Amphibian & Reptile Conservation

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January 2012 | Volume 5 | Number 2 | e38

Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 5(2):52-64.

Range extension for Duttaphrynus kotagamai (Amphibia: 

Bufonidae) and a preliminary checklist of herpetofauna from 

the Uda Mäliboda Trail in Samanala Nature Reserve, Sri Lanka


















Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, SRI LANKA 


Youth Exploration Society of Sri Lanka, PO Box 

82, Gannoruwa, SRI LANKA 


Young Zoologists’ Association, Department of National Zoological Gardens, Dehiwala 10350, SRI LANKA 



langaawa” Unity care for Community & Nature, No: 1/112, Hapugoda, Ambatenna 20136, SRI LANKA 


Nature Exploration & Education Team, 

B-1/G-6, De Soysapura Flats, Moratuwa 10400, SRI LANKA

Abstract.—Uda Mäliboda Trail is an unstudied, remarkable forest located in the northwest region 

of Samanala Nature Reserve (SNR) in Sri Lanka’s wet zone. Here we report the first record of D. 

kotagamai from Uda Mäliboda Trail and the lowest elevation records of four highland Rhacophorid 

frogs: Pseudophilautus altoP. asankaiP. femoralis, and Taruga eques. Further, we present results 

of a preliminary study of herpetofaunal diversity in Uda Mäliboda Trail. Thirty-four amphibian (26 

endemic and 19 Threatened) and 59 reptile (32 endemic and 19 Threatened) species were observed. 

This wet zone forest supports high herpetofaunal diversity; however activities such as deforesta-

tion, human encroachment, mining, agriculture, dumping, road construction, and a hydroelectric 

power station threaten the ecology of this biologically diverse forest.

Key words. Amphibians, awareness, conservation, Duttaphrynus, global biodiversity hotspot, Pseudophilautus

reptiles, Sri Lanka, threatened, wet zone

Citation: Peabotuwage I, Bandara IN, Samarasinghe D, Perera N, Madawala M, Amarasinghe C, Kandambi HKD, Karunarathna DMSS. 2012. Range 

extension for Duttaphrynus kotagamai (Amphibia: Bufonidae) and a preliminary checklist of herpetofauna from the Uda Mäliboda Trail in Samanala 

Nature Reserve, Sri Lanka. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 5(2):52-64 (e38).

Correspondence. Email: and 


Copyright: © 2012 Peabotuwage et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative 

Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, 

provided the original author and source are credited.


Western Ghats and Sri Lanka have collectively been des-

ignated a global biodiversity hotspot (Mittermeier et al. 

2004; Myers et al. 2000). Favorable environmental fac-

tors such as high rainfall, humidity, and a high density 

of undergrowth vegetation in this region have assisted in 

sustaining regional diversity and distinctness (Bossuyt et 

al. 2005; Gunawardene et al. 2007). Sri Lanka comprises 

the smaller portion of the hotspot, with a total land area 

of 65,610 km


. Despite its small size, the region has a 

spectacular assemblage of amphibians and reptiles. Re-

cent molecular studies on amphibians (Rhacophorids 

and Caecilians) and Uropeltid snakes have shown that 

Sri Lanka has maintained a fauna distinct from the In-

dian mainland (Bossuyt et al. 2004; Meegaskumbura et 

al. 2002; Pethiyagoda 2005), yet these subregions are 

separated only by about 300 kilometers (direct distance).

Of Sri Lanka’s three major climatic zones (wet, in-

termediate, and dry) the wet zone harbors a significant-

ly high level of herpetofaunal diversity and endemism 

(Bambaradeniya et al. 2003; Senanayake et al. 1977; 

Wijesinghe and Dayawansa 2002). The wet zone receives 

abundant rainfall (annual average 3,000 mm), has con-

siderable forest cover, and maintains favorable humid-

ity and temperatures to support such high herpetofaunal 

diversity. Previous studies have noted that some herpeto-

faunal species as well as the wet zone forests themselves 

are threatened due to a variety of human activities (e.g., 

IUCN-SL and MENR-SL 2007). Many wet zone forests 

have yet to be studied. Uda Mäliboda in the Kegalle dis-

trict (Sabaragamuwa Province) is one such unstudied wet 

zone forest.

