Notebooks of the Fondation
Contribute to naturalist knowledge
Fondation d’entreprise Biotope pour la biodiversité launched Les Cahiers de la Fondation as part of its mission to promote and share knowledge.
It is a free-access electronic naturalist and scientific review (ISSN 2495-2540) that publishes articles providing information to assist naturalist identification (determination keys), sheets dedicated to poorly documented species, study reports or inventories, etc.
Below are all our Cahiers, from the most recent to the oldest :
Cahiers de la Fondation
In 2011, when the French-language work “Amphibians of Central Africa and Angola” (Frétey et al. 2011) was published, 88 species of Amphibians were known in Gabon. In the last few years, several teams of researchers and naturalists have carried out inventories and studies on Gabonese territory: their respective contributions have brought the number of Amphibian species whose presence in Gabon is now documented up to 104. In this article we also offer a commented taxonomic list of the Amphibians of Gabon, together with a catalogue illustrating 67 species, that is, 64 % of the Gabonese batrachofauna.
This taxonomic list is supported by a georeferenced database (4,200 data items), created and supplemented since August 2016 with data published or given by contributors.
Dewynter M. & Frétey T. (2019). Foundation notebook 27 – Commented taxonomic list and illustrated catalogue of the Amphibians of Gabon. Fondation Biotope notebook 27: 2- 84.
Pour télécharger le cahier de la fondation 26 (535 downloads)
Guyana has a rich community of continental turtles (12 species), made up of eleven native species and one introduced species. To that list should be added the sea turtles (5 species) which frequent the sea coasts of the Guyana Shield and come to the Guyanas seasonally to lay on the Guyanese beaches. In 2017, the edition of the Red List of the endangered species in Guyana (Anonymous 2017) highlighted the fragility of some turtle populations (6 species are threatened or near-threatened with extinction) and the importance of organising a watch over the abundance and distribution of the Guyana turtles. Between 2011 and 2018, the “Faune-Guyane” site (http://www.faune-guyane.fr), a collaborative tool for noting naturalists’ observations, supported by a data validation committee, enabled 1,210 data items (from 113 observers) about the turtles to be assembled. Sometimes mistakes in taxonomic attribution slip in among the 200 to 300 data items put annually into the database, which can skew the fauna tracking, complicate the trend analysis or necessitate a case-by-case validation. The distinction between the 17 turtle species relies, however, on a restricted number of very selective criteria. In this key to the land, freshwater and saltwater turtles of Guyana, we illustrate several features that enable reliable identification of the adults and the new-born. The objective of this article is to offer the naturalist community and managers a tool that will make it possible to reduce identification errors in order to support the initiatives for tracking the turtle populations.
Dewynter M., Le Pape T., Remérand E. &Frétey T. (2019) Identification of the land, freshwater and saltwater turtles of Guyana. Fondation Biotope notebook 26: 1-33
Pour télécharger le cahier de la fondation 25 (511 downloads)
For several years, a small group of divers whose passion is saltwater fish has made forty or so dives a year along the French Mediterranean coast. The objective is to make an inventory of the species diversity and to draw up lists, as complete as possible, of the fish that they detect by direct observation, by day and by night, in a maximum of different habitats. This summary presents the most interesting data gathered in 2016.
Menut T., Bérenger L., Prat M., & Rufray X. (2019) 2016: Report on a year of underwater ichthyological inventories in the French Mediterranean, Fondation Biotope notebook 25: 1- 47 + appendix.
During a project to increase knowledge about the Mantises of Gabon, existing data was assembled (unpublished collection data, field collections, and a revision of the first publication from 1973). The diversity of the habitats in Gabon enables a fairly representative picture of the environments in the Congo basin to be drawn. And so this synthesis on the Mantises, financed partly by Biotope’s Foundation for Biodiversity, the Germain Cousin grant from the French Entomological Society, the Science Faculty of Rouen and self-finance from the author’s company, will provide a useful support in the various countries neighbouring Gabon.
Moulin N. (2018) Commented list and illustrated catalogue of the Mantodea of Gabon. Fondation Biotope notebook 24 : 2- 60.
Three naturalist divers carried out a 6-day mission on the Croatian island of Krk, in the northern Adriatic. The purpose was to make an inventory of the ichtyological diversity in the periphery of this island and several islets nearby and to compare the settlements with those that are known on the French Mediterranean coasts.
