2003:82-83) was
found in the sea 60m N of the lagoon which
had just broken through into the sea; 25 Oct., a
subadult (SVL 98 cm, tail L 106 cm) was found
dead in a channel linking a lagoon to the ocean
(02° 19’ 39”S, 09° 35’ 14”E) which had broken
through following heavy rains three days before
(the crocodile may have been injured by mas-
sive logs which were abundant around its dead
body, as has been reported for Dermochelys
coriacea, Fretey, 2001); 4 Nov, 2100-2130 h,
several specimens were active on the beach and
escaped by running into the ocean, including a
2.5 m specimen (02° 19’ 24”S, 09° 35’ 11”E),
a 1.5 m (total L) subadult (02° 18’ 05”S, 09°
35’ 11”E) and another of the same size 400 m
N. Four juveniles were present in a lagoon con-
nected to the sea (02° 16’ 25”S, 09° 35’ 14”E).
All the above specimens were identified as Nile
crocodiles by their characteristic snout shape.
This species is called ngandou koussi (plural:
ngandou tsikoussi) by the Loumbou villagers in
Setté Cama area (Mackayah, pers. comm., Nov.
2002).
Osteolaemus tetraspis Cope, 1861. No vouch-
er specimens were retained, but after the onset
of the rainy season this species was extremely
common in pools and swamps in the forest. This
species is called imbaghala (plural: bimbagha-
la) by the Loumbou villagers in Setté Cama area
(Mackayah, pers. comm., Nov. 2002).
Lacertilia
Agamidae:
Agama agama (Linnaeus, 1758). Voucher
specimens: PEM R5431 (02° 20’ 57”S, 09° 35’
35”E), 29 Sept; USNM 561457, on beach 1 km
S of camp, 28 Oct; GAM 049 (02° 21’ 54”S,
09° 36’ 17”E), 29 Oct; USNM 561458 (02° 20’
23”S, 09° 35’ 14”E), 28 Oct. The species was
not abundant, and it was restricted to the beach
and adjacent dry forest where it was regularly
observed on Hyphaene guineensis palms and
on dead trees. It occurred in strict syntopy with
Trachylepis affinis (see below).
Chamaeleonidae:
Chamaeleo dilepis Leach, 1819. Voucher
specimen: PEM R5434: camp, 29 Sept. The
single specimen was found sleeping at night on
a tree branch (Rubiaceae) about 2 m above the
ground at the junction of forest and bunchgrass
prairie.
December, 2004] REPTILES OF LOANGO NATIONAL PARK, GABON 119
Gekkonidae:
Hemidactylus fasciatus Gray, 1842. Voucher
specimens: PEM R5420 (02° 20’ 42”S, 09° 36’
28”E), 25 Sept; PEM R5433: PT2, 30 Sept.;
GAM 055 (02° 20’ 28”S, 09° 35’ 26”E), 7
Oct.; GAM 056, FT2, 13 Oct.; IRSNB 16895,
near PT15, 3 Nov.; USNM 561474, near PT8,
1 Nov.; USNM 561475, near PT16, 5 Nov.;
USNM 561476, PT15, 8 Nov. During the day
this large gecko was usually found under tree
bark or in dead, rotting logs; e.g. PEM R5420,
under bark of douka tree (Tieghemella africana,
Sapotaceae) in open forest with little under-sto-
rey; another specimen (not collected) in same
region in a dead log of Diospyros cf iturensis
(Ebenaceae). At night specimens were usually
active on large tree trunks, between 1.8 to 2 m
above ground.
Hemidactylus mabouia (Moreau de Jonnès,
1818). Voucher specimens: PEM R5426 (02°
20’ 43”S, 09° 35’ 26”E), 27 Sept.; PEM R5432,
GAM 057 (02° 20’ 57”S, 09° 35’ 35”E), 29
Sept.; USNM 561481, beach opposite camp, 17
Oct.; GAM 058 (02° 20’ 58”S, 09° 35’ 34”E),
30 Oct. All specimens collected were found in
the beach area, either in dead logs on dunes, or
under bark on dead trees.
Hemidactylus muriceus Peters, 1870. Vouch-
er specimens: PEM R5436, PEM R5969 (02°
20’ 15”S, 09° 35’ 54”E), 2 Oct.; PEM R5440
(02° 20’ 20”S, 09° 35’ 39”E), 3 Oct.; PEM
R5445, FT2, 8 Oct.; IRSNB 16662, 2 km S of
camp, 1.2 km inland, 16 Oct.; GAM 059, near
PT1, 30 Oct.; GAM 060 (02° 20’ 42”S, 09°
37’ 16”E), 1 Nov.; USNM 561484, near PT16,
5 Nov.; USNM 561485, near camp, 7 Nov.;
USNM 561486 (02° 20’ 39”S, 09° 38’ 11”E), 8
Nov.; USNM 561487, 1 km E of camp, 8 Nov.
During the day specimens were found under
wood debris on the ground or in leaf litter. One
specimen was found in wood debris in a stream
bed in syntopy with Natriciteres fuliginoides.
At night it is active in shrubbery, often on thin
branches from ground level up to 1.5 m above
ground. Two adult females each contained two
eggs; USNM 561484 (SVL 55.5mm), eggs 7.0
x 4.9 mm; USNM 561486 (SVL 50.5 mm), eggs
7.1 x 5.0 mm.
Gerrhosauridae:
Gerrhosaurus nigrolineatus Hallowell,
1857. Voucher specimens: PEM R5437 (02° 20’
27”S, 09° 35’ 33”E), 3 Oct.; PEM R5405 (02°
20’ 27”S, 09° 35’ 33”E), 8 Oct.; PEM R5965,
near PT1, 10 Oct.; PEM R5411 (02° 19’ 56’’S,
09° 35’ 32’’E), 11 Oct.; USNM 561466-67, near
PT1, 11-12 Oct.; USNM 561468, near PT1,
14 Oct.; PEM R5435, FT/PT4 (in funnel), 15
Oct.; GAM 053, GAM 054, IRSNB 16892-93,
near FT/PT4, 15 Oct. (GAM 053) & 16 Oct.
