Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Reproduction in an Introduced Population of Elaphe schrenckii (Strauch, 1873) in Eelde, the Netherlands

Richard R. J. H. Struijk, Rémon ter Harmsel, Daesik Park

Abstract


In 1994 an unknown number of captive bred Russian rat snakes, Elaphe schrenckii (Strauch, 1873) were introduced near Groningen Airport Eelde (Drenthe Province), the Netherlands. Research in 2016/2017 confirmed that the species has become established and is expanding slowly, as recent sightings are known at distances up to 5.3 km from the initial release site. Although the continuous presence over two decades and sightings of different life stages of E. schrenckii specimens indicate successful reproduction, no reproductive data existed. To gain more insight, we conducted field surveys between 2014 and 2016 to collect data on oviposition sites and reproduction. Eggs of E. schrenckii were encountered in three compost heaps. Twenty-two clutches were found in these heaps in total, comprising a total of 332 eggs. Additionally, 42 loose eggs were found, totaling the number of retrieved eggs to 374. Minimum clutch sizes range from 10 – 21 eggs and average 15.1 ± 3.2 eggs (N = 22). Total individual egg hatching rate is 87.8% (N = 271). Clutch hatching rate varied between 46.2% and 100% with a mean value of 86.7 ± 18.8% (N = 16). Our findings indicate the importance of compost heaps for this species regarding reproduction as suitable sites for oviposition within this non-native range. Also, fecundity does not seem to be negatively affected by conditions in its invasive range; clutch size is on the high side. Because hatching rates can be high, its reproduction does not seem to be a limiting factor for further expansion within Eelde and surroundings.

Keywords


Reptilia; Elaphe schrenckii; introduction; invasive species; reproduction; clutch size; hatching rate; Netherlands

Full Text:

PDF

References


Ananjeva N. B., Orlov N. L., Khalikov R. G., Darevsky I. S., Ryabov S. R., and Barabanov A. V. (2006), The Reptiles of Northern Eurasia, Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences – Pensoft Series Faunistica No. 47, Pensoft Publishers, Sofia.

Andrews R. M. and Rose B. R. (1994), «Evolution of viviparity: constraints on egg retention», Physiol. Zool., 67(4), 1006 – 1024.

Beck S., Clarke A., Perez L., and Feiber D. (2008), Florida Invaders. Under Siege by Plant and Animal Invaders, Nature and our Economy are at Risk! South Florida Edition (Brochure), National Park Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife, Florida.

Beusichem van R. (1999), «Successful breeding of the Russian rat snake (Elaphe schrencki schrencki)», Liter. Serpent., 19(3), 75 – 77.

Broer W. and Horn H.-G. (1985), «Erfahrungen bei Verwendung eines Moterbrüters zur Zeitigung von Reptilieneiern», Salamandra, 21(4), 304 – 310.

Bugter R. J. F., van de Koppel S., Creemers R. C. M., Griffioen A. J., and Ottburg F. G. W. A. (2014), Uitheemse slangen in Nederland. Een analyse van de kans op introductie, vestiging, uitbreiding en schade, Alterra Wageningen UR, Wageningen.

Castellano Brito R. (2011), Lampropeltis — Control of the Invasive Species Lampropeltis getula californiae on the island of Gran Canaria (BIODIV), http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life (accessed November 15, 2018).

Cho H., Park D., and Choi W. (2015), «Study on the oviposition characteristics of the endangered Korean Ratsnake (Elaphe schrenckii) in Captive Facility», J. Res. For. Kangwon Natl. Univ., 35, 31 – 40.

Colautti R. I. and MacIsaac H. J. (2004), «A neutral terminology to define ‘invasive’ species», Divers. Distr., 10(2), 135 – 141.

Crawley M. J., Kornberg H., Lawton J. H., Usher M. B., Southwood R., O’Connor R. J., and Gibbs A. (1986), «The population biology of invaders», Philosoph. Trans. Roy. Soc. London. Ser. B. Biol. Sci., 314(1167), 711 – 731.

