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You are here: Home / Associated publications / Belgian Journal of Zoology / Bibliographic References / Effect of prey- and predator size on the capture success of an aquatic snake

Joke Bilcke, Anthony Herrel and Peter Aerts (2007)

Effect of prey- and predator size on the capture success of an aquatic snake

BELGIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, 137(2):191-195.

Large aquatic snakes typically do not include small prey into their diet. This is hypothesized to be so because small preys are difficult to catch in an aquatic environment. Also an effect of snake size on capture success is plausible, with large snakes having a lower capture success then small snakes for similarly sized prey. We tested the effect of snake- and prey-size on the capture success of the specialized aquatic snake Natrix tesselata. No effect of snake size on capture success was found for the size range that was tested. Possibly size becomes only important from a minimum absolute size (larger than the maximal size tested in our study) onwards. Unexpectedly, Natrix tesselata needs fewer attempts to capture small fish. In contrast, N. maura, a congeneric more generalist species, needs fewer attempts to capture larger fish. A possible explanation for this conundrum lies in difference in the degree of specialization between these two species. An in-depth study of the hydrodynamics of this snake-prey system could provide ways to evaluate the importance of size effects.

capture; Natrix tesselata; prey size; specialisation
BJZ

ISSN 2295-0451 (online version)
ISSN 0777-6279 (printed version)
impact factor 2015: 0,87.

Editor-in-Chief:
Prof. Dr. Isa Schön
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels, Belgium

 



1863-1903
Annales de la Société malacologique de Belgique
 
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Belgian Journal of Zoology