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13 August 2021 What the Dead Tell Us about the Living: Using Roadkill to Analyze the Diet and Endoparasite Prevalence in Two Bahamian Snakes
Sebastian Hoefer, Sophie Mills, Theodora Pinou, Nathan J. Robinson
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Abstract

There is very little information of the foraging ecology and parasite infections of many snake species. Here, we used opportunistically collected roadkill to assess diet and parasite prevalence in two snake species in The Bahamas, the Bahamian Racer (Cubophis vudii vudii) and the Bahamian Boa (Chilabothrus strigilatus strigilatus). Over eight months, we conducted up to four daily routine road surveys along a 10 km stretch of highway, as well as opportunistic surveys elsewhere on the island of Eleuthera. Overall, we collected 270 roadkilled snakes of which less than half (39%) were intact and suitable for analyses. Lizards were the most prevalent prey items, although we also found rodents and other snakes. We report on new prey items for the Bahamian Racer, including two snakes and a case of oophagy. Endoparasites, which appeared to be all nematodes, were present only in Bahamian Racers, with 74% of all individuals infected. Parasite infection rates and loads were higher in females than in males. We show that using roadkilled snakes is an effective method for studying the diet and endoparasite prevalence in snakes on a Bahamian island.

© 2021 by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
Sebastian Hoefer, Sophie Mills, Theodora Pinou, and Nathan J. Robinson "What the Dead Tell Us about the Living: Using Roadkill to Analyze the Diet and Endoparasite Prevalence in Two Bahamian Snakes," Ichthyology & Herpetology 109(3), 685-690, (13 August 2021). https://doi.org/10.1643/h2020141
Received: 13 October 2020; Accepted: 22 February 2021; Published: 13 August 2021
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