Funding awarded to survey for threatened Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes in South Dakota

I was recently awarded a Wildlife Diversity Small Grant from South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks to survey for the state-threatened Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos)The Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos) is a medium-sized, state-threatened snake that is distributed across most of the eastern USA, throughout the Great Lakes region, and into the Great Plains. Within the Great Plains, Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes reach their northernmost extent in South Dakota. Previously, the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake was thought to be restricted to extreme southeastern South Dakota along the Missouri River in Clay and Union counties, until two additional records greatly expanded the putative distribution of this species in the state. The first was a specimen collected from Chamberlain, Brule County in 1943 (Biodiversity Collections, University of Texas at Austin [TNHC] 106094) that was part of a recently accessioned voucher specimen collection from South Dakota State University. The second was a photograph of an Eastern Hog-nosed Snake from Rosebud Reservation, Todd County taken in 2017 (HerpMapper [HM] 193175). These new records are ca. 221 and 324 km west of the nearest record of Eastern Hog-nosed Snake in Clay County (University of Nebraska State Museum [UNSM] ZM-16478), represent the only known records for this species in central and western South Dakota, and provide evidence that populations of Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes occur along the Missouri River and riparian corridors in south-central South Dakota. To better understand the distribution and occurrence of Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes, I will conduct a series of targeted surveys for this species in south-central South Dakota.

Grant Title: Surveys for the state-threatened Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos) in south-central South Dakota

Eastern Hog-nosed Snake distribution map from http://www.sdherps.org.

Funding awarded to survey for endangered Lined Snakes in South Dakota

Today I received notice that I was awarded a Wildlife Diversity Small Grant from South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks to survey for the state-endangered Lined Snake (Tropidoclonion lineatum)Within South Dakota, the Lined Snake was thought to occur only in habitats along the Big Sioux River watershed, until I collected a specimen was collected near the James River in Hutchinson County in October 2017. This recently collected snake represents the most northwestern occurrence for this species, provides evidence that populations of Lined Snakes may exist outside of the Big Sioux River watershed, and suggests that the distribution of Lined Snakes in South Dakota may be greater than expected. To better understand the distribution and occurrence of Lined Snakes in southeastern South Dakota, I proposed to conduct a series of targeted surveys for Lined Snakes along the lower James River valley.

Grant Title: Surveys for the state-endangered Lined Snake (Tropidoclonion lineatum) along the lower James River Valley

Lined Snake distribution map from http://www.sdherps.org.


Funding awarded to survey for state-monitored​ species

I was recently awarded funding by Prairie Biotic Research, Inc. to survey four remnant prairies sites in southeastern South Dakota for state-monitored species of amphibians and reptiles. The highest species diversity of amphibians and reptiles is in this corner of South Dakota and many state-monitored species are expected to occur in this region, though recent occurrence records are lacking for many species. These state-monitored species include Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, Lined Snake, Ring-necked Snake, Western Foxsnake, Plains Leopard Frog, Cope’s Gray Treefrog, and Blanchard’s Cricket Frog. With this funding, I hope to add additional occurrence records for these species and others, generate critically important voucher specimens, and highlight the importance of prairie habitats on a landscape that is dominated by row crop agriculture. Data from this project will be added to the website: Amphibians and Reptiles of South Dakota.

Grant Title: Amphibian and reptile surveys in remnant prairies in southeastern South Dakota, with special emphasis on state-monitored species