Diversity and habitat use of snakes from the coastal Atlantic rainforest in northeastern Bahia, Brazil. pp. 34-43.
Abstract. The north coast of Bahia comprises a 220 km long region within the Atlantic rainforest ecoregion. Studies focusing on snake communities are still scarce in this part of the state of Bahia. In this study, we assess snake diversity at nine locations, including habitat use and activity patterns. The sites were surveyed for three years, and four museum collections were visited to compile additional data. We obtained information on 50 species from 774 specimens. While the snake fauna at Instituto da Mata contained the greatest richness with 15 observed species, the snake fauna at Imbassaí exhibited the greatest snake diversity due to a lower dominance. The estimated species richness of the region might be as many as 55 species. Snakes occurred mainly in the restinga ecosystem (N = 27), followed by ombrophilous forest (N = 25), and consisted mainly of terrestrial species. The restinga dry forest is home to most species, however some are restricted to habitats in other vegetation types related to their biology. The snake assemblage on the north coast of Bahia is similar to others in the Atlantic rainforest and Caatinga domain in northeastern Brazil.
Key words. Mata de São João, restinga, ombrophilous forest, Caatinga, snake habits.