Diet, sexual dimorphism and reproduction of sympatric racers Philodryas aestiva and Philodryas patagoniensis from the coastal Brazilian Pampa.

Authors:
Fernando M Quintela
Fernando M Quintela
Laboratório de Vertebrados
Daniel Loebmann
Daniel Loebmann
Laboratório de Vertebrados

An Acad Bras Cienc 2019 8;91(1):e20180296. Epub 2019 Apr 8.

Laboratório de Vertebrados, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, Avenida Itália, s/n, Vila Carreiros, 96203-900 Rio Grande, RS, Brazil.

Herein we investigated diet, sexual dimorphism and reproductive biology of two sympatric congeneric species at the coastal Brazilian Pampa, Philodryas aestiva and P. patagoniensis. Analysis of the stomach content of the scansorial Philodryas aestiva revealed that it feeds mainly on Anura and small mammals, while it occasionally consumes Insecta, Squamata and Aves. The more terrestrial Philodryas patagoniensis presented a broader diet, composed mainly of Anura, Squamata and small mammals. Insecta and Actinopterygii were found in lower frequencies. In females of both species, snout-vent length was significantly larger than in males, while tail length/snout-vent length ratio was significantly higher in males. Males reach sexual maturity at smaller sizes than females in both species. Fecundity was higher in P. patagoniensis (3 to 24 eggs; 15 ± 8.15) than in P. aestiva (10 to 20 eggs; X = 14.50 ± 3.53). Females of P. aestiva showed secondary follicles in all seasons while eggs occurred from middle-winter to early-summer. Secondary follicles occurred throughout the year in P. patagoniensis, but concentrated in spring. Eggs occurred in late-summer, middle-autumn and spring. Both species presented positive correlations between SVL and clutch size. Differences in analyzed traits seem to reflect divergences in species morphology and use of habitat/microhabitat.

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Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0001-3765201920180296DOI Listing
May 2019

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