Marco Alberto Luca Zuffi

Marco Alberto Luca Zuffi
Università di Pisa | UNIPI · Museum Natural History

Natural Sciences Italian laurea; PhD Evolutionary Biology, Professor in charge of Herpetology University of Pisa; Associate Professor in Zoology Italian Network (Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale ASN)

About

204
Publications
57,304
Reads
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Introduction
Starting from snakes since I was student, passing to fresh water turtles and to lizards more recently. Functional morphology and its biological and ecological meaning in reptiles continues to make me curious and fascinated in this too often neglected group of organisms.
Additional affiliations
October 2017 - October 2017
University of Primorska
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • selected topics in herpetology
April 2015 - April 2015
University of Primorska
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • selectec topics in Zoology (reptiles ecology, behaviour and zoogeography)
February 2011 - March 2011
University of São Paulo
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • Vertebrate ecology (snakes, lizards and turtles biology, morphology and ecology)
Education
January 2004 - January 2007
Università di Pisa
Field of study
September 1979 - November 1983
University of Pavia
Field of study

Publications

Publications (204)
Article
Full-text available
We here report the unexpected presence of the Italian wall lizard (Podarcis siculus campestris) on Gorgona Island, in the Parco Nazionale Arcipelago Toscano (Tuscan Archipelago, Tyrrhenian Sea, Tuscany, Central Italy). Field observations were carried out in 2020 confirming its presence on the island, where it had never been reported before. We reco...
Preprint
Colour variability is largely widespread in the animal world as it is tightly associated with fitness and survivorship. Therefore, the drivers and implications of such variability have been of great interest for zoologists in the past decades. Reptiles are excellent models to investigate colour variations and expression under different conditions....
Article
Context. Among processes involved in colour polymorphism, geographic variation in morph composition and frequency has been attracting interest since it reflects morph local adaptation. A recent study in the Pyrenees associated the pattern of geographic variation in morph frequency of the common wall lizard with the divergence in climatic niches, su...
Article
Parasites can significantly influence the ecology, behaviour and physiology of their hosts sometimes with remarkable effects on their survivorship. However, endemic parasites or those not associated with obvious clinical disease have been partly neglected in the past decades comparatively to the most pathogenic ones. Apicomplexa are an important ex...
Article
The introduction of alien fish species in wetland ecosystems could have a great impact on freshwater communities and ecological processes. Despite fish introduction has been noticed as one of the principal cause of freshwater extinctions, ecosystem processes alteration, and change in aquatic community assemblage, very few data about impact on fresh...
Article
The Mediterranean Basin has experienced extensive change in geology and climate over the past six million years. Yet, the relative importance of key geological events for the distribution and genetic structure of the Mediterranean fauna remains poorly understood. Here, we use population genomic and phylogenomic analyses to establish the evolutionar...
Article
Full-text available
Research on animal colouration has grown exponentially in the last decade thanks to multidisciplinary approaches. Most studies were focused on trade-offs between communication and mimicry, which represent the two main constraints and drivers of the evolution of body colourations. Reptiles are excellent model species in order to investigate such fie...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Mediterranean Basin has experienced extensive change in geology and climate over the past six million years. Yet, the relative importance of key geological events for the distribution and genetic structure of the Mediterranean fauna remains poorly understood. Here, we use population genomic and phylogenomic analyses to establish the evolutionar...
Article
Full-text available
Climate can exert an effect on the strength of sexual selection, but empirical evidence is limited. Here, we tested if climate predicts the geographic distribution and introgressive spread of sexually selected male color ornamentation across 114 populations of the common wall lizard, Podarcis muralis. Coloration was highly structured across the lan...
Article
Full-text available
Color polymorphism is genetically controlled, and the process generating and maintaining morphs can affect speciation/extinction rates. Color badges are useful signals in intraspecific communication because they convey information about alternative strategies and can potentially decrease unnecessary conflicts among different color morphs. Competiti...
Article
Full-text available
Game theory models predict the outcome of a dyadic contest to depend on opponents’ asymmetries in three main traits: resource-holding potential (RHP), resource value (RV) and aggressiveness. Using male common wall lizards Podarcis muralis, a polymorphic species showing three discrete morphs (white, yellow, and red), we investigated how the aggressi...
