Боян Петров; Павел Стоев; Владимир Бешков [Boyan Petrov; Pavel Stoev; Vladimir Beshkov]
12 November 2001 · volume 13
· pp. 127–153 · PDF
[no abstract available originally]
[Summary]: The paper is an outline survey on the species composition and distribution of the herpetofauna in the Eastern Rhodopes Mt. We have summarized all literature data and added many new records, most of which were gathered during the last 20 years, but noteworthy between 1992 and 1999. The Eastern Rhodopes Mt. is a part of the Rilo-Rhodopean massive and stretches in Bulgaria and Greece. Its territory in Bulgaria is ca. 4,172 sq. km, mean altitude is about 350 m; the highest point reaches 1,463 m. The mean annual air temperature varies between 8C° and 12.8°C. Generally, 11 out of the 16 recorded from Bulgaria amphibians and 26 out of 32 reptiles are established in the region. Vipera aspis balcanica Buresch et Zonkov, 1934 is considered as extinct due to lack of field records after 1933. Five species (Bombina variegata, Rana ridibunda, Bufo viridis, Hyla arborea and Lacerta viridis) are very common throughout the investigated territory, so, their exact localities are not given. A new record of the stream frog (Rana graeca) from the border areas became the easternmost locality of the species in Bulgaria. Both Testudo graeca and Testudo hermanni are still widely distributed and relatively abundant, though a clear tendency for population decline was recognized in some districts. Contrary to the situation in Greece, Cyrtodactulus kotchyi is established in human settlements only. Ophisops elegans was found to occur further to the east in the valley of the Byala reka River, where it is amongst the most common lizard species. Meanwhile, it seems that it has been exterminated in the vicinity of the village Mezek, aU attempts to be discovered there failed. Eryx jaculus and Typhlops vermicularis were found at few places only, though a further more profound research will probably reveal in expanding their current range. Coluber caspius, Natrix natrix and Natrix tessellata are the most numerous and widely distributed snakes in the Eastern Rhodopes Mt. Less frequent are: Coronella austriaca, Elaphe quatuorlineata sauromates and Elaphe longissima. Lacerta praticola was not caught during the field researches, although its occurrence is highly probable. The highest species diversity was established in the following regions: a) the valley of the Byala reka River (7 amphibians, 19 reptiles) and b) along the Arda River between the dams of Studen Kladenets and Ivailovgrad (7 amphibians, 15 reptiles). Mild climate, habitat heterogeneity, permanent water supply are supposed to contribute towards this high herpeto-diversity. The frontier areas, especially the slopes of the Veikata Peak (1463 m), as well as some deep gullies along the Arda River remain among the less studied regions in the Eastern Rhodopes Mt.