Kotagama’s dwarf toad (Duttaphrynus kotagamai

is endemic and Endangered and is one of the rarest 

bufonids in Sri Lanka (De Silva 2009). Originally de-

scribed from the Sinharaja World Heritage Site in 1994 

by Prithiviraj Fernando and Nihal Dayawansa (Fernando 

et al. 1994) this toad is known only from the Kitulgala, 

Massena, Erathna, and Delwala forest areas (Dutta and 

Manamendra-Arachchi 1996; Goonatilake and Goonati-


January 2012 | Volume 5 | Number 2 | e38

Peabotuwage et al.

lake 2001). It favors a few primary lowland rain forests 

in the wet zone with elevations below 1,070 m (IUCN-

SL 2011). According to Manamendra-Arachchi and 

Pethiyagoda (2006) the holophoront (USNM 311595 H) 

has been lost from the National Museum of Natural His-

tory, Washington, D.C. (USA). Herein we describe new 

localities and a range extension for D. kotagamai from 

a lowland rain forest in the northwestern boundary of 

the Samanala Nature Reserve (SNR) and further provide 

a preliminary checklist of herpetofauna from the Uda 

Mäliboda Forest area.

Materials and methods

We used visual encounter survey methods (Crump and 

Scott 1994) to conduct herpetofaunal surveys for a to-

tal of 17 days and nights between 2006 and 2011. Night 

searches  were  performed  using  headlamps  and  flash-

lights. We searched specific microhabitats including un-

derneath stones and decaying logs, inside tree holes, and 

other potential herpetofaunal retreats. Road kills and data 

from animals dispatched by villagers were also used as 

sources of information. Specimens were hand captured, 

photographed, identified using field guides and scientific 

publications (Ashton et al. 1997; De Silva 2009; Dutta 

and Manamendra-Arachchi 1996; Maduwage et al 2009; 

Manamendra-Arachchi et al. 2007; Manamendra-Arach-

chi and Pethiyagoda 2006; Meegaskumbura et al. 2010; 

Somaweera 2006; Somaweera and Somaweera 2009; Vo-

gel and Rooijen 2011; Wickramasinghe et al. 2007a, b), 

and then released back to the original capture site without 

injury. Species nomenclature was based on Frost et al. 

(2006), Kotaki et al. (2010), Sumida et al. (2007), and 

Senaratna (2001), and conservation status was evaluated 

on the IUCN-SL and MENR-SL (2007).

Study area and habitats

The Samanala Nature Reserve (SNR) is one of the larg-

est and most important forest areas for endemic biodiver-

sity in Sri Lanka and is owned by the Central Highlands 

World Heritage Centre (UNESCO 2011). The Study area 

lies between 6°53’01.58’’ N and 80°26’31.18’’ E with 

elevations ranging from 300-700 m (Fig. 1). This forest 

area is part of the Kegalle district in Sabaragamuwa Prov-

ince. Average annual rainfall ranges from 3,000-4,500 

mm and the average annual temperature is 27.9 °C (Fig. 

2). The vegetation of Uda Mäliboda Trail is categorized 

as lowland wet evergreen forest (Gunatilleke and Guna-

tilleke 1990) and is comprised of the following dominant 

genera: DoonaStemonoporusCalophyllumSyzygium

ShoreaDipterocarpusCullenia, and Mesua (Table 1). 

Pilgrims use four main trails annually between Decem-

ber and April to reach Adams Peak to worship. The Uda 

Mäliboda Trail starts from the “Uda Mäliboda village” 

and continues through Madáhinna (Kuruwita trail) via 

Adams Peak (elevation 2,245 m). This is the longest trail 

and is seldom used by pilgrims since it consists of rough 

terrain and narrow foot paths (Karunarathna et al. 2011).

Figure 1. Map of study area (sky view source: Google map).


January 2012 | Volume 5 | Number 2 | e38

Uda Mäliboda trail and a preliminary herpetofaunal checklist

Results and discussion

New record for D. kotagamai

We report the occurrence of the Endangered, rare, and 

endemic D. kotagamai (Fernando and Dayawansa 1994) 

from Uda Mäliboda forest (Uda Mäliboda Trail) in the 

northwest region of the Samanala Nature Reserve (SNR 

= Peak Wilderness Sanctuary). According to Fernando 

et al. (1994), this species is distinguished from other 

Duttaphrynus species known from Sri Lanka and south-

ern India by combination of the following characters: 

prominent parietal ridges on the head; long and narrow 

unlobulated parotoid glands; most areas of the anterior 

back are smooth; warts present on upper flank, supraor-

bital, and parietal ridges; tips of digits and tips of spinous 

warts black; first finger slightly longer than second finger 

(Fernando et al. 1994). Coloration in life is described as: 

orange-brown on dorsal surface mottled with dark brown 

(juveniles dorsal color is light golden); light cross band 

between eyes and distinct dark cross band on forearm, 

forefoot, tarsus, and tibia; less distinct cross band on up-

per arm and femur; lower jaw with alternate dark and 

light markings; ventral surface whitish mottled with dark 

brown, especially over sternum.

