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The National Red List 2012 of Sri Lanka; Conservation Status of the Fauna and Flora

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Abstract

Sri Lanka’s biodiversity is significantly important both in a regional and global scale. Sri Lanka has the highest species density (number of species present per 10,000 sq. km) for flowering plants, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals in the Asian region. The currently recognized statistics of the major plant and animal taxa that are treated in this book is given in the text. However, it should be noted that there are many other taxonomic groups in Sri Lanka that are excluded from this text due to lack of clear data on their current status
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... Relative to the size of the island, Sri Lanka harbours a highly diverse flora and fauna, making it a biodiversity hotspot together with the Western Ghats of India [2]. This tropical island is home for many endemic species and has the highest species density for flowering plants, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals in the Asian region [3]. There is an exceptional faunal diversity in Sri Lanka, having many point endemic species confined to smaller areas. ...
... There is an exceptional faunal diversity in Sri Lanka, having many point endemic species confined to smaller areas. This rich faunal diversity of the island encompasses at least 124 mammals, 237 resident birds, 120 amphibians, 95 freshwater fish, and 51 freshwater crabs [3,4]. Among these, amphibian diversity is quite significant with 85% endemism and 3.9 species per 1000 km 2 [3,5]. ...
... This rich faunal diversity of the island encompasses at least 124 mammals, 237 resident birds, 120 amphibians, 95 freshwater fish, and 51 freshwater crabs [3,4]. Among these, amphibian diversity is quite significant with 85% endemism and 3.9 species per 1000 km 2 [3,5]. ...
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Sri Lanka is rich in biological diversity, but its fungal diversity is not adequately studied and documented. Recent fungal diversity estimations have predicted that the tropical regions would harbour a large number of novel fungal species. Fungi are ubiquitous, hence it is important to carry out proper investigations to discover novel taxa in different habitats and ecosystems. These taxa represent different life modes i.e. pathogens (of plants, animals and humans), saprobes, endophytes, symbionts (lichens, mycorrhizae), and lichenicolous. Current mycology is mainly based on polyphasic approaches (morphological, DNA based and chemical analyses) to define the species (consolidated species concept). DNA based phylogenetic analyses are widely used in higher level classification. These DNA are mainly extracted from cultures. Depositing a specimen that the fungus is present at a reputed Fungarium and depositing a culture resulted from the specimen at a reputed culture collection is important. The “International Code of Taxonomy of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants” stated that it is important to deposit the holotype at a reputed fungarium, while depositing the ex-type culture which is derived from the holotype at a reputed culture collection is also essential. Besides species identification and classification, these specimens and cultures are important in future studies and in genetic resource conservation. In Sri Lanka, currently a national fungarium and a culture collection for fungi do not exist. However, several institutional collections and personal collections are available. In this conceptual paper, we propose to establish a central, national fungarium to deposit holotypes and a culture collection to deposit ex-type cultures while maintaining several regional or mirror collections to replicate the specimens as isotypes and paratypes, and cultures as ex-isotypes and ex-paratypes.
... It is a small island (65,610 km 2 ) with rich biological diversity. Its proximity to the equator, heterogeneity of topography and climatic conditions help to support vast diversity of both flora and fauna (Weerakoon 2012). Sri Lanka harbors a rich ichthyofaunal diversity comprising 127 species, including 61 endemics and 30 introduced species (De Silva et al. 2015;Goonatilake et al. 2020). ...
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Labeo fisheri is an endemic and endangered freshwater fish of Sri Lanka. Mainly restricted to the upper reaches of the Mahaweli River basin, it has been previously reported living in deep rapids and among large rocks and boulders. An accidental record of a Labeo fisheri specimen from Victoria Reservoir led us to further study this habitat during the period from January to August 2017. This study was carried out to confirm the presence of a population of Labeo fisheri within the Victoria Reservoir and report its new habitat type in deep stagnant waters. We further investigated the food habits by analyzing the gut contents of L. fisheri in the Victoria Reservoir. Seven individuals were recorded from fishermen’s gill net catch in three fish landing sites along Victoria Reservoir, with an average total length of 24.80 ± 4.30 cm, average standard length of 19.70 ± 3.86 cm and average body weight of 197.69 ± 107.12 g. Based on gut content analysis, only phytoplankton, especially diatoms and cyanobacteria, were found in the gut of L. fisheri. This new population is facing the direct threat of fishing. Effective conservation measures are doubtful, since a fishery is well established in the Victoria Reservoir and the fishing gear used is not species-specific. More research is necessary to understand the population dynamics of L. fisheri in the Victoria Reservoir. In order to conserve it at this locality, community-based conservation measures are recommended.
