The Diversity and Abundance of Amphibians in Meru National Park, Kenya

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Addis Ababa University


A study on the diversity and abundance of amphibians was conducted in Meru National Park (Kenya) from October 2002 to January 2003. Transect sampling, drift-fence and pitfall trapping as well as opportunistic collections were used to detect amphibians. A total of 430 individuals of amphibians comprising eleven species and six families were observed. Amphibian species diversity was correlated with plant species cover/abundance in three vegetation communities. Acacia wooded grassland had the highest amphibian species diversity (H’ = 2.071, D = 6.74). Acacia-Commiphora bushland ranked second (H’ = 1.858, D = 5.88) while Combretum wooded grassland had the least diversity (H’ = 1.581, D = 5.076). The Acacia wooded grassland had the highest abundance (173 individuals) as well as species richness (10 species). Combretum wooded grassland had eight species (113 individuals) while the Acacia-Commiphora bushland had seven species (144 individuals). Differences in sex ratios within and between vegetation communities were not statistically significant (ANOVA, F = 8.3026, P = 0.6914). No differences were detected on a species by species basis (X2 Test). There was positive linear correlation between amphibian species diversity and plant species diversity in all vegetation communities. Hemisus marmoratus and Phrynomantis bifasciatus were exclusively recorded in the Acacia wooded grassland. Five plant species assemblages were identified from DCA ordination. These closely matched the three broad vegetation communities known for the park. There was least habitat disturbance in the Acacia wooded grassland and a high probability of disturbance in the Combretum wooded grassland. The study confirmed earlier reports that amphibian diversity and abundance can vary on a very small spatial scale. Impacts of habitat disturbance were also demonstrated. The need for long term monitoring of the amphibian population in Meru National Park, by considering additional environmental parameters and introducing a new fire management policy for the park is recommended. Key words: Diversity, Abundance, Amphibians, Meru (Kenya).



Diversity, Abundance, Amphibians, Meru (Kenya)