Biological Services Program

FWS/OBS-80/01

SELECTED VERTEBRATE

ENDANGERED SPECIES OF THE

SEACOAST OF THE

UNITED STATES

'

^^O wilP^"^^

Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Department of the Interior

FWS/OBS-80/01 March 1980

SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES

Prepared by ^r W H 0 I

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory /

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service I QQCUMENT

10th and Constitution Avenue, N.W. V _-^| . cpTjQN Washington, D.C. 20560 ^

Project Officer

Donald W. Woodard

National Coastal Ecosystems Team

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

1010 Cause Boulevard

Slidell, Louisiana 70458

This study was conducted in cooperation with the Office of Endangered Species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

PerfoiTned for

National Coastal Ecosystems Team

Office of Biological Services

Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Department of the Interior

The Biological Services Program was established within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to supply scientific information and methodologies on key environmental issues that impact fish and wildlife resources and their supporting ecosystems. The mission of the program is as follovis:

To strengthen the Fish and Wildlife Service in its role as a primary source of information on national fish and wild- life resources, particularly in respect to environmental impact assessment.

To gather, analyze, and present information that will aid decisionmakers in the identification and resolution of problems associated with major changes in land and water use.

To provide better ecological information and evaluation for Department of the Interior development programs, such as those relating to energy development.

Information developed by the Biological Services Program is intended for use in the planning and decisionmaking process to prevent or minimize the impact of development on fish and wildlife. Research activities and technical assistance services are based on an analysis of the issues a determination of the decisionmakers involved and their information needs, and an evaluation of the state of the art to identify information gaps and to determine priorities. This is a strategy that will ensure that the products produced and disseminated are timely and useful.

Projects have been initiated in the following areas; coal extraction and conversion; power plants; geothermal , mineral and oil shale develop- ment; water resource analysis, including stream alterations and western water allocation; coastal ecosystems and Outer Continental Shelf develop- ment; and systems inventory, including National Wetland Inventory, habitat classification and analysis, and information transfer.

The Biological Services Program consists of the Office of Biological Services in Washington, D.C., which is responsible for overall planning and management; National Teams, which provide the Program's central scientific and technical expertise and arrange for contracting biological services studies with states, universities, consulting firms, and others; Regional Staff, who provide a link to problems at the operating level; and staff at certain Fish and Wildlife Service research facilities, who conduct inhouse research studies.

PREFACE

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to pro\ide resource managers and the public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened \ertebrate species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject species is included (range maps and other distributional data .ue not necessarily equivalent to critical habitat as defined in the I'.ndangered Species Act of 1973, as anicnded).

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed.

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS shouki be directed to:

Office of F.ndangered Species L'.S. Fish and Wildlife Sei"\ice Interior Building Washington, D.C. 20240

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to:

Information Transfer Specialist National Coastal Ecosystems Team U.S. Fish and Wildlife Sen,ice iS'ASA-Slidell Computer Complex 1010 Cause Blvd. Slidell, Louisiana 70458

This report should be cited as follows:

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory. Selected vertebrate endangered species of the sea- coast of the United States. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Services Program; FWS/OBS-80/01; March 1980.

Citation of an individual chapter should be made according to this example:

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory. Selected vertebrate endangered species of the sea- coast of the United States: Columbian white-tailed deer. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Services Program; FWS/OBS-80/01.27; March 1980. 6 p.

ENDANGERED SPECIES ACCOUNTS

FWS/OBS-80/Ol.xx

FWS/OBS-80/Ol.xx

01 Red Wolf

02 Blunt-Nosed Leopard Lizard

03 Whooping Crane

04 Light- Footed Clapper Rail

05 San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike

06 Pine Barrens Treefrog

07 Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

08 Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

09 Ocelot

10 Attwater's Greater Prairie Chicken

11 Cape Sable Sparrow

12 Leatherback Sea Turtle

13 Green Sea Turtle

14 Texas Blind Salamander

15 Yuma Clapper Rail

16 Santa Barbara Song Sparrow

17 Eskimo Curlew

18 Southern Sea Otter

19 Morro Bay Kangaroo Rat

20 California Least Tern

21 Kirtland's Warbler

22 HawksbUl Turtle

23 Indiana Bat

24 Atlantic Salt Marsh Snake

25 Dusky Seaside Sparrow

26 Hawaiian Goose (Nene)

27 Columbian White-Tailed Deer

28 Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse

29 Puerto Rican Parrot

30 Kemp's (Atlantic) Ridley Sea Turtle

31 Bachman's Warbler

32 Florida Everglade Kite

33 Puerto Rican Whip-Poor-Will

34 Aleutian Canada Goose

35 West Indian Manatee

36 Island Night Lizard

3 7 Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel

38 Houston Toad

39 American Alligator

40 Brown Pelican

41 Jaguar

42 Gray Bat

43 Okaloosa Darter

44 Eastern Cougar

45 Jaguarundi

46 Florida Panther

47 American Crocodile

48 Key Deer

49 Laysan Duck

50 Red Hills Salamander

5 1 Arctic Peregrine Falcon

52 Mississippi Sandhill Crane

53 Gray Wolf

54 Thick-Billed Parrot

55 San Clemente Sage Sparrow

56 California Clapper Rail

57 American Peregrine Falcon

58 Santa Cruz Long -Toed Salamander

Biological Services Program

FWS/OBS-80/01.1 March 1980

Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species Of the Seacoast of the United States-

