Abstract

Since their introduction to Guam shortly after World War II, brown tree snakes, Boiga irregularis (Merrem), have seriously impacted the biota and human population of the island. Understanding the biology of this exotic species will likely be important to the success of control programs. We compared the reproductive biology of 782 B. irregularis caught on Guam during the 1980s with results from published studies of native-range populations. Average and maximum sizes of mature snakes on Guam were larger than those from Australian populations. The majority of female brown tree snakes matured at snoutvent lengths (SVLs) of 910–1,025 mm, and most males matured at SVLs of 940–1,030 mm on Guam. Based on growth rates from the early 1990s on Guam, sexual maturity is estimated to occur during a snake’s third or fourth year. Only one female (0.3%) in our data set had oviductal eggs. Clutch size was estimated at 4.3 (SD = 2:2), based on large vitellogenic ovarian follicle (≥30 mm in length) and oviductal egg counts. Unlike their Australian counterparts, the Guam population reproduced year-round. Our data offer insights into the likely reproductive patterns of brown tree snakes should they infest other islands in the Pacific region.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-6188
Print ISSN
0030-8870
Pages
pp. 191-199
Launched on MUSE
2007-02-12
Open Access
No
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