A checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Río Macho Biological Station, Provincia de Cartago, Costa Rica

Víctor J. Acosta-Chaves, Gerardo Chaves, Juan G. Abarca, Adrián García-Rodríguez, Federico Bolaños


We provide a checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Río Macho Biological Station (RMBS), Costa Rica. During a period of a year (2012–2013) we conducted visual and acoustic surveys in a natural mature forest plot (>50 years old) (MF), secondary forest plot (~17 years old) (SF), in open areas and riparian forest at RMBS. We found a total of 11 species of amphibians and 15 species of reptiles belonging to 11 taxonomic families. We also compared the diversity of the MF against the SF. The MF contained 10 species (five amphibians and five reptiles) and the SF seven (three amphibians and four reptiles), with similar dominance between sites. Unfortunately, some forest and riparian species have vanished at this elevation after an enigmatic decline; according to historical literature pristine areas should contain higher species richness. Perhaps, the secondary forest will provide an available habitat for an important percentage of the remaining forest species.


amphibians; Costa Rica; herpetofauna; lower montane forest; reptiles; Río Macho; Orosi Valley; secondary forest

Full Text:



Abarca J. 2012a. Conservation status and ecological notes of the previously extinct toad Incilius holdridgei (Taylor, 1952), Costa Rica. Froglog 20: 10–12.

Abarca J. 2012b. La herpetofauna de un bosque premontano: diversidad de anfibios y reptiles de El Rodeo. Brenesia 77: 251–270.

Acosta-Chaves, V., F. Granados-Rodríguez and D. Araya-Huertas. 2012. Predation of Long–tailed Silky Flycatcher (Ptilogonys caudatus) by Ornate Hawk-eagle (Spizaetus ornatus) in a cloud forest of Costa Rica. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 20(4): 451– 452.

Bickford, D., S. Howard, D. Ng and J. Sheridan. 2010. Impacts of climate change on the amphibians and reptiles of Southeast Asia. Biodiversity and Conservation 19(4):1043-1062. doi: 10.1007/s10531-010-9782-4.x

Bolaños, F and J. Emcke. 1996. Anfibios y reptiles de la Reserva Biológica San Ramón, Costa Rica; pp. 107–112m in: R. Ortiz (ed). Memoria de investigación Reserva Biológica Alberto Ml. Brenes, San Ramón. Revista Pensamiento Actual 2.

Dent, D. and J. Wright. 2009. The future of tropical species in secondary forest: a quantitative review. Biological Conservation 142: 2833–2843.

Doan, T. 2003. Which methods are more effective for surveying rain forest herpetofauna? Journal of Herpetology 37: 72–81.

Gardner, T., M. Ribeiro, J. Barlow, T. Ávila-Pires, M. Hoogmoed and C. Peres. 2006. The value of primary, secondary, and plantation forests for a Neotropical herpetofauna. Conservation Biology 21: 775–787.

Gardner, T., J. Barlow and C. Peres. 2007. Paradox, presumption and pitfalls in conservation biology: the importance of habitat change for amphibians and reptiles. Biological Conservation 138: 166–179.

Guzmán, J.A. and A. Rodríguez-Corrales. 2014. Efecto de la regeneración del bosque nuboso sobre la morfología floral y polinización del arbusto heterostílico Palicourea padifolia (Rubiaceae). Cuadernos de Investigación UNED 6(2): 197–204.

Henderson, P.A. and M.H. Seaby.1998. Species diversity and richness. Version 2.4. Lymington, U.K.: PISCES Conservation.

Hertz, A., A. Batista and G. Köhler. 2012a. Description of the previously unknown advertisement call of Isthmohyla zeteki (Anura, Hylidae). Herpetology Notes 5: 355–359.

Hertz, A., S. Lotzkat, A. Carrizo, M. Ponce, G. Köhler and B. Streit. 2012b. Field notes on findings of threatened amphibian species in the central mountain range of western Panama. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 6(2): 9–30.

Hilje, B and M. Aide. 2012. Recovery of amphibian species richness and composition in a chronosequence of secondary forests, Northeastern Costa Rica. Biological Conservation 146: 170–176.

IUCN. 2015. IUCN Red List of threatened species. Version 2013.2. Accessed at, 27 August 2014.

Laurance, W. F., T. E. Lovejoy, H. L. Vasconcelos, E. M. Bruna, R. K. Didham, P. C. Stouffer, and E. Sampaio. 2002. Ecosystem decay of Amazonian forest fragments: a 22‐year investigation. Conservation Biology 16(3): 605–618. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2002.01025.x

Lips, K. 1998. Decline of tropical montane amphibian fauna. Conservation Biology 12:106–117.

Lips, K., J. Reeve and L. Witters. 2003. Ecological traits predicting amphibian population declines in Central America. Conservation Biology 12: 116–117.

Marsh, D. and L. Haywood. 2009. Area-based survey, pp. 247–260, in: C.Dodd (ed.). Amphibian ecology and conservation: handbook of techniques. 1ed. New York: Oxford.

Rovito, S.M., G. Parra-Olea, C.R. Vásquez-Almazán, T.J. Papenfuss and D. Wake. 2009. Dramatic declines in Neotropical salamander populations are an important part of the global amphibian crisis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106(9): 3231–3236.

Savage, J. 2002. The amphibians and reptiles of Costa Rica: a herpetofauna between two continents, between two seas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 934 pp.

Pounds, J. A., and Puschendorf, R. 2004. Ecology: clouded futures. Nature 427: 107–109.

Urbina J. N. and Londono, M. C. 2003. Distribución de la comunidad de herpetofauna asociada a cuatro áreas con diferente grado de perturbación en la Isla Gorgona, Pacífico colombiano. Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas. Físicas y Naturales 27: 105–113.

Whitfield, S., E. Bell., T. Philippi., M. Sasa., F. Bolaños, G. Chaves., J. Savage and M. Donelly. 2007. Amphibian and reptile declines over 35 years at La Selva, Costa Rica. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA 104: 8352–8356.