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Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia

Print version ISSN 0031-1049

Pap. Avulsos Zool. (São Paulo) vol.53 no.19 São Paulo  2013

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0031-10492013001900001 

Natural History of Pseudoboine Snakes

 

 

Marília P. GaiarsaI,II; Laura R.V. de AlencarI; Marcio MartinsI

IDepartamento de Ecologia, Universidade de São Paulo, 05508-090, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
IIE-mail corresponding author: gaiarsa.mp@gmail.com

 

 


ABSTRACT

Even though natural history information is crucial for answering key ecological, evolutionary, and conservation questions, basic studies are still lacking for Neotropical snakes. This study aims at contributing to the knowledge of the Neotropical tribe Pseudoboini, based on literature data, analysis of museum specimens and unpublished data. The tribe is mainly composed of moderate-sized snakes, although small and large-sized snakes also occur in the clade. Mean fecundity ranged from two (Rodriguesophis iglesiasi) to 29 eggs (Clelia plumbea) and the species are predominantly terrestrial and nocturnal. Most species are diet specialists and lizards are the most commonly consumed prey (found in the diet of 29 species), followed by small mammals (consumed by 20 species) and snakes (consumed by 18 species). Although the tribe Pseudoboini appears to be well studied, for 15 species (32%) only a small amount of information or none was available. We hope that our study can motivate research on the least known species.

Key-Words: Ecology; Diet; Microhabitat; Reproduction; Dipsadidae.


RESUMO

Apesar de estudos de história natural serem cruciais para responder perguntas de ecologia, evolução e para estudos de conservação, ainda faltam informações básicas para diversas espécies neotropicais. O objetivo deste estudo é contribuir para o conhecimento de uma tribo de serpentes neotropicais, a tribo Pseudoboini, por meio de revisão bibliográfica, analises de espécimens depositados em coleções herpetológicas e dados não publicados. A tribo é composta predominantemente por serpents de tamanho médio, mas espécies de pequeno e grande tamanho também podem ser encontradas. A fecundidade média various de dois (Rodriguesophis iglesiasi) a 29 ovos (Clelia plumbea) e a maior parte das espécies parece ser terrestre e exibir hábitos noturnos. Além disso, grande parte das espécies é especialista em algum tipo de presa, sendo que lagarto é o tipo de presa mais consumida, encontrado na dieta de 29 espécies, seguido por pequenos mamiíferos (consumidos por 20 espécies) e serpentes (consumidas por 18 espécies). Apesar de ser aparentemente uma tribo bem estudada, para 15 espécies (32%) pouca ou nenhuma informação foi encontrada. Esperamos que este trabalho motive estudos semelhantes com as espécies menos conhecidas.

Palavras-Chave: Ecologia; Dieta; Microhabitat; Reprodução; Dipsadidae.


 

 

INTRODUCTION

Natural history information is essential for answering key biological questions in several disciplines, such as ecology, evolution and conservation (Greene & Losos, 1988; Greene, 1993, 2005; Bury, 2006; McCallum & McCallum, 2006). Although natural history studies on Neotropical snakes have improved in the last decade, for many species basic information is still lacking (Sazima & Haddad, 1992; Barbo et al., 2011). Furthermore, most studies focusing on natural history are restricted geographically, instead of taxonomically (e.g., Vitt & Vangilder, 1983; Strüssmann & Sazima, 1993; Di-Bernardo, 1998; Marques, 1998; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Cechin, 1999; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; Sawaya et al., 2008; Barbo et al., 2011; but see Martins et al., 2001). Hence, the goal of this study is to contribute to the knowledge of a Neotropical group of snakes, the tribe Pseudoboini, based on literature data and unpublished data (original or provided by other researchers). Ecological and evolutionay analyses involving the data presented here will be explored elsewhere.

The tribe Pseudoboini belongs to the family Dipsadidae, sub-family Xenodontinae, and has been considered as a monophyletic group by several authors (e.g., Vidal et al., 2000; Zaher et al., 2009; Vidal et al., 2010; Grazziotin et al., 2012). The tribe is composed mainly of moderate-sized snakes (Pizzatto & Marques, 2002; Scott Jr. et al., 2006) and encompasses 47 species in eleven genera (Boiruna, Clelia, Drepanoides, Mussurana, Oxyrhopus, Phimophis, Paraphimophis, Pseudoboa, Rhachidelus, Rodriguesophis and Siphlophis). Most species seem to be terrestrial (e.g., Clelia spp., Boiruna spp., Mussurana spp., Pseudoboa spp.), but there are also semi-arboreal (e.g., Drepanoides anomalus, Siphlophis spp.), and semi-fossorial species (e.g., Phimophis spp., Cunha & Nascimento, 1978, 1983; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Bernarde & Abe, 2006). Scattered information concerning the natural history of pseudoboines indicates that most species feed mainly on lizards and small mammals, inhabiting forests and savannas (Vitt & Vangilder, 1983; Andrade & Silvano, 1996; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Prudente et al., 1998; Pinto & Lema, 2002).

 

MATERIAL AND METHODS

Data Collection

To characterize the natural history of pseudoboine species we gathered information from the literature, museum specimens, and unpublished data provided by other researchers on body size, substrate use, daily activity, diet, and reproduction. For each museum specimen the following data were taken: snout-vent length (SVL) and tail length (TL) to the nearest millimeter, sex, gut contents, diameter of largest ovarian follicle and/or presence of oviductal eggs (cf. Martins & Oliveira, 1998). The following Brazilian scientific collections were visited: Instituto Butantan (IBSP, São Paulo, SP), Museu de História Natural Capão da Imbuia (MHNCI, Curitiba, PR), Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo (MZUSP, São Paulo, SP), Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi (MPEG, Belém, PA), Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS, Porto Alegre, RS), Coleção Herpetológica da Universidade de Brasília (CHUNB, Brasília, DF), and Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso (UFMT, Cuiabá, MT). Information on microhabitat and daily activity were obtained from the literature, by the authors and other researchers. We followed the taxonomy of Grazziotin et al. (2012) and made no distinction among subspecies.

Because the tail length of snakes is affected by microhabitat use (Lillywhite & Henderson, 1993; Martins et al., 2001; Pizzatto et al., 2007), and among pseudoboines there are both terrestrial (e.g., Clelia clelia) and semi-arboreal species (e.g., Siphlophis longicaudatus), we used snout to vent length (SVL) to characterize body length instead of total length. When available, the maximum known SVL is also indicated.

Microhabitat was considered as the position of the animal in the environment while active. We considered the following categories: terrestrial, arboreal, semi-arboreal, and fossorial (cf. Martins & Oliveira, 1998). Snakes caught in pitfall traps were not considered for microhabitat data since they could be either terrestrial, cryptozoic or fossorial. Time of activity is considered as the period during which the snake performs its activities (most commonly foraging, cf. Martins & Oliveira, 1998). We considered the categories diurnal (active under day light) and nocturnal (active in the dark), but we indicated when the snake was found active during twilight. Prey categories considered were: amphibians, fishes, birds, bird eggs, lizards, lizard eggs, mammals, and snakes. The original data is indicated between parentheses, and when available, the number of prey and its identification to the lower taxonomic level possible. For reproduction, we considered published data (e.g., Pizzatto & Marques, 2002; Pizzatto, 2005) and we also counted the number of eggs and/or secondary vitellogenic follicles larger than 10 mm in preserved specimens (following Shine, 1977a,b). When available, the size of the smallest mature female and male are indicated.

 

RESULTS

Species accounts

Boiruna maculata (Boulenger, 1896)

Distribution: Boiruna maculata is distributed from central Brazil to central Argentina with records in Uruguay (Abalos et al., 1964; Lema, 1994; Zaher, 1996; Achaval & Olmos, 1997; Nogueira, 2001; Leynaud & Bucher, 2005; Briguera et al., 2006; Gallardo & Scrocchi, 2006; Kacoliris et al., 2006b; Scott Jr. et al., 2006; Hartmann & Giasson, 2008; Ghizoni et al., 2009). It appears to be a rare snake in Central Brazil (França & Araújo, 2006).

Habitat and time of activity: Only scattered ecological information exists about this large pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 1919 mm, female; this study). It seems to inhabit savannas and forests (Zaher, 1996; Leynaud & Bucher, 2005; França et al., 2006; Condez et al., 2009), and can also be found in disturbed areas (Sawaya et al., 2008; R. Bérnils, unpublished data; P. Hartmann, unpublished data; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data). It is apparently a terrestrial species (N = 5; Gallardo et al., 2006; R. Bérnils, unpublished data; P. Hartmann, unpublished data; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data), although there is one arboreal record (Gallardo et al., 2006). Data on the time of activity of this species is very scarce. There are two observations of B. maculata in activity during the night (Gallardo et al., 2006; P. Hartmann, unpublished data), one at twilight (Hartmann & Giasson, 2008) and one active during the day (R. Machado & R. Bérnils, unpublished data).

Feeding: Boiruna maculata is a diet generalist that feeds primarily on snakes (N = 18; two Atractus sp., one Liophis almadensis, Liophys typhlus, Lystrophis dobignyi, Oxyrhopus petola, one Sibynomorphus sp.), but also on birds (N = 5; Gallus gallus), small mammals (N = 5; Akodon serrensis), lizards (N = 3; one scincid, one Ameiva ameiva, one Tropidurus torquatus), and fish (one Symbranchus marmoratus) (Lema et al., 1983; Pinto & Lema, 2002; Gallardo et al., 2006; Hartmann & Giasson, 2008; this study).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from four to 15 eggs (mean = 7.9 eggs, N = 13; Vitt & Vangilder, 1983; Pizzatto, 2005; Gallardo & Scrocchi, 2006; Scott Jr. et al., 2006; this study) and this species presents a continuous reproductive cycle (Pizzatto, 2005). Pizzatto (2005) found a significant sexual size dimorphism in snout-vent length for B. maculata, where females attain larger body size than males. The smallest mature female was 974 mm SVL (this study) and the smallest mature male was 745 mm SVL (Pizzatto, 2005).

