The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 02. The middle Pleistocene herpetofauna of Valdemino Cave (Liguria, north western Italy)

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pp.113-128

Authors: Massimo Delfino

Abstract: The herpetofauna from the Middle Pleistocene cave deposit of Valdemino (Borgio Verezzi, Liguria, north-western Italy) is represented by the following taxa: Triturus sp., Speleomantes sp., Pelodytes punctatus, Bufo bufo, Hyla gr. H. arborea, Rana dalmatina, Testudo hermanni, Tarentola cf. T. mauritanica, Anguis fragilis, Lacert a gr. L. viridis, Lacertidae indet., Coronella cf. C. austriaca, Elaphe sp., Hierophis viridiflavus, Malpolon monspessulanus, Colubrines indet., Natrix natrix and Vipera aspis. The most striking characteristic of the Valdemino assemblage is it's modernity: all the identified taxa are members of the modern herpetofauna of western Liguria, including Pelodytes and Malpolon (identified for the first time in the Italian fossi I record), that nowadays differentiate the western Ligurian herpetofauna from that of all the neighbouring Italian regions. The modernity of the herpetofauna sharply contrasts with the associated mammal fauna that still hosts, among others, Barbary ape, elephant, rhinoceros, leopard and sabre-toothed tiger. The assemblage testifies that the Ligurian herpetofauna was already established in the Middle Pleistocene and that it is not the result of post Wiirmian dispersal, although cyclical immigrations (from Iberian or French refugia) during warm stages, followed by extinctions during the cold ones, cannot be ruled out.

Keywords: amphibians, Malpolon, Pelodytes, reptiles, Speleomantes

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