Friday, October 11, 2013

New study supports the idea that Cerberus schneiderii is an abundant coastal species

Preliminary studies suggest that Schneider's Bockadam (also known as the dog-faced water snake), Cerberus schneiderii, is one of the most abundant aquatic snakes in mangrove ecosystems across most of Southeast Asia, A new study of this snake at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore supports these studies. The brackish man-made ponds at this site do not dry up and they are the source of abundant and continuous food supply to the snakes that inhabit the wetland. The year-round supply of food and climatic conditions allow this snake to grow and reproduce year round. Chim and Dion (2013) conducted monthly surveys at the man-made brackish ponds throughout 2006 and estimated population density  at 102 snakes per hectare and snake biomass at 4.1 kg per hectare. They report relative abundance at 5.4 snakes per man-hour, all  providing evidence of a large Cerberus population at the study site.  A wide range (145–720 mm SVL) of body size were present, and  neonates were rarely encountered. Adult females reach sexual maturity at a body size of 336 mm and the authors found  no seasonal variation in the population’s size structure, suggesting that recruitment occurred throughout the year. Most of the snakes were sedentary and more than 90% of them remained in the same pond that they were captured for the first time. During low tides, snakes had a tendency of congregating in relatively  deep water close to the sluice gates and in the network of tidal streams and pools in the man-made ponds.

Citation
Chim, C. K., & Diong, C. H. (2013). A MARK-RECAPTURE STUDY OF A DOG-FACED WATER SNAKE CERBERUS SCHNEIDERII (COLUBRIDAE: HOMALOPSIDAE) POPULATION IN SUNGEI BULOH WETLAND RESERVE, SINGAPORE. THE RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY, 61(2), 811-825.

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