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Amphibians and reptiles of the French West Indies : Inventory, threats and conservation

Lorvelec O., Pascal M., Pavis C., Feldmann P.. 2007. Applied Herpetology, 4 (2) : p. 131-161.

At least five marine turtles and 49 terrestrial or freshwater amphibians and reptiles have been listed from the French West Indies since the beginning of human settlement. Among terrestrial or freshwater species, two groups may be distinguished. The first group comprises 35 native species, of which seven are currently extinct or vanished. These species are often endemic to a bank and make up the initial herpetofauna of the French West Indies. Disregarding two species impossible to rule on due to lack of data, the second group includes twelve species that were introduced. Except for marine turtles and some terrestrial species for which the decline was due to human predation, the extinctions primarily involved ground living reptiles of average size and round section body shape. Habitat degradation and mammalian predator introductions have probably contributed to the extinction of these species, in addition to a possible direct impact of man. To better understand the threats to species, we suggest studying the interactions between native herpetofauna and introduced competitors or predators, taking into account the habitat structure. This would help to give the necessary information for successful management measures for conservation or restoration. As an example, the conservation of the Petite Terre (Guadeloupeauana delicatissima population requires identifying both the mechanisms that regulate its population and their relationships to catastrophic climatic events.

Mots-clés : amphibien; reptile; enquête; organisme indigène; introduction d'animaux; iguana; dynamique des populations; risque; conservation des ressources; antilles françaises; france; inventaire; iguana delicatissima

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