The Rattlesnakes of the Gila Region of Southwestern New Mexico

Christman, Bruce L.

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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