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Scholars Day 2005, Wednesday, April 13

Spatial Ecology of Translocated versus Non-Translocated Boa Constrictors (Boa constrictor imperator) on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

Animals must seek a favorable environment and microhabitat that will protect them from predators and weather. Accumulating evidence has shown that relocation of reptiles results in high mortality. We have studied the movement and habitat choice of translocated and non-translocated boa constrictors on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua to determine the microhabitat and environment that the snakes prefer. We are interested in determining whether translocated snakes show movement toward their point of capture and whether they are choosing environments and microhabitats similar to their capture site. We used a novel technique to implant radiotransmitters under local anesthesia. We tracked all snakes using radiotelemetry, and used Geographic Information Systems to examine spatial distribution and movement of all snakes. Translocated boas moved significantly more than non-translocated boas and appeared to show directed movement toward their points of capture. All snakes appear to prefer microhabitats of trees, logs, and rocks, but there is a significant distribution difference between translocated and non-translocated snakes. Translocated snakes are found more often in trees and logs and non-translocated snakes are found more often in rocks. Translocated and non-translocated snakes seem to be behaving differently, which may explain increased mortality in translocated snakes.

Presenter: Sandra Shifley (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Environmental Science
Location: 140 Lennon
Time: 3 pm (Session IV)