Menut T., Berenger L, Rufray X. (2017) – Inventaire_ichtyologique_en_Croatie_ile_de_Krk – Les cahiers de la fondation biotope 23 : 1-45
This article reports the results obtained during a botanical session organized from June 28 to July 8, 2017, within the National Park of the “Haut-Atlas Oriental” (Kingdom of Morocco). The purpose of this session, funded by MAVA Foundation (IPAMed project), was to contribute to the improvement of knowledge about the endemic flora of this region. The mission came about through a partnership between the IUCN Mediterranean Cooperation Center (IUCN Med) and the Biotope Foundation, which has mobilized four botanists on the field. A scientist from the Global Diversity Foundation and a student from the University of Marrakech also took part in this field session with the aim of sharing knowledge.
Bouchet M.-A., Charrier M., Pichillou T., Fekrani Y., Zine H., Babahmad R. A., Dewynter M. & Cambou J. (2018) Aperçu de la flore rare, menacée et endémique du Haut-Atlas oriental, Maroc. Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 22 : 1-43 + annexes.
: Although it’s located less than twenty kilometres from the centre of the capital, Libreville, the marine area between Cap Santa Clara and Cap Esterias had been the subject of only limited scientific work, essentially focused on the sea-turtles, symbolic of Gabon’s efforts towards the conservation of its marine environment. No real inventory of the fauna unique to the tidal flats and the rocky shores had been undertaken and it was clear that an exploration mission was essential, the more so given the probability of discovering new species for Gabon and indeed, perhaps, for science.
So it was that the team of 6 prospectors, made up of naturalist-divers, two of whom were distinguished scientists, had the opportunity of drawing up an inventory of all the species of fish visible under the water (the object of this report), but also of a certain number of marine invertebrates, many groups of which are still relatively unknown. For those invertebrates, a study, inevitably longer since it requires collaboration by many scientists throughout the world, may form the subject of a second document at a later date, in addition to publications in specialised reviews for the description of several new species among the decapod crustaceans (3 taxons) and the cnidarians (between 2 and 4 taxons).
Menut T., Bérenger L., Wirtz P., Prat M., Roquefort C., Ducrocq M., & Louisy P. (2018) Submarine naturalist exploration of the rocky shores from Cap Santa Clara to Cap Esterias, Estuaire Province, Gabon: the saltwater fish. Fondation Biotope notebook 21: 1- 51 + appendices.
The Caravelle Rock is a small, isolated island of Martinique, bare of any vegetation, with a surface area of 3,200 m² and a summit which peaks at 29 m. Battered by the waves, the isle is found 3 km off the coast of the Caravelle peninsula. Observation through binoculars of this rock, entirely covered with guano and with frigatebirds constantly circling above, has intrigued ornithologists for a long time. In June 2018, during the frigatebirds’ breeding season, the Fondation Biotope offered the Martinique DEAL (the State environment, development and housing service) the organisation of a short mission aimed at drawing up an inventory of the avifauna visiting and living on the island and determining the island’s status for seabirds.
Dewynter M. & Tzélépoglou T. (2018) The Caravelle Rock in Martinique: an important resting-place for sea birds and a nesting site for the bridled tern (Onychoprion anaethetus). Fondation Biotope notebook 20: 1- 13
The white-tailed tropicbird is a very elegant sea bird of the Phaethontidae family, of which it is the smallest representative. The tropicbirds are to be found throughout the tropics. There are three species, all breeders in the French overseas territories: the red-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon rubricauda), the red-billed tropic bird (Phaethon aethereus) and the white-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus); the two latter species reproduce in Martinique. The recent discovery of two nesting sites of white-tailed tropicbirds on the Martiniquan cliffs and the analysis of the observations noted in the Faune-Martinique participatory database show that the species is endangered in Martinique.
This beautifully illustrated article gives an overview of the knowledge acquired during the last decade about the “paille-en-queue”, as it’s called in the French isles. The article provides new information about its distribution and nesting in Martinique and underlines the importance of preserving the integrity and the peace of the great coastal cliffs for the conservation of this splendid pelagic bird.
