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Demography of the San Francisco gartersnake in coastal San Mateo County, California

August 2, 2011

The San Francisco gartersnake Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia has been federally listed as endangered since 1967, but little demographic information exists for this species. We examined the demography of a San Francisco gartersnake population on approximately 213 ha of California coastal prairie in San Mateo County, California, from 2007 to 2010. The best-supported mark–recapture model indicated annual variation in daily capture probabilities and annual survival rates. Abundance increased throughout the study period, with a mean total population from 2008 to 2010 of 443 (95% CI  =  313–646) individuals. Annual survival was slightly greater than that of most other gartersnakes, with an annual probability of survival of 0.78 (0.55–0.95) in 2008–2009 and 0.75 (0.49–0.93) in 2009–2010. Mean annual per capita recruitment rates were 0.73 (0.02–2.50) in 2008–2009 and 0.47 (0.02–1.42) in 2009–2010. From 2008 to 2010, the probability of an increase in abundance at this site was 0.873, with an estimated increase of 115 (−82 to 326) individuals. The estimated population growth rate in 2008–2009 was 1.52 (0.73–3.29) and in 2009–2010 was 1.21 (0.70–2.17). Although this population is probably stable or increasing in the short term, long-term studies of the status of the San Francisco gartersnake at other sites are required to estimate population trends and to elucidate mechanisms that promote the recovery of this charismatic member of our native herpetofauna.

Publication Year 2011
Title Demography of the San Francisco gartersnake in coastal San Mateo County, California
DOI 10.3996/012011-JFWM-009
Authors Brian J. Halstead, Glenn D. Wylie, Melissa Amarello, Jeffrey J. Smith, Michelle E. Thompson, Eric J. Routman, Michael L. Casazza
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management
Index ID 70004995
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center