SREL Reprint #2868




Unveiling Escape and Capture Rates of Aquatic Snakes and Salamanders (Siren spp. and Amphiuma means) in Commercial Funnel Traps

John D. Willson, Christopher T. Winne, and Luke A. Fedewa

University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory PO Drawer E, Aiken, South Carolina 29802 USA

Abstract: Aquatic funnel trapping with commercially available minnow traps has proven effective for sampling several aquatic snake species. However, the efficacy of this technique for sampling snakes has received little controlled evaluation. We investigated the ability of aquatic snakes to escape from three funnel trap varieties (cylindrical steel, cylindrical plastic, and rectangular collapsible nylon mesh). We found that when intentionally released into traps, the majority (74%) of snakes escaped within 24 hours. Snakes escaped most frequently from collapsible traps, and of the species tested, Seminatrix pygaea escaped most frequently. We found significant differences in capture rates among trap types for S. pygaea, Farancia abacura (both captured most in plastic traps), and Nerodia fasciata (captured most in steel traps). Additionally, as we captured many large aquatic salamanders (Siren spp. and Amphiuma means), we also report trapping efficacies of the funnel traps for these amphibians.

SREL Reprint #2868

Willson, J. D., C. T. Winne, and L. A. Fedewa. 2005. Unveiling escape and capture rates of aquatic snakes and salamanders (Siren spp. and Amphiuma means) in commercial funnel traps. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 20:397-404.

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