All specimens were observed active during the
day in bunchgrass prairie. The observed and
voucher specimens fell into three size catego-
ries: juveniles (SVL 46 to 58 mm, umbilical scar
obvious), subadults (SVL 69 to 79 mm, umbili-
cal scar faint or undetectable), and adults (SVL
>137 mm). An adult was observed to investigate
a small tunnel in bunchgrass prairie from which
two gray-rumped swallows (Pseudohirundo
griseopyga; vouchers BKS 5969 & 5974) were
later trapped.
Scincidae:
Feylinia grandisquamis Müller 1910. Vouch-
er specimens: PEM R5428-9, PEM R5448, PT3,
29 Sept. and 11 Oct.; PEM R5449, FT/PT4 (in
pitfall), 11 Oct.; USNM 561492 (02° 20’ 29”S,
09° 35’ 56”E), 2 Oct.; IRSNB 16889 (02° 20’
20”S, 09° 35’ 39”E), 3 Oct.; USNM 561490,
PT3, 6 Oct.; USNM 561493-94, FT/PT4 (in pit-
fall), 13 & 16 Oct.; IRSNB 16890, near PT10, 28
Oct.; USNM 561491, PT9, 1 Nov.; GAM 051,
near PT15, 3 Nov.; GAM 052 (02° 20’ 23”S, 09°
35’ 13”E), 4 Nov. Widespread in wooded and
forested habitats, but not open bunchgrass prai-
rie although one specimen GAM 052 was found
in sand under a log on the beach 2 m above high
tide level. Another specimen (IRSNB 16890)
was caught by day under wood debris between
the roots of a Ceiba pentandra tree. All females
contained eggs in various stages of develop-
ment: USNM 561492 (SVL 105 mm), two eggs
(6 x 4.2 mm); USNM 561494 (SVL 98 mm),
two eggs (13 x 4.5mm); IRSNB 16890 (SVL
103 mm), three eggs (11.2 x 5.0 mm); USNM
561493 (SVL 109 mm), two eggs in left ovary;
PEM R5429 (SVL 88 mm), two eggs (12 x 5
120 HAMADRYAD [Vol. 29, No. 1
mm) in left ovary. All males (SVL 78-118 mm)
were sexually mature and had swollen testes and
sperm-filled seminal vesciles. Some specimens
were in a pre-slough blue colouration, which
was lost after skin shedding. Confusion with
this condition probably accounts for Jackson’s
(2002) report of an unusual “pale, periwinkle
blue” colour variant in Feylinia currori.
Lygosoma fernandi (Burton, 1836) Voucher
specimens: PEM R5444, FT2, 7 Oct.; USNM
561500, PT15, 4 Nov. A very secretive species,
of which only two were caught in traps and none
were seen active during the survey.
Panaspis breviceps (Peters, 1873) Voucher
specimens: PEM R5446, near FT3, 10 Oct.;
PEM R5455, near PT3, 14 Oct.; GAM 069
(02° 20’ 39”S, 09° 38’ 11”E), 12 Oct.; USNM
561502, PT16, 4 Nov. This skink was only found
in swamp forest, where it was active among tree
roots and dry stream beds.
Panaspis reichenowii Peters, 1874. Voucher
specimens: USNM 561504, 2 km S of camp,
2.7 km inland, 16 Oct.; GAM 070, 1.5 km N
of camp, 1.5 km inland, 26 Oct. One specimen
was running in sunny weather on a dead branch
about a meter above the ground, whilst another
was active on the ground and entered a tree hole
alongside a dry stream bed.
Trachylepis affinis (Gray, 1838) Voucher
specimens: PEM R5425 (02° 20’ 43”S, 09° 35’
26”E), 27 Sept.; IRSNB 16898, camp, 18 Oct.;
PEM R5450 (02° 21’ 37”S, 09° 36’ 07”E), 26
Oct.; PEM R5452, beach, 1.5 km S of camp,
28 Oct.; GAM 061-062 (02° 20’ 23”S, 09° 35’
14”E), 28 Oct.; USNM 561505 (02° 21’ 54”S,
09° 36’ 17”E), 1 Nov.; USNM 561506 (02° 20’
24”S, 09° 35’ 14”E), 4 Nov.; USNM 561507
(02° 20’ 07”S, 09° 35’ 25”E), 4 Nov. Relative-
ly common along the coastal belt, particularly
in association with dead logs of Hyphaene
guineensis palm tree and in the mangroves
among roots of Rhizophora racemosa (Rhi-
zophoraceae). Also in bush clumps in bunch-
grass prairie, but absent from closed-canopy
forest. We follow Bauer (2003) in referring
African skinks previously placed in Mabuya to
Trachylepis Fitzinger, 1843.
Trachylepis albilabris (Hallowell, 1857).
Voucher specimens: PEM R5421, PT1, 27 Sept.;
PEM R5422-3, PT2, 27 Sept.; PEM R5424,
PT2, 28 Sept.; PEM R5427, FT2, 29 Sept.; PEM
R5442, PT3, 5 Oct.; PEM R5447, PT1, 10 Oct.;
PEM R5456-7, PT2, 14 Oct.; USNM 561510,
near PT1, 1st Oct.; GAM 063, FT2, 2 Oct.; GAM
064 (02° 20’ 27”S, 09° 35’ 33”E), 7 Oct.; GAM
065, camp, 7 Oct.; USNM 561511, PT1, 8 Oct.;
USNM 561512, PT2, 8 Oct.; IRSNB 16899,
FT/PT5 (in pitfall), 13 Oct.; USNM 561513,
FT2, 13 Oct.; IRSNB 16900, PT2, 17 Oct. An
adult male was found on 2 Oct. in PT3 and re-
leased. Another adult was released from FT6 on
23 Oct., another from PT2 on 24 Oct., another
from PT10 on 28 Oct., another from PT9 on 29
Oct., another from PT8 on 2 Nov., two others
from FT11 and PT10 on 31 Oct., and another
from PT14 on 5 Nov. This skink was the most
common reptile in LNP, where it was restricted
to closed canopy forest, and is replaced in open
areas (mangroves, coastal belt and bunchgrass
prairie) by T. affinis. It forages on the ground
in leaf litter, but usually basks and shelters on
dead logs.
