Temporal activity and dietary selection in two coexisting desert snakes, the Saharan sand viper (Cerastes vipera) and the crowned leafnose (Lytorhynchus diadema)

Jaim Sivan, Michael Kam, Shlomo Hadad, A. Allan Degen, Israel Rozenboim, Avi Rosenstrauch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Saharan sand viper (. Cerastes vipera) and the crowned leafnose (. Lytorhynchus diadema) are two snake species well adapted to desert sand dunes and, in Israel, coexist in the western Negev Desert. C. vipera is a sit-and-wait ambusher while L. diadema is an active hunter. We studied the seasonal and diel activity patterns and dietary selection of these two species while free-living in the field. Both species were active from early spring until late fall but displayed (i) different seasonal activity patterns - C. vipera was bimodal with peaks in spring and autumn whereas L. diadema was basically unimodal with a peak in summer; (ii) different nocturnal above-ground activity patterns - C. vipera was active mainly during the first three hours of darkness while L. diadema was constantly active during the first seven hours of darkness; and (iii) different patterns of nocturnal behavior - C. vipera moved up to 50. m while L. diadema moved several hundred meters each night. Dietary selection differed between these snake species although lizards, mainly Nidua fringe-fingered lizards (. Acanthodactylus scutellatus), were the main dietary item for both. We concluded that temporal partitioning in above-ground activity, different foraging strategies and differences in dietary selection may contribute towards the coexistence of the two snake species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-117
Number of pages5
JournalZoology
Volume116
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2013

Keywords

  • Cerastes vipera
  • Dietary selection
  • Lytorhynchus diadema
  • Seasonal activity
  • Temporal activity pattern

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Temporal activity and dietary selection in two coexisting desert snakes, the Saharan sand viper (Cerastes vipera) and the crowned leafnose (Lytorhynchus diadema)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this