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Las Briofitas. Bolivia Ecologica 59
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Bryophytes of the Chiquitano

The Chiquitano is located in the central region of the eastern Bolivian lowlands (Department of Santa Cruz). This ecoregions is bordered on the west and north by the Amazon, and to the south by the Chaco. Chiquitano vegetation is thought to represent an “endemic” type of forest known only for Bolivia (but probably extending into western Brazil). Approximately 9% (101,769 km2) of the land surface of Bolivia is comprised of Chiquitano dry forest. Topographically the Chiquitano is represented by plains, hills, and low mountains (including Precambian shield iselbergs). Elevation ranges from 100 to 1400 meters. The annual average temperatures range from 21-28º C, with a minimum of 3º C due to the southerly winds (surazos). Annual average precipitation, locally variable, ranges from 600-2300, with approximately 3-8 dry months.

The vegetation is characterized by semi-deciduous (in the north) to deciduous (in the south) dry open or closed forest (15-25 m). Vascular plant diversity is presently estimated at 2506 species, distributed among 900 genera and 177 families (Catari 2007). Per unit area, the Chiquitano is thought to be one of the highest diversities for dry forest in the world (Killeen et al. 2006). Important vascular plant families (all woody) include: Anacardiaceae, Bignoniaceae, Leguminosae, Meliaceae, Phytolaccaceae and Rutaceae. Tree diversity is 200-400 species. Important tree species include: Astronium urundeuva, Cereus dayamii, Cordia alliodora, Schinopsis brasiliensis, Tabebula spp., Terminalia argentea; diverse genera include Bauhinia, Eugenia, Ocotea and Solanum. Epiphyte diversity is estimated at more than 50 species, represented mainly by the Bromeliaceae and Orchidaceae. Apparently the Chiquitano exhibits the lowest level of endemism among the major Bolivian ecoregions. Further literature on the vegetation and vascular plants of the Chiquitano can be found in Killeen and Schulenberg (1998) and Ibisch et al. (2002).


Map of the Chiquitano. Courtesy of FAN (Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza), Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.

Bryophyte Diversity

A total of 104 species distributed among 65 genera and 39 families of bryophytes are presently recorded for the Chiquitano. The number of hepatics is 18 species, 17 genera and 11 families. The mosses are represented by 86 species, 48 genera and 28 families. Only two moss families are notably diverse, both with nine species, the Calymperaceae and Fissidentaceae. Bryophytes of the Chiquitano ecoregion, like that of the Chaco, require further field work. The Chiquitano bryophyte diversity, and even composition, may equal or even exceed the Amazon, and probably twice the number of species expected from the Chaco. There may be about 40-50 species of hepatics, and for mosses more than 100 species.

The first significant moss collections from the Chiquitano region were made by Theodor Herzog in May of 1907 (Herzog 1909[1910]: 87-90; 1910: 348). Herzog collected in the vicinity of Santiago de Chiquitos, from the surrounding plans to low mountains (ca. 900 meters). In the following list of mosses Herzog collections are denoted with an asterisk (*) for species not represented by material contained at any institution in Bolivia. Some of the original species listed by Herzog are excluded here (some names are invalid, others are doubtful or the taxonomic status is unknown). The Herzog collections are at Herbarium Haussknecht, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany (JE).

This present list is based, in large part, on fieldwork conducted by Ninel Sanjines 29 Sep – 11 Oct 2006. Additional collections have been made previously by Alfredo Fuentes and to a lesser extent by Steve Churchill.

Selected Literature

Catari, J.C. 2007. Catálogo preliminar de la Flora de la Chiquitana. Pages 96-96. V Congreso Nacional de Biologia. 28-30 Mar 2007. Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. [Abstract]

Herzog, T. 1909[1910]. Beiträge zur Laubmoosflora von Bolivia. Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 26: 45-102.

Herzog, T. 1910. Weitere Beträge zur Laubmoosflora von Bolivia. Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 27: 348-358.

Killeen, T.J. & T.S. Schulenberg (eds.). 1998. A biological assessment of Parque Nacional Noel Kempff Mercado, Bolivia. RAP Working Papers 10:1-372. [Only the southern portion of the park contains Chiquitano forest; in English and Spanish. No bryophytes listed.]

Killeen, T.J., E. Chavez, M. Peña-Claros, A. Toledo, L. Arroyo, J. Caballero, L. Correa, R. Guillén, R. Quevedo, M. Saldias, L. Soria, Y. Uslar, I. Vargas & M. Steininger. 2006. The Chiquitano dry forest, the transition between humid and dry forest in eastern lowland Bolivia. Pages 213-233. In: R.T. Pennington, G.P. Lewis and J.A. Ratter (eds.). Neotropical Savannas and Seasonally Dry Forest. CRC Press. Boca Raton, U.S.A.

Ibisch, P.L., K. Columba & S. Reichle. 2002. Plan de Conservación Sostenible para el Bosque Seco Chiquitano, Cerrado y Pantanal Boliviano. Editorial FAN, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. [Contains sections on vegetation and checklist of the vascular plants, probably incomplete.]

Checklist of the Chiquitano


Riccardia metzgeriiformis (Steph.) Schiffn.

Calypogeia peruviana Nees

Cephaloziopsis intertexta (Gottsche) R.M. Schust.

Fossombronia sp. ?

Frullania ericoides (Nees ex Mart.) Mont.

Acanthocoleus cf. aberrans (Lindenb. & Gottsche) Kruijt
Cheilolejeunea clausa (Nees & Mont.) Steph.
Lejeunea sp.
Mastigolejeunea auriculata (Wilson & Hook.) Schiff.

