5 comments on “First Snake ID Request of 2015

  1. It’s adorable! And yay for Angela. Why is it that so many species of snake are prettier in Florida?

    • The notion that Florida snakes are prettier brings up some interesting thoughts. While “prettier” is almost entirely subjective, I assume that you’re commenting on the vibrancy and contrast of the colors of the snake in the photo. While I don’t have numbers to back this up, I get the general feeling that, the more tropical an ecosystem, often the more vibrant or high-contrast its inhabitants. To restate that point more explicitly, the tendency to find bright, high contrast organisms appears to share a positive correlation with “tropicality” (if you will) of an ecosystem. There are countless possible explanations for why this observation could be supported (assuming that it represents a real observation in the first place), but here’s one that I thought qualified as, “Allyson-inspired”: tropical and subtropical habitats (like those found in Florida) escaped glaciation during the last ice age, so they served as a reservoir for many species that have since expanded their ranges, so we would expect to find greater diversity and variation of appearance because genetic subsets of the population have dispersed to colonize newly-exposed habitats (exposed by glacial recession and increased temperatures). I’m now really curious to see if such a trend has been documented. Are you familiar with any research documenting that there is a positive correlation between “tropicality” (perhaps proximity to the equator?) and high contrast colors in populations? Or across species assemblages (are there more high contrast species in tropical locations than temperate or desert)? On a different train of thought, perhaps Florida’s snakes are more variable because of the lack of uniformity of habitat type throughout the state, leading to opposing selective pressures for appearance. Many states are much more homogenous than Florida.

  2. Pingback: Answer to First Snake ID Request of 2015 | Central Florida's Biologist

Leave a Reply