Trachylepis polytropis Boulenger, 1903.
Voucher specimens: PEM R5443, PT3, 8 Oct.;
PEM R5453, near PT1, 14 Oct.; PEM R5454,
near PT3, 14 Oct.; USNM 561520, PT15, 7
Nov.; GAM 066, PT14, 7 Nov. This large skink
was found only in closed canopy forest, where
it was much less abundant than T. albilabris and
preferred large dead trees. A small specimen on
a dead tree was captured in a funnel trap baited
with two gryllids.
Varanidae:
Varanus ornatus (Daudin, 1803). Voucher
specimen: PEM R5459 (skull), (02° 21’ 14”S,
09° 35’ 47”E), 8 Oct. Part of the skeleton of
an adult found dead inside a hollow tree on the
beach. Fresh tracks of adults were frequently
found on the beach, often following the high tide
line for several hundred meters. An adult male
(72 + 107 cm) was found basking in the morn-
ing in bunchgrass prairie near PT1. Its tongue
was white. A specimen was photographed in
December, 2004] REPTILES OF LOANGO NATIONAL PARK, GABON 121
November on the beach about 8 km S of camp
while it was eating Dermochelys eggs (see Ward
et al., 2003: 69).
Serpentes
Colubridae:
Boiga blandingii (Hallowell, 1844). No
voucher specimen. On 17 Oct. (22h00) a sub-
adult was filmed (S. LAHM) while active in a tree
1.5 km E of camp.
Dipsadoboa duchesnii (Boulenger, 1901).
Voucher specimens: PEM R5458 (02° 20’ 36”S,
09° 35’ 37”E), 28 Oct.; PEM R5459, USNM
561530-31, IRSNB 16888, near PT16, 5 Nov.;
GAM 050 (02° 20’ 36”S, 09° 35’ 37”E), 6 Nov.
All specimens were caught at night, either in
forest patches in bunchgrass prairie or on bushes
on the banks of temporary ponds where frogs
were breeding. An adult female (PEM R5458)
had ingested an adult Hyperolius phantasticus
(Boulenger, 1899) vent first, and also contained
4 immature eggs. The subcaudal count (116) of
one female (GAM 050) exceeded the previous
maximum (113) for females (Chippaux, 2001).
Hapsidophrys smaragdina (Schlegel, 1837).
No voucher specimen. An adult was seen (2
Nov.) at midday basking on a dead tree trunk at
the ecotone between a forest patch and bunch-
grass prairie (02° 20’ 36”S, 09° 35’ 37”E).
Mehelya stenophthalmus (Mocquard, 1887).
No voucher specimen. A piece of shed skin,
found on 25 Sept. (02° 20’ 42”S, 09° 36’ 28”E)
about 2 m above the ground in a large hollow
tree, was referable to this species. It had a dou-
ble-keeled enlarged vertebral row, keeled ven-
trals, and ?-15-15 dorsal scale rows with a weak
mediodorsal double keel, and very weak keels
without secondary keels on dorsal rows. The lat-
ter character precludes M. poensis or M. capen-
sis (Meirte, 1992), and the scales of M. guirali
are “strongly keeled and striated, the striations
directed obliquely towards the keels” (Bou-
lenger, 1893). Comparison of the shed skin with
M. stenophthalmus (IRSNB 13041) showed that
body scalation and keels were identical.
Natriciteres fuliginoides (Günther, 1858).
Voucher specimens: PEM R5430, near PT3, 29
Sept.; PEM R5438-9, USNM 561554 (02° 20’
20”S, 09° 35’ 39”E), 3 Oct.; IRSNB 16903 (02°
20’ 42”S, 09° 37’ 48”E), 25 Oct.; PEM R5486,
GAM 067-068 (2°20’20”S, 9°35’43”E), 9
Oct.; USNM 561553 (2°20’33”S, 9°36’00”E),
10 Oct.; USNM 561555, IRSNB 16896 (02°
20’ 24’S, 09° 35’ 47”E), 12 Oct. Common in
swamp forest and river courses. Snakes were
active among leaf litter during the day or found
under logs or debris in marshy areas and river
beds. One specimen (IRSNB 16903) contained
the remains of a Dimorphognathus africanus
(Anura: Ranidae), while in captivity another ate
another small ranid (Phrynobatrachus auratus,
Figure 1). Two specimens increased the range of
scale counts known in the species, with a ventral
count of only 115 (PEM R5430; previous mini-
mum 117; Chippaux, 2001) and a subcaudal
count of 73 (USNM 561554; previous minimum
74; Chippaux, 2001).
Philothamnus carinatus (Andersson, 1901).
Voucher specimen: PEM R5441 (02° 20’ 27”S,
09° 35’ 33”E), 5 Oct., a recent hatchling crawl-
ing in the morning in bunchgrass prairie.
Psammophis cf. phillipsii (Hallowell, 1844).
Voucher specimens: PEM R5451, (02° 20’
35”S, 09° 35’ 46”E), 13 Oct.; USNM 561547,
camp, 26 Oct.; GAM 071 (02° 20’ 41”S, 09°
35’ 34”E), 29 Oct.; GAM 072, camp, 2 Nov.;
USNM 561548, 300 m S of camp, 2 Nov.; PEM
R5857, (02° 20’ 10”S, 09° 35’ 27”E), 4 Nov. The
taxonomy of the Psammophis sibilans-phillipsii
complex in West and Central Africa remains
confused. The lateral head coloration of LNP
specimens (see Figure 2 and Ward et al., 2003:
15, 138) is similar to that of the specimen illus-
trated by Chippaux (1999, 2001: pl. 36) for P.
phillipsii; although Hughes (2000: 31) stressed
that that picture rather illustrated a P. sibilans.
However, the specimen illustrated by Chippaux
was caught near Cotonou airport, Benin (Chip-
paux, pers. comm., Nov. 2002). The meristic
characters of the LNP specimens correspond to
those given by Chippaux (loc. cit.) for P. phillip-
sii, except that the anal scale is divided in all. All
specimens were collected in bunchgrass prairie.
