EFFECTS OF ROADWAYS ON MATE SEARCHING MOVEMENTS AND MATE LOCATION SUCCESS IN AN IMPERILED PIT VIPER (CROTALUS HORRIDUS)**
A detailed understanding of animal movement behavior is fundamental to effective conservation and management. Within populations, a diversity of movement strategies can be displayed in search of critical resources, and these strategies are influenced by multiple interacting factors related to individuals and the environment. Mating partners are one critical resource that often serves as a prominent selective force shaping movement during mating seasons. For many large-bodied snakes, such as pit vipers (Viperidae: Crotalinae), male mate-searching movements are the primary determinant of mate location success. During this time, males incur significant risks associated with elevated movement. In an increasingly human-modified world, this often includes more frequent interactions with anthropogenic landscape features, such as roadways. A recent range-wide status assessment for Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) identified roadways among the leading threats to population persistence. More narrowly, roads are implicated in recent declines for C. horridus populations in the Piedmont ecoregion of Georgia, USA. Before effective mitigation strategies can be developed, it is critical to identify behavioral mechanisms that mediate the relative risk that roads pose to populations and individuals. Even in the absence of significant road mortality, sub-lethal effects of roads have been well documented for other wildlife but remain largely untested in snakes. In order to fill these gaps and better inform conservation, I propose an integration of radio telemetry and accelerometry to quantify the effects of proximity to roads and road interaction frequency on mate searching movements and mate location success in C. horridus from the Georgia Piedmont.
Noble*, Elizabeth J.; Tipton, Anna F.; and DeSantis, Dominic L.
"EFFECTS OF ROADWAYS ON MATE SEARCHING MOVEMENTS AND MATE LOCATION SUCCESS IN AN IMPERILED PIT VIPER (CROTALUS HORRIDUS)**,"
Georgia Journal of Science, Vol. 81, No. 1, Article 136.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.gaacademy.org/gjs/vol81/iss1/136