Eleven D. kotagamai were encountered during our 

survey. These toads were only found in primary forest 

and absent from human-disturbed areas. Except for one 

specimen, all were found within ~10 m of a small stream. 

(Fig. 3), and all but four individuals were observed at 

night. Three individuals from Uda Mäliboda measured: 

two males SVL 32.6 mm, 35.2 mm, and a female SVL 

38.5 mm. We also found D. kotagamai in another previ-

ously unknown locality on an adjacent mountain in De-

raniyagala in Kegalle district (Table 2). This mountain 

is located about five km north of Uda Mäliboda. There 

are no previous records of D. kotagamai from the Uda 

Mäliboda Trail (SNR; see De Silva 2009; Dutta and 

Manamendra-Arachchi 1996; IUCN-SL 2011; Mana-

mendra-Arachchi and Pethiyagoda 2006; Goonatilake 

and Goonatilake 2001). The Uda Mäliboda locality is 

approximately six km (direct distance) from “Eratne” 

(Kuru river basin), the nearest published location. The 

direct distance between the onymotope and the new loca-

tion is about 80 km. All of these areas have closed cano-

pies with wet and cool habitats (Fig. 4).

Figure 2. View of forest in Uda Maliboda (larger water resource in the SNR).

Prominent layer

Plant species diversity


Adinandra lasiopetala, Bhesa ceylanica, Calophyllum trapezifolium, Cullenia ceylanica, Shorea affinis, S. gardneri, 

Litsea gardneri, and Palaquium rubiginosum


Apodytes dimidiata, Artocarpus nobilis, Calophyllum walkeri, Caryota urens, Cinnamomum ovalifolium, Crypto-

carya wightiana, Dillenia triquetra, Elaeocarpus amoenus, Eugenia mabaeoides, Garcinia quaesita, Gordonia spe-

ciosa, Madhuca moonii, Mesua ferrea, Oncosperma fasciculatum, Schumacheria alnifolia, Stemonoporus gardneri, 

S. oblongifolia, Syzygium firmum, and S. turbinatum


Calamus thwaitesii, Cosinium fenestratum, Cyclea peltata, Freycinetia walkeri, Rubus rugosus, and Smilax 



Acronychia pedunculata, Agrostistachys coriacea, Alpinia abundiflora, Amomum echinocarpum, Amomum masti-

catorium, Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, Arundina graminifolia, Calanthes sp., Cinnamomum verum, Clusia rosea, 

Cyathea crinita, Hedychium coronarium, Hortonia ovalifolia, Ipsea speciosa, Macaranga indica, Neolitsea cassia, 

Osbeckia aspera, Osbeckia lantana, Rhodomyrtus tomentosa, Strobilanthes sp., Syzygium cordifolium, Syzygium 

revolutum, and Utricularia striatula

Table 1. Floral species presence in different level of Uda Mäliboda area (Uda Mäliboda Trail in SNR).


January 2012 | Volume 5 | Number 2 | e38

Peabotuwage et al.

Based on the infrequent calls heard during our sur-

vey periods this species is presumably rare in Uda Mäli-

boda. It is aggressive when handled and releases a low-

pitched distress call “crick, crick, crick…”. With two 

new locations and a subsequent range extension, we can 

trace the probable distribution of D. kotagamai prior to 

fragmentation. The new locations indicate a larger distri-

bution than previously concluded. As a result of severe 

fragmentation and habitat degradation in the area, local 

extinctions of previous populations have likely occurred 

in the past with current populations known only from a 

few isolated primary forest patches.

Herpetofaunal diversity

During the study we encountered 34 amphibian species 

representing 15 genera and seven families (Table 3). 

