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The Herpetofauna of the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in the Gulf Coastal Plain of Mississippi
James R. Lee

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 8, Number 4 (2009): 639–652

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2009 SOUTHEASTERN NATURALIST 8(4):639–652 The Herpetofauna of the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in the Gulf Coastal Plain of Mississippi James R. Lee* Abstract - The Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center (CSJFTC) is a 54,315- ha National Guard training installation located in the Piney Woods subprovince of the Gulf Coastal Plain physiographic region of south-central Mississippi. A list of 108 native amphibian and reptile species possibly occurring on the CSJFTC was generated using known geographic distribution ranges and museum records. General herpetofaunal field-collecting techniques were used to survey the CSJFTC’s aquatic and terrestrial habitats from April 2004–April 2007. Eighty-three native and one introduced species were identified, comprising 59% of the state’s known (excluding marine species) and 77% of the CSJFTC’s suspected herpetofauna. Ten species listed as needing special protection by state or federal agencies occur at the site, including Crotalus adamanteus, Gopherus polyphemus, Lampropeltis calligaster, Masticophis flagellum, Micrurus fulvius, Ophisaurus attenuatus, Pituophis melanoleucus, Pseudacris ornata, Pseudotriton ruber, and Regina rigida. This information will be useful in directing future monitoring efforts and when developing management plans on the CSJFTC. Introduction Amphibians and reptiles serve as indicators of environmental quality, and are an integral part of natural ecosystems throughout the world (Gibbons et al. 2000, Wake and Vredenburg 2008). Declines noted in both of these vertebrate classes over the past few decades have drawn the attention of scientists interested in elucidating the causes of these declines (Gibbons et al. 2000, and references therein), and contingent upon the species, population, or community under discussion, various explanations have been proposed (Blaustein and Kiesecker 2002, Gibbons et al. 2000, Lannoo 2005, McCallum 2007). Unfortunately, many areas throughout the world lack essential baseline data pertaining to herpetofaunal abundance and distribution; therefore, conclusions regarding population trends are often limited (Bury 2006, McCallum and McCallum 2006). Biotic inventories are conducted to accurately describe and list the species present for a given area (Heyer et al. 1994). Initial inventories often: precede monitoring or research upon communities and populations (Tuberville et al. 2005); serve as baseline data against which changes in species composition and patterns of dispersion for a specific site can be measured (Bury 2006, Gibbons et al. 1997); and may provide direction for effective conservation efforts and land management programs (Bury 2006, Dorcas et al. 2006). In the United States, amphibian and reptile species richness *The Nature Conservancy, CSJFTC-ENV Building 622, Camp Shelby, MS 39407; 640 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 8, No. 4 is greatest in the Southeast, and nearly 100 of the species found in the region are considered endemic (Conant and Collins 1998, Dorcas et al. 2006, Tuberville et al. 2005). Unfortunately, knowledge of amphibian and reptile diversity, distribution, and abundance in many areas of the Southeast is lacking (Dorcas et al. 2006, McCallum and McCallum 2006). Mississippi is no exception, and published documentation related to the distribution of herpetofauna throughout the state is sparse (see Lohoefener and Altig 1983, and references therein). My goal was to identify the amphibian and reptile species occurring on the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in southern Mississippi, comment on the apparent relative abundance of each species, identify species in need of monitoring, and make this information readily available to future researchers and land managers. Methods Study area The Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center (CSJFTC), located in Forrest, George, and Perry counties, MS (Fig. 1), is one of the largest National Guard Training installations in the United States, with the total installation area estimated at 54,315 ha. The majority of the land (87%) is owned by the United States Forest Service (USFS) (Epperson and Heise 2003), and Figure 1.The Camp Shelby Joint forces Training Center in southern Mississippi. 