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Does foraging mode influence life history traits? A comparative study of growth, maturation and survival of two species of sympatric snakes from south-eastern Australia

Webb, Jonathan K., Brook, Barry W. and Shine, R. (2003). Does foraging mode influence life history traits? A comparative study of growth, maturation and survival of two species of sympatric snakes from south-eastern Australia. Austral Ecology,28(6):601-610.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 40 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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Title Does foraging mode influence life history traits? A comparative study of growth, maturation and survival of two species of sympatric snakes from south-eastern Australia
Author Webb, Jonathan K.
Brook, Barry W.
Shine, R.
Journal Name Austral Ecology
Publication Date 2003
Volume Number 28
Issue Number 6
ISSN 1442-9985   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-0345770406
Start Page 601
End Page 610
Total Pages 10
Place of Publication Carlton, Victoria, Australia
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Theory predicts that compared with active searchers, ambush foragers should have lower rates of energy intake, slower growth, and higher survival rates. We tested these predictions with data on two species of sympatric, saurophagous, small-bodied, viviparous elapid snakes: the broad-headed snake, Hoplocephalus bungaroides, and the small-eyed snake, Rhinoplocephalus nigrescens. Demographic parameters and growth curves for both species were estimated from a long-term (9 years) mark-recapture study in Morton National Park, south-eastern Australia. The ambush predator (H. bungaroides) displayed slower juvenile growth and later maturation (5 years for males, 6 years for females) than did the active forager (R. nigrescens, 3 years). Litter sizes were similar in both species, but reproductive frequency was higher in R. nigrescens (90-100%) than in H. bungaroides (50%). Juvenile survival was lower in the active searcher (31%) than in the ambush forager (55%), but adult survivorship was similar (74% vs 82%). Our results support the hypothesis that ambush foragers display 'slow' life history traits, but additional phylogenetically independent comparisons are needed to evaluate the generality of this pattern.
Keywords ambush forager
demographic parameters
elapidae
predation
reproduction
survival
sit-and-wait
hoplocephalus-bungaroides
threatened snake
elapid snakes
food availability
marked animals
body-size
lizard
selection
ecology
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1442-9993.2003.t01-1-01316.x   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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