Potential seed dispersers: a new facet of the ecological role of Boa constrictor constrictor Linnaeus 1758
Keywords:Caatinga, Feeding behavior, Snake, Seed dispersal, Zoochory
AbstractAbstract: The boa (Boa constrictor) is considered a top predator and its diet includes a wide variety of birds, mammals, and other reptiles, all related directly to their availability in the environment inhabited by the snake. Seven boas were found roadkilled on highways adjacent to conservation units in the semi-arid region of Rio Grande do Norte state, in northeastern Brazil. Their digestive tract was analyzed to identify food items and classify them according to their orientation in the tract. Among the food items found, the white-eared opossum (Didelphis albiventris) and the black-and-white tegu (Salvator merianae) were ingested head-first, while teeth of a punaré (Thrichomys laurentius) and a Spix's yellow-toothed cavy (Galea spixii) and hairs of an unidentified rodent were found in the intestinal tract. In addition, two novel items were identified: the plain-breasted ground-dove (Columbina minuta), which were ingested tail-first, and carnauba palm seeds (Copernicia prunifera). The orientation of the prey (head-first or tail-first) followed what was expected for each type of prey. In addition, the presence of carnauba palm seeds indicates that, while being a top predator, the boa may also be a potential disperser of seeds, which would constitute a previously unrecorded ecological role for this species.
How to Cite
Cabral, S. de O., Freitas, I. da S., Morlanes, V., Katzenberger, M., & Calabuig, C. (2019). Potential seed dispersers: a new facet of the ecological role of Boa constrictor constrictor Linnaeus 1758. Biota Neotropica, 19(4). Retrieved from //www.biotaneotropica.org.br/BN/article/view/1675