Terrestrial herpetofauna of Limnos and Agios Efstratios (Northern Aegean, Greece), including new species records for Malpolon insignitus (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1827) and Pelobates syriacus Boettger, 1889

Ilias Strachinis, Stephanos A. Roussos

Abstract


We present herpetofaunal observations from Limnos and Agios Efstratios, two Asia Minor continental shelf islands in the Aegean Sea. Comprehensive surveys over 88 days in total on Limnos, over a period of nine years, consisted mainly of visual encounter surveys and road cruised observations, revealed the presence of three species of amphibians and twelve species of reptiles, including two new species records for the island (Malpolon insignitus and Pelobates syriacus). Thorough transect type surveys over four consecutive days on Agios Efstratios revealed the presence of six species of reptiles, yet no amphibians. Terrapin (Emys orbicularis) populations on Limnos seem to have either gone extinct or declined in numbers over the last few years due to wetland habitat alteration by heavy machinery, which is the likely cause of mortality and displacement. This is a serious conservation concern and an indicator of declining wetland habitat health. The results of these surveys provide a clearer understanding of the extant herpetofauna on Limnos and Agios Efstratios and offer discussion on natural history, possible erroneous historical records and preliminary ecological understanding of the herpetofaunal assemblages residing on these islands.


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