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Title: Spatial ecology of Puerto Rican boas (Epicrates inornatus) in a hurricane impacted forest

Author: Wunderle, Joseph M. Jr.; Mercado, Javier E.; Parresol, Bernard; Terranova, Esteban

Date: 2004

Source: Biotropica, Vol. 36(4): 555-571

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Spatial ecology of Puerto Rican boas (Epicrates inornatus, Boidae) was studied with radiotelemetry in a subtropical wet forest recovering from a major hurricane (7–9 yr previous) when Hurricane Georges struck. Different boas were studied during three periods relative to Hurricane Georges: before only; before and after; and after only. Mean daily movement per month increased throughout the three periods, indicating that the boas moved more after the storm than before. Radio-tagged boas also became more visible to observers after the hurricane. Throughout the three periods, the sexes differed in movements, with males moving greater distances per move and moving more frequently than females. Males showed a bimodal peak of movement during April and June in contrast to the females’ July peak. Sexes did not differ in annual home range size, which had a median value of 8.5 ha (range 5 2.0–105.5 ha, N 5 18) for 95 percent adaptive kernal. Females spent more time on or below ground than did males, which were mostly arboreal. Trees used by boas had larger diameters and more vines than random trees. Hurricane winds that strip leaves, vines, and branches from trees may reduce cover for boas and limit access to arboreal sites, at least for several years until succession brings about recovery with increased vine growth. Boas were especially difficult to observe; telemetrically monitored boas were detected visually at an average of only 15 percent of their fix sites, indicating that the species is more abundant than generally perceived.

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Wunderle, Joseph M., Jr.; Mercado, Javier E.; Parresol, Bernard; Terranova, Esteban 2004. Spatial ecology of Puerto Rican boas (Epicrates inornatus) in a hurricane impacted forest. Biotropica, Vol. 36(4): 555-571

 


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