Nepal has a relatively high number of fauna species. Higher fauna groups have been relatively well studied, however the taxonomy and distribution of the lower fauna groups, except for the butterflies and to some extent the spiders, have yet to be studied. A comprehensive Fauna of Nepal guide is essential to understand the status of species for their conservation.
Platyhelminthes Helminths are invertebrate animals without appendages and with bilateral symmetry. Most species are parasitic. They occur in the wild as well as within domestic plants and animals. In Nepal, helminths are not well studied and helminthological works are confined to the Kathmandu Valley. A checklist of 168 species of helminth parasites has been compiled, with 33 species belonging to the trematodes, 67 to the nematodes, 36 to the cestodes, and 32 species being plant Nematodes (Gupta 1997). Some common plant helminth parasites include Meliodogyne incognita, M. arenaria, and M. javanica, all of which cause damage to vegetables. Ascaris lumbricoides, Ancylostoma duodenale, and Taenia species are common human parasites.
Spiders Thapa (1995) reported 144 species of spiders belonging to 17 families. 109 species are endemic, including 33 species that are rare in distribution and three threatened species. Most of the spiders in Nepal have been collected from the high mountains and Mid-hills. The far-western region and the entire lowland Terai and Siwalik Hills need further study.
Insects An inventory made by Thapa (1997) covers approximately 5,052 species of insects, of which 1,131 were discovered for the first time and described from Nepalese specimens. Apis laboriosa, the world's largest honeybee, Attacus atlas, the world's largest atlas moth, and Epiophlebia laidlawi, a relict dragonfly species, are three of the best known insect species unique to Nepal.
Butterflies & Moths Among Nepal’s fauna, the butterflies are the most studied group throughout the country (Smith 1994; 1997). 640 species of butterflies have been recorded, distributed in different ecological zones. The Red Data Book of the Fauna of Nepal (BPP 1995b) listlilists 142 species, of which 12 are endangered, 43 are vulnerable, and the rest, 87 species, are susceptible to be threatened. There are four species and 25 subspecies which are possibly endemic (Smith 1997, pers. comm.). There are 557 species in the Mid-hills, 325 in the Terai and 82 in the Highlands (BPP 1995h). So far, 2,253 species of moths (excluding Microlepidoptera) have been recorded in Nepal (Smith 1997, pers. comm.).
Fishes The fish fauna of Nepal has been fairly well documented. Many taxonomic changes have been made in the genera and species of fish by Shrestha (2001), who listed a total of 182 species belonging to 11 orders, 31 families and 93 genera. Altogether, 34 species are known to be threatened, and 8 species are endemic.
Amphibians and Reptiles Shah (1995) listed 143 species of amphibians and reptiles in Nepal, with 43 species of amphibians (one salamander, four toads, and 38 frogs) and 100 species of reptiles (24 lizards, 14 turtles, two crocodiles and 60 snakes). Studies of amphibians and reptiles have been carried out in a number of areas in Nepal including the Arun Valley in eastern Nepal, Royal Chitwan National Park in central Nepal and the Annapurna-Dhaulagiri region in western Nepal.
Birds The birds of Nepal have been well studied. 852 species belonging to 18 orders have been recorded (Grimmet et al. 2000). Eleven species have become extinct over the last century. 691 bird species are recorded in the Mid-hills, 648 in the Terai and Siwalik Hills and 413 in the highlands. 111 species are confined to the Terai and Siwalik Hills, 29 species are confined to the Mid-hills and 24 to the highlands (BPP 1995f). The richest area for birds is the lowland tropical forest below 300m in the Terai, where over 500 species have been recorded (Inskipp & Inskipp 1991).
Mammals A comprehensive account of Nepal’s mammalian fauna has been produced by Suwal and Verheugt (1995), who listed a total of 181 mammal species belonging to 12 orders and 39 families. Mammals are well represented in the protected areas of Nepal.
126.96.36.199 Protected, threatened and endemic species
Protected Species HMGN has imposed restrictions on the export of 12 plant species and one forest product (Table 2.24). Additionally, 27 mammal species, nine bird species, and three reptile species have been given legal protection under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1973 (Table 2.25). However, there are still 10 species of fish and 12 species of butterflies that need protection (Smith 1997, pers. com.).
Table 2.24 Plant species and forest products legally protected under the Forest
Regulations, 1995 (amended in 2001)
Botanical name or Forest resource
Species banned for collection, use, sale, distribution, transportation and export
IUCN categories: Ex=Extinct; E=Endangered; I=Indeterminate; V=Vulnerable
Threatened Species Nepal has been a signatory of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) since 1973 and a number of Nepali species are listed under various CITES appendices as follows (see also Table 2.26 below):
vascular plants - 15 species (one species of angiosperm in Appendix I; one species of pteridophyte, two species of gymnosperms and five species of angiosperms in Appendix II; three species of gymnosperms and three species of angiosperms in Appendix III)
mammals - 58 species (29 species in Appendix I; seven species in Appendix II; 22 species in Appendix III)
birds - 40 species (16 species in Appendix I; nine species in Appendix II; 15 species in Appendix III)
reptiles - 13 species (seven species in Appendix I; four species in Appendix II; two species in Appendix III)
amphibians - one species (Appendix II)
insects - two species (Appendix II)
Table 2.26 Nepal’s flora and fauna under CITES appendices, 1995
CITES Status Categories: Appendix I: Species threatened with extinction; Appendix II: Species not yet threatened, but which could become endangered if trade is not controlled; Appendix III: Species identified by any party as being subject to regulation in that country and which require international co-operation to control trade.
Sixty species of non-endemic plants are regarded as threatened (Table 2.27). These include 12 endangered species, 11 vulnerable species, 22 rare species, two indeterminate species, five insufficiently known species, and seven threatened species (Shrestha & Joshi 1996).
Table 2.27 List of non-endemic threatened plants