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Natural history data of a common snake suggest interpopulational variation and conservatism in life history traits: the case of Erythrolamprus poecilogyrus

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Documenting intraspecific variation is essential to understanding the ecology and evolution of natural populations. Here we provide information on sexual maturity, sexual size dimorphism, fecundity and diet of Erythrolamprus poecilogyrus from the region of the Aimorés Hydroelectric Power Plant, southeastern Brazil, based on specimens deposited in the Herpetological Collection of the Museu de Ciências Naturais da Pontifícia Universidade de Católica de Minas Gerais. We also compare our results with those from previously published studies. We measured snout-vent length and tail length, and counted ventral and sub-caudal scales of each specimen. We also recorded reproductive aspects and diet identified to the lowest possible taxonomic level. Erythrolamprus poecilogyrus differed in overall body and clutch size between geographic regions, following a pattern inverse to Bergmann's rule. In general, females attained larger body size than males, but do not have a higher number of vertebrae. We did not find intersexual differences in tail length, which may be related to a low degree of intersexual competition among males. Diet composition was very similar throughout the species' range, and characterises E. poecilogyrus as an anuran specialist. Females maintained their feeding activity while gravid, suggesting that E. poecilogyrus is an income breeder, which is an adaptive strategy when foraging success is predictable during reproductive periods.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2014

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