Predicted and observed maximum prey size – snake size allometry
Article first published online: 13 DEC 2002
Volume 16, Issue 6, pages 766–772, December 2002
How to Cite
King, R. B. (2002), Predicted and observed maximum prey size – snake size allometry. Functional Ecology, 16: 766–772. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2435.2002.00678.x
- Issue published online: 13 DEC 2002
- Article first published online: 13 DEC 2002
- Received 10 January 2002;revised 29 May 2002;accepted 7 June 2002
- Gape size;
- Nerodia sipedon;
- sexual dimorphism;
- Storeria dekayi;
- Thamnophis sirtalis
- 1For gape-limited predators such as snakes, it should be possible to predict the relationship between maximum prey size and body size from the relationship between maximum prey size and gape size and between gape size and body size. Such predictions were generated for Water Snakes, Nerodia sipedon L., using a data subset and then tested with a larger data set.
- 2Gape size was computed based on jaw length and width and cyclical regression was used to identify prey of maximum size for snakes of a given gape or mass.
- 3Predicted and observed maximum prey cross-section–snake mass allometry were in good agreement. Predicted maximum prey mass–snake mass allometry somewhat exceeded observed allometry which did not differ from 1.
- 4Observed minimum prey size–snake size allometry was significantly greater than 0, indicating that larger snakes drop small prey from their diets.
- 5Gape size–body size allometry in two other natricine snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis, Storeria dekayi) suggest that patterns of ontogenetic change in prey size should differ among species in predictable ways.
- 6Sex differences in gape size–snake size allometry suggest that sex differences in maximum prey size should increase with increasing snake size, even when linear measures of head dimensions do not.