Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

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bentley7_7
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Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by bentley7_7 » November 14th, 2015, 2:11 pm

Hello all,

I'm currently working in the Río Anzu Reserve outside of Mera, Ecuador. I'm studying the spacial ecology of Bothrocophias microphthalmus/hyoprora. Specifically I'm using lapse camera traps to look at the ambush behavior/movements of these little-studied snakes.

Thus far I've encountered two snakes (in 6 days), pictured below. The smaller, yellow one was found on the move during a heavy rain event. The other was found in ambush position on a dead log. From what I've seen, heard and read about these snakes they tend to be found close to streams and rivers. They are usually encountered on the move during rain events, otherwise they are seen in ambush position.

If anyone has experience with this genus and/or has any other information that might help me find more snakes please share. The more specific the info the better. I'm also slightly unsure about the species ID of these two snakes (hyoprora or microphthalmus), what do y'all think?

Thanks for the help, Alex
ImageIMG_1238 by Alex Bentley, on Flickr
ImageIMG_1231 by Alex Bentley, on Flickr
ImageIMG_1227 by Alex Bentley, on Flickr
ImageIMG_1418 by Alex Bentley, on Flickr
ImageIMG_1421 by Alex Bentley, on Flickr
ImageIMG_1428 by Alex Bentley, on Flickr

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intermedius
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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by intermedius » November 14th, 2015, 6:06 pm

The first one looks a bit more like a hyoprora based on the rostral. The second one looks more like a microphthalmus. I'm not sure based on these pictures.

The best way to differentiate the two species is by looking at the subcaudal scales underneath the tail. In hyoprora, most of the subcaudals are not divided. In microphthalmus, the subcaudals are divided. Microphthalmus also has more ventral scales (137-173 vs. 124-141 in hyoprora). Hyoprora also tends to be found lower than 1000 meters ASL, while microphthalmus are usually found above 1000 meters ASL.

"The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere" by Campbell and Lamar would be a great place to start. They have a lot of information on the genus, and probably have ecological data for the two species in question.

I also found some papers that might help you out:

Bernarde, P. S., FERREIRA-MARTINS, L. S., & Oliveira, J. R. (2008). Bothrocophias hyoprora (Amazonian hog-nosed pit viper). Diet. Herpetol. Rev, 39(3), 353.
(LINK- http://www.herpetofauna.com.br/Bothroco ... oxDiet.pdf)

Bernarde, P. S., do Amaral, E. D. S., & do Vale, M. A. D. (2015). Squamata, Serpentes, Viperidae, Bothrocophias hyoprora (Amaral, 1935): Distribution extension in the state of Acre, northern Brazil. Check List, 7(6). (LINK- http://www.checklist.org.br/getpdf?NGD115-11)

Cisneros-Heredia, D. F., Borja, M. A., Proano, D. A. N. I. E. L., & Touzet, J. (2006). Distribution and natural history of the Ecuadorian Toad-headed Pitvipers of the genus Bothrocophias. Herpetozoa, 19, 17-26. (LINK- http://www.landesmuseum.at/pdf_frei_rem ... 7-0025.pdf)

DE CARVALHO, V. T., & DE FRAGA, R. A. F. A. E. L. (2013). Toad-headed Pitviper Bothrocophias hyoprora (Amaral, 1935)(Serpentes, Viperidae): New Records of Geographic Range in Brazil, Hemipenial Morphology, and Chromosomal Characterization. Herpetological Review, 44(3), 410-414. (LINK- http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ric ... e509f3.pdf)

GUTBERLET, JR, R. L., & Campbell, J. A. (2001). Generic recognition for a neglected lineage of South American pitvipers (Squamata: Viperidae: Crotalinae), with the description of a new species from the Colombian Chocó. American Museum Novitates, 1-16. (LINK- http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/bitstrea ... sequence=1)

Valencia, J. H., Garzón, K., & BETANCOURTYEPEZ, R. (2008). Notes on the reproduction of the Ecuadorian Toad-Headed Pitviper Bothrocophias campbelli (FREIRE-LASCANO, 1991). Herpetozoa, Wien, 21(1/2), 95-96. (LINK- http://www.landesmuseum.at/pdf_frei_rem ... 5-0096.pdf)

Voss, R. S. (2013). Opossums (Mammalia: Didelphidae) in the diets of Neotropical pitvipers (Serpentes: Crotalinae): Evidence for alternative coevolutionary outcomes?. Toxicon, 66, 1-6.

Good luck with your study

-Justin

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mfb
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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by mfb » November 15th, 2015, 7:37 am

I don't have any insights on these species to share, but wanted to say "Thanks" for posting the great photos! Good luck with your study.

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Muchobirdnerd
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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by Muchobirdnerd » November 15th, 2015, 9:42 am

I would contact Jaime Culebras on FB or Flickr. He is a Researcher, Museum Curator at Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica in Quito. He has experience with both and might be able to help you.

bentley7_7
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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by bentley7_7 » November 15th, 2015, 1:28 pm

thanks for the resources and info! The yellow individual was found at 1287 meters and the other was found at 1150 meters, which led me to think they might both have been microphthalmus. Unfortunately its basically impossible to get a look at the subcaudals without disturbing the snakes (especially when they are in ambush position) :/ But thanks again, this info was really helpful.

