The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

 ISSN 0268-0130

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pdf 05. Sexual and size related differences in the diet of the snake Natrix maura from the Ebro Delta, Spain


Open Access


Authors: Xavier Santos And Gustavo A. Llorente

Abstract: The Ebro Delta is a wetland area partially covered by rice fields.The viperine snake Natrix maura, is a common colubrid snake in this ecosystem. Males delayed feeding activity by one month, and foraged for a shorter time, compared to females. Diet consisted mainly of fish and frogs, although size-related and sexual differences were found: immature snakes had a more diverse diet than adults, and adult females ate more frogs than adult males. Males captured larger numbers of smaller fish than females. Like other water snakes, large viperine snakes avoid small prey. The biomass ingested is higher in large females, providing supplementary resources for reproduction. These dietary differences may be related to the ecological needs of each category of snakes and reflect the influence of the rice cycle on diet dynamics.

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Please note that as from Volume 31 Number 1 (January 2021) on, the Herpetological Journal will be available as an online publication only - the last print edition will be Volume 30 Number 4.   

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