A herpetofaunal survey of Swaziland.
Boycott, Richard Charlton.
MetadataShow full item record
The present report, based on a survey conducted over four years and on the accumulation of museum records, provides the most detailed documentation yet of the herpetofauna of Swaziland. One hundred and two new forms are recorded from the country bringing the total number of forms to 154, consisting of 44 amphibians and 110 reptiles. Up-to-date checklists of the amphibians and reptiles are presented and effectively indicate a rich and diverse herpetofauna. The biogeography of the Swaziland herpetofauna is discussed based on distribution records derived from collected specimens as well as reliable sight and audio records. Swaziland does not constitute a distinctive biogeographical unit. The present study indicates that the herpetofauna shows affinities with both the Afrotemperate and Afrotropical biomes. The traditional biogeographical classification in southern Africa, of the presence of a Cape temperate fauna and a tropical East African lowland fauna, is tested by means of a transect and is reinforced. It is also shown that Swaziland, together with Natal and southern Mozambique, forms an integral part of the tropical subtraction zone of south-east Africa. Amphibian diversity and species turnover in southern Africa are investigated by means of a transect from the east coast, through Swaziland, to the interior plateau, and a north to south transect down the eastern lowveld. The Dice-Sorenson Similarity index gives a value of 41% for the entire east-west transect and 89% for the north-south transect. The conservation status of the amphibians and reptiles of Swaziland is discussed. Conservation measures are proposed.