Detectability of Northern Cottonmouth Snakes (agkistrodon Piscivorus) Within Constructed Wetland Complex


Sarah Morris

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

Date of Award

Spring 2022


Wetland ecosystems play an essential role in our environment and provide valuable habitats for many species. Creating the constructed wetlands has helped maintain and restore the destroyed wetlands. Common aquatic snakes like the cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus), are possible indicator species within these ecosystems (Ford, 2002). Cottonmouths are semi-aquatic pit vipers native to North America and are predominant in wetland complexes. They can also help provide information on if the ecosystem is healthy since they are always present. We used distance sampling to walk along transects to determine the detectability of the A. piscivorus. While we caught the snakes, the type of vegetation was established. We ran the data to gain a detection function, and the results showed that due to vegetation alteration at the study site, the data was inconclusive. In this study, the snakes could be detected equally at each distance. We also had data to run a population abundance model. The results showed that there were about 5 snakes per hectare, producing an estimate of 220 with a confidence interval ranging from 115 to 423 individuals that occupy the constructed wetlands.


Johanna Delgado-Acevedo

Subject Categories

Biology | Life Sciences