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Animal Biodiversity and Conservation. Volume 41.2 (2018) Pages: 245-256

Efficient vs. structured biodiversity inventories: reptiles in a Mexican dry scrubland as a case study

Trujillo-Caballero, S., González-Oreja, J. A.





Many sampling methods allow the study of species richness and diversity in biological communities, but it is not known whether a single method can determine both the number and diversity of species in an unbiased and efficient way. Here we assess whether the least biased and most efficient method to determine reptile species richness in a Mexican dry scrubland is also the best method to estimate species diversity. The local assemblage was composed of 10 species, with the Mexican mud turtle (Kinosterton integrum) and the Jalapa spiny lizard (Sceloropus jalapae) being the dominant ones. Microhabitat surveys (MHS) were the most accurate and the most efficient method to estimate species richness, but they over–estimated species diversity (+67.1 %) as much as the other sampling methods, i.e., transect surveys and pitfall–trap stations, under–estimated it (–59 %). Our study shows that the best sampling method to determine the number of species in local assemblages may not be the best method to study species diversity. Although combining different sampling methods can increase the project costs in terms of time, effort and money, the use of structured inventories is recommended for the analysis of species diversity.


Biodiversity knowledge, Number of species, Number of equiprobable species, Sampling methods, Sampling effort, Pitman efficiency


Trujillo-Caballero, S., González-Oreja, J. A., 2018. Efficient vs. structured biodiversity inventories: reptiles in a Mexican dry scrubland as a case study. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 41: 245-256, DOI:

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