Chapter
Full-text available
The Sicilian Pond Turtle, Emys trinacris (family Emydidae), is a small-sized freshwater turtle (straight midline carapace length to 172 mm in females, 156 mm in males), endemic to the island of Sicily in Italy. It appears to be more widespread in the northern and central-western parts of the island, with the exclusion of Monti Peloritani and most o...
Article
Full-text available
The persistence of colour polymorphism (CP) within a given population is generally associated with the coexistence of alternative reproductive strategies, each one involving specific trade-offs among behavioural, morphological, physiological, and other life histories. Common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis), is a medium-sized diurnal lizard, showing...
Article
Full-text available
Nowadays, the living species of the terrapin genus Mauremys (Testudinoidea: Geoemydidae) are mostly found in eastern Asia, but three of them inhabit the Western Palearctic ecozone. In Italy, occurrences of living individuals of Mauremys are interpreted as records of alien species; however, a growing fossil record demonstrates that this genus has in...
Article
Full-text available
The leukocyte profile has the potential to be a reliable method to measure health conditions and stress in wild animals, but limitations occur because current knowledge on reference intervals is largely incomplete, especially because data come from studies on captive animals involving few individuals from single populations. Here we propose a gener...
Article
Two populations of the European pond turtle were studied employing capture, marking and recapture (CMR) techniques to determine population density and abundance in natural and protected areas within the Regional Natural park Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli in north western Tuscany, Italy. The results indicated strong sexual size dimorphism in...
Article
Full-text available
Individual recognition (IR) plays an important role in modulating social interactions of several animal species. IR may work at two fundamental levels: at class-level (CIR), if it allows group membership identification (e.g. familiar/unfamiliar), or at individual-level (true IR; TIR), if it allows uniquely recognizing conspecifics. Direct and indir...
Data
Supplementary information concerning the article: Climatic refugia boosted allopatric diversification in Western Mediterranean vipers
Preprint
Full-text available
Color polymorphism is genetically controlled and the process generating and maintaining morphs can affect speciation and/or extinction rates. Competition and aggression among morphs can contribute to polymorphism maintenance and color badges are useful signals in intraspecific communication, because they convey information about alternative strateg...
Article
Full-text available
Hybrid zones can provide insights into the evolution of reproductive isolation. Sexual selection can contribute to the evolution of reproductive barriers, but it remains poorly understood how sexual traits impact gene flow in secondary contact. Here, we show that a recently evolved suite of sexual traits that function in male‐male competition media...
Article
Full-text available
Il regolamento UE 1143/2014, recepito in Italia con il DLgs 230 del 15.12.2017 pubblicato il 30 gennaio 2018, prevede norme atte a prevenire, ridurre al minimo e mitigare gli effetti negativi sulla biodiversità causati dall'introduzione e dalla diffusione, sia deliberata che accidentale, di specie esotiche invasive all'interno dell'Unione, nonché a...
Article
Full-text available
The designation of taxonomic units has important implications for the understanding and conservation of biodiversity. Eurasian vipers are a monophyletic group of viperid snakes (Serpentes, Viperinae), currently comprising four genera (Daboia, Macrovipera, Montivipera and Vipera) and up to 40 species. Taxonomic units have been described using a wide...
Article
Full-text available
Multiple hypotheses have been proposed to explain the variation of dorsal patterns observed in snakes, but no studies yet have tested them over broad taxonomic and geographical scales. The Viperidae offer a powerful model group to test eco-evolutionary processes that lead to disruptive and cryptic ornaments. We developed a database reporting dorsal...
Article
Aim The ecological dimension of evolutionary processes has been scarcely addressed in phylogeographic studies. We reconstruct the historical biogeography of Western Mediterranean vipers to discover the role of climate in fostering diversification. Location Western Mediterranean Basin. Taxon Vipera aspis and Vipera latastei‐monticola complex. Met...
Article
Full-text available
The Maremma Natural History Museum is active in the field of Citizen Science at the Tuscan, national and international level. Among the founding bodies of the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA), it has promoted meetings for a national Citizen Science strategy in Italy, actively participated in the drafting of national guidelines on the sub...
