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Article in Herpetological Review January 2011



4 authors, including:
Liliana Piatti

Camila Aoki

University of So Paulo

Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul





Franco Souza
Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul

Available from: Camila Aoki

Retrieved on: 16 June 2016

426 Natural History Notes

MT (10.108611S, 59.410556W, datum: WGS 84). Dissection revealed one adult A. ameiva in the stomach. Grasslands were surrounded by rain forest dominated by Brazilian Nut Tree (Bertholletia excelsa).
Buteo nitidus hunts in open woods, grassland, and edges of
rainforest to dry open areas with scattered trees (Collins 2006.
Field Guide to the Birds of South America: Non-passerines. p.
134., Harpercollins Pub. Ltd., Hammersmith, London). This species is known to prey on rats, snakes, lizards, and insects (Sigrist
2006. Aves do Brasil: Uma viso artstica. Editora Avis Brasilis.
So Paulo. 413 pp.), but to our knowledge, none of the lizards
recorded as prey were identified to species.
The B. nitidus specimen (#1765; collection license 10698-1/
SISBIO/IBAMA) (length: 37.5 cm; weight: 470 g) and its stomach
contents were deposited in Laboratrio de Ornitologia, Campus
of Cuiab, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso (UFMT). We
thank PASCON for logistical support and Robson W. vila for lizard identification.
DOS SANTOS (e-mail:, Laboratrio
de Ornitologia, Ncleo de Estudos Ecolgicos do Pantanal, IB, Universidade
Federal de Mato Grosso, Avenida Fernando Corra, s/n Coxip CEP: 78060900, Cuiab, MT, Brazil.

AMEIVA AMEIVA (Giant Ameiva). PREDATION. Ameiva ameiva

is widely distributed in the Americas (Vitt and Colli 1994. Can. J.
Zool. 72: 19862008), usually associated with forest edges, along
waterways where the canopy is absent, and in a myriad of disturbed habitats (Vitt et al. 2008. Guide to the Lizards of Reserva
Adolpho Ducke, Central Amazonia. ttema Design Editorial.
176 pp.). Records of predation on A. ameiva exist for snakes
(Bernarde and Abe 2010. Biota Neotrop.10:167173; Fischer and
Gascon 1996. Herpetol. Rev. 27:204; Granzinolli et al. 2007. Herpetol. Rev. 38:448449; Santos and Germano 1996. Herpetol. Rev.
27:143), birds (Batista de Pinho et al. 2010. Herpetol. Rev. 41:72;
Tozetti et al. 2005. Herpetol. Rev. 36:443444) and wild or domestic felines (Urich 1931. Trop. Agric. 8:9597).
On 7 July, 2007, at 1428 h, we observed predation on A. ameiva by the Brown-nosed Coati (Nasua nasua) on an unpaved road
from a private farm located in Pantanal, municipality of Miranda, Mato Grosso do Sul State, central Brazil (San Francisco
farm; 20.086369S, 56.616061W, WGS84). The coati chased the
lizard before capturing it, held it with its front paws, and then
began biting the head. The lizard, a juvenile ca. 25 cm snout
vent length, died approximately 15 sec. after being captured.
Total time taken for the coati to completely ingest the lizard was
not possible to estimate, due to an approaching vehicle, which
scared off the animal, however, more than one minute was spent
ingesting the head. Our observation includes N. nasua as an addition to the known predators for A. ameiva.
The Brown-nosed Coati, is distributed in South America from
northern Colombia to northern Argentina. It is diurnal, scansorial, and omnivorous, feeding mainly on invertebrates and fruit
(Beisiegel 2001. Braz. J. Biol. 61:689692; Gompper and Decker
1998. Mamm. Species 580:19). When present in the stomachs
and/or intestinal contents, vertebrates generally make up a
small percentage of the diet for these animals (Alves-Costa et al.
2004. J. Mammal. 85:478482; Bisbal 1986. Mammalia 50:329
339; Santos and Beisiegel 2006. Rev. Bras. Biocinc. 8:199203).
PAULO LANDGREF-FILHO, Programa de Ps Graduao em Ecologia e

Conservao. Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul, Cidade Universitria, s/n, Bairro Universitrio, CEP 79070-900, Campo Grande, MS, Brazil;
FRANCO LEANDRO DE SOUZA, Departamento de Biologia, Centro de
Cincias Biolgicas e da Sade, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do
Sul, CEP 79070-900, Campo Grande, MS, Brazil.


the natural history of amphisbaenians are difficult to observe
due to their fossorial habits (Gans 1978. Trans. Zool. Soc. Lond.
34:347416). In Brazil, few observations or studies regarding
the natural history of these reptiles have been made in situ,
and available observations on their biology have been recorded
through opportunistic encounters (Sazima and Haddad 1992.
In L. P. C. Morellato [ed.], Historia Natural da Serra do Japi. Ecologia e Preservao de uma rea Florestal no Sudeste do Brasil,
pp. 212237. Editora da Universidade Estadual de Campinas,
Campinas) or obtained from captive animals (Torres 2003. Notes
Fauniques de Gembloux 53:6369).
Between the months of January and December, 2007, we observed A. mertensi foraging in garbage at a residence in the city
of Maring, Paran State, Brazil (23.4100S, 51.9497222W). The
observations were of both diurnally and nocturnally active individuals on the following dates and times: 20 April at 1700 h,
1 May at 1800 h, 19 July at 1636 h, 22 July at 1542 h, 24 October
at 2432 h, and 19 November at 1709 h. Some of these observations included two to three individuals. Voucher specimens were
collected and deposited at the Laboratory of Zoology of Faculty
Uning (17ac). During January, several A. mertensi were found
run over on the street, always close to garbage bags. January had
high rainfall (271.5 mm), and we noted that during the rains this
species disperses over the ground surface. The largest number of
individuals was observed in late afternoon and in early morning,
as is also recorded for A. alba (Abe and Johansen 1987. J. Exp.
Biol. 127:159172; Sazima and Haddad 1992, op. cit.). In the remaining months of the year, individuals of A. mertensi were often found in yards or inside residences. The animals appeared
to be attracted to the garbage from these residences. On some
occasions we observed individuals (N = 3) pulling the used oiled
paper from fried cooking out of the garbage bags. This behavior may be associated with foraging for small invertebrate prey
upon which this species feeds (Cruz Neto and Abe 1993. J. Herpetol. 27:239240; Pramuk and Alamillo 2003. Herpetol. Rev.
34:221223); the odor of fried oil attracted various Diptera and
Hymenoptera to the oiled paper. On one occasion we offered
the amphisbaenian fried beef meat and raw poultry meat, but it
showed no interest. The fossorial ecology of this amphisbaenian
has allowed it to remain in disturbed areas, where it appears to
now be implementing opportunistic foraging behavior within
these new conditions.
We thank Hlio R. da Silva, Mirco Sol, and Alexandre Aschenbrenner for reading and offering suggestions on the manuscript.
RICARDO LOURENO DE MORAES (e-mail: ricardo_lmoraes@hotmail.
com) and MELINE DAL POSSO RECCHIA, Faculdade Ing-Uning, Departamento de Cincias Bilogicas, 87070000 Maring, Paran, Brazil.


behavior of playing dead is referred to as tonic immobility and
is present in many species throughout the animal kingdom, perhaps most prominently observed in the Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana), which famously plays possum (Hoagland
1928. J. Gen. Physiol. 11:715741). Tonic immobility has been observed and studied in Anolis carolinensis, which readily displays

Herpetological Review 42(3), 2011