Series: Records of the Zoological Survey of India Occasional Papers Volume: 72
65 pages, 14 plates with colour photos; b/w illustrations, b/w maps
From the preface:
"Reptiles are an overly conspicuous part of the biota throughout the faunistically rich Western Ghats. However, the published work on the reptiles of Western Ghats in general and the lizards in particular has seriously lagged behind those of the fishes, birds, and mammals. Since the publication of Smith’s (1935) volume on lizards, a few papers by Sharma (1970, 1976), Tiwari & Sharma (1970), Underwood (1948, 1948a), and the author (1981, 1983) were published on the saurian fauna of Western Ghats. During the past two decades (1960-1980) the remote regions including hitherto unexplored tracts like the Silent Valley have become readily accessible and several important collections have been made. With the setting up of the Department of Environment, a number of ecosystem studies have been initiated in the various hill ranges of Western Ghats, and environmental impact statements are now being prepared in connection with development projects. In the circumstances it is desirable that field guides for reptiles be prepared to facilitate these studies. My abiding interest in the herpetology of Western Ghats as also motivated me to present this work.
I have attempted to summarise here what little is known of the systematics and natural history of the lizards of Western Ghats based on published accounts and my own observations. Every effort has been made to keep the technical details to a minimum. Emphasis has been laid on the colouration and habits of some common species. Existing common names were given for some well-known forms. The text, which reports the latest classifications and more recent discoveries, provides descriptions that pinpoint the distinguishing characteristics, colour, size, and geographical range of each species. The photographs, key for identification, glossary, and the diagramatic illustrations of some diagnostic characters will facilitate the easy identification of these animals in the field by the layman and specialist as well.
Since a majority of the lizards in the Western Ghats have become rare and some are threatened due to the large-scale degradation of the forests throughout the area, it is hoped that this field guide will enable easy recognition of such species and save them from near extinction. It is also my fond hope that it will encourage those in the field to collect specimens for museums and scientific organisations like the Zoological Survey of India."
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