THE RED WOLF

Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Department of the Interior

PREFACE

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the pubHc with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the scacoast of the United States. In- formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject species is included (range maps and other distributional data ;uc not necessarily equivalent to critical habitat as defined in the I'-ndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended).

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensiti\c Wildlife Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps oi Engineers in coordina- tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Sei-viccs of the Fish and Wildlife Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to lacilitatc additions and deletions as new accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed.

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to:

Office of F.ndangered Species U.S. Fish and Wildlife Sei"vicc Interior Building Washington, D.C. 20240

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directcil to:

Information Transfer Specialist National Coastal PLcosystems Team U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service iXASA-Slidell Computer Complex 1010 Cause Blvd. Slidell, Eouisi;ma 70458

FWS/OBS-80/01.1 March 1980

SELECTKD VERTEBRAl K ENDANGERED SPECIES OF THE SEACOAS I OF I HE UNFFED STATES-

THE RED WOLF

A Cooperative Effort

by the

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory,

the (Office of Endangered Species

and the

National (Coastal Ecosystems Team,

Office of Biological Services

Project Officer

Donald VV. Woodard

National Coastal Ecosystems Team

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex

1010 Cause Blvd.

Slidell, Louisiana 70458

Performed for

Coastal Ecosystems Project

Office of Biological Services

Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Department of the Interior

CREDIT: U .S. F ISH 8c W 1 L.DUI FE SE R V IC E

RED WOLF

Canis rufus Audubon and Bachman

KINGDOM Animalia

CLASS Mammalia

ORDER Camivora

FAMILY Canidae

OTHER COMMON NAMES black wolf

DATE

Entered into SWIS to be determined

Updates. 20 December 1977, 14 September 1978,

25 May 1979.

LEGAL STATUS

Federal: Endangered (35 FR 16047, 3 October 1970).

States: Endangered: Delaware, Missouri, Mis-

sissippi, T-exas.

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS

Local predator control programs as well as Federal, State, and local bounty hunters have de- cimated the red wolf population. By the 1920's, wolves were virtually extirpated east of the Missis- sippi River, and in Kansas, Oklahoma, and most of Texas (Nowak 1972). Extermination was ac- complished by den hunting, steel trapping, poison baiting, and shooting.

Predator control has had a much greater impact on wolf populations than on the coyote (Canis latrans) populations because bounties were higher for wolves and people feared and hated wolves much more than coyotes. The result was that a few widely separated wolves remained among many coyotes. The few remaining wolves began to mate with coyotes and a hybrid swarm resulted which is today being replaced by pure coyotes (C. Carley personal communication). At present, there are probably no remaining popula-

tions of red wolves in the wild, although some genetically pure individuals may still exist (R. Nowak personal communication).

Any remaining red wolves are now restricted to coastal marshes and prairies which are being lost to industrial and urban expansion and to agri- cultural development (Riley and McBride 1972).

Other pressures include exploration and deve- lopment of oil fields in Texas and Louisiana which have made remote areas more accessible to hunters and trappers (Pimlott and Joshn 1968). Some red wolf habitat occurs in hunting preserves and each year a few are killed by hunters (Riley and McBride 1972).

The few remaining red wolves are known to be physically weakened by diseases and parasites (Red Wolf Recovery Team 1973). Riley and McBride (1972) found heartworms {Dirofilaria immitis) to be present in all specimens examined. Infestation increases with age due to constant ex- posure to mosquito vectors. Animals over 3 years of age are usually heavily parasitized, reducing their tolerance to stress (Riley and McBride 1972). Other internal parasites include hook- worms (Ancylostoma) which often cause death in pups (Paradiso and Nowak 1972), and in adults leads to anemia and conditions which foster low- level infections (Lowery 1974). Tapeworms (Tae- nia) and spiny-headed worms of the phylum Acanthocephala are also found in red wolves, as is the sarcoptic mange mite [Sarcoptes scabiei) (Riley and McBride 1972).

PRIORITY INDEX

Not assigned.

DESCRIPTION

The red wolf is dog-like, averaging about 165 cm in total length for males and 145 cm for fe- males. Weights of 14 specimens from Chambers County, Texas, ranged from 19 to 28 kg (Riley and McBride 1972).