Among those genera AdenomusLankanectesNannoph-

rys, and Taruga are endemic to Sri Lanka. Our results 

show that at least 31% of Sri Lanka’s extant amphib-

ians occur in the Uda Mäliboda area (Fig. 5). Twenty-

six of the 34 species encountered (76%) are endemic, 

five (14%) are considered Near Threatened, four (11%) 

are Vulnerable, and ten (29%) are classified as Endan-

gered (IUCN-SL and MENR-SL 2007). Families with 

the greatest number of endemic species include Rhaco-

phoridae (16 species) and Dicroglossidae (six species), 

while the family Ichthyophiidae, Ranidae (two species 

each) and Nyctibatrachidae (one species) show the low-

est rates of endemism. When considering the 34 species 

by their primary mode of living, 15 (44.1%) were arbo-

real, 10 (29.4%) terrestrial, seven (20.6%) aquatic, and 

two (5.9%) fossorial species.

Most amphibian species observed after brief peri-

ods of rain since many species frequently use temporary 

pools created by these showers. Two large streams course 

forest acting as barriers that restrict some species to par-

ticular habitats. Among the most commonly encountered 

amphibians were Pseudophilautus  folicola, found on 

low growing woody vegetation near water bodies under 

closed canopy, and Fejervarya  kirtisinghei, occurred 

near water bodies lacking canopy. Four Endangered and 

endemic highland species: P. alto (1,890-2,135 m eleva-

tion),  P.  asankai (810-1,830 m), P.  femoralis (1,600-

2,135 m), and Taruga eques (1,750-2,300 m; Manamen-

dra-Arachchi and Pethiyagoda 2006) were encountered 

at this study site, approximately 700 m elevation (lowest 

elevation ever recorded for these species).

We report a range extension for Pseudophilautus 

sarasinorum, an Endangered species previously known 

only from the following localities: Peradeniya (07°16’ 

N, 80°37’ E; Onymotope); Bogawanthalawa-Balangoda 

road (near 25th km post), elevation 1,300 m (06°45’ N, 

80°2’ E); Corbett’s Gap, elevation 1,000 m (07°22’ N, 

80°50’ E); Hunnasgiriya, elevation 367 m (07°23’ N, 

80º41’ E); Agra Arboretum, elevation 1,555 m (06º50’ 

Figure 3. Cascade habitat: shrub mixed with riverine forest 


Figure 4. Inside forest: tall trees, mixed vegetation with good 

leaf litter.


January 2012 | Volume 5 | Number 2 | e38

Uda Mäliboda trail and a preliminary herpetofaunal checklist

N, 80º40’ E; Manamendra-Arachchi and Pethiyagoda 

2005). Sumida et al. (2007) suggested the Sri Lankan 

population of F. limnocharis (in Dutta and Manamendra-

Arachchi 1996; Manamendra-Arachchi and Pethiyagoda 

2006) could be F. syhadrensis. However, recent molecu-

lar evidence revealed the Sri Lankan population of F. cf. 

syhadrensis is a separate and unnamed population be-

longing to a unique clade, together with F. granosa and 

F. pierrei (Kotaki et al. 2010). Therefore, we refrain from 

referring to the third Fejervarya species in Sri Lanka 

as F. limnocharis (in Dutta and Manamendra-Arachchi 

1996; Manamendra-Arachchi and Pethiyagoda 2006) 

and instead refer it to as F. cf. syhadrensis.

Fifty-nine species of reptiles representing 37 gen-

era from 11 families were recorded during these surveys 

(Table 4). Among those genera Aspidura,  Balanophis

Ceratophora,  Cercaspis,  Haplocercus,  Lankascincus

Lyriocephalus, and Nessia are considered endemic to 

Sri Lanka. Twenty-eight percent of Sri Lanka’s extant 

reptiles were recorded in the study area (Fig. 5) includ-

ing 28 species of lizards and 31 species of snakes. Of 

these 59 reptile species 32 (54%) are endemic, six (10%) 

Data  Deficient,  ten  (17%)  Near  Threatened,  five  (8%) 

Vulnerable, and four (7%) Endangered (IUCN-SL and 

MENR-SL 2007). Families with the greatest species rep-

resentation include Colubridae (17 species), Scincidae 

(11 species), and Gekkonidae (nine species), while the 

least represented family were Cylindrophidae, Pythoni-

dae, and Typhlopidae (one species each). The highest 

number of endemic species were in the family Scincidae 

(nine species) and Colubridae (seven species), while the 

lowest number were in Cylindrophidae, Elapidae, and 

Typhlopidae (one species each). When considering the 

59 species by  primary mode of living: 24 (40.7%) were 

terrestrial, 21 (35.6%) arboreal, 11 (18.6%) fossorial, and 

three (5.1%) aquatic species.

