New Evidence on the Distribution of the Highly Endangered Natrix natrix cypriaca and Implications for Its Conservation
2. Materials and Methods
- Field work preparation: Preliminary work was conducted using Google Earth to get familiar with the area, the streams and the road network providing access near them. The streams to be visited were surveyed in detail (150–200 m eye altitude) following the water course. Possible access points were marked, and every site was given a code indicating the section of the stream (e.g., A, B, C) and the serial number along the water course (e.g., 01, 02, 03). We tried to identify at least one access point at every few hundred meters (200–500m), while in cases of uncertainty, multiple possible access points were marked.
- Field survey: Each site was visited only once, using a car or by foot in the absence of nearby roads. When access was not possible, due to parameters not identified while using Google Earth (e.g., cliffs, dense bushes), the team moved to the next site. When successfully reaching a site, a rapid evaluation (10–15 min) of the riparian habitat was conducted using a standardised protocol (Supplementary Materials) and numerous photos were taken.
- Habitat suitability assessment: The habitat of each site and its suitability for N. n. cypriaca was characterised as “Good”, “Medium” or “Bad” (Figure 2), based on bibliographic information [1,3,4] and expert judgment. This was not a thorough assessment but meant to assist in choosing the more promising sites for conducting the transect line surveys.
- Transect line survey: Sites whose habitat was characterised as “Good” were revisited at least once by the team and transect line surveys were conducted. The distance of each transect was based on the characteristics of the stream section and its accessibility while the survey usually lasted a few hours per site. During the survey, streams and adjacent vegetation were investigated by foot looking for the presence of individuals of N. n. cypriaca. In the case of sightings, snakes were captured, measured, weighted and photographed. Their colour morph and possible marks were noted, and the exact location was recorded using a GPS device. Snakes were released exactly where they were caught. In case of finding a shed skin, the skin was closely observed and if attributed without doubt to N. n. cypriaca it was considered as an indication of its presence in the site. Note that in Cyprus only grass snakes and vipers have keeled scales, which makes this kind of identification, provided the shed is in a good condition, easy for experts.
- Construction of small artificial water bodies using gabions.
- Boundary adaptations and inclusions of protected sites.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Parameters of Conservation Status||Reporting Period|
|Surface area (km2)||26||26.25||97|
|Area covered by population (km2)||-||26.25||97|
|Area of population within Natura 2000 areas (km2)||-||11.75||26|
|Habitat for the species||XX||FV||FV|
|Overall assessment of conservation status||U2||U1||U2|
|MM01||PF||6 November 2020||Moni Machaira||Normal||Young|
|MM02||PF||6 November 2020||Moni Machaira||Normal||Young|
|GR01||PF||6 November 2020||Gouri||Melanistic||Adult|
|GR02||PF||6 November 2020||Gouri||Picturata||Adult|
|GR03||PF||6 November 2020||Gouri||Skin shed||Adult|
|MM03||PF||6 November 2020||Moni Machaira||Skin shed||Young|
|MM04||PF||6 November 2020||Moni Machaira||Skin shed||Young|
|LY01||PF||12 October 2020||Lythrodonta||Normal||Young|
|AE01||PF||15 October 2020||Agios Epifaneios||Melanistic||Adult|
|AE02||PF||15 October 2020||Agios Epifaneios||Skin shed||Adult|
|AP01||CS||9 June 2020||Farmakas Quarry||Normal||Adult|
|TS01||CS||4 July 2020||Filani lake||Picturata||Adult|
|CK01||CS||3 January 2021||Pera Orinis||Normal||Young|
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Zotos, S.; Stamatiou, M.; Naziri, A.; Meletiou, S.; Demosthenous, S.; Perikleous, K.; Erotokritou, E.; Xenophontos, M.; Zavrou, D.; Michael, K.; et al. New Evidence on the Distribution of the Highly Endangered Natrix natrix cypriaca and Implications for Its Conservation. Animals 2021, 11, 1077. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11041077
Zotos S, Stamatiou M, Naziri A, Meletiou S, Demosthenous S, Perikleous K, Erotokritou E, Xenophontos M, Zavrou D, Michael K, et al. New Evidence on the Distribution of the Highly Endangered Natrix natrix cypriaca and Implications for Its Conservation. Animals. 2021; 11(4):1077. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11041077Chicago/Turabian Style
Zotos, Savvas, Marilena Stamatiou, Andrea Naziri, Sotiris Meletiou, Stalo Demosthenous, Konstantinos Perikleous, Elena Erotokritou, Marina Xenophontos, Despo Zavrou, Kyriaki Michael, and et al. 2021. "New Evidence on the Distribution of the Highly Endangered Natrix natrix cypriaca and Implications for Its Conservation" Animals 11, no. 4: 1077. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11041077