Citizen Science Assisted Monitoring Provides New Data Concerning the Distribution of the Bulgarian Bent-toed Gecko, Mediodactylus danilewskii (Gekkonidae, Squamata), in North-East Bulgaria

Keywords: volunteers, observation, documentation, population, new locality, gecko


The Bulgarian Bent-toed Gecko (Mediodactylus danilewskii Strauch, 1887) is one of the two species of geckos inhabiting the territory of Bulgaria. In the recent years, new information on its distribution was published and big amount of data were collected. We organized an information platform for sharing data on the biology and live-range of M. danilewskii in North-East Bulgaria. This gecko is a highly synanthropic species which is often observed by citizens. Here we report on four new observation spots and also confirm the presence of the species from recently published localities. All data were recorded by volunteers, hence we discuss on the methods for documentation of the specimens and the critical role of the citizen science to assess the range of distribution of the species.


Ananjeva, N. B., Orlov, N. L., Khalikov, R. G., Darevsky, I. S., Ryabov S. A., Barabanov, A. 2006. An atlas of the reptiles of Northern Eurasia: Taxonomic diversity, distribution, conservation status. Pensoft Publishers, Sofia, 1-245.

Beshkov, V., Nanev, K. 2002. The amphibians and reptiles in Bulgaria. Pensoft, Sofia-Moscow, 1-120 [In Bulgarian].

Bonney, R., Shirk, J. L., Phillips, T. B., Wiggins, A., Ballard, H. L., Miller-Rushing, A. J., Parrish, J. K. 2014. Next steps for citizen science. Science, 343, 1436-1437.

Bruyere, B., Rappe, S. 2007. Identifying the motivations of environmental volunteers. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 50(4), 503-516.

Cosentino, B. J., Marsh, D. M., Jones, K.S., Apodaca, J. J., Bates, C., Beach, J. 2014. Citizen science reveals widespread negative effects of roads on amphibian distributions. Biological Conservation, 180, 31-38.

Darwall, W. R., Dulvy, N. K. 1996. An evaluation of the suitability of non-specialist volunteer researchers for coral reef fish surveys. Mafia Island, Tanzania - a case study. Biological Conservation, 78, 223-231.

Deutsch, C., Bilenca, D., Agostini, G. 2017. In Search of the Horned Frog (Ceratophrys ornata) in Argentina: Complementing Field Surveys with Citizen Science. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 12(3), 664-672.

Hecker, S., Haklay, M., Bowser, A., Makuch, Z., Vogel, J., Bonn, A. 2018. Citizen Science: Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy. UCL Press, London, 1-542.

Kobori, H., Dickinson, J. L., Washitani, I., Sakurai, R., Amano, T., Komatsu, N., Kitamura, W., Takagawa, S., Koyama, K., Ogawara, T., Miller-Rushing, A. J. 2016. Citizen science: a new approach to advance ecology, education, and conservation. Ecological Research, 31, 1-19.

Kotsakiozi, P., Jablonski, D., Ilgaz, C., Kumlutaş, Y., Avcı, A., Meiri, S., Itescu, Y., Kukushkin, O., Gvoždík, V., Scillitani, G., Roussos, S. A., Jandzik, D., Kasapidis, P., Lymberakis, P., Poulakakis, N. 2018. Multilocus phylogeny and coalescent species delimitation in Kotschy's gecko, Mediodactylus kotschyi: hidden diversity and cryptic species. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 125, 177-187.

Koynova, T., Tzankov, N., Popgeorgiev, G., Naumov, B., Natchev, N. 2017. A new distribution record of the Kotschy's Gecko (Mediodactylus kotschyi) from inland north-eastern Bulgaria. Herpetology notes, 10, 1-2.

Koynova, T., Doichev, D., Natchev, N. 2020. New data on the distribution of the Bulgarian Bent-toed Gecko (Mediodactylus danilewskii Strauch, 1887) in Shumen town (NE Bulgaria). Biharean Biologist, 14 (2), 122-124.

Koynova, T., Natchev, N. 2020. MEDIODACTYLUS DANILEWSKII (Mediterranean Thin-toed Gecko). DIET. Herpetological Review, 51 (4), 51.