2009 J.R. Lee 641 the military is allowed to use selected areas of the DeSoto National Forest for training activities under a renewable Special Use Permit. Training activities at the CSJFTC primarily include troop bivouacking, wheeled-vehicle maneuvers, artillery firing exercises, and tank training maneuvers by M-1 tanks and the Bradley fighting vehicle (B. Lemire, Mississippi Army National Guard, Jackson, MS, pers. comm.). The CSJFTC has had an Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan (INRMP) in effect since August 2001 (B. Lemire, pers. comm.); readers unfamiliar with INRMPs are referred to Gregory et al. (2006, and references therein) for a discussion of INRMP history, general objectives, and recommendations. The public is allowed to use the majority (≈90%) of the CSJFTC for various recreational activities (e.g., hunting, fishing, etc.). The CSJFTC is situated within the Piney Woods subprovince of the Gulf Coastal Plain physiographic region of Mississippi (Cross et al. 1974), and lies within the Pascagoula River Basin. The major sub-basins in the region are the Black Creek and Leaf River (Ross 2001), neither of which fl ow directly through the CSJFTC, but numerous permanent and intermittent tributaries of each transect the site (see Michener 1947). The predominant topography is fl at to hilly, with topographic relief caused by stream dissection ranging from 5–15 m between depressions and ridge tops. Numerous habitats exist within the CSJFTC. Upland habitats include Pinus palustris Miller (Longleaf Pine), mixed hardwood (e.g., Carya spp. [hickory], Quercus spp. [oak]), and mixed pine-hardwood forests (see Yager 2007 and Yager et al. 2007 for a more detailed description of upland habitats). Lowland habitats include Sarracenia spp. (pitcher plant) wetlands/savannahs, mixed pine-hardwood bottomland forests (e.g., Pinus elliottii Engelm [Slash Pine], Nyssa spp. (gum), Persea borbonia Miller [Red Bay]), citronelle ponds, pine fl atwoods, beaver impoundments, ephemeral ponds, streams, and manmade lakes and ponds (Folkerts 1997, Johnston and Figiel 1997, Michener 1947). Embedded within both the upland and lowland habitats are ruderal areas such as powerlines, roadsides, and military training areas (e.g., artillery firing points, ranges, and wetland crossings). Numerous structures (e.g., barracks, bunkers, office buildings, and warehouses) are found throughout the CSJFTC, the majority of which are located in the northwest corner of the installation (i.e., cantonment area). Similarly, the density of roads is highest within the cantonment area (Fig. 1). Sampling methods Prior to initiating field surveys, I generated a list of within-range reptile and amphibian species for the CSJFTC based upon published geographic range maps (Conant and Collins 1998), regional accounts (Cliburn 1959a, 1959b, 1976, 1979; Cook 1954, 1957a, 1957b; Lohoefener and Altig 1983), museum records (R. Jones, Mississippi Museum of Natural Sciences, Jackson, MS, unpubl data), and an unpublished inventory of Camp Shelby (Leonard et al. 2000). Based upon range maps in Cliburn (1976), Conant and Collins (1998), and other locality records, I categorized species as either potentially 642 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 8, No. 4 occurring on the CSJFTC or peripheral to the study site, similar to an inventory recently conducted in South Carolina (see Dorcas et al. 2006). Sampling was conducted 3–5 days per week from April 2004–April 2007. Initially (April 2004–March 2005), sampling efforts were concentrated in upland habitats, but starting in April 2005, the project’s scope was broadened to include lowland/wetland habitats. Due to Hurricane Katrina, no sampling was conducted from 29 August–29 September 2005. Basic sampling consisted of general herpetological field-collecting techniques, including anuran calling surveys, dipnetting, road cruising, systematic searches in favorable habitat, and turning cover objects. Basic sampling was usually conducted during the daylight hours, but on a number of occasions (3–5 days per month, specifically when weather conditions were conducive to salamander migrations and/or calling anurans), I sampled during the evening hours. Intensive