Conference Paper
The persistence of colour polymorphism (CP) within a given population is generally associated with the coexistence of alternative reproductive strategies, each one involving specific trade-offs among behavioural, morphological, physiological, and other life history. Trade­offs involving immune system are of particular interest since the ability to...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The co-occurrence of the lizards Podarcis muralis and P. siculus is frequent but anecdotally reported in the literature, mostly as side notes of their complex ecology and life history. There are a few studies on the interactions between these two species, but these are old or focalized only on individual populations. This research aims to fill and...
Presentation
Full-text available
The co-occurrence of the lizards Podarcis muralis and P. siculus is frequent but anecdotally reported in the literature, mostly as side notes of their complex ecology and life history. There are a few studies on the interactions between these two species, but these are old or focalized only on individual populations. This research aims to fill and...
Article
Full-text available
Animals modulate intraspecific signal shape and intensity, notably during reproductive periods. Signal variability typically follows a seasonal scheme, traceable through the expression of visual, acoustic, chemical and behavioral patterns. The chemical channel is particularly important in lizards, as demonstrated by well-developed epidermal glands...
Article
Full-text available
We analysed a snake species community of a Mediterranean 0.2 ha ecotonal area during a 21 year time span, monitoring two colubrid and one viperid snake species. We carried out analyses in seven years (1997, 1999, 2002, 2004–2005, 2016–2017) that had similar sampling efforts and, in the last two years of short-term monitoring, we applied a recently...
Article
Full-text available
Disentangling the effects of single releasers in animal communication is a demanding task because a releaser often consists of a combination of different key stimuli. Territorial communication in reptiles usually depends on visual, chemical, and acoustic stimuli, but the role of each of them depends on phylogeny. Lacertids are modern lizards that r...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Feeding spectrum of Lacertids has been widely studied in different geographical areas, continental, insular and microinsular. Data are particularly informative and show a trophic spectrum mainly characterized by arthropods (mainly insercts), but also by other taxa. Even if lesser represented, terrestrial Isopods (Crustacea, Isopoda, Oniscidea) have...
Article
Transferring identity-related information (IRI) to conspecifics may give advantage in effectively tuning intraspecific behaviour. Some lizard species use the secretions of specialized epidermal glands (femoral or cloacal) to convey IRI. Those secretions are made of lipids and proteins, the former been suggested to inform about signaller quality, th...
Poster
Full-text available
The Project MONITO-RARE (a cooperation between the Tuscan Regional Government and the Universities of Florence, Pisa and Siena) envisages a monitoring program in the regional territory for animals, plants and habitats protected by the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) to meet Directive requirements and to provide data needed for the Fourth Report acco...
Conference Paper
Riuscire ad isolare gli effetti di un singolo releaser nella comunicazione animale è talvolta difficile, perché esso spesso è frutto della combinazione di diversi stimoli chiave. La comunicazione territoriale dei rettili dipende normalmente da stimoli visivi, chimici e acustici, ma il ruolo di ciascuno di essi è correlato alla filogenesi. I lacerti...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Most lacertid lizards bear specialized epidermal glands in the cloacal region, which produce waxy secretions used in intraspecific chemical communication. These secretions are made of a variable mixture of lipids and proteins. While the former has been already proved to convey information about quality and condition of the emitter, the role of the...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Caratterizzare le risposte fisiologiche ai fattori di stress ambientali in individui appartenenti a popolazioni selvatiche è di primaria importanza nella conservazione delle specie nei loro habitat. La quantificazione dei livelli plasmatici dei glucocorticoidi surrenali è una delle procedure più diffuse per valutare lo stress fisiologico negli anim...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Stress is a normal adaptive response of an individual to an internal or external stimulus that poses a threat to homeostasis. From the physiological point of view, stress not only induces the activation of the sympathetic nervous system but also a direct euroendocrine response to the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis)....
Conference Paper
Full-text available
When population goes undersub-optimal conditions of survival, mechanisms involved in regulating the phenotype during ontogenesis can be subjected to strain. The main effect of this stress is an increase in phenotypic variability that can be the result of changes in gene expression and deterioration of the mechanisms regulating the ontogenetic devel...
Article
Developing trustworthy biomarkers is of primary importance in monitoring impacts of environmental stressors on biological systems. Recently, fluctuating asymmetry in morphological traits of the common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis) has been proposed as useful tools for assessing environmental disturbance in urban habitats. However, the experimental...
