Simple Summary In Italy, there is a growing concern over the survival of an endemic subspecies of newt, Ichthyosaura alpestris inexpectata, commonly known as the Calabrian Alpine newt, due to the recent fish introduction and acclimatisation into three of the few localised lentic habitats where this glacial relict occurs. Results of a recent survey focused on this rare endemic taxon are presented. We provide updated information on the Calabrian Alpine newt distribution, adding two new localities, documenting local extinction at a few historical sites, providing a rough estimation of population size, and giving a description of breeding habitat features. The results of our pilot study will facilitate future research activities, conservation measures for the amphibian assemblage, and habitat management after fish introduction in the Natura 2000 site. We also pinpoint some actions useful to avoid the extinction of this remarkable taxon. The Calabrian Alpine newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris inexpectata) is a glacial relict with small and extremely localised populations in the Catena Costiera (Calabria, Southern Italy) and is considered to be "Endangered" by the Italian IUCN assessment. Climate-induced habitat loss and recent fish introductions in three lakes of the Special Area of Conservation (SAC) Laghi di Fagnano threaten the subspecies' survival in the core of its restricted range. Considering these challenges, understanding the distribution and abundance of this newt is crucial. We surveyed the spatially clustered wetlands in the SAC and neighbouring areas. First, we provide the updated distribution of this subspecies, highlighting fish-invaded and fishless sites historically known to host Calabrian Alpine newt populations and two new breeding sites that have been recently colonised. Then, we provide a rough estimate of the abundance, body size and body condition of breeding adults and habitat characteristics in fish-invaded and fishless ponds. We did not detect Calabrian Alpine newts at two historically known sites now invaded by fish. Our results indicate a reduction in occupied sites and small-size populations. These observations highlight the need for future strategies, such as fish removal, the creation of alternative breeding habitats and captive breeding, to preserve this endemic taxon.

Survived the Glaciations, Will They Survive the Fish? Allochthonous Ichthyofauna and Alpine Endemic Newts: A Road Map for a Conservation Strategy

Iannella, Mattia
;
Cittadino, Viviana;Corapi, Anna;Tripepi, Sandro
2023-01-01

Abstract

Simple Summary In Italy, there is a growing concern over the survival of an endemic subspecies of newt, Ichthyosaura alpestris inexpectata, commonly known as the Calabrian Alpine newt, due to the recent fish introduction and acclimatisation into three of the few localised lentic habitats where this glacial relict occurs. Results of a recent survey focused on this rare endemic taxon are presented. We provide updated information on the Calabrian Alpine newt distribution, adding two new localities, documenting local extinction at a few historical sites, providing a rough estimation of population size, and giving a description of breeding habitat features. The results of our pilot study will facilitate future research activities, conservation measures for the amphibian assemblage, and habitat management after fish introduction in the Natura 2000 site. We also pinpoint some actions useful to avoid the extinction of this remarkable taxon. The Calabrian Alpine newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris inexpectata) is a glacial relict with small and extremely localised populations in the Catena Costiera (Calabria, Southern Italy) and is considered to be "Endangered" by the Italian IUCN assessment. Climate-induced habitat loss and recent fish introductions in three lakes of the Special Area of Conservation (SAC) Laghi di Fagnano threaten the subspecies' survival in the core of its restricted range. Considering these challenges, understanding the distribution and abundance of this newt is crucial. We surveyed the spatially clustered wetlands in the SAC and neighbouring areas. First, we provide the updated distribution of this subspecies, highlighting fish-invaded and fishless sites historically known to host Calabrian Alpine newt populations and two new breeding sites that have been recently colonised. Then, we provide a rough estimate of the abundance, body size and body condition of breeding adults and habitat characteristics in fish-invaded and fishless ponds. We did not detect Calabrian Alpine newts at two historically known sites now invaded by fish. Our results indicate a reduction in occupied sites and small-size populations. These observations highlight the need for future strategies, such as fish removal, the creation of alternative breeding habitats and captive breeding, to preserve this endemic taxon.
2023
Calabria
Ichthyosaura alpestris inexpectata
Italy
Urodela
amphibian
conservation
endemism
invasive fish
morphometrics
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/353617
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