Pelage color is variable from tawny to grayish; muzzle is light with an area of white around the lips extending up the sides, leaving the bridge with a tawny to cinnamon coloration. Light areas also occur around the eyes on many red wolves.

The Red Wolf Recovery Team has established minimum sizes for the discrimination of red wolves from coyotes and coyote X wolf hybrids: male red wolves weigh between 22 and 36 kg, are more than 134 cm long, have a hind foot length of more than 22.8 cm, an ear length of at least 12

cm, and stand at least 68 cm high at the shoulder. Female red wolves weigh between 19 and 31 kg, are more than 129 cm long, have a hind foot length of more than 22 cm, an ear length of at least 11.4 cm, and stand at least 66 cm high at the shoulder (McCarley and Carley 1979).

Pure coyotes are considerably smaller and more "fox-like" than red wolves.

Photographs appear in Carley (1975), Horan (1977), Stevens (1977), Soileau (1977), and Ne- ville (1978).

RANGE

Red wolves are presently restricted to Cham- bers, Jefferson, and Galveston Counties of south- eastern Texas and adjoining Cameron and Calca- sieu Parishes of Louisiana (Carley 1975).

They formerly occurred from central Texas eastward to the coasts of Florida and Georgia, and along the Mississippi River Valley north to central Illinois and Indiana (Hall and Kelson 1959).

RANGE MAP

Shaded areas on the following page indicate former and present distribution (C. Carley per- sonal communication).

STATE/COUNTIES

Louisiana: Calcasieu, Cameron.

Texas: Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson.

HABITAT

Red wolves formerly inhabited dense moun- tain and bottomland forests, as well as coastal prairies and marshes (lUCN 1966, Pimlott and Joslin 1968, Lowman 1975). They are now restricted to coastal prairies and marshes with scattered pine islands (Riley and McBride 1972), although Nowak (1972) indicates that red wolves move to inland forests during the spring and sum- mer months.

The primary habitat requirement appears to be heavy vegetative cover. Cover provided along bayous and in overgrown fallow fields supplies the primary resting and denning areas. Wolves forage out into open fields and marshes using access roads, dikes, canal levees, and cattle walk- ways (Carley 1975).

Photographs of the habitat may be found in Riley and McBride (1972).

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FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR

Prey includes a variety of invertebrates and vertebrates. Young and Goldman (1944) and Riley and McBride (1972) indicate that the marsh rabbit {Sylvilagus aquaticus), nutria {Myocaster coypus), and carrion are the major food items. Other foods consist of white-tailed deer {Odo- coileus virginianus), rodents, domestic stock, waterfowl, fish, grasshoppers, beetles, and vege- tation (Nowak 1972, Riley and McBride 1972).

Wolves feed primarily at night, foraging op- portunistically for small prey alone or in small groups (Riley and McBride 1972). They typi- cally travel in family groups.

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS

See nesting or bedding.

NESTING OR BEDDING

Historically, red wolves denned in hollow tree trunks, along stream banks, and old holes of other animals (Nowak 1972, Riley and McBride 1972, Lowman 1975). The dens were usually ob- scured by brush and vegetation, but afforded the occupants a view of the surrounding terrain.

Water tables are probably too high for ground- nesting in the coastal marshes where wolves still occur, and nesting in tall vegetation has been re- ported in these areas (C. Carley personal com- munication).

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS

The role of howling in the social behavior is not fully understood. The voice of the red wolf is described by Riley and McBride (1972) and McCarley (1978).

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL REQUIREMENTS

Nowak (1972) reported that the territory is generally circular with a diameter attaining 64 km. Carley (1975), using radio tracking, found that males range over an area of approximately 116 km^ and females over a somewhat smaller area. Lowman (1975) reports that the home range of adult red wolves varies from 65 to 130 km^ .

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS

Numbers are reduced or extirpated over most of the range (Pimlott and Joslin 1968). McCarley (1962) recorded species extant in only a few places in western and southern Louisiana.

R. M. Nowak (personal communication) sums up the trend: Steady decline since the coming of

the white man; accelerated since large-scale hy- bridization began about 1920; pure populations apparently survived until about 1920. The Recov- ery Team (RWRT personal communication) esti- mates probably fewer than 50 pure red wolves in the wild.

McCarley and Carley (1979) assert that the red wolf will soon be extinct in the wild, and C. Carley (personal communication) states that the species will probably be extinct in the wdld by 1981.

REPRODUCTION

Mating occurs in January and February with pups born in March, April, and May (Nowak 1972, Riley and McBride 1972, Lowman 1975). Litters range from 3 to 12 with an average of 6 or 7 (Nowak 1972,Lowery 1974).

Both parents participate in rearing the young (Riley and McBride 1972, Lowman 1975), and yearlings are often found in the vicinity of the dens, and may help in rearing young.

