Moldova - August `08

Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus

Moldova - August `08

Postby Vlad Cioflec » Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:23 am

Greetings fellow herpers!
Here is an old report of a great vacation in a rarely visited country.

Last summer i went with my wife to visit her parents who live in Moldova. We spent about a week there, but due to the fact that we had some family business to take care of, only went herping every other day.

Visited locations.jpg
Visited locations.jpg (38.93 KiB) Viewed 4539 times

To be honest, we were hoping for some Aesculapian or maybe Large Whip Snakes, but no such luck, mostly because of the rainy weather. :roll:

First herps of the trip were some Marsh Frogs seen while we went to a pond close to home for some fishing and birding.

Pelophylax ridibundus.jpg
Pelophylax ridibundus.jpg (19.71 KiB) Viewed 4560 times

On another occasions, the herps came to us 8-) , like this Green Toad that hopped right into the house one night.

A nosy Epidalea viridis.jpg
A nosy Epidalea viridis.jpg (11.35 KiB) Viewed 4551 times

We found this weird and pretty thing in our garden as well:

Saturnia pyri.jpg
Saturnia pyri.jpg (20.37 KiB) Viewed 4556 times

Once the rains stopped we were able to finally see some reptiles: :)

A skittish Green Lizard.jpg
A skittish Green Lizard.jpg (27.81 KiB) Viewed 4544 times

Male Sand Lizard.jpg
Male Sand Lizard.jpg (38.9 KiB) Viewed 4544 times


On our last day we herped around some abandoned forest cabins near the Ukrainian border, and we finally found some serpents: :D

Grass Snake and….jpg
Grass Snake and….jpg (16.27 KiB) Viewed 4554 times

Smooth Snake.jpg
Smooth Snake.jpg (28.64 KiB) Viewed 4536 times

Now, here's the thing: the snake is considered rare and endangered there, and when we got back and checked The Red Data Book Of Moldova, we were pleasantly surprised with our discovery: :mrgreen:
Known range and our newly discovered population.jpg
Known range and our newly discovered population.jpg (13.53 KiB) Viewed 4541 times

List of observed species:

AMPHIBIANS

Marsh Frog - Pelophylax ridibundus – lots
Green Toad - Epidalea viridis – 4

REPTILES

Green Lizard – Lacerta viridis – 10
Sand Lizard – Lacerta agilis – 20
Grass Snake – Natrix natrix – 3
Smooth snake - Coronella austriaca - 2

Happy Herping !
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Vlad Cioflec
 
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Re: Moldova - August `08

Postby Thomas Bader » Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:34 am

Dear Vlad!

Thank you for this interesting report! I really enjoy reports from rarely visited countries like Albania, the Caucasian countries or even Moldova.
The sand lizard is nicely coloured and the Eruca looks like an alien!
Do you know anything about the occurrence of Eremias arguta in Moldova? Do you visit Moldove regularly and have you ever seen this lizard?

Thomas
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Re: Moldova - August `08

Postby Vlad Cioflec » Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:02 am

Hi Thomas,

I am a big fan of Eremias, but i`ve only seen them in eastern Romania, on the Black Sea coast. I go herping in southern Moldova every year, and i`ve read most books about it`s herpetofauna.

The species is mentioned in some older papers, but not in other recent ones. There are two main reasons for this:

1. The southern (sandy) parts of Moldova where it did occur are now part of Ukraine...
2. The remaining populations located in the extreme south could have disappeared all together. That was the case with V. ursinii, and sadly E. sauromates is headed that way.

I plan on herping there in a few weeks, but it all depends on a silly file full off useless documents i have to send to the communist party in order to obtain a visa. Crazy stuff... :shock:

Anyway, i am interested in the vipers from the central region. They`re said to be Vipera berus nikolski.
Now i`m not the one to care much about subspecies, but i`ve read that this one could be soon elevated to full species status. And that could mean adding another lifer to the lifelist. :D

Vlad
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Vlad Cioflec
 
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Re: Moldova - August `08

Postby Thomas Bader » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:58 am

Thank you Vlad for this intersting explanation.
About Vipera berus nikolski: Do you know the paper from Kalyabina et al? It is about the phylogeny in the berus complex. I can send it to you if you like.
For me also a trip to the Ukraine - espescially the Krimea (with situla, lindholmi, renardi etc) and the Black Sea surroundings would be very interesting for herping as well as the Nothern Caspian Sea region around Astrachan. Maybe in the future...

looking forward for further trip reports

Thomas
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