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RE: Anyone read this about Baja herps?

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Posted by: Aaron at Thu Jul 15 23:23:41 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Aaron ]  
   

Regarding the Hungarian Meadow Viper I found the following:

I could not access the entire article for this source you listed, "Low genetic diversity threatens imminent extinction for the Hungarian meadow viper (Vipera ursinii rakosiensis)". I was however able to access an excerpt from it which states:

"Meadow vipers (Vipera ursinii) are small venomous snakes whose range in Hungary has been greatly fragmented by anthropogenic habitat disturbance (especially, agriculture)."

Here is the URL for the above citation:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V5X-44YVGTD-D&_user=10&_coverDate=05/31/2002&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1402064090&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=b11e8e124be2356f02168487192a815c

Here is another excerpt I found on my own, using a search for Hungarian Meadow Viper, which also points to habitat destruction and fragmentation due to agriculture as the primary threat to Hungarian Meadow Vipers:

"The precise threats facing the meadow viper across its range are unknown, but habitat destruction is likely to have played an important role in the decline of the species (5). Recent studies have been made of the Hungarian meadow viper (V. u. rakosiensis) subspecies, which is estimated to have only a very small remaining population and is in imminent danger of extinction (10). The decline of the Hungarian meadow viper has been largely attributed to the growth in agricultural land, which has caused a great reduction and fragmentation in the habitat of the meadow viper. Even small barriers of farmland are thought to reduce movement and outbreeding with other populations. Small, isolated populations are not only more vulnerable to extinction through events such as disease epidemics, or storms, but they are also more likely to suffer from loss of genetic diversity through inbreeding, massively increasing the risk of extinction. Loss of genetic variation can result in a high percentage of stillbirths or deformities, which have been recorded for this subspecies, and low genetic diversity is currently considered the prime threat to the Hungarian meadow viper (5). The Hungarian meadow viper is also thought to have suffered from over-collection from the wild, both for the pet trade and scientific purposes."

Here is the link:

http://www.arkive.org/meadow-viper/vipera-ursinii/info.html

So it seems that in this species as well fragmentation has played a most significant role, although I wouldn't deny that post-fragmentation collecting could negatively impact a species once it has been brought to the brink of extinction by habitat loss.



   

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