SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.23 número2Un caso de polidactilia en Liolaemus petrophilus (Iguania: Squamata: Liolaemini)Nadando debajo de la arena: Observaciones sobre un peculiar comportamiento en Liolaemus multimaculatus índice de autoresíndice de materiabúsqueda de artículos
Home Pagelista alfabética de revistas  

Servicios Personalizados




  • No hay articulos citadosCitado por SciELO

Links relacionados


Cuadernos de herpetología

versión On-line ISSN 1852-5768

Cuad. herpetol. vol.23 no.2 San Salvador de Jujuy jun./dic. 2009



Predation by Corallus annulatus (Boidae) on Rhynchonycteris naso (Emballonuridae) in a lowland tropical wet forest, Costa Rica


Todd R. Lewis1, Darryn J. Nash2 & Paul B. C. Grant3

1 Westfield, 4 Worgret Road, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 4PJ, United Kingdom.
2 60 West Road, Spondon, Derby DE21 7AB. United Kingdom.
3 4901 Cherry Tree Bend, Victoria, British Colombia, V8Y 1S1, Canada.



Corallus annulatus (Northern Annulated Tree-boa) is a little-studied tropical Boid occurring disjunctively throughout Central America and tropical South America in mostly lowland tropical moist and wet forests (Holdridge, 1967; Stafford & Henderson, 1996; Smith & Acevedo, 1997; Henderson et al., 2001). Prior to this report and to the best of our knowledge, small rodents were the only documented prey for wild specimens of C. annulatus (Henderson et al., 1995).

Caño Palma Biological Station is situated on the northeast coast of Costa Rica approximately 8 km north of Tortuguero. C. annulatus has previously been recorded from Manicaria forest at Caño Palma (Myers, 1990; Burger, 2001).

On 12th January 2002 and 15th July 2003 we found two separate C. annulatus specimens with Rhynchonycteris naso (Proboscis bat) in their stomachs. In the first instance an anerythristic coloured juvenile female C. annulatus (270 mm TL / 180 mm SVL) was discovered in the roofing rafters at Caño Palma's boat dock (Fig. 1). Rhynchonycteris naso were regularly observed roosting beneath the dock in groups of between three and eight individuals (Fig 2 ) several nights before we found the snake. We discovered, without the need for regurgitation by palpation, typical shapes of bat morphology and deduced that it was possible that the snake had eaten a R. naso. On the second occasion we observed an orange / taupe coloured adult male C. annulatus (584 mm TL / 512 mm SVL) swallowing a R. naso in the crown of a Manicaria saccifera palm, approximately 200 m along a riparian section of the Biological Station's forest. Rhynchonycteris naso are an abundant insectivorous bat found throughout most tropical lowlands from southern Mexico through to the northern half of South America (Sorin, 1999). They are a small bat ranging from 35 to 41 mm in forearm length and typically weigh around 4 g. Both C. annulatus and R. naso are closely associated with trees near rivers and streams and single species roost sites for R. naso are almost exclusively found close to water (Goodwin, 1946; Goodwin & Greenhall, 1961; Carter et al., 1966; Plumpton & Jones, 1992; Stafford & Henderson, 1996).

Fig. 1. Anerythristic Corallus annulatus with (possible) Rhynchonycteris naso meal (Photo: Paul B. C. Grant).

Fig. 2. Rhynchonycteris naso roosting under Caño Palma Biological Station boat dock (Photo: Paul B. C. Grant).

To the best of our knowledge these are the first recorded instances of C. annulatus predating on R. naso. Previous studies have identified hawks (Buteo spp.), falcons (Falco spp.) and egrets (Leucophoyx spp.) as significant predators of R. naso (Husson, 1962; Sanderson, 1941). The Orb spider Argiope savignyi (Araneidae) has also been recorded as a predator (Timm & Losilla, 2007). Predation on bats by Boids is well recorded in the tropics, most of which are recorded at the bats' roosting site; Epicrates cenchris cenchris (Boidae) (Rain bow Boa) fed on Carollia perspicillata (Phyllostomidae) (Lemke, 1978), Epicrates anguilifer (Boidae) (Cuban Boa) predated Phyllonycteris poeyi (Phyllostomidae) (Hardy, 1957) and Epicrates inornatus (Boidae) (Puerta Rican Boa) ate Monophyllus redmani (Phyllostomidae) and Brachyphylla cavernarum (Phyllostomidae) (Rodriguez, 1984). The more thoroughly studied Corallus hortulanus (Boidae) (Amazon Tree Boa) is known to adopt a sit-and-wait strategy as well as actively snatching bats from the air (Henderson, 2002; Barnett et al., 2007). Given that both the C. annulatus and the R. naso are primarily nocturnal it is suggested that, on both occasions, the tree-boas adopted a snatching strategy.