Defense: When handled, B. maculata rarely tries to bite (Achaval & Olmos, 1997).

Boiruna sertaneja Zaher, 1996

Distribution: Boiruna sertaneja is found throughout northeastern Brazil (Cordeiro & Hoge, 1973; Vitt & Vangilder, 1983; Zaher, 1996; Guedes, 2006; Lira-da-Silva et al., 2009; Loebmann & Haddad, 2010) and it appears to be a locally rare species (Loebmann & Haddad, 2010).

Habitat and time of activity: Boiruna sertaneja is a large pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 1940 mm, female; Zaher, 1996) and the few available records suggests that it inhabits open xeric vegetation in the Caatinga domain in northeastern Brazil (Vitt & Vangilder, 1983; Zaher, 1996; Guedes, 2006). The only available microhabitat data (Guedes, 2006), as well as its stout body, indicate that B. sertaneja is terrestrial. There is no data concerning its time of activity.

Feeding: Boiruna sertaneja is a snake specialist (N = 10; two Oxyrhopus cf. trigeminus; three Phylodrias sp., and five unidentified) but lizards can also be taken (N = 4; one Tropidurus torquatus, two Ameiva ameiva, one Diploglossus lessonae) (Vitt & Vangilder, 1983; this study).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from four to 14 eggs (mean = 9.25 eggs, N = 8; Vitt & Vangilder, 1983; this study). The smallest mature female was 1147 mm SVL (this study) and the smallest mature male was 1074 mm SVL (this study).

Clelia clelia (Daudin, 1803)

Distribution: Clelia cleia is the most widely distributed pseudoboine. It occurs from Mexico to Argentina, except for Chile (Abalos et al., 1964; Duellman, 1978; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Campbell, 1998; Zaher, 1996; Scott Jr. et al., 2006; Cisneros-Heredia et al., 2007; Silva et al., 2010; M. Martins, unpublished data; this study).

Habitat and time of activity: Clelia clelia is the second largest pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 2398 mm, male; this study) and occurs mainly in forested areas (Duellman, 1978, 2005; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Vanzolini, 1986; Murphy, 1997; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Santos-Costa, 2003; McCranie & Castañeda, 2005; Maschio, 2008). It is primarily terrestrial (N = 12; Duellman, 1978; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Murphy, 1997; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Santos-Costa, 2003; Maschio, 2008), but it was also found in the water (N = 2; Duellman, 1978, 2005); furthermore, it is able to climb trees (N = 2, Teixeira et al., 1991; Duellman, 2005). One individual was found active in the leaf litter of a terra-firme forest (Martins & Oliveira, 1998). Clelia clelia is primarily nocturnal (N = 12; Duellman, 1978; Campbell, 1998; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Maschio, 2008), but it can also be found in activity during the day (N = 6; Duellman, 1978, Teixeira et al., 1991; Santos-Costa, 2003; Maschio, 2008).

Feeding: Clelia clelia is a generalist species that feeds primarily on snakes (N = 20; Boa constrictor, Drepanoides anomalus, Helicops angulatus, Xenodon sp., one Viperidae) but also consume lizards (N = 11; Basiliscus vittatus, Tropidurus sp., Ameiva sp., Tupinambis sp., two teiids; Nesticurus sp.), small mammals (N = 8) and birds (N = 1, Troglodytes aedon) (Beebe, 1946; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Yanosky et al., 1996; Campbell, 1998; Starace, 1998; Vaughan & Ruiz-Gutierrez, 2006; this study). Additionally, M. Martins & M.E. Oliveira (unpublished data) encountered four snake eggs in the gut of one specimen of C. clelia from the state of Pará.

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from nine to 22 eggs (mean = 12.6 eggs, N = 6; Duellman, 1978; Martínez & Cerdas-Fallas, 1986; Strüssmann, 1992; Savage, 2002; Maschio, 2008). The smallest mature female was 973 mm SVL (Duellman, 2005) and the smallest mature male was 650 mm SVL (Pizzatto, 2005). Pizzatto (2005) found no difference in SVL between males and females.

Defense: When handled, C. clelia may constrict and expel cloacal gland products (Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Maschio, 2008).

Clelia equatoriana Amaral, 1924

Distribution: Clelia equatoriana is distributed from Costa Rica, to Ecuador, through Panama and Colombia (Pérez-Santos & Moreno, 1988; Zaher, 1996).

Habitat, time of activity, feeding, and reproduction: The largest specimen recorded is a female (SVL = 1400 mm; Zaher, 1996). There is no additional information concerning the ecology of C. equatoriana.

Clelia errabunda Underwood, 1993

Distribution: Clelia errabunda is only known for its type locality, Saint Lucia, West Indies (Underwood, 1993).

Habitat, time of activity, feeding, and reproduction: The largest specimen recorded is a female (SVL = 1380 mm; Underwood, 1993) and there is no other information concerning the ecology of C. errabunda.

Clelia hussami Morato, Franco & Sanches, 2003

Distribution: Clelia hussami has a restricted distribution in southern Brazil (Morato et al., 2003).

Habitat, time of activity, feeding, and reproduction: The largest specimen recorded is a female (SVL = 1080 mm; Morato et al., 2003). Morato et al. (2003) suggest that the habitat of C. hussami may be restricted to the Araucaria forests domain. No data was found regarding its time of activity, feeding habits or reproduction.

Clelia langeri Reichle & Embert, 2005

Distribution: Clelia langeri is only known from the inter-Andean dry valleys of Bolivia (Reichle & Embert, 2005).

Habitat, time of activity, and reproduction: The only available data is from Reichle & Embert (2005). The largest specimen reported by these authors is a female with 1295 mm in total length. The only known prey item is a murid rodent (Reichle & Embert, 2005). There is no information available on habitat, time of activity or reproduction of this species.

Clelia plumbea Wied, 1820

Distribution: Clelia plumbea is distributed throughout Brazil and in Paraguay (Silva, 1993; Lema, 1994; Zaher, 1996; Marques, 1998; Argôlo, 2004; Hartmann, 2005; Morato, 2005; Pizzatto, 2005; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; França et al., 2006; Cicchi et al., 2007; Kunz, 2007; Condez et al., 2009). Additionally, there are known records for Paraguay and northeastern Argentina (Scott Jr. et al., 2006).

Habitat and time of activity: This is the largest pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 2790 mm, female; Pizzatto, 2005). It occurs mainly in forests (Silva, 1993; Marques, 1998; Argôlo, 2004; Morato, 2005; S. Morato, unpublished data; M. Sena, unpublished data) and can be found in disturbed areas (Argôlo, 2004; Kunz, 2007). Clelia plumbea is terrestrial (N = 8; Marques, 1998; Argôlo, 2004; Hartmann, 2005; Bernarde & Abe; 2006; M. Sena, unpublished data) and predominantly nocturnal (N = 13; Nascimento et al., 1987; Marques, 1998; Hartmann, 2005). It can also be found active during the day (N = 7; Argôlo, 2004; Morato, 2005; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; Kunz, 2007; M. Sena, unpublished data).

Feeding: C. plumbea is a snake specialist (N = 14, Atractus pantostictus, Drymarchon corais, one Echinantera undulata, Echinantera sp., one Spilotes pullatus, Micrurus lemniscatus, Bothrops jararaca, B. jararacussu, one Bothrops sp.), but lizards (N = 3, one Ameiva sp., one Ophiodes fragilis, one Gonatodes sp.) and small mammals (N = 2, one rodent, one Metachirus nudicaudatus) can also be found (Cunha & Nascimento, 1978; Marques, 1998; Pinto & Lema, 2002; Bernarde, 2004; Morato, 2005; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; this study).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from four to 29 eggs (mean = 12.6 eggs, N = 14; Pizzatto, 2005; this study) and this species presents a continuous reproductive cycle (Pizzatto, 2005). Additionally, Pizzatto (2005) found a significant sexual size dimorphism in snout-vent length for C. plumbea, where females attain larger body size than males. The smallest mature female was 1125 mm SVL (this study) and the smallest mature male was 1035 mm SVL (Pizzatto, 2005).

Clelia scytalina Cope, 1867

Distribution: Clelia scytalina is known from Central and South America, from southern Mexico to northwestern Colombia (Pérez-Santos & Moreno, 1988; Zaher, 1996; Torre-Loranca et al., 2006).

Habitat, time of activity, feeding, and reproduction: The largest specimen recorded is a female (SVL = 1190 mm; Zaher, 1996). Nothing is known about the ecology of C. scytalina.

Drepanoides anomalus Jan, 1863

Distribution: Drepanoides anomalus is distributed throughout the Amazon basin (Cunha & Nascimento, 1978, 1993; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Vanzolini, 1986; Silva, 1993; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Vidal et al., 1999; Yuki et al., 1999; Santos-Costa, 2003; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; Maschio, 2008; Prudente et al., 2010; Silva et al., 2010; Ávila & Kawashita-Ribeiro, 2011; Bernarde et al., 2011).

Habitat and time of activity: Drepanoides anomalus is a small pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 662 mm, female; Martins & Oliveira, 1998) that inhabits forests (Cunha & Nascimento, 1978; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Vanzolini, 1986; Silva, 1993; Vidal et al., 1999; Yuki et al., 1999; Santos-Costa, 2003; Bernarde, 2004; Bernarde & Abe, 2006) and can occasionally be found in their surroundings (Duellman, 1978; Dixon & Soini, 1986). This semi-arboreal snake (terrestrial observations: N = 10; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Vidal et al., 1999; Yuki et al., 1999; Santos-Costa, 2003; arboreal observations: N = 5; Vanzolini, 1986; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Duellman, 2005; R. Recoder, unpublished data) is nocturnal (N = 11; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Vidal et al., 1999; Yuki et al., 1999; R. Recoder, unpublished data) and can occasionally be found active during the day (N = 2; Vanzolini, 1986; Santos-Costa, 2003).