An adult (PEM R5451; Fig. 2) was excavated by
day from the ending part of the nest burrow of
a black-headed bee-eater (Meropidae: Merops
breweri) in bunchgrass prairie. The burrow was
320cm long and reached a depth of 60cm. The
122 HAMADRYAD [Vol. 29, No. 1
FIGURE 1: Natriciteres fuliginoides eating a small ranid Phrynobatrachus auritus in Loango National Park
(W. R. Branch).
FIGURE 2: Psammophis cf. phillipsii from Loango National Park (W. R. Branch).
December, 2004] REPTILES OF LOANGO NATIONAL PARK, GABON 123
snake’s stomach contained a chick of M. brew-
eri. A juvenile (GAM 071) was found at night
(23h00) sheltering in an isolated grass clump
in flooded bunchgrass prairie. Another speci-
men (PEM R5857) was active in late afternoon
(1640 h) by a temporary pond in bunchgrass
prairie and tried to escape by diving underwa-
ter. Its stomach contained five adult Hyperolius
phantasticus, two being ingested vent first.
Rhamnophis aethiopissa Günther, 1862.
Voucher specimen: USNM 561538 (02° 19’
17’’S, 09°36’ 21’’E), 26 Oct., found by day on a
branch 1.6 m above the ground in open forest.
Thrasops flavigularis (Hallowell, 1852).
Voucher specimen: PEM R5856 (02° 20’ 42”S,
09° 35’ 53”E), 5 Nov., was active at 16h20 in
bunchgrass prairie, and tried to climb into a tree
to escape.
Pythonidae:
Python sebae (Gmelin, 1789). No voucher
specimen. The shed skin of a small juvenile was
found on the beach about 5 km S of the camp
on 24 Sept.
Typhlopidae:
Typhlops angolensis (Barboza du Bocage,
1866). No voucher specimen. An adult speci-
men (total L ca. 30 cm) was found in PT2 on 12
Oct., but subsequently escaped.
Viperidae:
Bitis gabonica (Duméril & Bibron, 1845).
No voucher specimen. We examined the picture
of an adult specimen taken by Nick Nichols in
the park in January 2004. The specimen had
been found on a lagoon island. Three specimens
were observed by Nick Nichols and Mike Fay in
the park during the megatransect in December
2001.
DISCUSSIONS
For a while the Loango area formed part of the
French Congo, and data on “Loango” have been
presented in old French papers dealing with the
Congo Français. Boulenger (1900: 433) defined
the “Gaboon district” as “the part of West Af-
rica situated between Camaroons and Loango,
in the French Congo”. Although in old litera-
ture references to “Loango” are numerous, it
is quite problematic to decide whether or not
these are situated within the borders of LNP or
even if they are situated in Gabon. For instance,
Boulenger (1893: 47) cited “Typhlops anoma-
lus (Bocage, 1873)” (in fact a Rhinotyphlops)
from “South-west Africa (Mossamedes; Loan-
go?)”. Boulenger (1894: 287, 288, 358; 1896:
186, 263, 436, 509, 603, 616, 617, respective-
ly) recorded from the “Mouth of the Loango”:
Grayia caesar (OSGP examined the specimen
BMNH 94.8.4.13 from that locality), G. smithii
(re-quoted by Boulenger, 1909), Philothamnus
heterodermus, Thelothornis kirtlandii (Broad-
ley, 2001: 66, mentioned a T. kirtlandii [BMNH
94.8.4.20] from the “mouth of the Loango”,
“Congo-Brazzaville”), Elapops modestus”,
Dendraspis jamesonii”, “Atheris squamiger”,
Tropidonotus fuliginoides”, Boodon oliva-
ceus”, Hormonotus modestus and Simocepha-
lus guirali”. Boulenger (1900) listed Lacerta
echinata, Grayia smithii, Hormonotus modes-
tus and “Simocephalus guirali” from Loango.
Boulenger long confused Grayia ornata and G.
smithii; a specimen from “Sette Cama, Gaboon”
was identified by him as smithii in 1894 and
as ornata in 1909 (it is most probably BMNH
89.7.6.4 that OSGP examined and which is in-
deed ornata). Mocquard (1902: 410) mentioned
Leptodira Duchesnii (sic) from “Loango” and
“Setté Cama”; RASMUSSEN (1989: 256) listed
the specimen MNHN 1900.2 from “Loango” in
“Congo”, and the specimen MNHN 1894.268
from “Setta Cama” (sic) in Gabon. GANS (1959:
154, 156) listed Dasypeltis palmarum from
“Loango”, Angola (!), based on Boettger (1888).
Chippaux (2001: 109-10) indicated two dots
situated in southwestern Gabon on the distribu-
tion map for D. palmarum, but in fact these dots
were erroneously placed in Gabon (Chippaux,
pers. comm., Jan. 2003). Boettger (1888) listed
numerous species from “Loango” and vari-
ous localities on “Loangoküste”. For example,
Boettger listed Mabuia (sic) maculilabris from
“Tschintschoscho in Loango” (loc. cit.: 27),
Feylinia macrolepis from “Massabe in Loango”
(loc. cit.: 35), or Philothamnus dorsalis from
“Molembo in Loango” (loc. cit.: 59). De Witte
(1965: 51) mentioned Chamaeleo d. dilepis
124 HAMADRYAD [Vol. 29, No. 1
(MNHN 1897.241) from “Loango”, “Répub-
lique du Congo”. De Massary (1993: Annex 3:
vii) mentioned two specimens of Causus macu-
latus (MNHN 1973.1259-60) from “Loango,
Congo”. Trape & Roux-Estève (1995) listed 13
snake species (Atractaspis congica, A. irregula-
ris parkeri, Chamaelycus fasciatus, Dasypeltis
palmarum, Dipsadoboa duchesnii, Hapsidoph-
rys smaragdina, Lamprophis f. fuliginosus,
Mehelya capensis savorgnani, Natriciteres o.
olivacea, Dendroaspis j. jamesoni, Elapsoidea
guentheri, Typhlops l. lineolatus, Causus macu-
latus – the same as those mentioned by de Mas-
sary) from “Loango” and gave for that locality
the geographic coordinates of a point (4°39’S,
11°48’E) situated in Congo Brazzaville. The
Loango indicated on the map provided by du
Chaillu (1863) seems to be situated more inland
than the limits of LNP. Such a great confusion
leads us to take into account only recent, unam-
biguous records, which seems also pertinent at a
conservation point of view.
