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Biogeography of snakes in Liberia: Review and synthesis of current knowledge


P. J. Senter
J-P. Chippaux

Abstract

The Liberian Forest is a biodiversity hotspot. Detailed knowledge of biogeographical distributions of species could aid conservation efforts there, but such knowledge is sparse for reptiles through most of Liberia. To alleviate this, we present here a synthesis of current biogeographical knowledge of snakes in Liberia. To create the synthesis, we combined information gleaned from a literature search, unpublished records, and a personal communication. This synthesis expands the known ranges of many Liberian snake species and increases their number from 63 to 64 via a new record of Python regius. Our results show that most snake species in Liberia are known from both the coastal plain and the inland mountains. Our results also show that most locality records are from cultivated areas, with very few fully forested areas represented, and that locality records are lacking for large areas within Liberia. We, therefore, recommend that more fully forested areas be included in future biodiversity surveys and that they include localities within areas for which locality records are currently lacking. We further recommend that abundance within species be compared between forested and cultivated areas, to determine which species are put at risk by deforestation.