Balkans Tour 2011 ...

Croatia, BiH, Serbia, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Greece including ALL islands

Balkans Tour 2011 ...

Postby Freddy Gontier » Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:28 am

Hello,

I promised you last February a small report of my recent researches about tortoises in the Balkans.

viewtopic.php?f=29&t=621


This happens a little late, but this happens anyway ! ;)


My researches are more oriented on Testudos boettgeri ... This specie lives on a very wide territory with different populations (from Venezia to Istanbul over 13 countries) but it seems strangely that international scientists and experts in taxonomy are not very interested in these turtles … I don’t know why ? :oops:

On this map, the way by car is red, the boat trip is blue and in green areas surveyed.

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Quick review :

7600 km traveled (without the ferry from Greece to Italy - Patras to Ancona) into 5 weeks …

76 turtles observed (60 Testudos boettgeri, 9 Testudos ibera and 7 Testudos marginata).

Beautiful tortoises meetings but also human’s one in each country visited ...

No incident, even minor, to be deplored. :D

Here are some pictures, just for fun. For obvious reasons of animals safety and taking care of their wide conservation, places are here deliberately not accurately described ... ;)

Along Danubia …

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… I am very proud to show you the first one in Romania : :P

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In Romania too, a female, particularly clear but not a “golden” one :

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In Romania, the color pattern of the shell is rather quite usual for the specie but it can be found some darkest specimen like this young male :

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An other one, in Romania, dead, with a very strange and very rare form of spinal scute number 2 for this specie …

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In 99% of cases, the junction between the two scutes is straight like for these two romanian male and female found at the same place …

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Some females have those strange small cavities (depressions) on the shell but there are less marked individuals here than it can be seen among other populations especially in some greek areas. We don’t know why. And we don’t also know why while this kind of thing can be seen only on the females and never (or almost never) on the males … ?

On these 3 females, for example :

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But, for example, not on this one :

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As far as I know, it seems that nobody has already explained this phenomenon. :o

Has someone of you an idea about this ?


On the other side of Danubia, the serbian tortoises get the same format …

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… Even if, over some places, they seem most damaged and not to be very healthy … Some biotops seem to be condemned to die because of human activity … :(

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I did not used to run after the lizards and snakes, but for once, this has not fled when he saw me ... near Prohor Pcinski in south Serbia …

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I only saw one snake, in Macedonia, on the hills around Dojran’s Lake. I think it was an ammodyte one because of its nose …

When looking for turtles, it is rare (for me) to find snakes but when you are looking for snakes, it is probably easier to find turtles, isn’t ?

Anyway, I do prefer to run after the turtles because they are slow like me … Some are even as old as me ! :P I do not run fast enough to catch the snakes and anyway, I do not know how to do it ! :)

Let see this young serbian male, he goes slowly and very quietly in its hole ... after we put ourselves in agreement ! ;)

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Macedonian turtles have been also very cool with me … despite cold and rainy weather …

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It is true that this one may have eaten a little too much … :P

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In the Republic of Macedonia, I found also Testudo ibera and Testudo boettgeri together few meters away from each other …

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In south of Macedonia, I saw a swimming Testudo boettgeri … :roll:

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And also babies Testudo ibera … Let’s see the scutes of two of them !

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In Macedonia, I found a Testudo boettgeri female with strange feature : the anal scutes of the plastron are open like a males’s one ! :o

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Most of the Testudos ibera (and marginata too) are infected with fungus and ticks … :cry:

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… even very young like this greek marginata baby …

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But these researches are not only a time to note, to measure and to weigh. It is also a great happiness to move among spectacular landscapes with these marvelous wild and mysterious animals ... :D

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The next trip is planned next spring to the south of Albania, south-western Macedonia, southern Bulgaria, the western part of Turkey and of course, northern Greece.

Next report for 2012 ! :lol:


A more "car and tourism” version (but in French) can be seen here, middle of page 219 :

http://www.forum-auto.com/marques/skoda ... 4-7630.htm
Freddy Gontier
 
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Re: Balkans Tour 2011 ...

Postby Pierre-Yves Vaucher » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:41 am

Hi Freddy du 44, tortoise specialist ?
C'est possible que tes femelles à "cavité" soient une résultante de l'"érosion" des accouplements successif ?
Désolé mais mon anglais est limité.
Belle brochette, nice collection of Testudo pictures but without your mark (signature) it would be greater ;)
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Re: Balkans Tour 2011 ...

Postby Freddy Gontier » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:10 am

Pierre-Yves Vaucher wrote:Hi Freddy du 44, tortoise specialist ?

…no, just an old little « amateur » ! ;)

C'est possible que tes femelles à "cavité" soient une résultante de l'"érosion" des accouplements successif ?

I don’t think so.

On areas of high concentrations of tortoises, females may be damaged by the repeated assaults of males but then, it is most of the time about the supracaudal scute.

For that, two conditions are needed : high concentration of turtles and sandy abrasive soil.

As shown on these pictures (Testudos boettgeri from Greece), the scale is then pierced by two reasons :

1 the friction of the plastron of the male that acts like a sander


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2 the movement of the hooked claw of the male tail that acts as a drill

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Some tortoises get even a real hole in the supracaudal scute :

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Désolé mais mon anglais est limité.

Mine too ! But I try hard ! :)

Belle brochette, nice collection of Testudo pictures but without your mark (signature) it would be greater ;)


About the marked pictures, Pierre-Yves : I do this because 15 years ago, some jerk stole me a picture of a wild tortoise on the Net and that silly fool said it was another species that he found in another country ...

This confuses attention and knowledge of all ! :(
Freddy Gontier
 
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Re: Balkans Tour 2011 ...

Postby Pierre-Yves Vaucher » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:09 am

the marks on a pictures can go out easy with photoshop :P
For some holes on the carapace, it is possible that this is due to a fungus?
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Re: Balkans Tour 2011 ...

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:09 pm

Could anyone share map or description about subspecies of turtles in Croatia?
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Re: Balkans Tour 2011 ...

Postby Mario Schweiger » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:16 pm

PDF-1987
Author(s): Schweiger, M.
Year: 2009
Titel: Bemerkungen zur Systematik, Verbreitung und Variabilität der Dalmatinischen Landschildkröte
Journal: TESTUDO (SIGS), 18(2): 5 - 21

Mario
Mario (Admin)

Please visit also my personal Herp-site vipersgarden.at
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Re: Balkans Tour 2011 ...

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:13 pm

Nothing in english? :(
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Re: Balkans Tour 2011 ...

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:14 pm

Could You sketch a map?
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Re: Balkans Tour 2011 ...

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:34 pm

Croatia is all hermanni hercegovinensis, no? The contact with boettgeri is most likely in Montenegro (Kotor Bay). The validity of this taxon is however doubtful, although the molecular data can be interpreted in different ways. Too lazy to dig up the paper by Fritz et al., but I'm sure it's in Mario's DB.
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