Species diversity of skinks (Family: Scincidae) as influenced by land use systems in Southern Leyte, Philippines

Paper Details

Research Paper 01/04/2020
Views (344) Download (39)

Species diversity of skinks (Family: Scincidae) as influenced by land use systems in Southern Leyte, Philippines

Rolibel S Timon, Litlen P Dapar
J. Bio. Env. Sci.16( 4), 97-105, April 2020.
Certificate: JBES 2020 [Generate Certificate]


To determine the species composition, distribution and diversity of skinks in the different land use systems, three 10 m x 20 m sampling plots were randomly laid out equidistant from each other in the agroforestry, exotic tree plantation, native tree plantation, and secondary forest sites in Brgy. Lunas, Maasin City, Southern Leyte. Sampling and collection of specimens were done at different times of the day in each sampling plot. Specimens were identified down to the species level by referring to photo-documentations of published journal articles, thesis manuscript, monograph, and Dr. Rafe Brown. A total of 6 species of skinks in 4 genera with 66 individuals were recorded including Sphenomorphus acutus Peters, S. fasciatus Gray, Eutropis multicarinata Gray, E. multifasciata Kuhl, Brachymeles orientalis Brown and Pinoyscincus jagori Peters. Among the scincid lizards, E. multifasciata was the widely distributed and most abundant skink species while Sphenomorphus fasciatus was encountered solely in the exotic tree plantation dominated by mahogany [Swietenia macrophylla (L.) Jacq.)]. In terms of species diversity, exotic tree plantation and secondary forest had relatively comparable diversity indices (H’=0.4736; H’=0.4662) and species richness (R₂=0.3077; R₂=0.3750) while agroforestry had the lowest diversity index (H’= 0.1446) and species richness (R₂=0.0811). Further, exotic tree plantation, native tree plantation and secondary forest also had comparable evenness indices (Es=0.7866; Es=0.7619; Es=0.7743). Surprisingly, the results showed that exotic tree plantations could also exhibit certain levels of species diversity, particularly on scincid lizards, and should be included in any wildlife conservation programs.


Alcala AC. 1980. Philippine land vertebrates: Field biology: New Day Publishers.

Alcala AC. 1986. Guide to Philippine flora and fauna: Amphibians and Reptiles (Vol.10): JMC Press Inc.

Amo FZ, Nkwatoh AF, Melle EM. 2019. Impact of land use changes on wildlife population in the Kimbi-Fungom National Park, North West Region, Cameroon. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications 9(1), 498-524.

Baguinon NT, Quimado MO, Francisco GT. 2013. Country Reports: Country report on forest invasive species in the Philippines: Forest Management Bureau.

Bremer LL, Farley KA. 2010. Does plantation forestry restore biodiversity or create green deserts? A synthesis of the effects of land-use transitions on plant species richness. Biodiversity Conservation 19, 3893-3915.

Brown RM, Oliveros CH, Siler CD, Fernandez JB, Welton LJ, Buenavente PAC, Diesmos MLD, Diesmos AC. 2012. Amphibians and Reptiles, Northern Luzon Island (Philippines), VII: Herpetofauna of Ilocos Norte Province, Northern Cordillera Mountain Range. Check List 8, 469-490.

Brown RM, Siler CD, Oliveros CH, Welton LJ, Rock A, Swab J, van Weerd M, Rodriguez JE, Diesmos AC. 2013a. The amphibians and reptiles of Luzon Island, Philippines, VIII: the herpetofauna of Cagayan and Isabela Provinces, northern Sierra Madre Mountain Range. Zookeys 266, 1-120.

Dapar LP, Patindol TA. 2008. Altitudinal distribution of skinks along Cantubias Ridge of Mt. Pangasugan, Baybay Leyte. Annals of Tropical Research 30(1), 40-59.

Denzer W. 1994. Spatial organization among Scincid Lizards on Santubong Peninsula, Sarawak, Borneo. Annals of Tropical Research 16(3), 1-5.

Dzialowski EM, O’Connor MP. 1999. Utility of blood flow to the appendages in physiological control of heat exchange in reptiles. Journal of Thermal Biology 24, 21-32.

George TL, Zack S. 2001. Spatial and temporal considerations in restoring habitat for wildlife. Society for Ecological Restoration 9(3), 272-279.