Kraus, F. 2009. Alien reptiles and amphibians: a scientific compendium and analysis. Springer, Netherlands, 1-569.

McClure, E. C., Sievers, M., Brown, C. J., Buelow, C. A., Ditria, E. M., Hayes, M. A., Pearson, R. M., Tulloch, V. J. D., Unsworth, R. K. F., Connolly, R. M. 2020. Artificial Intelligence Meets Citizen Science to Supercharge Ecological Monitoring. Patterns (New York), 1 (7), 100109.

McKinley, D. C., Miller-Rushing, A. J., Ballard, H. L., Bonney, R., Brown, H., Cook-Patton, S. C., Evans, D. M., French, R. A., Parrish, J. K., Phillips, T. B., Ryan, S. F., Shanley, L. A., Shirk, J. L., Stepenuck, K. F., Weltzin, J. F., Wiggins, A., Boyle, O. D., Briggs, R. D., Chapin, S. F., Hewitt, D. A., Preuss, P. W., Soukup, M. A. 2017. Citizen science can improve conservation science, natural resource management, and environmental protection. Biological Conservation, 208, 15-28.

Miller-Rushing, A., Primack, R., Bonney, R., Albee, E. 2020. The history of citizen science in Ecology and Conservation. In: Lepczyk, C., Boyle, O., Vargo, T., eds. Handbook of Citizen Science in Ecology and Conservation. University of California Press, 17-23.

Newman, C., Buesching, C. D., Macdonald, D. W. 2003. Validating mammal monitoring methods and assessing the performance of volunteers in wildlife conservation - ''Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodies?''. Biological Conservation, 113, 189-197.

Peters, M., Eames, C., Hamilton, D. 2015. The use and value of citizen science data in New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 45(3), 151-160.

Petrovan, S. O., Schmidt, B. R. 2016. Volunteer conservation action data reveals large-scale and long-term negative population trends of a widespread amphibian, the Common Toad (Bufo bufo). PLoS ONE, 11:e0161943.

Rowley, J., Callaghan, C., Cutajar, T., Portway, C., Potter, K., Mahony, S., Trembath, D., Flemons, P., Woods, A. 2019. FrogID: Citizen Scientists Provide Validated Biodiversity Data on Frogs of Australia. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 14 (1), 155-170.

Ryan, R. L., Kaplan, R., Grese, R. E. 2001. Predicting Volunteer Commitment in Environmental Stewardship Programmes. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 44 (5), 629-648.

Silvertown, J. 2009. A new dawn for citizen science. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 24, 467-471.

Starr, J., Schweik, C. M., Bush, N., Fletcher, L., Finn, J., Fish, J., Bargeron, C. T. 2014. Lights, camera…Citizen science: Assessing the effectiveness of smartphone-based video training in invasive plant identification. PLoS ONE, 9:e111433.

Stepenuck, K. F., Green, L. T. 2015. Individual- and community-level impacts of volunteer environmental monitoring: A synthesis of peer-reviewed literature. Ecology and Society, 20 (3), 19.

Stojanov, A., Tzankov, N., Naumov, B. 2011. Die Amphibien und Reptilien Bulgariens. Edition Chimaira, Germany, 1-582 [In German].

Theobald, E. J., Ettinger, A. K., Burgess, H. K., DeBey, L. B., Schmidt, N. R., Froehlich, H. E., Wagner, C., HilleRisLambers, J., Tewksbury, J., Harsch, M. A., Parrish, J. K. 2015. Global change and local solutions: tapping the unrealized potential of citizen science for biodiversity research. Biological Conservation, 181, 236-244.

Trumbull, D. J., Bonney, R., Bascom, D., Cabral. A. 2000. Thinking scientifically during participation in a citizen-science project. Science Education, 84, 265-275.<265::AID-SCE7>3.0.CO;2-5

How to Cite
Koynova, T., Marinova, P., Nikolov, N., Kaschieva, M., Chernikov, C., Velkova, V., & Natchev, N. (2021). Citizen Science Assisted Monitoring Provides New Data Concerning the Distribution of the Bulgarian Bent-toed Gecko, Mediodactylus danilewskii (Gekkonidae, Squamata), in North-East Bulgaria. Zoodiversity, 55(5).