sampling was conducted at four terrestrial and nine aquatic sites within the study area. These sites were selected because they were representative of the habitats found on the CSJFTC. Twenty trap arrays were constructed at the four terrestrial sites. Fourteen trap arrays were similar in design to those described by Burgdorf et al. (2005). The remaining trap arrays consisted of a drift fence (i.e., sedimentation fence; height = 0.9 m, length = 90 m) buried to a depth of 0.1 m, six box traps (height and width = 0.6 m, length = 1.2 m) constructed of hardware cloth (6-mm mesh) and plywood, and five 19-liter pitfall traps. Box traps, equipped with a rectangular funnel entrance (height = 7.6 cm, length and width = 30.5 cm) and one-way funnel door, were placed at each end, and on alternating sides, of drift fences (Fig. 2). Pitfall traps were also placed between each box trap, on alternating sides of drift fences (Fig. 2). Twenty-four minnow traps (see Keck 1994), anuran calling surveys, systematic dipnetting, and five turtle traps were used to sample each of the nine aquatic sites. All traps (aquatic and terrestrial) were monitored daily, and during the hotter times of the year (i.e., late spring through early fall), each trap was shaded with several layers of vegetation to prevent desiccation or overheating of potential captives. Most turtles and every snake captured were individually measured and marked following standard methods (e.g., Brown and Parker 1976, Cagle 1939, Conant and Collins 1998). All trapping locations and the location of each individual captured were recorded using a handheld GPS unit and are stored in the Mississippi Army National Guard (MSARNG) GIS database for future re-sampling of these sites and for reference purposes. The nomenclature of Crother (2000) and subsequent revisions (Crother et al. 2001, 2003) are followed throughout. The scientific authority and common name for all species mentioned are provided in Tables 1 and 2. Results Based upon the published distributions, regional accounts, and other locality records, I determined that 108 of Mississippi’s 140 native amphibian and reptile species (excluding marine species) could possibly occur on the CSJFTC, of which, 83 species were documented (i.e., 21 anurans, 13 salamanders, 1 crocodilian, 8 turtles, 9 lizards, and 31 snakes; Tables 1 and 2). 2009 J.R. Lee 643 One introduced species was also documented (see below). Ten species listed as needing special consideration by the Mississippi Natural Heritage Program (i.e., “tracked” species) were found on the CSJFTC. Introduced species A total of fifteen Hemidactylus turcicus were found on the CSJFTC. The first individual, a juvenile, was documented on 16 August 2005 in the cantonment area (Building 6600); nine additional individuals were found within 300 m of this location in 2006 (n = 3) and 2007 (n = 6). On 2 December 2006 at 1300 h, a gentleman was observed dumping a truckload of leaves alongside Forest Service Road 304 D. The individual indicated that he was a resident of Hattiesburg and that he had been dumping leaves at this location for years (because he could not burn them within the city limits); the leaf pile contained five H. turcicus (2 adults, and 3 juveniles). Tracked species Gopherus polyphemus and Pituophis melanoleucus are state endangered in Mississippi and are afforded some degree of federal protection (threatened Figure 2. Alternate trapping design used to capture terrestrial herpetofauna on the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, showing, a trap array in Longleaf Pine habitat (A), close up of a side trap (B), an end trap (C), and an array schematic (D) with circles, and rectangles representing bucket and box traps, respectively. See text for array dimensions. 