Monitoring amphibians and reptiles is in charge of the biologist José Andrés Salazar Zuniga, who along with a team o Universidad of Costa Rica, monitored environments of primary and secondary forest, disturbed areas, riparian habitats and wetlands in search of Herpetofauna of the place since January 2011.
After one year of monitoring they found 119 species of amphibians and reptiles with only 2% of the sampled park. This list positions Veragua as the most frog-diverse place in all Costa Rica with 53 species. Among which one can include critically endangered species, including some of which have their last natural populations within the park. All specimens of the park are deposited and catalogued in the Museum of Zoology, University of Costa Rica. For see the complet list, please make click in this icon:
The lists and monitoring of beetles are in charge of the entomologist Rolando Ramirez, who along with specialists from the University of São Paulo and the National Museum have identified several specimens.
One of the best sampled groups are the Cerambycidae family beetles. This inventory represents the greatest biodiversity of species for this family of beetles collected in one study area (either a National Park, Biological Reserve or similar), with respect to studies and inventories made in Costa Rica and Central America. The work of monitoring and sampling has been carried out from November 2008 to the present day. There have been are counted 219 morphospecies, of which 194 have been rated (Table 2). These 200 species represent a 13% of the biodiversity from the Cerambycidae family within the Costa Rican territory. As part of the study four possible new species have been identified. They are currently under review, as well as a report of a new genre for Central America. Next, we will compare similar studies about theCerambycidae family, made in other areas of Costa Rica, based on the numbers of inventoried species.
The list of birds reported for the park has a total of 343 species (Table 3).
It was an initiative of the Daniel Torres, Site Manager, who has organised it for the past three years along with the team of researchers and Veragua naturalist guides. This is an event that takes place around the world called “Christmas Bird Count (CBC)” which is to make a bird monitoring for 24 hours in a 12-Km. diameter area globally established. The CBC’s organised by Veragua Rainforest initiated back in 2009, with a group of the best specialists in birds of Costa Rica as leaders on each route.
During the first year of the event, it reached the number of 364 species, 371 species in 2010. In 2011 they were able to perform 18 routes, reaching 408 species. A year later, there were 19 tours and they counted 417 species. The result of this event shows the greatest diversity and abundance reported for the Central American region with a record number of 417 identified species and 12,665 individuals. For see the complet list, please make click in this icon:
The inventory of butterflies started in 2009 by the National Biodiversity Institute (INBio), together with the Local para-taxinomist Julian Solano Salazar. The same was done by monitoring work in 2011 with collaborators from the National Museum. For the monitoring they have used different methods of which we can highlight the light trap and fruit trap.
The latter method is being used as part of a systematic sampling performed every month where Julian compares understory species from the canopy. It has the objective of having annual data on the dynamics of populations of different species, and as well as completing a record of the diversity of the site. Currently there have been 175 species of butterflies (Table 4), divided into 14 subfamilies and 27 tribes.
Within this list will have many important records of rare butterflies, we can highlight the appearance of the species Tetrisia florigera which last saw in Costa Rica 98 years ago and the species Dynastor macrosiris which is a new record for the country. Regarding moths the National Museum has been responsible for conducting the listings.
In its preliminary diversity report, Veragua Rainforest delivers the following results: “In this group of butterflies are two main groups: the Sphingidae family of which have been recorded 41 species belonging to 15 genera and two subfamilies. The most diverse genus is Xylophanes with 10 species, followed by Callionima with 4 species. It was particularly interesting kadeni Oryba species, because it represents a new species for the collection of the National Museum of Costa Rica. The other family is Saturnidae which have been registered 25 species belonging to five subfamilies and 18 genera.
The most diverse genus with five species is Automeris. Of interest was the beprea Oxytenis species, a new species representing a new species for the museum’s collection ". For see the complet list, please make click in this icon :
Mammals play key roles in ecosystems (e.g., grazing, predation, and seed dispersal). Worldwide, habitat loss and degradation, and hunting, are by far the main threats to mammals. In the case of the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica, the area is affected by deforestation and expansive monocultures.
