German Journal of Herpetology

Raya-García, E., J. Alvarado-Díaz, I. Suazo-Ortuño & L. Lopez-Toledo

In Issues 2020

Chemosensory responses in newborns of the fossorial earthsnake Conopsis biserialis (Serpentes: Colubridae) to potential invertebrate prey scents. pp. 87-90

Abstract. Studies on predatory responses in newborn snakes have helped us to understand many aspects of feeding ecology, recognition and prey preference at early ontogenetic stages. However, research on chemoreceptive abilities and their relationships with prey preferences in fossorial snakes has thus far received little attention. We evaluated the innate responses of neonates of the fossorial snake Conopsis biserialis to different invertebrate prey scents (ant, beetle, cricket and earthworm) and a control dummy (distilled water) on cotton swabs. The results showed a significant effect of scent stimuli on innate prey recognition, with a greater chemosensory response as indicated by tongue flicking and latency period to beetle scents. This data suggests a possible innate chemical recognition of beetles by neonates of C. biserialis. However, although there is little information on its diet, the positive chemosensory responses to beetles indicate that those might be an important natural prey.

Key words. Chemical cue, Conopsis, earthsnake, invertebrate prey, predatory response, Squamata.

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