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What to do to defend themselves: description of three defensive strategies displayed by a serpent Dipsas alternans (Fischer, 1885) (Serpentes, Dipsadidae)

Author(s): Thiago Maia-Carneiro | Milena Wachlevski | Carlos Frederico D. Rocha

Journal: Biotemas
ISSN 0103-1643

Volume: 25;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 207;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Coil body | Defensive mechanisms | Dipsas alternans | Hide head | Immobility

Mechanisms involving interactions between prey and predator are important elements acting on the Natural History of the species concerned. Defensive behaviors presented by serpents evolved as a way for them to avoid being detected, injured, or killed. Dipsas alternans is a serpent species occurring in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest and it can show distinct defensive behaviors in different situations. An adult female of D. alternans was found in the Parque Estadual da Serra do Tabuleiro (27°44’34”S, 48°48’27”W), state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Three defensive strategies were presented by the serpent (immobility, coil body, and hide head), which are reported for the first time with regard to D. alternans and can be of great importance to reduce its chance to be preyed.
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