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Morphology, Reproduction, and Diet of the Marine Homalopsine Snake Bitia hydroides in Peninsular Malaysia
Bruce C. Jayne, Todd J. Ward and Harold K. Voris
Vol. 1995, No. 4 (Dec. 21, 1995), pp. 800-808
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1447028
Page Count: 9
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Based on a collection from the Muar River estuary in western peninsular Malaysia, we quantified the morphology, reproductive effort and diet of the previously rare homalopsine snake Bitia hydroides. The dentition of B. hydroides is unusual because of enlarged anterior palatine teeth which have lengths that exceed those of all other teeth, including the posterior maxillary fangs. Enlarged palatine teeth have only been described previously for a single species of snake. Despite this unusual dentition, B. hydroides fed on oxydercine and bottom-dwelling species of gobies, which are consumed by sympatric species of marine snakes. Females were considerably larger than males. Reproduction was strongly seasonal and out of phase with that of the sympatric species of hydrophiids, and the size distribution of the snakes suggested that the age of first reproduction approximates one year. For 13 females, litter size ranged from 1-10 (x̄ = 4.2) and was significantly correlated with maternal size. Relative clutch mass ranged from 0.07-0.35 (x̄ = 0.22) and was not correlated with maternal size.