Two tropical upland forests, Mount Kupe in Cameroon and Bosque Protector Palo Seco in Panama, were compared in terms of herpetofaunal species richness and density of individuals. Based on rarefaction, whereby samples are standardized for abundance, Palo Seco had significantly more species of frogs and lizards. Extrapolations to total local species richness, by fitting the Michaelis–Menten equation to the species accumulation curves and by using Chao's estimator, yielded divergent results: more lizard species on Mount Kupe, and an equal number of frogs at both sites. These disparities can be accounted for by differences in evenness, which was higher in Palo Seco. Frog density was significantly higher on Mount Kupe, snake density significantly higher in Palo Seco, and lizards exhibited no density difference. Overall, the results revealed a less consistent pattern and more moderate differences than what is known from southeast Asian–Central American comparisons. This outcome is discussed in the light of available knowledge, but quantitative data from African forests are too sparse to allow general conclusions.
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Vol. 33 • No. 1