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Tavernier, FL, United States

Stevenson D.J.,Project Orianne Ltd. | Bolt M.R.,Code Corporation | Smith D.J.,University of Central Florida | Enge K.M.,Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission | And 5 more authors.
Southeastern Naturalist | Year: 2010

Prey items for the federally protected Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) were compiled from published and gray literature, field observations, necropsies, dissection of museum specimens, and personal communications from reliable sources. One hundred and eighty-six records were obtained for 48 different prey species. Anurans, Gopher Tortoises, snakes, and rodents comprised ca. 85% of the prey items. Most records (n = 143) that mentioned size were from adult indigos; 17 were from juveniles. Prey records were collected from 1940-2008 and were available for all months of the year. These data confirm that Eastern Indigo Snakes eat a wide assortment of prey of varying sizes. This strategy allows D. couperi to potentially forage successfully in many different types of habitats and under fluctuating environmental conditions, a valuable trait for a top-level predator that requires a large home range.

Harrison E.,Florida International University | Lorenz J.J.,Audubons Tavernier Science Center | Trexler J.C.,Florida International University
Copeia | Year: 2013

The Mayan Cichlid (Cichlasoma urophthalmus) is an omnivorous fish endemic to Central America that was first recorded in South Florida in 1983. We examined their effects on native fishes in estuarine mangrove habitats between 1991 and 2006. Four major cold fronts passed during the study period and each killed many Mayan Cichlids, providing multiple opportunities to observe native fish responses to fluctuation in cichlid densities. Fish assemblage data were collected using drop traps placed at three estuarine sites and one impounded site. Analysis of similarity indicated that differences in assemblage structure among the four sites correlated with the presence of Mayan Cichlids. At two sites with high Mayan Cichlid density, SIMPER analysis revealed that relative densities of Sheepshead Minnows (Cyprinodon variegatus), killifish species, Clown Gobies (Microgobius gulosus), Eastern Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki), Sailfin Molly (Poecilia latipinna), Tidewater Silverside (Menidia peninsulae), and species of Lepomis were correlated with Mayan Cichlid relative density. Time series analysis of data from the two sites with high Mayan Cichlid density indicated negative relationships between their density and density of Sheepshead Minnow, Marsh Killifish (Fundulus confluentus), and Eastern Mosquitofish after controlling for salinity. When present, the per capita impacts on Sheepshead Minnows were 40% to 60% greater than on the other taxa. Partial regression slopes of native fish density on Mayan Cichlid density were negative with unpatterned residuals across a broad range of cichlid densities, providing no indication of predator saturation or interference at high density. This may have resulted because of immigration of native fish to these sites during the South Florida dry season. © 2013 by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.

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