Information of Sri Lanka's Biodiversity:
New Vertebrate, invertebrate and plant Species were discovered
from the island
Recently published "The Raffles Bulleting of Zoology" (June
2005), contains several research papers which presents details on the
newly discovered species from Sri Lanka.
Rohan Pethiyagoda, of Wildlife Heritage
Trust of Sri Lanka writes "A total of 43 new species of
vertebrates are described from the island (one mammal, five
geckos, two agamid lizards and 35 frogs), together with a new
genus and a new species of shrimps, 14 new species
of freshwater crabs and five mosses new to
the island. Two further field studies demonstrate that diversity and
endemism among both land snails and caecilians are significantly higher
than previously suspected. These discoveries are not altogether unexpected,
and indeed, are long overdue."
However, assessments of the conservation status of the freshwater crabs
and agaimid lizards shows that 37 of 51 and 11 of 17 species respectively,
are threatened. The status of the Amphibia is arguably worse still:
the recently-concluded Global Amphibian Assessment (Stuart et aI., 2004)
showed that 42 of Sri Lanka's current total of 94 amphibian species
are threatened, and a further 19 extinct (i.e., 56% of the world total
of 34 confirmed amphibian-species extinctions in the past five centuries).
Two freshwater fish species too, appear to have become extinct in the
past two decades (Pethiyagoda, 1994).
All 30 nominal species assigned to the shrub-frog genus Philautus Gistel,
1848 (Anura: Ranidae: Rhacophorinae) in Sri Lanka are reviewed by Manamendra-Arachchi
and Pethiyagoda (2005), and their name-bearing types redescribed. Twenty-seven
new species of Philautus endemic to Sri Lanka are described in this
journal together with diagnoses and illustrations, and a key provided
to all valid species in the island. As presently understood, the genus
Philautus in Sri Lanka contains 57 nominal species, of which 52 are
valid, four are junior subjective synonyms and one is incerte sedis.
Specific epithets of the Fifty seven Philautus species descibed
in this paper are:
The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2005 Supliment No. 12: Contributions
to Biodiversity exploration and research in Sri Lanka. Editors- Darren
C. J. Yeo, Peter K L Ng and Rohan Pethiyagoda. Publishedf by Department
of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 434 pp.