Among the reptiles, Otocryptis wiegmanniLankas-

cincus greeriDendrelaphis schokari, and Hypnale zara 

were the most commonly encountered species in and 

around footpaths. One unidentified species from the ge-

nus Cyrtodactylus was recorded during this survey and 

may be new to science. Several species of lizards (Cne-

maspis scalpensisC. silvulaHemiphyllodactylus typus

Eutropis beddomii, and Varanus bengalensis) and snakes 

(Boiga beddomeiCercaspis carinatusHaplocercus cey-

lonensis,  Aspidura guentheri,  Balanophis ceylonensis

and  Typhlops mirus) are noteworthy records. The Uda 

Mäliboda forest area also supports three highly venom-

ous snakes: Bungarus ceylonicus (Sri Lanka krait), Da-

boia russelii (Russell’s viper), and Naja naja (Indian co-

bra). Hence, both venomous and non-venomous snakes 

are frequently killed in this area due to fear and igno-

rance as a precautionary measure against snakebites. We 

failed to record any turtle species in the area, possibly 

due to low water temperatures in streams.




18 January 2009


Mid-stream boulder


Forest floor with leaf litter


Stream-bank boulder

17 April 2009


Rock crevice


Stream-bank boulder

25 December 2009



07 May 2010





22 August 2010


Forest floor with leaf litter


On footpath

03 October 2011


Stream-bank boulder

Table 2. Description of the 11 observed D. kotagamai individu-

als during the study period from Uda Mäliboda.

Figure 5. Comparison of amphibian (left) and reptile (right) diversity of Uda Mäliboda area with rest of the Sri Lankan species 

(Abbreviations: NOSL – total number of species in Sri Lanka; NOU – total number of species in Uda Mäliboda; ENSL – number 

of endemic species to Sri Lanka; ENU – number of endemic species in Uda Mäliboda; TRSL – number of threatened species in Sri 

Lanka and TRU – number of threatened species in Uda Mäliboda).


January 2012 | Volume 5 | Number 2 | e38

Threats and conservation

We believe the high diversity in wet zone forest habitats 

is due mainly to availability of abundant suitable micro-

habitat features (e.g., tree holes, caves, tree barks, rock 

boulders, crevices, water holes, decaying logs, loose soil, 

and other small niches) which create favorable environ-

mental conditions for herpetofauna. According to our re-

sults, Uda Mäliboda area has a rich herpetofaunal diver-

sity and endemism compared with other wet zone forests 

in Sri Lanka. A large number of people including tourists, 

devotees, and laborers annually visit Adams Peak via 

Uda Mäliboda Trail located within the SNR. As a result 

endemic and Threatened species, like many other fauna, 

are seriously affected by increasing pressure caused by 

habitat loss and degradation in montane forests, lower 

montane forests, and marshes. Major threats identified in-

clude illegal timber harvesting, illegal human encroach-

ment, slash and burn forest clearing for human settlement 

and monoculture plantations (especially for tea cultiva-

tion), and gem mining. According to interviews with il-

legal timber harvesters, some rare tree species may be 

new to science are being harvested. Therefore, a further 

comprehensive study of flora is recommended.

Present human activities, the most severe being the 

construction of a hydroelectric power plant, continue to 

degrade and erode the remaining vestiges of this lush pri-

mary forest. Additionally, garbage (polythene) disposal 

along the Uda Mäliboda Trail by visitors and devotees is 

a threat that must be duly monitored by the Department 

of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) and the Forest Depart-

ment (FD) of Sri Lanka. The Young Zoologists’ Associa-

tion (YZA) together with the Central Environmental Au-

thority (CEA) has conducted annual polythene removal 

programs on other trail (Hatton) of SNR for the past 10 

years. This has prompted other Government institutions 

and non-governmental organizations to engage in similar 

activities. We recommend that such programs be initiated 

on this trail in order to prevent further degradation of this 

lush forest.