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by Bryan Hamilton » November 19th, 2015, 11:28 am

Any chance of radio tracking these guys? Then you would have a solid id and could follow individuals over time.

bentley7_7
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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by bentley7_7 » November 21st, 2015, 2:07 pm

In an ideal world I would be radio tracking, but I neither have the time nor the $$$ for that right now. However I'm hoping to come back at some point in the future equipped to radio track.

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Nshepard
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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by Nshepard » November 24th, 2015, 8:57 am

First off Alex, that is an awesome group to work with and 2 in 6 days is amazing. I spent some time in the Amazon region of Ecuador back in 2008 and encountered one individual. He was sitting ambush poster along a small fallen log on the edge of a small 1st or 2nd order rocky / mossy stream within about 200 meters from a large river (the stream was in a very steep ravine). The area I was at in Ecuador had some elevation to it. Though it was in the Amazon Region, it was at the foothills of the Andes. During my stay in Colombia, the family I stayed with had found two individuals around their yard (I saw both while being there). There were small 2nd order streams in the area, but as a whole, it was much more low lying that where I saw the individual in Ecuador. All these observations where of Bothrocophias hyopora.

Here is the Ecuador individual in-situ:

Image

Posed:

Image

Not sure on the species (will look into it).

Very jealous! you are working with a very cool species!

bentley7_7
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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by bentley7_7 » November 29th, 2015, 1:59 pm

Nathan,

good info to have, thanks for sharing! I too am in the foothills of the Andes in a higher elevation part of the Amazon. It seems to be a preferred microecosystem of these guys. what elevation where you at?

The last couple weeks in the field I've had more luck, encountering 3 more individuals, one of which is gravid (individual with orange eyes pictured below). I've been monitoring this female using camera traps for almost 2 weeks. she has selected a gestational site at the base of two fallen trees which have created openings in the canopy leading directly Southwest to the river. There is a hole she retreats to at night and when its hot/raining etc, and otherwise a great majority of her activity is within a one/two square meter area. I've observed some really interesting thermo-regulatory behavior from this female, and some very interesting behavior from the other individuals as well! Bothrocophias certainly is an amazing group to work with! My intent is to publish a something on this work, so I'll keep y'all posted on any publications and further findings.

ImageIMG_1737 by Alex Bentley, on Flickr
Image9.53AM by Alex Bentley, on Flickr
ImageIMG_1831 by Alex Bentley, on Flickr
ImageBothrocophias3d by Alex Bentley, on Flickr
ImageBothrocophias3c by Alex Bentley, on Flickr
ImageBothrocophias5b by Alex Bentley, on Flickr

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Nshepard
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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by Nshepard » November 30th, 2015, 10:51 am

bentley7_7 wrote:Nathan,

good info to have, thanks for sharing! I too am in the foothills of the Andes in a higher elevation part of the Amazon. It seems to be a preferred microecosystem of these guys. what elevation where you at?
So where I saw that animal in Ecuador it was approx. 1427 feet in elevation. And where those two that where captured in Colombia it was only 309 feet in elevation.

Have you determined which species you are working with. Some of your animals look like B. hyopora and some look more like B. microphthalmus.

When you get state side I'd like to hear more about your set-up for studying these animals.

bentley7_7
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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by bentley7_7 » December 1st, 2015, 5:30 am

cool, good to know.

And I am still not 100% sure about the ID's. A couple of the juveniles definitely look hyoprora-ish. Unfortunately I was unable to get a look at the subcaudals so as not to disturb the snakes. However, I'm led to believe they are all microphthalmus because they were all found well above 1000 meters in an area where there are no records of hyoprora. Furthermore, Campbell and Lamar (2004) report that hyoprora often have canthorostral scales and multiple of them. My snakes only have one if any.

But I would definitely be down to talk more when I get back. I plan to go down to FMNF at some point to see Mike, may be we can all get together!

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Nshepard
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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by Nshepard » December 2nd, 2015, 1:07 pm

Sounds good!

BethH
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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by BethH » December 10th, 2015, 10:49 am

What is "ambush position?"

What is a 2nd order stream?

Thanks. Beth

bentley7_7
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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by bentley7_7 » December 18th, 2015, 5:28 pm

ambush is a technique used by some snake taxa for obtaining prey. Don't know how to best explain, but the body position characteristic of ambush hunting is a coil with the head sitting on top and forward, with the top coil positioned behind the head so that the snake is ready to strike at any moment. The picture I posted above (Bothrocophias5b) is a good example of ambush position. I don't recall using the term "2nd order stream" and I'm not sure what that would be exactly.

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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by Kfen » December 21st, 2015, 5:48 am

Stream orders are a way to categorize them loosely based on size. 1st order streams are headwaters, when two 1st order come together they make a 2nd order, two 2nd order make a 3rd order, etc.

OP- nice shots and good luck with your research. Those look like some cool snakes to work with.

BethH
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Re: Bothrocophias Research. need info on spatial ecology

Post by BethH » December 21st, 2015, 3:57 pm

Thank you for the explanations.

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