Feeding: Drepanoides anomalus is a lizard egg specialist (N = 9; seven Gonatodes spp., two unidentified) that occassionaly eats lizards (N = 2) (Cunha & Nascimento, 1978; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Santos-Costa, 2003; Bernarde, 2004; Duellman, 2005; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; Maschio, 2008; Silva et al., 2010; M. Martins, unpublished data).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from two to four eggs (N = 9, mean = 2.3 eggs; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; this study). Duellman (2005) reports one clutch with 13 eggs for D. anomalus from Cuzco, Peru. However, due to the small size of this species and the large sample gathered here, we believe that this may be an error. The smallest mature female was 461 + 124 mm (SVL + TL, this study) and the smallest mature male was 422 + 153 mm (SVL + TL; this study).

Defense: When handled, D. anomalus tries to escape, can thrash the body, and discharge cloacal secretions (Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Yuki et al., 1999; Maschio, 2008).

Mussurana bicolor Peracca, 1904

Distribution: Mussurana bicolor is known for southwestern Brazil, Paraguay and northern of Argentina (Scrocchi & Vinas, 1990; Strüssmann, 1992; Yanosky et al., 1996; Zaher, 1996; Giraudo & Scrocchi, 2002; Scott Jr. et al., 2006).

Habitat and time of activity: Mussurana bicolor is a moderate-sized pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 825 mm, female; Giraudo, 2001). The little information concerning the habitat of M. bicolor indicates that it inhabits primarily open areas like those from the Pantanal biome, and can also be found in disturbed areas (Strüssmann, 1992; Couturier & Faivovich, 1996; M. Martins, unpublished data). Couturier & Faivovich (1996) found three individuals active on the ground, indicating that this may be a terrestrial species. One individual was constricting a frog on a dry grassy substrate of a swamp at night (M. Martins, unpublished data). The five available records indicate that M. bicolor is a nocturnal species (Strüssmann, 1992; Couturier & Faivovich, 1996).

Feeding: The scarce information about its feeding habits suggests that M. bicolor is one of the few pseudoboine that feeds on amphibians (N = 3, Leptodactylus chaquensis, Leptodactylus sp.; Strüssmann, 1992; Yanosky et al., 1996; M. Martins, unpublished data). It can also feed on small mammals (N = 1), lizards (N = 1), and snakes (N = 1 Colubridae) (Strüssmann, 1992; this study).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from seven to 15 eggs (N = 8, mean = 9 eggs; Strüssmann, 1992; this study). The smallest mature female was 601 + 126 mm SVL (this study), and the smallest mature male was 550 mm SVL (Zaher, 1996). There is no difference in SVL between sexes (Scott Jr. et al., 2006).

Mussurana montana Franco, Marques & Puorto, 1997

Distribution: Mussurana montana has a restricted distribution in southeastern Brazil, in the highlands of northwestern São Paulo state and southeastern Minas Gerais state (Franco et al., 1997; Pizzatto, 2005; Hartmann et al., 2009).

Habitat and time of activity: Information in the literature indicates that snout-vent length of adult specimens ranges from 635 to 940 mm (Franco et al., 1997; Pizzatto, 2005), suggesting that this is a moderate-sized pseudoboine. Two individuals found by Hartmann (2005) indicate that M. montana probably inhabits forests. There is no information on the time of activity.

Feeding: One specimen analyzed by Franco et al. (1997) contained a snake tail in the gut (Liophis jaegeri) and another one analyzed by Hartmann (2005) contained a lizard (Cercosaura sp.).

Reproduction: Franco et al. (1997) found two females with seven and 11 eggs. There is no information regarding the size of maturity.

Mussurana quimi Franco, Marques & Porto, 1997

Distribution: Mussurana quimi is distributed in central and southeastern Brazil, northeastern Argentina and eastern Paraguay (Franco et al., 1997; Giraudo, 1999; Scott Jr. et al., 2006; Vaz-Silva et al., 2007).

Habitat and time of activity: Mussurana quimi is a moderate-sized pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 1078 mm, female; Pizzatto, 2005) and there is only scattered information about its ecology. It seems to inhabit open areas of the Brazilian Cerrado (Vaz-Silva et al., 2007; P. Valdujo, unpublished data), and few data indicate that this species may be terrestrial (N = 2) and active during the night (N = 2) (P. Valdujo, unpublished data).

Feeding: Mussurana quimi seems to be specialized in small mammals (N = 6), but also consumes lizards (N = 1) and snakes (N = 1, Helicops modestus) (Franco et al., 1997; this study).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from seven to 26 eggs (N = 8, mean = 11.3 eggs; Franco et al., 1997; Pizzatto, 2005; this study). Females attain larger body size than males (Pizzatto, 2005). The smallest mature female was 660 mm SVL (Pizzatto, 2005) and the smallest mature male was 573 mm SVL (Pizzatto, 2005).

Oxyrhopus clathratus Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854

Distribution: Oxyrhopus clathratus occurs from eastern to southern Brazil and northeastern Argentina (Marques, 1998; Borges, 2004; Hartmann, 2005; Morato, 2005; Cicchi et al., 2007; Di-Bernardo et al., 2007; Kunz, 2007; Hartmann & Giasson, 2008; Forlani et al., 2010; Bernardo et al., 2012; O.A.V. Marques, unpublished data; F.E. Barbo, unpublished data), with one known locality for the northeastern coast of Brazil (Bahia state; Argôlo, 2004) and a few in Argentina (Missiones department; Cranwell, 1943; Giraudo, 1999).

Habitat and time of activity: Oxyrhopus clathratus is the largest species of the genus Oxyrhopus (maximum SVL = 1132 mm, female; this study). It primarily inhabits forested areas but can be occasionally found in open and disturbed areas (Hartmann, 2005; Morato, 2005; Di-Bernardo et al., 2007; Hartmann & Giasson, 2008). Oxyrhopus clathratus is a terrestrial species (N = 31; Hartmann, 2005; Morato, 2005; Di-Bernardo et al., 2007; Kunz, 2007; Hartmann & Giasson, 2008; Hartmann et al., 2009; Barbo et al., 2011; S. Morato, unpublished data; F.E. Barbo, unpublished data) that can be found active during the day (N = 9) and night (N = 18) (Marques, 1998; Hartmann, 2005; Morato, 2005; Kunz, 2007; Hartmann & Giasson, 2008; Barbo et al., 2011; O.A.V. Marques, unpublished data; S. Morato, unpublished data; F.E. Barbo, unpublished data; this study).

Feeding: Although information in the literature suggests that some Oxyrhopus species can present an ontogenetic shift in diet (e.g., Andrade & Silvano, 1996; see below), the literature data indicates that O. clathratus is a small mammal specialist (N = 28; 22 rodents, five murids) that can also feed on lizards (N = 4; one Ecpleopus gaudichaudi, one gymnophthalmid, two scincids) and birds (N = 2) (Marques, 1998; Borges, 2004; Hartmann, 2005; Morato, 2005; Kunz, 2007; O.A.V. Marques, unpublished data). However, this result must be viewed carefully because a large sample of adult specimens could have biased it.

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from four to 16 eggs (N = 37, mean = 7.8 eggs; Marques, 1998; O.A.V. Marques, unpublished data; R. Scartozonni, unpublished data). The smallest mature female was 612 mm SVL (O.A.V. Marques, unpublished data) and the smallest mature male was 510 mm SVL (O.A.V. Marques, unpublished data).

Defense: When handled, Hartmann (2005) reported that one individual of O. clathratus discharged cloacal secretions and bit, while another tried to escape and hide its head under the body.

Oxyrhopus doliatus Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854

Distribution: Oxyrhopus doliatus is only known for its type locality, Pauji, Distrito Acosta, Falcon State, Venezuela (Shreve, 1947).

Habitat, time of activity, feeding, and reproduction: The only specimen recorded is a male (385 mm in SVL; Shreve, 1947). Nothing is known about its ecology.

Oxyrhopus erdisii Barbour, 1913

Distribution: Oxyrhopus erdisii is only known for its type locality in Machu Pichu, Peru (Zaher & Caramaschi, 2000).

Habitat, time of activity, feeding, and reproduction: There is no information on the ecology of O. erdisii.

Oxyrhopus fitzingeri Tschudi, 1845

Distribution: Oxyrhopus fitzingeri occurs throughout coastal Peru (Zaher & Caramaschi, 2000).

Habitat, time of activity, feeding, and reproduction: There is no information on the ecology of O. fitzingeri.

Oxyrhopus formosus Wied, 1820

Distribution: Oxyrhopus formosus is distributed throughout the Amazon basin in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, the Guianas, Peru, and Venezuela, as well as in eastern Brazil (e.g., Hoge et al., 1972; Cunha & Nascimento, 1978, 1983, 1993; Duellman, 1978; Gasc & Rodrigues, 1980; Silva, 1993; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Starace, 1998; Mattei & Barrio, 1999; Santos-Costa, 2003; Argôlo, 2004; Frota et al., 2005; Prudente et al., 2010; Silva et al., 2010; Bernarde et al., 2011; H. Zaher, unpublished data).

Habitat and time of activity: This moderate-sized pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 897 mm, female; Silva, 1993) inhabits forests and appears to be restricted to pristine habitats (Gasc & Rodrigues, 1980; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Santos-Costa, 2003; Argôlo, 2004; A. Dourado, unpublished data; S. Morato, unpublished data). It seems to be a semi-arboreal species (terrestrial data: N = 9; Duellman, 1978; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Santos-Costa, 2003; A. Dourado, unpublished data; S. Morato, unpublished data; arboreal data: N = 6; Gasc & Rodrigues, 1980; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Duellman, 2005; P. Bernarde, unpublished data), active mainly during the night (N = 12; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Gasc & Rodrigues, 1980; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; P. Bernarde, unpublished data), but there are two observations of diurnal activity (Santos-Costa, 2003; A. Dourado, unpublished data).

