The British Herpetological Society

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.

 ISSN 0268-0130

2020 Impact Factor for the Herpetological Journal is 0.862

pdf 04. Long-term, climate change-related shifts in monthly patterns of roadkilled Mediterranean snakes (Hierophis viridiflavus)


Open Access

pp. 97-102
Authors: Capula, Massimo; Rugiero, Lorenzo; Capizzi, Dario; Milana, Giuliano; Vignoli, Leonardo; Franco, Daniel; Petrozzi, Fabio & Luiselli, Luca

Abstract: Ectothermic vertebrates depend on ambient temperatures for their activities. Thus, global warming is expected to influence several aspects of their ecology. Here, we use a >20 year (1990–2011) dataset on monthly numbers of roadkills in an area of central Italy in order to document whether the phenology of a Mediterranean population of Western whip snakes (Hierophis viridiflavus) has changed over time. Annual variation of roadkills was correlated to five climatic variables: (i) mean annual air temperature, (ii) mean February air temperature, (iii) mean July air temperature, (iv) yearly number of rainy days, and (v) number of rainstorm days. Increases in mean annual temperature were positively related to the number of roadkills at the early (February and March) and late (December) phases of above-ground activity, but were negatively related to the number of roadkills during summer (June and July). Intriguingly, we documented a shift in the annual mortality peak over the study period, possibly indicating temporal changes of the mating season due to global warming. Increasing mean air temperatures apparently caused an earlier onset of above-ground activity of snakes and delayed hibernation, but reduced the intensity of snake above-ground activity during the hottest and driest period of the year. Rainfall variables had no impact on snake activity.


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Please note that as from Volume 31 Number 1 (January 2021) on, the Herpetological Journal will be available as an online publication only - the last print edition will be Volume 30 Number 4.   

Aligning with this change, it is now no longer possible to purchase a subscription that includes a print copy of the HJ.  All members who have existing HJ print subscriptions that remain active as at end June 2020 will receive the full four 2020 print editions.  New subscribers or renewals after this time will only have option to subscribe to the online only subscription package.  Subscription pricing has been amended to reflect the content changes.