Amphibians and Reptiles of Mainland Southeast Asia

The CBC’s early work in Mainland Southeast Asia started in 1997 and focused in part on diversity, distribution, and conservation status of the amphibians (frogs, salamanders, and caecilians), and reptiles (snakes, lizards, turtles, and crocodiles) of Vietnam, Lao PDR (Laos), Cambodia, and Thailand. This enormous and geographically complex area is located in the heart of the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot and harbors an array of some of the world's most spectacular and threatened amphibians and reptiles.

A young green tree viper waiting to ambush prey in Thua Tien-Hue Province, central Vietnam
A young green tree viper (Viridovipera vogeli) waits to ambush prey in Thua Tien-Hue Province, central Vietnam. © Raoul Bain

Addressing Knowledge Gaps

This past project focused on addressing gaps in knowledge of the regional diversity and natural history of mainland Southeast Asia's amphibian and reptile species in the face of severe threats from human-induced pressures such as land use change, deforestation, and hunting and trading practices.

Researchers from the CBC, in collaboration with scientists and conservation workers from Asia, Europe, and North America, surveyed sites throughout Mainland Southeast Asia. This work yielded descriptions for 17 amphibian (and an additional 10 re-described), and one snake species, as well as over 200 range extensions and novel natural history data for dozens of species.

A red-webbed treefrog
The red-webbed treefrog (Rhacophorus rhodopus) is part of a complex of similar-looking species that range across the Eastern Himalayas and Mainland Southeast Asia. © Raoul Bain

Data from this primary research have been used for major biogeographic and phylogenetic studies by CBC staff and has been made available to research colleagues around the globe. Results have been incorporated into conservation assessments of proposed conservation corridors and protected areas, and have been directly applied to assessing the conservation status of over 650 amphibian and reptile species in the region for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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