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

Arizona Project

Northern Mexican gartersnake demographics and movement ecology

May 2022 - December 2022


Participating Agencies

  • Arizona Game and Fish Department

The Northern Mexican Gartersnake (Thamnophis eques, hereafter THEQ) is a federally threatened species that has declined extensively due to invasive species, loss of native prey, and habitat loss and alterations. Data on THEQ population demographics and movement patterns are needed to inform ongoing recovery efforts. While previous studies have examined some aspects of THEQ ecology in central Arizona, very little is known about the ecology of THEQ along the Santa Cruz River in the San Rafael Valley of southeastern Arizona. This habitat of the San Rafael Valley is markedly different from that in other parts of THEQ’s range in Arizona being dominated by narrow riparian corridors surrounded by xeric grassland with isolated cattle stock tanks. Information specific to THEQ in the San Rafael Valley is therefore needed to ensure that appropriate management and conservation measures are taken and to increase our understanding of the ecology of THEQ. This project will continue ongoing mark-recapture surveys conducted by the Arizona Game and Fish Department to provide demographic parameter estimates for THEQ and test the application of GPS telemetry to collect fine-scale movement data on THEQ. This project is conducted in collaboration with Arizona Game and Fish Department and Dr. Matt Goode at the University of Arizona.