644 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 8, No. 4 and candidate species for listing by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, respectively; USFWS 1987, 2007). Both species were found to be relatively abundant on the CSJFTC, particularly in Longleaf Pine and Table 1. Peripherally occurring, potentially occurring, and documented amphibians of the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Site in Mississippi. Documented species are classified as rare (<5 observations), vulnerable (5–10 observations), uncommon (11–20 observations), common (21– 50), or abundant (>50 observations). * denotes “species of special concern” in Mississippi. Latin name Common name Status Acris crepitans Baird Northern Cricket Frog Vulnerable A. gryllus (LeConte) Southern Cricket Frog Abundant Bufo fowleri Hinckley Fowler’s Toad Common B. nebulifer Girard Gulf Coast Toad Peripheral B. quercicus Holbrook Oak Toad Uncommon B. terrestris (Bonnaterre) Southern Toad Abundant Gastrophryne carolinensis (Holbrook) Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad Abundant Hyla avivoca Viosca Bird-voiced Treefrog Common H. chrysoscelis Cope Cope’s Gray Treefrog Abundant H. cinerea (Schneider) Green Treefrog Abundant H. femoralis Bosc Pine Woods Treefrog Common H. gratiosa LeConte Barking Treefrog Abundant H. squirella Bosc Squirrel Treefrog Abundant Pseudacris crucifer (Wied-Neuwied) Spring Peeper Abundant P. feriarum (Baird) Southeastern Chorus Frog Vulnerable P. nigrita (LeConte) Southern Chorus Frog Abundant P. ornata (Holbrook) Ornate Chorus Frog* Rare Rana catesbeiana Shaw American Bullfrog Abundant R. clamitans Latreille Green Frog Abundant R. grylio Stejneger Pig Frog Peripheral R. heckscheri Wright River Frog* Peripheral R. palustris LeConte Pickerel Frog Rare R. sevosa Goin & Netting Dusky Gopher Frog* Potential R. sphenocephala Cope Southern Leopard Frog Abundant Scaphiopus holbrookii (Harlan) Eastern Spadefoot Abundant Ambystoma maculatum (Shaw) Spotted Salamander Potential A. opacum (Gravenhorst) Marbled Salamander Common A. talpoideum (Holbrook) Mole Salamander Common A. texanum (Matthes) Small-mouthed Salamander Potential A. tigrinum (Green) Tiger Salamander* Potential Amphiuma means Garden Two-toed Amphiuma Common A. tridactylum Cuvier Three-toed Amphiuma Potential Desmognathus auriculatus (Holbrook) Southern Dusky Salamander Common D. conanti Rossman Spotted Dusky Salamander Abundant Eurycea cirrigera (Green) Southern Two-lined Salamander Abundant E. guttolineata (Holbrook) Three-lined Salamander Abundant E.quadridigitata (Holbrook) Dwarf Salamander Vulnerable Hemidactylium scutatum (Temminck and Four-toed Salamander* Potential Schlegel in Von Siebold) Necturus beyeri Viosca Gulf Coast Waterdog Vulnerable Notophthalmus viridescens Rafinesque Eastern Newt Uncommon Plethodon mississippi Highton Mississippi Slimy Salamander Abundant Pseudotriton montanus Baird Mud Salamander* Potential P. ruber (Latreille) Red Salamander* Common Siren intermedia Barnes Lesser Siren Common 2009 J.R. Lee 645 Table 2 (continued on next page). Peripherally occurring, potentially occurring, and documented reptiles of the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Site in Mississippi. Documented species are classified as rare (<5 observations), vulnerable (5–10 observations), uncommon (11–20 observations), common (21–50), or abundant (>50 observations). * denotes “species of special concern” in Mississippi. Latin name Common name Status Alligator mississippiensis (Daudin) American Alligator Vulnerable Apalone mutica (Lesueur) Smooth Softshell Potential A. spinifera (Lesueur) Spiny Softshell Potential Chelydra serpentina (Linnaeus) Snapping Turtle Common Deirochelys reticularia (Latreille) Chicken Turtle Rare Gopherus polyphemus (Daudin) Gopher Tortoise* Abundant Graptemys fl avimaculata Cagle Yellow–blotched Map Turtle* Potential G. gibbsoni Lovich and McCoy Pascagoula Map Turtle* Potential Kinosternon subrubrum (Lacepède) Eastern Mud Turtle Abundant Macrochelys temminckii (Troost in Harlan) Alligator Snapping Turtle* Potential Pseudemys concinna (LeConte) River Cooter Abundant Sternotherus carinatus (Gray) Razor-backed Musk Turtle Potential S. minor (Agassiz) Loggerhead Musk Turtle Potential S. odoratus (Latreille) Stinkpot Abundant Terrapene carolina (Linnaeus) Eastern Box Turtle Abundant Trachemys scripta (Schoepff) Pond Slider Abundant Anolis carolinensis (Voigt) Green Anole Abundant Aspidoscelis sexlineata (Linnaeus) Six-lined Racerunner Common Eumeces anthracinus (Baird) Coal Skink Potential* E. fasciatus (Linnaeus) Common Five-lined Skink Abundant E. inexpectatus Taylor Southeastern Five-lined Skink Abundant E. laticeps (Schneider) Broad-headed Skink Uncommon Hemidactylus turcicus (Linnaeus) Mediterranean House Gecko1 Uncommon Ophisaurus attenuatus Cope Slender Glass Lizard* Rare O. mimicus Palmer Mimic Glass Lizard* Potential O. ventralis (Linnaeus) Eastern Glass Lizard Rare Sceloporus undulatus (Bosc & Daudin in Eastern Fence Lizard Abundant Sonnini and