Skeletochronology as a method of estimating age in the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis)
AdvisorMaughan, O. Eugene
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractI sought to determine if brown tree snakes (Boiga irregularis) raised in captivity showed annual and/or subsidiary growth marks corresponding to feeding or shedding events. I injected 25 brown tree snakes with a fluorescent bone marker (calcein or alizarin red) and raised them for one year under constant conditions. Growth marks beyond the fluorescent marker were correlated with shedding events but not with years or feeding events. Shedding events have not previously been identified as a correlate of growth marks in bone. I do not know if the correlation occurs in other species, as growth cycles have not previously been studied in tropical snakes. The correlation between growth marks and shedding events may allow the study of ecdysis in free-ranging snakes, and shedding events may be the cause of the secondary growth marks found in many reptiles.