In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

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Jimi
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In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

Post by Jimi » June 29th, 2015, 12:56 pm

Hi guys, I'm forwarding you this e-mail I recently got from renowned herper David Pilliod at USGS in Boise. Hopefully you can help accommodate him. Thanks for anything you can provide.
Dear Colleagues:

Lisa Hallock (WA DFW), Susan Haig (USGS), and I are initiating a striped whipsnake phylogeography study for the Northwest to assess whether the single remaining population in Washington is a DPS and worthy of special protection.

We need tissue from other parts of the species range and we would appreciate any help you can provide us. Please let us know if you are willing to contribute tail tissue clips from road kill, frozen specimens, or any other suitable tissue with a recorded collection location. Thank you for your help.

We just need tail tips from road kill (about 1 inch is plenty) and provide us with the following for each sample:
1. Coordinates (Lat / Long or UTM), Datum (NAD83 or WGS 84 is fine)
2. Description of location (Highway and nearest mile marker, county, state)
3. Date collected
4. Your name and contact (in case we have questions)

You can just drop the sample in a clean envelope, seal it, and write the sample information on the outside. Ziplock is fine too, but only if the sample is dry (we don't want stinky, decomposing samples). We can also accept tissue in ethanol if shipped properly. Please include only one individual tissue sample per envelope or vial.

Please pass this request along to others that you think might be willing to assist us.

Cheers,

David


David Pilliod
Supervisory Research Ecologist

USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
970 Lusk Street
Boise, Idaho 83706

Phone: 208-426-5202
Fax: 208-426-5210

Email: [email protected]
Webpage: http://fresc.usgs.gov/people/Profile.aspx?Emp_ID=875
cheers,
Jimi

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TravisK
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Re: In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

Post by TravisK » July 2nd, 2015, 9:42 am

Ahhhh, the ever illusive Striped Whipsnake. Technically it is illegal to to collect DOR samples in WA and iirc in OR as well. Sadly I have seen neither alive nor dead Striped Whipsankes in WA..... yet.

Jimi
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Re: In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

Post by Jimi » July 2nd, 2015, 10:27 am

Technically it is illegal to to collect DOR samples in WA
Yes, and yet...seeing how 1) someone from WaDFW (Lisa Hallock) is one of the Principal Investigators, and 2) they're doing a striped whipsnake tissue request-for-help, it seems possible that a little legwork could get some NAFHA folks permit-covered to salvage the desired DORs or parts thereof, just to help with this one project.

Extending a little further into futuristic rose-colored glasses territory, this could be an opportunity for responsible, collaborative-minded "amateur" field herpers to ask/suggest state agency herp managers to reconsider the utility:futility, or cost:benefit, ratio of some of their more restrictive herp regs. Some of the current regs appear to be costing them a fair amount...which may not have been considered when the regs were first penned. And this situation could come up again, with other species, in the future. Citizen science is a big and growing deal. Agencies are having a harder and harder time avoiding it. But, herpers not engaging just helps them avoid it, if that's how they're wired (some are, some aren't).

Think about it, is all I'm saying. There may be an opening here, a credible, authentic reason for developing a mutually-beneficial relationship.

Here's contact info for Lisa Hallock. David's is already given in the initial post.
Lisa Hallock, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, 360-902-2389, [email protected]
best,
Jimi

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TravisK
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Re: In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

Post by TravisK » July 2nd, 2015, 2:04 pm

Sorry, I meant to say without a SCP. Which is typically impossible to obtain unless you're working with a university or educational institution.

Good Idea Jimi. Though given that I have spent a considerable amount of time in SWS Habitat in WA and never even seen DOR signs I think it would be a waste of the state's time and resources to issue me an SCP for this purpose. Maybe one of us NW Members that think they can make a sample happen should contact Lisa. It has been so hot and dry this year I am not sure it's even worth a trip to Central WA for the usual herp photo ops.


Edit - I just left Lisa a message to go over getting SCPs for whomever can work on this in the NW Forum. I will update this thread when I hear back from her.

hellihooks
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Re: In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

Post by hellihooks » July 2nd, 2015, 3:18 pm

I (still) hope to get my lifer striped whipsnake from either the Mojave National Preserve, or from the Kern Plateau, and have taken to carrying vials of 92% alcohol with me, for tissue samples. If I get my lifer (dead or alive) I'll take a sample. :thumb:

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TravisK
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UPDATE

Post by TravisK » July 7th, 2015, 8:01 am

I spoke with David Pilliod yesterday and he wanted me to make some things clear.

*This request was originally sent out to State Wildlife Agencies and affiliates.
*He and Lisa would love photographic documentation unless one has a Scientific Collection Permit for WA and/or OR.
*ID specimens may be collected, up to four(4) but require either a fishing or hunting license, sorry not sure which one at this point.
*Again, they do not want anyone to collect any genetic material unless there is an SCP in hand for such in WA and/or OR.

In my opinion this is a really good study because it may bring much needed protection to Washington Whip Snakes. This species in on the edge of being fully extirpated from WA State. Any help you can give them would be greatly appreciated and if you are going to be in historic Whip Snake range in WA please contact Lisa to see about obtaining an SCP.

