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Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 1–6 | Cite as

Ant and termite predation by the tropical blindsnake Typhlops platycephalus

  • J. A. Torres
  • R. Thomas
  • M. Leal
  • T. Gush

Summary:

Dietary habits of the Puerto Rican blindsnake Typhlops platycephalus were studied by analysis of gastrointestinal tract contents and scats. Ant species (the principal prey taxon) were surveyed concurrently with the collection of the blindsnakes to determine what proportion of the species were used as prey. Typhlops platycephalus fed on 14 of 30 ant species found in the field and on two additional ant species that we did not find in the field. Individual snakes often feed on more than one prey species. Adult ants were most commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract and scats, although brood were occasionally encountered. However, laboratory feeding observations suggest that ant brood is more attractive to the snakes. Other prey taxa consumed included termites, mites, and sciarid fly larvae.

Key words: Ants, diet, snakes, termites, Puerto Rico. 

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Torres
    • 1
  • R. Thomas
    • 2
  • M. Leal
    • 3
  • T. Gush
    • 4
  1. 1.International Institute of Tropical Forestry, P.O. Box 25000, Río Piedras, Puerto Rico 00928-2500, USA, e-mail: jtorres@upracd.upr.clu.edu and Department of Biology, CUTB, Bayamón, Puerto Rico 00959US
  2. 2.Biology Department, University of Puerto Rico, P.O. Box 23360, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00931, USA, e-mail: rthomas@upracd.upr.clu.edu US
  3. 3.Department of Biology, Campus Box 1137, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA, e-mail: mleal@biodec.wustl.edu US
  4. 4.P.O. Box 508, Glebe, NSW 2037, Australia, e-mail: tomg@geac.co.au AU

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