Herptile Abundance and Diversity in Response to Seasonal Burning on a Central Texas Ashe Juniper-Live Oak Savanna




O'Connor, Kathleen M.

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Current research on the effects of fire on herpetofauna generally has ignored the timing of a burn. I investigated the seasonal effects (summer versus winter) of prescribed burning on the herpetofaunal community of a central Texas Ashe juniper-live oak savanna. One trapping line, consisting of 1 drift fence, 2 pitfall traps and 2 funnel traps, was established on 12 treatment (6 on each burn treatment) and 6 control plots (unburned), for a total of 18 trap lines. Eighty-two individual herptiles, representing 8 snake, 3 lizard and 2 toad species were captured between April 2002 to June 2003. Herptile diversity on summer burn, winter burn and unburned plots was calculated using 4 diversity indices. Species diversity values were slightly higher on summer burn plots, while control and winter burn plots had comparable diversity values. Kruskal-Wallis ChiSquare analysis of variance did not detect a significant difference in herptile diversity among treatments and control plots (X2 = 0.66, p >0.10). However, Texas spiny lizard (Sceloporus olivaceas) was one species that did seem to respond negatively to prescribed burning. Seventy-one percent of Sceloporus captures (n = 21) occurred on control plots. This research may serve as baseline information on herptile trends in response to seasonal burning in the Ashe juniper- live oak savanna community.



prescribed burning, reptiles, savannas


O'Connor, K. M. (2003). Herptile abundance and diversity in response to seasonal burning on a central Texas ashe juniper-live oak savanna (Unpublished thesis). Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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