Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

A medium to large, slender snake. Largest Egyptian specimen has a total length of 900 mm. Tail relatively short, tail / total length = 0.17-0.18; nostril large, round, in a divided nasal; 1 loreal, 8 supralabials, fourth enters the eye, 160-197 ventrals, 48-86 paired subcaudals, dorsals strongly keeled, 19 scale rows around mid-body, anal divided. Dorsum dark green-olive, with a pattern of regularly spaced black spots; a black chevron on the nape. Venter yellow, variably chequered with black squares, or is sometimes almost completely black.

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Distribution in Romania

Diced snakes live in the Delta of the Danube River in Romania (1).

  • 1. Museum of Natural History, Exhibit of the Danube Delta, Bucharest, Romania
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Distribution

Range Description

In Europe this species ranges from southern Switzerland (and possibly adjacent France), and Germany (where there are isolated populations in the west), eastwards into eastern Austria, Italy (islands excluded), Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and southern Russia, southwards into Croatia (including some Adriatic islands), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania and Greece (including the islands of Lesbos, Crete, Rhodes and Samos). In Asia the species ranges from Turkey into Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and northern Egypt (Nile Delta and lower Nile Valley). It also ranges from the Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan eastwards into Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and northwest China. It might be present on Cyprus, although this requires confirmation. It occurs from sea level up to 2,800 m asl.
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Distribution in Egypt

Throughout the Nile Delta and lower Nile Valley, also Fayoum and the Suez Canal zone. Anderson (1898), Flower (1933), and Marx (1968) all recorded the species solely from the northern parts of the Delta. However, it appears that since the con­struction of the High Dam (late 1960s) and as a result of subsequent ecological changes (establishment of extensive swamp vegetation fringing the Nile River), the species seems to have spread southward, along with other wetland wildlife previously also confined to the northern Delta wetlands, most notably the Purple Gallinule {Porphiryo porphiryo: Aves). A specimen reported by Barbour (1914) from "Fuweila in Sinai," is actually a locality in Jordan (Hoofien 1965).

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Global Distribution

Central Europe east to western China, south to Egypt and possibly Yemen.

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Continent: Africa Near-East Asia Europe
Distribution: Germany, S Switzerland, E Austria, France, Belgique, Yugoslavia: Croatia (including some adriatic islands), Slovenia, Bosnia and Hercegowina, Monte Negro, Macedonia, Serbia, Italy, Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia), Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey, Greece (incl. Crete, Lesbos, Samos, Corfu), Cyprus, Soviet Union, Afghanistan (LEVITON 1959: 461), S Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon,  NE Egypt, Israel, east to northern Pakistan and NW China (Xinjiang)  Sinonatrix dunni: West Malaysia  
Type locality: Italy
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Physical Description

Type Information

Holotype for Natrix tessellata
Catalog Number: USNM 141749
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1958
Locality: Vienna, Wein, Austria, Europe
  • Holotype: Malnate, E. V. 1968. Notulae Naturae. (410): 1, figure 1.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This is a largely aquatic species associated with rivers, coasts, streams, lakes, ponds and the surrounding terrestrial habitat. It occurs in coastal areas. It appears after hibernation in the middle of March - beginning of April (for Azerbaijan). The species lays a clutch of between five and 37 eggs.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Freshwater wetlands of all kinds, rivers, canals, swamps, and lake shores. Particularly common in waterways fringed with dense reeds and other swamp vegetation.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Behaviour

 In Egypt appears to be largely crepuscular or nocturnal, but also seen active during the day. Almost entirely aquatic.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Natrix tessellata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2010

Assessor/s
Agasyan, A., Avci, A., Tuniyev, B., Isailovic, J.C., Lymberakis, P., Andrén, C., Cogalniceanu, D., Wilkinson, J., Ananjeva, N., Üzüm, N., Orlov, N., Podloucky, R., Tuniyev, S., Kaya, U., Ajtic, R., Vogrin M., Corti, C., Mellado, V.P., Sá-Sousa, P., Cheylan, M., Pleguezuelos, J., Baha El Din, S.M., Nettmann, H.K., De Haan, C.C., Sterijovski, B., Schmidt, B. & Meyer, A.

