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      Contact rates with nesting birds before and after invasive snake removal: estimating the effects of trap-based control

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      NeoBiota

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Invasive predators are responsible for almost 60% of all vertebrate extinctions worldwide with the most vulnerable faunas occurring on islands. The brown treesnake ( Boigairregularis) is a notorious invasive predator that caused the extirpation or extinction of most native forest birds on Guam. The success of avian reintroduction efforts on Guam will depend on whether snake-control techniques sufficiently reduce contact rates between brown treesnakes and reintroduced birds. Mouse-lure traps can successfully reduce brown treesnake populations at local scales. Over a 22-week period both with and without active snake removal, we evaluated snake-trap contact rates for mouse- and bird-lure traps. Bird-lure traps served as a proxy for reintroduced nesting birds. Overall, mouse-lure traps caught more snakes per trap night than did bird-lure traps. However, cameras revealed that bird-lure traps had a snake contact rate almost 15 times greater than the number of successfully captured snakes. Snakes that entered bird-lure traps tended to be larger and in better body condition and were mostly captured in bird-lure traps, despite numerous adjacent mouse-lure traps. Traps placed along grid edges caught more snakes than interior traps, suggesting continuous immigration into the trapping grid within which bird-lure traps were located. Contact between snakes and bird-lure traps was equivalent before and after snake removal, suggesting mouse-lure traps did not adequately reduce the density of snakes that posed a risk to birds, at least at the timescale of this project. This study provides evidence that some snakes exhibit prey selectivity for live birds over live mouse lures. Reliance on a single control tool and lure may be inadequate for support of avian reintroductions and could lead to unintended harvest-driven trait changes of this invasive predator.

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          Most cited references 29

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          The ecology of individuals: incidence and implications of individual specialization.

          Most empirical and theoretical studies of resource use and population dynamics treat conspecific individuals as ecologically equivalent. This simplification is only justified if interindividual niche variation is rare, weak, or has a trivial effect on ecological processes. This article reviews the incidence, degree, causes, and implications of individual-level niche variation to challenge these simplifications. Evidence for individual specialization is available for 93 species distributed across a broad range of taxonomic groups. Although few studies have quantified the degree to which individuals are specialized relative to their population, between-individual variation can sometimes comprise the majority of the population's niche width. The degree of individual specialization varies widely among species and among populations, reflecting a diverse array of physiological, behavioral, and ecological mechanisms that can generate intrapopulation variation. Finally, individual specialization has potentially important ecological, evolutionary, and conservation implications. Theory suggests that niche variation facilitates frequency-dependent interactions that can profoundly affect the population's stability, the amount of intraspecific competition, fitness-function shapes, and the population's capacity to diversify and speciate rapidly. Our collection of case studies suggests that individual specialization is a widespread but underappreciated phenomenon that poses many important but unanswered questions.
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            Nest Predation and Nest Sites

             Thomas Martin (1993)
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              Extinction of an Island Forest Avifauna by an Introduced Snake

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                NeoBiota
                NB
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2488
                1619-0033
                July 22 2019
                July 22 2019
                : 49
                : 1-17
                Article
                10.3897/neobiota.49.35592
                © 2019

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