|The Amazonian Pipe Snake, Anilus scytale. JCM|
The Amazonian Pipe Snake, Anilius scytale, represents a poorly known, ancient lineage of snakes. They are a basal alethinophidian and lack the ability to open their mouth widely. Previous work suggested they feed on elongated amphibians and reptiles. Maschio et al. (2010) examined 162 specimens from the Brazilian Amazonia for food items, only 12% contained prey. Three species of amphisbaenians (Aulura anomala, Leposternon polystegumn, and Amphisbaena sp.), accounted for 81% of the diet items recovered. The remainder were snakes (Anilius scytale and Tantilla melanocephala) making up 12.5% and caecilians (Caecilia cf. gracilis) composing another 6.25%. They found a positive (but not significant) relationship between the snout-vent length of the pipe snakes and the total length of their prey, with a tendency for smaller specimens to ingest proportionately larger prey. Based upon the prey found, Anilius forages mostly on the ground and in aquatic environments at night. Prey was ingested headfirst, and is likely to minimize the risk of injury. Full citation: Maschio, G. F., A. Lúcia da C. Prudente, F. da S. Rodrigues and M. S. Hoogmoed 2010. Food habits of Anilius scytale (Serpentes: Aniliidae) in the Brazilian Amazonia. Zoologia .27(2). This paper can be found on-line at: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1984-46702010000200005&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en.