Concrete survivors: the herpetofauna of an urban green area over 100 years of increasing urbanization



Abstract Low biodiversity in urban areas is associated with habitat loss. However, the effects of urbanization on biodiversity should also consider the historical background of land-use, explored herein. Our goal was to evaluate changes in the assemblage of reptiles in an urban habitat over 100 years, aiming to identify which ecological attributes allowed the persistence of species that can be found in the area today. We accessed historical records in scientific collections and carried out fieldwork to access reptile assemblage in an urban green area, in São Paulo, Brazil. Considering land-use changes in the area, we defined three-time intervals between 1901 and 2020. We established species richness for each time interval, categorizing them into three ecological attributes: habitat preference, substrate use, and food habits. We recorded 27 reptile species from 1901 until 2020, 14 resulting from historical data, eight from both historical and fieldwork, and five species exclusively in fieldwork. Amphibians were also sampled during fieldwork, but not used in historical comparison. Reptile’s species richness decreased 59% regardless of ecological attributes, and snakes were the group with most species’ loss. Fossorial reptiles were the least affected group. We concluded that habitat loss culminated in a species richness decline, and the reptiles that remain until today were likely present since the fragment isolation. Ecological attributes of the remaining taxa include species that use terrestrial substrates and feed on prey commonly found in urban environments.




How to Cite

Souza, E. de, Lima-Santos, J., Marques, O. A. V., & Hingst-Zaher, E. (2023). Concrete survivors: the herpetofauna of an urban green area over 100 years of increasing urbanization. Biota Neotropica, 23(4). Retrieved from //




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