Tzélépoglou T., Conde B., Lemoine V. & Dewynter M. (2018) Distribution and conservation of the white-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus catesbyi) in Martinique. Fondation Biotope notebook 19: 1-12: 1-50
Cet article, richement illustré, dresse le bilan des connaissances acquises cette dernière décennie sur le “Petit Paille-en-queue”. L’article apporte des éléments nouveaux sur sa répartition et sa nidification en Martinique et souligne l’importance de préserver l’intégrité et la tranquillité des grandes falaises côtières pour la conservation de ce splendide oiseau pélagique.
Tzélépoglou T., Conde B., Lemoine V. & Dewynter M. (2018) Répartition et conservation du Phaéton à bec jaune (Phaethon lepturus catesbyi) en Martinique. Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 19 : 1- 12.: 1- 50
A multidisciplinary naturalist mission was organized by Biotope, from 07 to 12 October 2017, in the western sector of the Birougou Mountains Ramsar site (Ngounié Province). The purpose was to collect preliminary naturalistic data (Amphibians, Reptiles, Fishes, Birds and Mammals) in order to complete the knowledge on this very little prospected region. The Biotope Foundation for Biodiversity took part in this mission together with the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (Brussels), which also collected data in this region, to present an up-to-date taxonomic list of known Amphibians and Reptiles from the Birougou Mountains Ramsar site, as well as an illustrated catalog of species observed in October 2017.
Dewynter M., Frétey T., Jongsma G. F. M., Bamba-Kaya A. & Pauwels O. S. G. (2018) L’herpétofaune du site Ramsar des Monts Birougou (Gabon) : catalogue illustré des espèces. Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 18 : 1- 50
A multidisciplinary naturalist exploration mission was conducted by Fondation Biotope from 26 February to 7 March 2017 in the Koumouna-Bouali massif, southwest of the city of Fougamou (Gabon, Ngounié Province). The objective was to assess the site’s accessibility and collect preliminary naturalist data (mainly amphibians, reptiles and fish) in order to assess the feasibility and interest of organising a campaign of scientific missions dedicated to studying the biodiversity of the mountainous massif. In this report, we present the initial data on fish. We have included a few observations made previously by one of our team (L. Chirio) in a region neighbouring the massif. The discovery of several new species, some of which are probably endemic to the region, suggests that the Koumouna-Bouali probably represents an important centre of endemism, particularly for Cyprinodontoformes.
Chirio L., Melki F., Dewynter M. & Cordier J. (2018). Premières données ichtyologiques (poissons) sur le massif du Koumou – na-Bouali (Gabon). Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 17 : 1-24.
The Machar multidisciplinary naturalist team wanted to set up an inventorying mission at the Makira Natural Park, where much of the biodiversity remains to be discovered. The mission was backed by Fondation Biotope pour la biodiversité, the University of Antananarivo and the site manager, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). A prospection authorisation was obtained from the General Directorate of Forests of the Madagascar Ministry of the Environment, Ecology and Forests. From 16 to 30 January 2017, part of the forest massif of the Makira Natural Park, northeast of the city of Maroantsetra (Tamatave Province) was explored. The main objective of this mission was to evaluate the accessibility of the site and collect naturalist data, particularly regarding the chiroptera group and the flora (Orchidaceae epiphytes). Other species were identified during prospections (birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals) using rope access techniques to access the canopy. This first inventory will make it possible to organise a future campaign of scientific missions dedicated to the study of biodiversity in this sector of the forest massif. An acoustic dimension was also added with the recording of ultrasonic emissions of Chiroptera that were caught and released, as well as the songs of some birds. The collected data will enrich free sound libraries. This report primarily presents the data collected on the Chiroptera (bats)..
Giraudet P., Lemarchand C. & Bidat M. (2018). Contribution à la connaissance des chiroptères du Parc Naturel de Makira (Madagascar). Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 16 : 1- 25.
The only protected area in the Zambezia province, the Gilé National Reserve in Mozambique is home to one of the last wild areas still existing in the province as well as to several species threatened with extinction. It is one of the four protected areas located in the Eastern Miombo Woodland ecoregion. This type of landscape called “Miombo forest” covers a large part of the central-south of Africa from Angola to Mozambique and from Tanzania to Zimbabwe. Though poorly known to the general public, it is one of the largest intact dry forests in the world. In order to deepen biodiversity knowledge in the Gilé national reserve, a preliminary inventory of orchids and birds was taken in January 2011 by a team from the reserve assisted by four biologists from Biotope through a voluntary partnership agreement with the Fondation IGF2 that co-manages the reserve and its periphery with the Mozambique Ministry of Tourism (MITUR) in a self-funded rehabilitation project backed by the Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM).
