'Heaven' for serpents A mark-recapture study of tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus) on Carnac Island, Western Australia

X. Bonnet, D. Pearson, M. Ladyman, O. Lourdais, Don Bradshaw

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    • 50 Citations

    Abstract

    Animals resident on small islands provide excellent opportunities to carry out detailed mark-recapture studies. Populations are closed and ecosystems are often simpler than those of mainland sites. These factors enable the study of cryptic species that have otherwise been neglected. Snakes are notable for their secretive nature and, as a result, few natural populations have been accurately described through long-term mark-recapture monitoring. A population of tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus ) was studied on Carnac Island, a small limestone island (16 ha) off the coast of Western Australia. Population estimates show that snake density is very high, with more than 20 adult snakes per ha. This equates to a biomass of more than 100 kg of a top predator concentrated in a very small area. Such a high predator density can be explained because adult snakes feed mainly on chicks of nesting birds that breed in large colonies on Carnac but forage elsewhere. Substantial annual growth rates in body size in most individuals suggest that food availability is high on Carnac. Growth rates decreased more sharply in adult females than in males, whereas annual changes in body mass were similar in both sexes, probably because of the high energetic costs of reproduction experienced by females. Surprisingly, the sex ratio was highly biased, with males largely outnumbering females.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages442-450
    JournalAustral Ecology
    Volume27
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2002

    Fingerprint

    Notechis scutatus
    mark-recapture studies
    snake
    Western Australia
    snakes
    predator
    predators
    food availability
    limestone
    body mass
    sex ratio
    forage
    body size
    energetics
    chicks
    bird
    breeds
    coasts
    ecosystems
    monitoring

    Cite this

    @article{39389196131e4bd082a389c2187e8629,
    title = "'Heaven' for serpents A mark-recapture study of tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus) on Carnac Island, Western Australia",
    abstract = "Animals resident on small islands provide excellent opportunities to carry out detailed mark-recapture studies. Populations are closed and ecosystems are often simpler than those of mainland sites. These factors enable the study of cryptic species that have otherwise been neglected. Snakes are notable for their secretive nature and, as a result, few natural populations have been accurately described through long-term mark-recapture monitoring. A population of tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus ) was studied on Carnac Island, a small limestone island (16 ha) off the coast of Western Australia. Population estimates show that snake density is very high, with more than 20 adult snakes per ha. This equates to a biomass of more than 100 kg of a top predator concentrated in a very small area. Such a high predator density can be explained because adult snakes feed mainly on chicks of nesting birds that breed in large colonies on Carnac but forage elsewhere. Substantial annual growth rates in body size in most individuals suggest that food availability is high on Carnac. Growth rates decreased more sharply in adult females than in males, whereas annual changes in body mass were similar in both sexes, probably because of the high energetic costs of reproduction experienced by females. Surprisingly, the sex ratio was highly biased, with males largely outnumbering females.",
    author = "X. Bonnet and D. Pearson and M. Ladyman and O. Lourdais and Don Bradshaw",
    year = "2002",
    doi = "10.1046/j.1442-9993.2002.01198.x",
    language = "English",
    volume = "27",
    pages = "442--450",
    journal = "Austral Ecology",
    issn = "1442-9985",
    publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd",

    }

    'Heaven' for serpents A mark-recapture study of tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus) on Carnac Island, Western Australia. / Bonnet, X.; Pearson, D.; Ladyman, M.; Lourdais, O.; Bradshaw, Don.

    In: Austral Ecology, Vol. 27, 2002, p. 442-450.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - 'Heaven' for serpents A mark-recapture study of tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus) on Carnac Island, Western Australia

    AU - Bonnet,X.

    AU - Pearson,D.

    AU - Ladyman,M.

    AU - Lourdais,O.

    AU - Bradshaw,Don

    PY - 2002

    Y1 - 2002

    N2 - Animals resident on small islands provide excellent opportunities to carry out detailed mark-recapture studies. Populations are closed and ecosystems are often simpler than those of mainland sites. These factors enable the study of cryptic species that have otherwise been neglected. Snakes are notable for their secretive nature and, as a result, few natural populations have been accurately described through long-term mark-recapture monitoring. A population of tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus ) was studied on Carnac Island, a small limestone island (16 ha) off the coast of Western Australia. Population estimates show that snake density is very high, with more than 20 adult snakes per ha. This equates to a biomass of more than 100 kg of a top predator concentrated in a very small area. Such a high predator density can be explained because adult snakes feed mainly on chicks of nesting birds that breed in large colonies on Carnac but forage elsewhere. Substantial annual growth rates in body size in most individuals suggest that food availability is high on Carnac. Growth rates decreased more sharply in adult females than in males, whereas annual changes in body mass were similar in both sexes, probably because of the high energetic costs of reproduction experienced by females. Surprisingly, the sex ratio was highly biased, with males largely outnumbering females.

    AB - Animals resident on small islands provide excellent opportunities to carry out detailed mark-recapture studies. Populations are closed and ecosystems are often simpler than those of mainland sites. These factors enable the study of cryptic species that have otherwise been neglected. Snakes are notable for their secretive nature and, as a result, few natural populations have been accurately described through long-term mark-recapture monitoring. A population of tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus ) was studied on Carnac Island, a small limestone island (16 ha) off the coast of Western Australia. Population estimates show that snake density is very high, with more than 20 adult snakes per ha. This equates to a biomass of more than 100 kg of a top predator concentrated in a very small area. Such a high predator density can be explained because adult snakes feed mainly on chicks of nesting birds that breed in large colonies on Carnac but forage elsewhere. Substantial annual growth rates in body size in most individuals suggest that food availability is high on Carnac. Growth rates decreased more sharply in adult females than in males, whereas annual changes in body mass were similar in both sexes, probably because of the high energetic costs of reproduction experienced by females. Surprisingly, the sex ratio was highly biased, with males largely outnumbering females.

    U2 - 10.1046/j.1442-9993.2002.01198.x

    DO - 10.1046/j.1442-9993.2002.01198.x

    M3 - Article

    VL - 27

    SP - 442

    EP - 450

    JO - Austral Ecology

    T2 - Austral Ecology

    JF - Austral Ecology

    SN - 1442-9985

    ER -