Reviewer/s
Cox, N., Temple, H.J. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team) & Böhm, M., Collen, B., Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team)

Contributor/s
De Silva, R., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Milligan, H.T., Powney, G., Sears, J., Wearn, O.R., Wilson, P., Wren, S. & Zamin, T.

Justification
This species is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. Conservation measures should still, however, be undertaken for this species.
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Status in Egypt

Common and widespread. Large numbers are collected by animal traders.

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Least Concern

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Population

Population
This species is common in much of its range. If it occurs on Cyprus, it is extremely rare there. In Egypt the potential range has increased since the construction of the Aswan High Dam, although the species is considered to be declining. It has also declined in Israel.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
This species appears not to be globally threatened. It is threatened by loss or modification of wetland habitats in parts of its range, for example through river channelization and lake-shore development. This species is considered to be threatened in a number of western and central European range states. It is often killed by road traffic, particularly in the mating season. In Egypt large numbers of this species are collected for the international pet trade (Sherif Baha El Din pers. comm.), but this is not considered a major threat. As with many snakes this species is generally persecuted by people. Habitat destruction by invasive plant species is a threat in parts of its range, as is pollution.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is listed on Annex II of the Bern Convention and it is protected by national legislation in a number of countries. It also appears on Annex IV of the Habitats Directive. It is presumed to occur in many protected areas throughout its range. Habitat restoration work is taking place in parts of Austria (CoE, 2003). Conservation projects for this species are in place in Germany (B. Schmidt pers. comm.), where the species is listed as Critically Endangered. The species has been reintroduced to part of its former range in eastern Germany. This species is categorized as Endangered in Switzerland (Monney and Meyer, 2005). Further research into the range and taxonomic status of this species are needed (e.g., for Yemen and Cyprus). Eradication of invasive wetland plant species is an important future conservation action.
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Wikipedia

Dice snake

The dice snake (Natrix tessellata) is a European nonvenomous snake belonging to the family Colubridae, subfamily Natricinae.

Brief description[edit]

A Dice Snake in Umbria, Italy

Females are bigger than males. Maximum size is 1.0-1.3 m (39-51 inches) long. The color may vary from greyish green to brownish or almost black, with dark spots on the back. The belly is sometimes vividly coloured in yellow or orange, with black spots, very similar to dice, hence the name.

Biology[edit]

Living mainly near river streams or lakes, it frequently feeds on fish. Sometimes it feeds also on amphibians like frogs, toads and tadpoles.

This snake is not venomous. As a defense it spreads a very bad smelling secretion from its cloaca. Another defence mechanism is thanatosis, meaning playing dead.

During the mating season (March–April-May) they congregate in large groups. Egg laying is usually in July, and one clutch consists of 10-30 eggs. The young snakes hatch in early September.

Dice snakes hibernate from October to April in dry holes near the water.

Distribution[edit]

The dice snake is found throughout Europe and Asia: Lebanon, Israel, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland,[2] Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Afghanistan, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Egypt, Pakistan, China.

Research projects[edit]

One of the most numerous population lives in the vicinity of the ruins of Histria, in Dobrogea region, Romania. This population has been recently discovered to be threatened by a parasitic nematode, namely Eustrongylides. Since 2005, the population from Histria has been in researchers' attention. For example, a joint Romanian-Swedish-Czech research program, is focused on population biology studies and parasitic threats of this unique coastal population. An overview on Biology, Distribution and Conservation is given in [3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History), Volume I. London. pp. 233-234
  2. ^ Vlcek, Petr; Bartlomiej Najbar and Daniel Jablonski. (2010) First records of the Dice Snake (Natrix tessellata) from the North-Eastern part of the Czech Republic and Poland. Herpetology Notes 3:23-26
  3. ^ Mebert, Konrad (ed.): The Dice Snake, Natrix tessellata: Biology, Distribution and Conservation of a Palaearctic Species. Mertensiella 18, 2011, pp. 1-456.
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