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Dolichophis caspius 

Scope: Global
Language: English
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Colubridae

Scientific Name: Dolichophis caspius (Gmelin, 1789)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Large Whip Snake, Yellow-Bellied or Caspian Racer
French Couleuvre de la Caspienne
Synonym(s):
Coluber acontistes Pallas, 1814
Coluber bicolor Guldenstedt, 1801
Coluber thermalis Pallas, 1814
Coluber trabalis Pallas, 1814
Hierophis caspius Gmelin, 1779
Zamenis gemonensis Boulenger, 1893
Zamenis gemonensis ssp. caspius — Mehely, 1894
Taxonomic Notes: This species is included in Dolichophis following Nagy et al. (2004), rather than Hierophis.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-04-05
Assessor(s): Aghasyan, A., Avci, A., Tuniyev, B., Crnobrnja-Isailovic, J., Lymberakis, P., Andrén, C., Cogalniceanu, D., Wilkinson, J., Ananjeva, N.B., Üzüm, N., Orlov, N.L., Podloucky, R., Tuniyev, S., Kaya, U., Böhme, W., Ajtic, R., Tok, V., Ugurtas, I.H., Sevinç, M., Crochet, P.-A., Haxhiu, I,, Sterijovski, B., Borkin, L., Milto, K., Golynsky, E., Rustamov, A, Nuridjanov, D., Munkhbayar, K. & Shestapol, A.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is not thought to be subject to widespread threats.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species ranges from southern Hungary eastwards to Romania, Moldova, southern Ukraine, southwestern Russia and extreme western Kazakhstan. It also ranges southwards through the Balkans from Croatia (Lastavo Island and eastern parts of the continental mainland [Ozimec 2005, Trocsanyi and Schafer 2008]), Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia (where it only occurs below 1,500 m asl), Albania (where it is widespread), Greece (where it is absent from the Peloponnese peninsula, but present on many islands including Andros, Tinos, Syros, Kythos, Kea, Serifos, Ikaria, Samos, Chios, Oinousses, Thasos, Samothraki and Limons), Bulgaria, and Turkey (Thrace and central and western Anatolia). Records from Jordan are attributed to Dolichophis schmidti by Amr and Disi (2011). This species ranges from sea level to 2,000 m asl (Turkey).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Albania; Bulgaria; Croatia; Georgia; Greece; Hungary; Kazakhstan; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Montenegro; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia; Turkey; Ukraine
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This is generally a common species over most of its range. While generally common in Russia, it is considered rare on the Russian and Georgian Black Sea Coast (K. Milto pers. comm. 2016). Mean population density in the region is 0.023 individuals/ha (Doronin 2013a,b).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is found in dry areas of open scrubland (macchia) and woodland, steppe and other grassland, rocky hillsides, semi-desert, overgrown areas, vineyards, olive groves, rural gardens, stone walls and ruins. In the North Caucasus it has been recorded from sand dune habitats. This species hibernates in large groups (R. Ajtic pers. comm.). In the Crimea, it emerges from hibernation at the end of March - beginning of April; in Kalmykia it emerges in the second part of March. Winter hibernation starts in middle of September - October (sometimes in first part of November). It is active during the day in spring, and in the hot part of summer it has two peaks of activity. Females lay eggs (6–18 eggs in the clutch) from middle of June to the beginning of July, with young appearing in the first part of September.
Systems:Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no known use or trade in this species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): While there appear to be no major threats to the species, it is often killed by traffic while it is basking on roads. As with many other species it may be particularly vulnerable when it forms aggregations for hibernation. It may be persecuted by people, when animals are accidentally revealed during hibernation.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is included into the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan (1996) - category 3, in the Red Data Books of Ukraine (1994) - category 2 (Vulnerable), and in Moldavia (2001) as an Endangered species. It has been included in the "Annotated list of taxa and populations required a special attention to their status in the wildlife" (Appendix to the Red Data Book of Russian Federation, 2001). This species is listed on Annex III of the Bern Convention, Annex IV of the European Union Habitat and Species Directive, and is protected by national legislation in parts of its range. It is present in many protected areas. It is listed as Least Concern in Turkey.

Citation: Aghasyan, A., Avci, A., Tuniyev, B., Crnobrnja-Isailovic, J., Lymberakis, P., Andrén, C., Cogalniceanu, D., Wilkinson, J., Ananjeva, N.B., Üzüm, N., Orlov, N.L., Podloucky, R., Tuniyev, S., Kaya, U., Böhme, W., Ajtic, R., Tok, V., Ugurtas, I.H., Sevinç, M., Crochet, P.-A., Haxhiu, I,, Sterijovski, B., Borkin, L., Milto, K., Golynsky, E., Rustamov, A, Nuridjanov, D., Munkhbayar, K. & Shestapol, A. 2017. Dolichophis caspius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T157267A746211. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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