Feeding: Oxyrhopus formosus feeds on lizards (N = 7; Duellman, 1978; Santos-Costa, 2003; this study).

Reproduction: Clutch size varied from four to 17 eggs (mean = 11.3 eggs, N = 3; Duellman, 1978; Starace, 1998).

Defense: According to Martins & Oliveira (1998), when handled O. formosus can thrash the body, and one adult bit after being handled for a long period. These authors also suggest that the color pattern of young and subadults may represent a case of abstract coral snake mimicry.

Remarks: We are aware that what we are calling Oxyrhopus formosus is a complex of distinct species with similar morphology and coloration, including the forms recently treated as O. occipitalis in the literature (Lynch, 2009; MacCulloch et al., 2009). Athough there has been recent local attempts to clarify the taxonomic problems related to this complex (Lynch, 2009; MacCulloch et al., 2009), the situation is still confusing and we hereby prefer to treat all the populations traditionally considered as O. formosus under this name, pending a revision of the complex that is underway (H. Zaher, pers. com.).

Oxyrhopus guibei Hoge & Romano, 1977

Distribution: Oxyrhopus guibei is widely distributed in central, eastern, and southern Brazil, northeastern Argentina, eastern Bolivia, and southern Paraguay (Sazima & Abe, 1991; Sazima & Haddad, 1992; Yanosky et al., 1996; Zaher, 1996; Xavier-Freire, 1999; Giraudo & Scrocchi, 2002; Argôlo, 2004; Tozetti et al., 2004; Santana et al., 2008).

Habitat and time of activity: Oxyrhopus guibei is a moderate-sized pseudoboine (Maximum SVL = 1080 mm, female; Pizzatto & Marques, 2002). The extensive amount of habitat use data indicates that this species inhabits both forested and open areas, and is frequently found in disturbed areas (Sazima & Haddad, 1992; Xavier-Freire, 1999; Argôlo, 2004; Sawaya et al., 2008; Araújo et al., 2010). Data on microhabitat use indicates that O. guibei is a terrestrial species (N = 11; Sazima & Abe, 1991; Sazima & Haddad, 1992; Santana et al., 2008; F.E. Barbo, unpublished data; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data), although Sawaya et al. (2008) have found one individual moving 30 cm above the ground. It is active both during the day (N = 31; Sazima & Haddad, 1992; Pereira-Filho, 2007; Sawaya et al., 2008; F.E. Barbo, unpublished data) and night (N = 30; Sazima & Abe, 1991; Sawaya et al., 2008; Araújo et al., 2010; Barbo et al., 2011; F.E. Barbo, unpublished data).

Feeding: Andrade & Silvano (1996) suggested that O. guibei presents an ontogenetic shift in diet, and our results show that it feeds heavily on mammals (N = 66; two Bolomys lasiurus, one Calomys laucha, one Mus musculus, one Rattus sp., rodents), but also eat lizards (N = 18, three Ophioides sp., six Hemydactylus mabouia), and occasionally birds (N = 1; Leptotila sp.) (Andrade & Silvano, 1996; Sazima & Abe, 1991; Dalmolin, 2000; Barbo et al., 2011).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from three to 20 eggs (N = 105, mean = 12.3 eggs; Pizzatto & Marques, 2002; Sawaya et al., 2008; Barbo et al., 2011; Braz & Manço, 2011; F.E. Barbo, unpublished data) and this species presents a continuous reproductive cycle (Pizzatto & Marques, 2002). The smallest mature female was 612 mm SVL (F.E. Barbo, unpublished data) and the smallest mature male was 388 mm SVL (F.E. Barbo, unpublished data). Pizzatto & Marques (2002) found a significant sexual size dimorphism, females being larger than males.

Defense: When handled O. guibei can struggle and discharge cloacal secretions (Pereira-Filho, 2007; Sawaya et al., 2008).

Oxyrhopus leucomelas Werner, 1916

Distribution: Oxyrhopus leucomelas occurs in Andean cloud forests of Peru, Ecuador and Colombia (Pérez-Santos & Moreno, 1988; Lynch, 2009).

Habitat, time of activity, feeding, and reproduction: According to Lynch (2009), this is the smallest Oxyrhopus species found in Colombia. The largest specimen recorded is a male (TL = 722 mm). Nothing is known about its ecology.

Oxyrhopus marcapatae Boulenger, 1902

Distribution: Oxyrhopus marcapatae is only known from southern Peru (Alonso et al., 2001).

Habitat, time of activity, feeding, and reproduction: Available information indicates that this is a terrestrial and nocturnal species (N = 3; J. Icochea, unpublished data). Additionally, five individuals were found in cloud forests at night (at Wayrapata; elevation about 2445 m), with no indication whether they were active (Alonso et al., 2001). One male found by J. Icochea was 365 + 108 mm (SVL + TL). Nothing else is known about the ecology of O. marcapatae.

Oxyrhopus melanogenys Tschudi, 1845

Distribution: Oxyrhopus melanogenys occurs throughout Amazonian Brazil and western Peru (Cunha & Nascimento, 1978; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Nascimento et al., 1987; Pérez-Santos & Moreno, 1988; Zaher, 1996; Frota, 2000; Santos-Costa, 2003; Duellman, 2005; Frota et al., 2005; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; França et al., 2006; Maschio, 2008; Silva et al., 2010; Bernarde et al., 2011; L.J. Vitt, unpublished data).

Habitat and time of activity: Oxyrhopus melanogenys is a moderate-sized pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 901 mm, female; this study) and the data available indicate that this is a terrestrial species (N = 6; Santos-Costa, 2003; Maschio, 2008; S. Morato, unpublished data; M. Sena, unpublished data; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data) that inhabits forests and it is active during the night (N = 6; Santos-Costa, 2003; Maschio, 2008; S. Morato, unpublished data).

Feeding: Oxyrhopus melanogenys is a diet generalist that feeds mainly on small mammals (N = 24) and lizards (N = 25; two Ameiva sp., one Cnemidophorus sp., one Colobossaura sp., one Leposoma sp., one Hemidactylus sp.), but also on birds (N = 3; two Ramphocaenus melanurus) and occasionally on lizard eggs (N = 1) (Nascimento et al., 1987, Santos-Costa, 2003; Maschio, 2008; Silva et al., 2010; Martins & Oliveira, unpublished data).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from seven to 13 eggs (N = 8, mean = 9.7 eggs; this study). The smallest mature female was 410 mm SVL (Bitar & Santos-Costa, 2006) and the smallest mature male was 310 mm SVL (Bitar & Santos-Costa, 2006).

Defense: Maschio (2008) reports that when handled O. melanogenys can expel cloacal secretions.

Oxyrhopus petola Linnaeus, 1758

Distribution: Oxyrhopus petola is widely distributed throughout South and Central America, from Mexico to Argentina (Guyer & Donnelly, 1990; Test et al., 1966; Hoge, 1967; Hoge et al., 1972; Cunha & Nascimento, 1978, 1983; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Dixon & Soini, 1986; McCoy et al., 1986; Pérez-Santos & Moreno, 1988; Silva, 1993; Murphy, 1997; Esqueda & La Marca, 1999; Giraudo, 1999; Bernarde & Machado, 2000; Lehr, 2001; Valdujo & Nogueira, 2001; Santos-Costa, 2003; Argôlo, 2004; Carvalho et al., 2005; Frota et al., 2005; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; Torre-Loranca et al., 2006; Ribeiro, 2007; Vaz-Silva et al., 2007; Santana et al., 2008; Lynch, 2009; Prudente et al., 2010; Silva et al., 2010; Bernarde et al., 2011; L.J. Vitt, unpublished data).

Habitat and time of activity: The maximum SVL reported for O. petola is a female, with 1104 mm of TL (this study). This species appears to inhabit both forested and open areas, and can also be found in disturbed habitats (Beebe, 1946; Test et al., 1966; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Silva, 1993; Murphy, 1997; Argôlo, 2004; Bernarde, 2004; Carvalho et al., 2005; Esqueda et al., 2005; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; Vaz-Silva et al., 2007; Prudente et al., 2010; Silva et al., 2010; Bernarde et al., 2011; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data). It is a terrestrial species (N = 30; Test et al., 1966; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Murphy, 1997; Esqueda et al., 2005; Pereira-Filho, 2007; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data), but there are two records of activity on the vegetation (Duellman, 2005). It can be found active both during the day (N = 16; Duellman, 1978; Carvalho et al., 2005; Pereira-Filho, 2007) and during the night (N = 13; Test et al., 1966; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Pereira-Filho, 2007; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data).

Feeding: Oxyrhopus petola is a diet generalist that feeds on small mammals (N = 6), lizards (N = 7, Arthrosaura reticulata, Cercosaura eigenmanni, Cercosaura sp., Kentropyx pelviceps), and birds (N = 5, one Columbina talpacoti), occasionally consuming amphibians (N = 1, Leptodactylus sp.) and bird eggs (N = 1) (Duellman, 1978, 2005; Cunha & Nascimento, 1983; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Murphy, 1997; Bernarde & Machado, 2000; Santos-Costa, 2003; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; L.J. Vitt, unpublished data; this study).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from two to 12 eggs (N = 25, mean = 7.1 eggs; Test et al., 1966; Fitch, 1970; Lynch, 2009; this study). The smallest mature female was 835 mm SVL (this study) and the smallest mature male was 677 mm SVL (this study).

Oxyrhopus rhombifer Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854

Distribution: Oxyrhopus rhombifer occurs in central to northern Argentina, southern to northeastern Brazil, as well as in Paraguay, Bolivia, and Uruguay (Abalos et al., 1964; Cordeiro & Hoge, 1973; Cunha & Nascimento, 1983; Veja & Bellagamba, 1990; Vuoto, 1995; Yanosky et al., 1996; Achaval & Olmos, 1997; Avila & Morando, 1999; Argôlo & Freitas, 2000; Valdujo & Nogueira, 2001; Alvarez et al., 2002; Arzamendia & Giraudo, 2002; Maschio & Di-Bernardo, 2002; Vidal, 2002; Maschio et al., 2004; Leynaud & Bucher, 2005; Gallardo & Scrocchi, 2006; França et al., 2006; Kacoliris et al., 2006a,b; Ribeiro, 2007).

