Range-wide analysis of eastern massasauga survivorship


Peter C. Jones, Northern Illinois University
Richard B. King, Northern Illinois University
Robyn L. Bailey, Michigan State University
Nickolas D. Bieser, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Kristin Bissell, Michigan State University
Henry Campa, Michigan State University
Trisha Crabill, Columbia Ecological Services Office
Matthew D. Cross, Central Michigan University
Brett A. Degregorio, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Michael J. Dreslik, Illinois Natural History Survey
Francis E. Durbian, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge
Daniel S. Harvey, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Scott E. Hecht, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Benjamin C. Jellen, McKendree University
Glenn Johnson, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Bruce A. Kingsbury, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Matthew J. Kowalski, Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program
James Lee, Nature Conservancy
Jennifer V. Manning, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Jennifer A. Moore, Michigan State University
Julie Oakes, State of Michigan
Christopher A. Phillips, Illinois Natural History Survey
Kent A. Prior, Parks Canada
Jeanine M. Refsnider, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Jeremy D. Rouse, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Joseph R. Sage, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Richard A. Seigel, Towson University
Donald B. Shepard, Illinois Natural History Survey
Chad S. Smith, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Terry J. Vandewalle, Stantec Inc.
Patrick J. Weatherhead, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Anne Yagi, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Wildlife Management


Decisions affecting wildlife management and conservation policy of imperiled species are often aided by population models. Reliable population models require accurate estimates of vital rates and an understanding of how vital rates vary geographically. The eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) is a rattlesnake species found in the Great Lakes region of North America. Populations of the eastern massasauga are fragmented and only a few areas harbor multiple, sizable populations. Eastern massasauga research has typically focused on single populations or local metapopulations but results suggest that demographic parameters vary geographically. We used 21 radiotelemetry datasets comprising 499 telemetered snakes from 16 distinct locations throughout the range of the eastern massasauga to characterize geographic patterns of adult survival using the known-fate model in Program MARK. Annual adult survival ranged from 0.35 to 0.95 (mean = 0.67) and increased along a southwest to northeast geographic axis. Further analysis of 6 datasets indicated no consistent difference in survival between males and females. Our results provide a better understanding of the relationship between survivorship and geography for the eastern massasauga and suggest that such variation should be incorporated into population models as well as local and regional management plans. © 2012 The Wildlife Society. Copyright © The Wildlife Society, 2012.

First Page


Last Page




Publication Date