Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): H. H. WelshC. A. WheelerA. J. Lind
    Date: 2010
    Source: Copeia 2010(1):75-85.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.14 MB)


    Spatial patterns of animals have important implications for population dynamics and can reveal other key aspects of a species' ecology. Movements and the resulting spatial arrangements have fitness and genetic consequences for both individuals and populations. We studied the spatial and dispersal patterns of the Oregon Gartersnake, Thamnophis atratus hydrophilus, using capture–recapture techniques. Snakes showed aggregated dispersion. Frequency distributions of movement distances were leptokurtic; the degree of kurtosis was highest for juvenile males and lowest for adult females. Males were more frequently recaptured at locations different from their initial capture sites, regardless of age class. Dispersal of neonates was not biased, whereas juvenile and adult dispersal were male-biased, indicating that the mechanisms that motivate individual movements differed by both age class and sex. Males were recaptured within shorter time intervals than females, and juveniles were recaptured within shorter time intervals than adults. We attribute differences in capture intervals to higher detectability of males and juveniles, a likely consequence of their greater mobility. The aggregated dispersion appears to be the result of multi-scale habitat selection, and is consistent with the prey choices and related foraging strategies exhibited by the different age classes. Inbreeding avoidance in juveniles and mate-searching behavior in adults may explain the observed male-biased dispersal patterns.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Welsh, H. H., Jr.; Wheeler, C. A.; Lind, A. J. 2010. Spatial ecology of the aquatic garter snake, Thamnophis atratus, in a free-flowing stream environment. Copeia 2010(1):75-85.


    Google Scholar

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page