Relationships between body size, population abundance and niche characteristics in the communities of snakes from three habitats in southern Nigeria


*Luca Luiselli. E-mail:


The relationships between population abundance, body size, food habits and ecological guild (aquatic, terrestrial, arboreal, and fossorial) of snake communities are studied in three different habitats (swamp-rainforest, mangrove forest and derived savanna) of southern Nigeria, West Africa. There were slightly positive relationships between body size and population abundance of snakes in the three study habitats of tropical Nigeria, but statistical significance was reached only in the swamp-rainforest habitat. The population abundance of the various species was not related to either their food habits or their ecological guild in any of the three study areas. The possible reasons explaining these patterns are discussed. In general, there is little congruence between our data and the popular ‘energetic equivalence rule’ hypothesis.