Diversity and Habitat Utilization of Lizards in Mulshi Tehsil of Northern Western Ghats
University Of Pune
Chavan Vinayak Dhananjay
Introduction: What conservation problem or question does your study address?
Lizards are ecologically significant as preys, predators, pollinators and bio-indicators. Presently, they are facing increasing threats of habitat destruction and poaching, but still their ecological aspects are inadequately studied in India.Present work is a baseline study on diversity of lizards and their habitats utilization in the study area; comprised of watersheds in Varak, Tamhini and Nive villages of Mulshi tehsil in Northern Western Ghats.
Methods: What were the main research methods you used?
The satellite image, LISS III (2009) of study area was classified into six habitats (Fo: forest, Sc: scrubland, Gr: grassland, Ro: rocky plateaus and Se: settlement) by using unsupervised and visual interpretation method (Erdas Imagine 10). Grids of 250m x 250m were laid on the classified map and by employing stratified random sampling; grids were randomly selected from each habitat (with 2.5% sampling frequency). Field surveys were conducted within the selected grids every month from April 2012 to March 2014.
Results: What are your most important results?
In the survey, total of 18 lizard’s species from six families and 8 genera were observed. The number of lizards found in six families were: Geckonidae: 6; Agamidae: 2; Chamaeleonidae: 1; Scincidae: 6; Lacertidae: 2; Varanidae:1 and those in six Habitats were: Fo: 6; Sc: 6; Gr: 8; Ag: 3; Ro: 4; Se: 6. Grassland and Forest showed highest species diversity. Fo, Sc and Gr had three species each as unique to the habitat. Fo and Sc had 2 and 1 endemic species respectively.
Discussion: What are your important discussion points and what is the relevance of your results to conservation (if any)?
Unexpectedly, common monitor lizard and bronze grass skink were restricted to only one habitat, a likely result of habitat destruction in the area. Common monitor lizard and Chameleon have become very rare in the area. Land conversion, poaching, roads and constructions are the major threats to habitats. Grass and forest fires have directly resulted into death of lizards. We suggest participating local people in monitoring and conservation programs.