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 01. British Quaternary herpetofaunas a history of adaptations to Pleistocene disruptions

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pp.1-7

Authors: J. Alan Holman

Abstract: The British Quaternary herpetofauna and the modern one are the products of adaptations to several disruptive patterns. These include mass habitat loss due to glaciation, alternating cold and temperate climates, and the development of seaways isolating the British Islands. Fossil herpetofaunas are now known from all of the Middle and Upper Pleistocene stages (except the Beestonian) and from the Flandrian. The cold stages have yielded only Rana temporaria, Lacerta vivipara and Natrix natrix. The temperate stages have been enriched by exotic continental species incuding: Pelobates fuscus, Pelodytes punctatus, Hyla sp., Rana arvalisRana esculenta or ridibunda, Rana lessonae, Emys orbicularis, Elaphe longissima, and Natrix maura or tessellata. Middle Pleistocene Cromerian Interglacial faunas collectively have 38.5% exotic species and Middle Pleistocene Hoxnian Interglacial faunas have 46.5% exotic species. Late Pleistocene Ipswichian (Last Interglacial) faunas have 45.5% exotic species. The only exotic species recorded from the Flandrian (Holocene) is Emys orbicularis. The modern British amphibian fauna must have been in place early in the Flandrian (Holocene), as five of the six modern species occur at the Whitemoor Channel Site, East Cheshire, 1 0,000 to 8,500 BP; and there seems no reason to doubt that the modern reptile fauna was also then in place

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