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Wednesday, April 26 • 10:15am - 10:35am
The Geographic Origin of the Invasive Boa Constrictor Population on St. Croix

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Boa constrictors (B. constrictor) are an extremely diverse species of snake with a neotropical range stretching from Mexico to Argentina. Their generalist diet, high fecundity, and live birth strategy have made them adaptable to a wide variety of environments. Due to these exceptionally adaptive traits they have great potential to become an invasive species in many environments. In the summer of 2013 sightings of B. constrictor began to occur on the U.S. Virgin Island of Saint Croix. These sightings were significant, as prior to 2013 no B. constrictor had ever been observed in the wild. As of the spring of 2016 twenty-one individuals, including three juveniles and three adults exceeding 2.25 meters in length, have been found on the west coast of the island north of the city of Frederiksted. Due to the presence of juveniles it is believed that a successful invasive population has been established on the island. Despite their growing prevalence, the origin of St. Croix’s B. constrictor population had remained a mystery. Analysis of the CYTB region of the mitochondrial DNA was utilized to determine the geographic origin as well as the subspecies of the invasive B. constrictor population. This information has important implications for management, prevention of further introductions, and further study of the invasive population. This study presents a unique opportunity to observe the onset of an invasion by a constricting snake in an island context.

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Wednesday April 26, 2017 10:15am - 10:35am
103 Rhoades-Robinson Hall

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