Vol 8 Num 2




Composition and natural history of a Cerrado snake assemblage at Itirapina, São Paulo State, southeastern Brazil

Ricardo J. Sawaya

Universidade Estadual de Campinas
present address: Laboratório Especial de Ecologia e Evolução, Instituto Butantan. Av. Doutor Vital Brazil, 1500. C.E.P. 05503-900 São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil
email: sawaya@butantan.gov.br

Otavio A. V. Marques

Instituto Butantan
Laboratório Especial de Ecologia e Evolução, Instituto Butantan. Av. Doutor Vital Brazil, 1500. C.E.P. 05503-900 São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil
Marcio Martins

Universidade de São Paulo
Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, C.E.P. 05508- 090 São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil.

keywords
Biodiversity, Natural history, Squamata, Serpentes, Cerrado, Itirapina, São Paulo, Brazil

publication date: 04-28-2008





Abstract
Neotropical snake assemblages present high species richness and complex structures. The Cerrado is the second largest biome in Brazil, and was included among the 25 World’s biodiversity hotspots. In southeastern Brazil, the remnant cerrado areas have suffered intense destruction, and presently less than 2% of Cerrado natural vegetation remain in São Paulo state. Virtually no detailed study on Cerrado snakes was carried out in this region. The Itirapina region has one of the last well preserved remnants of open cerrado in São Paulo state. Our purpose in this work was the study of natural history and composition of the Cerrado snakes of Itirapina region. We performed an extensive field sampling combining six sampling methods in Estação Ecológica de Itirapina and disturbed Cerrado areas in its surroundings (municipalities of Itirapina and Brotas), during 101 trips throughout 43 months, between September 1998 and March 2002, corresponding to 446 days of field sampling. We also collected additional data from museum specimens housed in scientific collections. We present data on size, general abundance, habitat and macrohabitat use, daily and seasonal activity, feeding, reproduction, and defense. We also compared the Itirapina snake assemblage with nine snake assemblages of Brazil, from Amazonia, Atlantic Forest, Cerrado, and other open habitats. We recorded a total of 36 snake species among 755 individuals found in the field and six records from scientific collections and literature, belonging to 25 genera and five families. The snake assemblage comparisons indicate that the Cerrado has its own identity regarding the snake composition. Although small (about 2300 ha), the Estação Ecológica de Itirapina encompasses well preserved and representative Cerrado physiognomic forms, which harbors a rich and typical Cerrado snake fauna. The occurrence of some species only inside the reserve also indicates that the Estação Ecológica de Itirapina is of fundamental importance to the maintenance of Cerrado biodiversity.

how to quote this paper
Sawaya, R.J., Marques, O.A.V. and Martins, M. Composition and natural history of a Cerrado snake assemblage at Itirapina, São Paulo State, southeastern Brazil. Biota Neotrop.  Jan/Mar 2008 vol. 8, no. 2 http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n2/en/abstract?article+bn01308022008 ISSN 1676-0603.



Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, Fapesp
Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, CNPq
© BIOTA NEOTROPICA, 2008