Title

Diet composition of Nerodia sipedon (Serpentes : Colubridae) and its dietary overlap with, and chemical recognition of Agkistrodon piscivorus (Serpentes : Viperidae)

Authors

JG Himes

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2003

Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

To address the potential role of the western cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma) as a competitor for food and/or predator of the midland watersnake (Nerodia sipedon pleuralis) in drainages of the Gulf of Mexico, U.S.A., I examined the dietary compositions of these species from a series of museum collections. Small individuals of A. piscivorus consumed primarily lizards, fishes, and frogs, whereas large individuals consumed primarily fishes and frogs. No prey items of A. piscivorus were identified to be N. sipedon. Small individuals of N. sipedon consumed primarily fishes, frogs, and salamanders, whereas large individuals consumed primarily fishes. In a Y-maze experiment, a significantly higher number of individuals of N. sipedon selected the odorless arm of the maze over the arm containing the odor of A. piscivorus. However, N. sipedon did not exhibit a preference when presented with the odorless arm versus the arm containing the odor of a conspecific.

Publication Title

AMPHIBIA-REPTILIA

Volume

24

Issue

2

First Page

181

Last Page

188