Thursday, 5 May 2016

Arizona Black Rattlesnake on ‘extinction trajectory,' biologists find

Date: May 3, 2016

Source: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

A combination of drought and fire has put the Arizona black rattlesnake on an "extinction trajectory," according to University of Arkansas researchers.

The research team, led by U of A biologists Marlis Douglas and Michael Douglas, published its findings in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

The researchers recommend that the rattlesnake be designated as "threatened" under the federal Endangered Species Act. This would allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop regulatory protections adjusted to the needs of the species.

The Arizona black rattlesnake is found at higher elevations in Arizona and western New Mexico. The researchers collected DNA from 118 specimens of the rattlesnake and analyzed its genetic structure. They found both a shrinking population and a reduction in its movement across an already limited range.

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