Some human-altered landscapes such as tea planta-

tions and PinusEucalyptusCyprus, and Casuarina for-

est plantations are located in the foothills of the SNR. 

Most of these altered landscapes can be found up to 

about 800 m in elevation. There is an ongoing hydroelec-

tric power plant development project in the study area 

(Fig. 6) and increased road traffic further threatens the 

area’s fauna. Since a considerable area of the forest is 

altered by human activity, herpetofauna face increased 

threats because, in general, they are often highly sensi-

tive to even slight environmental changes (e.g., McCal-

lum 2007; Pough et al. 2004; Spellerberg 1991). Thus, 

the  identification  and  designation  of  forest  reserves  on 

the perimeter of the SNR could function as suitable buf-

fer zones. Additionally, public awareness programs are 

needed to help guide local people and policy makers de-

Peabotuwage et al.

Family and species name

Common name


Adenomus kelaartii

Kelaart’s dwarf toad 


Duttaphrynus kotagamai

Kotagama’s dwarf toad 


Duttaphrynus melanostictus

Common house toad


Kaloula taprobanica

Common bull frog

Microhyla rubra

Red narrow mouth frog

Ramanella nagaoi

Nagao’s pugsnout frog 


Ramanella obscura

Green-brown pugsnout frog 



Lankanectes corrugatus

Corrugated water frog 



Euphlyctis cyanophlyctis

Skipper frog

Euphlyctis hexadactylus

Sixtoe green frog

Fejervarya kirtisinghei

Montain paddy field frog 


Fejervarya cf. syhadrensis

Common paddy field frog

Hoplobatrachus crassus

Jerdon’s bull frog

Nannophrys ceylonensis

Sri Lanka rock frog 



Pseudophilautus abundus

Labugagama shrub frog 


Pseudophilautus alto

Horton plains shrub frog 


Pseudophilautus asankai

Asanka’s shrub frog 


Pseudophilautus cavirostris

Hollow snouted shrub frog 


Pseudophilautus femoralis 

Leafnesting shrub frog 


Pseudophilautus folicola

Leaf dwelling shrub frog 


Pseudophilautus hoipolloi

Anthropogenic shrub frog 


Pseudophilautus popularis

Common shrub frog 


Pseudophilautus reticulatus

Reticulated-thigh shrub frog 


Pseudophilautus rus

Kandiyan shrub frog 


Pseudophilautus sarasinorum

Muller’s shrub frog 


Pseudophilautus sordidus

Grubby shrub frog 


Pseudophilautus stictomerus

Orange-canthal shrub frog 


Polypedates cruciger

Common hour-glass tree frog 


Taruga eques

Mountain tree frog 


Taruga longinasus

Long-snout tree frog 



Hylarana aurantiaca

Small wood frog 


Hylarana temporalis

Common wood frog 



Ichthyophis glutinosus

Common yellow-band caecilian 


Ichthyophis pseudangularis

Lesser yellow-band caecilian 


Table 3. Checklist of amphibian species in the Uda Mäliboda 

area (Abbreviations: E – endemic; EN – Endangered; VU – 

Vulnerable; NT – Near Threatened).


January 2012 | Volume 5 | Number 2 | e38

velop agendas that consider the importance of herpeto-

fauna in maintaining a balanced and healthy ecosystem.

There is no doubt that SNR provides habitat for a 

high number of amphibian and reptiles species (many 

endemic  and  Threatened).  We  affirm  that  it  is  one  of 

the most important herpetofaunal diversity areas in Sri 

Lanka, especially when considering the future conserva-

tion of endemic and threatened herpetofauna. Sri Lanka 

is known as an important herpetofaunal global hotspot 

(Bossuyt et al. 2004; Gunawardene et al. 2007; Meegas-

kumbura et al. 2002; Pethiyagoda 2005) and harbors an 

unusually high number of endemic species. Therefore, 

scientists and policy makers are strongly encouraged to 

make efforts conducting further research on other fau-

nal groups, vegetation, and the forest’s ecosystem as a 

whole. Furthermore, preserving the valuable herpetofau-

nal resources of the Uda Mäliboda Trail is paramount to 

the conservation of global biological diversity.

