Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Invasive watersnakes introduced to California may pose risk to native species

26.06.2014

Non-native watersnakes have potential to spread throughout West

Watersnakes, commonly seen in the lakes, rivers and streams of the eastern United States, are invading California waterways and may pose a threat to native and endangered species in the state, according to a University of California, Davis, study.


Southern watersnakes commonly eat mole salamanders, a group that includes two endangered species in California. A UC Davis study finds that the non-native snakes are invading California waters, posing a threat to native fish, amphibians and reptiles.

Credit: J.D. Willson/University of Arkansas

While scientists do not know exactly how many watersnakes are in California, roughly 300 individuals of two different species –the common watersnake and the southern watersnake -- have been found in the Sacramento area (Roseville and Folsom), and at least 150 were seen in Long Beach. Researchers suspect the nonvenomous snakes most likely were introduced by people "setting free" their pet snakes.

"The issue is not yet out of control," said lead author Jonathan Rose, a doctoral candidate in the UC Davis Graduate Group in Ecology. "However, we recommend that action be taken now to control emergent populations of these non-native snakes while they remain somewhat restricted in California. Waiting until they become entrenched could cost more ecologically and economically."

The study, published today in the journal PLOS ONE, identified areas that would be climatically suitable for the watersnakes should their populations continue to increase. It found that potential distributions of watersnakes overlap with the giant gartersnake and the California tiger salamander -- both on the federal list of threatened species -- as well as the foothill yellow-legged frog, an amphibian of conservation concern. These native species can become prey or a competing species for the invasive watersnakes.

The common watersnake not only has the potential to spread through Central California, but also farther north to Oregon's Willamette Valley and to central Washington. The southern watersnake has a more restricted climatic niche but may spread through the Central Valley, where native fish and amphibians have already suffered significant declines. The two watersnake species also frequently interbreed, which could increase their invasiveness by producing hybrid genotypes able to tolerate a broader range of climates.

"Watersnakes are not picky eaters," said co-author Brian Todd, a conservation biologist in the UC Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology. "With their predatory nature and generalist diets, our already imperiled native fish, amphibians and reptiles have much to lose should introduced watersnakes become more widespread."

Nearly half of California's amphibians are considered Species of Special Concern or are listed under the state or federal Endangered Species Act, and more than 80 percent of the state's inland fishes are of conservation concern.

###

Sightings of introduced watersnakes can be reported to californiawatersnakes@gmail.com.

Read the full study at http://bit.ly/1lTT0lg.

Jonathan Rose | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: amphibians non-native non-native snakes populations species spread

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht The causes of soil consumption
14.06.2016 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

nachricht Fishing prohibitions produce more sharks along with problems for fishing communities
09.06.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First experimental quantum simulation of particle physics phenomena

Physicists in Innsbruck have realized the first quantum simulation of lattice gauge theories, building a bridge between high-energy theory and atomic physics. In the journal Nature, Rainer Blatt‘s and Peter Zoller’s research teams describe how they simulated the creation of elementary particle pairs out of the vacuum by using a quantum computer.

Elementary particles are the fundamental buildings blocks of matter, and their properties are described by the Standard Model of particle physics. The...

Im Focus: Is There Life On Mars?

Survivalist back from Space - 18 months on the outer skin of the ISS

A year and a half on the outer wall of the International Space Station ISS in altitude of 400 kilometers is a real challenge. Whether a primordial bacterium...

Im Focus: CWRU physicists deploy magnetic vortex to control electron spin

Potential technology for quantum computing, keener sensors

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed a way to swiftly and precisely control electron spins at room temperature.

Im Focus: Physicists measured something new in the radioactive decay of neutrons

The experiment inspired theorists; future ones could reveal new physics

A physics experiment performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has enhanced scientists' understanding of how free neutrons decay...

Im Focus: Discovery of gold nanocluster 'double' hints at other shape changing particles

New analysis approach brings two unique atomic structures into focus

Chemically the same, graphite and diamonds are as physically distinct as two minerals can be, one opaque and soft, the other translucent and hard. What makes...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ERES 2016: The largest conference in the European real estate industry

09.06.2016 | Event News

Networking 4.0: International Laser Technology Congress AKL’16 Shows New Ways of Cooperations

24.05.2016 | Event News

Challenges of rural labor markets

20.05.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool'

24.06.2016 | Materials Sciences

Russian physicists create a high-precision 'quantum ruler'

24.06.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Hubble confirms new dark spot on Neptune

24.06.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>