Body Size Variation in Two Adjacent Populations of Black Kingsnakes (Lampropeltis nigra) in East Tennessee

Jesse Weber, Joshua Ennen, Weber, Jesse And Ennen, Joshua, Jesse Weber, Joshua Ennen
2013 unpublished
Intraspecific phenotypic variation of body size is often an observable phenomenon when comparing populations of snakes, but this type of divergence is typically associated with physical or environmental barriers separating the populations. However, even proximal populations separated by reasonably surmountable barriers have been shown to exhibit phenotypic variation, but such cases are rarely reported and often under-studied. This study reveals phenotypic variation in body size of black
more » ... es (Lampropeltis nigra) on a geographic scale smaller than previously reported for the species. We identify populations of L. nigra located in two adjacent habitats in East Tennessee that show difference in length (SVL; cm), regardless of sex. L. nigra in one habitat ranged from 33.5 to 87.1 cm with a mean of 58.57 cm SVL (n = 37), while those in the other habitat ranged from 29.1 cm to 123.9 cm with a mean of 79.25 cm SVL (n = 22), and the results were significant (F Ratio = 16.0409, Prob>F = 0.0002). We consider possible mechanisms behind this observable divergence and propose options for further research at this site.