The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.
Authors: Massimo Delfino And Salvador Bailon
Abstract: The Early Pleistocene fissure fillings of Cava Dell' Erba and Cava Pirro (Apricena, Apulia, Southern Italy) have yielded abundant fossil vertebrate remains. The study of more than 1 4 OOO amphibian and repti le remains revealed the presence of the following 18 taxa (6 amphibians and 12 Reptiles): Triturus cf. T. alpestris, T. vulgaris group, Bufo bufo, Bufo viridis, Hyla arborea group, Rana cf. R. ridibunda vel Rana kl. R. esculenta, Testudo hermanni group, Emys orbicularis, Mauremys sp., Pseudopus sp., Podarcis sp., Lacerta sp., Blanus sp., Hierophis viridiflavus, Elaphe longissima, Coronella cf. C. austriaca, Natrix natrix, Vipera aspis group. Some of the materials referred to "Colubrines" indet. could represent taxa different from those listed above. The high taxonomic diversity, good preservation and abundance of the material place this herpetofauna amongst the most informative ever recovered in the European Quaternary. Some of the identified tax a are reported for the first time in Italy. Others are of particular interest as they help to fill present or past gaps in E-W disjunct ranges. The ecological requirements of the amphibians and reptiles suggest the presence of a typical Mediterranean landscape: a relatively dry environment with water bodies of temporary nature (at least those closer to the sites) surrounded by scattered trees or/and bushes.
Keywords: amphibians, reptiles, palaeontology, early Pleistocene, late Villafranchian, Italy