Kurzia capillaris (Sw.) Grolle
Telaranea nematodes (Austin) M. Howe
Zoopsidella cynosurandra (Spruce ex Steph.) R.M. Schust.

Dumortiera hirsuta (Sw.) Nees
Marchantia chenopoda L.

Symphyogyna aspera Steph.
Symphyogyna circinata Nees & Mont.

Plagiochila spp.


Philonotis hastata (Duby) Wijk & Margad.
Philonotis sphaerocarpa (Hedw.) Brid.
Philonotis uncinata (Schwägr.) Brid.

* Zelometeorium recurvifolium (Hornsch.) Manuel

Brachymenium klotzschii (Schwägr.) Paris
Brachymenium systylium (Müll. Hal.) A. Jaeger
Bryum coronatum Schwägr.
Bryum leptocladon Sull.
Bryum limbatum Müll. Hal.
* Rhodobryum beyrichianum (Hornsch.) Müll. Hal.

Calymperes afzelii Sw.
Calymperes pallidum Mitt.
Syrrhopodon incompletus Schwägr. var. incompletes
* Syrrhopodon gardneri (Hook.) Schwägr.
* Syrrhopodon gaudichaudii Mont.
* Syrrhopodon leprieurii Mont.
Syrrhopodon ligulatus Mont.
Syrrhopodon prolifer Schwägr. var. prolifer
Syrrhopodon prolifer Schwägr. var. scaber (Mitt.) W.D. Reese
* Syrrhopodon tortilis Hampe

Campylopus savannarum (Müll. Hal.) Mitt.
Campylopus cf. tortilipilus J.-P. Frahm
Dicranella hilariana (Mont.) Mitt.
Holomitrium olfersianum Hornsch.
Leucoloma tortellum (Mitt.) A. Jaeger

* Entodon beyrichii (Schwägr.) Müll. Hal.
Erythrodontium longisetum (Hook.) Paris
Erythrodontium squarrosum (Hampe) Paris

* Erpodium coronatum (Hook. f. & Wilson) Mitt.

Fabronia ciliaris var. polycarpa (Hook.) W.R. Buck
Fabronia ciliaris var. wrightii (Sull.) W.R. Buck
Fabronia jamesonii Taylor
Fabronia macroblepharioides Broth.

Fissidens angustifolius Sull.
Fissidens asplenioides Hedw.
Fissidens crispus Mont.
Fissidens flaccidus Mitt.
Fissidens pallidinervis Mitt. [F. minutus Thwaites & Mitt.]
* Fissidens termitarum (Herzog) Pursell
Fissidens serratus Müll. Hal. var. serratus
Fissidens wallisii Müll. Hal.
Fissidens zollingeri Mont.

* Helicophyllum torquatum (Hook.) Brid.

Chryso-hypnum diminutivum (Hampe) W.R. Buck
Isopterygium tenerum (Sw.) Mitt.
Vesicularia vesicularis (Schwägr.) Broth.

* Haplocladium microphyllum (Hedw.) Broth.

Leucobryum crispum Müll. Hal.
* Leucobryum giganteum Müll. Hal.
Leucobryum subobtusifolium (Broth.) B.H. Allen
Ochrobryum gardneri (Müll. Hal.) Mitt.
* Ochrobryum subulatum Hampe

Pterogoniadelphus assimilis (Müll. Hal.) Ochyra & Zijlstra

* Leucomium strumosum (Hornsch.) Mitt.

Macromitrium punctatum (Hook. & Grev.) Brid.
Macromitrium stellulatum (Hornsch.) Brid.
Schlotheimia cf. jamesonii (Arn.) Brid.

* Meteorium nigrescens (Sw. ex Hedw.) Dozy & Molk.

* Helicodontium capillare (Hedw.) A. Jaeger

* Neckeropsis undulata (Hedw.) Reichardt

Octoblepharum albidum Hedw.
Octoblepharum cocuiense Mitt.
Octoblepharum pulvinatum (Dozy & Molk.) Mitt.

Callicostella depressa (Hedw.) A. Jaeger
Callicostella merkelii (Hornsch.) A. Jaeger
Callicostella pallida (Hornsch.) ångstr.
Cyclodictyon albicans (Hedw.) Kuntze
* Thamniopsis langsdorffii (Hook.) W.R. Buck

Barbula indica (Hook.) Spreng. var. indica
Hyophila involuta (Hook.) A. Jaeger
Trichostomum brachydontium Bruch
Trichostomum tenuirostre (Hook. & Taylor) Lindb.
Weissia jamaicensis (Mitt.) Grout

Jaegerina scariosa (Lorentz) Arzeni

* Racopilum tomentosum (Hedw.) Brid.

* Tisserantiella minutissima (Mitt.) R.H. Zander

* Rhaphidostegium chiquitanum Herzog [= Sematophyllum]
Sematophyllum cuspidiferum Mitt.
Sematophyllum subsimplex (Hedw.) Mitt.
* Sematophyllum subpinnatum (Brid.) E. Britton
* Taxithelium planum (Brid.) Mitt.

Sphagnum aff. subsecundum Nees

Entodontopsis leucostega (Brid.) W.R. Buck & Ireland
Eulacophyllum cultelliforme (Sull.) W.R. Buck & Ireland
Stereophyllum radiculosum (Hook.) Mitt.

Pelekium involvens (Hedw.) Touw
* Pelekium scabrosulum (Mitt.) Touw
Pelekium schistocalyx (Müll. Hal.) Touw

Chiloscyphus latifolius (Nees) J.J. Engel & R.M. Schust. [=Lophocolea bidentata (L.) Dumort.]

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