Melki F. (2018) Catalogue des orchidées de la réserve de Gilé (Mozambique). Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 15 :1–38.
This article reports the results obtained during a botany session held from 2 to 9 April 2016. It was organised by five naturalists, including two botanists from the Conservatoire Botanique National, two amateur botanists from Nantes and a naturalist from the Biotope research office. The aim was to discover the island’s flora and vegetation but also to identify the various levels of endemism. Of the 1 569 known taxa on the island, 285 were identified during this session, approximately 18% of the known flora. The species were identified using Flora Europaea (Tutin1964-80) and Carlström (1987) even though the Dodecanese are the only part of Europe not covered by Flora Europaea. The nomenclature of the taxa follows that of the Pan European Species Infrastructure (PESI, Http://www.eunomen. eu/portal/index.php).
Bouchet M. A. (2017) La flore de l’île de Rhodes : une influence anatolienne très marquée. Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 14 :1-28.
Habenaria paxamorque, a new graminiform-leaved species, is described from coastal savannas of French Guiana. Herbarium specimens also attest its presence in Northern Brazil (Marajó island, Pará) and Southern Suriname (Sipaliwini). It differs from other similar species most prominently by its reduced anterior petal lobes, short spur, and subequal lip lobes, the lateral ones diverging at ca. 45°. Molecular phylogenetic analyses confirm that it is not related to any known morphologically similar species. In French Guiana its status is assessed as Critically Endangered (CR) on the basis of the IUCN evaluation methodology.
Léotard G., Galliffet H., Tostain O., Dewynter M. & Batista J. A. N. (2017) Habenaria paxamorque (Orchidaceae), a new endangered graminiform species from French Guiana, Suriname and Northern Brazil. Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 13: 1–16.
Guyana is home to 121 species of anuran amphibians, of which one-third belong to the family of Hylidae (41 species). The Hylidae present in Guyana are divided into five sub-families: Pseudinae (1 species), Dendropsophinae (9 species), Lophyohylinae (9 species), Scinaxinae (10 species) and Cophomantinae (12 species) (Duellman et al. 2016). The Scinaxinae sub-family includes four neotropical genera of which two, Scinax and Sphaenorhynchus, are present in Guyana. The Scinax genus includes nine species of frogs, one of which is considered threatened on the regional scale (Scinax jolyi; NT) while the Sphaenorhynchus is represented only by S. lacteus, a species that is also threatened (IN) at the regional scale. It is difficult to distinguish between certain species of the Scinax genus: therefore, we present an illustrated key containing the morphological and colouring criteria for the identification of these species in Guyana. The objective of this article is to provide the naturalist community and biodiversity managers a tool to reduce identification errors and support monitoring initiatives of threatened or little-known populations of amphibians.
Dewynter M., Marty C., Courtois A. E., Blanc M. & Fouquet A. (2017) L’identification des rainettes des genres Scinax et Sphaenorhynchus (Hylidae : Scinaxinae) en Guyane. Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 12 : 1–16.
A multidisciplinary naturalist mission was organised by Fondation Biotope pour la Biodiversité from 26 February to 7 March 2017 in the Koumouna- Bouali massif, southwest of the city of Fougamou (Gabon, Ngounié Province). The objective was to assess the site’s accessibility and collect preliminary naturalist data (amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds and mammals) in order to organise a campaign of scientific missions dedicated to studying the biodiversity of the mountainous massif. In this report, we present the initial data on amphibians and reptiles. The discovery of a new, remarkable species of a variegated toad of the Werneria genus, probably endemic to the massif, confirms that Koumouna-Bouali is a centre of endemism whose importance remains to be determined.
Dewynter M., Chirio L. , Melki F., Cordier J. & Frétey T. (2017) Premières données herpétologiques (Amphibiens et Reptiles) sur le mont Koumouna-Bouali (Gabon). Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 11 :1- 42.