After the young reach 6 weeks of age, they spend considerable time away from the den in well-covered beds (Riley and McBride 1972, Low- man 1975). Most die before the age of 6 months, with hookworms reported to be the major cause. Full size is attained in 1 year; sexual maturity by 3 years (Nowak 1972, Lowman 1975). Life ex- pectancy is about 5 years in the wild, and greater in captivity.

Red wolves are more sociable than coyotes but less so than gray wolves {Cams lupus). It is not unusual to find three or more wolves tra- veling throughout the range as a group (Riley and McBride 1972).

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION

Depletion of the red wolf was first reported in 1962. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed this in 1968 and further determined that two sub- species, Canis rufus rufus and C. r. gregoryi, pro- bably existed, but that C. r. floridanus (inhabiting the eastern part of the range) was extinct. More recently, C. r. rufus (western part of range) was deemed extinct also (Carley 1975).

Efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1969 involved removing depredating animals from private lands. This served two purposes: (1) established rapport with owners of remaining red wolf habitat; and (2) facilitated removal of hy- brids and coyotes while relocating red wolves (Carley 1975).

In 1973, biologists were assigned to implement the Red Wolf Recovery Plan. Removal of depre- dating animals was continued, but red wolves captured were treated for various infirmities and released (often radio -tracked) or transferred to captive breeding centers. An effort was ini- tiated to maintain a buffer zone between red wolves and coyotes. This was determined to be impossible because of the difficulty of main- taining such an extensive buffer zone and hybrids were already present (Carley 1975).

Carley (1975) asserts that red wolves can be preserved only by relocation. Exclusion of coy- otes and hybrids from the remaining range is an insurmountable problem (Carley 1975).

Relocation experiments were initiated in late 1976 on Bulls Island, South Carolina. Although there have been numerous problems with the pro- gram, a pair was successfully relocated in January 1978. This island was chosen for a number of technical reasons, but with no intent to start a viable population (Department of the Interior 1972, 1977a, 1977b; R. M. Nowak personal communication). The experiment was successfully completed in November 1978, when the pair was recaptured and returned to the captive breeding program.

In 1977, there were 29 recognized pure adults and 13 young in a breeding pool in Point Defi- ance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington (R. M. Nowak personal communication).

The Recovery Team (RWRT 1973) provided a step-down plan for restoring the red wolf to non- endangered status. The four major objectives are "(1) to restore surviving red wolf subspecies in their present ranges to desirable population levels; (2) to maintain an adequate captive red wolf gene pool; (3) to reestablish surviving red wolf subspe- cies in additional locations within their historic range; and (4) to determine the location and abundance of each surviving red wolf subspecies population." Specific goals include stopping of unauthorized killing by man, developing a posi- tive public attitude, preventing genetic contami- nation, developing landowner tolerance, improv- ing and protecting red wolf habitat, controlling debilitating pathogens and parasites, and control- ling detrimental effects of environmental contam- inants (RWRT 1973).

A new Recovery Team was formulated in 1978.

AUTHORITIES

George R. Abraham (Recovery Team)

State Supervisor

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

271-273 Agriculture Center

Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, LA 70803

Curtis Carley

Wildlife Biologist

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Albuquerque, NM 87103

Russell Clapper

Refuge Manager

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

AnahuacTX 77514

George G arris

Refuge Manager

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge

Awendaw, SC 29429

Joe L. Herring (Recovery Team)

Chief, Division of Game

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission

Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Howard McCarley Austin Universtiy Department of Biology Sherman, TX 75090

Ronald M. Nowak Office of Endangered Species U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Washington, D.C. 20240

Mary Anne Neville (Recovery Team) Protected Species Coordinator Georgia Department of Natural Resources 270 Washington Street Atlanta, GA 30339

Dave Peterson (Recovery Team Leader) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 900 San Marco Boulevard Jacksonville, FL 32207

PREPARER'S COMMENTS

Investigators (McCarley 1962, Lawrence and Bossert 1967, Paradiso 1968, Pimlott and Joslin 1968, Nowak 1970, Paradiso and Nowak 1971) have raised questions concerning the taxonomic status of the red wolf. Paradiso and Nowak (1971) and Gipson et al. (1974), using a multi-

variate analysis of skull morphology, concluded that the red wolf was indeed a valid species. There are numerous gaps in the knowledge of the biology of this species which must be attribu- ted to its depleted numbers, secretive habits, and limited accessibility.

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED REFERENCES

Carley, C. J. 1975. Activities and findings of the red wolf recovery program from late 1973 to 1 July 1975. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. 211 pp.

Freeman, R. C. 1976. Coyote X dog hybridiza- tion and red wolf influence in the wild Cants of Oklahoma. M.S. Thesis. Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater. 62 pp.

Gipson, P. S., J. A. Sealander, and J. E. Dunn. 1974. The taxonomic status of wild Cants in Arkansas. Syst. Zool. 23(1):1-11.

