Archive | 2019
Diversity of Amphibians and Reptiles in the Cuatro Ciénegas Basin
We gathered and analyzed the current knowledge of the amphibians and reptiles of the Cuatro Cienegas Basin (CCB), including their biogeographical affinities and the historical and ecological importance of the basin to the diversity of these groups in the Chihuahuan Desert (CD). The CCB has a characteristic topography with alternating highlands and basins. The degree of endemicity of the fauna within the CCB is one of the highest in North America. Morphological and genetic differentiation of these taxa suggests a quick speciation due to the isolation of the basin. Further, the restricted distribution within the CCB of some taxa indicates a high ecological dependence on aquatic microhabitats. The herpetofauna present in the CCB is composed of seven amphibian and 46 reptile species, from which 2 amphibians and 9 reptiles are endemic to the basin. Bufonidae and Colubridae are the most diverse families, while Lithobates berlandieri and Aspidoscelis inornata cienegae are the most abundant species of Amphibia and Reptilia, respectively. Twelve of the previously reported species had not been recorded recently, but we recorded five species for the first time in the CCB. Most of the species are distinctive of the CD; however, the endemic species are more closely related with taxa of the Tamaulipan province, Edwards Plateau, and the Sierra Madre Oriental province.