Although twelve snake species were re-
corded from LNP, only three were common:
Dipsadoboa duchesnii in forest near ponds,
Natriciteres fuliginoides in swamp forest, and
Psammophis cf. phillipsii in bunchgrass prairie.
Where it occurs, Philothamnus carinatus is of-
ten an abundant species (e.g. Monts de Cristal
in northern Gabon, Pauwels et al. 2002b), and
it is surprising that we found only a single re-
cently-hatched specimen during the present
survey. Despite its small size and abundance in
the direct vicinity of our traps, Natriciteres fu-
liginoides was never captured in either funnel or
pitfall traps. The largest reptile that we caught
in a pitfall trap was an adult Kinixys erosa (on
17 Oct.) which had a curve carapace length of
294mm (total straight length of carapace and
plastron until extremities of gulars 266mm). Pit-
fall (eight species) and funnel (six species) were
not as effective as general searches in sampling
reptiles, but did capture two species (Lygosoma
fernandi, in both trap types; Typhlops angolen-
sis, in pitfall trap only) that were not found by
active searching. Only 12 snake species repre-
sents a low diversity compared to other reptile
lists from Gabon (24 snake species were re-
corded at Lopé by Blanc and Frétey, 2000; 32
in the Massif du Chaillu and 32 in the Monts de
Cristal by Pauwels et al., 2002a-b), and prob-
ably reflects under-collecting rather than a truly
impoverished snake fauna.
The density of Red river hogs Potamocherus
porcus was high in the park, as attested by their
numerous tracks and our visual encounters in
all sampled sites. Large land crabs were also
common nearly everywhere, and dozens of
specimens were found in the pitfall and funnel
traps. The combined presence of these nocturnal
animals could well be responsible for the low
density or even the complete absence, of a num-
ber of expected terrestrial species (given their
general geographic distribution) in the sampled
sites. This could also explain the high propor-
tion of (semi-) arboreal and/or diurnal squa-
mates among the taxa recorded.
The lack of permanent water points in the
area we surveyed could explain the apparent ab-
sence of aquatic species like Grayia ornata or
Hydraethiops melanogaster, otherwise widely
distributed and abundant in most parts of Ga-
bon. Due to the overall similarity between the
bunchgrass prairie at Loango and the savanna
at Lopé, and the presence of several savanna
dwelling taxa at Loango, we expect a number
of additional savanna and ubiquitous species in
Loango that were recorded at Lopé: for instance
the occurrence of Poromera fordii (in grassy
areas in forest near permanent streams) (Lacer-
tidae), Calabaria reinhardtii (Boidae), Aparal-
lactus modestus, Dasypeltis scabra, Lamprophis
olivaceus, Philothamnus heterodermus (Colub-
ridae), Dendroaspis jamesoni, Naja melano-
leuca (Elapidae), Typhlops congestus (Typhlo-
pidae), Atheris squamigera, Bitis nasicornis
and Causus maculatus (Viperidae) seems very
probable. Surveys of other parts of the park,
like the Sounga area which offers permanent
streams where the villagers told us that Grayia
ornata was common, and cultivated lands, or
the Iguéla zone, will undoubtedly bring a num-
ber of new records. All five sea turtle species
known to occur in Gabon (Fretey, 2001) should
be confirmed soon from LNP. Although no am-
phisbaenids were recorded during the Loango
survey, both Cynisca bifrontalis and Monopeltis
galeata were recently recorded from lowland
December, 2004] REPTILES OF LOANGO NATIONAL PARK, GABON 125
forest habitats in the Gamba Complex (Branch
et al., 2003). These records were southern range
extensions that straddle the LNP where both
species may also occur.
CONCLUSIONS
Although Loango’s herpetofauna did not prove
to be extremely rich (comparable to Lopé with
its 38 species but less than Monts de Cristal
with 48 or Massif du Chaillu with 50), it offers a
unique combination of West African grassland,
forest and marine species. The presence of all
three African crocodile species, as well as sev-
eral other protected reptile species, among them
three sea turtle species which nest on Loango’s
beaches, strongly justifies the pertinence of the
protection of Loango’s area. Nonetheless, a
number of species will undoubtedly still be re-
corded from the park, especially among snakes.
In total we believe that a list of about 50 reptile
species can reasonably be expected for the park.
Each new record will still increase the –already
high- value of the park at a conservation and
herpetological point of view.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This research was supported by the Smithsonian
Institution/Monitoring and Assessment of Bio-
diversity Program (SI/MAB) and grants from
the Shell Foundation and Shell Gabon. This
publication is contribution 31 for the Gabon
Biodiversity Program. Research and collecting
permits were obtained with the help of Adrien
Noungou (Direction de la Faune et de la Chasse,
Libreville). The personal interest and profes-
sional support to our project by Frank Denelle
and Jean-Pierre Tallon (Shell Gabon) were
much appreciated. We are grateful to Michelle
Lee, Francisco Dallmeier, Alfonso Alonso (SI)
and John E. Brown III (French Settlement,
LA) for logistic support and companionship
in the field, and to Jean Eric Mackayah (Setté
Cama), Emerie-Noël Mikolo (DFC, Libreville),
Philippe Robin (Opération Loango, Iguéla) and
Elie Tobi (Gamba) for technical help. We thank
Sally Lahm (Makokou), George R. Angehr (SI
Tropical Research Institute, Panama), Alexis
Billes (Ecofac, Libreville), Major L. Boddicker
(LaPorte), Gerard Bos (Shell Gabon), Henri P.
Bourobou Bourobou (IRET, Libreville), Pat-
rick Campbell (SI), Jean-Philippe Chippaux
(IRD, Dakar), Georges Coulon and Karel Wout-
ers (IRSNB), Patrick David, Jacques Fretey
(MNHN, Paris), Mike Fay and Nick Nichols
(National Geographic Society), Allen E. Greer
(Australian Museum, Sidney), Barry Hughes
(London), William J. McShea (SI), Thomas
Nzabi (Herbier National, Libreville), Pedro Ri-
vera and Brian K. Schmidt (SI), Mark-Oliver
Rödel (Würzburg), Duncan Thomas (Oregon
State Univ.), Van Wallach (Cambridge) and
Carlton Ward (SI) for useful information and
help. Georges Lenglet (IRSNB) and Colin Mc-
Carthy (BMNH) kindly gave access to the col-
lections in their care.
