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  • Author: Nikolay Natchev x
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Notes on the hatching phases and the size of the juveniles in the Snake-eyed skink Ablepharus kitaibelii (Bibron & Bory de Saint-Vincent, 1833)

Abstract

Most of the studies dealing with the Snake-eyed skink (Ablepharus kitaibelii) treat predominantly aspects of the distribution and taxonomy of the species. In the present study we provide information concerning the mechanism of hatching in the Snake-eyed skink and the dimensions of the hatched specimens. We collected data from wild animals, as well as from indoor incubated juveniles. The present study provides the first data concerning the weight of the newly hatched juveniles of the species and discuss on potential misleading data concerning the size of the juveniles in A. kitaibelii.

Open access
Dietary specifications reflect the feeding behaviour of the European otter (Lutra lutra) in “Strandzha” Natural Park (Bulgaria)

Abstract

Within the scope of the present study a field survey in the area of “Strandzha” Natural Park in south-east Bulgaria was carried out. The main goal of the investigation was to gain more detailed information on the diet of the European otters (Lutra lutra) that inhabit the park. As indicators for the presence of the mustelids a set of standard procedures, such as footprints tracking and inspecting the terrain for otter spraints were used. A total of 204 excrements were found, measured, documented and then disintegrated in water. The food rests in the faeces were investigated and the diet of the local population was documented. On the base of the results we separated the excrements into six groups and analysed the relations between the contents of the spraints and the characteristics of the habitat where they were found. We discovered a clear tendency toward piscivory in the middle and down streams of the studied rivers in the Natural Park. In the upper streams, otters relied almost exclusively on invertebrates like bivalves and crayfish as food source. The fact, that even suboptimal habitats, which offered invariable menu, were exploited by the otters is an indication for the stability of the local population.

Open access
Elemental composition of surface soils in Nature Park Shumen Plateau and Shumen City, Bulgaria

Abstract

Anthropogenic activities cause environmental pollution and alter biogeochemical cycles. Soils in cities and their vicinity are exposed to different pollutants. Nature Park Shumen Plateau is a protected area situated in the proximity of Shumen (Bulgaria). The aim of this research was to compare elemental composition of surface soil samples from Nature Park with two areas in Shumen city.

Soil samples from seven sites on the territory of Nature Park and from two urban sites were collected. The elemental composition of the samples was determined using Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence technique. Principal component analysis and cluster analysis were performed to interpret the complex data.

The content of 24 elements was determined: Br, Y, Zr, Mo, Ag, Cd, Sn, Sb, I, Cs, Ba, La, Ce Si, K, Ca, Ti, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Rb, Sr, and Pb. Results presented here and previously showed that concentrations of heavy metals Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb are below the upper limit according to Bulgarian legislation. Concentrations of Mn and Fe in samples from Nature Park were comparable to the literature data reported for unpolluted areas. Principal component analysis and cluster analysis show similarity of the content of 24 elements between samples from Nature Park and from Shumen city. These findings are in accordance with our previous positive results from Allium-test: cytogenetic endpoints showed a presence of harmful compounds in Nature Park soils.

The content of heavy metals in the surface soils studied show a lack of environmental risk for Nature Park. However, a similar distribution pattern of the investigated elements in the park and two anthropologically influenced areas in Shumen city indicated a potential hazard in Nature Park.

Open access