Nahua biocultural richness: an ethnoherpetological perspective

Periodo de realización: 1900/01/01 al 2021/01/01

Tipo: Artículo científico

Lugar(es) de estudio: Sierra Negra, Puebla, México
Resumen: "Background: Mexico harbours one of the greatest biocultural diversities of the world, where multiple social andnatural elements and systems form complex networks of interactions in which both culture and nature aremutually influenced. Biocultural states and processes are studied by ethnosciences, among them ethnoherpetology,which seeks understanding material and non-material expressions of the interactions between humans, amphibians,and reptiles. Herpetofauna has been part of the magic–religious world and source of goods for Mesoamericancultures. This study aims to document and analyse the complex body of knowledge, beliefs, and practices on thesevertebrates in the Nahua culture, the factors that have influenced progressive risk and loss of culture, habitat, andspecies, and the potential contribution of contemporary Nahua knowledge to biocultural conservation.Methods: Through 15 workshops with children and young people, and 16 semi-structured interviews to people 27to 74 years old, we documented the contemporary Nahua knowledge in the communities of Aticpac and Xaltepecin the Sierra Negra, Puebla, central Mexico. Biological and ecological knowledge, use, management practices,legends, and perceptions on herpetofauna were emphasised in the study.Results: We obtained an ethnoherpetological checklist, grouping species into four general classificatory categories:kohuatl (serpents), kalatl (frogs and toads), ayotsi (turtles), and ketzo (lizards and salamanders), which included 21,10, 1, and 11 ethnocategories respectively, based on the local Nahua knowledge of herpetofauna. Serpents, used asmedicine, are the most culturally relevant. Due to perceptions of danger, beliefs, and actual snake bites, the maininteraction with serpents is their elimination"

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