Welcome to the KHA:
The Kansas Herpetofaunal Atlas (KHA) was the inspiration of Joe Collins. The KHA originated in the spring of 1999 as a small project to document the herpetofaunal diversity of the state using emerging web-based technologies. A State Wildlife Grant (USFWS/KDWPT/Sternberg Museum joint venture) in 2003 facilitated enhancements to the site and produced a significant increase in specimen occurrence records. Additional assistance was provided by the Center for North American Herpetology, Kansas Herpetological Society, and the many individual volunteers.
The KHA serves both conservation and education. The occurrence records (some going back to the 1850s), serve as baseline data for future research, assist with conservation needs as they arise, and contribute to increasing public awareness of the amphibians and reptiles in the state.
The KHA contains information on all known occurrences of Kansas' extant amphibians and reptiles. Unique to the site, are the most up-to-date distribution maps of each species known to occur (or potentially occur) in the state. Each species account has sections summarizing the description, distribution, natural history, taxonomy, and an ever-growing list of references. The KHA is a work in progress. It updated daily to ultimately present a complete Kansas Herpetology, an exhaustive baseline for all that is known on the amphibians and reptiles in Kansas to initiate further research.
Users have full access to most records and are encouraged to report new occurrences as they are found. Specific locality data for species currently designated as Endangered (E), Threatened (T), or Species in need of Conservation (SINC) by Kansas statute or KDWPT regulation, is limited to essentially county only. If you need these data, you are encouraged to contact the collection that maintains them and make a request.
There are 102 established species (different kinds) of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas. That total includes 22 frogs ('toads' are frogs), 8 salamanders, 15 lizards (including 3 reproducing introduced exotics), 42 snakes (including one introduced venomous species), and 14 turtles. Only five species occur statewide: American Bullfrog, Gophersnake, North American Racer, Ornate Box Turtle, and Snapping Turtle. The rest have range patterns that are limited by interactions of environmental variables (temperature, precipitation, geology, etc.) that are difficult to tease apart. In general (and especially with respect to amphibians), the herpetofaunal biodiversity increases to the south and east (there are 79 species known from Cherokee County (southeast), while only 32 species have been confirmed from Cheyenne County (northwest).
The KHA represents the work of thousands of individuals that collected and recorded the 60,000+ specimens and observations presented herein. Our current level of understanding with respect to the Kansas herpetofauna is a result of their efforts. And while the distribution and natural history of the Kansas herpetofauna are probably better understood than any comparable sized (and diverse) region on Earth. There is still much to learn, and those of you wishing to contribute to the KHA may do so by donating specimens or adding observations directly.
I hope you find the KHA useful... comments and suggestions are always welcome.
|Travis W. Taggart
Sternberg Museum of Natural History
Fort Hays State University