Conservation Genetics

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 1225–1241 | Cite as

Snakes on an island: independent introductions have different potentials for invasion

  • Catalina Monzón-Argüello
  • Clara Patiño-Martínez
  • Fredrik Christiansen
  • Ramón Gallo-Barneto
  • Miguel Ángel Cabrera-Pérez
  • Miguel Ángel Peña-Estévez
  • Luis Felipe López-Jurado
  • Patricia L. M. Lee
Research Article

Abstract

Snakes introduced to islands can be devastating to naïve native fauna. However, introduced populations must establish before range expansion (invasion) can occur. The factors that can determine successful invasion are those associated with the introduction event (e.g., characteristics of the founding population), the location (e.g., suitable environment and prey availability) and the species (e.g. life history characteristics). Here, we collected morphometric, ecological and genetic data on the recently introduced California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiae) in Gran Canaria. We found that snakes occurring at two locations a few 10 s of km apart do not represent the same population. Genetic analyses confirmed significant genetic difference (FST = 0.184; Dest = 0.341), and that despite being inbred (Fis = 0.245–0.257) the populations had high levels of diversity (Ho = 0.485–0.490; allelic richness = 4.875–6.364). Snakes at the different Gran Canaria locations were significantly different in morphology (colouration, mass, length and age), fitness (egg production) and diet (rodents, skinks, lizards and geckos), supporting a hypothesis of separate founding groups in combination with local environmental heterogeneity leading to variation between these populations. We concluded that one population was more successful than the other in reproduction and recruitment, and may be having a greater impact on endemic reptiles. We recommend greater eradication effort for this population, as well as monitoring of local fauna at all locations to access the impact of predation.

Keywords

California Kingsnake Colonization Fecundity Long-term viability Lampropeltis californiae Morphometrics 

Supplementary material

10592_2015_734_MOESM1_ESM.docx (564 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 564 kb)
10592_2015_734_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (57 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 57 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catalina Monzón-Argüello
    • 1
    • 2
  • Clara Patiño-Martínez
    • 2
  • Fredrik Christiansen
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ramón Gallo-Barneto
    • 5
  • Miguel Ángel Cabrera-Pérez
    • 6
  • Miguel Ángel Peña-Estévez
    • 7
  • Luis Felipe López-Jurado
    • 1
  • Patricia L. M. Lee
    • 3
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of Marine Sciences, Campus de TafiraUniversidad de Las Palmas de Gran CanariaLas PalmasSpain
  2. 2.Asociación para el Desarrollo Sostenible y Conservación de la Biodiversidad (ADS)Las PalmasSpain
  3. 3.Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental SciencesDeakin UniversityWarrnamboolAustralia
  4. 4.Cetacean Research Unit, School of Veterinary and Life SciencesMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia
  5. 5.Área de Medio Ambiente. Gestión y Planeamiento Territorial y Ambiental (GesPlan S. A.)Las PalmasSpain
  6. 6.Servicio de Biodiversidad. Dirección General de Protección de la NaturalezaGobierno de CanariasLas PalmasSpain
  7. 7.Servicio de Medio Ambiente y EmergenciasCabildo de Gran CanariaLas PalmasSpain
  8. 8.Department of Biosciences, College of ScienceSwansea UniversitySwanseaUK

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