Habitat loss, human persecution, and infectious diseases all threaten declining reptile populations. Lake Erie watersnakes (Nerodia sipedon insularum, LEWS), once classified as an endangered species in part due to human persecution, have recovered to stable population levels but have been observed with a high prevalence of ophidiomycosis. Strategies are needed to mitigate the current disease threat, including assessing overall wellness. Hematologic analysis provides information about the presence of inflammation and infection and thus informs health-based conservation efforts, but has not been previously performed in LEWS. The objective of this study was to evaluate hematologic parameters in LEWS and identify differences based on ophidiomycosis status. Blood was drawn from wild-caught snakes at nine sites in 2018 and 2019 and complete blood counts were performed in 180 individuals. For apparently healthy snakes, packed cell volume was significantly higher in males (median = 32.5%) compared to females (median = 26.5%; P = 0.03). Animals classified as having possible or apparent ophidiomycosis, or those with skin lesions, had a relative azurophilia and lymphopenia compared to individuals classified as negative or Ophidiomyces present, or those without skin lesions (P < 0.01). This is the first study to investigate hematology in a free-ranging population of LEWS and will serve as a baseline for future investigations that aim to improve conservation efforts through population health monitoring.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.