Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 111–124 | Cite as

First record of Pelobates syriacus (Anura, Amphibia) in the early Pleistocene of Italy

  • Hugues-Alexandre Blain
  • Massimo Delfino
  • Claudio Berto
  • Marta Arzarello
Original Paper

Abstract

Spadefoot toads (Pelobatidae, Anura) are rare in the Italian fossil record, being previously recorded only in the late Pliocene of Arondelli (Piedmont Region, northwestern Italy) and in the early Pleistocene of Pirro Nord P21 (Apulia, southeastern Italy). Here we describe for the first time abundant fossil remains of Pelobates syriacus from the lower Pleistocene fissure of Pirro Nord P13 (Apulia, southeastern Italy). These fossils shed new light on the palaeobiogeographical history of Pelobates in the Apennine Peninsula and are the first fossil evidence in Italy for P. syriacus, which currently lives in the southeastern Balkan Peninsula, Caucasus and the Middle East. This extralimital Italian occurrence suggests that P. syriacus has good dispersal abilities, when favourable conditions exist. Dispersal routes to reach the Apennine Peninsula during the early Pleistocene may have been favoured by a low level of the Adriatic Sea during a cold interval, furnishing a new habitat suitable for P. syriacus.

Keywords

Pelobates Palaeobiogeography Trans-Adriatic distribution Early Pleistocene Italy 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Jim Gardner (Drumheller, Canada) and Tomáš Přikryl (Prague, Czech Republic) for their invitation to participate in such a special issue in honour of Prof. Zbyněk Roček and Editor Sinje Weber for handling the manuscript. We are grateful to Prof. Zbyněk Roček (Department of Palaeobiology, Geological Institute, Prague) and Dr. Marta Calvo Revuelta (Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid) for allowing us to study comparative specimens under their care. Tomáš Přikryl (Prague, Czech Republic), Márton Venczel (Oradrea, Romania), Vladimir Yuri Ratnikov (Voronezh, Russia), Rebecca Biton (Jerusalem, Israel), Ruben Iosif (Constanţa, Romania), Juan Manuel López-García (Tarragona, Spain), and Emilia Cianci (Torino, Italy) provided useful comments, references, or both. Jean-Claude Rage (Paris, France) and an anonymous reviewer improved the quality of the manuscript. Fieldwork at Pirro Nord P13 fissure was financially supported by Università degli Studi di Ferrara and Apricena Municipality. The excavations were possible thanks to the concession of the “Soprintendenza Archeologica della Puglia” and the “Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali”, to the collaboration of Dott. Ssa Anna Maria Tunzi, and to the kind disposability of Gaetano and Franco dell’Erba. This manuscript is part of projects CGL2011-13293-E/BTE, CGL2012-38358, SGR2014-901, 2014 SGR 416 GRC, and supported by Fondi di Ateneo dell’Università di Torino (2013-2014).

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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hugues-Alexandre Blain
    • 1
    • 2
  • Massimo Delfino
    • 3
    • 4
  • Claudio Berto
    • 5
    • 6
  • Marta Arzarello
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1. Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES)TarragonaSpain
  2. 2.Area de PrehistoriaUniversitat Rovira i Virgili (URV)TarragonaSpain
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraUniversità di TorinoTorinoItaly
  4. 4.Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP)Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)Cerdanyola del VallèsSpain
  5. 5.Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Sezione di Scienze Preistoriche e AntropologicheUniversità degli Studi di FerraraFerraraItaly
  6. 6.LT TekneHubFerraraItaly

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