... This survey was instrumental in highlighting the species richness and endemism of terrestrial gastropods in the Island. According to current knowledge, Sri Lanka is home to 253 terrestrial gastropod species (Weerakoon, 2012). Among them 205 (81%) species are endemic to Sri Lanka. ...
... There are four species of deer belonging to family Cervidae recorded in Sri Lanka: Rusa unicolor (Sambur), Axis porcinus (hog deer), Muntiacus muntjack (barking deer) and A. axis (spotted deer) (Weerakoon 2012). There are two subspecies of A. axis: Axis axis ceylonensis Fischer, 1829 (Ellerman and Morrison-Scott 1951;Phillips 1980) endemic to Sri Lanka and A. a. axis distributed in the Indian subcontinent and commonly called chital in Hindi (Prater 1971). ...
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Axis axis ceylonensis (Ceylon spotted deer) is a sub species endemic to Sri Lanka. Ecological observations in wild populations of this subspecies have been reported but there is no published research on its behaviour. We report here a behavioural study on a free ranging population of A. a. ceylonensis inhabiting a temple surroundings in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. Behaviour was quantified by focal sampling on sex age groups in three time zones: 6:30 to 7:30, 12:30-13:30, and 17:00 to 18:00 hours. The deer were more active in the hour after dawn and an hour before dusk. The main activities were feeding and play, the latter common in juveniles. There was a preference to graze on grasses and browse on Ficus sp. leaves. Resting was highest in the afternoon across all groups. This bimodal activity pattern is similar to that of both wild Ceylon and Indian A. axis subspecies despite the absence of predators in the study area. The bimodal activity may be related to thermoregulatory functions while grazing in open grass areas.
... The geographic position and the topography of Sri Lanka have given the island three major climatic zones and there is a huge variety of habitats that support large biodiversity (Gunatilleke and Gunatilleke, 1990). Hence, the country provides a diverse array of foraging habitats for inhabiting avifauna which consist a total of 453 species with 240 breeding residents, 213 migrants and 72 vagrants (Warakagoda et al., 2012;Weerakoon and Gunawardena, 2012). ...
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Foraging ecology of E. palliseri was investigated from January to December 2017 in Horton Plains National Park (HPNP) in randomly placed three 100 m line transects in each of the three major habitats of HPNP as Cloud Forest (CF), Cloud Forest Die Back (DB) and Grassland (GL). Usage of vegetation, foraging substrates, foraging height and attack manoeuvres of E. palliseri were recorded. Focal observations of 83 individuals were recorded from CF and DB but none from GL. Ageratina riparia (15.50±12.23) and Pteridium sp. (10.13±10.74) vegetations were highly utilized by E. palliseri whereas Sarcococca brevifolia (7.50±5.64) and Arundinaria debilis (7.53±4.97) were moderately preferred. Foraging substrates such as Leaf litter (9.80±5.33%) was mostly utilized. Height ranged from 0-2.5m was usually utilized for foraging. During breeding and rearing season in SWMS and SIMS while 4m height was exceeded for foraging purpose but ground foraging was dominated in SIMS (18.53%) due to highest wind speed. Glean (12.99±8.61%) and Probe (10.06±5.50%) were mostly used as pray attack manoeuvres. In SIMS probing (16.74%) was dominated and Hang method was used comparatively high percentage (0.69%) revealing willfulness of obtaining maximum food matter to withstand harsh conditions and successful breeding. Findings of the present study hangs the need of future studies related with E. palliseri.
... It is sub specie of Rhododendron arboreum. It is found at an elevation beyond 1500m above mean sea levels [6]. This evergreen plant grows up to 2 or 3 feet in open plains and the same is growing up to 10 or 15 feet in the forest. ...