Presentation
Full-text available
Artificial light at night (ALAN) is a threat to ecosystem, which due to urbanization it is increasing globally. This review is part of a wider project proposal of evolutionary ecology in urban and peri-urban populations of the Italian fauna. Here we provide an overview of the effects of light pollution on a plethora of organisms, as well as of ecos...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Artificial light at night (ALAN) is a threat to ecosystem, which due to urbanization it is increasing globally. This review is part of a wider project proposal of evolutionary ecology in urban and peri-urban populations of the Italian fauna. Here we provide an overview of the effects of light pollution on a plethora of organisms, as well as of ecos...
Article
Strongly selected characters can be transferred from one lineage to another with limited genetic exchange, resulting in asymmetric introgression and a mosaic genome in the receiving population. However, systems are rarely sufficiently well studied to link the pattern of introgression to its underlying process. Male common wall lizards in western It...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Il regolamento (UE) n. 1143/2014, entrato in vigore il 1°gennaio 2015, stabilisce le norme atte a prevenire, ridurre al minimo e mitigare gli effetti negativi sulla biodiversità causati dall'introduzione e dalla diffusione, sia deliberata che accidentale, di specie esotiche invasive all'interno dell'Unione europea, nonché a ridurre al minimo e miti...
Article
In this study, we chose 61 plots along three randomly placed transects in urban and natural areas to examine Paralaudakia caucasia habitat preferences. Ten habitat characteristics found to affect the lizard occurrence were recorded in both habitat types. Based on ANOVA, distance to farmland, height of vegetation cover, percentage of cover of human...
Article
Full-text available
Colour polymorphism in reptiles is generally associated with the coexistence of alternative reproductive strategies that involve specifc trade-offs among different life history traits. Notably, body temperature trades off with immunocompetence: temperature has relevant effects on immune-response, but maintaining the optimal temperature increases both e...
Article
Full-text available
To test if habitat could shape shell features of freshwater turtles starting from birth, we tested hatchlings of Emys orbicularis, randomly chosen from four clutches of the same locality, under two treatments, stagnant (pond habitat) vs lotic (river habitat) water regimes. Due to mortality at the beginning of the experiment, we finally considered o...
Article
Full-text available
The lack of data relating to basic life-history and population dynamics is one of the gaps to be filled in order to develop a proper strategy for the conservation of the Sicilian Pond Turtle (Emys trinacris). In this study, we present the results of the first year of a multi-annual monitoring program focusing on a specific wetland area, located wit...
Article
Territoriality evolves when the benefits gained from exclusive access to limited resources exceed the costs of defence. Sometimes animals evolve distinct morphs, that may reflect different capability, and in some territorial species of lizards the polymorphism is associated to alternative strategies, both for reproductive efficiency and territorial...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Lizards have a series of epidermal glands around the pre-cloacal region, which produce secretions involved in intraspecific signalling (Martín & López, 2015). Their activity is controlled by testosterone (T) (Padoa, 1933; Baeckens et al., 2016) and fluctuates seasonally (Padoa, 1933; Alberts, Pratt & Phillips, 1992). Secretions are made of proteins...
Article
Full-text available
Colour polymorphism often is associated with alternative reproductive strategies and may reflect different adaptive optima that coexist within populations. The equilibrium among morph frequencies is maintained by the occurrence of opposite selective pressures (disruptive vs stabilizing), which promote polymorphism while preserving gene flow. Sexual...
Article
Full-text available
The Lago Nero is a small mountain pond (1730 m a.s.l.) which originated during the last glacial period. It is situated on the Pistoiese Apennine, Abetone Municipality (Pistoia Province). Chemical-physical characteristics were investigated together with some ecological features, from November 2011 until December 2012. A seasonal variance was observe...
Article
Full-text available
Femoral glands of male lizards produce waxy secretions that are involved in inter- and intraspecific chemical communication. The main components of these secretions are proteins and lipids, the latter having been extensively studied and already associated to male quality. On the opposite, the composition and role of proteins are nearly unknown, the...
Article
Full-text available
Age and size at maturity are major life history traits, because they influence lifetime fecundity. They represent the outcome from complex interactions among environmental pressures (abiotic and biotic) and individual characteristics. They are also difficult to measure in natural populations and thus they are rarely appraised, especially in reptile...