This short mission was held from 10 to 14 June 2014. The main objective was to search for the sites of various orchids that were the subject of publications in 2002, 2004 and 2009 (Kohlmüller et al. 2002; Kohlmüller et al. 2002; Kohlmüller et al. 2004; Birks 2009) in order to assess their state of conservation. Some of these publications reported a significant depletion of the orchids at several sites. China is extremely rich in orchids with 1 500 species, of which almost 500 are endemic. However, the state of conservation of many species appears problematic given their significantly shrinking environment and obvious pressure from harvest. This work is a first step in a Fondation Biotope program in favour of conserving Chinese orchids.
Melki, F. & Rufray X. (2017) Note sur la conservation des orchidées des régions de Lijiang et de Shangri-La, nord-ouest du Yunnan (Chine). Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 10 :1–23
Guyana is home to 121 species of anuran amphibians of which one-third belong to the family of Hylidae (41 species). The Hylidae present in Guyana are divided into five sub-families: Pseudinae (1 species), Dendropsophinae (9 species), Lophyohylinae (9 species), Scinaxinae (10 species) and Cophomantinae (12 species) (Duellman et al. 2016). The Cophomantinae sub-family includes six neotropical genera of which just one, Hypsiboas, is present in Guyana. This genus includes 12 species of frogs, one of which is considered threatened at the regional scale: Hypsiboas raniceps. It is difficult to distinguish between certain species of the genus: therefore, we present an illustrated key containing the morphological and colouring criteria for the identification of these species in Guyana. The objective of this article is to provide the naturalist community and biodiversity managers a tool to reduce identification errors and support monitoring initiatives of threatened or little-known populations of amphibians.
Dewynter M., Marty C., Courtois E., Blanc M. & Fouquet A. (2017) L’identification des rainettes du genre Hypsiboas (Hylidae : Cophomantinae) en Guyane. Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 9 : 1–20.
This article reports the results obtained during of a botany session held from 4 to 11 April 2015, primarily in the eastern half of the island of Crete, a crossroads between three continents as described Rikli & Ruebel (1923). It was organised by five naturalists, including two botanists from the Conservatoire Botanique National, two amateur botanists from Nantes and a naturalist from the Biotope research office. This session aimed to discover the Aegean flora and vegetation, in particular species endemic to the island but also the vicariance between the west and east of the Mediterranean basin. The species were identified using the Flora Europaea (Tutin 1964-80) and Flowers of Crete (Fielding & Turland 2005).
Bouchet M. A. (2016). Aperçu de la flore crétoise au mois d’avril. Les cahiers de la fondation 8 :1-18.
Guyana is home to 121 species of anuran amphibians of which one-third belong to the family of Hylidae (41 species). Guyanese Hylidae are divided into five sub-families: Pseudinae (1 species), Dendropsophinae (9 species), Lophyohylinae (9 species), Scinaxinae (10 species) and Cophomantinae (12 species) (Duellman et al. 2016). The Lophyohylinae sub-family includes 12 neotropical genera (Frost 2016) of which two, Osteocephalus and Trachycephalus, are present in Guyana. None of the nine species of Lophyohylinae is considered threatened at the regional scale. Here we present an illustrated key containing essential morphological criteria for the identification of these species. It is difficult to distinguish between certain species of these genera and several criteria often need to be considered to reach a solid identification. The objective of this article is to provide the naturalist community and managers a tool to reduce identification errors in order to support monitoring initiatives of populations of amphibians and the growth of participatory science.
Dewynter M., Marty C., Courtois E. A., Blanc M., Gaucher P., Martinez Q. & Fouquet A. (2016) L’identification des rainettes des genres Osteocephalus et Trachycephalus (Hylidae : Lophyohylinae) en Guyane. Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 7 : 1–16.
Guyana is home to 123 species of anuran amphibians (source http://www.faune-guyane.fr) of which one-third belong to the family of Hylidae (41 species). Guyanese Hylidae are divided into five sub-families: Pseudinae (1 species), Dendropsophinae (9 species), Lophyohylinae (9 species), Scinaxinae (10 species) and Cophomantinae (12 species) (Duellman et al. 2016). The Dendropsophinae sub-family includes six neotropical genera of which just one, Dendropsophus, is present in Guyana. This genus includes nine species of small tree frogs, some of which are considered threatened at the regional scale: Two species, Dendropsophus minusculus and D. Leali, are poorly known and are classified in the DD category (insufficient data) of the IUCN, and two coastal species, Dendropsophus gaucheri and D. walfordi, are respectively considered EN (in danger) and NT (near threatened). It is difficult to distinguish between certain species of this genus and several criteria often need to be considered to reach a reliable identification. Here, we present an illustrated key containing essential morphological and colouring criteria for the identification of these species in Guyana. The objective of this article is to provide a tool to reduce identification errors and support monitoring initiatives of threatened or little-known populations of amphibians.