Acknowledgments.—We would like to express our 

sincere gratitude to Thasun Amarasinghe (Taprobanica) 

for reviewing the earlier draft of the manuscript. We 

also thank Mendis Wickramasinghe (HFS), Aruna Ka-

Uda Mäliboda trail and a preliminary herpetofaunal checklist

Family and 

species name

Common name


Calotes calotes

Green garden lizard

Calotes liolepis

Whistling lizard 


Calotes versicolor

Common garden lizard

Ceratophora aspera

Rough horn lizard 


Lyriocephalus scutatus

Lyre-head lizard 


Otocryptis wiegmanni

Sri Lankan kangaroo lizard 



Cnemaspis scalpensis

Gannoruva day gecko 


Cnemaspis silvula

Forest day gecko 


Cyrtodactylus cf. subsolanus

Forest gecko sp.

Geckoella triedrus

Spotted bowfinger gecko 


Gehyra mutilata

Four-claw gecko

Hemiphyllodactylus typus

Slender gecko 


Hemidactylus depressus

Kandyan gecko 


Hemidactylus frenatus

Common house gecko

Hemidactylus parvimaculatus Spotted house gecko


Eutropis beddomii

Beddome’s stripe skink 


Eutropis carinata

Common skink

Eutropis macularia

Bronzegreen little skink

Eutropis madaraszi

Spotted skink 


Lankascincus dorsicatenatus

Catenated lankaskink 


Lankascincus fallax

Common lankaskink


Lankascincus gansi

Gans’s lankaskink 


Lankascincus greeri

Greer’s lankaskink 


Lankascincus munindradasai Munidradasa’s lankaskink 


Lankascincus sripadensis

Peakwilderness lankaskink 


Nessia burtonii

Three toed snakeskink 



Varanus bengalensis

Land monitor

Varanus salvator

Water monitor


Python molurus

Indian python


Cylindrophis maculatus

Sri Lanka pipe snake 



Ahaetulla nasuta

Green vine snake

Ahaetulla pulverulenta

Brown vine snake 


Boiga barnesii

Barnes’s cat snake 


Boiga beddomei

Beddoms cat snake 


Boiga ceylonensis

Sri Lanka cat snake 


Cercaspis carinatus

Sri Lanka wolf snake 


Coeloganthus helena

Trinket snake

Dendrelaphis bifrenalis

Boulenger’s bronze back 


Dendrelaphis caudolineolatus Gunther’s bronze back

Family and 

species name

Common name

Colubridae (cont.)

Dendrelaphis schokari

Common bronze back 


Haplocercus ceylonensis

Black spine snake 


Lycodon aulicus

Common wolf snake

Lycodon striatus

Shaw’s wolf snake

Oligodon calamarius

Templeton’s kukri snake 


Oligodon sublineatus

Dumerul’s kuki snake 


Ptyas mucosa

Rat snake

Sibynophis subpunctatus

Jerdon’s polyodent


Amphiesma stolatum

Buff striped keelback

Aspidura guentheri

Ferguson’s roughside 


Balanophis ceylonensis

Sri Lanka keelback 


Atretium schistosum

Olive keelback

Xenochrophis asperrimus

Checkered keelback 



Typhlops mirus

Jan’s blind snake 



Bungarus ceylonicus

Sri Lanka krait 


Naja naja

Indian cobra


Daboia russelii

Russell’s viper

Hypnale hypnale

Merrem’s hump nose viper

Hypnale zara

Zara’s hump-nosed viper 


Trimeresurus trigonocephalus Green pit viper 


Table 4. Checklist of reptile species in Uda Mäliboda area (Abbreviations: E – endemic; EN – Endangered; VU – Vulnerable; NT 

– Near Threatened; DD – Data Deficient.


January 2012 | Volume 5 | Number 2 | e38

Peabotuwage et al.

runathilake, Nadeesh Gamage, Mahesh De Silva (YZA), 

Prof. Deepthi Yakandawala, Dr. Suranjan Fernando (Uni-

versity of Peradeniya), and other members of the Young 

Zoologists’ Association of Sri Lanka (YZA) for various 

help with this study. Villagers in the Uda Mäliboda area 

are acknowledged for their cooperation, sharing their ob-

servations, and logistic support. Finally, we would like 

to give our special thanks to John Rudge, Daniel Fogell, 

Kanishka Ukuwela, and Craig Hassapakis (ARC) for 

reviewing the initial daft of the manuscript and making 


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Uda Mäliboda trail and a preliminary herpetofaunal checklist

Figure 7. Duttaphrynus kotagamai (Male; Endangered). 

