The Sardinian grass snake, Natrix helvetica cetti, is an endangered endemic snake subspecies with a restricted and highly fragmented geographic distribution. Information on its ecology and detailed geographic distribution are scarce and may negatively impact on its conservation status. Therefore, a literature review on its taxonomy, morphology, ecology, and conservation is presented here. Moreover, field records from the authors, citizen science and the existing literature provide an updated geographic distribution highlighting its presence within 13 new and 7 historic 10 x 10 km cells. Bioclimatic niche modelling was then applied to explore patterns of habitat suitability and phenotypic variation within N. h. cetti. The geographic distribution of the species was found to be positively correlated with altitude and precipitation values, whereas temperatures howed a negative correlation. Taken together, these outcomes may explain the snake’s presence, particularly in eastern Sardinia. In addition, analysis of distribution overlap with the competing viperine snake (N. maura) and the urodeles as possible overlooked trophic resources (Speleomantes spp. and Euproctus platycephalus) showed overlaps of 66% and 79%, respectively. Finally, geographical or bioclimatic correlations did not explain phenotypic variation patterns observed in this highly polymorphic taxon. Perspectives on future research to investigate N. h. cetti’s decline and support effective conservation measures are discussed.

Matteo Riccardo Di Nicola, Andrea Vittorio Pozzi, Sergio Mezzadri, Francesco Paolo Faraone, Giorgio Russo, Jean Lou M. C. Dorne, et al. (2023). The Endangered Sardinian Grass Snake: Distribution Update, Bioclimatic Niche Modelling, Dorsal Pattern Characterisation, and Literature Review. LIFE, 13.

The Endangered Sardinian Grass Snake: Distribution Update, Bioclimatic Niche Modelling, Dorsal Pattern Characterisation, and Literature Review

Francesco Paolo Faraone;
2023-09-04

Abstract

The Sardinian grass snake, Natrix helvetica cetti, is an endangered endemic snake subspecies with a restricted and highly fragmented geographic distribution. Information on its ecology and detailed geographic distribution are scarce and may negatively impact on its conservation status. Therefore, a literature review on its taxonomy, morphology, ecology, and conservation is presented here. Moreover, field records from the authors, citizen science and the existing literature provide an updated geographic distribution highlighting its presence within 13 new and 7 historic 10 x 10 km cells. Bioclimatic niche modelling was then applied to explore patterns of habitat suitability and phenotypic variation within N. h. cetti. The geographic distribution of the species was found to be positively correlated with altitude and precipitation values, whereas temperatures howed a negative correlation. Taken together, these outcomes may explain the snake’s presence, particularly in eastern Sardinia. In addition, analysis of distribution overlap with the competing viperine snake (N. maura) and the urodeles as possible overlooked trophic resources (Speleomantes spp. and Euproctus platycephalus) showed overlaps of 66% and 79%, respectively. Finally, geographical or bioclimatic correlations did not explain phenotypic variation patterns observed in this highly polymorphic taxon. Perspectives on future research to investigate N. h. cetti’s decline and support effective conservation measures are discussed.
4-set-2023
Settore BIO/05 - Zoologia
Matteo Riccardo Di Nicola, Andrea Vittorio Pozzi, Sergio Mezzadri, Francesco Paolo Faraone, Giorgio Russo, Jean Lou M. C. Dorne, et al. (2023). The Endangered Sardinian Grass Snake: Distribution Update, Bioclimatic Niche Modelling, Dorsal Pattern Characterisation, and Literature Review. LIFE, 13.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Di Nicola et al., 2023 Natrix.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Versione Editoriale
Dimensione 8.61 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
8.61 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/607473
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact