The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

The 2017/18  impact factor of the Herpetological Journal is 1.268

  pdfBHS Ethics Policy

Download Access:

  • The latest 20 issues can be downloaded when logged in with a Herpetological Journal subscription membership.
  • Individual articles can be purchased for download.
  • Older issues and occasional Open Access articles are available for public download

pdf 02. Geographic variation in diet composition of the grass snake (Natrix natrix) along the mainland and an island of italy: the effects of habitat type and interference with potential competitors

759 downloads

Open Access

pp. 221-230
Authors: Luiselli, Luca; Filippi, Ernesto & Capula, Massimo

Abstract: The diet of grass snakes (Natrix natrix) on the mainland and an island of Italy was compared by pooling literature data and original data. A total of 535 prey items were recorded (444 prey items from specimens >40 cm SVL), but the number of items was very variable between sites. Body lengths (both sexes) varied between geographical areas, and females were larger than males in all study areas. Specimens from the island (central Sardinia) and from one mainland mountainous locality (Duchessa Mountains) were significantly smaller than those from all the other localities. Amphibians were the main prey for both sexes, but females ate more toads and fewer frogs or tadpoles than males; females also consumed more rodents than males. There was a strong effect of locality on diet composition i.e. newts/salamanders were found only in two montane areas; hylids were found only in the single island area; and rodents were commonly preyed upon only at a single mainland locality. Two lizard corpses (Podarcis muralis) were scavenged by grass snakes at a mainland locality. The presence of the piscivorous snake Natrix tessellata, a potential competitor for food, did not have any apparent effect on the food types eaten by grass snakes because grass snakes consumed fish when sympatric with N. tessellata, but not at other sites. The dietary variation exhibited by grass snakes suggests that, by shifting their diets to other prey, they might be able to persist in areas where their usual natural prey has declined drastically, but this remains to be demonstrated.

Keywords: COMPETITION, BODY SIZES, FOOD HABITS, COLUBRIDAE

Submissions:

For further information and submission guidelines please see our Journal Instructions to Authors

 

 

NOTE: as of January 2017, all new editions of the HJ are ONLY available online via the BHS website. The BHS no longer has a commercial hosting agreement with Ingenta  -  although editions prior to end 2016 remain accessible on Ingenta .  Those editions are of course also accessible on the BHS website for subscribers with an active and valid membership.  Should you experience any difficulty accessing HJ editions via the website or have any queries in this regard, please contact