A Survey of the Herpetofauna at Lake Thoreau Environmental Center

Collaborators: Marks S. McWhorter, Jennifer Y. Lamb, Dr. Carl P. Qualls, and Dr. Aimée K. Thomas

 

Lake Thoreau Environmental Center comprises acres of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) forest, open woodland, swamp, and lake environs, representing many of the habitats seen throughout south Mississippi. The objective of this ongoing study is to survey habitats throughout the center for species of amphibians and reptiles (herpetofauna). We compiled a list of species that could occur at the center using range maps, and by comparing the habitats at the center with habitat descriptions available in the literature. Various habitat types were surveyed during different seasons and at different times of the day beginning in October 2010.

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)The following sampling methods were used:

  • hand-catching, 
  • dip-netting, 
  • minnow-traps, 
  • hoop-nets, 
  • seining, 
  • coverboards, 
  • and call-surveys.

After 6 months, 37 species were identified as occurring on the Lake Thoreau property. As of August 2014, 44 species have been identified, and data collection is still ongoing. Dr. Carl Qualls continues data collection described above with both herpetology and vertebrate biology classes by collecting data each year as well as incorporating drift fences in key locations on the property.