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Nest attendance influences the diet of nesting female spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) in Central Amazonia, Brazil

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Although nesting ecology is well studied in crocodilians, there is little information on the diet and feeding habits of nesting females. During the annual dry season (November–December) of 2012, we studied the diet of female spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) attending nests (n=33) and far from nests (n=16) in Piagaçu-Purus Sustainable Development Reserve (PPSDR), Central Amazonia, Brazil. The proportion of empty stomachs in nest-attending females was larger, and the occurrence of fresh food items was lower when compared to females not attending nests. Fish was the most frequent prey item for non-nesting females, while terrestrial invertebrates and snail operculae were the prey items most commonly recovered from stomachs of nesting females. Our study demonstrates that, despite enduring periods of food deprivation associated with nest attendance, nesting females of C. crocodilus still consume nearby available prey, possibly leaving their nest temporarily unattended.
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Keywords: AMAZONIA; DIET; FEEDING; NEST; PARENTAL CARE; SPECTACLED CAIMAN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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