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Title: Environmental and ecological factors influencing dive behaviour in the freshwater snake 'Acrochordus arafurae': a field-based telemetric study
Contributor(s): Pratt, Kirstin (author); Campbell, Hamish  (author); Watts, Matthew (author); Franklin, Craig E (author)
Publication Date: 2010
DOI: 10.1071/MF09194
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Abstract: 'Acrochordus arafurae' is a fully aquatic, freshwater snake distributed throughout tropical Australia. To better understand the ecological factors influencing their behavioural repertoire, we remotely monitored field body temperature and diving in snakes free-ranging within their natural habitat. The body temperatures of 'A. arafurae' exhibited a diel profile similar to the surface water temperature, and reflected the high proportion of time that snakes remained <1m from the surface. The average dive depth was 0.62m and 95% of dives had an average depth of 1 m or less. Snakes occasionally ventured into deeper water (>6 m), and there was a positive correlation between dive depth and duration. Average dive duration was 6.6 min and 84% of dives were terminated within 10 min, but all snakes performed dives >50 min during the 14-day observation period. We hypothesise that the dive behaviour was strongly influenced by predation pressure. The snakes partake in short dives within the aerobic dive limit to reduce the amount of time they need to spend at the surface on each breathing bout, reducing the risk of predation by birds. Predation is a strong selective force that might alter the time allocation during dive cycles.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Marine and Freshwater Research, 61(5), p. 560-567
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1448-6059
Field of Research (FOR): 050206 Environmental Monitoring
060801 Animal Behaviour
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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