Ron Black, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Jeremy Rouse (member), Ontario Ministry
of Natural Resources
Andrew Promaine, Georgian Bay
Islands National Park, Heritage Canada
Glenda Clayton (advisor), Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve
The Georgian Bay regional
population follows the eastern shores of Georgian Bay
(from near Port Severn north to Killarney; ca.
44°47'-46°0'N, 79°0'-83°0'E), thus falling within the
Ontario municipal counties of Simcoe, Muskoka, Parry
Sound, and Sudbury. Beyond the Georgian Bay shore,
Massasaugas may occur inland as far as ca. 50 km and can
also be found on many of the islands in the bay itself
(e.g., Beausoleil Island). Massasaugas found between the
French River and Killarney may represent the
northernmost occurrence (46°N) for the species across
its entire distribution. Collectively, the Georgian Bay
population is larger and occupies a greater area than
any other extant regional population in Canada.
While suitable habitat occurs throughout much of the Georgian
Bay area, Massasaugas across this region are probably
organized in a series of local sub-populations, many of
which may be both demographically and genetically
isolated (Gibbs et al. 1997). For example, Massasaugas
at Killbear Provincial Park are genetically distinct
from those at Beausoleil Island (part of Georgian Bay
Islands National Park), ca. 50 km to the south. We
suspect that these data may be representative of a
general pattern of fine-scale genetic structure found in
all large regional populations of Massasaugas.
A DVD on Working in Massasauga Habitat is available on-line at the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve web site.
Visit the Georgian Bay Islands National Park's Website