Samstag, 17 Dezember 2022 15:23


Mammiferi d'Italia.

Quaderni di Conservazione della Natura No. 14

312 Seiten, mit Zeichnungen von Umberto Catalano, Verbreitungskarten.


Das Werk enthält Daten zu den 119 in Italien wild vorkommenden Säugetierarten.

Volltext (PDF)



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Dienstag, 08 März 2022 16:00

CALMONTE, T. & FERRI, V. (1987).

Un serpente nuovo per la Fauna italiana: il Colubro scalare, Elaphe scalaris (Schinz, 1822).

Atti Soc.ital.Sci.nat., Museo civ. Stor. Nat. Milano, 128 (3-4): 314-316.


First time found in Italy the Ladder Snake, Elaphe scalaris (Schinz, 1822) (Reptilia, Colubridae). A specimen of Ladder Snake, Elaphe scalaris, was recently found near Ventimiglia, Imperia. This is the first record for this species in Italy.


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Donnerstag, 13 Januar 2022 14:59

MASSETI, M. & ZUFFI, M. A. L. (2011)

On the origin of the asp viper Vipera aspis hugyi Schinz, 1833, on the island of Montecristo, Northern Tyrrhenian Sea (Tuscan archipelago, Italy).

Herpetological Bulletin [2011] 117: 1-9.


For some time there has been debate regarding whether the asp viper, Vipera aspis (Linnaeus, 1758), belonged to the original fauna of the small island of montecristo, Northern tyrrhenian sea (tuscan archipelago, italy). it has long been believed that the asp viper population of this island is made up of the subspecies Vipera aspis hugyi Schinz, 1833, also found in southern continental italy and sicily. a recent genetic study confirmed that this colonisation was exclusively mediated by humans, but also revealed that the extant vipers of montecristo displayed closest relationships with those found in the Palermo region of sicily, and southern italy. it might be assumed that the animals that were introduced onto montecristo originated from western sicily. in light of recent contributions the aim of this paper is to make an original contribution regarding the times and mode of such an importation that was performed possibly around the 5th century.


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Habitat use of coexisting introduced eastern cottontail and native European hare.

Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift fur Saugetierkunde 78(4):235–240. DOI:10.1016/j.mambio.2013.02.002


The niche of introduced species and that of native ones may overlap, thus causing detrimental effects on the latter through competitive interactions. We used radio telemetry to investigate habitat partitioning during the active period by the introduced American eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) and the native European hare (Lepus europaeus) in sympatric conditions. Home ranges of cottontails varied from 1.1–2.2 ha in autumn to 3.0–3.6 ha in summer. In hares, home ranges were 30.5–33.8 ha in summer and increased to 49.5–85.9 ha in winter. Both species used an overall area composed of about 27% of natural habitats (i.e., meadows, woodlands, shrubby habitats, shores, and uncultivated land) and over 70% of field crops. The coexistence of the two species appeared to be facilitated by habitat partitioning. Habitat use of cottontails was characterized by a preference for natural habitats at the study area level as well as within the home ranges, while hares showed a preference for crop fields at both spatial scales and a seasonal selection of meadows within home ranges. Habitat overlap measured with the Pianka index was 0.57–0.64 in autumn and winter, and increased in summer and spring to 0.73–0.78. Our results provide evidence of different resource selection strategies adopted by these two sympatric lagomorph species. Hare populations are often found in agricultural landscapes at low-densities, while cottontails are currently spreading throughout Northern Italy to such an extent that an eradication programme appears unfeasible. In this situation, conservation measures for hares and other species should also take into consideration the presence or possible arrival of cottontails. Habitat restoration measures that would increase the amount of fallow lands and shrublands may favour cottontails more than hares. In areas where introduced lagomorphs are present, the necessity of natural open landscapes for hares may be better faced by increasing the presence of meadows, that are seasonally used by hares and not by cottontails.


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Montag, 08 November 2021 17:07

DORI, P., SCALISI, M. & MORI, E. (2019)

“An American near Rome” … and not only! Presence of the eastern cottontail in Central Italy and potential impacts on the endemic and vulnerable Apennine hare.

