Las especies amenazadas como hipótesis: problemas y sesgos en su categorización ejemplificados con las serpientes de la Argentina

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Cuadernos de Herpetología 25 (2): 43-54, 2011


Threatened species are those that have a high probability of extinction or are close to this situation to continue direct pressure on them or their habitats. From this definition we analyze problems and biases in the categories of threat of Argentine snakes, showing examples where taxonomic changes (Linnaean shortfall), gaps in knowledge about the distribution of species (Wallacean shortfall), or bio-ecological aspects (Haeckelean shortfall) generate biases in the allocation of its conservation status. We proposed that endangered species should be listed as hypothesis, by analyzing scientifically quantitative and / or qualitative information about its geographic distribution, size and population trend and bio-ecological characteristics that make them vulnerable against anthropogenic effects. As a result, will be reject or not its inclusion as threatened species. Like all hypothetical-deductive schemes can be two types of errors, Type I (rejecting a true null hypothesis) and Type II (failing to reject a false null hypothesis). The type II error is affirm that a species is not threatened when in fact is. This could mean extinction of a species, without taking action of conservation, so it is suggested to use the precautionary principle in doubt. The threat categories of the species should be based on scientific information (verifiable), which belong to biological sciences (ecology, biogeography, biology and systematic), explaining the methodology, definitions, uncertainty and quality of information used. It must be follow certain scientific standards that minimize biases and errors, such as: (1) use suitable analysis and design for population estimates,(2) peer review,(4) consensus among multiples assessors, (5) use of training manuals and formals methods for estimating parameters that allow uncertainties to be represented, and (5) reporting of problems and decisions. It is desirable to minimize the influence of political, social and economic factors on the categorization process; such factors must be considered in conservation efforts of threatened species.

Key words:

Especies amenazadas; categorización; serpientes; Argentina

Received: Jun. 08, 2011 ▪ Revised: Aug. 30, 2011 ▪ Accepted: Aug. 30, 2011

Associate Editor: M. Vaira
Giraudo, A.R.; Arzamendia, V. & Bellini, G. 2011. Las especies amenazadas como hipótesis: problemas y sesgos en su categorización ejemplificados con las serpientes de la Argentina. Cuadernos de Herpetología 25: 43-54.