Cerberus microlepis 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Homalopsidae

Scientific Name: Cerberus microlepis
Species Authority: Boulenger, 1896
Taxonomic Notes: The relationship between Cerberus microlepis and C. rynchops has been reviewed, suggesting that C. microlepis may not warrant species status, and may best be considered as an isolated freshwater population of C. rynchops (Karns et al. 2000, Alfaro et al. 2004). The taxonomic status of diagnosable clades within Cerberus are in the process of reevaluation (D. Karns, J. Murphy and H.Voris pers. comm. 2009).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-02-13
Assessor(s): Ledesma, M., Rico, E., Gonzalez, J.C., Brown, R., Murphy, J., Voris, H. & Karns, D.
Reviewer(s): Livingstone, S.R., Elfes, C.T., Polidoro, B.A. & Carpenter, K.E. (Global Marine Species Assessment Coordinating Team)
This species is listed as Endangered as it is known only with certainty from the small Lake Buhi in the Philippines (19 km²), where it is threatened by habitat loss from coastal development, decreased water quality from pollution, and possibly persecution.  The forest habitat surrounding the lake is also seriously degraded, and there is likely to be a continuing decline of the lakeside habitat and water quality due to an increasing human population. More research is needed on the distribution and abundance of this species. It is possible that the species lives in fish ponds in the surrounding area and so the distribution may extended outside of the lake habitat alone.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the Philippines, where it has only been recorded from Lake Buhi (19 km²), on the Bicol Peninsula of Luzon (Murphy 2007). A few additional specimens were collected in the early 1990s, but there have been no other sightings since this time (R. Brown pers. comm. 2007). A number of freshwater fish species present in Lake Buhi have also been found in two small neighbouring lakes (including the protected Lake Manapao), and it is considered possible that C. microlepis may also be present here, although this needs confirmation. Lake Buhi lies at around 200 m elevation (Karns et al. 2000).
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:19
Number of Locations:1
Lower elevation limit (metres):200
Upper elevation limit (metres):200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are currently no data available on the abundance of this species.  It is considered fairly common within its limited range (J. Murphy pers. comm. 2009), however, its known distribution is a single lake (19 km²) that continues to experience habitat degradation due to human encroachment.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a poorly-known freshwater snake, possibly with similar ecological requirements to the congener C. rynchops. Very little information is available on the natural history of this species. Individuals of this species are sometimes removed from shallow water in fish ponds near Lake Buhi during the night (Murphy 2007). This species most likely uses the forest floor habitat surrounding the lake. It is also likely that this species can live in relatively disturbed and modified habitats.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The area surrounding the lake is fairly densely populated by humans which has caused habitat degradation of the shores of the lake and decreased water quality. Much of the forest habitat around the lake has been cleared with little remaining forest in patchy, secondary growth. Another threat may include pollution from domestic waste causing habitat degradation. Direct persecution from humans is also a possible threat (J.C. Gonsalez pers. comm. 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The lake is a proposed protected area, and fishing within the lake appears to be regulated. There are no species-specific conservation measures in place. This is a very poorly known species, and further studies on its ecology, abundance, and range are urgently needed. There have been no detailed studies on this species since the early 1990s.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.3. Wetlands (inland) - Shrub Dominated Wetlands
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.3. Artificial/Aquatic - Aquaculture Ponds
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.5. Persecution/control
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

9. Pollution -> 9.1. Domestic & urban waste water -> 9.1.3. Type Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Alfaro, M., Karns, D.R.,Voris, H.K., Abernathy, E. and Sellins, S.L. 2004. Phylogeny of Cerberus (Serpentes: Homalopsinae) and phylogeography of Cerberus rynchops: diversification of a coastal marine snake in Southeast Asia. Journal of Biogeography 31: 1277–1292.

Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. Taylor and Francis, London.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.4). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 27 October 2010).

John C. Murphy. 2007. Homalopsid Snakes - Evolution in the Mud. Krieger Publishing Compay, Malabar, Florida.

Karns, D.R., O'Bannon, A., Voris, H.K. and Weigt, L.A. 2000. Biogeographical implications of mitochondrial DNA variation in the Bockadam snake (Cerberus rynchops, Serpentes: Homalopsinae) in Southeast Asia. Journal of Biogeography 27(2): 391-402.

Citation: Ledesma, M., Rico, E., Gonzalez, J.C., Brown, R., Murphy, J., Voris, H. & Karns, D. 2010. Cerberus microlepis. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T169827A6679261. . Downloaded on 29 July 2016.
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