Join our zoo community

Balkan Peninsula - European Hotspot for European Native Reptile Species

Discussion in 'Europe - General' started by Nikola Chavkosk, 11 Oct 2016.

  1. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2016
    Posts:
    1,322
    Location:
    Prilep, R. Macedonia
    I just liked to share this fact, that native reptile species diversity in Europe is densest in the Balkan Peninsula. Of total 151 species of native reptiles in Europe, 4.3% (7 species) are critically endangered. Populations of 42% of the 151 species are declining. More interesting facts and short text and interesting map illustrating the reptile species richness in Europe on the following link (and also on the link can be found more specific data for each European country):

    Reptiles — Biodiversity Information system for Europe

    However on Wikepedia there are listed 12 critically endangered species of reptiles of Europe:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_reptiles_of_Europe
     
  2. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    16 May 2010
    Posts:
    6,670
    Location:
    Wilds of Northumberland
    Very interesting; this said I suspect the Iberian Peninsula is more important in terms of biodiversity given the fact I believe there are more species endemic to Iberia alone than there are species endemic to the Balkans alone.
     
  3. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2016
    Posts:
    1,322
    Location:
    Prilep, R. Macedonia
    Actually you can be right; Iberian peninsula may have more reptile species than Balkan, endemic for that peninsula; It is just there are more species of reptiles in the Balkan per determined area. This can be checked from Wikipedia's link - listing all reptiles of Europe with their areal of distribution (hope so I will be able to check this for a while - after 3 hours).
     
  4. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2016
    Posts:
    1,322
    Location:
    Prilep, R. Macedonia
    There are some very interesting species from Balkans like sand boa (Eryx jaculus), Milos viper (Macrovipera schweizeri) (the biggest viper native to Europe, from the Greek Cyclades Islands, an endangered species that would benefit a lot from captive breeding in zoos and other facilities (eg. private breeders homes) - some zoos in Europe hold this stout viper), whorm snake (Xerotyphlops vermicularis), marginated tortoise, European glass lizard (legless lizard resembling snake).
     
    Last edited: 11 Oct 2016
  5. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Dec 2012
    Posts:
    12,088
    Location:
    fijnaart, the netherlands
    I guess here privat breeders can play a bigger role as zoos can. In cooperation with some herp. societies I think a lot of species can be bred in good number and when some zoos can focus on one or several species from this region with some educative projects, a lot can be done to save most - or maybe even all - threatened / endangered / rare species !
     
  6. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    27 Oct 2008
    Posts:
    1,860
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Interesting, as in the new (and excellent) field guite to amphibians and reptiles of Britain and Europe, there are maps produced highlighting amphibian and reptile diversity on a 50x50 km resolution. For reptiles only the Pelopennessos is easily the most diverse place in Europe, with the adriatic coast, south Bulgaria and the Iberian peninsula as second. For Amphibians only central Europe (Czechia, central Germany), France and the Iberian peninsula score best. There is no combined picture, buth if there would be, the Iberian peninsula would be most diverse, with Greece second and the Balkans in general don't really stand out, though off course some interesting species occur (especially lizards)
     
  7. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2016
    Posts:
    1,322
    Location:
    Prilep, R. Macedonia
    Now I remmember as kid, we often used to meet montpellier snakes (Malpolon monspessulanus - colubrid with depressed frontal region) with green colour (green variety) (and yellow abdomen or ventral part) - a species of venomous colubrid (with short rear fangs and weak venom) - in lowland part in my mother's birth village in central Pelagonia plain. They were commonly killed bu the locals and I always felt emphaty for them; I haven't seen such green snakes in over 15 years and they were so exotic looking (like green mambas, ok with darker green colour :) ).
    Even once we passed over montpelier snake (with brown colour) resting on the local road with a car, and the snake straightened and started to strike against the car (took position like straightened mamba).

    They may have even been another species of colubrid in green variety; However I only found for montpelier snake that can be in green colour.
     
  8. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    16 May 2010
    Posts:
    6,670
    Location:
    Wilds of Northumberland
    Decided to check the range of the various endemic species of the Iberian and Balkan peninsulas - and also the Italian peninsula, for completeness sake; however I am not counting islands such as the Canaries, Balaerics or Madeira within the Iberian Peninsula, nor Crete for the Balkan Peninsula. I *am* counting Sicily within the Italian Peninsula however as it is geologically part of the peninsula.

