Vertebrate roadkills in a secondary road in Costa Rica

Vertebrate roadkills in a secondary road in Costa Rica


  • Esteban Rojas Chacón



Road ecology, roadkills, secondary road, flat fauna, Costa Rica.


Roads have been one of the most significant anthropological changes in natural landscapes. Their effects are much more visible and strong in animal populations, which suffer from loss of connectivity, home range and habitat, and loss of individuals from roadkills, which is the most visible and easy to measure effect. From May 24 through July 28, 2010, I recorded all roadkills three times a week in a segment of 850 meters of a secondary road, in the Central Valley of Costa Rica. Nine animals were killed when the number of vehicles in the road was lower, compared with three when the number of vehicles increased. This negative correlation (r = –0,545) was unexpected. The most affected taxonomic group was the Bufonidae (Amphibia), with 5 roadkills.


Aresco, M. 2005. The effect of sex-specific terrestrial movements and roads on the sex ratio of freshwater turtles. Biological Conservation 123: 37–44.

Aroyave, M. & C. Gómez. 2006. Impactos de las carreteras sobre la fauna silvestre y sus principales medidas de manejo. Revista EIA 5: 45-57.

Carr, L. & L. Fahrig. 2001. Effect of road traffic on two amphibians species of differing vagility. Conservation Biology 15: 1071-1078.

Bissonette, J. & S. Rosa. 2009. Road Zone Effects in Small-Mammal Communities. Ecology and Society 14: 27.

Clevenger, A., B. Chruszczc & K. Gunsoc. 2002. Spatial patterns and factors influencing small vertebrate fauna road-kill aggregations. Biological Conservation 109: 15–26.

Coffin, A. 2007. From roadkill to road ecology: A review of the ecological effects of roads. Journal of Transport Geography 15: 396–406.

Eigenbrod, F., S. Hecnar & L. Fahrig. 2008. Accessible habitat: an improved measure of the effects of habitat loss and roads on wildlife populations. Landscape Ecology 23:159–168

Fahrig, L. & T. Rytwinski. 2009. Effects of roads on animal abundance: an empirical review and synthesis. Ecology and Society 14: 21.

Forman, R. & L. Alexander. 1998. Roads and their major Ecological effects. The Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 29:207–31.

Forman, R., D. Spearling, J. Bissonette, A. Clevenger, C. Cutshall, V: Dale, L. Fahrig, R. France, C. Goldman, K. Heanue, J. Jones, F. Swanson, T. Turrentine & T. Winter. 2003. Road Ecology: Science and Solutions. Island ,Washington D.C., EEUU.

Gibbs, J. & D. Steen. 2005. Trends in Sex Ratios of turtles in the United States: implications of road mortality. Conservation Biology 19: 552-556.

Knutson, R. M. 1987. Flattened Fauna: A field guide to common animals of roads, streets, and highways. Ten Speed, Berkeley, California, EEUU.

Mc Gregor, R., D. Bender & L. Fahrig. 2008. Do small mammals avoid roads because of the traffic? Journal of Applied Ecology 45: 117–123.

Monge-Nájera, J. 1996. Vertebrate mortality in tropical highways: The Costa Rican case. Vida Silvestre Neotropica 5: 154-156.

Riiters, K. & J. Wickhan. 2003. How far to the nearest road? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 1: 125–129.

Rytwinski, T. & L. Fahrig. 2003. Effect of road density on abundance of white-footed mice. Landscape Ecology 22:1501–1512.

Shine, R., M. Lemaster, M. Wall, T. Langkilde & R. Mason. 2004. Why Did the Snake Cross the Road? Effects of Roads on Movement and Location of Mates by Garter Snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis). Ecology and Society 9: 9.

Silva Matos. DM., CJF. Santos & DR: Chevalier. 2002. Fire and restoration of the largest urban forest of the world in Rio de Janeiro City, Brazil. Urban Ecosystems 6: 151–161.

Steen, D., M. Aresco, S. Beilke, B. Compton, E. Condon, K. Dodd, H. Forrester, J. Gibbons, J. Greene, G. Johnson, T. Langen, M. Oldham, D. Oxier, R. Saumure, F. Schueler, J. Sleeman, L. Smith, J. Tucker & J. Gibbs. 2006. Relative vulnerability of female turtles to road mortality. Animal Conservation 9: 269–273.

Switalsky, T., J. Bissonette, T. De Luca, C. Luce & M. Madej. 2004. Benefits and impacts of road removal. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2: 21–28.



How to Cite

Rojas Chacón, E. (2011). Vertebrate roadkills in a secondary road in Costa Rica. UNED Research Journal, 3(1), 81–84.