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Accepted: 18 August 2004.
... In Gabon this species seems limited to lagoons, mangroves , rivers, and lakes in the lowlands of the western part of the country, where it is currently known from 2 dozen localities, including some in Loango NP (Maran 2002; Pauwels et al. 2004; Maran and Pauwels 2005). Its distribution and ecological requirements make its occurrence in Akanda , Mayumba, Moukalaba-Doudou, and Pongara NPs veryTable 1. Currently known representation of tortoises and freshwater turtles in the national parks of Gabon (indicated by X). ...
... This species is known in Gabon from more than 30 localities distributed in all provinces except the Woleu-Ntem; some localities are situated in Loango and Moukalaba- Doudou NPs (Maran 2002; Pauwels et al., 2004; Maran and Pauwels, 2005 ). Its wide distribution and ecological plasticity allow it to be reasonably expected from Akanda, Ivindo, Lopé, Mayumba, Mwagna, and Pongara NPs. ...
... The T. triunguis inFig. 10 already recorded from 5 Gabonese parks (Pauwels et al. 2004Pauwels et al. , 2006aPauwels et al. , 2006b). It is ubiquitous and found in numerous biotopes, and there are few doubts the species will eventually be found in all parks (see also Pauwels et al. 2002a for localities close to Mount Birougou NP).Figure 11 shows a specimen found ca. 100 airline km east of Crystal Mountains NP and ca. 100 airline km north of Lopé NP. ...
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... comm. to OSGP), from where the species is already well known (Pauwels et al., 2004). We confirm that the photograph of a live python from Loango National Park presented in van Vliet et al. (2012) is of Python sebae (Pythonidae). ...
... Testa and Oslisly (2013) illustrated an adult male Boiga blandingii from Pahon 1 cave near Lastoursville, Ogooué-Lolo Prov. Jesus et al. (2009), in a phylogenetic study of Philothamnus and Hapsidophrys, used specimens of Hapsidophrys smaragdinus and Philothamnus nitidus from Rabi and Philothamnus carinatus from Loango National Park, Ogooué-Maritime Prov.; these specimens were actually collected by Pauwels et al. (2004Pauwels et al. ( , 2006 who provided their exact localities of origin. Motsch et al. (2015) reported observations of Python sebae and Bitis gabonica in enclosures of semi-free-ranging Sun-tailed monkeys Cercopithecus solatus (Cercopithecidae); although the localities of these observations were not reported within the publication they took place in a secondary forest in Franceville, Haut-Ogooué Prov. ...
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We report the first observation of Lygodactylus conraui (Gekkonidae) in Gabon. We present new Gabonese locality records for Kinixys erosa (Testudinidae), Agama agama and A. lebretoni (Agamidae), Trachylepis albilabris (Scincidae), Chamaeleo cristatus and C. owenii (Chamaeleonidae), Dasypeltis fasciata, Hapsidophrys smaragdinus, Rhamnophis a. aethiopissa (Colubridae), Aparallactus modestus, Gonionotophis poensis, Lamprophis olivaceus, Polemon fulvicollis (Lamprophiidae) and Afrotyphlops congestus (Typhlopidae). Four snake and two lizard species are newly recorded from Ogooué-Lolo and Estuaire provinces, respectively. We refer all published records of Agama paragama, A. cf. paragama and A. sylvana from Gabon to A. lebretoni.
... The taxonomy of Hapsidophrys principis (Boulenger, 1906) and to a lesser extent the rest of the genus was dealt with by Jesus et al. (2009). Other important publications in terms of the three species of Hapsidophrys include the following: Barnett (2001), Barnett and Emms (2005), Blanc and Fretey (2000), Bocage (1895), Böhme et al. (2001), Boulenger (1894Boulenger ( , 1897Boulenger ( , 1906, Branch and Rödel (2003), Broadley (1966Broadley ( , 1998, Broadley and Howell (1991), Burger et al. (2004), Capocaccia (1961), Chifundera (1990), Chirio and Lebreton (2007), Cope (1861), Doucet (1963), Fischer (1856), Gossmann et al. (2002), Günther (1896), Hallowell (1844Hallowell ( , 1854Hallowell ( , 1857, Hofer (2002), Jackson (2008), Jackson et al. (2007), Lawson et al. (2005), Loveridge (1936), Luiselli (2000), Manacas (1858), Pauwels and David (2008), Pauwels and Vande weghe (2008), Pauwels et al. (2002Pauwels et al. ( , 2004Pauwels et al. ( , 2007, Rödel and Mahsberg (2000), Schatti and Loumont (1992), Schlegel (1837), Schmidt (1923), Sclater (1891), Segniagbeto et al. (2011), Sinsin and Bergmans (1999), Spawls et al. (2001), Sternfeld (1917, Trape and Roux-Esteve (1995), Werner (1899Werner ( , 1902, Williams and Wallach (1989) and sources cited therein. Important publications in terms of the African Banded Snake Chamaelycus fasciatus (Günther, 1858) and the other species in the same genus include Angel (1934), Bogert (1940), Boulenger (1893, 1919, Broadley (1998), Chifundera (1990), Chippaux (2001), Chirio and Lebreton (2007), Günther (1858), Hughes (1983), Lebreton (1999), Loveridge (1936), Mocquard (1902), Pauwels and Vande weghe (2008), Pauwels et al. (2002), Schmidt (1923), Segniagbeto et al. (2011), Sinsin and Bergmans (1999), Spawls et al. (2001), Sternfeld (1917, Trape and Roux- ...