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Rhododendron arboreum subsp. zeylanicum is an endemic woody plant found in Sri Lanka. Although it is a vulnerable plant and has ornamental value. Rhododendron species naturally grow from seeds and regeneration rate is low. The vegetative propagation of most woody rhododendrons is slow. The investigation of seed germination is important for the conservation of this species. The first experiment was carried out to study the effect of growing media (Unsterilized native soil, native soil: coir dust (1:1), native soil: leaf mould (1:1), coir dust: sand (1:1), native soil: sand (1:1), and clay soil) and to compare the impact on two geographical locations (Peradeniya and Hakgala) for in vivo seed germination. The second experiment was carried out to investigate the effect of different culture media (Anderson (ADW), autoclaved distilled water + agar, ½ strength Murashige and Skoog (MS), and full-strength MS) with two different sterilization methods (15% Clorox with few drops of Teepol for 15 minutes and 20% Clorox with few drops of Teepol for 10 minutes) on in vitro seed germination. The germination percentage was significantly affected by the location and growing media. The highest germination percentage was recorded in coir dust: sand medium (1:1). Hakgala is better than Peradeniya for in vivo seed germination. In the in vitro seed germination, the lowest germination and the highest contamination percentages were recorded in the full-strength MS medium. The highest root length was recorded in the seeds treated with ADW + agar. And the highest plant height was recorded in the seeds treated in ADW + agar with 20% Clorox and few drops of Teepol for 10 minutes
... The global population of M. crassicaudata has been identified as Endangered (EN) by the IUCN, and the species has been further included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES; Mahmood et al. 2019). According to the National Red List of Sri Lanka, the Indian Pangolin is listed as 'Near Threatened' (NT) (Weerakoon 2012). It is also included in the schedule II of the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance (Amendment) Act No. 22 of 2009 of Sri Lanka (Perera et al. 2017). ...
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The Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata is one of the eight extant pangolin species in the world, occurring in the Indian subcontinent and is the solitary pangolin species recorded in Sri Lanka. Little is known about the intra-specific morphometric variations of the Indian Pangolin, largely due to the limited observations. In this note, we report the morphometrics of the largest Indian Pangolin recorded so far in its range, and consequently the largest pangolin ever to be recorded according to published information. These records along with observations from other range countries provide novel insights into the maximum growth of male Indian Pangolins.
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Reliable population estimates are crucial for the conservation and management of faunal species. Population data of meso-mammal carnivores in Sri Lanka, as well as elsewhere in the world, is scarce. We estimated population densities of meso-mammal carnivores in Maduru Oya National Park (MONP) using Random Encounter Model (REM) and Camera Trap Distance Sampling (CTDS) methods in this study. A total of 3,402 camera trapping days yielded 3,357 video captures of 69 different animal taxa including 658 video captures of meso-mammal carnivores. In this study, we recorded all 12 meso-mammal carnivore species found on the island. The two density estimate methods generated similar population estimates indicating that both methods are compatible to be applied in tropical forest habitats for meso-carnivore species. We identify MONP as an area with high richness for the focal species. The study also generated movement speed, activity patterns, activity levels, and day ranges for the focal species, which will be useful for future research. We discuss the population density estimates for different meso-carnivore species and the use of REM and CTDS density estimation methods and their applicability to a tropical meso-carnivore community.
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Linear regression analysis of length-weight relationships (LWRs) were studied to reveal the growth patterns of 380 specimens belonging to 10 species, 9 genera and 5 families of local fish in Vavuniya reservoir, Sri Lanka during January, 2013 to August, 2014. The regression coefficient value 'b' from LWR and statistical comparison from the ideal value (b=3) were used to find the growth patterns. Most of the local species showed isometric growth except Amblypharyngodon melettinus, Puntius sarana and Heteropneustes fossilis. Only Channa striata (b= 2.996, p=0.396) and females of Puntius dorsalis (b= 3.076, p=0.234) appeared in the catch throughout the study period and showed a strong correlation between length and weight. Combined sexes of, Glossogobius giuris (b= 3.178, p=0.216), Labeo dussumieri (b= 2.752, p=0.069) and females of Mystus keletius (b= 2.823, p=0.078) showed isometric growth. However, positive allometric growth for P. sarana females (b= 3.182, p=0.000) and negative allometric growth for combined sexes of H. fossilis (b= 2.613, p=0.001) were observed. During the drought period (July to August, 2014), A. melettinus, Esomus thermoicos (endemic) and Rasbora daniconius were observed at the sluice. E. thermoicos (b= 3.163, p=0.181) and R. daniconius (b= 3.065, p=0.393) obeyed the cubic law and showed an isometric growth pattern. However, A. melettinus showed a negative allometric growth (b= 2.367, p=0.002). Although, most of the local fish indicated isometric growth that reflected successful thriving, allometric growth reflected the sensitivity for environmental and habitat characteristics. Therefore, this study revealed the baseline evidence on the LWRs and the growth patterns, which could be considered for studying the survival of local fish to reach the optimal species richness and abundance.
