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Offshore Insular Variation in the Diet of the Taiwanese Bamboo Viper Trimeresurus stejnegeri (Schmidt)

Zoological Society of Japan
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Abstract Dietary data were ascertained for 229 T. stejnegeri (snout vent length >300mm) from 36 localities throughout the main island of Taiwan and the outlying Orchid (Lanyu) and Green (Ludau) Islands. Twenty nine percent of the snakes were devoid of any prey, and of the snakes containing prey, 43% of the cases were unidentifiable. This relatively large proportion of unidentifiable prey items (observed in the hindgut) may reflect either rapid digestion of amphibian prey and/or rapid venting of feces as an evolutionary adaptation to arboreal life. Trimeresurus stejnegeri appears euryphagous, taking primarily amphibians, but additionally reptilian, mammalian and insect prey. There was no discrepancy in prey composition based on comparisons of where the prey item was recorded in the digestive tract. No sexual variation in diet composition was evident, although males were more likely to contain prey than females, indicating the utilisation of different foraging strategies on similar sympatric prey items. Variation in diet composition was observed between mainland Taiwan and offshore islands, which is most likely the result of differences in prey availability.

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