Navigation Links
Salt water alone unlikely to halt Burmese python invasion
Date:1/4/2012

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Invasive Burmese python hatchlings from the Florida Everglades can withstand exposure to salt water long enough to potentially expand their range through ocean and estuarine environments, according to research in the latest issue of the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.

This recent study, based on lab experiments conducted by researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, provides initial evidence that pythons may be able to survive in marine and estuarine environments such as bays, inlets and open seas. The results raise concerns that the invasive constrictor may invade nearby islands, such as the Florida Keys, said Kristen Hart, a USGS research ecologist and lead author of the study.

"Because reptiles, in general, have poor salinity tolerance, it was hoped that salt water would naturally hinder pythons' ability to expand their range beyond the Everglades," Hart said." Unfortunately, our results suggest salt water alone cannot act as a reliable barrier to the Everglades python population."

Before the study, Burmese pythons had been found in brackish margins of the Everglades, the expansive and predominantly freshwater wetland that is home to the only known wild-breeding population of Burmese pythons in the United States. Yet, no information was available to indicate how long the snakes could persist in saline environments.

The issue of salinity tolerance is critical for understanding the risks of the giant constrictors spreading beyond the Everglades, given the Everglades location on the southernmost end of the South Florida peninsula.

"The fact that this study has ruled out one of the most hoped-for forms of physical barriers, salt water, as preventing the spread of invasive pythons in Florida puts even more onus on human action to prevent the spread of these damaging reptiles," explained USGS director Marcia McNutt. "This study demonstrates the distinct possibility that pythons could spread to new suitable habitats one estuary at a time."

In the lab, researchers tested how long hatchling pythons could survive with only salt water to drink. They found that, when given access only to water with salinity levels equivalent to full marine water, hatchling pythons straight out of their eggs lived about a month. At salinity levels comparable with estuaries, the hatchlings survived about five months.

The USGS research demonstrated, however, that varying salinity levels did affect the snakes, as reflected in significant survival differences between pythons exposed to freshwater, marine, and estuarine salinities in the lab. However, because hatchlings are considered the most vulnerable stage of the python's life, it's likely that adult snakes could persist even longer in saltwater environments, Hart and her colleagues noted.

By comparison, pythons in the study displayed a saltwater tolerance level near that of the native mangrove snake, a salinity-tolerant native snake found in high-salinity environments in and around the Everglades.

Although the study didn't account for the effect that access to food in saltwater environments would have on survival, lab conditions were designed to provide a conservative estimate of snake tolerance to salinity, by not allowing for the possibility that snakes could access freshwater from rain.


'/>"/>

Contact: Rachel Pawlitz
rpawlitz@usgs.gov
352-264-3554
United States Geological Survey
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Badwater Basin: Death Valley microbe thrives there
2. To turn up the heat in chilies, just add water
3. Glacial tap is open but the water will run dry
4. Novel device removes heavy metals from water
5. Industry, regulators should take system safety approach to offshore drilling in aftermath of Deepwater Horizon accident, says new report
6. Improved rainwater harvesting system promising
7. Deepwater Horizon Committee issues final report
8. Benefits abound with recently patented system that reduces phosphorus in wastewater
9. Experts call on governments, industries and the water and trade research communities
10. Wastewater system generates energy, produces drinking water
11. Butterfly wings inspire design of water-repellent surface
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017   Bridge Patient ... organizations, and MD EMR Systems , an ... partner for GE, have established a partnership to ... product and the GE Centricity™ products, including Centricity ... These new integrations will allow ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... , April 17, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. ... company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report on Form ... Exchange Commission. ... Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section of the ... on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . 2016 ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... April 11, 2017 No two people ... at the New York University Tandon School of ... have found that partial similarities between prints are ... in mobile phones and other electronic devices can ... The vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... Recent studies show that cancer ... for specific cancers, such as breast, prostate, or lung, target vital pathways active ... for advanced prostate cancer. , This therapy limits the production and effectiveness ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... Today, 3Bar Biologics ... secured $2M in funding from an impressive group of investors, including Rev1 Ventures, ... Fund. With this investment, 3Bar is broadening availability of its groundbreaking offering that ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... of the Inc. 5000 features a now-familiar name: BioPoint ( http://biopointinc.com/ ), ... for the third year in a row. Now in its 36th edition, ... set of quantitative metrics. In addition, BioPoint was also named to the ... Bay State . ... ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... After spending the past two years building a state-of-the-art technology which ... offers this platform to healthcare stakeholders (hospitals, foundations, biopharma companies etc.) ... collection vis a vis their members, under their own brand. Three ... offer. ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: