Herpetofauna of Fragas do Eume Natural Park (A Coruña): distribution, conservation status and threats
The Natural Park of Fragas do Eume, with its coastal location and thus low altitude and temperate weather conditions, is mostly covered by a thermophilous Atlantic forest. The steepness of Eume valley slopes have hindered both agricultural exploitation and urbanization, which dominate the surrounding plain and hills, thus protecting one of Europe’s best-conserved thermophilous Atlantic forests. Intensive sampling in this Park revealed a rich herpetofauna assemblage, with a high percentage of both Iberian endemic species and Eurosiberian Central European species. Thirteen species of amphibians and 10 of reptiles are present in the Park, representing, respectively, 93% and 40% of the species present in Galicia and 48% and 21%, respectively, of total Iberian species. The highest species richness was found especially in the forests of the lower area of the Eume riverbed and in certain areas of the center and north of the Park. The most important habitats of the Park, according to the number of species that they harbor, were the riparian forest, wet grasslands and shrublands for amphibians during their terrestrial phase, and ponds in grasslands and peatlands, streams and small runoff during their aquatic reproductive phase. For reptiles, shrubby and herbaceous edges of Atlantic forest, as well as scrublands, rocky outcrops and slopes were the main habitats. One of the main threats to herpetofauna are the eucalyptus plantations, which eliminate the autochthonous forest and favor fires. Another important threats are changes in land use, pollutant spills into aquatic environments and expansion of certain species, such as Wild Boar.