Reptile Diversity in Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape, South Cotabato, Philippines
By: Olga M. Nuñeza, Maria Luisa P. Non, Edna P. Oconer, Maximo C. Aljibe
Key Words: Endemism, Lowland dipterocarp forest,SphenomorphusvariegatusTropidophoruspartelloi.
J. Bio. Env. Sci. 8(2), 9-21, February 2016.
Reptiles are highly diversewith high percentage of endemism in the Philippines. However, reptile diversity in Mindanao, the second largest island in the country,is poorly known. To determine the species richness, diversity, endemism and conservation status of reptiles, this study was conducted from August to December 2013in six sampling sites of Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape (MMPL), South Cotabato.Cruising methodwasdone in the six sampling sites of MMPL. Paleontological Statistics Software Package (PAST) version 3.06 was used to determine the biodiversity indices, similarity index, and Kruskal-Wallis test. Thirteen species of reptiles belonging to five families and 11 genera with percentage endemism of46.15% were documented. High species diversity of reptiles with more or less even distribution was recorded in MMPL. Among the sampled sites, sampling site 1, a disturbed lowland dipterocarp forest had the highest species diversityand endemism.Sphenomorphusvariegatus was the most abundant species. Tropidophoruspartelloi, the only Mindanao Island endemic species was only found in the disturbed and undisturbed montane forests. Most of the documented species were under the Least Concern status. Bray-Curtis cluster analysis showed that sites 2 and 5 had the highest similarity percentage (68%) while Kruskal-Wallis test showed no significant difference between samples in disturbedand undisturbed sites. Threats to the reptiles of MMPL were observed to be the conversion of forest to farmland and hunting thus implying the need for protection of habitats and conservation of species in MMPL.