Florida

Legacy ID: 
10
State Code: 
FL
Country Code: 
USA
Area: 
55 814.70
Latitude: 
28.66
Longitude: 
-82.50
Publication Title: 

Supersize me: Remains of three white-tailed deer (<i>Odocoileus virginianus</i>) in an invasive Burmese python (<i>Python molurus bivittatus</i>) in Florida

FORT Contact: 
Bob Reed
Authors: 
Scott M. Boback, Ray W. Snow, Teresa Hsu, Suzanne C. Peurach, Carla J. Dove, and Robert N. Reed
Related Staff: 
Bob Reed
Publication Date: 
2016
Parent Publication Title: 
BioInvasions Records
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 
States: 

Pub Abstract: 

Snakes have become successful invaders in a wide variety of ecosystems worldwide. In southern Florida, USA, the Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) has become established across thousands of square kilometers including all of Everglades National Park (ENP). Both experimental and correlative data have supported a relationship between Burmese python predation and declines or extirpations of mid- to large-sized mammals in ENP. In June 2013 a large python (4.32 m snout-vent length, 48.3 kg) was captured and removed from the park. Subsequent necropsy revealed a massive amount of fecal matter (79 cm in length, 6.5 kg) within the snake’s large intestine. A comparative examination of bone, teeth, and hooves extracted from the fecal contents revealed that this snake consumed three white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). This is the first report of an invasive Burmese python containing the remains of multiple white-tailed deer in its gut. Because the largest snakes native to southern Florida are not capable of consuming even mid-sized mammals, pythons likely represent a novel predatory threat to white-tailed deer in these habitats. This work highlights the potential impact of this large-bodied invasive snake and supports the need for more work on invasive predator-native prey relationships.

Publication Title: 

First record of invasive Burmese Python oviposition and brooding inside an anthropogenic structure

FORT Contact: 
Emma Hanslowe
Authors: 
Emma Hanslowe, Bryan Falk, Michelle A. M. Collier, Jillian Josimovich, Thomas Rahill, and Robert Reed
Related Staff: 
Emma Hanslowe
Bryan Falk
Jillian Josimovich
Bob Reed
Publication Date: 
2016
Parent Publication Title: 
Southeastern Naturalist
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 
States: 

Pub Abstract: 

We discovered an adult female Python bivittatus (Burmese Python) coiled around a clutch of 25 eggs in a cement culvert in Flamingo, FL, in Everglades National Park. To our knowledge, this is the first record of an invasive Burmese Python laying eggs and brooding inside an anthropogenic structure in Florida. A 92% hatch-success rate suggests that the cement culvert provided suitable conditions for oviposition, embryonic development, and hatching. Given the plenitude of such anthropogenic structures across the landscape, available sites for oviposition and brooding may not be limiting for the invasive Burmese Python population.

USGS Invasive Species Science Branch Team-up to Run 5K Race Against Invasives

Four Florida-based representatives from the Invasive Species Science Branch, including three youth interns, ran the Race Against Invasives 5K in Everglades National Park on October 22, 2016. Racers ran alongside interagency colleagues from the National Park Service, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida State University, and Florida International University. Funds raised at this event will go towards invasive species education and outreach in southern Florida, as well as early detection and rapid response efforts in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem.

Burmese Python Hatchlings Seen on Key Largo

The U.S. Geological Survey issued a press release this morning, September 22, 2016, announcing the discovery of Burmese python (Python bivittatus) hatchlings spotted on Key Largo, following three sightings last month of snakes approximately 18-inches long. This species has been documented in the Florida Keys for a while now and pythons have previously been captured on Key Largo, but these are the first reports of hatchlings, evidence of reproduction.

Publication Title: 

Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti (Florida cottonmouth) Diet

FORT Contact: 
Bryan Falk
Authors: 
Grajal-Puche, A., J. Josimovich, B. Falk, and R.N. Reed
Related Staff: 
Alejandro Grajal-Puche
Bryan Falk
Publication Date: 
2016
Parent Publication Title: 
Herpetological Review
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 
States: 

Pub Abstract: 

Agkistrodon piscivorus is a generalist predator that feeds on a variety of prey, including snakes (Gloyd and Conant 1990. Snakes of the Agkistrodon Complex: A Monographic Review. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Oxford, Ohio. 614 pp.; Lillywhite et al. 2002. Herpetol. Rev. 33:259–260; Hill and Beaupre 2008. Copeia 2008:105–114). Cemophora coccinea (Scarletsnake) is not known as one of the 26 species of snakes consumed by A. piscivorus (Ernst and Ernst 2011. Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico: Volume 1. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland. 193 pp.). On 16 June 2015, at 2210 h, we found a dead-on-road A. piscivorus (total length [TL] = 51.0 cm) in Everglades National Park on Main Park Road, 1.88 km S Pa-hay-okee, Miami-Dade Co., Florida, USA (25.414085°N, 80.78183146°W, WGS84; elev. 3 m). The snake had been killed by a vehicle and some internal organs were exposed. Visible stomach contents included a small (TL ca. 15 cm) C. coccinea. Photographic vouchers of the A. piscivorus (UF-Herpetology 177194) and C. coccinea (UF-Herpetology 177195) were deposited in the Division of Herpetology, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida. Despite the fact that these species are sympatric over large areas of the southeastern United States, this is the first known documented predation of C. coccinea by A. piscivorus.

