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Title

Invasive snake causes massive reduction of all endemic herpetofauna on Gran Canaria

AuthorsPiquet, Julien C.; López-Darias, Marta CSIC ORCID
KeywordsCanary Islands
Distance sampling
Endemic reptiles
Lampropeltis californiae
Local extinction
Spatially explicit capture–recapture
Issue Date8-Dec-2021
PublisherRoyal Society (Great Britain)
CitationProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 288(1964): 20211939 (2021)
AbstractInvasive snakes represent a serious threat to island biodiversity, being responsible for far-reaching impacts that are noticeably understudied, particularly regarding native reptiles. We analysed the impact of the invasive California kingsnake, Lampropeltis californiae—recently introduced in the Canary Islands—on the abundance of all endemic herpetofauna of the island of Gran Canaria. We quantified the density in invaded and uninvaded sites for the Gran Canaria giant lizard, Gallotia stehlini, the Gran Canaria skink, Chalcides sexlineatus, and Boettger's wall gecko, Tarentola boettgeri. We used spatially explicit capture-recapture and distance-sampling methods for G. stehlini and active searches under rocks for the abundance of the other two reptiles. The abundance of all species was lower in invaded sites, with a reduction in the number of individuals greater than 90% for G. stehlini, greater than 80% for C. sexlineatus and greater than 50% for T. boettgeri in invaded sites. Our results illustrate the severe impact of L. californiae on the endemic herpetofauna of Gran Canaria and highlight the need for strengthened measures to manage this invasion. We also provide further evidence of the negative consequences of invasive snakes on island reptiles and emphasize the need for further research on this matter on islands worldwide.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2021.1939
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/255769
DOI10.1098/rspb.2021.1939
ISSN0962-8452
E-ISSN1471-2954
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