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Road mortality of the herpetofauna in a Cerrado ecosystem, central Brazil

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Roads have many detrimental effects on natural habitats and their fauna, ranging from altered microclimate to road kills. Animals which move slowly or are attracted to the road surface are particularly threatened. We studied herpetofauna road mortality in a Cerrado ecosystem in central Brazil. We sampled 51 km of state roads during 26 days distributed between dry and wet seasons in 2010 and recorded 109 dead individuals of 34 species of amphibians and reptiles. Including animals found alive on the road, we recorded 159 individuals across 39 species (estimated richness: 48). This number represents about 50% of the herpetofauna species richness expected to occur in a Cerrado site in central Brazil based on a concomitant species inventory. Our study indicates that roads can cause high mortality rates for the Cerrado herpetofauna. We consider that this problem requires urgent attention since economic growth is largely based on agriculture in the Cerrado and construction of more roads is planned to improve harvest transport.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2015

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