Latreille) Scincella lateralis (Say in James) Little Brown Skink Abundant Agkistrodon contortrix (Linnaeus) Copperhead Abundant A. piscivorus (Lacepède) Cottonmouth Abundant Carphophis amoenus (Say) Eastern Wormsnake Rare Cemophora coccinea (Blumenbach) Scarletsnake Common Coluber constrictor Linnaeus Eastern Racer Abundant Crotalus adamanteus Palisot de Beauvois Eastern Diamond-backed Abundant Rattlesnake* Crotalus horridus Linnaeus Timber Rattlesnake Potential Diadophis punctatus (Linnaeus) Ring-necked Snake Uncommon Drymarchon couperi (Holbrook) Eastern Indigo Snake*2 Potential Elaphe guttata (Linnaeus) Red Cornsnake Abundant E.spiloides (Duméril, Bibron, & Duméril) Gray Ratsnake Abundant Farancia abacura (Holbrook) Red-bellied Mudsnake Vulnerable F. erytrogramma (Palisot de Beauvois in Rainbow Snake* Potential Sonnini and Latreille) Heterodon platirhinos Latreille Eastern Hog-nosed Snake Abundant H. simus (Linnaeus) Southern Hog-nosed Snake*2 Potential Lampropeltis calligaster (Harlan) Yellow-bellied Kingsnake* Vulnerable L. getula (Linnaeus) Common Kingsnake Common L. triangulum (Lacepède) Milksnake Common 646 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 8, No. 4 mixed pine-hardwood forests with well-drained soils. Gopherus polyphemus frequently utilized ruderal areas (e.g., artillery firing points, and ranges) as well. Crotalus adamanteus and Masticophis fl agellum were also encountered frequently and at many locations throughout the CSJFTC (Table 2). Each of the large upland snake species (C. adamanteus, M. fl agellum, and P. melanoleucus) were frequently found dead on the road (Table 3). Regina rigida was less frequently encountered, but appeared to be relatively common along vernal pools, pitcher plant wetlands, and ephemeral and intermittent streams scattered throughout the CSJFTC. Lampropeltis calligaster was found at three locations in the southeastern portion of the installation, an area known as the Gopher Tortoise Refuge. All L. calligaster were found in 2005; an adult female was found on 12 March crossing a recently mowed artillery firing point, three hatchlings (probably from the same clutch) were captured in a single box trap on 3–5 May (one each day), and an adult male was captured in a box trap on 3 August. A juvenile female Micrurus fulvius was captured in a box trap located in the Gopher Tortoise Refuge on 30 March 2005. This Table 2, continued. Latin name Common name Status Masticophis fl agellum (Shaw, 1802) Coachwhip* Abundant Micrurus fulvius (Linnaeus, 1766) Harlequin Coralsnake* Rare Nerodia erythrogaster (Forster, 1771) Plain-bellied Watersnake Abundant N. fasciata (Linnaeus, 1766) Southern Watersnake Uncommon N. rhombifer (Hallowell, 1852) Diamond-backed Watersnake Rare N. sipedon (Linnaeus, 1758) Northern Watersnake Common Opheodrys aestivus (Linnaeus, 1766) Rough Greensnake Abundant Pituophis melanoleucus (Daudin, 1803) Pinesnake* Abundant Regina rigida (Say, 1825) Glossy Crayfish Snake* Common R. septemvittata (Say, 1825) Queen Snake* Peripheral Rhadinaea fl avilata (Cope, 1871) Pine Woods Littersnake* Potential Sistrurus miliarius (Linnaeus, 1766) Pygmy Rattlesnake Uncommon Storeria dekayi (Holbrook, 1836) DeKay's Brownsnake Uncommon S. occipitomaculata (Storer, 1839) Red-bellied Snake Uncommon Tantilla coronata Baird & Girard, 1853 Southeastern Crowned Snake Uncommon Thamnophis sauritus (Linnaeus, 1766) Eastern Ribbonsnake Abundant T. sirtalis (Linnaeus, 1758) Common Gartersnake Abundant Virginia striatula (Linnaeus, 1766) Rough Earthsnake Rare V. valeriae Baird & Girard, 1853 Smooth Earthsnake Rare 1Introduced. 2Thought to be extirpated from Mississippi. Table 3. Number of large “tracked” snake species captured, found on roads, and found dead on the road (DOR) of the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center from April 2004 to April 2007. Found on road Found DOR Species Total captured (% of total) (% of total, % found on road) Crotalus adamanteus 51 19 (37%) 13 (25%, 68%) Masticophis fl agellum 69 7 (10%) 4 (6%, 57%) Pituophis melanoleucus 52 19 (36%) 6 (12%, 32%) 2009 J.R. Lee 647 individual managed to get the anterior third of its body through the 6-mm hardware cloth, and would have probably passed entirely through if it had not recently consumed a fairly large food item (i.e., adult male Anolis carolinensis). An Ophisaurus attenuatus was found crossing the South Tank Trail, headed towards the