Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service
  
Treesearch

Research & Development Treesearch

 
Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Northern
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help
 

Science.gov - We Participate


USA.gov  Government Made Easy


Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.
20090-6090

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (99 KB)

Title: Copperheads are common when kingsnakes are not: relationships between the abundances of a predator and one of their prey

Author: Steen, David A.; McClure, Christopher J. W.; Sutton, William B.; Rudolph, D. Craig; Pierce, Josh B.; Lee, James R.; Smith, Lora L.; Gregory, Beau B.; Baxley, Danna L.; Stevenson, Dirk J.; Guyer, Craig;

Date: 2014

Source: Herpetologica. 70(1): 69-76

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Common Kingsnakes (formerly known collectively as Lampropeltis getula) are experiencing localized declines throughout the southeastern United States. Because there have been limited studies to determine how snakes regulate prey populations, and because Kingsnake declines may result in ecosystem impacts, we evaluated the hypothesis that Kingsnakes regulate the abundance of one of their prey, the venomous Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix). We generated a database of captures of the two species across the southeastern United States and, while controlling for large-scale habitat preferences, identified a negative relationship between the relative abundance of Kingsnakes and the relative abundance of Copperheads. Our results are correlative but consistent with the hypothesis that Copperhead populations experience a release from predation pressure where Kingsnake abundances are low. We suggest that Kingsnake declines, which are occurring for unknown reasons, are having ecological effects in affected ecosystems. We further highlight the potential role that snakes play in influencing the population dynamics of their prey.

Keywords: Agkistrodon contortrix, Community ecology, Interspecific interaction, Lampropeltis, Population, Predation, Snake

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

XML: View XML

Citation:


Steen, David A.; McClure, Christopher J. W.; Sutton, William B.; Rudolph, D. Craig; Pierce, Josh B.; Lee, James R.; Smith, Lora L.; Gregory, Beau B.; Baxley, Danna L.; Stevenson, Dirk J.; Guyer, Craig. 2014. Copperheads are common when kingsnakes are not: relationships between the abundances of a predator and one of their prey. Herpetologica. 70(1): 69-76.

 


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.