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Amphibian and reptile species occurrences in the Tana River Basin, Kenya, digitized from preserved specimens at the National Museums of Kenya

Latest version published by National Museums of Kenya on Sep 17, 2019 National Museums of Kenya

The dataset contains Tana River Basin species occurrence records for amphibians and reptiles digitized from the herpetological collection at the National Museums of Kenya. Label data was transcribed and collection localities were georeferenced using GeoLocate if not provided on the specimen labels. The taxonomy follows nomenclature standards by Channing & Howell (2006) and Spawls et al. (2018). The dataset comprises 58 amphibian species in 23 genera and 15 families which is about 53 percent of all known amphibians species in Kenya. With regard to reptiles, there are 136 species in 67 genera and 16 families which is about 45 percent of all known reptile species in Kenya. Among the interesting taxa are Tana River Basin endemics such as Hyperolius cystocandicans, Boulengerula denhardti, Boulengerula spawlsi, Schistometopum gregori, Atheris desaixi, Kinyongia excubitor, Trioceros schubotzi, Thrasops schmidti, Phrynobatrachus irangi, and the rare taxa such as Phrynobatrachus irangi. Tana River Basin ecosystem is therefore a critical habitat for the conservation of endemic taxa.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 1,356 records.

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 1,356 records in English (48 KB) - Update frequency: unknown
Metadata as an EML file download in English (15 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (12 KB)


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Malonza P (2019): Amphibian and reptile species occurrences in the Tana River Basin, Kenya, digitized from preserved specimens at the National Museums of Kenya. v1.2. National Museums of Kenya. Dataset/Occurrence.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is National Museums of Kenya. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC-BY-NC) 4.0 License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 7233a2ba-b5ef-44e2-b13c-983f504447bc.  National Museums of Kenya publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by GBIF Kenya.


Amphibians; reptiles; species occurrence; museum specimen; Tana River Basin; Kenya; Specimen


Who created the resource:

Patrick Malonza
Head, Herpetology Section
National Museums of Kenya Museum Hill Road 40658 - 00100 Nairobi Nairobi KE

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Patrick Malonza
Head, Herpetology Section
National Museums of Kenya Museum Hill Road 40658 - 00100 Nairobi Nairobi KE

Who filled in the metadata:

Siro Masinde
Principal Research Scientist
National Museums of Kenya P. O. Box 40658 00100 Nairobi Nairobi KE +254 3742161
Patrick Malonza
Head, Herpetology Section
National Museums of Kenya Museum Hill Road 40658 - 00100 Nairobi Nairobi KE

Who else was associated with the resource:

Esther Mwangi
Research Scientist
National Museums of Kenya Museum Hill Road 40658 - 00100 Nairobi Nairobi KE
Lawrence Monda
ICT Manager
National Museums of Kenya Box 40658 00100 Nairobi Nairobi KE

Geographic Coverage

Tana River Basin, south eastern Kenya

Bounding Coordinates South West [-2.011, 38.429], North East [0.015, 40.25]

Taxonomic Coverage


Class  Amphibia (Amphibians),  Reptilia (Reptiles)

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 1912-01-01 / 2019-01-01

Project Data

No Description available

Title Developing a Freshwater Biodiversity Information System for the Tana River Basin, Kenya, for Improved Ecosystem Management and Development Planning.
Identifier 60704 JRS-NMK
Funding JRS Biodiversity Foundation -
Study Area Description Tana River Basin is located in south eastern Kenya approximately between latitudes 0°0’53” and 2°0’41’’ South, and longitudes 38°25’43” and 40°15’ East, covering an area of about 95,000 km2 (Baker et al 2015). It is bordered by the Ewaso Ng’iro North Catchment to the north, the Rift Valley to the west, Athi Basin to the south and Somalia and the Indian Ocean to the east. The Tana River winds from its headwaters in the forests of Mount Kenya and the Nyandarua Ranges including the Aberdares and rapidly descends down the mountain slopes where there is intensive agriculture, then through the arid and semi-arid areas and finally terminates in a large delta at the Indian Ocean. The basin is generally divided into three distinct ecosystems that are recognized based on their elevation, climate and vegetation cover (Van Beukering and De Moel, 2015). The upper catchment above 1000 m a.s.l. consists of forested regions with high relief and higher rainfall. The middle catchment between 300-1000 m is flatter, drier and semi-arid to arid with rangelands that support pastoralism. The lower catchment below 300 m a.s.l. is semi-arid to moist at the coast with dry coastal forests and mangroves swamps and forms a delta with a large floodplain before discharging into the Indian Ocean.
Design Description Label data from the specimen collection at the Herpetology Section, National Museums of Kenya were digitized. Prefix A for amphibian, S – Snakes, L-Lizards, CR- Crocodile, C – Chelonian

The personnel involved in the project:

Patrick Malonza
Joash Nyamache
Principal Investigator
Siro Masinde
Peris Kamau
Kevin Odhiambo
Dorothy Atieno
Esther Mwangi
Lawrence Monda

Sampling Methods

Field collection of specimens.

Study Extent Tana River basin.
Quality Control Use of updated taxonomic names following zoological nomenclature standards (Channing & Howell, 2006; Spawls et al. 2018).

Method step description:

  1. Standard field herpetological species sampling methods and museum collection management techniques, cataloguing and digitization.

Bibliographic Citations

  1. Baker, T.; Kiptala, J.; Olaka, L.; Oates, N.; Hussain, A.; McCartney, M. 2015. Baseline review and ecosystem services assessment of the Tana River Basin, Kenya. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute (IWMI). 107p. (IWMI Working Paper 165).
  2. Channing, A. and K.M. Howell, 2006. Amphibians of East Africa. Ithaca and Frankfurt: Cornell University Press and Chimaira.
  3. Malonza, P.K., B.A. Bwong &` V. Muchai. 2011. Kitobo Forest of Kenya, a unique hotspot of herpetofaunal diversity. Acta Herpetologica. 6: 149–160. DOI:
  4. Spawls, S., K. Howell, H. Hinkel & M. Menegon 2018: Field guide to East African reptiles. 2nd Edition. 624pp. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London.
  5. Van Beukering, P; De Moel, H. (eds) (2015). The Economics of Ecosystem Services of the Tana River Basin. Available at

Additional Metadata

Purpose The dataset was created as a contribution towards amphibian and reptile species occurrences records for the Tana River Basin Biodiversity Information System portal.
Alternative Identifiers 7233a2ba-b5ef-44e2-b13c-983f504447bc