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Identifying Reptiles at Risk

Copyright and image credit A MalhotraCopyright and image credit A MalhotraDr Anita Malhotra of Bangor University's School of Biological Sciences is one of 200 leading reptile experts who has co-authored a paper assessing the extinction risk of 1,500 randomly selected reptiles from across the globe.

The paper, published by The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in conjunction with experts from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) reports that nineteen percent of the world’s reptiles are estimated to be threatened with extinction.

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Dr Malhotra's particular expertise is in Asian pitvipers. "During my fieldwork in many parts of Asia, I had the opportunity to experience first-hand the many threats that reptiles face, from destruction of their habitats to deliberate collection for food, leather or even just their sheer rarity. Moreoever, as a taxonomist who has recently described new species of pitvipers, I am aware that many of the species that are currently considered widespread and not in danger are very likely in fact to be cryptic complexes of different but as yet unrecognised species that individually may be under much greater threat. Thus the estimate of threatened global reptile diversity produced by this paper (19%) is likely to be very conservative".

Anolis bimaculatus from the Lesser Antilles (pictured) is one of the species included in the analysis.

Publication date: 27 February 2013