|SREL Reprint #0885|
of the Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) Using Mesic
Habitats in South Carolina
D. Semlitsch and Gary B. Moran
The population ecology of the redbelly snake Storeria
occipitomaculata from three mesic habitats in South Carolina was studied
between 1978-1982. Discrete pulses
in seasonal activity were related to the drying cycle of the habitats.
Snakes presumably followed their main food resource (slugs) along a soil
moisture gradient. Young-of-the-year were first found in July or August and
average 61 mm snout-vent length (SVL). Testes
of males and ovarian follicles of females began to enlarge during the 2nd
year at SVLs of 118 mm (Males) and 126 mm (females). First reproduction in both sexes presumably ocucrred at 2
years of age. Mature females
contained an average of nine enlarge ovarian follicles.
The number of follicles increased with SVL. Males and females were not significantly different in SVL,
but females were heavier and males had longer tails. Sex ratio of the sample was 1:1.
We marked 61 individuals of the 249 that were captured during the study
and recaptured four. The low
recapture rate suggests that population sizes were large or turnover was rapid.
A comparison between life history traits of Storeria
occipitomaculata in South Carolina and Michigan showed that body size in
South Carolina was smaller at birth and at maturity, but that litter size was
slightly larger, than in Michigan. Age
at maturity, age at first reproduction and frequency of reproduction were the
same in South Carolina and Michigan.
SREL Reprint #0885
Semlitsch, R.D. and G.B. Moran. 1984. Ecology of the
redbelly snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) using mesic habitats
in South Carolina. The American Midland Naturalist 111:33-40.