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Tropidophis hendersoni

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA TROPIDOPHIIDAE

Scientific Name: Tropidophis hendersoni
Species Authority: Hedges & Garrido, 2002
Common Name(s):
English Cuban Khaki Trope

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-06-30
Assessor(s): Powell, R., Mayer, G.C. & Hedges. S.B.
Reviewer(s): Böhm, M., Collen, B. & Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team)
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Powney, G. & Lutz, M.L.
Justification:
Tropidophis hendersoni has been assessed as Critically Endangered under B1ab(iii). The species is only known from one specimen found at the type locality in 1945, and recent surveys carried out by a number of herpetologists have failed to locate this species both in and around its type locality. As a result, the extent of occurrence of this species is estimated to be less than 100 km². As with other Caribbean islands, high levels of deforestation have occurred in the past and threats such as agricultural expansion are still a threat due to high human population densities. It is therefore highly likely that the habitat in the species' restricted range is undergoing continued declines in quality and extent. This species is therefore under a high risk of extinction, even more so since it is unlikely that any part of its range coincides with a protected area. Further research should be carried out to determine the population size and distribution of this species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is only known from its type locality on the northern coast of eastern Cuba. The type locality is at Guarda la Vaca, Holguin Province (Hedges and Garrido 2002). The extent of occurrence of this species is estimated as less than 100 km².
Countries:
Native:
Cuba
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The type locality of this species is not obviously unique, ecologically or physiographically, and thus it is unclear whether the species is restricted to that location or occurs more widely.  However, the fact that only one specimen is known, collected in 1945, suggests that it is rare and probably restricted in distribution, and recent searches by herpetologists have failed to locate the species (S.B. Hedges pers. comm. 2010).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The region where this species was collected has a low-elevation karst topography (Hedges and Garrido 2002), presumably with dry broadleaf forests. Guarda la Vaca is located on the coast.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Caribbean islands in the past have suffered a very high level of deforestation, with only 10% of original habitat left on average on these islands (S.B. Hedges pers. comm. 2010). While most of Cuba had been originally forested, less than 20% of forest cover remained in 1993 (Hedges and Woods 1993), and habitat loss has remained prevalent. This has been attributed to the agricultural and industrial growth, along with the population explosion of the first half of the 20th century (Portela and Aguirre 2000). Sugar cane, coffee and rice plantations now cover much of the lowlands. In Holguin province, a long history of logging, extraction of non-timber forest products, and agriculture have contributed to the land cover change (Fa et al. 2002). It is likely that these threats are affecting the species' habitat, particularly since it is not contained within any protected areas.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. Further research into its population, habitat status, and threats should be carried out, and population monitoring is recommended.

Citation: Powell, R., Mayer, G.C. & Hedges. S.B. 2010. Tropidophis hendersoni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 28 August 2014.
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