Study species

Hipparchia sbordonii

The species is an Italian endemic exclusively present on the Pontine Islands. In the past and still today the population and its habitat are subject to strong declines due to the illegal harvesting, the urbanization of the islands and the bad management of the territory. In particular, in recent years traditional agricultural practices, which favoured the survival of the population, have been abandoned. For all these reasons the species is listed as “Endangered” (EN) in the IUCN Red List (Ph. Donatella Cesaroni).


Acipenser neccarii

The Adriatic sturgeon (Acipenser naccarii) is a tetraploid species endemic for the North Adriatic region. Once widely distributed in nearly all tributaries of the North Adriatic Sea, the Adriatic sturgeon is currently considered to be at risk of extinction. The species is included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and its status was updated in 2010 from ‘‘Vulnerable’’ to ‘‘Critically Endangered’’ by the IUCN. As many Eurasian sturgeons, catch data show a dramatic population decline (Ph. Leonardo Congiu).


Ursus arctos marsicanus

The Marsican or Apennine bear represents the only native population (or subspecies) of brown bears in Italy. It is found exclusively in the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise (Central Italy) and the close surroundings, in an area of about 1500 km2. Estimated census size is around 50 individuals. According to the most recent genomic studies, habitat fragmentation due to human activities isolated this population or subspecies since at least 3-4 thousand years. The Apennine bear is listed as “Critically Endangered” by IUCN (Ph. Valentino Mastrella).


Bombina pachypus

This Italian endemic Apennine yellow-bellied toad, once considered a subspecies of Bombina variegata, is now regarded as a distinct species. It is present south of the Valley of the River Po, throughout the Apennine Hills and down to the tip of the Italian mainland. Northern populations are much smaller and less genetically diverse than Southern populations. The species is listed as “Endangered” by the IUCN, because many of these populations are declining likely as a consequence of habitat degradation and fungal diseases (Ph. Daniele Canestrelli).


Podarcis raffonei

The Aeolian or Raffone’s wall lizard population is made by around 1000 individuals that occupy a total area of <1km2 in four small islands of the Aeolian archipelago in the South of Italy, close to Sicily. Current threats include not only habitat degradation, loss of variation and inbreeding, but also competitive exclusion by the invasive Podarcis sicula. The number of individuals is constantly declining, and the risk of extinction is very high. The Aeolian lizard is “Critically Endangered” according to the IUCN (Ph. Francesco Ficetola).

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