Record Details

Henderson, Robert W
Consequences of predator introductions and habitat destruction on amphibians and reptiles in the Post-Columbus West Indies
Caribbean Journal of Science
Journal Article
Cyclura cornuta onchiopsis;Cyclura carinata;Cyclura collei;conservation
Island ecosystems are, in general, more vulnerable to change than are those on continents, and the West Indies are no exception. In the past 155 years a minimum of 7-12 extinctions and 12-13 extirpations of amphibians and reptiles have occurred in the West Indies. In the Lesser Antilles (and other small islands), most extirpations can be attributed to the introduction of alien predators (primarily the mongoose, but also cats and dogs). Certain species appear more sensitive to predator introductions than others (e.g., teiid lizards or the genus Ameiva and colubrid snakes of the genera Alsophis and Liophis). On mongoose-infested islands, other factors were investigated (human population density, island area, physiographic complexity), but none absolved the mongoose as the primary agent of extirpation. In the Greater Antilles, although introduced predators have had a negative impact, extinctions due to habitat destruction appear more likely due to the exponentially stenoecious adaptation of many taxa (e.g., tree crown-, buttress-, and bromeliad-dwelling species).