Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The coral snake & the caecilian


Photo credit: DMM Mendes
The majority of coral snakes are terrestrial/fossorial species, but the Suriname Coral Snake (Micrurus surinamensis) and the Ribbon Coral Snake (Micrurus lemniscatus) use shallow water, swampy habitats for foraging for food. Like other coral snakes they tend to feed on small, elongated prey. Their diet includes invertebrates, lizards, amphibians, fish, and other snakes. The Ribbon Coral Snake (Micrurus lemniscatus) is a known predator of caecilians, amphisbaenians, and blind snakes. In a recent note Viana and de Mello Mendes (2015) document the first recorded predation of the two-lined caecilian, Rhinatrema bivittatum, in central Amazon. The snake bit the caecilian at mid-body, held on to it for about five minutes (probably to inject venom). The snake then released the prey and crawled to a sheltered site about 30 cm away. After five minutes the snake returned to the caecilian struck it several times with little response from the amphibian, the coral snake then ingested the prey.

Photos by DMM Mendes

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