The Manaslu Conservation Area (MCA) is a biodiversity rich spot that harbors a wide variety of local flora and fauna, thus herpetofauna fall no apart to this diversity. A field study was carried out at the tail end of April 2012 for 15 days with the purposes of conducting an inventory of local herpetofauna in three Village Development Committees (VDCs) of MCA, recording their composition and abundance, studying their distribution pattern, relationship between species’ abundance, elevation and ambient temperature, and ethnoherpetology of the area. Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) was carried to figure out the potential areas of local herpetofauna. Species composition and abundance were recorded by adopting field survey methods like Visual Encounter Surveys, Patch Sampling, Dip netting and Opportunistic sampling. The checklist of species found in the area was prepared by triangulating data generated from all methods like Field survey, Photo-elicitation, Questionnaire survey, Key Person Interviews, Group Discussion and published literature. For spatial analysis, Global Positioning System (GPS) data acquired from the field were mapped in Arc GIS 9.3. Scatter plot, Regression analysis, one way ANOVA, Correlation analysis, Runs Test and Coefficient of variation were applied to analyze the relationship between abundance of herpetofauna with elevation and temperature. Likewise, ethnoherpetological information was garnered from local people using standard questionnaire sheets.
A checklist of 33 herpetofaunal elements has been created from this study, including 5 species of amphibian and reptile observed during the field survey. The total number of individuals encountered was 65 within an altitude range of 1438-2665 m. Of them, Laudakia tuberculata was detected mostly in all three VDCs of MCA. Calotes versicolor has been recorded at higher elevation (2512 m) in this study than adjacent Annapurna region mentioned in other literature and Elaphe hodgsonii is documented first time from the region.
There was moderate relationship (R=0.543) between abundance, elevation and temperature. Abundance decreased with increasing elevation (C=-0.532) while increased with rise in surrounding temperature (C=0.499). A regression equation Y = 1.6404+0.0006X1+0.0503X2 was developed from the taken data. Local people favor ‘Paha’ frogs due to their food and medicinal value and opine their decline at present. They strongly support for ‘Paha’ conservation before the species face extinction.