Sampling adders in the finnish archipelago

Norway, Sweden, Finland, Baltic Republics

Sampling adders in the finnish archipelago

Postby Martti Niskanen » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:51 pm

Disclaimer: I/we never handle snakes unless necessary. Our trip was for scientific sampling, and we therefore needed to handle the snakes to secure them and get the appropriate samples. All adders were returned to their original place of capture after sampling.

I've just arrived from a week-long adder sampling trip to the finnish island (well, a series of islands) of Åland. Our group of six people of three nationalities stayed at the basic, old-school but characterful Nåtö field station and the objective was to get biological samples (didn't preserve the specimens) from all over the "main island". Along the more common finnish herp species, the island(s) also have Triturus cristatus and Coronella austriaca; neither of which I've ever seen in Finland and the latter only occurring in Åland, so I was very much looking forward to it. Here are some photos:

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The station:

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General habitat:

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Common grass snake, Natrix natrix, which occurs in both "normal", greenish gray and melanistic forms:

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Flattening the head:
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"Normal" form basking:
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Adders:

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A gorgeous pre-shed, melanistic male with some red on the ventral side. It also had white supralabials, so not completely black:
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Getting venom samples is a thankless task (see disclaimer above):
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As you may have guessed, I had a cracking week.

Cheers,

Martti
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Re: Sampling adders in the finnish archipelago

Postby Mario Schweiger » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:03 pm

I love this landscape :P
..and for sure, its legless inhabitants too ;)
great shots!

Mario
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Re: Sampling adders in the finnish archipelago

Postby Martti Niskanen » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:20 pm

Thank you. It's a stunningly beautiful group of islands and I'm already looking for an excuse to go back during the summer.
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Re: Sampling adders in the finnish archipelago

Postby Bobby Bok » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:22 pm

Very interesting habitat indeed, what was the reason for the sampling?
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Re: Sampling adders in the finnish archipelago

Postby Martti Niskanen » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:38 pm

Bobby Bok wrote:Very interesting habitat indeed, what was the reason for the sampling?


I don't want to say too much at this point as it's not my project, so I'll just say that it's about the phylogeography and coloration.

Cheers,

-M
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Re: Sampling adders in the finnish archipelago

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:20 pm

Great stuff. I believe we've had a contribution from that island before? Again, I'm surprised by the barren outlook of that habitat... Cool place!!!
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Re: Sampling adders in the finnish archipelago

Postby Jürgen Gebhart » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:23 pm

Some great shots!
I love the broad banded adders from North.
And the black Natrix is awesome!!!

Good luck on the Project!
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Re: Sampling adders in the finnish archipelago

Postby Borji Heras » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:56 pm

well done! very nice pics
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Re: Sampling adders in the finnish archipelago

Postby Tom Hoogesteger » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:47 pm

Some familiar sites. I would like to go there this summer as well. No Coronella observed?
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Re: Sampling adders in the finnish archipelago

Postby Martti Niskanen » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:49 pm

Tom Hoogesteger wrote:Some familiar sites. I would like to go there this summer as well. No Coronella observed?


Nope. I guess they weren't active yet as the temperatures were quite low. I'd also love to go back during the summer. A beautiful place.
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