Habitat and time of activity: This moderate-sized pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 958 mm, female; Giraudo, 2001) occurs mainly in open areas, but can also be found in forests (Cechin, 1999; Kacoliris, 2006a,b; Ribeiro, 2007; Sawaya et al., 2008; S. Morato, unpublished data; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data). It is a terrestrial species (N = 20; Di-Bernardo, 1998; Ribeiro, 2007; Sawaya et al., 2008; S. Morato, unpublished data; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data), but Sawaya et al. (2008) reported two individuals on the vegetation approximately 20 cm above the ground. Oxyrhopus rhombifer is mainly nocturnal (N = 19; Cechin, 1999; Sawaya et al., 2008; S. Morato, unpublished data; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data), but can also be found active during the day (N = 8; Cechin, 1999; Sawaya et al., 2008; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data).

Feeding: O. rhombifer is a diet generalist that eats mainly lizards (N = 20, one Liolaemus wiegmanii, three Cnemidophorus lacertoides, one Cnemidophorus sp., one Kentropyx sp, one Teius oculatus, one Cercosaura schreibersii, one Hemidactylus mabouia, one Ophiodes sp., and six unidentified) and small mammals (N = 19, three Cricetidae, two rodents, one Nectomys squamipes), but also snakes (N = 1, Epictia munoai) (Abalos et al., 1964; Lema et al., 1983; Cechin, 1999; Vidal, 2002; Maschio et al., 2003, 2004; Ribeiro, 2007; Sawaya et al., 2008).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from four to 17 eggs (N = 12, mean = 8.3 eggs; Pontes & Di-Bernardo, 1988; Yanosky et al., 1996; Gallardo & Scrocchi, 2006; this study). The smallest mature female was 442 mm SVL (Cunha & Nascimento, 1983) and the smallest mature male was 452 mm SVL (this study).

Defense: Sawaya et al. (2008) reports that when handled O. rhombifer can trash the body, expel cloacal gland products, and laterally compress the body.

Oxyrhopus trigeminus Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854

Distribution: Oxyrhopus trigeminus is distributed throughout Brazil (Hoge et al., 1972; Hoge et al., 1976/77; Cordeiro & Hoge, 1973; Cunha & Nascimento, 1983; Vitt & Vangilder, 1983; Rodrigues, 2003; Carvalho et al., 2005; Frota et al., 2005; Rocha et al., 2005; Vaz-Silva et al., 2007; L.J. Vitt, unpublished data; this study).

Habitat and time of activity: This moderate-sized pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 860 mm, female; this study) inhabits open areas (Carvalho et al., 2005; Vaz-Silva et al., 2007; M. Sena, unpublished data; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data). It is predominantly terrestrial (N = 26; Rocha et al., 2005; Pereira-Filho, 2007; M. Sena, unpublished data; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data), but C. Strüssmann (unpublished data) reports one individual on the vegetation and another active in the water. Oxyrhopus trigeminus may be active both during the day (N = 6; Pereira-Filho, 2007) and night (N = 8; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data).

Feeding: O. trigeminus is a diet generalist that feeds mainly on lizards (N = 17, one Tropidurus hispidus, four Tropidurus torquatus, three Tropidurus sp., three Ameiva ameiva, three Cnemidophorus occelifer, one scincid, two Hemidactylus mabouia) and small mammals (N = 11, five Necromys lasiurus, two Oligoryzomys sp., one Akodon sp., one Nectomys squamipes, two unidentified rodents, one Didelphis albiventris) (Cunha & Nascimento, 1983; Vitt & Vangilder, 1983; Ávila-Pires, 1995; Rocha et al., 2005; Alencar et al., 2012; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; this study). In addition, Alencar et al. (2012) reported three birds (one Synallaxis sp., one Coryphospingus) and Vitt & Vanglier (1983) reported one lizard egg.

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from two to 12 eggs (N = 14, mean = 7.9; Vitt & Vangilder, 1983; Alencar et al., 2012; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; this study). The smallest mature female was 536 mm (SVL, this study) and the smallest mature male was 439 mm SVL (Alencar et al., 2012).

Defense: Pereira-Filho (2007) reports that when handled O. rhombifer can trash the body and expel cloacal gland products.

Oxyrhopus vanidicus Lynch, 2009

Distribution: Oxyrhopus vanidicus is distributed in northern Brazil, in Colombia, northern Peru, and in Ecuador (Duellman, 1978; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Pérez-Santos & Moreno, 1988; Zaher, 1996; L.J. Vitt, unpublished data).

Habitat and time of activity: The scattered morphological data indicates that O. vanidicus is a moderate-sized pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 906 mm; Silva, 1993). It is a forest inhabitant (Duellman, 1978; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Silva, 1993), and predominantly terrestrial (N = 13; Duellman, 1978; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Martins & Oliveira, 1998). Martins & Oliveira (1998) reported one individual moving on a shrub one meter above the ground and three moving in the leaf litter accumulated within the leaf petioles of low palms. This species is mainly nocturnal (N = 12; Duellman, 1978; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Starace, 1998), but can also be found active during the day (N = 5; Duellman, 1978).

Feeding: Oxyrhopus vanidicus seems to be a diet generalist, feeding on small mammals (N = 3, rodents) and lizards (N = 3, one Arthrosaura reticulate, one Iphisa elegans; one Lepsoma parietale) (Duellman, 1978; Dixon & Soini, 1986).

Reproduction: The only available clutch size record is 12 eggs from a female of 819 mm (SVL; Duellman, 1978). There is no information regarding the smallest mature female or male.

Defense: When handled, O. vanidicus may thrash the body and occasionally vibrate the tail (Martins & Oliveira, 1998).

Paraphimophis rusticus Cope, 1878

Distribution: Paraphimophis rusticus is known from southeastern and southern Brazil, northeastern Argentina, and Uruguay (Zaher, 1996; Achaval & Olmos, 1997; Franco et al., 1997; Gallardo & Scrocchi, 2006; Kacoliris et al., 2006b; Scott Jr. et al., 2006).

Habitat and time of activity: Paraphimophis rusticus is a moderate to large-sized pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 1850 mm, female; Pizzatto, 2005). It inhabits forests (Di-Bernardo, 1998; S. Morato, unpublished data) and can be found in disturbed areas (Veja & Bellagamba, 1990; R. Bérnils, unpublished data). The scattered information concerning microhabitat use and time of activity indicates that this species may be terrestrial (N = 2) and diurnal (N = 3) (Di-Bernardo, 1998; R. Bérnils & I. Opuskevitch, unpublished data).

Feeding: Paraphimophis rusticus is a generalist species that consumes mainly small mammals (N = 5; one Akodon sp.) and snakes (N = 4, one Oxyrhopus rhombifer, two Philodryas olfersii), occasionally feeding on lizards (N = 1) (Ophiodes fragilis; Pinto & Lema, 2002; Vidal, 2002; this study).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from seven to 13 eggs (N = 12, mean = 8.9 eggs; Vaz-Ferreira et al., 1970; Pizzatto, 2005; Gallardo & Scrocchi, 2006; Carreira & Baletta, 2007; this study). Pizzatto (2005) found a significant sexual size dimorphism in snout-vent length for P. rusticus, with females attaining larger body size than males. The smallest mature female was 849 + 137 mm (SVL + TL; this study) and the smallest mature male was 750 mm SVL (Pizzatto, 2005).

Defense: When handled P. rusticus is very docile and does not try to bite (Achaval & Olmos, 1997).

Phimophis guerini Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854

Distribution: Phimophis guerini is distributed in central and southeastern Brazil, Paraguay, and northern Argentina (Abdala, 1990; Lema, 1994; Vuoto, 1995; Leynaud & Chiaraviglio, 1996; Yanosky et al., 1996; França et al., 2006; Vaz-Silva et al., 2007).

Habitat and time of activity: P. guerini is the largest Phimophis species (maximum SVL = 1038 mm; Sawaya, 2003) and inhabits different types of open vegetation throughout its distribution (Sawaya, 2003; Vaz-Silva et al., 2007; Sawaya et al., 2008; Neto, 2009; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data). There are only two records in disturbed areas (Sawaya et al., 2008; Queissada, 2009). It seems to be primarily terrestrial (N = 11; Sawaya et al., 2008; S. Morato, unpublished data; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data), and nocturnal (N = 8; Sawaya, 2003; P. Valdujo, unpublished data).

Feeding: Phimophis guerini is a lizard specialist (N = 11, one Ameiva ameiva) that may occacionally eat small mammals (N = 1) (Sawaya et al., 2008; this study).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from three to seven eggs (N = 3, mean = 4.7; this study). The smallest mature female was 699 mm SVL (this study) and the smallest mature male was 435 mm (SVL; this study).

Defense: When handled, P. guerini may trash the body, expel cloacal gland products, and bite (Sawaya et al., 2008).

Phimophis guianensis Troschel, 1848

Distribution: Phimophis guianensis is distributed in the extreme north of Brazil, in Colombia, Guyana and Venezuela (Gasc & Rodrigues, 1980; Pérez-Santos & Moreno, 1988; Oliveiros et al., 2000; Cornejo & Prieto, 2001; Moreno-Bejarano & Álvarez-León, 2003; França et al., 2006).

Habitat and time of activity: This small pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 649 mm, female; this study) inhabits savannas and dry forests (Swanson, 1945; Oliveiros et al., 2000; Rueda-Solano & Castellanos-Barliza, 2010; M. Martins, pers. obs.) and seems to be active during the day (N = 2; Oliveiros et al., 2000). No data is available regarding the diet or reproduction of this species.

