Olim palus, where once upon a time the marsh: distribution, demography, ecology and threats of amphibians in the Circeo National Park (Central Italy)

Antonio Romano, Riccardo Novaga, Andrea Costa


The Circeo National Park lies in a territory that was deeply shaped by human activity, and represents one of the few remaining patches of plain wetland habitat in Central Italy. In this study distribution and few demographic information of the amphibians in the Park were provided. Seven species and 25 bibliographic and 84 original breeding sites were recorded, and population size estimations were carried out for a population of these three species: Pelophylax sinkl esculentus, Bufo balearicus and Rana dalmatina. For the studied populations of pool frog and green toad the operational sex ratio and the demographic effective population size was also estimated. For Rana dalmatina, which is strictly associated to forest environment, a positive and significant correlation between the number of egg clutches and maximum depth of the swamps was found. The State plain forest is the most important habitat for amphibians’ conservation in the park. The occurrence of dangerous alien species was investigated and they are evaluated as the major threat for amphibians in the park, especially the crayfish Procambarus clarkii in the State plain forest. Index of Calling Survey were performed for anurans and the medians did not differ among species. The potential distribution of amphibians in the Park was evaluated by building a species distribution model. Finally, the absence of three species reported in literature in the 60’s of the last century (Bombina pachypus, Salamandrina perspicillata, Rana italica) is also discussed.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/Acta_Herpetol-18061

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