Distribution of the Dione snake Elaphe dione (Reptilia, Colubridae) in Ukraine: Historical aspect and the current state


  • A. I. Tupikov National Nature Park “Dvorichanskiy”
  • O. I. Zinenko Museum of Nature at V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University
Keywords: Elaphe dione, Crimea, Odessa, mislabelling, misidentification, distribution, cadastre

Abstract

The Dione snake is one of least known species of racers in the fauna of Ukraine. According to the current data, the territory of Eastern Ukraine is the western boundary of the species’ distribution. The Dione snake is listed in the Red book of Ukraine and has a status of endangered taxon. This species is locally distributed and comparatively common in Donetsk and Lugansk regions. At the same time, in the historical references of the XIX – beginning of the XX century the data about findings of the species beyond the Eastern Ukraine, in the Crimea and Odessa region, is present. Despite the fact that these cases are well known to old zoologists, they remain neither confirmed, nor properly rejected as erroneous ones. We have carried out the critical analysis of museum specimens and these literature sources and drawn the conclusion that the records of the species’ localities beyond the modern range were the result of misidentifications or mislabellings. In this article we describe in detail four disputable findings in the Southern Ukraine. Besides, we summarize literature and museum data about the Dione snake and complement it with our own field observations in the comprehensive list of localities of this species in Ukraine. The annotated cadastre of localities of Dione snake in Ukraine is provided. 

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Published
2015-06-29
Section
Articles