CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > Australian Journal of Zoology   
Australian Journal of Zoology
Journal Banner
  Evolutionary, Molecular and Comparative Zoology
 
blank image Search
 
blank image blank image
blank image
 
  Advanced Search
   

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Board
Contacts
Content
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Sample Issue
For Authors
General Information
Notice to Authors
Submit Article
Open Access
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
Annual Referee Index
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with us
blank image
facebook twitter youtube

red arrow Supplementary Series
blank image
All volumes of the Australian Journal of Zoology Supplementary Series are online and available to subscribers of Australian Journal of Zoology.

 

Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 53(5)

How can blind tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus) forage successfully?

Fabien Aubret A B E, Xavier Bonnet B C, David Pearson D, Richard Shine C

A School of Animal Biology, M092, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA 6009, Australia.
B Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, CNRS, Villiers en Bois, France.
C Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
D Conservation and Land Management, Science Division, Woodvale Research Centre, Wanneroo, WA 6946, Australia.
E Corresponding author. Email: fab@congo.zzn.com
 
PDF (96 KB) $25
 Export Citation
 Print
  


Abstract

On a small island off south-western Australia, tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus, Elapidae) continue to survive, feed, grow and reproduce successfully after being blinded by seagulls defending their chicks. We propose two alternative hypotheses to explain this surprising result: either vision is of trivial importance in tiger snake foraging, or the blinded snakes survive on a diet of abundant immobile prey that cannot escape their approach. Laboratory studies in which we blindfolded snakes falsified the first hypothesis: snakes that were unable to see had great difficulty in capturing mobile prey. Field data support the second hypothesis: blind snakes feed almost entirely on seagull chicks, whereas normal-sighted animals also took fast-moving prey (lizards and mice). Thus, the ability of tiger snakes on Carnac Island to survive without vision is attributable to the availability of abundant helpless prey (seagull chicks) in this insular ecosystem.

   
Subscriber Login
Username:
Password:  

    
Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help

CSIRO

© CSIRO 1996-2014