Veragua Rainforest is located adjacent to the Matama mountains, which are in the Caribbean foothills of the Talamanca Mountain Range and closest to the coast. The location has an altitudinal gradient between 200 and 1000m, with characteristic climatic and topographic conditions. This area is part of the buffer zone of the La Amistad International Park, which is the largest protected area in Costa Rica and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, Veragua Rainforest borders private land where deforestation continues, and rural and indigenous communities where hunting for food is a common activity.
Mammologist Diego Salas has been documenting over time the value of the Veragua Rainforest Reserve as a refuge for the conservation of a diverse mammal community and the role this group plays in maintaining ecological interactions. Data that can be used to monitor biodiversity and to measure changes in biodiversity over time are essential. Long-term monitoring is designed to provide information that is useful for making informed management decisions and to detect the effects of human impact and climate change. In the Central Caribbean region of Costa Rica, where Veragua Rainforest is located, mammal diversity has never been previously investigated.
Monitoring methodology on site includes: camera traps, live-trapping of medium and small size mammals, mist nets to catch bats, and counting of mammals. So far, 81 species have been registered in the Veragua Rainforest Reserve:
In a short time of collecting data (one year), a high diversity of mammals has been registered on site and the numbers continue to increase. In the future, the Foundation for Rainforest Research (Veragua Foundation) expects to acquire more equipment to increase efforts and implement other methods (i.e. acoustics devices for bats, canopy monitoring, and camera traps) to check for more species in all the groups (airborne, terrestrial and arboreal mammals) that are living in the area. Additionally, the aim is to collect ecological information like density, abundance, occurrence and home range for some species.
Protected areas are an essential element of any strategy to conserve tropical forest biodiversity. The study described above aims to provide information to support concurrent conservation efforts, like community-awareness work and efforts to upgrade the status of Veragua Rainforest and its surroundings.
Figure 1. Red-tailed Squirrel (Sciurus granatensis) observed during monitoring in diurnal transect surveys.
Figure 2. Occasional sighting of a Northern Naked-tailed Armadillo (Cabassous centralis).
Figure 3. Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata) observed during monitoring in diurnal transect surveys.
Figure 4. White-nosed Coati (Nasua narica) captured in live-trapping.
Figure 5. Occasional sighting of a Silky Anteater (Cyclopes didactylus).
Figure 6. Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) registered in a camera trap.
Figure 7. Some bat species registered in the Veragua Rainforest.
Figure 8. Occasional sighting of a juvenile Dusky Rice Rat (Melanomys caliginosus).
Figure 9. Talamancan Rice Rat (Transandinomys talamancae) captured in live-trapping.
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Tent-roosting bats in Veragua Rainforest
Author: Salas-Solano, D.
Some bats make a home by modifying plant leaves into roosts like tents. These tent-making bats create their structures by severing the veins and, in some cases, even the interconnective tissues of leaves. This causes the sides of the leaves to collapse downward and form a sheltered tent-like roost.
In the world, 30 kinds of bats are known to roost in leaf tents like this. However, detailed data on the diversity, abundance, and distribution of plants used for roosting are only available for less than 10 bat species; four of them are in the Paleotropical genus Cynopterus.
In the Neotropics, where the diversity of tent-making bats is the greatest, available data are extremely scarce (Chaverri & Kunz 2010). For example, there are almost no data on roost diversity, abundance, distribution, and loyalty for more than half of the species of bats known to roost in tents, and detailed information regarding their social behavior is absent for the majority. For this reason, we have done a long-term study to collect information about the plant diversity used by bats to construct tents, the types of bats that use these roosts, and related ecological interaction. Also, because the majority of the tent-making bats have been described as “obligate tent roosters”, and all these species are fruit consumers and seed dispersers, we emphasize the importance of this group to maintain tree diversity and promote forest regeneration.
Four tent-roosting bat species and at least 22 plant species with modifications made by bats have been documented so far. Furthermore, nine of the 10 tent-roosting bat species known in Central America (Rodríguez-Herrera et al. 2007) have been reported in a complementary study on site. This preliminary information suggests that Veragua Rainforest is highly important as an appropriate habitat for neotropical tent-roosting bats and the associated plant diversity.
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