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RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHEATGRASS COVERAGE AND THE RELATIVE ABUNDANCE OF SNAKES ON ANTELOPE ISLAND, UTAH

Lucas K. Hall, John F. Mull and John F. Cavitt
Western North American Naturalist
Vol. 69, No. 1 (March 2009), pp. 88-95
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41717733
Page Count: 8
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RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHEATGRASS COVERAGE AND THE RELATIVE ABUNDANCE OF SNAKES ON ANTELOPE ISLAND, UTAH
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Abstract

Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is an invasive annual known to negatively impact many shrub-dependent organisms; however, relatively little research has examined how it affects snake communities. Bromus tectorum is abundant at Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, Utah, and could be a possible threat to snake populations. Study sites representing different B. tectorum coverage percentages were established to measure relative abundance of snakes. Snakes were captured from June to September 2005 primarily by using funnel traps attached to drift-fence arrays. Linear regression revealed a negative relationship between B. tectorum coverage (%) and the relative abundance of the Great Basin gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) and the western racer (Coluber mormon). These results (1) suggest that B. tectorum invasions result in reduced snake abundance in shrubsteppe habitat on Antelope Island and (2) add to our understanding of the relationships between B. tectorum and native fauna.

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