Can invasive Burmese pythons inhabit temperate regions of the southeastern United States?

  title={Can invasive Burmese pythons inhabit temperate regions of the southeastern United States?},
  author={Michael E. Dorcas and John D Willson and J. Whitfield Gibbons},
  journal={Biological Invasions},
Understanding potential for range expansion is critical when evaluating the risk posed by invasive species. Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) are established in southern Florida and pose a significant threat to native ecosystems. Recent studies indicate that climate suitable for the species P. molurus exists throughout much of the southern United States. We examined survivorship, thermal biology, and behavior of Burmese pythons from South Florida in a semi-natural enclosure in South… 

Environmental temperatures, physiology and behavior limit the range expansion of invasive Burmese pythons in southeastern USA.

It is predicted it is unlikely that Burmese pythons will be able to successfully expand to or colonize more temperate areas of Florida and adjoining states due to their lack of behavioral and physiological traits to seek refuge from cold temperatures.

Ecological correlates of invasion impact for Burmese pythons in Florida.

The results suggest that attributes related to body size and generalism appeared to be particularly applicable to the Burmese python's success in Florida, and attributes of ectotherms in general and pythons in particular might have also contributed to invasion success.

Argentine Black and White Tegu (Salvator merianae) can survive the winter under semi-natural conditions well beyond their current invasive range

The survival and overall health of the majority of adult tegus in the study suggests weather and climate patterns are unlikely to prevent survival following introduction in many areas of the United States far from their current invasive range.

Severe mammal declines coincide with proliferation of invasive Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park

It is suggested that predation by pythons has resulted in dramatic declines in mammals within ENP and that introduced apex predators, such as giant constrictors, can exert significant top-down pressure on prey populations.

Weighing empirical and hypothetical evidence for assessing potential invasive species range limits: a review of the case of Burmese pythons in the USA

Important considerations for improving invasive range estimation methodology are reviewed, deciding between competing range predictions, and the importance of having, and applying, empirical data to aid in decision making are highlighted.

Molecular assessment of Podarcis sicula populations in Britain, Greece and Turkey reinforces a multiple-origin invasion pattern in this species

A phylogenetic framework is constructed to assess the origin of the introduced populations in the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey comparing cytochrome-b gene sequences of lizards from five locations to published sequences from the native range and other non-native locations and emphasise the multiple-source pattern of introduction of this species.

The aggressive invasion of exotic reptiles in Florida with a focus on prominent species: A review

The situation in Florida is reviewed, including assessment of risk for management, and a subset of prominent species are used to illustrate in more detail the array of invasive reptile species circumstances in Florida, including routes of introduction, impacts, and potential and implemented management actions.

Invasive Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus) are novel nest predators in wading bird colonies of the Florida Everglades

It is confirmed that Burmese pythons are acting as predators in wading bird colonies at nontrivial rates and provides a baseline to which future studies can refer.

Eurythermic Sprint and Immune Thermal Performance and Ecology of an Exotic Lizard at Its Northern Invasion Front

Eurythermy of sprint and immune performance may facilitate the invasive potential of H. turcicus and buffer against variation in factors such as pathogen exposure and environmental temperatures that could otherwise suppress functional performance.



Claims of Potential Expansion throughout the U.S. by Invasive Python Species Are Contradicted by Ecological Niche Models

It is shown that a predicted continental expansion is unlikely based on the ecology of the organism and the climate of the U.S. here, and the Burmese python is strongly limited to the small area of suitable environmental conditions in the United States it currently inhabits.

Cold weather and the potential range of invasive Burmese pythons

Findings cast doubt on the ability of free-ranging Burmese pythons to establish and persist beyond the subtropical environment of south Florida.

What parts of the US mainland are climatically suitable for invasive alien pythons spreading from Everglades National Park?

The Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus) is now well established in southern Florida and spreading northward, and a substantial portion of the mainland US is potentially vulnerable to this ostensibly tropical invasion.

Cold-induced mortality of invasive Burmese pythons in south Florida

Unusually cold temperatures in January 2010 were clearly associated with mortality of Burmese pythons in the Everglades, and some radio-telemeters appeared to exhibit maladaptive behavior during the cold spell, including attempting to bask instead of retreating to sheltered refugia.

An Ecological Risk Assessment of Nonnative Boas and Pythons as Potentially Invasive Species in the United States

  • R. Reed
  • Environmental Science
    Risk analysis : an official publication of the Society for Risk Analysis
  • 2005
Recommendations for reducing risk of establishment of invasive populations of snakes and/or pathogens include temporary quarantine of imports to increase detection rates of nonnative pathogens, increasing research attention to reptile pathogens, reducing the risk that nonnative snakes will reach certain areas with high numbers of federally listed species (such as the Florida Keys), and attempting to better educate individuals purchasing reptiles.

Natural freeze tolerance in ectothermic vertebrates.

This review focuses on one strategy of winter cold hardiness: freeze tolerance of terrestrially-hibernating reptiles and amphibians.

Thermal plasticity in young snakes: how will climate change affect the thermoregulatory tactics of ectotherms?

The major thermoregulatory challenge from global climate change may not be the shift in mean values but the increased year-to-year variation (with which snakes proved less able to deal).

Cold adaptation in geographical populations of Drosophila melanogaster: phenotypic plasticity is more important than genetic variability

The results point to the difficulty of finding a general interpretation to the diversity of plastic responses that are induced by growth temperature variations, and the beneficial effect observed in adults grown at a low temperature contrasts with other phenotypic effects which, like male sterility, appear as harmful and pathological.

The evolution of thermal physiology in endotherms.