[CT Birds] Smooth green snake RFI (sorry off topic)

Comins, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Wed Aug 29 11:15:52 EDT 2012

Sorry this is scales not feathers, but I figured many of you are all-around naturalists and might have some info for Brian:

My name is Brian Blais and I have been the Wildlife Research Assistant for CT DEEP Wildlife Division since 2011 under Jenny Dickson; CT Supervising Biologist.

I'm writing to tell you about some research of mine that is getting underway. I am surveying for smooth green snakes throughout CT. This will be a two-pronged approach. The first is that I will be taking tissue samples in situ for DNA sequencing as part of a Masters degree program at Black Hills State University. I will be starting at BHSU in the fall of

2013 under Dr. Brian E. Smith who has been investigating the phylogeography of smooth greens. We both suspect this research may lead to revealing a separate species/sub-species. The other aspect of this project is to investigate known population areas and also uncover new sites for the benefit of CT DEEP Wildlife. In doing so it may have ramifications on the management practices of this Special Concern species in Connecticut.

What I would like to ask of you is to keep your eyes and ears open for me.

If you are aware of any sightings, with preference within 5 years, please contact me regarding the location so I can try to get out and find them. I would also take reliable word of mouth sightings.

I've already (or in the process of) contacted other herpetological assets, state officials, Audubon, etc... to inform them of my research and to keep me in mind if they see or hear anything green snake related.

A little about my research:

     I will be searching now until October, or until my seasonal hours finish with CT DEEP, which also coincides with the snake's concluding activity period. I will again pick up in late spring of 2013 (mid-April until mid-June). There may also be a 2-week time period in early August

2013 to survey before I go west to school.

     All research is in situ. Searching method will be visual with possibility of transecting if applicable. I will be taking a 2-3mm tail snip tissue sample and preserving it for DNA sequencing. Other field data will be taken such as size, weather, and habitat criteria. No snakes will be killed nor collected.

     I will be creating an updated distribution map of the species.

Some general info on smooth green snakes for those unfamiliar:

     They occupy predominantly unforested habitats including a variety of grassland types, coastal grassy areas, mountaintop balds, fens, wet meadows, pastures, old farming fields that have little or no maintenance (mowing), etc...

     Adults are generally up to 24" in length and about as think as a pen.

     Juveniles may be olive green but adults will be solid green with a yellowish venter

     Recently deceased individuals turn blue

     Non-venomous and entirely harmless

     Listed CT-Special Concern with declining populations/habitat

I welcome any insight, questions, or thoughts on your behalf. I appreciate your time, My contact info is below. Additionally my office number at CT DEEP is

860-675-8130 ext 329.

Thank you!

Brian Blais

B.Sc. Biology 2009

Central Connecticut State University


blais.brian at yahoo.com<mailto:blais.brian at yahoo.com>

Patrick M. Comins
Director of Bird Conservation

Audubon Connecticut
185 East Flat Hill Road
Southbury, CT 06488

Phone: (203)264-5098 x308 (note, I currently do not have a phone at my desk, but will check messages, email is a quicker way to reach me right now)
Fax: (203)264-6332

pcomins at audubon.org<mailto:pcomins at audubon.org>
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