Body size, food habits, reproduction and growth in a population of black whip snakes (Demansia vestigiata) (Serpentes : Elapidae) in tropical Australia

S Fearn, Dane Trembath

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Two species of large black whip snakes (Demansia vestigiata and D. papuensis) are morphologically and ecologically similar and have broadly overlapping distributions. A long history of taxonomic difficulties has meant that most previous taxonomic and ecological studies comprise composite samples of both taxa. Here, we provide ecological data (body sizes, food habits, reproduction and inferred growth rates) collected from captured and road-killed specimens from a tropical population of D. vestigiata at Townsville, north-eastern Queensland, Australia. Males attain larger body sizes and have longer tails than females. All food items were ectotherms (lizards and frogs). Female reproductive cycles were strongly seasonal. Clutch size is significantly positively related to maternal body size. Egg dimensions, clutch mass and neonatal size are reported. Inferred growth rates indicate that sexual maturation is attained at ~21 months for females.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)49-54
    Number of pages6
    JournalAustralian Journal of Zoology
    Volume57
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Fingerprint

    Elapidae
    Serpentes
    snake
    snakes
    body size
    population growth
    food
    reproductive cycle
    clutch size
    lizard
    frog
    Queensland
    lizards
    roads
    maturation
    frogs
    tail
    egg
    road
    history

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Two species of large black whip snakes (Demansia vestigiata and D. papuensis) are morphologically and ecologically similar and have broadly overlapping distributions. A long history of taxonomic difficulties has meant that most previous taxonomic and ecological studies comprise composite samples of both taxa. Here, we provide ecological data (body sizes, food habits, reproduction and inferred growth rates) collected from captured and road-killed specimens from a tropical population of D. vestigiata at Townsville, north-eastern Queensland, Australia. Males attain larger body sizes and have longer tails than females. All food items were ectotherms (lizards and frogs). Female reproductive cycles were strongly seasonal. Clutch size is significantly positively related to maternal body size. Egg dimensions, clutch mass and neonatal size are reported. Inferred growth rates indicate that sexual maturation is attained at ~21 months for females.",
    author = "S Fearn and Dane Trembath",
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    AB - Two species of large black whip snakes (Demansia vestigiata and D. papuensis) are morphologically and ecologically similar and have broadly overlapping distributions. A long history of taxonomic difficulties has meant that most previous taxonomic and ecological studies comprise composite samples of both taxa. Here, we provide ecological data (body sizes, food habits, reproduction and inferred growth rates) collected from captured and road-killed specimens from a tropical population of D. vestigiata at Townsville, north-eastern Queensland, Australia. Males attain larger body sizes and have longer tails than females. All food items were ectotherms (lizards and frogs). Female reproductive cycles were strongly seasonal. Clutch size is significantly positively related to maternal body size. Egg dimensions, clutch mass and neonatal size are reported. Inferred growth rates indicate that sexual maturation is attained at ~21 months for females.

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    JO - Australian Journal of Zoology

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