Dorcas M. E. and Willson J. D. (2011), Invasive Pythons in the United States. Ecology of an Introduced Predator, University of Georgia Press, Georgia.

Dorcas M. E., Willson J. D., Reed R. N., Snow R. W., Rochford M. R., Miller M. A., Meshaka W. E., Andreadis P. T., Mazzotti F. J., Romagosa C. M., and Hart K. M. (2012), «Severe mammal declines coincide with proliferation of invasive Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park», Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 109(7), 2418 – 2422.

Eckstein H.-P. (1993), «Untersuchungen zur Ökologie der Ringelnatter (Natrix natrix Linnaeus 1758)», Jahrb. Feldherpetol., 4, Verlag für Ökologie und Faunistik, Duisburg.

Ewert M. A. (1991), «Cold torpor, diapause, delayed hatching and aestivation in reptiles and birds», in: D. C. Deeming and M. W. J. Ferguson (eds.), Egg Incubation: Its Effects on Embryonic Development in Birds and Reptiles, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, pp. 173 – 191.

Frazer D. (1989), Reptiles and Amphibians in Britain. Collins New Naturalist Ser., Bloomsbury Books, London.

Getreuer W. (2006), Onderzoeksrapport «SERPO». Bevindingen slangenprobleem Eelde, Reptielen ZOO »SERPO», Rijswijk [unpublished].

Golder F. (1985), «Ein gemeinsamer Massen-EIablagplatz von Natrix natrix helvetica (Lacépčde, 1789) und Elaphe longissima (Laurenti, 1768), mit Daten über Eizeitigung und Schlupf», Salamandra, 21(1), 10 – 16.

Günther R. and Völkl W. (1996), «Ringelnatter – Natrix natrix», in: R. Günther (ed.), Die Amphibien und Reptilien Deutchlands, Gustav Fischer Verlag, Jena, pp. 666 – 684.

Harvey R. G., Brien M. L., Cherkiss M. S., Dorcas M., Rochford M., Snow R. W., and Mazzotti F. J. (2008), Burmese Pythons in South Florida, Scientific Support for Invasive Species Management. IFAS Publication Number WEC-242. Gainesville, Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.

Hagman M., Elmberg J., Kärvemo S., and Löwenborg K. (2012), «Grass snakes (Natrix natrix) in Sweden decline together with their anthropogenic nesting-environments», Herpetol. J., 22(3), 199 – 202.

Hilger A. and Kwet A. (2015), «Die Schlangenpest», Elaphe, 5, 78 – 81.

de Jongh J. (1989), «Kweekresultaten. Elaphe schrenckii, amoerslang», Liter. Serpent., 9(6), 274.

van Koppel de S., van Kessel N., Crombaghs B. H. J. M., Getreuer W., and Lenders H. J. R. (2012), Risk Analysis of the Russian Rat Snake (Elaphe schrenckii) in The Netherlands, Natuurbalans Limes-Divergens BV, Nijmegen.

Langeveld C. M. (1994), «Kweek en terrariumervaringen met de amoerrattenslangen Elaphe schrencki schrencki (Strauch, 1873) en Elaphe schrencki anomala (Boulenger, 1916)», Liter. Serpent., 14(5), 134 – 140.

Langton T. E. S., Atkins W., and Herbert C. (2011), «On the distribution, ecology and management of non-native reptiles and amphibians in the London Area. Part 1. Distribution and predator/prey impacts», Lond. Naturalist, 90, 83 – 155.

Lee J.-H. and Park D. (2011), «Spatial ecology of translocated and resident Amur ratsnakes (Elaphe schrenckii) in two mountain valleys of South Korea», Asian Herpetol. Res., 2(4), 223 – 229.

Lenders H. J. R. and Janssen I. A. W. (2014), «The grass snake and the Basilisk: from pre-christian protective house God to the antichrist», Environm. Hist., 20, 319 – 346.