Mammalia 83(3): 307-312. 


The eastern cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus has been introduced to Italy for hunting purposes since the 1960s. This species is currently present in northern Italy, with some small populations in Central Italy. Data for Central Italy are scanty, but they deserve research attention because this lagomorph is responsible for the spread of disease to an endemic vulnerable species, the Apennine hare Lepus corsicanus. In this work, we summarized the distribution of alien cottontails, over 50 years after their first releases, with special regard to areas where the endemic species is present. Eradication should be recommended where the alien species coexists with the endemic one.


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Il recupero dello storione cobice in Italia - ACTION PLAN -Progetto Life 04NAT/IT/000126 "Conservation and Breeding of Italian Cobice Endemic Sturgeon".

160 Seiten. DOI: 10.13140/2.1.1085.7286.


In the Italian waters there were historicaly three species of sturgeon: Huso huso (Beluga sturgeon), Acipenser sturio (common sturgeon) and Acipenser naccarii (Cobice sturgeon). The first two species are considered as locally extinct, while the Cobice sturgeon is still signalled, even if seldom. There is moreover a population of this species banished to the fresh waters of the Tessin river, an affluent of the Po river, due to the building of the barrage of Serafini Island on the Po river. The main reason that brought the Cobice sturgeon to the danger of extinction is the eccessive fishing pression. Just in recent times legislation protected all three species, completely forbidding their fishing. Different factors contributed to the decline of population, among them the interruption of the fluvial continuity which, preventing the going back up of some intervals of rivers reduced the number of reproductive sites. The biological cycle of the Cobice sturgeon is very long, male specimens reach sexual maturity at 7-11 years of age, with a total length of at least 80 cm, and female specimens at 12-14 years of age, with a length of at least 1 m. The Cobice sturgeon has been object of numerous studies and projects, both of research and conservative. During the years, single Administrations on the whole territory, in particular in Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna, have been engaged in local conservation interventions, even with repopulation programs. The population restricted to fresh waters of Tessin has then been object of a specific conservation program guided by the Lombardy Park of the Tessin Valley and co-financed by the European Community through the project LIFE03NAT/IT/000113. Only with the project LIFE04NAT/IT/000126 a common and coordinated commitment on a big area has been started, almost the areale of distribution of the species. This project that lasted three years involved Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna. The involvement of regional Bodies, Parks and Province Authorities of three regions has represented a successful prerequisite, as the Cobice sturgeon moves and migrates on a big area, not belongig to a unique jurisdition. The project realization was possible thanks to three solid fundamentals: the experience of the Public Authorities, the availability of a stock of Cobice sturgeon, the gained and consolidated technology for its reproduction and breeding. The stock specimens were captured in the 1970s in the same project area and since then maintained in captivity. This stock and its descendants built the only and fundamental tank for the species rescue. All specimens now kept ex-situ, both by public authorities and private citizens, come from that original centre, whose specimens, still living, are bred and belong to the Azienda VIP of Orzinuovi in Lombardy, breeding site with CITES authorization. The technology for the reproduction and breeding in all life stages of the Cobice sturgeon was worked out in the same facility that was the first to realize the bloodless reproduction of A. naccarii in the 1980s. Afterwards, thanks to the LIFE project, artificial reproduction was carried out also at the public centre of Quinto di Treviso, in Veneto. Thanks to the project LIFE04NAT/IT/000126 the genetic characterization of a part of the specimens kept ex-situ has been carried out and a crioconservation technique of the seed of the Cobice sturgeon has been worked out realizing the germoplasm bank. Thanks to the reproductions of the two breeding centres, an important repopulation effort has been performed. Seeding of 66,038 Cobice sturgeon specimens has been carried out: 17,038 of them had an average length of 50 cm and an average weight of 900 gram, the remaining 49,000 specimens were put at the post-larva stage. The post-larva seeding has been performed according to a successful reproduction of the two centres, so that it goes beyond the plant potentiality to wean a so high number of alevins. For this reason the choice was to release the specimens at this life stage. Before carrying out the repopulation program, the watercourses have been studied in detail, showing important