Date of Graduation

Fall 2008


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Brian Greene


Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma, spatial patterns, home range, habitat use, thermoregulation

Subject Categories



Adult male Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma were captured and implanted with radio transmitters and Thermochron® i-Buttons as part of a larger radio telemetry study on home range analysis, spatial patterns, habitat use and thermoregulation of cottonmouths in southwestern Missouri. There were significant differences in home range size between males, non-gravid females and gravid females in all home range area estimates, except core use area (50% Kernel home range area estimates), with males having the largest home ranges. A principal components analysis of snake locations revealed that snakes use the habitat in a non-random fashion at landscape, macrohabitat, and microhabitat scales. Snake population segments used habitat in distinctly different ways, to fulfill various key resource requirements. Male snakes were typically found relatively far from water in association with grassland habitats, apparently to exploit high densities of large rodent prey. All females were typically found in association with riparian woodland relatively close to water. However gravid females differed from non-gravid females in their use of habitat edges and gaps within the forest canopy to accommodate thermal needs during gestation. The thermal preference range (Tset) of four male snakes was determined to be 23.5 - 29.5 oC with a mean temperature of 26.3 oC (+- 0.253). The mean body temperature of field-active males was 22.54 oC (+-0.028). Thermal indices indicated that male cottonmouth snakes did not deviate much from thermoconformity.


© Evan J. Menzel

Campus Only