List of amphibians and reptiles of Dominica

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Location of Dominica in the Caribbean

This is a list of amphibians and reptiles found on Dominica, a Caribbean island-nation in the Lesser Antilles. Dominica is one of the few islands in that chain that has retained its original amphibian and reptile fauna over the last 200 years, and reptiles in particular form a significant part of its fauna.[1]


Amphibians[edit]

There are four species of amphibians on Dominica, all from the Leptodactylidae family of frogs. Three are native, and one, Eleutherodactylus amplinympha, is endemic to Dominica.

Frogs (Anura)[edit]

Tropical frogs (Leptodactylidae)
Species Common name(s) Notes Image
Eleutherodactylus amplinympha Gounouj Endangered.[2] Endemic. First described in 1994. Most abundant in transition zone between montane rainforest and elfin woodland, but range also extends over broader range of altitudes, coexisting with E. martinicensis.
Eleutherodactylus johnstonei Lesser Antillean whistling frog, coqui antillano, Johnstone's whistling frog Least concern. Recently introduced. Widespread throughout the Lesser Antilles. Eleutherodactylus johnstonei.jpg
Eleutherodactylus martinicensis Tink frog, Martinique robber frog Near threatened. Regional endemic. Abundant in rain forest; uncommon in dry coastal forest. Local populations are being displaced by E. johnstonei along part of the west (Caribbean) coast.[3] Eleutherodactylus martinicensis.jpg
Leptodactylus fallax Giant ditch frog, mountain chicken Critically endangered. Regional endemic. Natural range on the western (Caribbean) side of Dominica from sea level to 400 m elevation. Populations are infected with chytridiomycosis and are in severe decline. Widely eaten in Dominica as a novelty food prior to its legal protection in 2002.[4] Leptodactylus fallax (1).jpg

Reptiles[edit]

Two of the four extant orders of reptile are represented on Dominica: Squamata and Testudines. Including marine turtles and introduced species, there are a total of 19 confirmed species of reptiles.

Endemic reptile species include the Dominican anole (Anolis oculatus) and the Dominican ground lizard (Ameiva fuscata). The Dominican blind snake (Typhlops dominicanus or T. d. dominicanus) and the Dominican clouded boa (Boa constrictor nebulosis) may also be designated as endemic, though their status as distinct subspecies is unresolved.

Turtles (Testudines)[edit]

Tortoises (Testudinidae)
Species Common name(s) Notes Image
Geochelone carbonaria Red-footed tortoise Likely recent introduction, though possibly as long ago as Amerindian settlement of Dominica.[5] Rarely seen in the wild. Red-footed Tortoise in Barbados 03.jpg
Scaly sea turtles (Cheloniidae)
Species Common name(s) Notes Image
Caretta caretta Loggerhead turtle, channel turtle (local name) Endangered. Rare in Dominican waters; mainly recorded around Soufriere Bay and from Martinique and Guadeloupe Channels. Not recorded nesting on Dominica. Loggerhead Sea Turtle.jpg
Chelonia mydas Green turtle Endangered. Regularly seen in coastal waters; nests on both coasts (though mainly on northern beaches), primarily from June to October. Green turtle in Kona 2008.jpg
Eretmochelys imbricata Hawksbill turtle Critically endangered. Regularly seen in coastal waters; nests on both coasts (though mainly on northern beaches), primarily from May to October. 3959 aquaimages.jpg
Leathery sea turtles (Dermochelyidae)
Species Common name(s) Notes Image
Dermochelys coriacea Leatherback turtle Critically endangered. Fairly rare, mainly recorded from Martinique and Guadeloupe Channels. Nesting recorded from April to June, primarily on south and east (Atlantic) coast beaches. LeatherbackTurtle.jpg

Lizards and snakes (Squamata)[edit]

Geckos (Gekkonidae)
Species Common name(s) Notes Image
Hemidactylus mabouia House gecko Introduced. Widespread, usually around human populations. Hemidactylus mabouia (Dominica).jpg
Sphaerodactylus fantasticus Fantastic least gecko Found at scattered locations along west (Caribbean) coast. Regional endemic; Dominica population has been described as subspecies S. f. fuga. Sphaerodactylus fantasticus 01-Barbour 1921.jpg
Sphaerodactylus vincenti Vincent's least gecko Confined to wet high elevations. Sphaerodactylus vincenti 01-Barbour 1921.jpg
Thecadactylus rapicauda Tree gecko, turnip-tailed gecko Widespread Thecadactylus rapicauda in Dominica-a03.jpg
Iguanas and Anolids (Iguanidae)
Species Common name(s) Notes Image
Anolis cristatellus Puerto Rican crested anole Recent introduction (between 1997 and 2002); range limited to southwest (Caribbean) coast around capital of Roseau.[6] Anolis cristatellus in Picard, Dominica-2012 02 15 0339.jpg
Anolis oculatus Dominican anole, eyed anole, tree lizard Endemic. Four subspecies described (A. o. oculatus, A. o. cabritensis, A. o. montanus, A. o. winstoni) now recognized as ecotypes. Widespread and abundant in all areas below 900 m elevation. South Caribbean ecotype is being displaced by competition from invasive A. cristatellus. Anolis oculatus at Coulibistrie-b01.jpg
Iguana delicatissima Lesser Antillean iguana, West Indian iguana Vulnerable. Regional endemic. Common on Dominica in certain areas on both east (Atlantic) and west (Caribbean) coasts; occasionally seen in rain forest. Iguana delicatissima at Batalie Beach a05.jpg
Whiptails (Teiidae)
Species Common name(s) Notes Image
Ameiva fuscata Dominican ground lizard, Dominican ameiva Endemic. Found in dry coastal woodland and associated cultivated areas below 300 m elevation. Ameiva fuscata near Coulibistrie River-b01.jpg
Microteiids (Gymnophthalmidae)
Species Common name(s) Notes Image
Gymnophthalmus underwoodi Underwood's spectacled tegu Very similar to G. pleei known to be extant on Dominica; variability of scale counts of collected specimens suggest G. underwoodi (or other Gymnophthalmus species) is also present. Presence confirmed 2008 by Turk, Wyszynski, Powell, and Henderson at Batali Beach[7]
Gymnophthalmus pleei Martinique spectacled tegu Officially recorded only at Cabrits National Park and Dominica Botanical Gardens in Roseau, but likely more widespread, and probably with other Gymnophthalmus species present.[8]
Skinks (Scincidae)
Species Common name(s) Notes Image
Mabuya mabouya[9] Introduced. Regional endemic. Widespread in coastal regions and in cultivated areas at higher elevations.[10] Mabuya mabouya.jpg
Worm snakes (Typhlopidae)
Species Common name(s) Notes Image
Typhlops dominicanus Dominican blind snake, worm snake Local population either described as endemic species, or endemic subspecies T. d. dominicana, with sister subspecies present on Guadeloupe.
Boas (Boidae)
Species Common name(s) Notes Image
Boa constrictor Boa constrictor; Dominican clouded boa Local population sometimes described as endemic subspecies B. c. nebulosa. Widely distributed in Dominica, though vulnerable to persecution, road accidents, and hunting for snake oil derived from its fat.
Colubrids (Colubridae)
Species Common name(s) Notes Image
Alsophis antillensis Antilles racer, island racer, leeward racer, Dominican racer Regional endemic. Local population described as endemic subspecies A. a. sibonius or as separate species, A. sibonius. Present everywhere except highest elevations; most abundant in dry woodland on west (Caribbean) coast. Alsophis antillensis at Rosalie-a15.jpg
Liophis juliae Julia's ground snake, grove snake Present everywhere except highest elevations. Local population described as endemic subspecies L. j. juliae, with two sister subspecies present on islands of Guadeloupe. Liophis juliae at Rosalie-a01.jpg

Unconfirmed or disputed reptile species[edit]

Species Common name(s) Notes Image
Clelia errabunda Underwood's Mussurana A species from Saint Lucia originally recorded on Dominica (as C. clelia) due to a cataloguing error.[11] Reported sightings are most likely melanistic forms of boa.[12]
Sphaerodactylus microlepis Little-scaled least gecko Main range is on St. Lucia; only record for presence on Dominica consists of a single specimen with no precise locality.[13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Malhotra 2007, p. 177.
  2. ^ Conservation status, where available, is from the IUCN Red List and is indicative of the status of the species as a whole, not just populations on Dominica.
  3. ^ Malhotra 2007, p. 181.
  4. ^ Malhotra 2007, p. 180-81.
  5. ^ Malhotra 2007, p. 182. The authors previously doubted there was a viable natural population, attributing its presence to escaped pets. Malhotra 1999, p. 49.
  6. ^ Malhotra 2007, pp. 182, 187-88.
  7. ^ Turk 2010.
  8. ^ Malhotra 2007, p. 183.
  9. ^ M. bistriata is instead identified in Malhotra 1999, p. 35, but see Evans 1997, p. 20, and Malhotra 2007, p. 183 (listing M. mabouya as the only skink on Dominica).
  10. ^ Distribution of M. mabouya remains uncertain as it is easily confused with G. pleei. Malhotra 2007, p. 183.
  11. ^ Malhotra 2007, p. 184.
  12. ^ Malhotra 1999, p. 50; Evans 1997, p. 20.
  13. ^ Malhotra 2007, p. 185; Malhotra 1999, p. 50. Evans 1997, at p. 18, merely states that its "present Dominican status remains unclear."

References[edit]

Note: Species listed above are presumed to be supported by all references unless otherwise cited.

  • Evans, Peter G.H.; James, Arlington (1997). Dominica, Nature Island of the Caribbean: Wildlife Checklists. Dominica Ministry of Tourism. pp. 16–21. 
  • Malhotra, Anita; Thorpe, Roger S.; Hypolite, Eric; James, Arlington (2007). "A report on the status of the herpetofauna of the Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies". Appl. Herpetol. 4: 177–94. doi:10.1163/157075407780681365. 
  • Malhotra, Anita; Thorpe, Roger S. (1999). Reptiles & Amphibians of the Eastern Caribbean. Macmillan Education Ltd. ISBN 0-333-69141-5. 
  • Turk, Patrick; Wyszynski, Natalie; Robert, Powell; Henderson, Robert (2010). "Population densities and water-loss rates of Gymnophthalmus pleii, Gymnophthalmus underwoodi (Gymnophthalmidae), and Sphaerodactylus fantasticus fuga (Sphaerodactylidae) on Dominica, West Indies.". Salamandra 46.3: 125–130.