Circeo National Park (CNP) is one of the oldest protected areas in Italy. Knowledge of the herpetofauna of CNP is relatively scarce, with the most recent records dating from the 1970s. This gap of knowledge needs to be addressed, considering that this area is one of the last pristine fragments of coastal Mediterranean forest in the Italian Peninsula and potentially hosts high reptile diversity. In this study, we assessed reptile diversity and distribution at the landscape scale, covering all habitats within the park boundary. We performed field surveys during two sampling sessions in 2004–2005 and in 2009–2010, using 127 cells of 1 km2. We collected 1,471 distribution data points on 16 reptile species. While natural land use categories supported the whole reptile community, urban and agricultural environments hosted about half of the species detected. Reptile distribution was uneven among the natural land categories with 80% of species and all snake species inhabiting the broad-leaved forest category and confirming the expectation of a high herpetological diversity hosted by this last fragment of coastal Mediterranean Forest ecosystem. We discuss the pattern of species distributions in terms of conservation prioritization.

The distribution and diversity of reptiles in a species-rich protected area of Central Italy

Salvi, Daniele
2017-01-01

Abstract

Circeo National Park (CNP) is one of the oldest protected areas in Italy. Knowledge of the herpetofauna of CNP is relatively scarce, with the most recent records dating from the 1970s. This gap of knowledge needs to be addressed, considering that this area is one of the last pristine fragments of coastal Mediterranean forest in the Italian Peninsula and potentially hosts high reptile diversity. In this study, we assessed reptile diversity and distribution at the landscape scale, covering all habitats within the park boundary. We performed field surveys during two sampling sessions in 2004–2005 and in 2009–2010, using 127 cells of 1 km2. We collected 1,471 distribution data points on 16 reptile species. While natural land use categories supported the whole reptile community, urban and agricultural environments hosted about half of the species detected. Reptile distribution was uneven among the natural land categories with 80% of species and all snake species inhabiting the broad-leaved forest category and confirming the expectation of a high herpetological diversity hosted by this last fragment of coastal Mediterranean Forest ecosystem. We discuss the pattern of species distributions in terms of conservation prioritization.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/119797
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