PDA

View Full Version : Snakes may be in decline too



Swift
2010-Jul-14, 01:32 AM
Add snakes to the list of animals that may be in trouble

sciencenews.org (http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/60072/title/Possible_snake_shortage_looms)

Out of 17 snake populations monitored over many years in Europe and Africa, 11 populations plummeted about 10 years ago and have not bounced back, says herpetologist Chris Reading of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology near Oxford, England. Just what caused the declines between 1998 and 2002 is not yet clear, but Reading and nine other biologists sound an alarm in a Biology Letters paper released the week of June 7.

bbc.com (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8727863.stm)

The main problem for anyone wanting to conduct a global survey such as this is simply lack of data.

Monitoring snake populations means marking the individuals in some way - typically by snipping a pattern into their scales, or implanting a microchip.

Field seasons can last for many months, and have to be repeated annually.

The researchers believe they amassed most, if not all, long-term datasets for this study - although "long-term" in this context means going back more than one decade, in some cases more than two.

Dr Reading's research group suggests many causes might be involved, and is appealing to other researchers to come forward with any more long-term datasets that might broaden the picture.

"The purpose of this paper was to say 'this is what we've found', and to say to other herpetologists 'now go and look at your own data'," he said.

trinitree88
2010-Jul-14, 04:17 PM
Swift. Did they thoroughly search all the barristers halls?:shifty::naughty::lol:

MAPNUT
2010-Jul-15, 12:57 PM
This should be a big help in the eventual takeover of the planet by rats and cockroaches.

mugaliens
2010-Jul-16, 08:07 AM
Just a hunch, but I'd guess the primary reason for the decline is encroachment by human populations armed with shovels. More likely than shovels, however, is the associated reduction in woodlands, which in turn adversely affects the food chain.

canopuss
2010-Jul-24, 04:17 AM
I read on the net that 125,000 people a year die of snake bite. Sri Lanka has the world's highest snake bite death rate ( per population). Lot of people die of snake bite in India, South East Asia and Africa too. At least people from those countries won't complain about it. If the rats and cockroaches are increasing, can molecular biotechnology help to keep the rat/cockroach population in control ?

SolusLupus
2010-Jul-24, 04:29 AM
I read on the net that 125,000 people a year die of snake bite. Sri Lanka has the world's highest snake bite death rate ( per population). Lot of people die of snake bite in India, South East Asia and Africa too. At least people from those countries won't complain about it.

Uhh, not all snakes are venomous, or deadly to humans. What makes you so sure that all of these snakes are?

geonuc
2010-Jul-24, 10:00 AM
I wonder why those particular 17 snake populations were monitored? Do they represent a good sampling of snakes in general, or perhaps it was because they were the ones on the threatened species list already.

Swift
2010-Jul-24, 11:45 PM
I wonder why those particular 17 snake populations were monitored? Do they represent a good sampling of snakes in general, or perhaps it was because they were the ones on the threatened species list already.
I can't directly answer your question. From what I've read about this report, the authors looked for species that were best documented over long periods of time. They found very little work, on very few species, so they took what they could get. I suspect it is not a particularly great sampling, but it was, IIRC, fairly diverse: across three continents, and a variety of different types of snakes. As much as anything, the authors were trying to say "this is odd, we need to all take a much better look at this".

Swift
2010-Jul-24, 11:48 PM
If the rats and cockroaches are increasing, can molecular biotechnology help to keep the rat/cockroach population in control ?
I doubt it.

geonuc
2010-Jul-25, 10:38 AM
As much as anything, the authors were trying to say "this is odd, we need to all take a much better look at this".

The point of many scientific articles and papers, I'd say. Unfortunately, the media often ignores that and presents the results of such papers inaccurately. Not saying that happened here, mind you. Just an off-topic remark. :)

mugaliens
2010-Jul-29, 07:06 AM
This should be a big help in the eventual takeover of the planet by rats and cockroaches.

Well, if the rats get hungry they can always eat the cockroaches. :)