features of the habitat for the Cobice sturgeon, as for example substratum granulometry, stream velocity and bathymetry. Particular attention has been drawn to the presence of holes. In the three regions involved in the project, following rivers have been studied: Po, Adda, Oglio, Mincio, Adige, Bacchiglione, Brenta, Sile, Piave, Livenza, Lemene, Tagliamento. For the evaluation of the repopulation program both campaigns of direct sampling with nets and electrofishing and monitoring campaigns through a national networtk that have involved fishermen for leisure, professional fishermen, volunteers and the staff of the security service of the different Bodies have been carried out. The monitoring network was previously organised, with informative meetings and distribution of materials. Thanks to this organisation, in case a sturgeon was accidentally captured, it was possible to signal it calling the nearest referring centre. As soon as the nearest surveyor received the call, he immediately went to the capture place to verify, with an adequate reader, the presence of microchip and to survey the biometric measures. If no microchip was present, a fin fragment of around 1 cm2 was taken for genetic tagging. The genetic tagging, thanks to the results of the genetic characterization analysis, made it possible to recognise the specimens analysed as descendants of the stocks kept in captivity (F0), deriving then from previous repopulation programs, or as wild. Out of 38 analysed animals, 23 have resulted not assignable to the F0. The organization of the monitoring network had also the aim of awakening the fishermen, but dissemination of the project was spread also among schools, carrying out a specific program of environmental education in which around 500 school groups corresponding to the total involvement of around 10,000 students have been met. The results of the repopulation and of the monitorings carried out both directly and through the survey network have been organized in a Geographical Information system (GIS). The GIS was developed on a geo-database with a geographical reference of the seeding points and the points of capture, to which following information has been added: information of the single specimens sown or captured, as the microchip number, length, weight, genetics of origin, date and place of seeding/capture, etc. These tables were linked with the points with a geographical reference and among them, in order to access all available information through GIS for each of the thousands of specimens having a microchip. This Action Plan for the Cobice sturgeon is the result of the same project but it also considered the Action Plan produced by the Tessin Park for the repopulation at the moment banished to the fresh waters of that river. The action plan was performed on the model of the management Plan and is therefore structured in four sections: knowledge framework; evaluation of the ecologic needs; aims; management strategy. Thanks to this structure one clear general goal was set: the conservation of the A. Naccarii in a satisfying state, as defined by the Habitat Directive. To this follow 14 detailed aims that are functional to the general aim: giving the Sile river the fluvial continuity back; monitoring on some rivers of the dangerous structures for the species; facilitation to the overcoming of barrages; conservation of the habitats where the Cobice sturgeon lives; reduction of the competition with the silurus; reduction of the poaching; awakening of the population to the topic of the conservation; awakening of the authorities; progressive increase of the natural population; ex-situ stock conservation; increase of the genetic diversity of the natural population; increase of the knowledge about the bio-ecology; promotion of a regional, provincial and sector planning and programming system; conservation of the species in the Ticino River. The management stategy analysed moreover the value of the Action Plan, integrating it in the regulations, as the areale of the Cobice sturgeon covers three different regions and it is not restricted to the sites of Rete Natura 2000. Periodical deadlines for the review of the Action Plan have been furthermore set, having the aim of adjusting it to the development of the conservation status of the natural population. Depending on such periodical reviews, some detailed aims have been selected: they cannot be faced in the first deadline, but it will be certainly necessary to consider them in the following reviews. In order to clearly identify how to reach those goals, the management activities were outlined and organized according to the types selected in the “Manual for the management of the Nature Sites 2000” of the Italian Ministry for the Environment: active intervention (IA); regulations (RE); monitoring and/or research programs (MR); didactic programs (PD). Each goal goes back to a structured table with the following items: Goal; Activity description; Implementation timetable; Indicators and parameters; Priorities; Expected results; Costs estimate; Potential programmatic references and financial funds; Person in charge of the implementation.


