Diversity of Amphibians and Reptiles in the Cuatro Ciénegas Basin

  • Uri Omar García-Vázquez
  • Marysol Trujano-Ortega
  • Arturo Contreras-Arquieta
  • Omar Ávalos-Hernández
  • Omar Osvaldo Escobedo-Correa
  • Pablo Corcuera
Part of the Cuatro Ciénegas Basin: An Endangered Hyperdiverse Oasis book series (CUCIBA)


We gathered and analyzed the current knowledge of the amphibians and reptiles of the Cuatro Ciénegas Basin (CCB), including their biogeographical affinities and the historical and ecological importance of the basin to the diversity of these groups in the Chihuahuan Desert (CD). The CCB has a characteristic topography with alternating highlands and basins. The degree of endemicity of the fauna within the CCB is one of the highest in North America. Morphological and genetic differentiation of these taxa suggests a quick speciation due to the isolation of the basin. Further, the restricted distribution within the CCB of some taxa indicates a high ecological dependence on aquatic microhabitats. The herpetofauna present in the CCB is composed of seven amphibian and 46 reptile species, from which 2 amphibians and 9 reptiles are endemic to the basin. Bufonidae and Colubridae are the most diverse families, while Lithobates berlandieri and Aspidoscelis inornata cienegae are the most abundant species of Amphibia and Reptilia, respectively. Twelve of the previously reported species had not been recorded recently, but we recorded five species for the first time in the CCB. Most of the species are distinctive of the CD; however, the endemic species are more closely related with taxa of the Tamaulipan province, Edwards Plateau, and the Sierra Madre Oriental province.


Amphibian Reptiles Endemism Behavior Biogeographic affinities Chihuahuan Desert 



Support for field work was provided by grants from CONABIO (JF065) to A. Nieto, from resources of the WWF-Alianza Carlos Slim (L039), and the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund (American Museum of Natural History) provided to M. Trujano-Ortega and U. García-Vázquez. We thank Pronatura A. C., Desuvalle A. C., and CONANP for their assistance in the field work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Uri Omar García-Vázquez
    • 1
  • Marysol Trujano-Ortega
    • 2
  • Arturo Contreras-Arquieta
    • 3
  • Omar Ávalos-Hernández
    • 2
  • Omar Osvaldo Escobedo-Correa
    • 4
  • Pablo Corcuera
    • 5
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Sistemática Molecular, Unidad de Investigación Multidisciplinaria de Investigación Experimental Zaragoza, Facultad de Estudios Superiores ZaragozaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoCiudad de MéxicoMexico
  2. 2.Museo de Zoología, Departamento de Biología Evolutiva, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoCiudad de MéxicoMexico
  3. 3.Acuario y Herpetario W. L. MinckleyCuatro Ciénegas de CarranzaMexico
  4. 4.Departamento de Biología, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-IztapalapaCiudad de MéxicoMexico
  5. 5.Laboratorio de Ecología AnimalDepartamento de Biología, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-IztapalapaCiudad de MéxicoMexico

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