Boa constrictor

Conservation of amphibians and reptiles in Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire

Curaçao and Bonaire form part of the Netherlands Antilles, while Aruba has a “status aparte” within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. All three islands are relatively arid compared to a typical Caribbean island, with mean annual rainfall of 409-553 mm, and experience several periods of drought lasting two or more years each century. A short history of the islands is given, and protected areas are described. The laws and regulations protecting amphibians and reptiles are complex, with general laws originating from the Kingdom of the Netherlands participation in international conventions (such as CITES) together with supplemental laws of the Netherlands Antilles and individual islands. Sea turtles are generally well protected, although their nesting beaches would be vulnerable to a rise in sea level. Among the terrestrial herpetofauna, only the Aruba Island rattlesnake (Crotalus unicolor) is on the IUCN Red List, being Critically Endangered. The status of this species and others of particular interest is described. The Curaçao Island snake (Liophis triscalis) should probably be included as Vulnerable or even Endangered, though there is insufficient information at present. Iguana iguana populations on the different islands, and the Curaçao whiptail (Cnemidophorus murinus murinus) on Klein Curaçao, are distinctive and significant for conservation. An overview is given of introduced amphibians and reptiles and their possible effects on the native fauna. The arid climate of the islands may hinder the establishment of invasive species, which are often not able to survive in the bush and thus reduces their impact on native species.

Date
2006
Data type
Scientific article
Theme
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Aruba
Bonaire
Curacao
Author

Genetic Characterization of an Invasive Boa constrictor Population on the Caribbean Island of Aruba

Boa constrictor was first documented on the Caribbean island of Aruba in 1999. Despite intensive efforts to eradicate the snake from the island, B. constrictor has established a stable, reproductively successful population on Aruba. We generated mitochondrial sequence and multilocus microsatellite data for individuals from this population to characterize the origins and means of introduction to the island. Phylogenetic analyses and measures of genetic diversity for this population were compared with those for invasive B. constrictor imperator from Cozumel and B. constrictor constrictor from Puerto Rico. Cozumel populations of B. c. imperator had significantly higher number of alleles and significantly higher values for FIS than the Puerto Rico and Aruba populations. Observed, expected, and Nei's unbiased heterozygosities, as well as effective number of alleles, were not significantly different. The effective population sizes from Aruba and Puerto Rico were generally lower than those for either of the Cozumel populations; however, there were broad confidence intervals associated with published estimates. We conclude that the present B. constrictor population on Aruba probably was not established from the introduction of a single gravid or parthenogenic female but instead most likely resulted from the release or escape of a small number of unrelated captive snakes. This study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting the ease with which a small number of relatively slow-maturing B. constrictor can quickly invade, become established, and avoid eradication efforts in a new location with suitable habitat.

Date
2015
Data type
Scientific article
Theme
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Aruba
Private Document