Evolutionary dynamics shape two passive defensive mechanisms in Neotropical snake radiations
Keywords:Balling, Defensive behavior, Evolution, Head hiding, Neotropical snakes, Predation
AbstractWe mapped the distribution of two defensive behaviors (balling and head hiding) of Neotropical snakes to evaluate its distribution in distinct phylogenetic groups. Balling behavior was observed in 58 out of the 167 examined species across seven families. Head hiding was observed in a total of 100 species across nine families. From the high prevalence of balling behavior in basal groups of snakes, such as Anomalepididae, Boidae, Leptotyphlopidae, Tropidophiidae, and Typhlopidae, and the low prevalence among species of recent diversification radiations, such as Elapidae and Viperidae, we suggest that this behavior evolved in basal groups and persisted in some derived taxa. Balling was not observed in association with other defensive strategies, while head hiding can occur in combination with caudal elevation, caudal vibration, and body flattening. Therefore, head hiding, in contrast to balling behavior, presents itself as putatively more flexible, as it should allow for an escalated degree of defensive displays.
Download data is not yet available.
How to Cite
Tozetti, A. M., Morato, S. A. A., Bérnils, R. S., Loebmann, D., Toledo, L. F., Gray, R., & Entiauspe-Neto, O. M. (2021). Evolutionary dynamics shape two passive defensive mechanisms in Neotropical snake radiations. Phyllomedusa: Journal of Herpetology, 20(1), 3-13. https://doi.org/10.11606/issn.2316-9079.v20i1p3-13
Copyright (c) 2021 ESALQ-USP
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.All material originally published in Phyllomedusa belongs to Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz - Universidade de São Paulo. All contents are under a license of Creative Commons BY-NC-ND.