August 04, 2014
Green basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons) in Costa Rica. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
"Officially, we have logged 10,038 reptile species into the database, which is up from 9,952 that was reported in April," said Peter Uetz, the founder and editor of the Reptile Database.
Reptiles include the world's turtles, crocodilians, snakes, lizards, and a less commonly-known, ancient group from New Zealand known as the tuataras. The latter includes only two species. Reptiles originally evolved over 300 million years ago.
Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi: the world's 10,000th reptile. Photo by: Truong Nguyen.
Globally, there are around 5,500 mammal species and 6,400 amphibians currently.
But despite being among the most diverse vertebrate groups, reptiles are largely unrepresented by the IUCN Red List, which determines whether or not a species is endangered. Approximately all mammals and birds have been evaluated by the IUCN, and over 90 percent of amphibians have been evaluated. In contrast, only 43 percent of reptiles have been evaluated (the number is even worse for fish sitting at 35 percent).
"Hopefully, the new status as a five-digit species animal group brings more support, funding and awareness for the bewildering diversity reptiles continue to reveal," said Uetz.
The 10,000th reptile added into the database was a new gecko described in early July in ZooTaxa. Discovered in the karst forests of Laos, the gecko is named Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi.
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|AUTHOR: Jeremy Hance joined Mongabay full-time in 2009. He currently serves as senior writer and editor. He has also authored a book.|
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