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An audit of rainforest snakes found on both sides of the Dahomey Gap in West Africa found that a number of species were in fact composite. Some of these were found to include taxa for which there were no available names. This paper formally names four of them according to the Zoological Code (Ride et al. 1999). The species now effectively divided in two, based on morphological, distributional and geological evidence are as follows: the Emerald Snake Hapsidophrys smaragdina (Schlegel, 1837); the Black-lined Green Snake Hapsidophrys lineatus Fischer, 1856; African Banded Snake Chamaelycus fasciatus (Günther, 1858) and the Leach’s Wolf Snake Lycophidion irroratum (Leach, 1819). In every case the nominate form is now confined to the forested region west of the Dahomey Gap, commencing from about Ghana and progressing west to include the forests of Guinea, with the newly described taxa being found in the region to the east of Benin and including the main forested Central African region. Keywords: Taxonomy; nomenclature; snakes, Africa; Hapsidophrys; Chamaelycus; Lycophidion; new species; pintaudii; daranini; euanedwardsi; woolfi.
... (Figure 11). This prey record confirms once again the dietary eclecticism of this snake, whose documented prey items in the wild in Gabon include species as diverse as the frogs Hyperolius phantasticus (Hyperoliidae) and Phrynobatrachus auritus (Phrynobatrachidae), the lizards Agama picticauda (Agamidae), Gerrhosaurus nigrolineatus (Gerrhosauridae) and Hemidactylus mabouia (Gekkonidae) and the bird Merops breweri (Meropidae) (Pauwels, Branch et al., 2004;Schmidt and Branch, 2005;Pauwels and David, 2008a;Pauwels and Vande weghe, 2008;Pauwels, Le Garff et al., 2016;Pauwels, Biyogho Bi Essono II et al., 2017). In addition, a captive newborn specimen caught in Gamba, Ogooué-Maritime Prov., accepted Hyperolius adspersus collected in the same locality (Pauwels and David, 2008b, citing H. adspersus under H. nasutus). ...
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We present new Gabonese locality records, ecological and morphological data or unpublished material for Pelusios gabonensis (Pelomedusidae), Kinixys erosa (Testudinidae), Cycloderma aubryi (Trionychidae), Osteolaemus tetraspis (Crocodylidae), Hemidactylus richardsonii (Gekkonidae), Trachylepis affinis and T. maculilabris (Scincidae), Varanus ornatus (Varanidae), Dasypeltis confusa, Grayia ornata (Colubridae), Naja annulata annulata and N. melanoleuca (Elapidae), Boaedon virgatus, Gonionotophis guirali, Psammophis cf. phillipsii (Lamprophiidae), Python sebae (Pythonidae), Afrotyphlops congestus (Typhlopidae) and Atheris squamigera (Viperidae). Three reptile species are newly recorded from each of Estuaire and Nyanga provinces. Two species are added to the list for Pongara National Park. We document a case of predation by Psammophis cf. phillipsii on Trachylepis affinis.
... The Nile crocodiles are found in a wide variety of habitat types, including large lakes, rivers, and freshwater swamps. In some areas they extend into brackish or even saltwater environments [1,2]. Nile crocodiles display an ontogenetic shift in diet, from insects and small aquatic invertebrates when young, to predominantly vertebrate prey among larger crocodiles. ...
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Background and Aim: Present study provides with more anatomical information on the structure and form of the bones forming the cranium of the Nile crocodile helps in understanding the interpretation of X ray images and surgical affection of the crocodile heads. Materials and Methods: The present study was conducted on six heads of the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus). The heads were removed from their bodies and prepared by hot water maceration technique. The bones of the skull were studied separately and identified by using a specific acrylic color for each bone. Results: The cranium of the crocodile composed of the cranial bones and the facial bones. The crocodile had four paired paranasal sinuses; the antorbital, the vomerine bullar, the pterygopalatine bullar and the pterygoid sinuses. The mandible of crocodile formed from six fused bones (articular, angular, suprangular, coronoid, splenial and dentary). The X ray images were applied for identifying the paranasal sinuses which their contribution to the morphological organization of the head. Conclusion: Results show a bony variation between the crocodile, mammals and also the birds that paves the way to the comparative anatomical and radiological studies.
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We analyze an important new opus on the snakes of West and Central Africa co-authored by Jean-Philippe Chippaux and Kate Jackson. We correct the identification of some of the illustrated snakes of the genera Dipsadoboa, Grayia, Limaformosa and Philothamnus. We provide more detailed localities for more than 30 photographs of snakes of the genera Atractaspis, Bitis, Boaedon, Bothrophthalmus, Causus, Dasypeltis, Dendrolycus, Eryx, Gonionotophis, Grayia, Hydraethiops, Leptotyphlops, Limaformosa, Mehelya, Myriopholis, Natriciteres, Philothamnus, Polemon, Python, Thelotornis, Tricheilostoma and Xenocalamus, from Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Republic of the Congo and Tanzania. An interval of four years between the submission of the manuscript of the book and its publication explains the inaccuracy of many distribution maps, and the fact that recent taxonomic changes and numerous recently described species and genera were not included.
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The nomenclatural status of the nomen Hyperolius guttatus Peters, 1875 was investigated. The specimens on which the original description was based were collected at Bootry in Ghana and in Cameroon, but their precise collection localities are unknown. We established the chronology of the successive taxonomic allocations of the specimens from Ghana and Cameroon. The study of old documents allowed to identify, without ambiguity, the type locality of Hyperolius guttatus in Cameroon as the vicinity of Douala. This also applies to several other species of anurans and snakes described in the same publication, which are listed in the Appendix. An analysis of the colour pattern and of morphometrical characters allowed us to compare the specimen of Hyperolius guttatus from Cameroon with the other species of Hyperolius living in the same region, and to ascertain the status of this nomen. Hyperolius guttatus is proposed as the nomen of a subspecies of Hyperolius concolor from Cameroon. The syntypes from Boutry (Ghana) are confirmed to be Hyperolius fusciventris burtonii. We redescribe the type specimens of Hyperolius guttatus Peter, 1875 and Hyperolius pulcher Ahl, 1931 to present evidence for the synonymy.
