Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arizona
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Arizona Project

Conservation Genetics of the Tiger Rattlesnake

January 2005 - December 2017


Participating Agencies

  • Arizona Game & Fish Dept.

Goal: Use genetic data to assess the effects of fragmentation on tiger rattlesnakes, and examine relatedness/paternity. The rocky foothill areas preferred by tiger rattlesnakes are also considered prime real estate, offering dramatic views and beautiful surroundings. As urban sprawl encroaches on park boundaries, increased threats to wildlife are inevitable. This is especially true for rattlesnakes, which are often perceived as dangerous pests that should be killed or otherwise removed. Urbanization and subsequent fragmentation is considered a primary threat at Saguaro National Park. In this study we have developed additional microsatellite markers to examine genetic variation for several populations of tiger rattlesnake surrounding Tucson. We will utilize the levels of genetic variation within and between populations to infer relatedness, level of gene flow, and barriers to gene flow among populations as well as paternity.