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Managing Polyploidy in Ex Situ Conservation Genetics: The Case of the Critically Endangered Adriatic Sturgeon (Acipenser naccarii).

PLoS One. 2011; 6(3): e18249. Published online 2011 Mar 29. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018249


While the current expansion of conservation genetics enables to address more efficiently the management of threatened species, alternative methods for genetic relatedness data analysis in polyploid species are necessary. Within this framework, we present a standardized and simple protocol specifically designed for polyploid species that can facilitate management of genetic diversity, as exemplified by the ex situ conservation program for the tetraploid Adriatic sturgeon Acipenser naccarii. A critically endangered endemic species of the Adriatic Sea tributaries, its persistence is strictly linked to the ex situ conservation of a single captive broodstock currently decimated to about 25 individuals, which represents the last remaining population of Adriatic sturgeon of certain wild origin. The genetic variability of three F1 broodstocks available as future breeders was estimated based on mitochondrial and microsatellite information and compared with the variability of the parental generation. Genetic data showed that the F1 stocks have only retained part of the genetic variation present in the original stock due to the few parent pairs used as founders. This prompts for the urgent improvement of the current F1 stocks by incorporating new founders that better represent the genetic diversity available. Following parental allocation based on band sharing values, we set up a user-friendly tool for selection of candidate breeders according to relatedness between all possible parent-pairs that secures the use of non-related individuals. The approach developed here could also be applied to other endangered tetraploid sturgeon species overexploited for caviar production, particularly in regions lacking proper infrastructure and/or expertise.


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Dienstag, 13 März 2018 10:48

SCHLIEWEN, U. (2009)

Italienische Süßwassergrundeln der Gattung Padogobius

AKFS-aktuell 24/2009: 1-5.


Eigentlich ist die Sache der aktuellen Literatur nach  klar:  In  Italien  gibt  es  genau  zwei Süßwassergrundeln aus der Gattung Padogobius, P. bonelli (Bonaparte, 1846) und  P. nigricans (Canestrini, 1867) (Miller 2004a). Die meisten irgendwie  an Grundeln interessierten Aquarianer kennen die Art, die im norditalienischen Gardasee vorkommt („Gardasee-Grundel“), wo sie sich ihren Lebensraum unter anderem mit dem Süßwasserschleimfisch Salaria fluviatilis teilt. Diese Art ist P. bonelli, wurde früher aber auch als Gobius  fluviatilis Nardo, 1824, Gobius martensii Günther, 1861 oder ganz falsch als Padogobius panizzai (nicht zu verwechseln mit Knipowitschia panizzae) angesprochen. Gobius martensii ist nach derzeitigem Kenntnisstand aber ein Synonym zu P. bonelli (Kottelat 1997). Die Lagunengrundel Knipowitschia panizzae dagegen ist eine ganz andere Art aus einer völlig anderen  Verwandtschaftsgruppe  und hat mit der „Gardaseegrundel“ gar  nichts zu tun. Padogobius bonelli kommt in der Schweiz und in Italien im Einzug des Po (inklusive Lago di Garda und Lago Maggiore) vor, sowie in vielen  nordadriatischen  kleineren  Flusssystemen von Italien über Slowenien bis nach Kroatien (südlichste  kroatische Population in den Flüssen Zrmanje und  Krka) (Elmiger 2002, Miller 2004b). Die zweite Padogobius-Art, P. nigricans ist ein Endemit Italiens und besiedelt Zuflüsse des Thyrrenischen Meeres (Arno, Ombrone, Tiber und Amaseno-Einzug) (Miller 2004c). Allerdings wurde und wird P. bonelli wohl immer noch mehr oder weniger in ganz Italien durch Besatzmaßnahmen transplantiert und hat sich im Laufe der Zeit zu einer Bedrohung für P. nigricans entwickelt. Zumindest in einigen Flussystemen scheint P. bonelli wesentlich konkurrenzstärker als P. nigricans zu sein, so dass letztere Art oft nur noch in den Oberläufen der besetzten Flusssysteme unbeeinflusst zu finden ist (Miller 2004c). 


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