Spatial ecology of a small arboreal ambush predator, Trimeresurus macrops Kramer, 1977, in Northeast Thailand

in Amphibia-Reptilia
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Abstract

The Big-Eyed Green Pit Viper (Trimeresurus macrops; Kramer, 1977) is a venomous snake species endemic to Southeast Asia. Although we have some knowledge of the systematics and toxicology of T. macrops, little is known about the spatial ecology of this species. From May 2013 to February 2014, we used radio-telemetry to determine home-range sizes of 13 adult female T. macrops inhabiting the Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve in Northeast Thailand. We found that individual home ranges for T. macrops averaged 0.175 ha, with activity areas ranging from 0.112-0.303 ha and core areas ranging from 0.023-0.052 ha. There was little overlap between conspecific tracked females, especially for the most used areas of their home ranges. We find that T. macrops ambushes more in higher humidity and expresses very little diurnal activity. They use the groundstory for ambushing, then retreat over small distances to higher refuge during the day. Future studies should focus on prey abundance, habitat selection, and survival rates.

Spatial ecology of a small arboreal ambush predator, Trimeresurus macrops Kramer, 1977, in Northeast Thailand

in Amphibia-Reptilia

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References

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Figures

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    Attributes of the tracked snakes. Snake ID, days tracked, telemetry fixes, date of first fix, date of final fix, biometrics for the last recapture of each study individual, and home-range estimates. Total body length (TBL), scaled mass index (SMI), 100% minimum convex polygons (MCP), 50% kernel core areas (FK50) and 95% kernel activity areas (FK95).

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    (A) Mean distances moved, (B) maximum distance moved and (C) mean displacement between two subsequent relocations for snake found in the Dry Evergreen Forest (DEF) and Field Station. Error bars represent standard errors.

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    Map of the study and overview of the MCPs generated for 12 of the tracked snakes. TRMA099 was located further west of both sites. Scales are UTM (m). (A) shows the Field Station location, and (B) shows the Dry Evergreen Forest (DEF) location.

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    The forest layer that snakes were observed using during day and night, separated into underground (<0 m), on ground (0 m), groundstory (>0-1 m), understory (1-3 m) and midstory (3-10 m).

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    Ambient temperature and humidity, ground temperature and humidity during one of four behaviours: ambush, moving, resting (outside, not in cover) or sheltering (under cover).

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    Proportion of data points where the snake was visible, and exhibiting one of four behaviours (ambush, moving, resting or sheltering), by location (Dry Evergreen Forest (DEF) and Field Station) and by forest layer.

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