Impact Area Buffer, on 24 May 2006. Despite intensive sampling (on the non-Impact Area Buffer side of the road), no additional individuals were found. While enough individuals were captured to warrant placement into the “common” category, Pseudotriton ruber was only found at two locations (i.e., Ragland Hills and the Miles Branch beaver impoundment; 4.5 km apart). Larva of this species appeared to be abundant at both locations; however, because only a handful of the larva were thoroughly examined, larval individuals were excluded when determining this species’ relative abundance. On 21 February 2007, a lone male Pseudacris ornata was heard calling (and later observed) from a pitcher plant wetland off of Rattlesnake Bay Road. The area was revisited on the evenings of 23– 25 February, and again on 3, 17, and 31 March 2007, and no additional individuals of this species were observed. This individual (presumably the same one, since no others were heard) was last heard calling on 24 February 2007 at 2250 h. Discussion A high diversity of reptiles and amphibians were documented on the CSJFTC. However, the number of species reported herein (83 native and 1 introduced) may underestimate the true herpetofaunal richness of the CSJFTC. For example, I was unable to document a number of potentially occurring species that I expected to find based upon habitat availability and geographic range overlap. Four species in particular, Ambystoma maculatum, A. texanum, Apalone mutica, and A. spinifera, have been commonly observed adjacent (500–1500 m) to the installation (J. Lee, unpubl. data) and will likely be documented on the CSJFTC in the future. Amphiuma tridactylum utilizes a wide variety of habitats, is often locally abundant throughout its range, and has been documented in Forrest and Perry counties (Boundy 2005, Conant and Collins 1998, Petranka 1998); therefore, it was surprising that no individuals were found when apparently suitable swamp and riparian habitat exists throughout the study site. Some of the undocumented species potentially inhabiting the CSJFTC (i.e., Ambystoma tigrinum, Drymarchon couperi, Heterodon simus, Ophisaurus mimicus, and Rana sevosa) are less likely to occur on the study site because of a lack of suitable habitat, limitations of the species range, or they are thought to be extirpated from the state. However, the CSJFTC has large tracts of temporarily and permanently inaccessible land (e.g., air-to-ground gunnery ranges, impact area and associated buffer), which contain some of the best remaining habitats for these species on the installation. Therefore, the possibility exists that these and a number of the other undocumented species may be found on the site in the future. Areas that warrant further inventory work include the Deep Creek area, Hartfield Creek, Gator-bite Pond, Mars Hill, Miles Branch beaver impoundment, and Ragland Hills. 648 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 8, No. 4 At the present time, the distribution of H. turcicus on the CSJFTC appears to be limited to one area in the cantonment area and alongside Forest Service Road 304 D. The latter of these two locations is fairly secluded, devoid of buildings and other human structures that the species is often associated with, and should be re-surveyed in the future to determine the colonization success (or failure) of these individuals which are currently residing in an atypical habitat (see Meshaka et al. 2006 and Lee 2008, for a review of typical habitats in Lousiana and Mississippi, respectively). The high volume of traffic (relative to the rest of the installation) that enters the cantonment area each day, coupled with the fact that the life history of H. turcicus makes it well suited to undergo jump dispersal in cargo, parcels, and plants transported by humans (Lee 2008, McCallum et al. 2008, Selcer 1986) suggests that immigration and emigration of H. turcicus will take place in the cantonment area in the future. Despite not documenting 25 of the possibly occurring species, the CSJFTC’s herpetofaunal richness is relatively high when compared to other recently inventoried areas throughout the southeastern United States. For example, Tuberville et al. (2005) conducted herpetofaunal inventories at 16 parks within the National Park Service’s Southeast Coast Network (1 in Alabama, 6 in Georgia, and 3 in each of Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina), resulting