Centre for Wildlife Studies, College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, KAU (PO), Thrissur, Kerala 680656, India
Editor: Mewa Singh, University of Mysore, Mysuru, India. Date of publication: 17 November 2015 (online & print)
Manuscript details: Ms # o4304 | Received 11 May 2015 | Final received 23 September 2015 | Finally accepted 29 September 2015
Citation: Nameer, P.O. (2015). A checklist of mammals of Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(13): 7971–7982; http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.2000.7.13.7971-7982
Copyright: © Nameer 2015. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.
Funding: Kerala Agricultural University.
Conflict of Interest: The author declares no competing interests.
Acknowledgements: I would like to acknowledge the contribution of my team members viz., Praveen J, Rajeev Raghavan, A Bijukumar, Mohamed Jafer Palot and Sandeep Das in getting this checklist into a final shape. Dileep Anthikkad, Sandeep Das and Praveen Mohandas contributed the images used along with this paper.
Abstract: A checklist of mammals of Kerala State is presented in this paper. Accepted English names, scientific binomen, prevalent vernacular names in Malayalam, IUCN conservation status, endemism, Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act schedules, and the appendices in the CITES, pertaining to the mammals of Kerala are also given. The State of Kerala has 118 species of mammals, 15 of which are endemic to Western Ghats, and 29 species fall under the various threatened categories of IUCN.
Keywords: CITES, Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, Malayalam name, vernacular name, Western Ghats.
The systematic collections of mammals of Kerala were made as early as the second half of the 19th century. The first book on Indian Mammals by Jerdon (1867) had references to the mammals of Kerala State. Other important historical publications that referred to the mammals of Kerala were those by Sterndale (1884) and Blanford (1888, 1891). As part of the Bombay Natural History Society’s (BNHS) Mammal Survey of India held between 1912 to 1923, systematic collections of mammals were carried out from Kerala, the results of which were published by Thomas (1914–1924), Wroughton (1913–1921), Ryley (1913, 1914), Hinton (1918) and Lindsay (1926, 1929). Taxonomic account on the mammals of Kerala found place in the second edition of the Fauna of British India series by Pocock (1939, 1941) and Ellerman (1961). The other taxonomic treatment on the mammals of Kerala include Ellerman & Morrison-Scot (1951), Prater (1971), Das (1986), Sadasivan (1987), Kurup (1989), Jayson (1996), Balakrishnan (1997), Nameer (2000), Dinesh et al. (2002) and Menon (2003, 2014). A regional checklist of mammals was published by Sathasivam (1996) where he listed 158 species of mammals from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Subsequently, Nameer et al. (2001) reported 135 species of mammals from the Western Ghats. Dinesh et al. (2004) listed 106 species of mammals, while Easa and Ramachandran (2005) reported 145 species from Kerala.
The two ubiquitous and historically introduced species have been included in the list (e.g., Brown Rat Rattus norvegicus and House Mouse Mus musculus). The taxonomy and nomenclature follow Wilson & Reeder (2005) and Wilson & Mittermeier (2009), while the vernacular names have been taken from various sources (Sadasivan 1987; Nameer 2000; Menon 2008; Dinesan et al. 2010). Marine mammals in the list are indicated in blue colour.
Though 118 species have been listed here, the occurrence of certain species within the political boundary of Kerala has not been verified as yet, because of the absence of authentic sight records of these species. The most important among these are the Malabar Civet Viverra civettina and the Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus. Though these two species were known to occur in Kerala based on historical records (Jerdon 1867; Blanford 1888–1891; Pocock 1939; Hutton 1949; Prater 1971; Kurup 1987, 1989), two recent studies (Nandini & Mudappa 2010; Janardhanan et al. 2014) have ruled out the distribution in Kerala. Similarly, there has only been a vague mention of the presence of Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra from Kerala in the historic past (Jerdon 1867; Blanford 1888–1891; Pocock 1941; Prater 1971), and there have not been any authentic records of this species from anywhere in the state.
Several recent taxonomic studies have led to splits in the species status of mammals. The Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus has now been split into seven species in India (Karanth et al. 2008; Nag et al. 2011; Zinner et al. 2013), of which two are known from Kerala. The other taxonomic splits include those related to Gray Slender Loris Loris lydekkerianus, Nilgiri Palm Squirrel Funambulus sublineatus, Nilgiri Vandeleuria Vandeleuria nilagirica, Hill Shrew Suncus niger and Indian Chevrotain Moschiola indica (Corbet & Hill 1992, Groves 2000, 2005; Groves & Meijaard 2005; Hutterer 2005; Meegaskumbura & Schneider 2008; Musser & Carleton 2005; Dissanayake & Oshida 2012; Nekaris 2013). There have been several nomenclatural changes at the both generic and species levels, which are given in the Table 1 below, examples include Nilgiri Langur Semnopithecus johnii, Blanford’s Madromys Madromys blanfordi, Chocolate Bat Falsistrellus affinis, Dormer’s Bat Scotozous dormeri, Sambar Deer Rusa unicolor and Nilgiri Tahr Nilgiritragus hylocrius (Grubb 2005; Musser & Carleton 2005; Simmons 2005; Karanth et al. 2008; Nag et al. 2011; Zinner et al. 2013).
In this monograph, 118 species of mammals in 35 families and 13 orders are listed. Out of which 15 are endemic to Western Ghats. Twenty-nine species of mammals of Kerala, fall under the various threatened categories of IUCN, and five are Near-threatened. Eighty-seven species fall under one of the schedules of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and 46 come under one of the appendices of CITES.
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