The Rattlesnakes of the Gila Region of Southwestern New Mexico

Christman, Bruce L.                                                                                                              

nattybrew@hotmail.com                                                                                                                               

736 Cardenas SE                                                                                                                                    

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

 

Jennings, Randy D.                                                                                                                                   

Department of Natural Sciences                                                                                                                                  

Western New Mexico University                                                                                                                   

Silver City, New Mexico, USA 

 

Giermakowski, J. Tomasz                                                                                                                         

Department of Biology                                                                                                                      

University of New Mexico                                                                                                                     

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

 

The Gila and Apache National Forests of southwestern New Mexico are home to several species of rattlesnakes but the extents of their distributions are poorly studied. We use historic and recent records of occurrence from different sources to examine potential ecological boundaries between different species of rattlesnakes in that region. To this end, we map the distribution of different species of rattlesnakes in relation to biotic and abiotic features of the landscape, including geological and topographical characteristics. Are particular focus has been on the distribution of the Arizona Black Rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus), primarily because available data for this species are limited and indicate that, despite the prevalence of seemingly suitable habitat throughout the region, it has a relatively small area of occurrence in New Mexico. In addition, despite many historically significant records, we identify major spatial gaps in the knowledge of distribution of rattlesnakes in southwestern New Mexico.

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