Phimophis vittatus Boulenger, 1896

Distribution: Phimophis vittatus is distributed in central to northern Argentina (Abdala, 1990; Giraudo & Scrocchi, 2002; Leynaud & Bucher, 2005; Kacoliris et al., 2006a).

Habitat, time of activity, and feeding: This is a small pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 651 mm, female; this study), and there is no informattion regarding its ecology.

Reproduction: The only available clutch size record for P. vittatus is from a female (651 + 94 mm, SVL + TL) with five secondary vittelogenic follicles (this study).

Pseudoboa coronata Schneider, 1801

Distribution: Pseudoboa coronata is distributed in central Brazil, throughout the Amazon basin to coastal Venezuela (Griffin, 1920; Beebe, 1946; Hoge et al., 1972; Cunha & Nascimento, 1978, 1983; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Gasc & Rodrigues, 1980; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Pérez-Santos & Moreno, 1988; Silva, 1993; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Fuenmayor & La Marca, 2001; Frota et al., 2005; Ribeiro, 2007).

Habitat and time of activity: This moderate-sized pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 1093 mm, female; Silva, 1993) is a forest inhabitant that may be found in disturbed areas (Beebe, 1946; Cunha & Nascimento, 1978, 1993; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Silva, 1993; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; P. Bernade, unpublished data; M. Hoogmed, unpublished data; M. Sena, unpublished data; F. Stender, unpublished data). It is a terrestrial species (N = 14; Beebe, 1946; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Silva, 1993; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; P. Bernarde, unpublished data; M. Sena, unpublished data; F. Stender, unpublished data), although Duellman (1978) reports one individual in the water. Pseudoboa coronata appears to be active both during the day (N = 3; Duellman, 1978, F. Stender, unpublished data) and during the night (N = 6; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Starace, 1998; P. Bernarde, unpublished data).

Feeding: Pseudoboa coronata seems to be a generalist species that feeds mainly on lizards (N = 4, Ameiva ameiva, one scincid), and also eat small mammals (N = 3, two rodents and one marsupial), occasionally ingesting snakes (N = 1, Tantilla melanocephala) and eels (N = 1) (Beebe, 1946; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Martins & Oliveira; 1998, this study).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from three to six eggs (N = 5, mean = 4.58; Duellman, 1978; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; this study). The smallest mature female was 576 mm SVL (this study) and the smallest mature male was 556 mm SVL (this study).

Defense: Martins & Oliveira (1998) reported that a single individual of P. coronata thrashed the body and constricted when handled.

Pseudoboa haasi Boettger, 1905

Distribution: Pseudoboa haasi is found in southern Brazil and northeastern Argentina (Gallardo, 1992; Lema, 1994; Morato et al., 1995; Giraudo, 1999, 2001; Morato, 2005; Kunz, 2007).

Habitat and time of activity: It is a large species of Pseudoboa (maximum SVL = 1293 mm, female; this study) that inhabits both open and forested areas (Morato, 2005; R. Bérnils & R.P. Rocha, unpublished data; R. Bérnils & G. Montingelli, unpublished data; R. Bérnils & E.M. Wistuba, unpublished data; G.V. Bianconi & C.E. Conte, unpublished data; S. Morato, unpublished data); it may be occasionally found in disturbed areas (R. Bérnils, unpublished data). The information available indicates that P. haasi is a terrestrial species (N = 7; Morato, 2005; Kunz, 2007; R. Bérnils & G. Montingelli, unpublished data; R. Bérnils & E.M. Wistuba, unpublished data; G.V. Bianconi & C.E. Conte, unpublished data; S. Morato, unpublished data), although Morato (2005) reports one individual inside the soil. Pseudoboa haasi is a diurnal species (N = 4; Morato, 2005; R. Bérnils & G. Montingelli, unpublished data; R. Bérnils & E.M. Wistuba, unpublished data; G.V. Bianconi & C.E. Conte, unpublished data).

Feeding: Pseudoboa haasi feeds mainly on small mammals (N = 9), and also eat snakes (N = 3, two Atractus cf. taeniatus, one colubrid), lizards (N = 2, one Placosoma sp., one gymnophthalmid) and occacionally snake eggs (N = 1) (Esteves, 2005; Morato, 2005).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from three to 10 eggs (N = 11, mean = 5.36; this study). The smallest mature female was 913 mm SVL (this study) and the smallest mature male was 767 mm SVL (this study).

Pseudoboa martinsi Zaher, Oliveira & Franco, 2008

Distribution: Pseudoboa martinsi is distributed in the western Amazon basin in Brazil (Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Zaher et al., 2008).

Habitat and time of activity: Pseudoboa martinsi is moderate-sized snake (maximum SVL = 1090 mm, female; Zaher et al., 2008) that may be found both in well preserved forests and in disturbed areas (Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Zaher et al., 2008). The only habitat and time of activity records available for this species consists of one individual found in activity on the ground during the day (Martins & Oliveira, 1998). A resting individual was coiled on a ground bromeliad in a primary forest at night (Martins & Oliveira, 1998).

Feeding: The only prey record for P. martinsi is a snake (Martins & Oliveira, 1998).

Reproduction: One female of P. martinsi had six eggs (Martins & Oliveira, 1998).

Defense: Martins & Oliveira (1998) report that when handled this species does not attempt to bite.

Pseudoboa neuwiedii Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854

Distribution: Pseudoboa neuwiedii is distributed from central Brazil to the Amazon basin, coastal Venzuela, Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies, and Panama (Beebe, 1946; Shreve, 1947; Hoge, 1967; Gasc & Rodrigues, 1980; Cunha & Nascimento, 1983; Pérez-Santos & Moreno, 1988; Schwartz & Henderson, 1991; Murphy, 1997; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Esqueda & La Marca, 1999; Oliveiros et al., 2000; Kornacker, 2001; Frota et al., 2005; L.J. Vitt, unpublished data).

Habitat and time of activity: Pseudoboa neuwiedii is a relatively small species of Pseudoboa (maximum SVL = 972 mm, female; this study) that inhabits both open and forested areas (Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Murphy, 1997; Oliveiros et al., 2000; M. Hoogmed, unpublished data). Regarding microhabitat there are records of activity on the ground (N = 5; Beebe, 1946; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; F. Sarnento, unpublished data), on the vegetation (N = 1; M. Hoogmed, unpublished data), and within the leaf litter (N = 3; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Murphy, 1997). It seems to be predominantly nocturnal (N = 6; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Oliveiros et al., 2000; F. Sarnento, unpublished data), but one individual was found in activity during the day (Martins & Oliveira, 1998) and another during the twilight (M. Hoogmoed, unpublished data).

Feeding: The scattered information available indicates that P. neuwiedii feeds on lizards (N = 2, one Ameiva ameiva), small mammals (N = 1, rodent), and snakes (N = 1) (Murphy, 1997; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; this study).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from three to 12 eggs (N = 5, mean = 5.6; this study). The smallest mature female was 723 mm SVL (this study) and there is no information for the smallest mature male.

Defense: When handled P. neuwiedii can thrash the body, constrict, and occasionally bite (Beebe, 1946; Martins & Oliveira, 1998).

Pseudoboa nigra Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854

Distribution: Pseudoboa nigra is widely distributed in Brazil (occurring in Cerrado, Atlantic Forest, Caatinga, Pantanal, Chaco, and Amazonian savanas), with a few records in Bolivia (Cordeiro & Hoge, 1973; Cunha & Nascimento, 1983; Vitt & Vangilder, 1983; Strüssmann, 1992; Moura-Leite et al., 1996; Argôlo, 2004; Carvalho et al., 2005; França et al., 2006; Ribeiro, 2007; Vaz-Silva et al., 2007; R. Orofino, unpublished data).

Habitat and time of activity: This large-sized snake (maximum SVL = 1261 mm, R. Orofino, unpublished data) can be encountered predominantly in open areas and disturbed habitats, although there are records in forests (Strüssmann, 1992; Argôlo, 2004; Carvalho et al., 2005; Guedes, 2006; Vaz-Silva et al., 2007; Sousa et al., 2010; M. Sena, unpublished data; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data). It is a terrestrial snake (N = 12; Strüssmann, 1992; Carvalho et al., 2005; Guedes, 2006; M. Sena, unpublished data; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data), and Carvalho et al. (2005) report one individual on the vegetation. Pseudoboa nigra is predominantly nocturnal (N = 6; Strüssmann, 1992; Guedes, 2006; M. Sena, unpublished data; C. Strüssmann, unpublished data; this study), occasionally found active during the day (N = 1; M. Sena, unpublished data) and during twilight (N = 1; Strüssmann, 1992).

Feeding: Pseudoboa nigra is a lizard specialist (N = 53, four Tropidurus hispidus, one Tropidurus cf. itambere, eight Tropidurus torquatus, eight Tropidurus sp., 13 Ameiva ameiva, one Cnemidophorus occelifer, one Cnemidophorus sp., five teiids), but may also feed on small mammals (N = 4, one Cricetidae) and lizard eggs (N = 2) (Vanzolini et al., 1980; Ribeiro, 2007; Palmuti et al., 2009; Orofino et al., 2010). Orofino et al. (2010) report one snake and one amphibian as prey during the flooding of a hydroelectric station dam. There is no evidence of ontogenetic change in diet (Orofino et al., 2010).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from three to 24 eggs (N = 18, mean = 9.5; Orofino et al., 2010; R. Orofino, unpublished data). The smallest mature female was 561 mm SVL (R. Orofino, unpublished data) and the smallest mature male was 548 mm SVL (R. Orofino, unpublished data).

Pseudoboa serrana Morato, Moura-Leite, Prudente & Bérnils, 1995

Distribution: Pseudoboa serrana has a restricted geographic distribution in the Atlantic Forest of southeastern Brazil, at altitudes higher than 600 m (Morato et al., 1995; Bérnils et al, 2010; Sousa et al., 2010).

