IPNA-CSIC scientists will analyze the movements and hideouts of California kingsnake, an invasive species in Gran Canaria
This week, the research team released a total of 14 California kingsnakes successfully implanted with a radio transmitter on the island of Gran Canaria. These devices will report on the position of the snakes at any given time, allowing them to be tracked for a year in order to understand how much they move and where they take shelter. This study will contribute positively to the control program of the invasive species.
Radio-tracking of individuals of this species is one of the research actions proposed by IPNA-CSIC within the framework of the project financed by the BBVA Foundation to study the invasion of California kingsnakes in Gran Canaria. Using this technique, each animal carries a device, or radio transmitter, which emits a specific signal that is subsequently received by a receptor held by the researchers. This process will allow the scientists to carry out an exhaustive monitoring of the movement patterns of these snakes, allowing them to detect and characterize their hiding-places and analyse their daily or seasonal activity. In addition, since both males and females marked with these transmitters have been released, scientists will be able to study their spatial reproductive behaviour. This monitoring, which will be continued for a year, "will allow us to obtain crucial data for understanding the expansion of the California kingsnake on the island, which can be very useful in the control program for the species," says the project's principal researcher.
All the specimens used for this study have been captured within the framework of the Strategic Plan for the Control of the California Kingsnake in the Canary Islands (2019-2022). This project was financed by the Government of the Canary Islands and the Cabildo of Gran Canaria. It was developed and carried out in collaboration with the public company GESPLAN, with tasks and funds transferred to the CSIC for this research.
The IPNA-CSIC researchers insist that this invasion is leading to devastating ecological effects in the ecosystems of Gran Canaria. Consequently, all possible efforts to contain the expansion of the species must be treated as a top priority on the island and in the archipelago, both within the island of Gran Canaria and from this island to the rest of the archipelago.