Reptile research

Monitoring of reptile diversity and micro-habitat use

The main objective of this project is to make an inventory of the squamata taxus on the Mogalakwena reserve in the Limpopo Valley. Several habitat types occur on the reserves (bushveld, mountain and riverine) and potentially this allows for differences in species distributions. We are interested in the micro-habitat use of the different reptiles, as well as their abundance. The reserves are part of the arid sweet bushveld of the Savanna biome and an inventory could potentially indicate the presence of the found squamate taxus in other areas of this vegetation type. A comprehensive inventory of this understudied taxus on the reserve would answer several questions, including which squamata species are present and potentially elsewhere in the arid sweet bushveld, what is the relative contribution of species and with which micro-habitat are the different species associated?

Answering these questions would increase our understanding of the Mogalakwena reserves squamate biodiversity and how to better manage it for species that are present. For this study we are looking for students that are passionate about squamata and at the same time resourceful in finding ways of catching reptiles.