Publication Title: 

Modeling suitable habitat of invasive red lionfish Pterois volitans (Linnaeus, 1758) in North and South America’s coastal waters

FORT Contact: 
Catherine Jarnevich
Authors: 
Evangelista P.H., N.E. Young, P.J. Schofield, C.S. Jarnevich
Related Staff: 
Catherine Jarnevich
Publication Date: 
2016
Parent Publication Title: 
Aquatic Invasions
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 

Pub Abstract: 

We used two common correlative species-distribution models to predict suitable habitat of invasive red lionfish Pterois volitans (Linnaeus, 1758) in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans. The Generalized Linear Model (GLM) and the Maximum Entropy (Maxent) model were applied using the Software for Assisted Habitat Modeling. We compared models developed using native occurrences, using non-native occurrences, and using both native and non-native occurrences. Models were trained using occurrence data collected before 2010 and evaluated with occurrence data collected from the invaded range during or after 2010. We considered a total of 22 marine environmental variables. Models built with non-native only or both native and non-native occurrence data outperformed those that used only native occurrences. Evaluation metrics based on the independent test data were highest for models that used both native and non-native occurrences. Bathymetry was the strongest environmental predictor for all models and showed increasing suitability as ocean floor depth decreased, with salinity ranking the second strongest predictor for models that used native and both native and non-native occurrences, indicating low habitat suitability for salinities <30. Our model results also suggest that red lionfish could continue to invade southern latitudes in the western Atlantic Ocean and may establish localized populations in the eastern Pacific Ocean. We reiterate the importance in the choice of the training data source (native, non-native, or native/non-native) used to develop correlative species distribution models for invasive species.

Environmental DNA (eDNA) Sampling Improves Occurrence and Detection Estimates of Invasive Burmese Pythons and Other Constrictor Snakes in Florida

Code: 
RB00CNJ.31
A Burmese python in the water. USGS photo.
A Burmese python in the water. USGS photo.
Abstract: 

Low detection of invasive constrictors has hampered the estimation of occupancy and detection estimates needed for population management in southern Florida. We developed species-specific eDNA assays for the 5 constrictor snakes in Florida. We validated the python and boa constrictor assays using laboratory trials and tested all species in 21 field locations distributed in eight southern Florida regions. Burmese python eDNA was detected in 37 of 63 field sampling events; however, the other species were not detected. Although eDNA was heterogeneously distributed in the environment, occupancy models were able to provide the first estimates of detection probabilities, which were greater than 91%. The development of informative detection tools and eDNA occupancy models can improve conservation efforts in southern Florida and support more extensive studies of invasive constrictors.  This research was in collaboration with the University of Florida.

Product: Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling improves occurrence and detection estimates of invasive Burmese Pythons

Investigating Prey of Burmese Pythons using eDNA Methods

Code: 
RB00CNJ.31.1
A Burmese Python (Python bivittatus) in the grass in Florida. Photo by L. Oberhofer, USGS.
A Burmese Python (Python bivittatus) in the grass in Florida. Photo by L. Oberhofer, USGS.
Abstract: 

The highly invasive Burmese Python is having a devastating effect on the species native to southern Florida, particularly in the Florida Everglades. The goal of this project is to determine whether eDNA methods can be used to identify prey items eaten by Burmese Pythons.

Investigating Current and Historic White-tailed Kite Population Trends Using Genetic Techniques

Code: 
RB00CNJ.9
A White-tailed kite. Photo by Heather Mohan.
A White-tailed kite. Photo by Heather Mohan.
Abstract: 

The White‑tailed Kite has demonstrated large population fluctuations over the last 150 years. Once common in California, Texas, and the southeast United States, kite numbers declined to very low levels in the 1900s and was thought to be on the verge of extinction by the 1930s. In the 1940s populations began to expand and increasing numbers were observed during the following decades. Today, the White-tailed Kites are common residents throughout much of California, with slow but steady increases in population numbers in the Central Plains states, Texas and Florida. It is unknown whether current U.S. populations suffered a severe genetic bottleneck in the early 1900s and have rebounded since, or whether current U.S. population growth has been related to immigration from Central and South America populations. We are using genetic techniques to examine museum specimens collected before 1930 and modern samples collected in the 1990s from California to provide clues as to whether modern Kites in California in fact have low diversity due to a genetic bottleneck or whether they were founded and sustained by immigrants from other continents. 

Assistant Secretary of the Army to Visit South Florida Natural Resources Center

During a visit to Everglades National Park (ENP) on March 9, 2016, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, will tour the South Florida Natural Resources Center's Daniel Beard Research Center. Michelle Collier and Emma Hanslowe, along with NPS staff, will give a presentation on invasive plants and animals, including the work that USGS staff undertakes on invasive reptiles in ENP.

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