I compared species richness and habitat correlates of leaf-litter herpetofaunal abundance in undisturbed and selectively logged forests, and an abandoned pine plantation in Kibale National Park, Uganda. I sampled 50 randomly located 25 m2 litter plots in each area during the wet and dry seasons in 1997. Ten anuran, five lizard, and three snake species were captured in plots over the study. Assemblage composition was most similar at logged and unlogged sites. The logged forest herpetofauna had higher species richness and abundance than the unlogged forest, but diversity was greater in the unlogged forest due to greater evenness. In contrast, the pine plantation site had the highest richness, abundance, and evenness of the three study sites, but species composition was distinct from the other areas. Herpetofaunal densities were significantly lower in all three areas during the dry season than in the wet season. During the dry season, soil moisture, litter mass, topography, shrub cover, and number of fallen logs were significant positive predictors of herpetofaunal presence in litter plots, but only soil moisture was significant in the wet season. The interaction of moisture and topography appears to be important in determining seasonal patterns of litter herpetofaunal distribution. Comparison of litter herpetofaunal studies across the tropics have shown that mid-elevation faunas generally support fewer species than lowland faunas. Compared with other tropical mid-elevation litter faunas, Kibale supports an intermediate number of species, but at lower densities than observed at any other mid-elevation site reported in the literature.
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Vol. 33 • No. 3