Löwenborg K., Shine R., Kärvemo S., and Hagman M. (2010), «Grass snakes exploit anthropogenic heat sources to overcome distributional limit imposed by oviparity», Func. Ecol., 24, 1095 – 1102.

Löwenborg, K., Kärvemo, S., Tiwe, A., and Hagman M. (2012). «Agricultural by-products provice critical habitat components for cold-climate populations of an oviparous snake (Natrix natrix)», Biodivers. Conserv., 21, 2477 – 2488.

Marle van R. and Langeveld K. (1991), «De Amoer-rattenslang (Elaphe schrenckii) in het terrarium», Lacerta, 49(3), 71 – 77.

Mattison C. (1988), Keeping and Breeding Snakes, Blandford Press, London.

Mattison C. (1992), Slangen. Soorten, herkomst, voeding, verzorging, Zuid Boekproducties, Lisse.

Mattison C. (1998), Keeping and Breeding Snakes. Fully revised edition, Blandford Press, London.

Mehrtens J. M. (1987), Living Snakes of the World. In color, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. New York.

Paik N. K. (1979), «Ecological study of Elaphe schrenckii in Korea», Nat. Conserv., 27, 1 – 4.

Peels G. (1992), «Ervaringen met de Amour rattenslang, Elaphe schrenckii schrenckii», Liter. Serpent., 2(1), 19 – 25.

Reed R. N., Willson J. D., Rodda G. H., and Dorcas M. E. (2012), «Ecological correlates of invasion impact for Burmese pythons in Florida», Integr. Zool., 7, 254 – 270.

Rodda G. H. and Savidge J. A. (2007), «Biology and Impacts of Pacific Island Invasive Species. 2. Boiga irregularis, the Brown Tree Snake (Reptilia: Colubridae)», Pacific Sci., 61(3), 307 – 324.

Sakai A. K., Allendorf F. W., Holt J. S., Lodge D. M., Molofsky J., With K. A., Baughmann S., Cabin R. J., Cohen J. E., Ellstrand N. C., McCauley D. E., O’Neill P., Parker I. M., Thompson J. N., and Weller S. G. (2001), «The population biology of invasive species», Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 21, 305 – 332.

Schmidt D. (1990), Schlangen, J. Neumann-Neudamm GmbH and Co. KG, Melsungen.

Schulz K.-D. (1988), «Bijdrage tot de kennis Elaphe schrencki (Strauch, 1873)», Liter. Serpent., 8(5), 226 – 237.

Schulz K.-D. (1996), A Monograph of the Colubrid Snakes of the Genus Elaphe, Koelz Scientific Books, Königstein.

Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2006), Global Biodiversity Outlook 2, Montreal.

Shine R. (1983), «Reptilian viviparity in cold climates: testing the assumptions of an evolutionary hypothesis», Oecologia, 57, 397 – 405.

Struijk R. P. J. H. (2019), «Uitheemse slangen», Kijk op Exoten, 26, 10 – 11.

Struijk R. P. J. H. and Leeningen van R. A. (2017), Verspreiding en Habitatgebruik van de Russische Rattenslang (Elaphe schrenckii) in Eelde e. o., Stichting RAVON, Nijmegen.

Szczerbak N. N. (2003), Guide to the Reptiles of the Eastern Palearctic, Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida.

Treu B. (2008), Amurnattern. Elaphe schrenckii and Elaphe anomala, Natur und Tier Verlag, Münster.

Trutnau L. (1988), Schlangen im Terrarium. Teil 1. Haltung, Pflege und Zucht, Ulmer Eugen Verlag, Stuttgart.

Uchelen van E. (2010), Amfibieën en reptielen in Drenthe; verspreiding en levenswijze, Uitgeverij Profiel, Bedum.

Zimmerman E. (1983), Das Züchten von Terrarientieren. Pflege, Verhalten, Fortpflanzung, Franckh’sche Verlaghandlung, W. Keller and Co, Stuttgart.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.30906/1026-2296-2020-27-6-325-333

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.