Habitat, time of activity, feeding, and reproduction: Pseudoboa serrana is a moderate-sized species (maximum SVL = 1243 mm) that inhabits forests but may also be found in disturbed areas (Bérnils et al., 2010; Sousa et al., 2010). It seems to be associated to high altitude grasslands within forests containing Araucaria trees (R. Bérnils, unpublisehd data). It seems to be nocturnal and terrestrial (Martins et al., 2008) and Marques et al. (2009) suggest that it feeds on lizards and mammals. There is no information on its reproduction.

Rhachidelus brazili Boulenger, 1908

Distribution: Rhachidelus brazili is distributed from central and southeastern Brazil (Moura-Leite et al., 1996; Fernandes & Passos, 2002), with one record for Missiones, Argentina (Giraudo & Scrocchi, 2002).

Habitat and time of activity: This large snake (maximum SVL = 1372 mm, female; this study) appears to inhabit both open and forested areas, and can also be found in disturbed habitats (Sawaya et al., 2008; T.C.C. Margarido, unpublished data; S. Morato, unpublished data; L.A. Silva, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data). It appears to be a terrestrial (N = 5) and nocturnal species (N = 5) (Sawaya et al., 2008; T.C.C. Margarido, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data).

Feeding: Rhachidelus brazili is a bird egg specialist. There are reports of 12 events of R. brazili feeding on bird eggs and two records of birds as prey (O.A.V. Marques, unpublished data; P. Valdujo, unpublished data).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from two to seven eggs (N = 6, mean = 4.5; R. Scartozzoni, unpublished data). The smallest mature female was 984 mm (SVL) and the smallest mature male was 867 mm SVL (R. Scartozzoni, unpublished data).

Rodriguesophis chui Rodrigues, 1993

Distribution: Rodriguesophis chui is only known for its type locality, Santo Inacio, Bahia state, Brazil (Rodrigues, 1993).

Habitat, time of activity, feeding, and reproduction: Rodriguesophis chui seems to be a fossorial species that occurs in the Caatinga, in sand dunes along the São Francisco River (Rodrigues, 1993, 1996, 2003). No other ecological data is available for R. chui. Rodrigues (1993) reports an adult male of 300 + 70 mm (SVL + TL).

Rodriguesophis iglesiasi Gomes, 1915

Distribution: Rodriguesophis iglesiasi is distributed in northeastern Brazil (Rodrigues, 1993).

Habitat and time of activity: One of the smallest pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 444 mm, male; this study) inhabits open areas of the Brazilian Cerrado and in the western portions of the Caatinga (Nogueira., 2001; P. Valdujo, unpublished data). It is a common species in open vegetation with sandy soils in the Cerrado (Recoder & Nogueira, 2007; Costa et al., 2010; Recoder et al., 2011). There are no records regarding microhabitat or time of activity.

Feeding: There are only three feeding records of R. iglesiasi, all lizards (Cnemidophorus sp.; C. Nogueira, unpublished data).

Reproduction: Clutch size is available for only two females, both with two eggs (this study). The smallest mature female was 401 mm SVL (this study) and the only mature male registered was 342 mm SVL (this study).

Rodriguesophis scriptorcibatus Rodrigues, 1993

Distribution: Rodriguesophis scriptorcibatus is only known from two localities, Queimadas and Ibiraba, Bahia state, Northeastern Brazil (Rodrigues, 1993).

Habitat and time of activity: The only data available for this species (Rodrigues, 1993) indicates that this is a small pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 316 mm, male) and that it is fossorial (N = 5). It is commonly found from 5 to 20 cm inside the sandy soil, sometimes around vegetation patches (Rodrigues, 1993) and it may be both diurnal and nocturnal (Rodrigues, 1993, 1996, 2003).

Feeding: The only two feeding records for R. scriptorcibatus are from Rodrigues (1993), both lizards (Calyptommatus leioleps, Vanzosaura rubricauda).

Reproduction: No information is available on reproduction for R. scriptorcibatus.

Siphlophis cervinus Laurenti, 1768

Distribution: Siphlophis cervinus is distributed throughout the Amazon Forest, in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela, as well as in Trinidad and Tobago and Panama (Hoge & Nina, 1969; Cunha & Nascimento, 1978, 1993; Duellman, 1978, 2005; Gasc & Rodrigues, 1980; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Nascimento et al., 1987; Pérez-Santos & Moreno, 1988; Silva, 1993; Murphy, 1997; Barrio et al., 1998; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Prudente et al., 1998; Zaher & Prudente, 1999; Santos-Costa, 2003; Frota et al., 2005; Maschio, 2008; Silva et al., 2010).

Habitat and time of activity: This small, slender pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 990 mm; Barrio et al., 1998) inhabits forests, and appears to be restricted to undisturbed habitats (Duellman, 1978, 2005; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Nascimento et al., 1987; Silva, 1993; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Santos-Costa, 2003; Maschio, 2008; Maschio, unpublished data; M. Sena, unpublished data; F. Stender, unpublished data). It is nocturnal (N = 12; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Duellman, 2005; Santos-Costa, 2003; Maschio, 2008; Maschio, unpublished data; M. Sena, unpublished data) and semi-arboreal (arboreal data: N = 9; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Santos-Costa, 2003; Duellman, 2005; Maschio, 2008; Maschio, unpublished data; M. Sena, unpublished data; terrestrial data: N = 4; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Santos-Costa, 2003; F. Stender, unpublished data).

Feeding: Siphlophis cervinus is a lizard specialist (N = 31, one Iguania, one Plica sp., one Plica umbra, one Polychrus marmoratus, two Tropidurus sp., three tropidurids, one Bachia trinasale, one gymnophthalmid, three scincids, three Thecadactylus rapicaudus, two Gonatodes humeralis, two Gonatodes sp., one Hemidactylus mabouia, one Hemidactylus sp.), although it can also feed on snakes (N = 5), and occasionally on amphibians (N = 1) Duellman, 1978; Nascimento et al., 1987; Cunha & Nascimento, 1993; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Prudente et al., 1998; Santos-Costa, 2003; Maschio, 2008; M. Martins & E. Oliveira, unpublished data). Prudente et al. (1998) found a bat in the stomach of a S. cervinus specimen (Myotis sp.).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from three to six eggs (N = 5, mean = 4.9; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; this study). The smallest mature female was 643 (SVL; this study) and the smallest mature male was 518 (SVL; this study).

Defense: Acording to Martins & Oliveira (1998), when handled S. cervinus does not bite, may thrash the body, and forms tight balls with the head hidden within body coils.

Siphlophis compressus Daudin, 1803

Distribution: Siphlophis compressus is mainly distributed in the Amazon Forest in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as in the Atlantic Forest of eastern and northeastern Brazil (Beebe, 1946; Hoge, 1967; Fitch, 1970; Cunha & Nascimento, 1978, 1993; Duellman, 1978; Gasc & Rodrigues, 1980; Riley & Winch, 1985; Dixon & Soini, 1986; Silva, 1993; Murphy, 1997; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Prudente et al., 1998; Yuki et al., 1999; Zaher & Prudente, 1999; Santos-Costa, 2003; Argôlo, 2004; Neckel-Oliveira & Gordo, 2004; Frota et al., 2005; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; Maschio, 2008; Prudente et al., 2010; Silva et al., 2010; Ávila & Kawashita-Ribeiro, 2011; Guedes et al., 2011; Vilela et al., 2011).

Habitat and time of activity: Siphlophis compressus seems to be the largest species of the genus Siphlophis (maximum SVL = 1229 mm, female; this study). It appears to be restricted to forested areas (Duellman, 1978; Silva, 1993; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Starace, 1998; Yuki et al., 1999; Santos-Costa, 2003; Argôlo, 2004; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; Maschio, 2008; P. Bernarde, unpublished data; M.P. Gaiarsa, unpublished data; G. Maschio, unpublished data; M. Sena, unpublished data). It is a semi arboreal species found both on the ground (N = 18; Murphy, 1997; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; Maschio, 2008; P. Bernarde, unpublished data; G. Maschio, unpublished data; S. Morato, unpublished data; M. Sena, unpublished data) and on the vegetation (N = 10; Duellman, 1978; Murphy, 1997; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Yuki et al., 1999; Santos-Costa, 2003; M.P. Gaiarsa, unpublished data; S. Morato, unpublished data). Siphlophis compressus is a nocturnal species (N = 19; Duellman, 1978; Murphy, 1997; Yuki et al., 1999; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Santos-Costa, 2003; Bernarde, 2004; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; Maschio, 2008; G. Maschio, unpublished data; M.P. Gaiarsa, unpublished data; S. Morato, unpublished data), although sporadically it may be found active during the day (N = 4; Murphy, 1997; Maschio, 2008; G. Maschio, unpublished data; S. Morato, unpublished data). There are additional data regarding habitat and microhabitat of S. compressus (N = 11 terrestrial and N = 4 arboreal) available in Argôlo (2004); however these data were not included in the synthesis above because it is not clear whether the individuals found were active.

Feeding: Siphlophis compressus is a lizard specialist (N = 25, one Anolis sp., one Plica plica, two Kentropyx sp., two teiids, one Alopoglossus sp., one Neusticurus sp., three gymnophthalmids, two Gonatodes humeralis, 12 n.i.; Duellman, 1978; Murphy, 1997; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Santos-Costa, 2003; Maschio, 2008; G. Maschio, unpublished data; M. Martins & E. Oliveira, unpublished data; L.J. Vitt, unpublished data), although there are two records of snakes as prey (Alemu & Rowley, 2008; Maschio, 2008).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from three to 12 eggs (N = 12, mean = 6.2; Martins & Oliveira, 1998; this study). The smallest mature female was 728 mm SVL (this study) and the smallest mature male was 514 mm SVL (this study).

Defense: When handled, this species may rotate and/or trash the body and head, make an s-coil, strike with the mouth closed (false strikes), and vibrate the tail; it does not bite (Martins & Oliveira, 1998; Maschio, 2008).

