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First record of a snake call in South America: the unusual sound of an ornate snail-eater Dipsas catesbyi

ABSTRACT

The auditory systems and sound dynamics in snakes are frequent objects of debate. The known frequency of sounds produced by snakes ranges from 0.2 to 9.5 kHz. Here we report the first record of a vocalization by the South American snake Dipsas catesbyi. The call was recorded oportunistically in June 2021 upon manipulation, and had a duration of 0.06 seconds, reaching 3036 Hz in its peak frequency with a modulated note, emitted through exhalation of air through the larynx. We hypothesize that structured vocal emissions such as this are a reaction to a predation attempt and may be a feature shared by other species of Dipsadidae and other snakes.

KEYWORDS:
Amazonia; reptile; Squamata; vocalization

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