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jonathan
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Re: In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

Post by jonathan » July 30th, 2015, 7:46 pm

A great opportunity for collaboration.

No DOR collection though? :crazyeyes:

I wonder how much it will take before they realize that their policies on herp collection are counterproductive to every single interest involved. There is literally nothing gained for anyone by some of these really stupid regulations - not the herps, not the habitat, not the scientists, not the conservationists, not the regulators, not the general public, and not the herpers. Literally no one benefits by the current policies.

hellihooks
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Re: In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

Post by hellihooks » August 1st, 2015, 6:54 am

jonathan wrote:A great opportunity for collaboration.

No DOR collection though? :crazyeyes:

I wonder how much it will take before they realize that their policies on herp collection are counterproductive to every single interest involved. There is literally nothing gained for anyone by some of these really stupid regulations - not the herps, not the habitat, not the scientists, not the conservationists, not the regulators, not the general public, and not the herpers. Literally no one benefits by the current policies.
Except the person who got paid to write them... :roll: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Jimi
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Re: In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

Post by Jimi » August 3rd, 2015, 1:15 pm

Except the person who got paid to write them.
Good ones, bad ones, it all pays the same. An hour is an hour. Also, talking pays the same as writing. So you can discuss stupid ideas, then take a pass and not write them up. Cha-ching, it still pays.

My perception is, a lot of these dumber state rules first came into being in the 80's, as part of the first wave of non-game regs (previously, there was often nothing on the books about non-game wildlife). Instead of just tossing out dumb regs wholesale, typically the relevant agency staff will futz around with them every few years. If nobody asks for changes, changes don't usually get made. Time passes, and with the passage of time the dumb stuff just gets kind of ossified or ingrained - harder and harder to get rid of. This is what I have seen around the country, as a general pattern, with state non-game regs: it is strangely difficult to just start fresh. Stakeholders need to really focus on what they most desire, and not succumb to distractions and infighting.

Anyway, I hope you guys' great whipsnake white whale gets the harpoon soon.

cheers
Jimi

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

Post by AndyO'Connor » August 28th, 2015, 11:09 am

IIRC, a few years ago, Lisa and I had a conversation regarding whips in WA and her telemetry study she did in the early 2000s and they rarely cross roads for some reason. DOR could be even rarer than seeing one in the field. The original post says tissue samples from OTHER parts of the species range, so it sounded like they don't want/need tissue from Washington animals.

I FINALLY found my white whale whipsnake (two actually) last month after looking for one for the last 7 years. The sites they are still active at are separated by highways and huge expanses of agriculture, and I am concerned that at this point even if we protected them and their remaining habitat, there is not enough gene flow and prey available to sustain multiple generations of snakes. they just don't seem to have the population density that I've seen in other parts of their range.

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Jimi
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Re: In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

Post by Jimi » August 30th, 2015, 10:46 am

Cap'n Ahab! Massive congrats on spearing Moby! Twice! Ha ha.

Nice pics, man. They really show the "cool factor" of whipsnakes - how alert and perky they are. Did you see what got eaten? A little Uta or Scelop?

The telemetry findings could bear some elaboration if you recall more about her study. Did she mean super-busy and/or super-wide roads? Based on the number of DORs I see, and also the live ones laying there basking or just zipping across, it's hard to accept the notion that they're averse to crossing any road. But yeah, you definitely get more walking than DOR - the ones that don't make it, I think they must get sucked up pretty quick by the ravens and hawks. Pretty good piece of meat for the desert, and easy to see. I think my best salvaged DOR whipsnakes come at the first cruise of a night (around sunset) - I think they must be the ones that get hit after the birds go to bed.

Again, congrats. That's a long hunt with a well-earned conclusion.

Jimi

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

Post by AndyO'Connor » August 30th, 2015, 3:35 pm

There are only a couple of roads separating the best couple of locations for them, and they are an interstate and major highway truck route, so traffic is pretty high. She had mentioned that the plotted data points showed that the few snakes she tracked would go up to the road, and parallel it, but rarely crossed it, and the same was true for snakes on the opposite side of the road.

I'm certainly not saying Washington snakes never cross roads or get hit, but the DOR-found count will be lower here simply for the lower population numbers, and lower number of herpers looking for them.

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TravisK
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Re: In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

Post by TravisK » August 31st, 2015, 7:30 am

Great info Andy!

You are now elevated to NW Herp God status ;) I bet you had the biggest grin on your face when you finally got pics of those snakes, Congratulations.

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

Post by AndyO'Connor » August 31st, 2015, 11:17 am

I'm human, I still haven't found a WA ringneck, which is supposed to be easier than a whip and a zonata. I've found every native reptile in the state except a damned ringneck.

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TravisK
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Re: In search of striped whipsnake tissue samples

Post by TravisK » September 3rd, 2015, 7:14 am

Count your blessings ;)

I am still out for Whips, Rings, and Zs. If you haven't already, are you planning on contacting Lisa at WDFW to let her know that you have confirmed sightings?

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