Original Research

Reptile fauna of the Katse Dam catchment area and a biogeographical assessment of species composition in the Lesotho Highlands

P. Ie F.N. Mouton, J.H. van Wyk
Koedoe | Vol 36, No 1 | a363 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v36i1.363 | © 1993 P. Ie F.N. Mouton, J.H. van Wyk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 September 1993 | Published: 16 September 1993

About the author(s)

P. Ie F.N. Mouton, University of Sfellenhosch, South Africa
J.H. van Wyk, University of Sfellenhosch, South Africa

Full Text:



A survey of the reptile fauna of the Katse Dam catchment area in the Lesotho Highlands was conducted to assess the possible impact of the dam, once it is full, on reptile populations in the area. With only seven lizard and five snake species recorded to date, species richness in the catchment area is much lower than expected. It is inferred that species richness in the western and central districts of the Lesotho Highlands in general, is low, emphasising the role of the Drakensberg-Maluti mountain complex as a barrier to species dispersal. The reptile fauna of the western/central highland areas is primarily composed of widespread generalist species. The eastern highland areas, on the other hand, have a substantial endemic component. indicating the greater potential of these areas as a conservatory of geographical isolates. The direct impact of the Katse Dam on the local reptile fauna is expected to be minimal. Snake numbers are low in the catchment area and this may be the result of human impact. Reproductive cycles of the lizard species in the catchment area do not differ from the cycles of the same species at lower altitudes elsewhere.


Reptiles, Katse Dam, Lesotho Highlands, diets, reproductive cycles, species composition, impact.


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