Dewynter M., Marty C., Courtois E., Blanc M. & Fouquet A. (2016) L’identification des rainettes du genre Dendropsophus (Hylidae : Dendropsophinae) en Guyane. Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 6 : 1–15.
After three naturalist stays on Rodrigues in 2009, 2011 and 2012, the RACINE association (TF) undertook a literature review to create an updated list of the herpetofauna of the Island of Rodrigues. Including species introduced more or less recently and extinct species, the list of the reptiles of Rodrigues contains 25 species. In 2016, 13 terrestrial species, all introduced (except perhaps Lepidodactylus lugubris whose geographical origin is not firmly established and which could be indigenous), were observed on Rodrigues. Three sea turtles and a sea snake round out the inventory of the island. Until now, no amphibian species has been reported on Rodrigues. At the end of the first trip, TF had begun a preliminary identification key for the reptiles of Rodrigues. In the absence of an exhaustive iconography, this key remained unfinished. In 2016, Fondation Biotope pour la Biodiversité (MD) proposed illustrating and formatting this key in order to enable Rodrigues residents and tourists to become more familiar with the island’s fauna. As a general rule, fauna and flora recognition tools are lacking in the Indian Ocean and we hope to contribute to the conservation of herpetofauna of each island by proposing a series of illustrated identification keys with free access.
Frétey T. & Dewynter M. (2016). Les Reptiles de Rodrigues : clé d’identification illustrée. Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope 5 : 1–23.
In early October 2015, the Guyana Wild Fish Association conducted a participatory inventory on the Noussiri River, a tributary of the Oyapock River, on the border between French Guyana and Brazil. Seventy species of fish were inventoried, of which 56 species were photographed in an aquarium or under water. One species is potentially new to science: Parotocinclus sp. Sub-aquatic observations allowed the collection and updating of new data on the ecology or distribution of the species.
Quartarollo G. & Baglan A. (2016). Les poissons de la Noussiri : inventaire de l’ichtyofaune d’un affluent de l’Oyapock (Guyane française). Les cahiers de la fondation 4 :1–21.
On the advice of the ichtyologist, Peter Wirtz, whom the two authors had met a year earlier in Madeira, six scuba divers decided to carry out a 13-day mission inventorying coastal fish on Santiago Island (Cape Verde Archipelago) in October 2015. They were joined by two ichtyologists, Dr Peter Wirtz and Patrick Louisy. This group (including a few spouses or children on occasion) noted and photographed all possible fish observations at each dive or snorkelling outing. The results and the methodological detail of this mission are described below.
Menut T. & Bérenger L. (2016). Inventaire ichtyologique au Cap-Vert (île de Santiago). Les cahiers de la fondation 3 :1- 42.
Guyana is home to four species of Alligatoridae: the black caiman, the spectacled caiman, the red caiman and grey caiman. They are divided into three genera: Melanosuchus (black caiman), Caiman (spectacled caiman) and Paleosuchus (red caiman and grey caiman).
The launch of the Faune-Guyane site (http://www.faune-guyane.fr), a collaborative tool for entering naturalist observations supported by a data validation committee, highlighted great confusion in the identification of caimans. These frequent taxonomic assignment errors can distort fauna monitoring, complicate trend analysis and require virtually case-by-case validation.
However, the four species in Guyana can be identified on a limited number of very discriminating criteria. In this Guyana caimans key, we illustrate several traits that allow reliable identification: These criteria are often directly visible at a distance and do not require handling caimans. A slow approach, wearing a headlamp, and careful observation, often allow caiman identification based only on the criteria visible on the head. So, the objective of this article is to provide the naturalist community and managers a tool to reduce identification errors in order to support monitoring of caiman populations. Caimans remain game of choice in Guyana and their populations suffer from the degradation of aquatic habitats.