Zoology of Terrestrial Vertebrates 

The Atlantic Forest is a biome particularly important for the conservation of Brazils’ amphibians, reptiles and mammals, housing a high diversity of these tetrapod vertebrates. Currently about 540 species of amphibians, 200 reptiles and 298 mammals are listed as occupying this biome, representing, respectively, 40% and 43% of all Brazilian herpetofauna and mammals.

Rhinella pygmaea.

Among these are many endemic and endangered species. The heterogeneity of habitats and micro-habitats observed in the Atlantic Forest favors diversity of amphibians and reptiles, many of which are restricted to their respective environments. Restingas, therefore, play an important role in the mosaic of plant formations that make up the environmental gradient of the Atlantic Forest, housing some of its emphasized richness. Restinga ecosystems are characterized by extreme environmental conditions which, for animals such as amphibians or tropical mammals devoid of specializations to more arid climates or desert conditions, could pose a challenge to the establishment and maintenance of certain populations. Even today little is known about the richness and biology of the terrestrial vertebrate fauna in restingas, and the few studies conducted in these areas were mostly of short duration.

Glaucomastix littoralis

The Jurubatiba Restinga National Park is one of the largest and most important fragments of restinga in Brazil, being the only National Park (PARNA) among the 72 spread throughout the country to protect this type of ecosystem, in addition to representing the largest number of amphibian species compared to other Brazilian restingas. Four years of monitoring surveys recorded 33 species of amphibians, 32 anurans (toads and frogs) and a species of gymnophiona (caecilian). The results for reptiles are also impressive, totaling at present 31 species (3 amphisbaenians or worm lizards, 10 lizards, 17 snakes and the broad-snouted caiman). Some species in the PARNA such as Chiasmocleis lacrimae and Glaucomastix littoralis, classified as endangered (EN) and on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, along with Rhinella pygmaea, have considerably limited distributions, demonstrating the importance of the restinga for the maintenance of local amphibian and reptile diversity.

With respect to wild mammals, PARNA also stands out with its high species richness relative to other southeastern restingas, presenting 46 species recorded to date. However, a marked additional feature in this particular area is the presence of one of the few mammals endemic to the restinga, the rodent Cerradomys goytaca, commonly known as the Goitacá mouse, considered as endangered (EN). The Goitacá mouse performs important functions as a consumer and disperser of seeds in the open shrub formations of the restinga, and supports populations of larger mammals and predatory birds. Some of the studies conducted as part of the PELD project aim to disclose the roles of climatic variation, predation by raptors and fruiting of plant species in maintaining populations of the Goitacá mouse and other small mammals. Another line of investigation has been dedicated to the diagnosis and monitoring of the impacts of invasive species such as domestic dogs and marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus x penicillata) on populations of native mammal species within the PARNA.

 

Zoology of Terrestrial Vertebrates Team:

Reptiles e amphibians:

Daniel Fernandes da Silva (danferufrj@gmail.com)

Lattes: http://lattes.cnpq.br/194065372074787

 

Manoela Woitovicz Cardoso (manoelawcardoso@gmail.com)

Lattes: http://lattes.cnpq.br/6753052742690909

 

Mammals:

Pablo Rodrigues Gonçalves (hotprg@gmail.com

Lattes: http://lattes.cnpq.br/5388683684010000

 

Hudson de Macedo Lemos (hudson.ml@gmail.com)

Lattes: http://lattes.cnpq.br/2858134168325095

 

Malinda Dawn Henry (malindahenry@gmail.com)

Lattes: http://lattes.cnpq.br/1358213587395228