Document Type

Professional Document

Publication Date

2009

Abstract

In 1998, we conducted a radio-telemetry study of Coluber constrictor etheridgei (Tan Racer) in the Angelina National Forest in eastern Texas. Individuals were located once daily from 12 June to 14 August. We determined home-range size, movement distances, movement frequency, and habitat use for this short-term study. We also determined food habits of this population by examination of fecal samples. We compared these parameters to other Racer taxa in Utah (C. c. mormon [Western Yellow-bellied Racer]), Kansas (C. c. fl aviventris [Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer]), and South Carolina (C.c. priapus [Southern Black Racer]). Compared to these populations, Texas Racers exhibited larger home ranges and greater movement frequency and distances during the summer than Utah or Kansas populations, but approximately equal to those of the South Carolina population. Available data on food habits suggests that all populations are consumers of invertebrate and vertebrate prey. We hypothesize that the basic diet of C. constrictor is composed of invertebrates captured by active foraging in areas of abundant herbaceous vegetation, that differences in home-range size and movement distances result from variations in patchiness of suitable foraging habitat across populations, and that the proportion of vertebrate prey in the diet of Coluber populations increases as home-range size and movement distances increase due to increasing patchiness of foraging habitat, resulting in increasing encounters with vertebrate prey.

Comments

Fleet, Robert R.; Rudolph, D. Craig; Camper, J. D.; Niederhofer, J. 2009. Ecological parameters of Coluber constrictor etheridgei, with comparisons to other Coluber constrictor subspecies. Southeastern Naturalist 8(Special Issue 2): 31-40.

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