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The objective of this study was to investigate the diets of Osteolaemus tetraspis tetraspis from two biotopes in south-western Gabon: inland lowland rainforest (14 samples) and mangrove forest (eight samples). Stomach contents included vegetation (including leaves, fruits, etc.) and animal matter (Gasteropoda, Arachnida, Diplopoda, Insecta, Crustacea, Osteichthyes, Amphibia, Reptilia, Mammalia), and confirm a varied, partly terrestrial, diet. Gastroliths numbered from 0 to 42, and their wet mass did not exceed 0.33% of the crocodile mass, and seem too low to serve a hydrostatic function. Maximal total length observed was 1.8 m.
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A small series of amphisbaenians from the Toucan/Rabi oil fields, Ogooué-Maritime Province, south-western Gabon, is reported. It includes five specimens of Cynisca bifrontalis (Boulenger 1906), previously known only from the holotype, and five specimens of Monopeltis galeata (Hallowell 1852). The Toucan/Rabi material represents a range extension of 90 km south‐east for both species. Morphological variation in the new material is discussed. Body annuli counts in both species differ from documented ranges, but the possible taxonomic significance of this cannot be assessed until larger series become available. Like congeners with extensively fused head shields, C. bifrontalis displays variability in cephalic scutellation. Pre‐cloacal pores in females are represented by small scale depressions, but these lack secretion cores. The species reaches a snout‐vent length of only 131 mm and is thus one of the smallest known fossorial reptiles. Cynisca haughi (Mocquard 1904) is poorly diagnosed and its taxonomic status requires further study.
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We provide a brief overview of the current knowledge on the reptiles and amphibians of the national parks of Gabon, western Central Africa. We stress how much remains to be done regarding their systematics, ecology and zoogeography. We also note how important some species are in the local culture, providing ethnozoological examples for the aquatic snake Grayia ornata (Colubridae) and the tree frog Leptopelis notatus (Arthroleptidae). We mention that amphibians and reptiles, among the latter especially sea turtles and crocodiles, could contribute to ecotourism. We regret that one of the serious obstacles to the development of herpetology in Gabon is the absence of a natural history museum. Citation: PAUWELS, O.S.G. 2004. Reptiles, amphibiens et parcs nationaux au Gabon. Canopée, 26: 3-7.
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A small series of amphisbaenians from the Toucan/Rabi oil fields, Ogooué-Maritime Province, south-western Gabon, is reported. It includes five specimens of Cynisca bifrontalis (Boulenger 1906), previously known only from the holotype, and five specimens of Monopeltis galeata (Hallowell 1852). The Toucan/Rabi material represents a range extension of 90 km south‐east for both species. Morphological variation in the new material is discussed. Body annuli counts in both species differ from documented ranges, but the possible taxonomic significance of this cannot be assessed until larger series become available. Like congeners with extensively fused head shields, C. bifrontalis displays variability in cephalic scutellation. Pre‐cloacal pores in females are represented by small scale depressions, but these lack secretion cores. The species reaches a snout‐vent length of only 131 mm and is thus one of the smallest known fossorial reptiles. Cynisca haughi (Mocquard 1904) is poorly diagnosed and its taxonomic status requires further study.
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Based on our field surveys and literature records, we provide a preliminary list of the reptile fauna of the Chaillu Mountains, central-southern Gabon. The list includes 50 species: 2 crocodilians (Crocodylus cataphractus and Osteolaemus tetraspis), 2 chelonians (Pelusios castaneus and Kinixys erosa), 14 lacertilians (including a Hemidactylus new to Science) and 32 ophidians (including a Typhlopid new to Science, and the first record for Gabon of the freshwater snake Hydraethiops laevis), representing 15 families and 39 genera. The list is accompanied by local vernacular names, biological and ethnozoological data.
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Based on our field surveys, we provide a preliminary list of the reptiles of the Crystal Mounts, northwestern Gabon. The list includes 48 taxa: 1 crocodilian (Osteolaemus tetraspis), 2 chelonians (Pelusios gabonensis and Kinixys erosa), 13 lacertilians (including 3 Chamaeleo spp.) and 32 ophidians (incl. 4 Dipsadoboa spp.), belonging to 36 genera and 14 families. It is accompanied by the available local vernacular names, biological and ethnozoological data.
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A recent phylogenetic revision placed Afro‐Malagasy Mabuya Fitzinger, 1826 into the genus Euprepis Wagler, 1830, with the type species Lacerta punctata Linnaeus, 1758 (syn. Mabuya homalocephala fide Andersson [1900]). Identification of L. punctatus with Euprepis destabilizes existing name usage for both a common southern African skink and a common south Asian skink. Reconsideration of the types of this taxon reveals another interpretation that maintains nomenclatural stability for both taxa. A lectotype is selected for Lacerta punctata that fixes this name to the Asian species currently known as Lygosoma punctatum. The first type designation for Euprepis is invalid and the oldest valid designation places Euprepis in the synonymy of Mabuya sensu stricto. The name Herini Gray, 1839 is a nomen dubium and is not applicable to Afro‐Malagasy "Mabuya”. The oldest available name for this clade is Trachylepis Fitzinger, 1843 (type species Euprepes savignyi Duméril & Bibron, 1839 [syn. Scincus quinquetaeniatus Lichtenstein, 1823]), which thus replaces Euprepis as the appropriate name for this group.
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The populations of Thelotornis in eastern Africa are reviewed. Thelotornis kirtlandii extends east of the Albertine rift to Uganda and the Imatong Mountains in southern Sudan, but in Tanzania it is only represented by a few relict populations in montane forests, surrounded by T. mossambicanus (Bocage) in the savanna. The latter taxon is recognised as a good evolutionary species, as it is sympatric with T. capensis oatesii (Günther) in Mutare District on the eastern escarpment of Zimbabwe. Thelotornis usambaricus sp. nov., intermediate between T. kirtlandii and T. mossambicanus, is described from coastal forests in northeastern Tanzania.
A taxonomic review of the Dipsadoboa duchesnei complex Les serpents du Congo: Liste commentée et clé de détermination
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, J. B. 1989. A taxonomic review of the Dipsadoboa duchesnei complex. Bonner Zoologische Beiträge 40(3/4):249-264. TRAPE, J. F. & R. ROUX-ESTÈVE. 1995. Les serpents du Congo: Liste commentée et clé de détermination. Journal of African Zoology 109(1):31-50.