Goldman, E. A. 1937. The wolves of North Ame- rica. J. Mammal. 18(l):37-45.

Hall, E. R., and K. R. Kelson. 1959. The mam- mals of North America. Vol. 2. Ronald Press, New York. 547-1,083 pp.

Harper, F. 1927. Mammals of the Okefenokee Swamp region of Georgia. Boston Soc. Natur. Hist.Proc. 38(7):191-396.

Horan, J. 1977. Return of the red wolf. Defen- ders 52(1):16-19;

lUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources). 1966. Red data book. Morges, Switzerland.

Lawrence, B., and W. H. Bossert. 1967. Multiple character analysis of Canis lupus, latrans, and familiaris, with a discussion of the relation- ships of Canis niger. Am. Zool. 7(2):223-232.

Lowery, G. H., Jr. 1974. The mammals of Louisi- ana and its adjacent waters. Louisiana State Univ. Press, Baton Rouge. 564 pp.

Lowman, G. E. 1975. A survey of endangered, threatened, rare, status undetermined, peri- pheral, and unique mammals of the south- eastern National Forests and grasslands. USDA For. Serv. Contract 38-2601.

McCarley, H. 1962. The taxonomic status of wild Canis (Canidae) in the south-central United States. Southwest. Natur. 7(3-4); 227-235.

. 1978. Vocalizations of red wolves {Canis

rufus).]. Mammal. 59(l):27-35.

McCarley, H., and C. J. Carley. 1979. Recent changes in distribution and status of wild red wolves (Canis rufus) . U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv. Endangered Species Report 4. 8 pp.

Mech, L. D. 1974. Canis lupus. Mammalian spe- cies 37. Am. Soc. Mammalogists. 6 pp.

Neville, M. A. T. 1977. In South Carolina, another transplant runs into trouble. Natl. Wildl. 15(5):10-11.

. 1978. Counterfeit wolves and lonely

islands. Sierra Club Bull. 63(2):22-23.

Nowak, R. M. 1967. The red wolf in Louisiana. Defenders Wildl. News 42(l):60-70.

. 1972. The mysterious wolf of the south.

Natur. Hist. 81:50-53, 74-77.

. 1974. Red wolf, our most endangered

mammal. Natl. Parks Conserv. Mag. Aug:9-12. -. 1975. The cosmopolitaJi wolf. Natl.

Rifle Assoc. Coserv. Yearb. 76-83.

Ogilvie, P. W. 1970. Interim report on the red wolf in the United States. Int. Zoo. Yearb. (10):122-124.

Paradiso, J. L. 1965. Recent records of red wolves from the Gulf Coast of Texas. Southwest Nat. 10(4):318-319.

. 1968. Canids recently collected in east

Texas, with comments on the taxonomy of the red wolf. Am. Midi. Natur. 80(2):529-534.

Paradiso, J. L., and R. M. Nowak. 1971. A report on the taxonomic status and distribution of the red wolf. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Spec. Sci. Rep. Wildl. 145. 36 pp.

. 1972. Canis rufus. Mammalian Species

22. Am. Soc. Mammalogists. 4 pp.

Pimlott, D. H., and P. W. Joslin. 1968. The status and distribution of the red wolf. Trans. N. Am. Wildl. Natur. Resour. Conf. 33:373-384.

RWRT (Red Wolf Recovery Team). 1973. Red wolf recovery plan. Draft. U.S. Dep. Inter. Bur. Sport Fish. Wildl., Office Endangered Species and International Activities. 32 pp.

Riley, G. A., and R. T. McBride. 1972. A survey of the red wolf {Canis rufus). U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Spec. Sci. Rep. Wildl. 162. 15 pp.

Shaw, J. A., and P. A. Jorden. 1977. The wolf that lost its genes. Natur. Hist. 86(10):80-88.

Soileau, C. 1977. Epitaph for a canine. Louisiana Conservationist 29(7-8): 14-17.

Stevens, J. T. 1977. Almost gone. Texas Parks and Wildlife 35(5):2-7.

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1973. Threa- tened wildlife of the United States. Compiled by Office of Endangered Species and Interna- tional Activities. Bur. Sport Fish. Wildl. Resour. Publ. 114. U.S. Gov. Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 239 pp.

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1976. Red wolf released on Bulls Island, Cape Romain Na- tional Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina, and recaptured. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. News Re- lease. 27 December 1976. 3 pp.

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1977a. New red wolf pair to arrive at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. News Release. 30 June 1977. 3 pp.

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1977b. Substi- tute pair of red wolves shipped to Cape Ro- maine National Wildlife Refuge, South Caro- lina. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. News Release, IJuly 1977. 1 pp.

Young, S. P., and E. A. Goldman. 1944. The wolves of North America. 2 parts. Am. Wildl. Inst., Washington, D.C. 630 pp.

ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY:

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 Gainesville, Fl 32601

Biological Services Program

FWS/OBS-80/01.2 MARCH 1980

Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species Of the Seacoast of the United States

BLUNT NOSED LEOPARD LIZARD

Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Department of the Interior

PREFACE

The purpose of this scries of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or tlireatened vertebrate species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject species is included (range maps and other distributional data are not necessarily equivalent to critical habitat as defined in tiie I'.ndangered Species Act of 197.S, as amended).

This scries of accoimts is intended to complement the compuieri/ed Sensiti\e Wildlife Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- tion with the Offices of I-^ndangercd Species and Biological Sei-viccs of the Fish and Wildlife Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed.

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should he directed to:

Office of Endangered Species U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Interior Building Washington, D.C. 20240

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directcil to:

Information Transfer Specialist National Coastal Ecosystems leam U.S. Fish and Wildlife Senice . .\ASA-Slidell Computer Coinplc;\ 1010 Cause Blvd. Slidell, Louisiana 70458

FWS/OBS-80/01.2 March 1980

SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES

BLUNT NOSED LEOPARD LIZARD

A Cooperative Effort

by the

National Fish and WildHfe Laboratory,

the Office of Endangered Species

and the

National Coastal Ecosystems Team

Office of Biological Services

Project Officer

Donald W. Woodard

National Coastal Ecosystems Team

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex

1010 Cause Blvd.

Slidell, Louisiana 70458

Performed for

Coastal Ecosystems Project

Office of Biological Services

Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Department of the Interior

BLUNT-NOSED LEOPARD LIZARD

Crotophytus (Gambelia) silus

KINGDOM Animalia

CLASS Reptilia

ORDER Sauria

FAMILY Iguanidae

OTHER COMMON

NAMES Blunt-nose leopard lizard

DATE

Entered into SWIS To be determined

Updates 9 November 1979

LEGAL STATUS

Federal Endangered (32 FR 4001, 11 March

1967). States Endangered: California (21 May

1977)

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS

This lizard has become increasingly difficult to find throughout most of its range because of agricultural development and urbanization. The few remaining areas of prime habitat, along the western side of the San Joaquin Valley, are under- going rapid development following the recent completion of a major new aqueduct (the Califor- nia Aqueduct) (Erode 1978, Bury 1972, Monta- nucci 1965, Snow 1972, U.S. Dep. Int. 1973). Off-road vehicle recreation is damaging the re- maining habitat in some nonagricultural areas (Erode 1978). Overgrazing and agricultural pest control may be detrimental to C. (G.) silus popu- lations (Anon 1978).

PRIORITY INDEX

Not assigned.

DESCRIPTION

A robust lizard with a long, slender, cylindri- cal tail, C. (G.) silus has a large head with a short, blunt snout; adults measure 89 to 127 mm in snout-to-vent length. The dorsal ground color is gray or brown, and the dorsum has broad, distinct whitish bands interspaced with dusky spots. The throat has dark gray blotches. Undersides of the tail and thighs are white to yellowish; during the breeding season, the males are salmon or rust color ventrally or all over the body except the head (Erode 1978; Bury 1972; Montanucci 1965, 1967, 1970; Snow 1972; Tollestrup 1979). Fe- males have a breeding color consisting of a single, or, occasionally, a double row of red-orange spots on the flanks and sides of the face and a continu- ous wash of the same color on the undersurface of the tail and thighs. (Tollestrup 1979). Monta- nucci (1965, 1967, 1970) describes distinction in color, pattern, and size between valley floor, foot- hill, and ecotonal hybrid populations, but Tolles- trup(1979) did not find such differences.

RANGE

The species occurs only in California. It was once found throughout the San Joaquin valley and adjacent foothills from about latitude 37°3l' north southward into San Luis Obispo County. It now occurs at scattered locations in the valley, east to the Sierra foothills, south to the Tehachapi Mountains, and along the east slopes of the Coast Range foothills, including the Carrizo Plain and lower Cuyama Valley (Erode 1978; Montanucci 1965, 1970; Snow 1972), at elevations below 600 m.

RANGE MAP

Known distribution is shown on the accom- panying map (Anon 1978).

STATES/COUNTIES

California Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mer-

ced, San Eenito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, Ventura.

HABITAT

It prefers open habitat with scattered low

bushes, occurring on sparsely vegetated plains, alkali flats, low foothills, canyon floors, large washes, and arroyos; it is usually found on sandy substrates and sometimes on coarse, gravelly soil and hardpan (Montanucci 1965, 1970).

