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Feeding behavior of the Amazonian Water Snake Helicops hagmanni Roux, 1910 (Reptilia: Squamata: Colubridae: Hydropsini)

Author(s): Marcelo José Sturaro | Jerriane Oliveira Gomes

Journal: Boletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi : Ciências Naturais
ISSN 1981-8114

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 225;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Water snakes | Helicops | Predation | Cat-fish | Rhamdia muelleri

The genus Helicops currently comprises 15 species, of which eleven occur in the Amazon Forest. H. hagmanni feeds on fishes and has nocturnal habits, but detailed data about its diet and behavioral ecology are scarce. Here, we report a H. hagmanni adult female specimen (snout-vent length: 516 mm; weight: 162 g) preying on an adult fish, Rhamdia muelleri (Actinopterygii: Heptapteridae, 215 mm in total length; weight: 70 g), in the creek Caquajó, a tributary of the Anapu River, municipality of Portel, Pará State, Brazil. We found the snake submersed at 20 cm, convoluted around the fish, and shortly after that, started ingesting the fish headfirst. The snake attacked the cat-fish biting the region between the anal and post-anal fins. This information increases the knowledge about the feeding behavior in snakes, especially of the genus Helicops.
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