Amphibians and reptiles from Late Pleistocene Glacial and Interglacial age deposits near Shropham, Norfolk, England
Cranium , Volume 13 - Issue 2 p. 131- 138
Amphibians and reptiles were identified from Late Pleistocene sediments in a gravel pit in the interior of East Anglia near Shropham, Norfolk, England (National Grid Reference TM005938). The herpetofauna came from small pockets within course sediments of Devensian Glacial Age at the top of the site as well as from finer underlying sediments of Ipswichian Interglacial Age. At least ten species, six amphibians and four reptiles, were identified from the Ipswichian. Four exotic species, moor frog ( Rana arvalis), a specifically indeterminate water frog (Rana sp. indet.), European pond tortoise (Emys orbicularis), and a water snake ( Natrix maura or tessellata) were found in the interglacial sediments. This percentage of exotic species (40%) compares well with eight other Ipswichian faunas in Britain, which in combination have a total of 45.5% exotic species. All of the exotic herpetological species may be found in the western or southwestern part of continental Europe today. The Shropham interglacial herpetofauna presents an ecological picture of a well-vegetated pool bordered by grassy meadows and shrubby or wooded habitats. The occurrence of the presently endangered natterjack toad (. Bufo calamita) in the interior of East Anglia supports other evidence that the natterjack toad may have been more widespread in Britain during Pleistocene interglacial ages than it is today. The Shropham Devensian Glacial Age fauna includes only two species, the cold-tolerant common frog ( Rana temporaria) and the grass snake ( Natrix natrix). This is the only record of a snake from any of the British Pleistocene cold-stage faunas.
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