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR

This lizard is an active predator and an oppor- tunistic feeder, subsisting primarily on large insects and small lizards. Montanucci (1965) re- ports seasonal and regional variation in diet, depending on the availability of insect and lizard prey. Insects taken include locusts (Trimeratropis calif ornica), grasshoppers (Melanoplus sp.), ci- cadas (Okanagana triangulata, O. pallidula), crickets {Acheta assimilis), and a wide variety of orthoptera, lepidoptera, and coleoptera species. Lizards eaten include Uta stansburiana, Phryno- soma coronatum, small Sceloporus magister, and Cnemidophorus tigris, as well as juveniles of its own species. Small amounts of vegetable matter are also taken (Montanucci 1965, 1967). Tolles- trup (1979) found that C. (G.) silus feeds princi- pally on grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, cicadas, flies, and spiders; no vertebrate prey was found in this large sample of stomachs (N = 142).

Foraging habits vary relative to habitat and available prey (Montanucci 1967). Lizards will leap into the air or into shrubbery in pursuit of in- sects. Stalking and pursuit are employed in hunting both insect and lizard prey. Montanucci (1965) reports that C. (G.) silus will dig up lizards {Uta stansburiana) that have taken refuge in holes or loose sand.

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS

Montanucci (1965) notes that population densities correlate to some extent with abundance of mammal burrows. Abandoned or occupied burrows of kangaroo rats {Dipodomys sp) and abandoned squirrel burrows [Spermophilus sp.), gopher burrows {Thomomys bottae), and badger dens {Taxidea taxus) are used for escape cover and permanent shelter. In areas where mammal burrows are scarce, adult C. (G.) silus construct shallow, simple chambered tunnels under exposed rocks or earthen banks. Immature lizards use rock piles, trash piles, brush, etc. for temporary cover (Montanucci 1965).

. / Stanislaus Co^>j- n^ Moriposa Co.

'Merced Co. ^\ .'

'MERCEUX^/ I

LOCATOR MAP

Estimated Original Range of BNLL

0 0

Santa Barbara Co. ~~ 'T

I \

' Ventura Co. \ 10 20 30 40 Miles | \

16 32 48 64 Kilometers I \

Distribution of the blunt-nosed leopard lizard.

NESTING OR BEDDING

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS

Nesting habits of C. (G.) silus are almost identical to those of Gambelia wislizenii (see Parker and Pianka 1976). Females lay eggs in June and July, in burrows at about 50 cm depth. A chamber is excavated or enlarged, entrance tun- nels sealed, and eggs are laid one at a time and lightly covered with sand or soil. The exit tunnel is then plugged from without.

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS

Males establish and defend home burrows, but appear to have overlapping home ranges (Monta- nucci 1965). The degree to which territoriality is exhibited is probably correlated with abundance and availability of food and cover; where mammal burrows are abundant, individual home ranges and home burrows are difficult to detect (Monta- nucci 1965). Recently, Tollestrup (1979) found that males defend home ranges, not just burrows.

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL REQUIREMENTS

Montanucci (1965) reported that several fac- tors limit the distribution of C. (G.) silus: ;

1. Agricultural practices

2. Flooding

3. Chaparral

4. Steep or extensive rocky areas.

Tall grass may hamper foraging and rapid loco- motion, and may account for the relative scarcity of C. (G.) silus on the east side of the San Joa- quin Valley (Montanucci 1965). K. Tollestrup (pers. comm.) reported that tall grass improves foraging because insect abundance increases and it gives the lizards cover for escape from predators. Scarcity of C. (G.) silus in tall grass areas on the east side of the San Joaquin Valley is probably due to the fact that human settlements in this region and farming and grazing of the land date back many years. Also, in this area, it is common practice to plow and burn rangelands in the fall, which decreases or eliminates populations of C. (G.) silus. Entomologists working in Kern County reported finding leopard lizards killed by insecti- cides (DDT and Malathion) (Montanucci 1965).

J. M. Sheppard {in Snow 1972) estimates a density of 300 to 400 Uzards per square mile of optimum habitat near Maricopa, Kern County. Since it is unlikely that all habitats occupied are optimum, he considered the mean density of lizards to be 100/mi' (38.6/km' or 0.4/ha). Tollestrup (1979) estimated that there were 3.5 Uzards per ha at Pixley National Wildlife Refuge, which is the highest known density. Populations of C. (G.) silus are low (0.5 to 1 per acre or about 1 to 2.5 per ha) under optimum conditions (Anon. 1978).

REPRODUCTION

The reproductive cycle varies slightly with environmental conditions. Males will often mate with several females. Mating occurs from late April to early June; clutches of 2 to 5 eggs are laid in June or July; some females may have two clutches per year (Montanucci 1965). Incubation time is estimated at about 57 days. Young (42 to 47 mm in snout-to-vent length) appear from July 30 through September. Sexual maturity in both sexes occurs between 9 and 18 months (Mont- anucci 1965, 1967; Tollestrup 1979).

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION

Habitat for the blunt-nosed leopard hzard is rapidly being lost throughout its range. In the last 100 years, the natural wildlands of the San Joaquin Valley have decreased from 3 million ha to about 200,000 ha (Dickl977). Suitable habitat (salt-brush desert scrub) on the west side of the valley is now being developed for agriculture, since completion of the California Aqueduct. Also, off-road vehicles have denuded parts of this region.

