(Bosco Nordio, 18 Apr 13) The first results of a traineeship attended by Giovanni Bombieri - a Forestry Sciences and Technologies student - which will be collected in his graduation thesis, showed the presence of a substantial Italian Agile Frog (Rana latastei) population in the Bosco Nordio Nature Reserve, a frog species included in the Annexes II and IV of the "Habitats" Directive.
His research, integrated with the faunal monitoring carried out in the Reserve within the LIFE09NATIT000110 "Natura 2000 in the Po Delta" Project, made it possible to locate the breeding sites of this species and of the the Agile Frog (Rana dalmatina) (other species included in Annex IV of the above mentioned directive).
The researches are still ongoing, but from early February to mid March hundreds of eggs of the Italian Agile Frog were surveyed in Bosco Nordio, showing that this species is much more distributed in this area than the Agile Frog. While taking into account the extremely favorable season to amphibians' activity, due to the significant rainfalls and mild climate of the period, these data are surprising, since such a large number of eggs had never been revealed, because of the lack of such accurate studies.
The new ponds realized in the Reserve thanks to the LIFE project in progress have almost all been colonized, thus representing an alternative to the ditches and canals situated on the edge of the woods, which are almost all used by the species for breeding, but which sometimes can stop the species from achieving their reproductive success.
The maintenance actions planned for some sections of these channels, always within the LIFE project's concrete activity, will ensure the conservation of these sites, threatened by the collapse of the banks that, in some places, has reduced their depth at levels not high enough to allow the deposition of the eggs, or to help larvae achieve the metamorphosis before the drying up of the channels themselves, compromising the actual reproductive success of this important population.