    Balkan Peninsula - 12 endemic species

    Dalmatian Algyroides (Algyroides nigropunctatus)
    Greek Algyroides (Algyroides moreoticus)
    Mosor Rock Lizard (Archaeolacerta mosorensis)
    Greek Rock Lizard (Lacerta graeca)
    Mosor Rock Lizard (Dinarolacerta montenegrina)
    Peloponnese Wall Lizard (Podarcis peloponnesiacus)
    Sharp-snouted Rock Lizard (Lacerta oxycephala)
    Dalmatian Wall Lizard (Podarcis melisellensis)
    Erhard's Wall Lizard (Podarcis erhardii)
    Balkan Whip Snake (Hierophis gemonensis)
    Peloponnese Slow Worm (Anguis cephalonnica)
    Greek Slow Worm (Anguis graeca)

    Iberian Peninsula - 17 endemic species

    Maria's Worm-Lizard (Blanus mariae)
    Iberian Worm-Lizard (Blanus cinereus)
    Manuel's Psammodromus (Psammodromus manuelae)
    Jeanne's Psammodromus (Psammodromus jeanneae)
    Spanish Algyroides (Algyroides marchi)
    Schreiber's Green Lizard (Lacerta schreiberi)
    Iberian Rock Lizard (Iberolacerta monticola)
    Pyrenean Rock Lizard (Iberolacerta bonnali)
    Aran Rock Lizard (Iberolacerta aranica)
    Aurelio's Rock Lizard (Iberolacerta aurelioi)
    Carbonell's Wall Lizard (Podarcis carbonelli)
    Bocage's Wall Lizard (Podarcis bocagei)
    Leon Rock Lizard (Iberolacerta galani)
    Carpetana Rock Lizard (Iberolacerta cyreni)
    Martinez-Rica's Rock Lizard (Iberolacerta martinezricai)
    Bedriaga's Skink (Chalcides bedriagai)
    Iberian Cross Adder (Vipera seoanei)

    Italian Peninsula - 3 endemic species

    Sicilian Pond Turtle (Emys trinacris)
    Sicilian Wall Lizard (Podarcis waglerianus)
    Aeolian Wall Lizard (Podarcis raffonei)
     
  9. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2016
    Posts:
    1,322
    Location:
    Prilep, R. Macedonia
    TLD I think that when we consider more, mainly Balkan-distributed species, like the sand boa (Eryx jaculus), nose-horned viper (although distributed in parts of Italy and central Europe, and Turkey and Syria), European glass lizard, Milos viper (Greek Cyclades - but very close to Greek mainland), etc. the number (and diversity) for the Balkans would be much more interesting than Iberian one. Also plus with the Greek islands (geographically part of Europe, while Canary are geographically part of Africa).
    Also marginated tortoise (third species of tortoise - plus more gigantic :) ) shared by Italian and Balkan (Greece) peninsula, very interesting.
     
  10. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2016
    Posts:
    1,322
    Location:
    Prilep, R. Macedonia
    If all of you zoochatters, can get research grants for work on the field (and are interested in), like for example investigation of the green montpelier snakes in central Pelagonia plain in R. Macedonia (and maybe collecting some samples of their weak venom), I am here to provide some support (like car, time, and guide for accomodation and for going to the terrain and obtaining approvals from authorities, for example, as I am very interested in reptiles searching/research in the wild). :) :) Or this can be part of some nice research ...
     
  11. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    19 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    1,627
    Location:
    Everywhere at once
    About the number of species: it may be also influenced by more intense research in Iberia. So more subspecies were split into species.

    Budapest Zoo is doing good work with local vipers... But I am sure Nikola, there are Balkan herpetologists closer to your home!
     
  12. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2016
    Posts:
    1,322
    Location:
    Prilep, R. Macedonia
    Yes Jurek7 of course. I haven't realised this until now.


    Yes, the Budapest zoo is one of four zoos in Europe currently keeping the endangered Milos viper (or Cyclades viper), other beeing in Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, and sadly not also Attica Zoological Park in Greece (the country of origin of this charizmatic snake).
     
    Last edited: 11 Oct 2016
  13. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    1,208
    Location:
    everywhere and nowhere
    Zagreb Zoo is quite involved in local projects with native amphibians and reptiles, so they could be an interesting starting point for you to start. Also they are by far the best zoo in the Western Balkans.
     
  14. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2016
    Posts:
    1,322
    Location:
    Prilep, R. Macedonia
    Yes they are, also they have greatest reptile diversity of any zoo in the Balkans.
     
  15. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Dec 2012
    Posts:
    12,088
    Location:
    fijnaart, the netherlands
    Don't think the diversity of a single zoo is important, it would be more usefull if the different zoos would start to specialize in one species or one genus and start a breeding / research programm and try to cooperate with a herp / conservation society and /or university or someting like that. In this way a lot can be done to get more knowledge about the species and also a captive population can be founded.
     
  16. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    19 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    1,627
    Location:
    Everywhere at once
    I think amphibians and reptiles in Southern Europe are especially good candidates for protection.

    Most endemics have small ranges in densely settled areas. This means that they will always remain rare and endangered. Amphibians and water turtles are vulnerable to pollution, draining and housing development in the watershed quite far away. There is already a network of zoos and small nature centers in Europe which could help caring for animals. And they are also good for education - children are naturally drawn to frogs and lizards, and many people still need to be educated not to kill snakes or try keeping turtles for pets.

    I am sure there are good herpetologists in the region working on it.
     
  17. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2016
    Posts:
    1,322
    Location:
    Prilep, R. Macedonia
    Yes I agree with you vogelcommando. The diversity of a single zoo is not very important in respect to ex situ conservation as it is in attracting attention of visitors (and zoo lovers).