R. R. Montanucci ( in Snow 1972) recom- mended the establishment of a national grassland preserve in the southwestern part of the San Joa- quin Valley as the most rapid means of assuring partial protection of this species. Erode (1978) recommended protective management programs on the remnants of suitable lizard habitat on public lands (the Naval Petroleum Reserve near Taft, the Kern and Pixley National Wildlife Re- fuges, Los Padres National Forest, and National

Resources Land). These lands should be managed to maintain and enhance habitat suitable to the blunt-nosed leopard lizard. Both refuges recognize the importance of their lands to the survival of the lizard; the Pixley National Wildlife Refuge was used as a study area on the ecology of this species (Tollestrup 1979). Also near Pixley, the U.S. Forest Service will manage a tract of grass- land comprising about 325 ha for this lizard (Erode 1978). Essential habitat on private land could be protected by agreement with land- owners.

The California Department of Fish and Game has conducted field surveys and initiated coopera- tive studies with the U.S. Forest Service, Universi- ty of California at Berkeley, and several colleges to further determine the distribution and status of this lizard. A Blunt-Nosed Leopard Lizard Re- covery Team has been formed to provide needed coordination of effort to protect this species (Anon. 1978, Erode 1978).

AUTHORITIES

John M. Erode (Recovery Team Leader) California Department of Fish and Game 1701 Nimbus Road Rancho Cordova, California 95670

Richard R. Montanucci Department of Zoology Clemson University Clemson, South Carolina 29631

Kristine Tollestrup Department of Biology University of Chicago 1103 E. 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637

PREPARER'S COMMENTS

Recent taxonomic changes for this lizard warrant explanation to prevent confusion and promote consistent use of currently accepted nomenclature. The relationshiops and systematic status of the lineages of crotaphytaform lizards (leopard and collared lizards) of North America have been undergoing revision by herpetologists as new data and techniques become available. Montanucci. (1970) presented evidence of genetic and ecologic differentiation between the leopard lizards of the San Joaquin Valley and those of

more southern and eastern populations. This evi- dence supports the recognition of the blunt-nosed leopard lizard as a distinct species (Gambelia si- lus), rather than a subspecies of the longnose leo- pard lizard (G. wislizenii).

Montanucci et al. (1975) present biochemical evidence indicating that leopard lizards are suffici- ently different from the closely related collared lizards (genus Crotaphytus) to be considered a separate genus [Gambelia).

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED REFERENCES

Anonymous. 1978. Blunt-nosed lizard recovery plan. Part I. (draft). 12 pp.

Erode, J. 1978. Blunt-nosed leopard lizard {Crota- phytus silus). Pages 24-25 in At the Cross- roads: a report on California's endangered and rare fish and wildlife. Calif. Dep. Fish Game Biannual Rep. 103 pp.

Bury, R. B. 1972. Status report on California's threatened amphibians and reptiles. Calif. Dep. Fish Game, Inland Fisher. Rep. 72-2. 31 pp.

Dick, D. 1977. Habitat disappearing for the leo- pard lizard. Outdoor Calif. 38(6):37-38.

Montanucci, R. R. 1965. Observations on the San Joaquin leopard lizard Crotaphytus wislizenii silus Stejneger. Herpetologica 21(4):270-283.

1967, Further studies on leopard lizards,

Crotaphytus wislizenii. Herpetologica 23(2): 119-126.

1970. Analysis of hybridization between

Crotaphytus wislizenii and Crotaphytus silus (Sauria: Iguanidae) in California. Copeia 1970 (1):104-123.

Montanucci, R. R., R. W. Axtell, and H. C. Dessaur. 1975. Evolutionary divergence among collard lizards (Cryophytus), with comments on the status of Gambelia). Herpetologica 31(3):336-347.

Parker, W. W., and E. R. Pianka. 1976. Ecological observations on the leopard lizard (Crotophy-

tus wislizenii) in different parts of its range. Berkeley.

Herpetologica 32(1):95-114.

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1973. Threatened Snow, C. 1972. Blunt nosed leopard lizard: Cro- wildlife of the United States. Bur. Sport Fish.

taphytus situs. Bur. Land Manage. Tech. Note Wildl. Res. Publ. 114. 289 pp.

6601. 13 pp.

PREPARED/UPDATED BY

Tollestrup, K. 1979. The ecology, social structure,

and foraging behavior of two closely related National Fish and Wildllife Laboratory,

species of leopard lizards, Gambelia silus and 1300 Blue Spruce Drive

Gambelia wislizenii. Ph. D. Thesis, Univ. Calif. Fort Collins, Colorado 80524

Biological Services Program

FWS/OBS-80/01.3 March 1980

Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species Of the Seacoast