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January 2012 | Volume 5 | Number 2 | e38

Peabotuwage et al.

Figure 15. Oligodon calamarius (Vulnerable).

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Figure 21. Lankascincus greeri (endemic). 

Figure 22. Eutropis macularia (common).


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Published: 18 January 2012

Uda Mäliboda trail and a preliminary herpetofaunal checklist

Figure 23. Ceratophora aspera (Endangered). 

Figure 24. Calotes liolepis (Vulnerable).


January 2012 | Volume 5 | Number 2 | e38

Peabotuwage et al.

NUWAN BANDARA is a graduate from the University of Per-

adeniya,  and  his  scientific  exploration  of  biodiversity  began 

with the Youth Exploration Society of Sri Lanka (YES) in late 

1990. As a member and former president of YES, he is conduct-

ing biodiversity conservation and education programs for the 

Sri Lankan community. His specific fields of research interest 

are ecosystem services, community-based conservation, tradi-

tional agricultural practices, ethnobotany, and local biodiversity 

and behavioral ecology of herpetofauna and other wild fauna.

DINAL SAMARASINGHE is a Sri Lankan herpetologist, 

wildlife photographer, and member of the Young Zoologists’ 

Association (YZA) based at the National Zoological Gardens 

of Sri Lanka. His research is mainly focused on territoriality, 

aggressive behavior, and vocal communication in anurans. 

Presently, he leads a study on systematics, distribution patterns, 

and ecology of the genus Varanus in India and Sri Lanka. Dinal 

also works as a venom extractor at the Snake Venom Research 

Laboratory and Herpetarium (SVRLH), Faculty of Medicine, 

University of Colombo.

NIRMALA PERERA is a naturalist and has had a special in-

terest in amphibians and reptiles ever since his childhood. He 

conducts various conservation events on biodiversity restora-

tion and education programs for the local community and as 

an environmentalist, he is engaged in numerous snake rescue 

programs. He is a member of the Young Zoologists’ Associa-

tion (YZA), National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka and cur-

rently works as a project manager (Human-Elephant Conflict 

Program, Udawalawe) for the Born Free Foundation, Sri Lanka 

country office.

INDIKA PEABOTUWAGE is a botanist working at the Depart-

ment of Botany, University of Peradeniya and has great skill in 

botanical illustrating. He is a member of the Young Zoologists 

Association (YZA) and president of the research committee. 

During his career, he has participated in several national and 

international training programs. At present, he works on sev-

eral plant based research projects and conserving the vanishing 

biodiversity in Sri Lanka.


January 2012 | Volume 5 | Number 2 | e38

Uda Mäliboda trail and a preliminary herpetofaunal checklist

CHAMARA AMARASINGHE is a researcher interested in 

fauna and flora of Sri Lanka. He has a keen interest in freshwa-

ter ichthyofauna, butterflies, birds, marine mammals, and bats. 

He is a wildlife artist and photographer engaged with the Youth 

Exploration Society of Sri Lanka (YES). He started his passion 

to explore much of the islands rare and endangered animals at 

a very young age. Currently, he is working as a naturalist at 

Jetwing Blue, a prestigious tourist hotel in Sri Lanka.

DUSHANTHA KANDAMBI is a researcher conducting and 

supporting investigations on amphibians and reptiles. He is 

also engaged in a captive breeding program on threatened spe-

cies and rescue events. Additionally, he promotes conservation 

awareness of the importance of snake fauna among the Sri 

Lankan community. He is a wildlife artist and photographer 

enjoying nature.

SURANJAN KARUNARATHNA is a field biologist conduc-

ing research on amphibian and reptile ecology, and promot-

ing conservation awareness of the importance of biodiversity 

among the Sri Lankan community. He began his career and 

wildlife research in 2000, as a member of the Young Zoologists’ 

Association (YZA), National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka. 

He worked as an ecologist for the IUCN Sri Lanka county of-

fice and is an active member of many specialist groups in the 


MAJINTHA MADAWALA is a naturalist and conducts several 

habitat restoration programs in many forest areas. He began his 

career and wildlife interests in 1995 as a member of the Young 

Zoologists’ Association (YZA), National Zoological Gardens 

of Sri Lanka. He holds a Diploma in biodiversity management 

from the University of Colombo. As a conservationist, he is 

engaged in numerous snake rescue programs and funding for 

ongoing research projects.

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