in 6–64 species being documented per park. The authors found a strong and positive correlation between park size and species richness (Tuberville et al. 2005:540). This relationship between land area and species richness could account for the greater number of species found on the CSJFTC, since Camp Shelby is considerably larger than any of the parks inventoried. However, the greater herpetofauna richness found on the CSJFTC might be attributable to differences in habitat availability between the CSJFTC and the national parks inventoried. Longleaf Pine forests and isolated wetlands are fairly common habitats on Camp Shelby, but were underrepresented in the Southeast Coast Network parks (Tuberville et al. 2005). It should be noted that long-term studies are required to accurately estimate total species richness and distribution patterns (Gibbons et al. 1997). As the human population and development of lands continue to increase in southern Mississippi, and habitats become increasingly fragmented or lost, the CSJFTC (and probably the entire DeSoto National Forest) offers a refuge for imperiled species; as is the case with USFS- and Department of Defense (DOD)-owned lands throughout the country (Grooves et al. 2000). However, this does not necessarily mean that these species are safe. For example, large upland snakes (as well as other herpetofauna) on the CSJFTC appear to suffer from vehicular-induced mortality. Public awareness efforts (e.g., pamphlets, road signs, and educational outreach programs) focused on increasing people’s knowledge and appreciation of herpetofauna may help in preventing road mortality on the CSJFTC. More extreme measures of reducing road mortality include road closures, or the construction of amphibian and reptile tunnel systems (see Langton 1989) in areas where individual or multipletracked species have been frequently observed crossing roads (e.g., parts of South Tank Trail and Red Hill Road). In addition to road mortality, the past 2009 J.R. Lee 649 practice of fire suppression may also be affecting a number of the CSJFTC’s herpetofauna (e.g., Yager et al. 2007), and could explain why some species are no longer found on the site (e.g., Tuberville et al. 2000). While large portions of the CSJFTC are currently managed with prescribed fire each year, the frequency and time of year that some of these areas are burned may be insufficient in combating overstory canopy closure, shrub encroachment, and herbaceous decline that has resulted from prolonged periods of fire suppression. A number of the native longleaf herpetofauna, especially the specialist forms (Guyer and Bailey 1993, Means 2006), would benefit (either directly or indirectly) if these areas were managed in a fashion that opened the canopy and reduced shrub biomass, thereby increasing primary productivity at the ground level (see Johnson and Gjerstad 2006 and Walker and Silletti 2006, for management suggestions). Once forests are restored, Means (2006) suggests that prescribed fires should be conducted on a short rotation (1–3 years) during the early lightning season (May and June), to produce an ecosystem mosaic suitable for all the native species (not just herpetofauna). Of the 10 tracked herpetofauna species found on the CSJFTC, only G. polyphemus has an established monitoring program that evaluates the animal’s status and population trends. A similar program is being developed for P. melanoleucus, and because a number of the other tracked species (C. adamanteus, L. calligaster M. fl agellum, M. fulvius) occur sympatrically with P. melanoleucus, they will be monitored concurrently. Additional programs should be developed and implemented for the other four tracked herpetofauna, and for species occurring on the CSJFTC that are declining in other parts of their range (e.g., Lampropeltis getula [Winne et al. 2007], Desmognathus auriculatus [Means and Travis 2007]). Acknowledgments This project would not have been possible without the financial support of the Mississippi Army National Guard and the assistance of numerous individuals: John Rhine, T.G. Jackson, Melissa Olsen, Jennifer Frey, C.J. Sabette, Aaron Holbrook, Dustin Shaneyfelt, Matt Hinderliter, Lisa Yager, Melinda Lyman, Major Bob Lemire, Dr. Bob Jones, Tom Mann, Stephanie Lee, Kennedy Trueblood, and the DeSoto National Forest staff. 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