Wednesday, September 9, 2015

[Herpetology • 2015] Reptile Diversity in Food Markets in Laos

Wildlife is one of the most important food resources in Laos, and many species are sold at the local markets, but the fauna of the country remains poorly known. As a result of human impacts, including overharvesting for food consumption, many wild animals in Asia face imminent extinction. Our study focused on reptile species that were sold at local markets in Laos. The data were recorded in February, August, and September 2013. We found 16 reptile species in the local market: eight freshwater turtle species, Cuora amboinensis, Cyclemys oldhamii, Malayemys macrocephala, M. subtrijuga, Sacalia quadriocellata, Siebenrockiella crassicollis, Amyda ornata, and Pelodiscus sinensis, one tortoise species, Manouria impressa, four lizard species, Calotes versicolor, Physignathus cocincinus, Varanus nebulosus and V. salvator, and three snake species, Malayopython reticulatus and two species of Ptyas. Most of these reptile species are used by local people as foods. Two species are recorded for the first time from Laos or the surveyed region. Our results suggested that the cryptic diversity of the reptile fauna of Laos still exists and highlighted the importance of field surveys and conservation actions.

Keywords: Bushmeat, Commercial trade, Dietary culture, Southeast Asia

Dai Suzuki, Kengo Fuse, Mitsuhiro Aizu, Satoshi Yoshizawa, Wataru Tanaka, Kunio Araya and Bounthob Praxaysombath. 2015. Reptile Diversity in Food Markets in Laos. Current Herpetology. 34(2):112-119. doi: 10.5358/hsj.34.112