Grover MG. 1996. Microhabitat use and thermal ecology of two narrowly sympatric Sceloporous (Phrynosomatidae) lizards. Journal of Herpetology 30, 152-160.

Herczeg G, Torok J, Korsos Z. 2007. Size-dependent heating rates determine the spatial and temporal distribution of small-bodied lizards. Amphibia-Reptilia 28, 347-356.

Howes BJ, Lougheed SC. 2004. The importance of cover rock in northern populations of the five-lined skink (Eumeces fasciatus). Herpetologica 60(3), 287-294.

Huey RB. 1991. Physiological consequences of habitat selection. American Naturalist 137, 91-115.

Jesse WAM, Behm J, Helmus MR, Ellers J. 2018. Human land use promotes the abundance and diversity of exotic species on Caribbean islands. Global Change Biology 24, 4784-4796.

Krüger JP. 2006. Forest conversion and soil degradation in the tropical lowland of eastern Bolivia: GIS-based analysis for regionalization of soil degradation in the Santa Cruz Department. PhD thesis, University of Goettingen, Gemany 1-173.

Laurance WF. 2004. Rapid land-use change and its impact on tropical biodiversity. In: Defries R, Asner GP, Houghton RA, Ed. Ecosystems interactions with land use change. Washington, USA: American Geophysical Union p. 189-199

Lawler JJ, Lewis DJ, Nelson E, Plantinga AJ, Polasky S, Withey JC, Helmers DP, Martinuzzi S, Pennington D, Radeloff VC. 2014. Projected land-use change impacts on ecosystem services in the United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111(20), 7492-7497.

Llewelyn J, Macdonald S, Hatcher A, Moritz C, Phillips BL. 2016. Thermoregulatory behavior explains countergradient variation in the upper thermal limit of a rainforest skink. Oikos 126(5), 748-757.

López-Alcaide S, Macip-Ríos R. 2011. Effects of Climate Change in Amphibians and Reptiles. In: Grillo, O Ed. Biodiversity Loss in a Changing Planet. Rijeka, Croatia: InTech p. 163-184.

Manthey U, Grossmann W. 1997. Amphibien & Reptilien Südostasiens. Münster: Natur und Tier Verlag.

Martin J, Lopez P. 1999b. An experimental test of the costs of ant predatory refuge use in the wall lizard, Podarcis muralis. Oikos 84, 499-505.

Martin J, Lopez P. 2002. The effect of Mediterranean dehesa management on lizard distribution and conservation. Biology Conservation 108, 213-219.

Milan PP. undated. Rainforestation: A paradigm shift in forest restoration in the Philippines for sustainability and climate change mitigation. Available at: www.rainforestation.ph.

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and human well-being biodiversity synthesis: World Resources Institute.

Moore DL, Vigilant L. 2013. A population Estimate of Chimpanzees (Pantroglodytes schweinfurthii) in the Ugalla Region Using Standard and Spatially Explicit Genetic Capture–Recapture Methods. American Journal of Primatology 76(4), 335-46.

Mullu DA. 2016. Review on the Effect of Habitat Fragmentation on Ecosystem. Journal of Natural Sciences Research 6(15), 1-15.

Munday PL, Jones GP, Caley MJ. 1997. Habitat specialization and the distribution and abundance of coral-dwelling gobies. Marine Ecology Progress Series 152, 227-239.

Sanguila MB, Siler CD, Diesmos AC, Nuñeza O, Brown RM. 2016. Phylogeography, geographic structure, genetic variation, and potential species boundaries in Philippine slender toads. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61, 333-350.

Siler C, Oaks DJR, Esselstyn JA, Diesmos AC, Brown RM. 2010. Phylogeny and biogeography of Philippine bent-toed geckos (Gekkonidae: Cyrtodactylus) contradict a prevailing model of Pleistocene diversification. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 55, 699-710.

Taylor EH. 1922b. The lizards of the Philippine Islands: Philippine Bureau of Science.

Thorp JH, Rogers DC. 2015. Functional Relationships of Freshwater Invertebrates. In: Thorp, JH Ed. Thorp and Covich’s Freshwater Invertebrates: Ecology and General Biology. Massachusetts, USA: Academic Press p. 65-82.