|The dice snake and its distribution.|
The authors marked more than 5000 individuals and produced estimates of more than 500 snakes per hectare, one of the highest ever recorded for snakes. Reproductive and mortality rates are elevated, suggesting a high population turnover. These traits evoke a tropical rather than a temperate-climate demographic pattern. The Golem Grad population is highly polymorphic, three color morphs (spotted, grey, and black) are observed in both sexes and each morph is represented by large numbers of individuals. Data obtained for other life history traits ( body size, size at maturity, clutch size, diet, predation) suggest this population is quite diverged in comparison to other populations. Overall,the results reinforce the idea that the inter-population variability of snakes should be taken into account over large geographic scales; otherwise attempts to derive general patterns may well be strongly biased.
R. Ajtića, L. Tomović, B. Sterijovskid, J. Crnobrnja-Isailović, S. Djordjević, M. Djurakić, A. Golubović, A. Simović, D. Arsovski, M. Andjelković, M. Krstić, G. Šukalo, S. Gvozdenovićh, A. Aïdam, C. L. Michel, J-M. Ballouard, X Bonnet. 2013. Unexpected life history traits in a very dense population of dice snakes. Zoologischer Anzeiger - A Journal of Comparative Zoology doi.org/10.1016/j.jcz.2012.10.001