Fig. 2. (B) A community of Aechmea zebrina bromeliads at ~38 m (in situ).
Fig. 3. A collection of anurans collected from Aechmea zebrina bromeliads.
(A) Pristimantis aureolineatus hiding in leaf axil, (E) Ranitomeya ventrimaculata and (F) Scinax ruber collected from A. zebrina bromeliads.
Tank bromeliads provide microhabitat that supports a high diversity of organisms in the harsh environment of tropical forest canopies. Most studies of organisms occupying tank bromeliads have focused on invertebrates found within bromeliads near or at ground level. Few investigations of vertebrate communities utilizing this keystone resource are available. We describe the amphibian and reptile community occupying the high canopy tank bromeliad, Aechmea zebrina, in lowland rainforest of the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador. We used single-rope climbing techniques to sample a total of 160 A. zebrina bromeliads from 32 trees, at heights of 18.3 to 45.5 m above ground. We collected 10 metamorphosed anuran species, one gecko, one snake, and observed two species of lizard within bromeliads. Summary statistics for a suite of environmental factors associated with herpetofauna in A. zebrina bromeliads are reported. We estimated the density of anurans occupying A. zebrina communities and contrast these estimates with anuran densities from tropical forest floor anuran studies. Finally, we discuss the use of the term “arboreal” within the herpetological literature, and make recommendations for terminology used to describe the vertical space occupied by a species or assemblage.
Key words. Amphibian, anuran, epiphyte, forest, microhabitat, rainforest, reptile
Shawn F. McCracken and Michael R. J. Forstner. 2014. Herpetofaunal Community of A High Canopy Tank Bromeliad (Aechmea zebrina) in the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve of Amazonian Ecuador, with comments on the use of “arboreal” in the herpetological literature. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation. 8(1) [Special Section]: 65–75 (e83).