We thank The Canadian Organization for Tropical Education and Rainforest Conservation (COTERC) for permission to study at Caño Palma Biological Station and Xavier Guevara of The Ministerio de Recursos Naturales Energia y Minas (MINAE) for permits to study the forest.


1 BARNETT, A. A.; V. SCHIEL & A. DEVENY. 2007. Predation of a bat by a juvenile Amazon Tree Boa (Corallus hortulanus: Boidae), in Jaú National Park, Brazil. The Herpetological Bulletin 100: 35-37.         [ Links ]

2 BURGER, R. M. 2001. The herpetofauna of Caño Palma Biological Station, Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 36 (12): 243-253.         [ Links ]

3 CARTER, D. C.; R. H. PINE & W. B. DAVIS. 1966. Notes on the Middle American bats. The Southwestern Naturalist 11: 488-499.         [ Links ]

4 GOODWIN, G. G. 1946. Mammals of Honduras. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 79: 107-195.         [ Links ]

5 GOODWIN, G. G. & A. M. GREENHALL. 1961. A review of the bats of Trinidad and Tobago. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 122: 187-302.         [ Links ]

6 HARDY, J. D. 1957. Bat predation by the Cuban Boa, Epicrates anguilifer Bibron. Copeia 1957: 151-152.         [ Links ]

7 HENDERSON, R. W.; T. W. P. MICUCCI; G. PUORTO & R. W. BOURGEOIS. 1995. Ecological correlates and patterns in the distribution of neotropical boines (Serpentes: Boidae): a preliminary assessment. Herpetological Natural History 3: 15-27.         [ Links ]

8 HENDERSON, R. W.; M. HÖGGREN; W. W. LAMAR & L. W. PORRAS. 2001. Distribution and variation in the treeboa Corallus annulatus (Serpentes: Boidae). Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 36: 39-47.         [ Links ]

9 HENDERSON, R. W. 2002. Neotropical Tree-boas: natural history of the Corallus hortulanus complex. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar.         [ Links ]

10 HOLDRIDGE, L. R. 1967. Life zone ecology (2nd Edition). Tropical Science Center, San José, Costa Rica.         [ Links ]

11 HUSSON, A. M. 1962. The bats of Suriname. Zoologische Verhandelingen, Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie Leiden 58: 1-282.         [ Links ]

12 LEMKE, T. O. 1978. Predation upon bats by Epicrates cenchria cenchris in Colombia. Herpetological Review 9: 47.         [ Links ]

13 MYERS, R. L. 1990. Palm swamps. Ecosystems of the World 15: Forested Wetlands. (Ed by A E Lugo, M Brinson & S Brown), pp. 267-278, Elsevier, Oxford.         [ Links ]

14 PLUMPTON, D. L. & J. K. JONES. 1992. Rhynchonycteris naso. Mammalian Species 413: 1-5.         [ Links ]

15 RODRIGUEZ, G. A. 1984. Bat predation by the Puerto Rican boa, Epicrates inornatus. Copeia 1984: 219-220.         [ Links ]

16 SANDERSON, I. T. 1941. Living treasure. Viking Press, New York.         [ Links ]

17 SMITH, E. N. & M. E. ACEVEDO. 1997. The northernmost distribution of Corallus annulatus (Boidae), with comments on its natural history. Southwestern Naturalist 42: 347- 349.         [ Links ]

18 SORIN, A. 1999. Rhynchonycteris naso (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed February 23, 2009 at Rhynchonycteris_naso.html.         [ Links ]

19 STAFFORD, P. J. & R. W. HENDERSON. 1996. Kaleidoscopic tree-boas: the genus Corallus of tropical America. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar.         [ Links ]

20 TIMM, R. M. & M. LOSILLA. 2007. Orbweaving spider, Argiope savignyi (Araneidae), predation on the Proboscis bat Rhynchonycteris naso (Emballonuridae). Caribbean Journal of Science, 43 (2), 282-284.         [ Links ]

Creative Commons License Todo el contenido de esta revista, excepto dónde está identificado, está bajo una Licencia Creative Commons