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Investigations on the fauna of Sinharaja spanning the past four years have enabled to document a total of 319 vertebrate species, representing 50% of the native inland vertebrate fauna of Sri Lanka. About 30% (97 species) of the native vertebrate species in Sinharaja are endemic to Sri Lanka, while about 35% (112 species) are nationally threatened. Among the endemic vertebrate species in Sinharaja, 96% are nationally threatened. The butterflies recorded include 85 species, of which 9 are endemic, while 17 are nationally threatened. The land-snails recorded include 25 species (12 endemics) of which 10 are nationally threatened. The rich composition of fauna documented from Sinharaja, which includes several endemic and relict species, further highlights the conservation significance of this unique forest, which covers less than 0.2% of the island.
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The apparent biotic affinities between the mainland and the island in the Western Ghats–Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot have been interpreted as the result of frequent migrations during recent periods of low sea level. We show, using molecular phylogenies of two invertebrate and four vertebrate groups, that biotic interchange between these areas has been much more limited than hitherto assumed. Despite several extended periods of land connection during the past 500,000 years, Sri Lanka has maintained a fauna that is largely distinct from that of the Indian mainland. Future conservation programs for the subcontinent should take into account such patterns of local endemism at the finest scale at which they may occur.
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The native land-snail fauna of the Hawaiian islands was investigated from a combined perspective of ecological and historical, vicariant, and dispersalist biogeography. There were more than 750 described, valid species; almost all were endemic to the archipelago, many to single islands. Path analysis showed that island area, per se, had the strongest influence on numbers of species. Island altitude and number of plant communities, both strongly related to area and both dimensions of habitat diversity, also had major influences. The influence of island age was complex. A direct effect, older islands having more species, was more than counterbalanced by the strong indirect effects of age on area and altitude: older islands are smaller and lower, and smaller, lower islands had fewer species. Distance of an island from a source of colonization was of minor importance. Species richness thus appears to be related almost exclusively to evolutionary radiation in situ and not to an equilibrium between immigration and extinction. Islands need not be extremely isolated for evolutionary radiation to be more important than immigration/extinction dynamics in determining species richness, but isolation is a relative term dependent on the dispersal abilities of the organisms in question. Numbers of recorded species were also strongly correlated with collecting effort on each island, a result that stands as a warning to others involved in such studies. Numbers of species in different families were not evenly distributed across islands. Notably, Kauai had more amastrids and helicinids and fewer achatinellids than predicted; Oahu had more amastrids but fewer pupillids and succineids than predicted; Hawaii exhibited the opposite pattern from Oahu. These patterns may partly reflect the vagaries of collecting/describing effort, but some may be due to the combined effects of historical factors and competitive exclusion. The distribution of shell height/diameter was bimodal with a distinct absence of more or less equidimensional species, a general pattern seen in other faunas. Among the pulmonates, tall species predominated, suggesting a relative lack of opportunity for globular/flat species. Notably, amastrids occurred in both modes, evidence that, at least in part, ecological not taxonomic factors underlie the bimodality. The proportions of tall and globular/flat species did not vary among islands. Prosobranchs were mostly low-spired but generally less flat than the pulmonates in the low-spired mode. The islands were probably colonized originally by small taxa. Large, tall shells are found only on Kauai and Niihau, the oldest of the main islands, suggesting that opportunities for such species are probably available on other islands.
