Georgia Journal of Science
REVISITING THE ENERGETICS HYPOTHESIS: CAN ACCELEROMETER MONITORING REVEAL HIDDEN VARIATION IN THE MOVEMENT PATTERNS OF SNAKES?
Historically, predators have been classified into two broad categories based upon how they search for and acquire prey. Active foragers move extensively through the environment in search of prey, while ambush foragers “sit-and-wait” in carefully selected positions for prey to pass within striking range. The clear difference in energetic demands between these strategies is expected to correlate with significant differences in the time species allocate to various behaviors. According to this energetics hypothesis, ambush foragers should exhibit reduced movement and space use relative to co-occurring active foragers, especially those of similar size. Snakes represent unique and traditionally overlooked model organisms for exploring these associations, particularly the interplay between movement, foraging mode, and thermal preferences. Radio telemetry has represented the primary tool for measuring snake movement and space use since the 1980’s, however, coarse measures of activity based on straight-line distances between relocation points hinder examination of the mechanisms that shape movement patterns at finer temporal scales. Our case study capitalizes on recently validated procedures integrating radio telemetry and accelerometry for continuous monitoring and recording of the spatial and temporal dimensions of movement behavior in snakes. Specifically, we will carry out an improved test of the energetics hypothesis by exploring associations between movement behavior, energetic requirements, and thermal profiles in ambush-foraging Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) and active-foraging Rat Snakes (Pantherophis alleghaniensis). This project will provide a blue-print for future hypothesis-driven studies on movement behavior in small and secretive species using emerging animal-borne datalogging technologies.
GCSU Department of Biology
Tillett, William L. II and Wilson, Parker L.
"REVISITING THE ENERGETICS HYPOTHESIS: CAN ACCELEROMETER MONITORING REVEAL HIDDEN VARIATION IN THE MOVEMENT PATTERNS OF SNAKES?,"
Georgia Journal of Science, Vol. 81, No. 1, Article 39.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.gaacademy.org/gjs/vol81/iss1/39