Ecology of the Eastern Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus) in southern Alabama with evidence of seasonal multiple broods

Date
2011-12
Authors
Langford, Gabriel J.
Borden, Joel A.
Nelson, David H.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Herpetological Conservation and Biology
Abstract
Studies are lacking on the ecology of the Eastern Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus), especially in the southern United States. We describe some aspects of the sexual dimorphism, sex ratio, feeding habits, reproductive biology, and seasonal activity of the Eastern Ribbonsnake in a southern Alabama Tupelo-Gum swamp from 2003-2005. We captured 339 Eastern Ribbonsnakes 379 times; females were significantly longer than males, but males had longer tails. Snakes were active year-round, and the longest straight-line distance travelled by any snake was 1,050 m. Snakes consumed only frogs (Hyla spp. and Lithobates spp.); a shift occurred when juveniles switched from feeding on tadpoles to adult frogs. We found females had an extended reproductive season, producing broods April-October. Two females double brooded during the 2004 reproductive season, with 99 and 118 days between broods. The average brood size for Eastern Ribbonsnakes from six females that produced eight broods was 14 ± 3.18 (range 9-19). A reduction in brood size occurred in both females that produced multiple broods, but no decrease in neonate snout-vent length was detected between broods. Overall, our study provides needed natural history data from a southern location and the first evidence for multiple broods in a wild, temperate snake.
Description
Keywords
Eastern ribbonsnake, Biology
Citation
Langford, Gabriel & Borden, Joel & Nelson, David. (2011). Ecology of the Eastern Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus) in southern Alabama with evidence of seasonal multiple broods. Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 6. 400-409.
DOI
Collections