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Citation: Balan, D., P.M. Sureshan & V. Khanna (2012). A new species of centipede of the genus Cryptops Leach (Scolopendromorpha: Cryptopidae) from southern Western Ghats with a key to the species of Cryptops in India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 4(4): 2510–2514. Copyright: © Dhanya Balan, P.M. Sureshan & Vinod Khanna 2012. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication. Acknowledgement: We are grateful to Dr. K. Venkataraman, Director, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata and C. Radhakrishnan, Officer-in-Charge, Western Ghat Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India, Calicut for providing facilities and encouragement. DB is grateful to Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India for awarding the Junior Research Fellowship and to Dr. John Lewis, UK, for the timely help and advice on matters of taxonomy, assistance with the literature and for useful comments on the manuscript. DB is also thankful to Dr. S. Shankar, Senior Scientist, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi, Kerala for guidance on matters concerned with the studies in soil ecology. We are grateful to PCCF, Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department for the study permission and Staff, Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary for their encouragement and support during the study. Thanks are also due to Mr. P.K. Umesh, Mr. K.C. Harish and Mr. R.A. Aswanth for assistance rendered during the field trips. The Western Ghats in India, with its very diverse assemblage of flora and fauna is one of the hotspots of biodiversity (Myers et al. 2000). With a few exceptions, the invertebrate fauna of the Western Ghats has been inadequately studied both in terms of their diversity and conservation priorities (Kunte in press). Though an integral part of the soil ecosystems, the fauna of scolopendromorph centipedes (Chilopoda: Scolopendromorpha) of the Western Ghats is still little known except for the pioneering works by Attems (1930), Jangi & Dass (1984), Yadav (1993) and Sureshan et al. (2006). A perusal of the literature reveals the occurrence of 40 species of scolopendrid centipedes belonging to eight genera and two families in the Western Ghats. Like the families Plutoniumidae and Scolopocryptopidae and the order Geophilomorpha, the family Cryptopidae are blind centipedes, lacking ocelli. Cryptops Leach, 1815, is the largest genus of the family Cryptopidae, with 153 named species worldwide (Lewis 2002), in four subgenera i.e., C. (Cryptops) Leach, 1815; C. (Chromatonops) Verhoeff, 1906; C. (Haplocryptops) Verhoeff, 1934 and C. (Trigonocryptops) Verhoeff, 1906 (Bonato et al. 2011). The smaller size and fragile body, coupled with an abundance of species names, often founded on inadequate samples and with imprecise descriptions, make cryptopid centipedes a taxonomically difficult group and only seven species in two genera have so far been described from India. The Indian species of Cryptops are Cryptops (C.) feae Pocock, 1891, Cryptops (C.) doriae Pocock, 1891, Cryptops (C.) kempi Silvestri, 1924, Cryptops (C.) setosior Chamberlin, 1959 and Cryptops (Trigonocryptops) orientalis Jangi, 1955 (Khanna 2005, 2008).
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Relationships within Chilopoda (centipedes) are assessed based on 222 morphological characters, complete 18S rRNA sequences for 70 chilopod terminals, the D3 region of 28S rRNA for 65 terminals, 16S rRNA sequences for 54 terminals and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I sequences for 45 terminals. Morphological and molecular data for seven orders of Diplopoda are used to root cladograms for Chilopoda. Analyses use direct character optimization for 15 gap and substitution models. The Pleurostigmophora and Epimorpha s.l. hypotheses are largely stable to parameter variation for the combined data; the latter clade is formalized as the new taxon Phylactometria. The combined data include parameter sets that support either the monophyly of Epimorpha s.str. (=Scolopendromorpha + Geophilomorpha) or Craterostigmus + Geophilomorpha; the former derives its support from morphology and the nuclear ribosomal genes. Monophyly of Lithobiomorpha and the sister group relationship between Lithobiidae and Henicopidae are stable for morphological and combined data, and are also resolved for the molecular data for 14 of 15 parameter sets. The fundamental split in Scolopendromorpha is between Cryptopidae and Scolopendridae sensu Attems. Blind scolopendromorphs unite as a clade in most molecular and combined analyses, including those that minimize incongruence between data partitions. Geophilomorpha divides into Placodesmata and Adesmata under nine of 15 explored parameter sets.
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In February/March 1995 we collected land snails (including slugs) at 12 stations in eastern Tanzania. A total of 571 person-hours yielded 9174 snails assigned to 159 morpho-species. The richest two sites each (< 5mm="" greatest="" adult="" shell="" dimension)="" –="" many="" of="" which="" are="" probably="" undescribed="" species="" –="" comprise="" a="" substantial="" proportion="" of="" tanzanian="" molluscan="" diversity;="" more="" surveys="" are="" needed,="" especially="" because="" of="" human="" pressures="" on="" the="" few="" forest="" patches="">
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The geological history of the Indian subcontinent is marked by successive episodes of extensive isolation, which have provided ideal settings for the development of a unique floral and faunal diversity. By molecular phylogenetic analysis of a large set of ranid frog taxa from the Oriental realm, we show that four genera, now restricted to torrential habitats in the Western Ghats of India and the central highlands of Sri Lanka, represent remnants of ancient divergences. None of three other biodiversity hotspots in the Oriental mainland were found to harbour an equivalent level of long-term evolutionary history in this frog group. By unceasingly providing favourable humid conditions, the subcontinent's southern mountain ranges have served as refugia for old lineages, and hence constitute a unique reservoir of ancient ranid endemism.