Ecologia alimentar e reprodutiva de duas espécies de Tropidodryas (Serpentes, Colubridae) da Mata Atlântica / Diet and reproduction of two snakes of the genus Tropidodryas (Serpentes, Colubridae) from the Atlantic Forest




Morphology, diet, habitat use, seasonal activity and reproductive biology were analyzed and compared between Tropidodryas serra and T. striaticeps along their geographical distribution in the Atlantic Forest. The distribution of these sister species do not overlap in most of their range, T. serra have its distribution in lower altitude areaswhile T. striaticeps occurs in higher ones. In some localities where both species occur in sympatry they develop differences in body size, habitat preferences, food items and extension of reproductive cycles allowing them to share the resources. Mature females attained larger body sizes than mature males in T. striaticeps and T. serra, such differences in body length suggest that the ritual combat is absent. Males attained larger lengths of tail, head and eye than did females. In both species females have stouter body than males. Interespecific comparison shows that T. serra has the largest body size and is stouter whereas T. striaticeps has the largest tail, head and eye and is more slender. The juveniles present the tip of the tail white. Tail tip of adults T. serra is suffused with cryptic colors but in T. striaticeps the whitish tail tip remains until adult stage although the ontogenetic dietary changes take place. There were few individuals with tail injures. Both species are diurnal and forage actively on the ground and upon the vegetation. They may use the vegetation to rest. Tropidodryas serra seems to inhabit more frequently the lower branches of the vegetation instead T. striaticeps may use the canopy trees. They feed mainly on mammals, but also prey birds, lizards, anurans and snakes. Tropidodryas serra has a more equitable frequency of capture of food items whereas T. striaticeps shows a higher frequency of individuals with preys in their gut. The ontogenetic shift in diet is present, juveniles prey upon ectothermics and adults feed on endothermic preys. Females of T. serra show a peak of abundance during the warmest and rainy periods of the year and males show a peak of activity in February and April. Both sexes in T. striaticeps were equally distributed among seasons, showing no differences between rainy and dry one. Females attained sexual maturity before males in T. serra, the converse occur to T. striaticeps where males where mature before the co-specific females. Both females of these two closely related species present seasonal reproductive cycles with vitellogenesis and egg-laying occurring at the rainy season. In T. serra females the reproductive cycle is more restrict, the clutch size is smaller, the newborns are bigger and the frequency of reproduction higher than T. striaticeps. The spermatogenic cycle is continuous, testes volume and deferent ducts diameter did not vary throughout the year for both species. The seasonal cycle in females is postnuptial (mating seems to be dissociated from vitellogenesis and egg production) and the continuous cycle in males is prenuptial (the produced sperm is used immediately during the mating).


diet serpentes tropidodryas snakes tropidodryas atlantic forest reproduction alimentação reprodução

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