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      The frequency of body scarring in Caspian Whip Snakes (Dolichophis caspius Gmelin, 1789) in south-western Hungary

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      Herpetozoa

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Animals can suffer injuries due to diseases, intraspecific aggression and, most of all, predation events. We present field data to provide numerical information about the injuries found in the largest Caspian Whip Snake (Dolichophis caspius) population in Hungary, near the northernmost portion of the species’ distribution range.

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          Most cited references 11

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          REPRODUCTION IN A TYPICAL CAPITAL BREEDER: COSTS, CURRENCIES, AND COMPLICATIONS IN THE ASPIC VIPER

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            Bumpus in the snake den: effects of sex, size, and body condition on mortality of red-sided garter snakes.

            Huge breeding aggregations of red-sided garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis) at overwintering dens in Manitoba provide a unique opportunity to identify sources of mortality and to clarify factors that influence a snake's vulnerability to these factors. Comparisons of sexes, body sizes, and body condition of more than 1000 dead snakes versus live animals sampled at the same time reveal significant biases. Three primary sources of mortality were identified. Predation by crows, Corvus brachyrhynchos (590 snakes killed), was focussed mostly on small snakes of both sexes. Crows generally removed the snake's liver and left the carcass, but very small snakes were sometimes brought back to the nest. Suffocation beneath massive piles of other snakes within the den (301 dead animals) involved mostly small males and (to a lesser extent) large females; snakes in poor body condition were particularly vulnerable. Many emaciated snakes (n = 142, mostly females) also died without overt injuries, probably due to depleted energy reserves. These biases in vulnerability are readily interpretable from information on behavioral ecology of the snakes. For example, sex biases in mortality reflect differences in postemergence behavior and locomotor capacity, the greater attractiveness of larger females to males, and the high energy costs of reproduction for females.
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              Geographic variation in the frequency of scarring and tail stubs in eastern gartersnakes (Thamnophis s. sirtalis) from Michigan, USA

              Tail loss, urotomy, in reptiles and amphibians has been the emphasis of many ecological and evolutionary studies, especially in lizards and salamanders; however, less is known about this phenomenon in snakes. In addition, while hypotheses for variation in tail loss across natural populations exist, none have been strongly supported. We conducted much needed research on tail loss in snakes and attempted to elucidate any relationship between variation in predator composition and frequency of wounds. 523 common gartersnakes, Thamnophis sirtalis, from 5 Michigan, USA field sites characterized by diverse predator compositions were examined for tail loss and other predator-inflicted wounds and historical records of predator composition for Michigan were updated. Our results indicate that frequency of wounds vary geographically, and that this variation may be due, in part, to differences in predator diversity. Our data also suggest that other environmental variables (e.g., predator inefficiency) that may influence the frequency of wounds in populations may be at work.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Herpetozoa
                Herpetozoa
                Pensoft Publishers
                1013-4425
                May 15 2019
                May 15 2019
                : 32
                : 83-85
                Article
                10.3897/herpetozoa.32.e35743
                © 2019

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