Siphlophis leucocephalus Günther, 1863

Distribution: Siphlophis leucocephalus has a restricted distribution in central and eastern Brazil (Prudente et al., 1998; Zaher & Prudente, 1999; Argôlo, 2004).

Habitat and time of activity: The scattered data indicate that S. leucocephalus is a small species (maximum SVL = 708 mm, male; this study) and seems to be terrestrial (N = 4; Argôlo, 2004). The only activity record is for a single individual active by day (Argôlo, 2004). It inhabits forests, including cocoa plantations (Argôlo, 2004).

Feeding: There is one record of a lizard as prey for S. leucocephalus (Prudente et al., 1998).

Reproduction: There is no information concerning the reproductive biology of S. leucocephalus.

Siphlophis longicaudatus Andersson, 1901

Distribution: Siphlophis longicaudatus is distributed in the Atlantic forests of southeastern and southern Brazil (Lema, 1964; Prudente et al., 1998; Zaher & Prudente, 1999; Prudente & Feio, 2001; Alencar et al., 2009).

Habitat and time of activity: This moderate-sized pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 931 mm, female; this study) occurs mostly in forested areas (Lema, 1964; R. Bérnils and F. Stender, unpublished data), although there is one record in an open area (Brazilian Cerrado; Alencar et al., 2009). There are only two available microhabitat records, one of an individual active on the ground (Lema, 1964) and one on the vegetation (R. Bérnils & F. Stender, unplublished data). There is only one record about time of activity, during the day (R. Bérnils & F. Stender, unplublished data).

Feeding: Siphlophis longicaudatus seems to be a lizard specialist (N = 9, one Enyalius sp., one Placossoma sp., 7 n.i.), although there are records of snakes as prey items (N = 3) (Prudente et al., 1998; this study).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from five to seven eggs (N = 6, mean = 6.0; R. Scartozzoni, unpublished data; C. Zatz, unpublished data; this study). The smallest mature female was 672 mm SVL (this study) and the smallest mature male was 624 mm SVL (this study).

Siphlophis pulcher Raddi, 1820

Distribution: Siphlophis pulcher is distributed in the Atlantic Forest along the eastern and southeastern coast of Brazil (Marques, 1998; Prudente et al., 1998; Zaher & Prudente, 1999; Argôlo, 2004; Hartmann, 2005; Cicchi et al., 2007; Duarte & Sena, 2007; Kunz, 2007; Sena, 2007; Hartmann et al., 2009, 2011; O.A.V. Marques, unpublished data).

Habitat and time of activity: This small pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 803 mm, female; this study) inhabits forests, an may be found in disturbed areas (Sazima & Argôlo, 1994; Argôlo, 2004; Hartmann, 2005; Duarte & Sena, 2007; Kunz, 2007; P. Gobbo & C. Conti, unpublished data; M. Teixeira, unpublished data). Siphlophis pulcher is a semi-arboreal species that frequently forages to the ground (terrestrial data: N = 10; Sazima & Argôlo, 1994; Marques, 1998; Hartmann, 2005; P. Gobbo & C. Conti, unpublished data; O.A.V. Marques, unpublished data; M. Teixeira, unpublished data; arboreal data: N = 4; Sazima & Argôlo, 1994; O.A.V. Marques, unpublished data). It is active both during the day (N = 3; O.A.V. Marques, unpublished data) and during the night (N = 3; Marques, 1998; P. Gobbo & C. Conti, unpublished data; O.A.V. Marques, unpublished data). There is additional information on microhabitat (N = 1 terrestrial) in Argôlo (2004), but this information was not included in the synthesis above because it is not clear whether the individuals found were active.

Feeding: Siphlophis pulcher is a lizard specialist (N = 25, two tropidurids, six Placosoma sp., one gymnophthalmid, one scincid, one Ophiodes fragilis, three Ophiodes sp., one Gymnodactylus darwinii, one Hemidactylus mabouia, one geckonid, eight n.i.), that occasionally eats snakes (N = 3, one Imantodes cenchoa) and lizard eggs (N = 2) (Sazima & Argôlo, 1994; Prudente et al., 1998; Hartmann, 2005; Duarte & Sena, 2007; O.A.V. Marques, unpublished data).

Reproduction: Clutch size varies from two to seven eggs (N = 4, mean = 4.0; this study). The smallest mature female was 553 mm SVL (this study) and the smallest mature male was 532 mm SVL (this study).

Siphlophis worontzowi Prado, 1940

Distribution: Siphlophis worontzowi is known from western Brazil, northern Bolivia, and southern Peru (Silva, 1993; Prudente et al., 1998; Zaher & Prudente, 1999; Frota et al., 2005; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; Moravec et al., 2009; Costa et al., 2010).

Habitat and time of activity: This small pseudoboine (maximum SVL = 746 mm, male; this study) inhabits forests and open areas, and also disturbed areas (Silva, 1993; Bernarde, 2004; Bernarde & Abe, 2006; P. Bernarde, unpublished data). Two individuals were found active on the vegetation (Bernarde, 2004; Bernarde & Abe, 2006) and one on the ground (P. Bernarde, unpublished data). This species is active during the night (N = 2; Bernarde, 2004; Bernarde & Abe, 2006), and there is one record of an individual active during twilight (Bernarde, 2004).

Feeding: Siphlophis worontzowi seems to eat mainly lizards (N = 5, Iphisa elegans; Prudente et al., 1998; Bernarde & Abe, 2006, 2010; this study), and we also found a frog as prey.

Reproduction: There are no data available regarding S. worontzowi reproduction.

Natural history Summary

The tribe Pseudoboini is very diverse in terms of its natural history. The tribe is comprised of small (e.g., Drepanoides anomalus, Oxyrhopus doliatus and all the Phimophis) to large-sized snakes (e.g., Clelia and Mussurana). The maximum SVL ranges from 300 mm (Rodriguesophis chui) to 2790 mm (Clelia plumbea).

We were able to gather information of microhabitat use for 30 species (63%). The majority of species are terrestrial (e.g., Clelia plumbea, Oxyrhopus clathratus and Pseudoboa coronata). However, the genera Siphlophis and Drepanoides are composed of semi-arboreal species and the genus Rodriguesophis seems to be composed of fossorial species.

Considering the period of activity, we were able to gather information for 30 species (63%). Most species seem to be active during the night (e.g., Drepanoides anomalus and Oxyrhopus formosus), but there are also diurnal species (e.g., Pseudoboa haasi) and species that are found active both during the day and night (e.g., Oxyrhopus giubei and Siphlophis pulcher).

We gathered dietary information for 33 species (70%). Most pseudoboines seem to be specialized in some sort of prey (one item corresponds to at least 70% of the diet, cf. Martins & Oliveira, 1998). Lizards are the most commonly consumed prey, found in the diet of 29 species (except for Clelia langeri, Pseudoboa martinsi and Rhachidelus brazili), followed by small mammals (consumed by 20 species) and snakes (consumed by 18 species).

The mean fecundity ranged from two (Rodriguesophis iglesiasi) to 29 eggs (Clelia plumbea). Species of the genus Clelia are the most fecund (mean clutch size = 10.7), followed by those in the genus Mussurana, Oxyrhopus and Boiruna (mean clutch size = 9.8, 9.6 and 8.6, respectively). On the other hand, the least fecund genus is Drepanoides (mean litter size = 2.3), followed by Rodriguesophis, Phimophis and Rhachidelus (mean litter size = 2, 4.8 and 4.5, respectively).

 

DISCUSSION

The species of the genus Clelia are the largest and the most fecund of the tribe Pseudoboini (Duellman, 1978; Martínez & Cerdas-Fallas, 1986; Strüssmann, 1992; Savage, 2002; Maschio, 2008). The species of the genus Rodriguesophis presented both the smallest fecundity and the smallest body size (Rodrigues, 1993). On the other hand, Rhachidelus brazili is among the largest snakes of the tribe, but has one of the lowest fecundities (R. Scartozzoni, unpublished data). Therefore, it would be interesting to explore the evolution of reproductive characters in pseudoboines.

Although we here presented a great amount of information on the natural history of pseudoboines, many species in the tribe are still poorly known. More attention should be given to the following species, since these are the species for which the least amount of data was gathered by us or found in the literature: Clelia equatoriana, C. errabunda, C. hussami, C. langeri, C. scytalina, Oxyrhopus doliatus, O. erdisii, O. fitzingeri, O. leucomelas, O. marcapatae, Phimophis giuanensis, P. vitattus, Pseudoboa serrana, Rodriguesophis chui and R. scriptorcibatus. They all present a restricted geographic distribution (Pérez-Santos & Moreno, 1988; Abdala, 1990; Rodrigues, 1993; Underwood, 1993; Morato et al., 1995; Zaher, 1996; Giraudo & Scrocchi, 2002; Morato et al., 2003; Leynaud & Bucher, 2005; Reichle & Embert, 2005; Kacoliris et al., 2006a; Torre-Loranca et al., 2006; this study), and there is virtually no information regarding their microhabitat, time of activity (except for two observations of Phimophis giuanensis, Oliveiros et al., 2000 and three for Oxyrhopus marcapatae, J. Icochea, unpublished data) and fecundity (except for one observation for Phimophis vittatus; this study).

Natural history is crucial for detecting species at risk and for implementing conservation programs for threatened species (Greene & Losos, 1988; Greene, 2005; Bury, 2006). We hope our study can aid in the conservation of pseudoboines and motivate research on the least known species of this group.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We are very grateful to all researchers that contributed with unpublished data and personal observations. We thank the curators of scientific collections who provided access to specimens under their responsibility: F.L. Franco (IBSP), H. Zaher (MZUSP), M.A. de Carvalho (UFMT), A.L. Prudente (MPEG), T. Grant (PUCRS), J.C. Moura-Leite (MHNCI) and G. Colli (UnB); and also V. Germano for the help during the selection and examination of the specimens deposited at IB. This study was funded by FAPESP. MM thanks CNPq for a research fellowship.

 

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Aceito em: 14/04/2013
Impresso em: 30/06/2013

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