Preliminary Analysis of Mark-Recapture Data for an Ongoing Autecological Study of the Northern Watersnake, Nerodia sipedon sipedon, in a West Virginia stream.

Brian Ringhiser, Zachary Loughman

Abstract


The northern watersnake, Nerodia sipedon, is a natricine ubiquitous across aquatic habitats of the eastern United States. Found as far north as Ontario, as south as Florida, and stretching as far west as Utah, this species is ever-present and often in high abundance. The prevalence of N. sipedon has garnered extensive research, much of which concerns its reproduction. However, thorough, long-term studies, especially within stream ecosystems, are lacking. The purpose of this study is to fill that void, serving as an analysis of data from the first two years of ongoing autecological research on a N. sipedon sipedon population within Short Creek, a rural stream in the northern panhandle of West Virginia.  Morphometric, dietary, thermal, habitat and movement data were recorded for each capture, however this analysis primarily focuses on mark-recapture data in an attempt to provide insight towards implementing radio telemetry during future activity seasons. Further research will investigate unanalyzed data, identify hibernacula, and build upon the established data set.


Keywords


autecology; life history; natural history; mark-recapture

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