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Predation by Corallus annulatus (Boidae) on Rhynchonycteris naso (Emballonuridae) in a lowland tropical wet forest, Costa Rica

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Corallus annulatus (Northern Annulated Tree-boa) is a little-studied tropical Boid occurring disjunctively throughout Central America and tropical South America in mostly lowland tropical moist and wet forests (Holdridge, 1967; Stafford & Henderson, 1996; Smith & Acevedo, 1997; Henderson et al., 2001). Prior to this report and to the best of our knowledge, small rodents were the only documented prey for wild specimens of C. annulatus (Henderson et al., 1995). Caño Palma Biological Station is situated on the northeast coast of Costa Rica approximately 8 km north of Tortuguero. C. annulatus has previously been recorded from Manicaria forest at Caño Palma (Myers, 1990; Burger, 2001). On 12th January 2002 and 15th July 2003 we found two separate C. annulatus specimens with Rhynchonycteris naso (Proboscis bat) in their stomachs.
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Cuad. herpetol., 23 (2): 9396, 2009 93
93
Cuad. herpetol., 23 (2): 93–96, 2009
Recibido: 01/03/2009 — Aceptado: 12/11/09
Ed. asoc.: F. Cruz
PREDATION BY CORALLUS
ANNULATUS (BOIDAE) ON
RHYNCHONYCTERIS NASO
(EMBALLONURIDAE) IN A
LOWLAND TROPICAL WET
FOREST, COSTA RICA
NOTA
TODD R. LEWIS
Westfield, 4 Worgret Road, Wareham, Dorset,
BH20 4PJ, United Kingdom.
ecolewis@gmail.com
DARRYN J. NASH
60 West Road, Spondon, Derby DE21 7AB. Unit-
ed Kingdom.
darrynnash@hotmail.com
PAUL B. C. GRANT
4901 Cherry Tree Bend, Victoria, British Colom-
bia, V8Y 1S1, Canada.
Corallus annulatus (Northern Annu-
lated Tree-boa) is a little-studied tropical
Boid occurring disjunctively throughout
Central America and tropical South
America in mostly lowland tropical
moist and wet forests (Holdridge, 1967;
Stafford & Henderson, 1996; Smith &
Acevedo, 1997; Henderson et al., 2001).
Prior to this report and to the best of
our knowledge, small rodents were the
only documented prey for wild speci-
mens of C. annulatus (Henderson et
al., 1995).
Caño Palma Biological Station is sit-
uated on the northeast coast of Costa
Rica approximately 8 km north of Tor-
tuguero. C. annulatus has previously
been recorded from Manicaria forest at
Caño Palma (Myers, 1990; Burger,
2001).
On 12th January 2002 and 15th July
2003 we found two separate C. annula-
tus specimens with Rhynchonycteris
naso (Proboscis bat) in their stomachs.
In the first instance an anerythristic co-
loured juvenile female C. annulatus
(270 mm TL / 180 mm SVL) was dis-
covered in the roofing rafters at Caño
Palma’s boat dock (Fig. 1.0). Rhyncho-
nycteris naso were regularly observed
roosting beneath the dock in groups of
between three and eight individuals (Fig
1.1) several nights before we found the
snake. We discovered, without the need
for regurgitation by palpation, typical
shapes of bat morphology and deduced
that it was possible that the snake had
eaten a R. naso. On the second occa-
sion we observed an orange / taupe co-
loured adult male C. annulatus (584
mm TL / 512 mm SVL) swallowing a
R. naso in the crown of a Manicaria
saccifera palm, approximately 200 m
along a riparian section of the Biologi-
cal Station’s forest. Rhynchonycteris
naso are an abundant insectivorous bat
found throughout most tropical lowlands
from southern Mexico through to the
northern half of South America (Sorin,
1999). They are a small bat ranging
from 35 to 41 mm in forearm length
and typically weigh around 4 g. Both C.
annulatus and R. naso are closely asso-
ciated with trees near rivers and
streams and single species roost sites
for R. naso are almost exclusively found
close to water (Goodwin, 1946; Goodwin
& Greenhall, 1961; Carter et al., 1966;
Plumpton & Jones, 1992; Stafford &
Henderson, 1996).
To the best of our knowledge these
are the first recorded instances of C. an-
nulatus predating on R. naso. Previous
studies have identified hawks (Buteo
spp.), falcons (Falco spp.) and egrets
(Leucophoyx spp.) as significant preda-
tors of R. naso (Husson, 1962; Sander-
son, 1941). The Orb spider Argiope savig-
nyi (Araneidae) has also been recorded
as a predator (Timm & Losilla, 2007).
Predation on bats by Boids is well re-
corded in the tropics, most of which are
recorded at the bats’ roosting site; Epi-
crates cenchris cenchris (Boidae) (Rain-
T. R. LEWIS et al.: Predation by Corallus annulatus on Rhynchonycteris naso
94
Fig. 1.0. Anerythristic Corallus annulatus with (possible) Rhynchonycteris naso meal (Photo:
Paul B. C. Grant).
Fig. 1.1. Rhynchonycteris naso roosting under Caño Palma Biological Station boat dock (Photo:
Paul B. C. Grant).
Cuad. herpetol., 23 (2): 9396, 2009 95
bow Boa) fed on Carollia perspicillata
(Phyllostomidae) (Lemke, 1978), Epi-
crates anguilifer (Boidae) (Cuban Boa)
predated Phyllonycteris poeyi (Phyllosto-
midae) (Hardy, 1957) and Epicrates inor-
natus (Boidae) (Puerta Rican Boa) ate
Monophyllus redmani (Phyllostomidae)
and Brachyphylla cavernarum (Phyllosto-
midae) (Rodriguez, 1984). The more thor-
oughly studied Corallus hortulanus
(Boidae) (Amazon Tree Boa) is known to
adopt a sit-and-wait strategy as well as
actively snatching bats from the air
(Henderson, 2002; Barnett et al., 2007).
Given that both the C. annulatus and
the R. naso are primarily nocturnal it is
suggested that, on both occasions, the
tree-boas adopted a snatching strategy.
We thank The Canadian Organiza-
tion for Tropical Education and Rainfor-
est Conservation (COTERC) for permis-
sion to study at Caño Palma Biological
Station and Xavier Guevara of The Min-
isterio de Recursos Naturales Energia y
Minas (MINAE) for permits to study the
forest.
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... Predation of bats by snakes, is not that infrequent (Davis 1951, Steyn 1964, Mankins and Meyer 1965, Thomas 1974, Schatti 1984, Lewis et al. 2009). It is well registered in general websites but few are well documented and published. ...
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CONTENTS I. Introduction.................. 3 A. Scope of the present paper............. 3 B. Measurements................ 7 C. Nomenclature................ 8 D. Acknowledgements............... 9 II. General Part.................. 10 A. History of the study of Suriname bats.......... 10 B. Remarks on Suriname bat life............ 18 1. Habitats of bats............... 19 2. Usefulness of bats.............. 22 3. Enemies of bats............... 22 4. The control of bats.............. 23 III. Systematic Part................. 25 Family Emballonuridae............... 26 Subfamily Emballonurinae............. 28 Subfamily Diclidurinae.............. 58 Family Noctilionidae............... 62 Family Phyllostomidae............... 73 Subfamily Chilonycterinae............. 74 Subfamily Phyllostominae............. 78 Subfamily Glossophaginae............. 126 Subfamily Carolliinae............... 144 Subfamily Sturnirinae.............. 153 Subfamily Stenodermatinae............. 157